Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
If you are interested (no commitment needs to be made right now) please email Jon Glass at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 30th. Also, let me know if you prefer Monday or Thursday evening.
Ca-Vel Baptist Church
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
You might not have the ability to view videos because not all of us are blessed with highspeed internet service.
I'll be managing Ye Olde Warehouse this weekend, so I am pumped about a chance to serve students and to serve you and with any of you who feel the Lord sending you this way.
Speaking of that, only come because God is indeed sending you. Now, wait, that's not me being a meany, that's just my way of saying it is not my intention that anyone be guilted into serving. It should be an act of joy provoked by the Spirit of God. Know what I mean?
So, the gist of this video is a begging of servants to come out to serve this Saturday night, November 15 from or in one of the partial night windows, meaning from or .
We think we'll have a decent group of volunteers on Friday night, but the more the merrier there as well.
Also, it's stated in the video that I love it when people come up with ministry ideas that they can bring to the table. We can do all sorts of sports related things or even craft-related ideas.
I really want all of us to own the ministry, so the more ideas that are generated by the church teams or by individual volunteers the better we are.
BE CAREFUL: IF YOU COME UP WITH AN IDEA IT SHOULD BE AN "I THINK, SO I WILL" type of idea, not simply a "I THINK, SO Y'ALL SHOULD" type of idea. I can be an "I THINK, SO I NEED" or an "I THINK, SO WE SHOULD" type of idea too.
I love to hear from you all!
Love in Christ,
Friday, November 07, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It would utter foolishness to let your hearts be troubled this morning. God is immovable, unshakable and in total control. Regardless of who won, God is King, President and Unanimously Unelected LORD; HE is Sovereign and HE is the Boss.
So, rest in Christ this morning. Don't worry about the parties, revel in the Person of Christ.
Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. --John Wesley
Monday, November 03, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I am writing to humbly endorse a great friend and fellow laborer in the Gospel in his calling as a laborer in God's East Asian fields. This man, Mr. Casey Adams, is serving his second summer with us here at Youth For Christ as a summer intern. In 2006 Casey served as a "Warehouse Staff" and this summer he is serving as both Warehouse Staff and Co-Director of our summer day camps. We love Casey!
We are also proud that Casey is a "local boy", hailing from the Roseville community and calling Clement Baptist Church his home church, where he also completed an internship in 2005 under the leadership of Pastor Hal Dickerson.
In recent years Casey has graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in religion and pursued further studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The latter studies are being "interrupted" by this calling to go unto the "ends of the earth".
Here's the beginning of where I am asking you all to help:Casey must raise all the money he needs for his 12 month mission to East Asia. He is being sent by God through Campus Crusade for Christ. His ministry will be to college students in East Asia.
TOMORROW, SATURDAY, JULY 19 there will be a benefit dinner held for Casey in the fellowship hall of Clement Baptist Church (http://www.clementbaptistchurch.org/directions2a.html).
The benefit will consist of a chicken plate dinner ($6.00 per plate) and live music. The benefit will last from 4:00-7:00 PM.Now, I believe $6.00 is a mighty low price to pay to help send a "called" man to the place God desires to send them. As a matter of fact, I encourage you all to eat a LITTLE and GIVE A LOT!
I have never believed in "coaxing" people to give by asking them to buy things, so I offer this endorsement and make this plea very humbly. I would encourage you to stop by the benefit and leave a generous gift; Casey still needs to raise in excess of $7,500.00 before he leaves in August.Please, as the Spirit moves you, please consider a gift to my co-laborer and friend.
The Scriptures finds the apostle John commending BELIEVERS for their support of one who sought "no help from the pagans" (3 John 1:7), so I appeal, to you in the faith, in a special way.If you cannot come to the benefit a gift can be sent to 66 Roseville Loop Rd., Roxboro, NC 27573. Any checks should be written to Campus Crusade for Christ.
If you have questions about Casey's mission or would like for him to speak to your Sunday School class or entire church, please call him at 336-504-4885 or feel free to email him: email@example.com
Monday, July 07, 2008
“And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, ‘What a word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ And the fame of Him went out into every place of the country round about” (Luke 4:36-37 – King James Version).
It was a funny scene…let me tell you about it. I am 5’10” and weigh 297 pounds. Needless to say, I am a big ol’ boy! There is a lot of me packed between that first and seventieth inch. I was having an after church discussion with some of the young women and young men of my youth group about cheerleading and gymnastics. Brittany Brown, a talented cheerleader and athlete in her own right, had performed several gymnastic moves and we were discussing the difficulty of said moves. She did a thing called a toe touch. That involves holding one’s hands straight out, palms up, and jumping up and touching the toe of one’s shoes to the palms of one’s hands. I said, “I can do that.” Several of the youth laughed, especially one young man. Well, I’ll let you know that I did it, not once, but THREE times in a row. The young doubter tried several times without any success. I used that little experience to teach them not to judge a book by its cover, nor to take people at what they say only, but to understand their commitment and ability by what they can and will do.
When Jesus taught in the synagogue in
There is another lesson in here for us today. There is the lesson of living what you say. I am wearied of people who know all the Christian talk but display little of the Christian walk. We know how to give all the Christian answers and to say all the right church phrases and repeat all the Sunday School answers, but there HAS to be more! God desires that we produce spiritual fruit, not that we sit around naming them! Don’t get me wrong; knowing all the Christian facts and the lingo in which to express them is not a bad thing. What I am saying is that if there is not some action to match those words, well, we had better check ourselves. There are too many people that are all talk and no action!
Jesus would have earned fame with His teaching alone. It was different and He was different. His teaching was more than reminding people of rules; He taught them how to apply God’s word and how to live it. He did not do that alone. He did miracles and lived in a way that showed there was more to God’s word than knowing it and being able to talk about it.
Do you want to be known near and far? More importantly, do you want fame before the Lord? Here’s how to get it…don’t just talk “God stuff”, but live it. Jesus was more than a good teacher…He was the word come to life. I believe He desires the same from us. I don’t think that my youth would have been satisfied by me simply saying I could do a toe touch, but they were very satisfied when what I did matched what I said I could do. I think the same applies to our Christian lives. We must do what we talk!
Thursday, July 03, 2008
“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.’ And Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Hold thy peace, and come out of him.’ And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not” (Luke -35 – King James Version).
Two little stories…
When I was a kid I didn’t go into town very often. When I did, it was mostly to go to the grocery store. One of my favorite things about going to the grocery store was looking at the damaged goods. The store we shopped at always had one or two shopping carts sitting in the main aisle filled with dented cans, torn boxes, and other damaged containers. I loved to sift through those carts searching for a treasure. We didn’t buy much junk food, so a trip to the damaged goods cart often yielded some treasure that mom would buy for me just because it was priced to sell.
Second little story…I used to do prison ministry. I was privileged to minister to many hurting people in jails. I also was privileged to introduce a few to my Savior. While in town one day I ran into a fellow that I’d led to Christ while the man was in jail. I asked him how things were going. He’d found a job and was doing well with one notable exception; he was not going to church. When I asked why that was he said, “Nobody wants a convict in their church.” “How do you know?” I asked, “Have you tried to find a church?” “Oh, yeah,” he said with a touch of sadness, “I have tried a couple. Everything is fine until I share that I have been locked up. People change when they find that out.”
When I read today’s passage I think of those two little stories. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and it left the man. It is notable to mention that the spirit left the man “and hurt him not.” Jesus sent the unclean spirit away, but Christ did not send the man away. That will preach!
We tend to forget that when a person is freed from an unclean spirit or from the bondage of sin the person is still there though the sin is gone. The old man has passed away and behold, there is a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Often we cast off the new person because of the reputation of the old man. We must remember to keep the person, minister to them, accept them, love them, and disciple them and at the same time rejoice with them that the old man has been cast off.
We forget that sin occurs with sinners and sinners are people. We want to be rid of the sin, but we get the two mixed up sometimes and cast the sinner off with the sin.
At the end of the day we are all damaged goods. None of us is perfect (Romans 3:23). It’s as if Jesus rummaged through the damaged goods cart of the world and picked out some choice treasures and bought them. The difference is that Christ did not pay a reduced price for we who are those damaged goods…He paid dearly and fully with His precious blood. He took damaged things but paid the full price. That, my friends, is a beautiful thought and reality!
I recently heard someone say that it is not our common good or our common social status that draws us together, but our common need for Christ to minister to our weaknesses. It’s not that we have like hobbies or equal bank accounts; rather we have the sin sickness in common and the Savior is the solution for us all.
Personally, I love damaged goods. I have found that once the package is peeled away or torn off, it is the stuff inside that counts. The amazing thing is that Christ takes goods that are damaged inside and out and MAKES them whole and worth using.
How do you view the sinner? Should they be cast off with the sin? Should damaged goods be allowed into your fellowship? Do you hunt for damaged goods that you can carry to the Master? Do you welcome damaged goods and treat them as equals in Christ? If you don’t you obviously have forgotten exactly how bent, broken and torn you were when the Savior redeemed and restored you.
There is an old saying that goes something like this: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” That comes from the fact that families in medieval times all used the same bath water for their bi-annual bath. They used it by order of age, from the oldest to the youngest. Often, by the time it would be the baby’s turn the water would be so dirty that one might not be able to see the baby in it, thus creating the certain danger that the baby might be tossed out with the dirty water. We, as the church…the manifest presence of Christ in this world…need to throw out nasty bath water (sin), but we need to be careful not to toss baby Christians out with it.
However we state it, there is the simple fact that sinners are kept and sin is thrown away. Don’t forget that! If God doesn’t love damaged goods, then He doesn’t love anyone because that is exactly what all of us are. Let us be like Him in this regard. If we don’t excitedly search through and use the damaged goods of this world, not only will we miss out on a great many treasures but we basically throw away the merchandise. Remember these things when you minister to people.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
What particularly pleased me about the crowd were the many children and teens who came to worship service. Many times Care has a good group of children on Wednesday night, but many of those same children have told us they don't want to go to worship service because they do not want to sit still for that long. Lord, change us all; teach us all to love learning, to be joyful when singing to You, to find great pleasure in sitting at Your feet, both alone and with others.
I want to log somewhere my hopes in making singing an important part of our assembling, so I do it here. For the two people who might read this, let me give some background; (1) I love singing; (2) We plan on having a full song service every fifth Sunday.
Now, that being said, let me explain the reasons I think that is important and that will explain why we had the Berry's Grove choir leading our service this past Sunday.
(1) EVERY song has a message. The message in many songs is downright horrible; some songs offered in church are bad too.
(2) We want people to really connect to the fact that every song we sing in our worship services carries with it an important message in the song; that the songs do something to lead our minds and hearts Godward or to soften us to His speaking.
(3) We want people to do more than simply "get through the songs" because it is time to sing. We want them to anticipate hearing something, and possibly saying something very important to God. The song may be the very prayer of our hearts, the proclamation of our faith, the praise of our lips or the proclamation of our belief.
(4) If worship music is just singing, I don't want it. If it's there because it's "supposed" to be, or because we value tradition, I don't want it. It is my belief, like the spoken Word, the Word sung can be filled with powerful messages, heavy truths that encourage, convince, convict and call to movement within and without.
(5) In short, we believe that the music can do as much preaching and praying and testifying as do the spoken elements of all three.
So, we want to convey that every song selection is supremely important; that we are seeking to hear from, speak to, glorify and please the Lord. We want it to be known that we are serious about every element of our services are intentionally meant to help us engage our total person in meeting with the Lord. We want to REALLY worship; to ascribe to Him His true worth. To take any part of a worship service casually is to be disrespectful.
All that being said, yet desiring to say more, the Berry's Grove choir "preached" a wonderful message and I was glad to be there. Though I'd not sang that particular musical in quite some time they graciously allowed me to step in and sing along. It was good to sing those great songs again. My record of yet making it through When I Survey the Wondrous Cross is alive and well. It's a heart lifting and a heart wrenching song.
Friday, June 27, 2008
For my part, I have two dilemmas (or mistakes) that I'd like to amend: (1) To schedule more time to work with the people whom God has given us some influence; (2) That I'd started with a few more committed Christians with whom we could share the work and increase our circles of influence.
That being said, I love it! I love working with people! We are finding that the new believers that God has sent among us are growing. We are also finding that God is sending us a few baby Christians and a few others who are trying to find a place to be accepted and comfortable.
Speaking of comfortable, I preach the same everywhere. I DO use different language depending on my audience, such as speaking with less "churchy" words in front of less churchy people. However, I speak with the same passion and forthrightness in front of every audience. You say, "What's this have to do with 'comfortable'?" Simply this, I preached a tough message at a local church not too long ago and people walk by me -- you know, the preacher at the door routine -- and say, one after the other, "I enjoyed that." I think to myself, I don't know that I was looking for you to "enjoy" that. I never hear that at East Rock. I mean this as a compliment to the people. I see them struggling to grow in faith. I see them struggling against their own flesh. I see some succumbing to it. I am not talking only about "them" as if there are some that are more "spiritual". I am talking about "them" as "us". There is an openness and humility that I really enjoy. There is an expectation of change in the air.
I mean, hey, it's great if the service is enjoyable. It's great if you are encouraged. It's great if God gives you joy. But, and believe me on this, when you come before the Lord, it's not about your comfort or how much you enjoy something; it's about Him working to make you into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). That's not always fun and rarely is it easy. Let me illustrate it this way: One man in our midst recently was "done wrong" by a supposed friend. He'd helped this man strictly upon the basis of the teaching he is receiving at ERCC. The man wounded our East Rock friend and our friend was really hurt. He was convinced that he would never want to do this "Christian *&%^#%@" again. He was also convinced that his peace was stolen and that he could never forgive the other man. A sermon spoke to our friend's heart and began to both heal his pain and speak into his anger. After church one evening, we laid hands on our friend and prayed mightily for him. It was a very cool event that showed that a sermon is not always enjoyable, but it can bring joy through breaking and healing.
So, what am I getting at? I like where we are, but am not satisfied. I like our people's reactions to how God is moving. Yes, I want more people. Yes, I look forward to the day when there are more workers in the field AND more people to work with. Yes, I see God moving. Yes, I see people receiving. Pray for us.
Luke #56 – Spotting the Enemy
“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil” (Luke 4:33a – King James Version).
Some of the most wonderful people I ever met in my life were the people of
Today’s verse shows us that evil lurks everywhere, even (or especially!) in the church. Jesus was in
In Matthew 13:24-30, our Lord teaches us that Satan sows his weeds amongst God’s wheat. In that same passage Jesus says, “Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds and burn them and to put the wheat in the barn” ( – NLT). Well, if we aren’t supposed to pull the weeds from amongst the wheat, what are we supposed to do? I think that answer is found in the instructions of the apostle Paul to Titus: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9 – NKJV). Simply put, we are to work alongside God in seeing them changed! Certainly, if Christ can transform water into wine, He can transform weeds into wheat! Our job is to be salt and light, show Jesus, and share the truth of the word.
Sadly, I don’t think many of us care that evil is in the church. All too often we stand idly by and hope that we don’t have to get involved. That unclean spirit got mighty uncomfortable when Jesus came to the synagogue that day. In our churches, those unclean spirits sometimes never get uncomfortable because Jesus hasn’t shown up! What I mean to say…and I want to be perfectly understood here…is that we aren’t showing people Jesus! Believers are the vessel of His presence and if we are not letting Him be Lord of our lives from second to second, then often evil is not confronted by His holy presence. We are good at being nice and signing petitions, but we often fail when it comes down to actually being Christ-like.
When Jesus spoke in that synagogue that unclean spirit became afraid! He said, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!” ( – NKJV). Realizing this, we should also realize that when we are truly letting Christ live in and through us some folks are going to be uncomfortable around us. We are not to Lord it over them as if we have cornered the market on Jesus; rather, we should be ministers of reconciliation desiring freedom from bondage and forgiveness of sins for those caught by evil.
Yes, dear friends, call them weeds; call them tares; call them unclean spirits; whatever we call it evil is in the midst of the saints. Like my experience in
I never wanted to kill a potential ally. I wanted to identify who was on my side. I wanted to win over those who were not. In my service to God through the church today, I take much the same attitude. Not only do I want to identify my adversary, but I want to win them over to my side too. That day, in the synagogue, Christ did just that. Today, in our churches, we can do the same. Jesus did not participate with the enemy, but He did not tolerate him either. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and freed the man who was the vessel of it. Personally, I am not willing to wait until it is too late to see who is what. I am resolved to be Christ-like. If that makes people uncomfortable, so be it! At the end of the day, I hope I will be used of God to bring some over to His side. How about you?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Luke #55 – Too Mad to Change vs. Open to Learn and Transform
“And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His way, and came down to
I have an old saying that I use all the time that deals with folks that complain about sermons. I use this saying often when identifying those who were convicted but refuse to surrender to God on the issue at hand. Usually it applies perfectly. I always say that when you throw a rock in a pack of dogs the one that yelps is the one you hit. Now, friends, I never seek to be politically correct nor popular. Neither do I want to be arrogant or mean. I do want to tell the truth when I preach and exhort the lost to salvation and the saved to growth in Christ. When you do that faithfully by the whole and inerrant word of God, sometimes folks get mad at you.
Recently I preached a sermon to a group of folks about the subject of encouragement. I was rather frank and I thought the sermon itself was very encouraging. I had no more said “Amen” when a lady rushed toward me and began to berate my style (too forthright), complain about my language (she said I talked too fast), question my education (obviously not enough in her opinion), carp about the message (not what people needed to hear) and criticize every other thing she could think of (and believe me, it was a long list…I think she even told me I ought to shave my beard off!). I said to myself, “I know where the rock hit!”
Jesus hit a few dogs in
God pierces my heart with brokenness when I read this passage. God chastens those whom He loves and He loves this world full of sinners (ref. Revelation and John ). He chastens us so that He can show us our sin, point us to Christ who is the solution, and draw us to Himself. I become broken at the very thought of God communicating with people and people refusing to respond. I hear His holy voice calling to sinful people; “Come to Me all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The rest He wants to give us is from the bondage of sin. He MUST point out that which holds us away from Him.
The sad thing is that He will call and if we do not respond, He may move on (Romans 11). Now that is a sad thought, but a reality. I’ll tell you something I find sad; I can find no record of Christ ever returning to
How do we respond to convicting messages? They come many forms; through a preacher, another believer, by Bible reading, or in our circumstances and certainly in our prayer life. Just as Jesus did in
Do you get so mad that you refuse to change? OR, are you open to hear the voice of God and experience transformation? It does no good to get mad at the messenger. My pastor always says that when we encounter God one of two things happen; “You either change or die.” Which will it be? Will we change and draw nearer to Him? Will we deny His message and see our relationship with Him pass away? The people of
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This was a couple of young men we took to Outdoor Mission Camp. I asked Tyree (right) to give me a few bars before breakfast; he asked Ridge (left) to give him a beat and dropped this little diddy right off the dome. Funny and fun...good, clean fun.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Luke #54 – Don’t Miss a Blessing
“And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph's son?’ And He said unto them, ‘Ye will surely say unto Me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in
When I was in the military I played a lot of basketball. It was a good way to stay in shape. Once I was the twelfth man on a twelve man team. I rarely even got to sit on the bench; most of the time I had to sit on the floor! Our unit had two teams and mid-way through the season I was switched to the other team because it was riddled with injuries. Pretty soon after the switch I played against my old team. Before the game, one of my old teammates jokingly said, “Take it easy on us.” I know the fellow was poking fun at me; most likely he thought I would sit the bench for my new team just like I’d done with my old team. I scored seventeen points that game. Another of my old teammates said, “How come you never did that for us?” My reply was to the point; “Because you guys never let me in the game.”
I think Jesus could relate to my story. The people of
Perhaps the people of
Jesus used the examples of Elijah and Elisha. These two prophets were God’s messengers in a time when
How many times do we leave Jesus on the bench? How many times do we think we deserve some favor just because we know Him? How many times do live with a spirit of unbelief or apathy but want His miraculous power in our lives? How many times do we live like Jesus doesn’t exist until we want something from Him?
We cannot trifle with God. We cannot expect to live in unbelief concerning Jesus AND have Jesus do mighty works in our life. We cannot make Christ the twelfth man in our life. He must be given first place. He should not only be the star player in our lives, but the coach, manager and owner. Do you ever wonder why He is not working more in your life? What position does He occupy? We’d all better be careful…He might take His works to another team.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Luke #53 – Preconceived Notions
“And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’ And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph's son?’” (Luke 4:21-22 – King James Version).
We used to camp on the back side of an area of
Late one night I took a group of my school friends out to that favorite spot to go swimming. We goofed around awhile, splashing and playing in the water. I said, “Let’s go jump off of the rock.” As we walked over toward the rock one of my friends asked, “How deep is the water here?” “Oh,” I replied, “Don’t worry about that. It’s deep enough.” With that said, I let out a great shout, ran and vaulted feet first off of the rock. When my feet hit the soft mud under the water I landed on a piece of glass and nearly cut my toe off; it was slashed down to the bone and tendon. Not only was there glass in the water, but apparently someone had dumped such a great amount of dirt and trash there that the water level in that spot was three or four feet more shallow.
Familiarity, it is said, breeds contempt. That’s true in a great many cases. Familiarity also breeds preconceived notions. Take my slashed toe for example; I assumed that the water was deep enough and the conditions were safe because I had jumped from that spot so many times. A smarter guy would have checked the area out before taking the plunge.
In today’s Scripture we read the reaction of Jesus’ fellow hometown neighbors when He verbally revealed that He was the Messiah. They basically said, “Wow, this guy is an amazing speaker, but isn’t he just the town carpenter’s son?” Familiarity, in this case, caused preconceived notions. They thought they had Jesus pegged. They had watched Him grow up and obviously thought “There is no way this guy can be the Messiah! He’s just ol’ Jesus…he’s nobody! How can he be the Messiah?” Maybe, just maybe, some investigation was in order. The Gospel writer, Dr. Luke, did not write in a chronological style, but in a logical style. I say that to say that Jesus had already been performing miracles before this visit to His hometown (verse 24). I would even have to imagine that news of the twelve year old Jesus’ visit to the temple would have spread while He was growing up. Surely His neighbors had heard how Jesus had wowed the teachers at the temple and realized there was more to Him than met the eye. Yes, I firmly believe that investigation into Jesus’ Messianic claim would have dissolved any preconceived notions.
People have all kinds of preconceived notions about Jesus today too. They base much of what they believe on what they already feel or WANT to believe rather than investigating the facts about Jesus. That may lead to missing out on who He really is and what Christ is all about. For example; I recently heard someone say that Jesus always went against the system—that He was a true rebel. Hogwash. The only system Jesus fought against was the system of sin. When it came to doing God’s will (the most important thing), Jesus followed the plan exactly. A little investigation would have fixed that. I also heard someone say recently that Jesus was more concerned about people’s happiness than their sin. Hogwash. Just because Jesus was so tender and merciful with people does not mean that He excused sin. He is a good Lord, make no mistake about that, but He’d rather us be holy than happy.
There are always two matters to deal with when we receive information. The first is what we already believe and the second is the truth. Often those two conflict. When it comes to Jesus and who He is, don’t let preconceived notions cause you to miss something. Investigate Him in the Holy Scriptures. I bet we’ll all be surprised to find that He was much more than a good man, a carpenter’s son, or a good teacher. He is God. He requires full commitment from us. There is neither half measure of belief when it comes to knowing Him nor any half measure of commitment. Faith in Him is not simply going to church and knowing Bible stories. Somehow, especially in
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Luke #52 – The Position Jesus Left Us In
“And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears’” (Luke 4:17-21 – King James Version).
About three years ago during a Wednesday night youth group meeting the kids were wild; when I say wild, I mean WILD! I let them have fun for a few minutes, but soon it was time to get down to business. I said “Okay, open your Bibles…” and that was a far as I got. I tried to be polite, figuring that asking them to open their Bibles would be a sure signal that we were about to begin the study. For the most part, it was like I was not even alive. “Listen up everybody! It’s time to begin,” were the words of my second attempt at polite rebuke. After a few more tries I became pretty frustrated and screamed, “That’s it! Pick your stuff up! Get out!” The group stood around in stunned silence for a moment trying to decide if I was serious. I was. I kicked the whole youth group out of church at one time.
When we read the passage above in a casual light we miss the fact that Jesus did not finish the verses He was reading from Isaiah. To be specific, Jesus was reading Isaiah 61:1-2. He stopped short of finishing the latter part of verse two. As Christ read it in His hometown synagogue Jesus stopped in this way: “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord”. The rest of Isaiah 61:2 says this: “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (KJV).
The reason Jesus stopped in that place was because of the comma. NO…I am being silly! There is a comma where He stopped in the Bibles you and I read today, but in the Hebrew Bible that Jesus read there was no comma. He stopped in that spot because the verses He read told what He came to do; namely “to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord”. It was not yet time for the full vengeance of God to come or the time for final comfort. He read those Scripture and said “Now…I am going to make this things happen!” (my paraphrase).
This is still the age we are living in; one might accurately call it “God’s Age of Grace.” God’s vengeance is coming; make no mistake about that. One of the most famous sermons of all time was preached by a man named Jonathan Edwards; it was called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (ref. below). In that sermon Edwards pointed out that God was holding back His wrath, but only because God is merciful and is extending grace towards mankind. Edwards stated that at some point God’s wrath would be unleashed; that’s a fact too. Another famous sermon, perhaps the most famous of the twentieth century, was preached by a man named R.G. Lee. It was called “Payday Someday” and in it, one of Lee’s most famous quotes, he said, “Even though the mill of God grinds slowly, it grinds to powder” (second ref. below). Lee’s sermon tells us that payday is coming; that payday where the wage of sin will be given to the unrepentant. God’s vengeance and wrath are coming…make no mistake about that.
You may ask, “Why point this out?” I believe I am pointing it out for the same reasons Christ did. NOW is the age of grace; work while it is light; turn to the Lord while it is yet called today.
God’s love is perfect and for we who have experienced it there are volumes of testimony and truckloads of experience that testify to the goodness of our Father. God’s mercy is real and for any who have fell prostrate at the cross and felt the covering of the blood we know of God’s gracious, merciful hands as they encased us in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.
Now is a time of healing; a time of grace. Now is a time of forgiveness; a time of salvation. Soon, the time for the righteous judgment of God will come and a lost and dying world needs the love and salvation of Jesus TODAY! Without it there is certain doom and eternal hell; many are looming, even teetering, over the abyss today. We live in an age of grace and we’d better not forget it. We’d better pray as if all depends on God and work like it depends on us.
Like that night with my youth group, quiet rebuke is available, but it has bounds. Now, I don’t profess to be God; the illustration is simply to point out that people seem not to believe there is penalty for their wrongs until it is too late. Those young people did not imagine that I would ever kick them out of church, but I did. Soon that eastern sky will split wide open and it will be payday for God’s vengeance.
This is a message for Christians too. Are you living in this age of grace as if God’s wrath will never come? Stop it. The position Christ left us in is that of grace, but it will not always be so. Get right or get left.
Share the message of salvation like today is the last day you may have to do it, because it very well may be. I do not profess to know the day of God’s vengeance, but I am sure it is coming. On that day the heathen will be given to Christ and they will be ground into bits (Psalm 2:8-9). As for me, I want to live like I know that’s a reality. I want to witness, no matter what others think of me, so that I may be used of God to help others escape that day of vengeance. How about you? Enjoy the present peace that Christ left us with, but know that it won’t last forever. Payday is coming.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING!
Reference #1 (If you want to read Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, check it out on the web: http://www.jonathanedwards.com/sermons/Warnings/sinners.htm).
Reference #2 (If you want to read R.G. Lee’s sermon, check it out on the web: