Monday, October 31, 2011

Worship is a Way of Life

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is your reasonable service.

Worship is more than raising ones hands and the lifting of ones voice, worship is a way of life. Paul encourages the believers to present themselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice.
 A living sacrifice begins with a full commitment to God in response to all that God has done for me. This act of offering myself to God is one of worship.  The Word present means to offer, to put at ones disposal, or to yield to. As a living sacrifice all that I am belongs to the Lord. The Greeks felt that the body was inherently evil. It was only the Spirit and soul that was good. So because the body was worthless, in their estimation, it did not matter what you did with your body. Thus every kind of immoral practice was accepted and practiced with the body. But Paul is writing these Christians in Rome who would be exposed to these false notions and ideologies and declared that they were to offer their bodies to God. 
  In Leviticus when a sacrifice was to be offered up it was to be laid on the altar and was to be put to death and to be burned and completely consumed. But we are to be living sacrifices offered up to the Lord. I am to offer to God all my hopes my plans; everything that is precious to me, all belongs to my Lord. Father everything that makes up John Randall’s life is yours. It is at your disposal. This is my total commitment to you. Consume me Lord. I am a living sacrifice offered up to. 
The difference is that in the Old Testament was when the sacrifice was offered up it died. When a Christian offers himself to the Lord the old person dies, but that is also when he begins to live.

 David Livingston missionary to Africa:“ People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. But can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt of owing to our God, which we can never repay?Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk of when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His fathers throne on high to give himself for us.”

A Female missionary wrote the following "Covenant of Dedication" 
Lord Jesus I belong to thee from head to foot, and will always be Thine, for thou hast redeemed me. Thou art King of my life and hast absolute and undivided rule over all my affections and will and desire. My chief aim in life shall be to please thee. So do thou change me cleanse me and use me as thou wilt. I ask thee to help me loyally to keep this covenant, for I am willing to lay down my life for thy sake, if thou shouldst ask me."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Faith That Works

FAITH THAT WORKS: 
On Sunday mornings we are going through the book of James.Todays Service was from James 2:14-26. James points out what real saving faith looks like. James exhorts his readers to a have a faith that is alive and active. He was calling believers out, to live out what they say they believe. One of the ways that our faith is demonstrated to this world is by the life that we live. We can share with people that we are Christians but if what we say is not backed by how we live then there is something wrong. One of the things that James shares in the remainder of the second chapter is that .....
“It is possible to SAY you have a saving faith and not truly be saved….” Just because a person SAYS they are CHRISTIAN, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE A CHRISTIAN. I COULD SAY I AM A BLACK BELT IN Karate and show you a belt I picked up at thrift store, but that doesn’t mean I am a black belt in Karate. (by the way I am not a black belt.) A Person can be raised in complete orthodoxy, have a knowledge intellectually of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but  a mental assent to Christian doctrine doesn’t save you. Jesus made this clear in Matthew when he said, 
Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 

As a Christian I don't serve God to earn salvation, I have salvation and I therefore am happy to serve God. 

"We are saved by grace through faith alone, but a faith that saves is Never alone." 
Good works will naturally follow saving faith. It is a byproduct of abiding in Jesus. 


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roots

Ephraim is stricken, Their root is dried up; They shall bear no fruit. 
(Hosea 9:16 NKJV)

When the roots are dried up there can be no fruit that will follow. The root supplies the tree with nutrients which in turn bears fruit. But if the root system is corrupt and dried up no fruit will be produced. This is true in a life of a Christian and in the life of a congregation. If we desire to bear fruit then we must continue to abide in Christ. 
(read Psalm 1,John 15)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stand Fast 2011

The men in our church are getting ready to head up to the Green Valley this weekend for our mens retreat. The theme of this years retreat is "Stand Fast", taken out the passage of scripture in Ephesians 6:13. The reason we chose this theme is because we believe that we are in a spiritual battle. Men are often on the front line of that battle. We are called to stand in the gap for our marriages and for our children. Many men have given up the fight all together. Some have become casualties in this war. As we prayed, we really felt strongly that we wanted to encourage the men in our fellowship to Stand Fast. We need to be equipped to know how to stand. We want to be aware of what we are up against, so that we can have the victory. Joining us this year will be our guest pastor and long time friend of mine, Pastor Richard Cimino. 
We are anticipating a wonderful time with the men from Calvary. Keep us in prayer. I will let you know how everything goes once we return. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Passion For God Conference 2011

Pastor Chuck Smith
This weekend we joined many other men in attending the one day mens conference at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. I have been attending these conferences since I was 19 yrs. old when they were held at the Anaheim Convention Center. I even attended them via the internet at our church, when I was pastoring in Florida. We would all gather in the sanctuary on East Coast time and watch the live feed. I always have enjoyed getting together with all the men and singing praises to God. There is something pretty awesome about thousands of men singing in unison to the Lord. 
This year was unique for me in that I had the chance to participate at the conference in sharing from Gods Word. It was extremely humbling experience. Each one of those men that got up and spoke at the conference are the men that I have listened to my whole life. My Pastor, Chuck Smith, still at 86yrs old getting up there and preaching the Word of God. He has been an amazing example and role model for so many men, including myself. Then Raul Ries, Brian Broderson, Jeff Johnson, David Rosales, Ray Bentley, Greg Laurie. These men have affected so many people with their ministries. It was an honor to be a small part of the conference. It is one I will never forget to praise God for. 
Scott Cunningham my friend since grade school
Funny story about the conference. First of all you don't know what any of the other guys are going to share about. They do not give you a passage. They encouraged us to share what our Passion for God was. One of the fears you have when you are speaking toward the end is that someone else may share your passage. Well the first person out on the platform was pastor Chuck and he shared my passage. I was like, "oh no!" :0)... then later on in the day Pastor David Rosales quoted the passage I was to share on...again.."oh, no!" Thankfully the Lord took both of those men in a little different direction then I was planning to go. It was cool to see how God placed a central theme upon our hearts individually by His Spirit. 
One other thing that was a little stressful. As the day went on the sun began to beat directly upon the pulpit. Which meant that my Ipad, that I normally teach from, would automatically shut down due to the heat. I began to scramble.. I was able to find someone on sight that had a printer. I emailed my notes to them, they printed them out, then a security guard put some holes in the paper, borrowed a musicians 3 ring binder and I was on my way out... whewww...! crazy.. Yet the Lord was faithful to come through as He always does. It was a great time and the men from our fellowship were blessed to be a part of it... 
It was also a blessing to have two of my close friends who were in my wedding leading the worship. Scott Cunningham and Tim Nienhues. Thankful that we are able to serve the Lord together.