John 3:16…

Ok, so most of us know John 3:16, but how many people know the verses that follow it?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.

For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.  John 3:16-21

So in the book of John, Jesus tells us that Salvation is through Him (Jesus), but He also tells us that those who believe in Him, “practice truth” so that “his works may be revealed.”

Jesus tells us we should not hide our works…, our beliefs…, who we truly are. Jesus knows each of us; we can’t hide from Him. But we can hide from others. Yet, Jesus tells us that we should glorify Him by outwardly, and publicly professing our faith in Him.

Don’t hide your Christian faith! Let it shine. Let it be the light among the darkness.

 

RU4JC

The Jesus pinky is the new pink.

Huh?

Ok, you have every right to ask the question. I have every joy in giving you the answer. For those of you who have been with us on Youth Trips, you probably know the history of the Jesus pinky. (Hold your arm straight up, extend only your pinky finger – that’s the Jesus pinky) On past trips, we have used the “Jesus pinky” to identify where everyone in our group is. What’s weird, . . . possibly normal, is that others start asking what we are doing, while others “just do it” with us. But what is all this about?

Have you ever been the first person to do something? Have you noticed that after one person does it, it makes it ok (or at least less shameful) for the next person to do it too?

Well, on our last day at sea on the cruise boat, the musician started playing “Lord I lift Your name on high.” Up to this point on the boat, I hadn’t heard anybody clap when he finished playing a song. But after I recognized this song and he finished playing, I clapped, and so did another person. Then he played “How Great Thou Art,” at which point several more people started singing along, and at the end even more people clapped. He only had a few Christian songs, but every song received applause and the Lord was praised at sea.

The moral of the story is that we should not be ashamed of who we are and what we believe. There were numerous Christians on that boat, but only a few were not ashamed to step up and show their beliefs. Had one of us not showed our “Jesus pinky” (or our Christian belief), others may not have spoken up as well. Unfortunately this is what often happens in America. We are ashamed of what we believe and are too cautious to take a stand sometimes.

Yet, in Romans 10:11 we find that “The Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will never be ashamed.’”

The bad news for those who are ashamed came from Jesus when in Mark 8:38, Jesus said “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My Words…, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Think twice the next time that you think about not speaking up . . . . 

Declare the Lord God, YOUR Lord and Savior!

Hold up your Jesus pinky, declare Him your God, and make known to America that Christianity is still alive.

Thank God for the U.S.A.

On November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Lincoln adressed a crowd at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal….The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here….

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom….

We need to be thankful to all men and women who have given their lives to protect our county and keep our freedom. Many times we joyously celebrate the veterans who have given their lives to protect our country. Unfortunately, many times we fail to remember the local authorities (police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, etc) who also give their lives to keep our nation strong.

I ask that today we all take time to remember and thank those around us who have given their life to save our freedoms. It is only with this freedom that we have the opportunity to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So while we celebrate the festivities of a wonderful holiday, take time to say a special prayer for those who have given so much to protect our freedoms in the US.

May God Bless the USA!

Please watch the following video, one of my favorite songs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZIApwWq1AU

Keep America Free

Who’s driving who?

One evening Billy Graham’s jet landed in his home town and a limousine was waiting to take him to his home. As he started to get in, he said to the chauffeur,” In my eighty odd years and I’ve never driven one of these things. Would you mind if I drove this evening?” The chauffeur saw nothing wrong with the idea so he let Dr. Graham behind the wheel.

Up the road sat a rookie trooper working radar and was ecstatic when he clocked a limo doing 70 in a 55. He pulled out and had the limo stopped fairly quickly. He took the driver’s license and with great surprise saw who he had pulled over. He went back to his patrol car and called his supervisor. “I’ve pulled over a stretch limousine with someone very important and I understand that we sometimes make exceptions for well known people.”

The supervisor asked, “Did you stop the governor?” “No, someone more important than that” replied the trooper. “The president?” asked the supervisor. “No” said the trooper someone more important than the president.” “Who could possibly be more important than the president?” asked the supervisor. “I think I’ve stopped Jesus” said the trooper, “Billy Graham is the chauffeur.”

Keep on rowing

Earlier this week, I attended church where a pastor’s sermon was on “What to do when the wind is against you.” I’ve noticed this week that many people seem to be going through tough times in their lives. This sermon was on a time when the disciples also endured trials in their lives – Mark 6:45-53:

45Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.  47When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.  53When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.

What’s most interesting from this entire story, apart from the fact that Jesus did come to rescue the disciples, just as He does us, is the fact that Jesus was up on the mountain praying while the disciples were on the lake, being battered and tossed by the wind that was against them. Yet, Jesus never took His eyes off of them (nor does He take His eyes off of His children).

Just as we are also battered by the winds of our lives, the disciples, who were closest to Jesus, also had to endure trials to strengthen their faith. The story begins following the feeding of the 5,000; followed by Jesus commanding the disciples to immediately go ahead of him to the other side. Meanwhile, Jesus goes up on the mountain to pray (this could be a whole other sermon: if Jesus needs to pray, how much more do we need to pray?) Later, during the third watch (3 AM or so), Jesus went to them, walking on water.

By best estimate then, about 9 hours or so passed between the time Jesus sent the disciples across the lake and when He came upon them on the water. It’s interesting then, that EVEN WHEN we follow the Lord’s Will, we may STILL endure trials in our lives. But as the pastor mentioned during his sermon, it is critical that, like the disciples, we “keep on rowing,” even against the wind. They had received guidance from Jesus, and faithfully attacked their mission.

When you know that you are following God’s Will for your life, don’t be surprised that you might have to fight against the wind on occasion. The times when we struggle will only make our faith stronger because God ALWAYS gets us through.

Take time to pray every day, and keep on rowing. Jesus has His eyes on you and will not let you endure more than you are capable of withstanding.

What church?

A farmer from a small rural town moves into the city. On his first visit, he notices a large immaculate church on the top of a beautiful mountain. Although this farmer had been a Christian since childhood he had never attended church much because he was always farming.

One day, he approaches the big church in his best Sunday clothes, an almost new set of overalls.

As the farmer walks past the Mercedes and Cadallics outside, he meets the head deacon, who stops him at the door to ask if he could help him.

Acknowledging the attire of the farmer, the deacon recommends that he might want to sit outside for a minute and re-think his decision to enter, because he might feel sorely out of place in this big church. The farmer sits on a bench outside and begins to pray: “Father, I just wanted to enter into Your house today, but this man says I don’t belong…please help me understand. Tell me what to do.” Moments later, the farmer hears a voice that proclaims: “That’s alright My son, I’ve never been to that Church before either.”