Thursday, December 20, 2007

Going To Unsafe Places...

Here is a blog from Perry Noble that I wanted to share with you all:

There is a desire in the church that has absolutely crippled the effectiveness that God showed us in possible in the book of Acts. It’s a desire that, on the surface, can seem both “spiritual” and correct; however, this desire has done nothing more than render what should be the most powerful group of people in the world impotent.

It’s the desire to play it safe.

Safety is becoming more and more of an issue in our society. Children’s toys come with warning labels. We pay attention to safety standards on automobiles. Heck, when I was growing up NO ONE wore their seatbelts…now it is almost considered “immoral” if you don’t.

AND…there is NOTHING wrong with a desire for personal safety. It does make me feel better that my car has an airbag and Charisse’s crib hasn’t been covered in lead based paint.

However, that desire for safety somehow crept into the church and turned what God meant to be an unstoppable force that was designed to change the world into a group of people who are passionate about business meetings, legislating morality and getting out of the worship service on time. Read the entire blog...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Love Story

These two pictures are illustrative. The first is of Charles & Melanie Dolich, our Worship Pastors, as they prepare to baptize their daughter, Ashlyn, in the Jordan River.

The second is a spot on the Jordanian side of the river where John the Baptist taught and then walked to the river to baptize. Here are a few Scriptures to ponder: Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-10, Mark 16:16, Galatians 3:26-27, and 1 Peter 3:18-22.

Obey, not debate. Baptism is so often debated by theologians and church goers. All of the books, articles, and rhetoric hurt my head. Baptism is simple. It is actually a lot like falling in love and then getting married. We fall in love with Jesus, accepting His role as Messiah and Lord of our lives and then we seal the commitment with a public act. Our baptism is a statement of belief and commitment to follow both God and to follow Christ-followers.

In Romans 6, Paul explains that it is a death, burial and resurrection that takes place at baptism. That is why we practice believer's baptism by immersion. If He is Lord, baptism should not be that difficult.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cheering Section

I have a friend and brother in Christ named Steve. I am humbled by his heart for Jesus as a man of the Word, prayer, and evangelistic fervor.

The interesting fact about Steve is that he has only been a follower of Jesus for a couple of months. By his own testimony, he lived a tough life in which it took him 62 years, 2 months, and 1 week to find Jesus. Steve reignites my passion for ministry on many levels. The Holy Spirit still moves in mighty ways when the church prays and goes out into His harvest field.

However, the stunning message that Steve shared with me was about his baptism. Steve said, "Joe, no one at Tomoka knew me when I went up to be baptized. When I came up out of the water everyone stood and cheered. For the first time in my life I meant something to someone. God and His people loved me. No one had cheered for me since the third grade."

So, here is my question. Who do you know that could use some cheering right about now? How could we cheer for them?

  • Words of encouragement
  • Bring dinner
  • Buy some groceries
  • Help with yard work
  • Help with Christmas
  • Buy a cup of coffee
Maybe just a statement, "I believe in you."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Where Jesus Sleeps

This might look like a strange photo to you. This is the ruins of the Apostle Peter's house in Capernaum. Why is this sight of importance to us two thousand years later? Well, frankly, it sounds like "Washington slept here." Jesus spent a lot of his time in the last years of His life in this home with Peter and his family. Peter's mother was delivered from a great fever by Jesus at His touch (Matthew 8:14-15).

Will our house, not physically but spiritually, be know 2,000 years from now because Jesus was in our home? Do we just go to church or do we take Jesus into our home? Does He transform our lives, marriages, or our ethics? Does Jesus sleep in your house?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

You're Surrounded

I received this from a friend of mine, Steve Jones, in Vero Beach and wanted to pass it along to all of you:

Psalm 125:2 - Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.

If there is safety in numbers we're as secure as Fort Knox. We're surrounded. Even more so than when David wrote this Psalm. We're surrounded by angels (Hebrews 12:22). We're surrounded by witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). We're surrounded by grace (Romans 5:2). We're surrounded by Jesus (Philippians 3:9). And we're surrounded by the Lord God Himself (Psalm 125:2). And so, the Psalmist writes, we are "secure" and "will not be defeated."

I pray that today you will rest in the security and victory of our Lord.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Where God Lives

The Dome of the Rock (pictured left) and the Dome of the Spirits (pictured right) are located on the Temple Mount. The Foundation Stone (explained below) is believed to be underneath one of these two domes.

Ancient Jewish oral tradition, passed down through the centuries by the great Rabbis, holds that our Almighty God dwells/lives in Jerusalem. They teach that there is a foundation stone on Mt. Moriah, the current temple mount. It is from this stone that He created/directed/loved His creation. This is the spot where the Ark of the Covenant sat inside Solomon's temple. The Ark represents the presence of God.

I will give you a few Biblical references that I have found in my journey. Perhaps they will help you as you continue your walk with Jesus.

1. Genesis 14:17-24 - King of Salem communion/offering service.
2. Genesis 18 - Three visitors (Father, Son, Spirit) meet Abraham just north of Jerusalem.
3. Psalm 76:2 - His tent is in Salem (Jerusalem), his dwelling place in Zion! (Remember this when we get to John 1).
4. Deuteronomy 11:12 - It is a land (Israel) the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
5. Deuteronomy 12:5-7 - His Name is there, worship there, offering & love sacrifices there, and there is the presence of the Lord.
6. Hosea 5:15 - In Samaria - He says, "I will go back to my place." Back to Jerusalem.
7. John 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Dwelling - literally tabernacled with us, pitched his tent with us.
8. Luke 19:28; 37-38 - After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
9. Luke 19:41 - He wept over Jerusalem.
10. Luke 19:42 - God has been living with you, but you refused to see.

When Jesus road into Jerusalem, He was simply going home to take His spot on His throne. There were many in the crowd that day who understood. They cried out, "save us - save us now."

Jesus desires to walk with us and dwell with us. I pray that we do not miss what could bring us peace.

The Mount of Olives