Monday, February 25, 2013

I AM the Bread of Life

There are some things in life that is so hard to figure out. One of those things is why people turn their backs on Jesus after all that He does for folks that trust in him. In the book of John, Jesus just finished the miracle of feeding the 5000 with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread.
Jesus was at the apex of his popularity and made the following statement to the multitude that was now following him.

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.


Now what happened after that is what is totally baffling! Look at John 6:66

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

WHY? That is what I intend to answer. To find that answer, we need to look at the rest of the chapter and find out what kind of people TURNED BACK and no longer followed him. The Word gives us some answers:

1. The MATERIALIST

Believe it or not, but there were people that were following Jesus around because of what He could and would give to them! Go figure that!
Look at what Jesus said to this group:

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 

2. The LEGALIST

Now, if these people couldn't get by with this kind of following of Jesus, they would try another age old trick: FOLLOWING RULES!
Look at what they asked Jesus:

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

The rationale that legalist have is this: If I can't follow Christ for what I can receive then I will follow the rules as closely as possible and maybe this will make an impression!
I personally have seen this over and over in my years of ministry. 

Rules are not wrong in itself but Jesus didn't come to make a new list of rules to follow. He came to build relationships. 
If we are more interested in people keeping the rules, we cease to build relationships with those that need Christ the most.

3. The SENSATIONALIST

They are in every crowd-those that are on a mountain top because of a miracle or something sensational but leave Christ when things get tough and the "big" miracles are not evident.
Look at what these "followers" asked Jesus:

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?  

SERIOUSLY?????-Jesus just fed over 5,000 people with a little bit of fish and bread!!! What kind of sign are you needing? Talk about a miracle!

Miracle seekers-entertainment seekers-pep rally believers are everywhere! There is nothing at all wrong with celebratory worship but the question is this:
Where do you stand when the miracles and sensations are not evident?

The greatest thing we can have in our lives is the daily presence of Jesus Christ that is sustained by faith, prayer, fellowship and study of His Word! 


Jesus loves you and so do I!!

Pastor Tim

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jesus is the DOOR to the Sheep!

Wow! It was exciting to preach on Sunday at United. Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week. The sermon series started off well, however, we were a little down in attendance because of the cold weather and sickness among some of our folks.
I am thankful that this has been the BEST winter yet as far as church growth and discipleship is concerned. Many new people are committing not only to the church but also to ministry!!

John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


If you look closely at the above picture you will see exactly what Jesus is speaking about. In Israel, there were two kinds of sheepfolds:

1. There were sheepfolds in the city and population areas where every farmer would bring their sheep and let them live together under the watch of hired hands, respectable men that would rotate shifts.

2. Another sheep fold is out in the country side where a shepherd would store only his sheep and watch over them day and night and even lay in the door of the pen to make sure nothing else came in or some of his own sheep left into the dangerous world outside.

I have read reports of the Twin Towers in NYC on September 11, 2001 where those that chose the door to the stairs were more likely to have survived and those that chose the door to an elevator were more likely to die in the building.

This is so sad, but life is like that as well. We get to choose which doors we want to take. Our only chance to survive is to choose the right door. Many are choosing the wrong doors in life. Wrong mates for life, wrong career paths, wrong friends, wrong habits and hobbies. These all lead to pain and strife.

Here are 3 things that Jesus wants us to know and understand about Him being our DOOR: 

1. He can provide for us the best Protection in life's battles!
2. He can provide a WAY OUT of a MEANINGLESS life
3. He can provide a WAY INTO a MEANINGFUL life

Jesus said he IS the door of the sheep. He wants to provide Security and Significance to your life! Are you secure? Do you feel significant? What kind of risks are you taking with your faith to reach out, to serve, to make a change in someone else's life? I encourage you to take a risk today and totally trust in God to give you victory! You can be so significant for the remainder of your life here in this world that people may talk about you for generations to come!!

See you the next time we meet at United!
Pastor Tim

Monday, February 11, 2013

HEAVEN WILL BE WORTH IT ALL!

Yesterday was a great day to preach for me! I was sick on Saturday after eating some bad chicken from a fast food gas station...yeah, I know, I should have asked for the hot dogs!
Anyway, the anointing of God was tremendous and I feel what He wanted accomplished was accomplished.

We finished the sermon series called "These Last Days." The topic was HEAVEN from Revelation 21:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
8 “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
9 Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God

Here is what we are promised according to the Word of God:

1. WONDERS BEYOND DESCRIPTION!
-4 different times the word "NEW" is used in the scripture above!
NEW heaven, NEW earth, NEW Jerusalem and "I will make all things NEW!"

2. THE HEART OF HEAVEN
-None other than the majesty of God Himself!
-We are going to personally meet our rescuer! He is the One that

  • mends every hurt, 
  • forgives every transgression, 
  • understands all of our emotions with an unconditional love!!
3. EARTH'S BURDENS LIFTED!
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more mourning, no more crying"

4. HEAVEN IS OUR DESTINATION
"I am Alpha and Omega" the "Beginning and the End"
-Jesus is saying that He is the source of life while we are on this earth and He will be the destination of our souls when we leave this world!

Do you realize that the best is yet to come for you if you know Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Just hang on a little longer and Jesus will rescue us from this painful and vile world!!!

Let this story encourage you:
A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her Pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures she wanted read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Then she said, "One more thing... I want to be buried with a fork in my hand."

The pastor was surprised.

The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably say to everyone, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite time of the dinner, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie - something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ' What's with the fork?' Then, I want you to tell them, ' Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.' "

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.

At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

"Keep your fork. The best is yet to come."

 


Monday, February 4, 2013

How Do You Rub People?

We all need and desire encouragement. We all feel the discouragement from many sources in the course of one week.
I was encouraged yesterday by many people. Some complimented the message, some complimented a story that was told. I never get any compliments about my hair style...go figure!
I want to thank each of your for your encouragement upon me! I feel blessed each week to minister here at United.

I need to say that after yesterday's sermon, I received several interesting pieces of feedback. Some of the questions came from Barnabas selling his property to help the poor and needy in society. Some came from asking about the Last Days. I enjoy talking about the topic of the day and helping others to think outside the box.


VARIOUS QUOTES:
"Write your criticisms in dust, your compliments in marble."
Once I did bad and that I heard forever; Twice I did good, but that I heard never.”


The scripture reading this week was found in two places:
-Hebrews 10:25 "exhort (encourage) one another, even more as you see the Day approaching." The Day is speaking of the Day of the Coming of Jesus Christ.
-Acts 4:36-37 36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.

We came away with 3 ways to be a better encourager:

1. Be a person that brings BLESSINGS to others
-Barnabas sold the field, brought the money to the apostles and it was dispersed to the needy
-We should see the need, do what we can to help the need and bring a blessing to others
-MONEY is not the only thing that brings blessings to others! 


Sick people don't need money—they need a word of concern.
Lonely people don't need money—they just need a few minutes of time.
Hurting people don't need money—they just need a touch on the shoulder.
Discouraged people don't need money—they just need a sentence of hope.

2. Be a person who breaks BARRIERS to others
"And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple." (9:26) 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.

-The Christian church had a hard time accepting the former "Saul of Tarsus" because of his past
-Barnabas was more interested in Paul's future than he was his past
-Paul was now a Christian just like they were and Barnabas was breaking barriers for him!
-We need each other to help and hold each other up!

Illustrate: I was reading the other day about the human spine. When the spine is supported by surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons, it can be used as a mighty lever for manipulating the body and lifting incredibly heavy objects. Yet, when that same spine loses the support of those soft tissues around it, it will buckle under a load of just five pounds.

You can take an isolated human spine from a corpse, and put no more than five pounds of pressure on it, and it will totally collapse. 

3. Be a person who builds BRIDGES for others

Acts 15:36-40: "Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.
Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark."
But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches."

WOW! Barnabas helped Paul to be accepted but now Paul would not have mercy on John Mark? Yes, that is how it goes sometimes. We all have negative people in our lives that we must get over. 
Some of us are like Charlie Brown:

CHARLIE BROWN COMPLEX: Some people always have a Lucy in their lives! You can never do anything right around that person.
I remember one cartoon where Lucy put her hands on her hips after Charlie Brown had made another mistake, and said, "Charlie Brown, you are a foul ball in the line drive of life! You're in the shadow of your own goal post! You are a miscue! You are three putts on the 18th green! You are a 7-10 split in the 10th frame! You are a dropped rod and reel in the lake of life! You are a missed free throw, a shanked nine iron, and a called third strike! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?" Have you ever had a Lucy around you? Well I have.

You can make it! Some of you need to be encouraged and some of us need to keep on encouraging!

COLONEL SANDERS: There was a boy whose dad died when he was five years old. This boy dropped out of school after the sixth grade. By the time he was 17 he had lost job after job after job. He married at 18, had a baby at 19, and was separated from his wife at 20.
He became a railroad conductor, but he got fired. He joined the Army, but he washed out. He became a farmer and lost his shirt. He applied to law school but got turned down. He became an insurance salesman and couldn't give it away.
Finally, he became a dishwasher and a cook in a two-bit restaurant. One thing he was able to do was to finally persuade his wife to come back to him and together they made a living cooking and washing dishes in this little restaurant. At 65 years of age he retired. He went to the mailbox and got his first Social Security check that had a grand total of $105. This 65 year old man was so discouraged he decided to commit suicide.
He went under a shade tree, wrote out his last will and testament, determined to end his life. Well, somehow his wife found out about his scheme and confronted him, and said, "Let me tell you one thing you can do, I believe better than anybody I've ever known." He said, "What's that?" She said, "You can cook." He said, "Do you really think so?" She said, "You're fabulous."
Well that gave him an idea. He went down to a local bank and borrowed $87 dollars against his Social Security check. He went to the supermarket, bought some chicken and some boxes, fried it with a special recipe he had developed on his own, put it in boxes and began going door-to-door in Corbin, Kentucky selling his chicken.
It became so popular he came up with the idea to try to sell it to restaurants. Well, guess what? He was turned down 1,014 times before a man named John Y. Brown tasted his chicken and said, "I'll go into business with you." That man's name was Colonel Harlan Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. What was the secret?
Same man, same recipe, same ability, same chicken. The only difference—a word of encouragement. 

Looking forward to seeing you the next time at United Wesleyan!!