Apr 30, 2009

Pizza with all the toppings

Pizza has to be one of the most chosen foods for quickly satisfying a person’s hunger. Notice that I didn’t say the healthiest choice for food or the one that will be the best for your body’s nutritional needs, or one that would be my first choice.

How do you like your pizza; with all of the toppings that you can get? Are you adventurous; do you like to add anchovies or spinach or pineapple? Do you prefer your pizza with meat; all types, or with nothing but sauce and cheese(s)?

How about the crust of your pizza; do you like it thin or thick like a loaf of bread? And, what city do you want the pizza to most represent; New York, Chicago, or Sicily? The great thing about pizza is you can choose what goes on your pizza. If you don’t like something, you don’t need to have it on your pizza; you get to pick and choose what makes up your pizza.

Pretty cool, we dictate what to include or not to include, not the owner. We also get to go to whatever pizza place will serve pizza “our” way; and if they don’t, we will find one that does.

For pizza it is OK to pick and choose what you want; that’s the American way. Unfortunately in our modern “have-it-your-way” society, we think that the same rights we use to pick toppings for our pizza we get to use to pick and choose what we follow in the Bible. If we don’t like something, we think that we don’t need to have as part of “our” gospel; so we leave it off or we ignore what the Bible says.

Christians and non-Christian alike will wander from church to church picking and choosing what they want included in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Picking and choosing, like toppings on a pizza, what is included in their faith life. The thing is, we don’t get dictate to the Owner; the Creator of Heaven and Earth what are the “toppings” we have in our lives; only He gets to do that. He alone gets to make up the rules; not us!

The Bible clearly says “Woe” to those who contradict what He says by calling it something else. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21 (New King James Version)

Pastor, teachers, quit leaving off parts of the Bible just because you don’t think that your listeners will like certain parts or that they will want to “swallow” the whole Word of God! Teach and preach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ; seasoned with ‘salt’, yes, (Colossians 4:6), but not watered down!

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:2-6 (New King James Version)

Apr 26, 2009

God hears our prayers

The preaching in church today was from the Gospel of Mark in the Bible Chapter 7:24-30 (the story of the woman with the child who had a demon) and Chapter 7:25-37 (the story of the man who was deaf and mute).

Both (potentially) were not Jewish and therefore (prior to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection) had no covenant with God.

Both the man and the woman had situations beyond the power of man or medicine.

Both NEEDED God! In both situations Jesus heard their cries and healed them.

What hit me was that these both were REAL stories of REAL people who had God send His Son to their situation and HEAL them. REAL stories, REAL people like you and I. People who walked and breathed air and ate food and drank water and roamed the same planet that you and I do.

And it hit me so strong during the sermon that there is a REAL God who TODAY is still listening to parents who have children who have gotten mixed up with the wrong stuff and it is possessing them, imprisoned them, and they need to be rescued and delivered. For some it is physical, some it is emotional, for some it is chemical; lives out of control-BEYOND the reach of the parents, BUT NOT beyond the reach or the ears of a REAL God longing to deliver.

And it hit me so strong during the sermon that there is a REAL God who TODAY is still listening to the cries of a mute person; did you catch that? GOD CAN HEAR THE CRIES OF A MUTE PERSON; even though they can’t hear Him! He Hears our prayers!

This same God; revealed as "Father" through Jesus Christ is waiting, listening TODAY for our cries. This same God is waiting, listening TODAY for us to turn to Him, and HIM ALONE for help in our impossible situation.

Turn to Him TODAY won’t you? And stand back and see the salvation of the LORD!

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Apr 19, 2009

Pure Religion

Inside of all of us is a desire to be connected with something outside of ourselves; a god, a person, a creator or “higher being”.

As a Christian, I believe that this Person is the LORD, (‘Adonai) or YHWH (“YAHWEH”) or JHVH (“JEHOVAH”). He is the One who revealed Himself throughout the Holy Scriptures through His prophetic voice, personal visitations, and through His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ; and continues today through His Holy Spirit.

We search to not only find God, but to also do whatever (we think) pleases Him. We all want to get it right so we search for the perfect religion. We join this group and that group; wandering from church to cult to religion in search of God. We try eating or not eating certain foods. Celebrating or not celebrating certain days or festivals. We add items to our “to-do-lists” and “not-to-do-lists” in an attempt to find “pure religion”.

Unfortunately, most of what we do is “impure religion” Fortunately, God has already revealed in both the New and Old Testaments what He wants us to do; what “pure religion” is in His eyes. In the Book of the Prophet Micah the prophet asks the question:

Micah 6:6 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” God clearly answers the question as to what He wants us to do: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” JUSTICE, LOVE MERCY, WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD. But for some reason we think that He is looking for something else and we don’t do what He really wants us to do. In the Epistle of James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR TROUBLE. Again, we think that He is looking for something else and we don’t do what He really wants us to do. This world of ours will be so much better when we come to terms with what “pure religion” is in His eyes.

Simply put, it is caring for those around us and being concerned with what is weighing them down; being the “hands” and the “feet” of the LORD and meeting needs to our neighbors and co-workers. Loving people and helping to lift burdens off their shoulders. Many stories are recorded through the Bible where God was moved with compassion and reached out to show mercy and kindness.

When Jesus saw the multitudes He was MOVED with compassion. Jesus said in John 14:9b; “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

What we read that Jesus did, we can know that this is what the Father wanted done. Doing what He calls “pure religion” John 8:31 “Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.” John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.” -All scripture from New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson

Apr 9, 2009


Three Crosses were on the hill where Jesus was crucified. Three very different crosses were represented that day. Oh, they looked the same, all of them caused death, but they were very different indeed. (READ LUKE 23: 32-43) CROSS #1 HAD A THIEF. Luke 23:39 “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If you are Christ, save Yourself and us.” On a cross; paying for his own sins. Ignorant of who is there beside him. He didn’t ask for answers; he blasphemed Jesus. This man didn’t want God. He wanted to mock Him. He rejected Jesus. God never wanted to send this thief on the cross to hell. He was sending himself to hell. CROSS #2 HAD A THIEF. Luke 23:40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing wrong. 42 Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. He was on his own cross; still paying for his sins. He was hoping that Jesus might also remember him; or put in a good word for him. He was, in a sense, trusting religion to save him. This cross will never get you right with God. This thief is simply on the wrong cross; dying to pay for his own sins: “for we receive the due reward of our deeds” CROSS #3 HAD A SAVIOR. JESUS; doing what He was sent to do. Now, you may ask like the soldiers (Luke 23:37) or the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39) “If He was the Christ, why didn’t He come down from the cross?” There was no other way; except by staying on the cross; to pay the penalty for your sins and mine. His blood ALONE paid it all. Luke 22:42 saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done. 2Corinthians 5:21 For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus ALONE took our place and paid for our sins. His cross ALONE made a way for us to be right with god. On His cross ALONE is the way to eternal life. No one can add to what Jesus did to save us. Our past, present, and future sins are all forgiven; Jesus paid the price for all. We simply need to confess our sins and put our complete trust on what He did thru His death, burial, and resurrection. (1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) SO WHICH CROSS ARE YOU ON? #1 Paying for your own sins as you reject Jesus’ sacrifice. #2 Paying for your own sins hoping God remembers you. #3 Dead to you; trusting in the cross of Jesus Christ One chose to curse out to God that day. One chose to call out to God that day. One chose to give His life as a ransom for all. SO WHICH CROSS ARE YOU ON? Have you honestly & objectively taken your life’s goals to the Lord and surrendered it all to His plans for your life? Do your goals feed your ego more than they honor the Lord? Are you willing to change your goals if the Lord tells you to? “NO” to what I want; and YES to what God wants; and nothing else in between. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.