“A Connectedness”

Date: 03-03-15

The Big Idea: Lifestyle worshiper, let us not miss the miracle that the Lord will surely bless you with.

My Thoughts: One of my uncles has done a lot of work on our family genealogy. He has collected a lot of information along with some rather rare & old photos. I am so grateful for all this hard work because each time I scan the pages and view the pictures I get a sense of connectedness.

This connectedness presents a sense of privilege and grace as I peruse the annals of my family history.

The same can be said for the people in Nehemiah’s day found in the main text below. From the nobility to the ‘common’ folk, each presented their family’s genealogy and established their family’s special place in the land of their forefathers.

Lifestyle worshiper, do you have this same sense of connectedness that I have in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father? Perhaps our names are not literally written in the genealogies of the Bible, but most definitely they are literally written in the Book of Life! And our Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call us, “Brother.” Pretty outstanding, eh?

Main Text: — Nehemiah 7:4-5 — 4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. 5 So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there:  [NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

— Hebrews 2:11 (NIV84)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

—Ephesians 3:14-15 (NIV84)

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.

— John 15:15 (NIV84)

   I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. —Ephesians 3:16-21 [NIV84]

Pastor Mike

“The Shout Down”

Date: 01-31-15

Text: — Nehemiah 2:19-20 — 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Join me in eliminating the “Shout Down” method.

My Thoughts: 

In today’s culture, it seems to be very vogue among sophisticated pundits to ‘win’ an argument with someone they disagree by the “Shout Down” method. If I can’t get my point across to you or if you don’t buy my line of reasoning (if present), then I will just shout louder. This will win you over, right!?

Beyond the accusation of being sophisticated, I have found that shouting down an opponent is neither wise nor godly. And Nehemiah shows us how to respond to an ‘opponent’ in the above verses. He calmly, but most confidently, answers this slanderous accusation by merely stating the facts. Oh, he appeals to a higher authority than even the king (and remember he does have the king’s authority).  To Nehemiah, this project is by divine appointment. The Lord made a way for His people to be protected through the king’s hand. Nehemiah is confident of this, and feels not need to shout down his opponent.

Lifestyle worshipers, join me in eliminating the “Shout Down” method. Let us be wise as serpents, harmless as doves, and godly as our Lord Jesus, Who never felt the compulsion to  shout anyone down. Rather, let us speak the Truth in Love so we can be heard; and live it so it can be believed. Your thoughts.

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

— 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NIV84)

  Here is my servant, whom I support,my chosen one, in whom I delight. I’ve placed my Spirit upon him;and he’ll deliver his justice throughout the world. He won’t shout, or raise his voice,or make it heard in the street.

— Isaiah 42:1-2 (ISV)

  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

— 1 Corinthians 13:1 (ESV)

Lord Jesus Christ,  I put You on as my Belt of Truth and my Socks of Gentleness. May Your Love overwhelm me to speak the Truth in a gentle and kind manner so it will be clearly heard by all who will listen.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?”

Date: 12-02-14

Text: — Jeremiah 29:19 —  For they have not listened to My words,” declares the LORD  “words that I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.  [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Before we start pointing fingers or elbowing our mates, let us ask ourselves, we must ask ourselves the same question.

My Thoughts: 

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate to the LORD here. He has told His children time and again to live righteously. He has sent them messengers to reveal how they were really living and how they ought to live. But, as recorded in Jeremiah 29:19 (noted above), “They have not listened.” Can you hear Him saying, “How many times do I have to tell you?”

Lifestyle worshipers, before we start pointing fingers or elbowing our mates, let us ask ourselves, “How many times does the LORD have to tell us  how to live righteously? How many times does He have to point out how we are living and need to change (aka repent)?” An honest heart search will reveal much. I know in my life it has.

This has been especially so during this past Thanksgiving. I put on our church’s kiosk the saying, “A thankful heart has no room for resentment.” I did so for two reasons: (1) It is true; and (2) I needed to hear this. The LORD has been revealing to me how resentful I have been and that the remedy was a thankful heart. Have you, too, discovered that a thank-full heart has no room for resentment?  Your thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. — Colossians 4:2 (NIV84)

  First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him..

— 1 Timothy 2:1 (NCV)

First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him.

— Colossians 3:15 (NIV84)

Lord Jesus Christ, continue Your healing work in my Life, removing those resentments, large and small. In Your Mercy, heal over the scars, and in Your wisdom grant me the grace to live with the ones You have chosen to leave behind.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Is Mercy Needed in Any Relationship”

Date: 9-19-14

Text: James 2:8-13  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.  Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,  because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Because “Mercy triumphs over judgment,” in a healthy relationship I am offered yet another chance..

My Thoughts: 

Mercy seems to be a critical aspect of any relationship. At least, this is what I have discovered. True, Love is as critical a component, but it seems that mercy is a subset of Love. Without mercy, if I fail in one part of the relationship, say, forget to take the garbage down to the curb, or call ahead to say I’ll be late, then I am violating the entire relationship. I have just demonstrated I cannot be trusted to keep my word. But because “Mercy triumphs over judgment,” in a healthy relationship I am offered yet another chance. …

Lifestyle worshipers, have you found mercy to be a vital component of your relationships? How would you define mercy? And what role do you see this playing in our growing up through the opportunities we get to extend mercy and counting it all joy? Your thoughts.

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 

— Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV84)

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

— Matthew 5:7 (NIV84)

 Be merciful to those who doubt;

— Jude 22 (NIV84)

Lord Jesus Christ, be Mercy in me as You make me an instrument of Your presence to bring healing and not harm,  In Your Name Amen.

Pastor Mike