The Wonder of Worship !
Psalms 95:6 - O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
Genuine worship can take our most miserable moments and make them our most meaningful. One of the greatest illustrations of this is found in the Bible book of Acts. We read of Paul and Silas, who were beaten and thrown into a cold, dark, terrible dungeon for preaching the gospel. But at midnight Paul and Silas began worshiping God by singing and praising Him from their hearts and lips. As they worshiped, an earthquake came, and the prison door opened and they walked out from their misery of incarceration and entered into the majesty of freedom.
It’s life changing when you can be set free through worship. Our almighty Lord may deliver us immediately from our situation and He may not. The fact is at times when we worship the Lord our problems remain or even increase, but as we worship they no longer seem overwhelming and enslaving. It is not because our problems have been taken away but because we have focused on our Lord instead of our problems and on His greatness. In so doing we have gained His eternal perspective and repented from an earthly one.
The word worship means “worthship.” We should worship God because He is worthy of our worship. No matter what we’re going through, no matter what our circumstances may be, when He delivers us and when He allows the problem to remain. God deserves our worship and He desires it. There is never a time when the Lord is not due worship.
We were created to worship Him. God made us to bring Him pleasure. And God is pleased when we worship Him with a proper heart, especially when things are not so positive.
# 1 Reason To Share The Gospel !
It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.
In just this one Bible verse we find the primary reason that each follower of Christ should share the gospel continually. It is because every human will die one day and after they do they will personally stand before the Lord’s judgment.
I hear often the statement “ I don’t like hellfire preaching”. I think you would agree with me that preaching about hell has fallen on hard times. And because of that many preachers have stopped preaching on this topic altogether and many others are preaching much less and much lighter on the subject.
Thousands of messages are preached in churches and via the airwaves and internet on how to prosper, how to have a healthy family, how to succeed in marriage and many other biblical doctrines. But we must preach the whole council of God and we most certainly need to preach on main doctrines and hell is one of those.
We have to look at this topic biblically, not emotionally, and remember that life comes to an end for everyone. We have to realize that everyone's earthly life will come to an end but after physical life is over each person will still be alive in heaven or in hell.
As we read the New Testament it is clear that Jesus spent more time talking about Hell than anyone else. Of the forty parables He told, more than half of them relate to God’s eternal judgment of sinners. That is because Hell is a real place for real people. J. I. Packer said, “An endless hell can no more be removed from the New Testament than an endless heaven can be.”
The # 1 reason for sharing the gospel is so people won’t go to Hell. We can tell people if they come to Jesus that life will be more abundant that is true. But the greatest aspect of the gospel, which means “good news,” is that we don’t have to go to Hell. Instead, we can go to Heaven and that is GOOD NEWS!
If you know a child, teen adult who does not know Christ, then they are headed to Hell. The question is what are you doing to reach them? May we each be encouraged with this truth to share the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
In John 14, the Lord Jesus promised the the Holy Spirit would come after He ascended to back to heaven. He commanded his disciples and others to assemble in the Upper Room and pray until that event took place. He taught them when the Holy Spirit came at that moment they would be ind-welled and empowered by the the Holy Spirit. That promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Since that event every person who has repented of sin and received the Lord Jesus as their Sovereign Savior has immediately at conversion been ind-welled with the Holy Spirit of God. Sometimes people say we need another Pentecost. No, the original Pentecost was more than sufficient. However, can what happened to them still happen to us today? The answer is yes and no. Nowhere else in the Bible do we read of a mighty rushing wind, and the Spirit coming upon people like flames. But in Acts we do frequently read of the Holy Spirit empowering, speaking to, and using the believers.
The power given by the Holy Spirit to the first-century church at Pentecost is available to the twenty-first century church today. The power that was given to them then is available to us now. We have living in us the almighty Holy Spirit of God who can give us the power to live and witness for Him. We have the possibility of living powerful lives if we were to appropriate that power by faith.
The Holy Spirit filled the first-century believers again and again and again. We read in Acts 2 where Peter and the disciples once ind-welled and endued with power spoke with much authority and many heard their gospel presentation and were saved. We read of Peter at the Beautiful Gate being led by the Spirit to pull a crippled man to his feet. Then we read of how the Lord filled him with the Spirit, and he stated that Jesus was the Messiah.
This same power came upon the apostle Paul when he was trying to preach the gospel to the governor, and a sorcerer was opposing him. And the Bible tells us in Acts 13 that Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, turned to this man and rebuked him. It took a boldness from God.
When the believers were preaching the gospel and were told to stop, they prayed for even more boldness to do so. And in Acts 4:31, after this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached God’s message with boldness.
If you have ever been opposed or ridiculed for sharing your faith you have also been tempted to stop sharing your faith. The early church found the answer was to pray and be filled with more power of the Holy Spirit gaining boldness to continue sharing the gospel of Christ. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:14, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet".
May each believer be encouraged with the biblical fact that we have the Holy Spirit in us and when we allow His control He will release His power in us for Holy Living and Holy Boldness!
THEY SHOOK THE WORLD BECAUSE THEY SHOOK THE DUST AND SO CAN WE!
After that he appeared in another form unto the two of them, as they walked, and he went into the country. Mark 16:12
Sometimes it can seem as though God has failed us, that He hasn’t done what He said He would do. Maybe some very difficult situation has become a part of our lives. Because it has happen we can become disillusioned and disappointed with the Lord Himself because He has allowed it.
That is how two of the Lord’s disciples felt after the Crucifixion of Jesus. They had lost hope, and sadness had overtaken them. They had left the city and the place of the cross, going back to their original lives. When Jesus appeared to them, they were walking away from Jerusalem into the country (see Mark 16:12). In their thinking , Jesus had failed them but in reality they had misunderstood the Lord’s purpose for coming to the earth. Their wrong desires had helped them to formulate opinions on what they thought Christ had come to do. They thought He would be a militant Messiah, not a suffering Savior.
If they had read the Scriptures carefully, and listened more carefully to His daily teachings they would have come to a full and clear understanding that He was going to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind. The Old Testament was full of details and Jesus while on this earth declared this over and over.
That was the problem with these discouraged disciples, that was the reason they were leaving Jerusalem. In their minds and hearts it was over. Jesus had died and He had failed them. They were headed back to the way life was before they began following this ONE who said He was the Messiah. Life for them was miserable again because in their minds CHRISTHAD FAILED and had FAILED THEM.
For those of us who have read the Bible we know that in time these two as well as thousands and thousands of others who thought God had failed, realized that He had not failed but fulfilled what He needed to do and three days later arose from the dead.
Jesus was doing exactly what He had set out to do, and they had misunderstood. And when it seems like God has failed them, it is because they had failed to understand what He had said and what His purpose was.
So for each of us today the lesson is that when it seems that Jesus has failed us we must remember that Jesus has not failed but we have failed to understand. Exercise patience, trust the Lord to reveal His purpose in His time!
JESUS NEVER FAILS! WHEN IT SEEMS AS IF HE HAS
LOOK WITHIN AND SEE IF WE HAVE FAILED IN
LISTENING TO HIS WORD’S !
I read the following article this week and wanted to pass it along. Greg Lauri wrote the article and I loved it because of its concise and clear way it reminds us of what Christ's death accomplished for us. Hope it helps you enjoy and understand our Lord's passion this Easter Season!
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, "It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: finished.
In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, “Finished. Now let’s go have lunch.” It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.
So what was finished? Finished and completed were the horrendous sufferings of Christ. Never again would He experience pain at the hand of wicked men. Never again would He have to bear the sins of the world. Never again would He, even for a moment, be forsaken of God. That was completed. That was taken care of.
Also finished was Satan’s stronghold on humanity. Jesus came to deal a decisive blow against the devil and his demons at the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 2:14 says, “That through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil.” This means that you no longer have to be under the power of sin. Because of Jesus’ accomplishment at the cross, finished was the stronghold of Satan on humanity.
And lastly, finished was our salvation. It is completed. It is done. All of our sins were transferred to Jesus when He hung on the cross. His righteousness was transferred to our account.
So Jesus cried out the words, “It is finished!” It was God’s deliberate and well-thought-out plan. It is finished--so rejoice!
The satirical site The Onion ran a humorous (note: fictional) article with a biting truth. The article was titled "World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100 Percent." The article reported:
World Health Organization officials expressed disappointment Monday at the group's finding that, despite the enormous efforts of doctors, rescue workers and other medical professionals worldwide, the global death rate remains constant at 100 percent.
Death, a metabolic affliction causing total shutdown of all life functions, has long been considered humanity's number one health concern. Responsible for 100 percent of all recorded fatalities worldwide, the condition has no cure.
"I was really hoping, what with all those new radiology treatments, rescue helicopters, cutting edge surgeries, health foods/ herbs, new medicines and what have you, that we might at least make a dent in it this year," World Health Organization Director General Dr. Gernst Bladt said. "Unfortunately, it would appear that the death rate remains constant and total, as it has inviolably since the dawn of time.”
The above satire was meant to be humorous but in reality it is very sobering and serious. The reason for this reality is because man sinned and God sentenced death to all who would be born of women. Physical death is appointed unto every human. But the more stark reality is that eternal death is also appointed unto those who refuse to repent of their sinfulness and receive the Lord Jesus Christ. 100% of all who refuse to receive Christ will die forever and forever. Yes 100% ! There has never nor ever will be any improvement on that rate of eternal death for all rejectors of God’s only plan for eternal life, - the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Physical death is appointed unto 100% of all humans but the good news is that eternal death is only appointed to rejectors of Christ but the gift to all who receive Christ’s gift of forgiveness of sin is eternal life.
Easter season is one of the best times to bring someone to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know for the church family here at Liberty Baptist Church in Sweetser, Indiana we have an intentional plan to help our congregation invite their families and friends to events that will clearly present the gospel in several ways. On ( April 9) Palm Sunday we will offer two wonderful morning services with uplifting music and worship and the morning Bible message is entitled " The Cross of Christ". This message will focus on the great payment our Lord provided on behalf of all people as He became the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world. This timely message will be certain to bring each listener to a greater understanding that sin has been paid for and salvation can be provided for those who receive Christ's payment on the cross. On Palm Sunday evening our very own Amy Love will present " Finding Christ in the Passover". Amy has a deep knowledge of the Holy Festivals of the Old testament. This lesson will help each of us to understand more clearly the Old Testament promises of God providing a perfect lamb at a perfect time in a perfect way! At the conclusion of the lesson we will observe our annual "Easter Season Communion Service". This service is dedicated to preparing our hearts for PASSION WEEK 2017. During that week we will present our annual " ALIVE MUSICAL DRAMA" in three presentations. (April 13)Thursday 7 p.m. , ( April 14 ) Friday 7 p.m. and ( April 15 ) Saturday 5 p.m. This is our fifth year of bringing this amazing gospel outreach to our area. Then on EASTER MORNING 2017 we have two powerful morning services planned for children, teens and adults of all ages. The music will be moving and the message will be entitled " Christ's Conquest". The gospel will be clear and powerful in the entire worship services. So, I challenge you to be intentional and strategic about bringing someone to hear about Jesus this Easter Season 2017. Make Easter about more than family and your personal world. Make it focused on what matters—a Savior who really rose again, and a lost friend who needs to “get it.”
Here are some thoughts as you can invite someone to hear the gospel this Easter…
1. PRAY AND BELIEVE !
Start with belief that God is moving in hearts and the gospel is still powerful to those you know. Then ask God to intersect your daily path with that person with whom you should invite and share the gospel with. When at work, school, grocery, walkway, etc. Trust the Lord to lead your heart to those who need an invite. Anticipate that He will go before you preparing a heart to respond positively to your love and kind invitation.
2. CONSCIOUSLY CONTACT !
Make a list of people you know who need Jesus—family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances. It’s safe to assume that God is working in at least one of those hearts. Ask God to give you wisdom and courage—then reach out: cell phones, text messaging, email, social networking. Use these resources to invite others to EASTER SEASON outreach events.
3. PARTNER AND PARTICIPATE!
Partner with your church family in making the gospel clear. Get on board with your church’s existing outreach efforts—help distribute flyers and invite cards, promote online event invitations, share Facebook posts, retweet church announcements. Help clean inside and out at your church, join the special times to pray, ask to help to greet people the Easter Season events. God has a way of bringing people to churches where the gospel is priority and grace is abundant!
4. PERSONAL SERVICE!
Ask yourself In what way could I serve personally to help someone hear the gospel this weekend? Could you invite them to coffee or breakfast before church? Could you have someone over to your home for Easter dinner or take someone out for lunch after service? Could you offer someone a ride? Perhaps an offer to meet them at a particular entry and then a pledge to sit with them and help them to be comfortable in a new environment. In what way would some small gift, act of love, or gesture of self-sacrifice speak more powerfully than just a simple invitation? Your personal interest and love is what will make a difference! A simple invite is good but a "Extra Mile Invite" will work in amazing ways as we share the love of Jesus!
This is truth! Jesus came to the world and lived a perfect life, Jesus died on the cross to pay for all the sins of the world, Jesus was buried in a tomb and Jesus rose from the dead. He will save anyone who calls upon Him. He chose you and me to help others hear of Him. And the next several weeks people who normally do not attend church are actually planning to this Easter Season. Someone near you is deciding very soon what church to attend. Your invitation could be the defining difference in whether they hear the truth or error, works or grace, religion or relationship.
Let them hear truth! Love them enough to compel them to hear a clear salvation presentation via preaching, singing, and or drama!
One day, when time is ended and eternity has begun, you will look back on these opportunities with a different perspective. You will wish you had been more courageous, more confident and more concerned. If you decide to get involved, you will be glad for every time you made any effort to help someone hear of Jesus.
With great HOPE may each of us have a wonderful Easter Season of Gospel Sharing! — Lets make it all about Jesus!
The Apostle Paul had a great passion for souls, stating in Romans 9:1-3 —“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
The men and women who have made the greatest impact throughout church history—had this same zeal to see those lost in sin come to Christ and find the forgiveness of God. They were people who spent much time on there knees pleading for souls. THEY HAD A BURDEN FOR UNBELIEVERS!
How can we develop this type of a burden for souls? Let me suggest three steps toward such.
1. PONDER- Look In & Get In Touch With Yourself
In John 4 Jesus goes into an area where the Jews would not go. Samaria was not valued in the mind of a respectable Jew especially the Samaritan women at the well who had been with 7 men. Yet Jesus goes out of His way to talk with her and lead her to saving faith. His disciples were puzzled why he would do such a thing. Jesus was not only wanting to lead this dear women to saving faith but He wanted the disciples to gain the same burden He had for lost souls. He led each of them to see that they lacked a burden for down and out sinners and that the first thing they needed to do to gain a burden was to see they did not have a burden. The first step they needed to take was to look deep within and admit they really did not care about this women. They needed to acknowledge their need for a burden for souls.
2. PRAYER— Look Up & Get In Touch With God
The second step to developing a burden for souls is prayer. Effective evangelism always must include prayer. When you spend quality time with Jesus, His burden will become your burden and His priorities will become your priorities. Jesus proclaimed His purpose for coming to the earth in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus purpose for coming to earth was all about people, and the more we are in connection with Him the more we will become like Him get to Him. As we spend time with Jesus His passion for souls will become ours as well. His purpose will become the driving force in our life.
Peter and John's boldness in sharing their faith came from spending time with Jesus, Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Intimacy with Jesus develops within God’s children a passion for souls and the boldness to share our faith with them.
John Hyde, a dedicated missionary to India in the 1800s would pray for millions of lost souls daily. With tears he would pray, " Give me souls, oh God, or I die!" This is the burden that each of us need to win souls to Christ.
3. Presence—Look Out & Get In Touch With People
The third step to developing a burden for souls is presence. You must seek to get in the presence of unbelievers, how close you are to them geographically and relationally will determine how much a burden you will develop for them. Personal contact will move you with compassion, Matthew 9 teaches us that as Jesus lifted His eyes up upon the fields that were white unto harvest that He gained compassion for the souls in the harvest. We gain influence in relationships which develop into friendship. In order to develop a meaningful relationship that serves as the springboard for sharing your faith with people, you have to be in their presence as you earn their trust. As we personally experience the great burdens of those trapped in sin we will gain the God given burden it takes to share the gospel earnestly for those He loves!
Thanks for the instrumental, great job with the lesson, the parking lot was nice and clear, your testimony means so much to me, your faithfulness encourages me, your singing in the choir adds a lot, I pray for your children , the Lord is working in their life, you did good, I appreciate all you do. These and countless other encouragements we can give may be just what someone needs today. It may make the difference from one being defeated and one deciding to hang in there and moving forward into victory! Word's are powerful. They can be the power to help or hurt. They can be the power to encourage or discourage.They can be the power that brings hope or dismay. May we choose to speak words of life not death.
Parenting today's teens is certainly one of the most difficult things anyone will do in their lifetime. And to make it more difficult it will take place in a fast span of of just a few years. Before you know it your teen will become a young adult and one of the most important times of your influence in their life has past by. Most parents of teens I have known are very dedicated and are working hard to lead their children to become God honoring adults. Yet most are concerned they are failing with their teens and are carrying great burdens for them.
Let me encourage each parent whose children are in their teen years. You are not a failure until you give up and quit. Stay in the work of parenting. Don't let up even when it seems as if the battle has been lost. Remain committed and never stop parenting the best you can even when it seems it is not going well. When your teen seems to disagree with you more often than not. When they are angry with you on a regular basis. When they seem to hate you and even say it! Don't give up on them and don't make it easy for them to give up on you! Do all you can to learn how to parent the best possible. Read good books, listen to good teaching on the subject. Pray much and stay in communication and relationship with them during these turbulent years. Seek council of other parents who have reared godly children and listen to that council. Make an appointment with a pastor or a councilor that may be able to help. Above all don't give up.
There are so many areas that could be focused on concerning rearing teens but today I have chosen to share HOW TO HAVE A GOOD DISCUSSION. I will share a very brief and small amount of helpful information but perhaps it will be what is needed today for some lonely and discouraged mom or dad to find heart to continue in this life changing work called parenting. Remember that often our discouragement and temptation to let up is because the problems look so large and unattainable but the answer is to take small steps one at a time. And to continue taking those steps of solution. Much of my inspiration for this blog came after reading an article from the ministry, Parenting Today's Teens. I have added my thoughts along with theirs. Hope it helps.
So many parents have been right where you are but because they did not quit they are experiencing rich relationships with adult children who are walking with the Lord. They did not quit praying, holding to God’s standards, practicing godly discipline and holding firm to their relationships with those they loved.
Tips To Have A Good Discussion
1. Relationship Is the goal!
Make sure your teen knows that even though the two of you may
disagree, you still want to have a relationship with them.
2. Set the rules for discussion!
Let your teen know the rules for discussion. No shouting,
no name calling, respect for authority, dedication to biblical truth,
a respectful and healthy discussion.
3. Set times to discuss disagreements!
Both take some time to cool down, to think clearly, write down your concerns.
Calm discussion is much better than when we are flying off the handle.
4. Keep the purpose at the forefront!
The meeting should never be about someone winning and someone loosing.
It is about understanding, the adhering of truth and restoring relationship.
It the midst of the battle don’t lose focus of the purpose.
5. Practice the discipline of listening!
Give your child time to talk. Listen to what they are saying more
then thinking about what you are going to say. Interruptions usually
are deal breakers.
6. Parents make the final decision!
Decisions can be made together and a wise parent is always seeking
to allow the teen to make good decisions. But the parent must reserve their
God given authority to make biblical decisions which are best for their teen.
Calmly state your decision and stick to it even when they protest.
Speak the truth in love.
7. Continually draw near your teen!
Above all else do not withdraw from your child during disagreements.
And do all you can to not allow them to withdraw from you. Yes give space
while there is anger but always draw close to your teen. Let them know how
much you love them no matter the outcome of the discussion.
8. Pray, pray, pray, pray.
Pray before, during and after your discussion.
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.