The Holy Spirit

I’m taking a class with BMA Seminary; Introduction to Christian Teaching.  I believe it will help me learn more about the Bible and I hope it will compliment my writing.  One of the required books I need for the course is the Baptist Expositor, Leader.  I was reading the first lesson of Leader/Spring 2020 book and the first lesson is on Acts 1:1-11. 

I’ll summarize what’s taken place: “The apostles, were told to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit Who would empower them to witness for Jesus.  Jesus told them that their witnessing would be far-reaching beginning at home and going to the uttermost part of the earth.  What a gigantic task that lay before them!  How can such a task be accomplished?  They key to their success would be the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Baptist Expositor Leader/Spring 2020)

“Today believers do not have to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  He came 2,000 years ago to empower the church and has faithfully dome so ever since.  We can tap into that power right now and be witnesses for Jesus.  Are you utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit now to be an effective witness for Jesus?  We should work hard at our witness for Jesus knowing that one day He will return to this earth just as He ascended into Heaven.”  (Baptist Expositor Leader/Spring 2020)

We were just talking about this at Church, well we had Brotherhood breakfast at Church; we’re Baptists so we eat a lot, and the devotion was about asking God to use us to witness to others.  If we have faith and pray to be used as a witness, the Holy Spirit will make give us the words and confidence to be an effective witness.  I know it’s hard to step out and have faith to talk to others about Christ, but that’s what were supposed to do, we are supposed to build the Kingdom.  I read a statistic that shocked me; only 32 percent   of the World’s population believe in Jesus.  This is going to sound BOLD, but I wish it was 100%!  Hell wasn’t intended for us; it was intended for the Devil and his demonic angels.  Matthew 25:41 says “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (King James Version of the Holy Bible Holman KJV Study Bible 2012).  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the left-hand side, bound for everlasting fire!

The sad thing is that you just have to BELIEVE in Jesus, that he died on the cross for your sins and accept him into your heart, and your life and repent from your sins.  We’re all sinners, but believers are saved by God’s grace because we are sinners, we’re not perfect.

So, ask to be used by God to witness to others and let the Holy Spirit work in you.    

Make Jesus Famous

How can we make Jesus Famous?  You say isn’t Jesus already famous?  According to Learn Religions 32% of the World’s population are Christians.  That’s less than a third of the World that are going to Heaven. I believe in Heaven and Hell and right now, there will be more people in Hell than Heaven and that is SAD!

I wrote an article not too long ago where I talked about handing out donuts, and if you think about it, it’s the same concept.  To hand out donuts or knock on people’s doors, whatever it takes to make Jesus famous and build God’s Kingdom.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? 

We’re all sinners, but I’m a hypocrite.  I recently bought this cool necklace with a cross made from small nails on it.  I’m a hypocrite because I keep the cross inside my shirt. I shouldn’t hide my necklace.  I shouldn’t hide my faith.  I should shout it out from the rooftops.  Why do we hide our faith? 

We should want to make Jesus famous, or more famous, according to that statistic, only 32% of the World population is going to heaven.  We should want every single person to believe in Jesus and we should be out there spreading the good news. 

Are you sitting on your hands or are you trying to make Jesus famous?  What are you doing to make Jesus famous? Let’s Make Jesus Famous!        

Handing Out Donuts

Our old preacher started a ritual where he and some of the Church congregation would hand out donut holes to people at a local gas station.  It was a good ice breaker, a way to invite people to our Church, it was also a way to talk to people that may not know Jesus Christ, and it was a way to let people know we care about them.

Our Church has been without a preacher since the end of August.  We’ve formed a pastoral committee and have been searching for the preacher the Lord has picked out for us.  We’ve been praying for God’s will.  It has been a very fulfilling endeavor; we understand we are at God’s mercy and he will provide when the time is right.

As servants of God, we are supposed to go out and tell Jesus Christ’s story of good news.

Today’s Sunday school lesson was about “The Banquet”.  Have you ever invited people over for a gathering and they cancelled on you or just didn’t show up?  It’s disappointing to prepare a big feast or schedule a party and no one show up.  That’s what happened at the Great Supper a meal was prepared, and the guests all had excuses to why they couldn’t attend. 

One person said, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it:  I pray thee have me excused.” (Holman KJV Study Bible) 

Another excuse was “I have bought five yolk of oxen, and I must go to prove them:  I pray thee have me excused.” (Holman KJV Study Bible)

Another stated” I have married a wife and therefore I cannot come.” (Holman KJV Study Bible)

Luke 14:21 “So that servant came and shewed his lord these things.  Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, go out quickly and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt and the blind.” 

Luke 14:22 “And the servant said, Lord it is done as thou has commanded, and yet there is room.”

Luke 14:23 “And the lord said unto the servant, go out into the highway and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house be filled.”

Since the people invited had other things to do with their time, they went into the streets and invited the common people into their house to fill it up.  As Christians, we should also not discriminate.  We should want to tell our story to anyone and everyone that will listen after all there is not better deed than to lead someone to Christ. 

Can you imagine being invited to sit with Jesus and eat at his table?  How could anyone refuse such an offer?  How many times will Jesus ask us to do work for him?  And how many times can we refuse to do what God asks us to do?  How many times are we going to make excuses to not accept Jesus into our hearts?  We may say next time, or next week, but the reality is there may not be a next time or a next Sunday.  If God asks you to hand out donuts, then hand out donuts.    

Doing What We Want To Do

I was at an event called Fields of Faith Wednesday at Bearcat Stadium in Mena, Arkansas.  Before I go any farther, I want to explain what this is. 

Fields of Faith is a student led event where students invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.  The venue is an athletic field to provide a neutral rally- point where a community can come together.

And it was awesome seeing young adults come together and worship Jesus.  There was pizza provided by a local pizza place, there was a band.  There were testimonials and guest speakers.  I would certainly call it a success.

But I heard the phrase doing whatever we wanted to do in some testimonials and this applies to us at Church as well, sometimes we hear someone say that they just did whatever they wanted to do when they were younger or before they were saved, referring to going out drinking, getting drunk, passing out, doing drugs, cheating, lying, stealing, basically living Worldly.  Instead of doing whatever we want to, shouldn’t we want to follow Jesus, shouldn’t we want to do the right thing, read our Bibles and worship God.  The more we read the Bible the more we learn how we as Christians need to live our lives. 

I’m not trying to pick on the kids.  It’s just some constructive criticism that applies to all of us even at Church.  And I’m not trying to sound better than anyone either.  I’m a sinner too.  I just want to change the perception that living for Christ is a choice we should want to do as opposed to living a sinful Worldly life.  We can still do what we want to do and live for Jesus Christ and leave the Worldly sinful life behind.  It’s the least we can do for Jesus since he died for our sins and with the grace of God we can all have everlasting life in Heaven, all we have to do is believe in Jesus.

Are you doing whatever you want when you read the Bible, go to Church, pray and worship God or are you doing whatever you want and living a sinful Worldly life? 

Replace Sinful Nature with Good-Hearted Nature (Love)

My wife and I were reading our Bible plan and I came across these verses I wanted to share with you in Ephesians:

Ephesians 5:17 “With the Lord’s authority I say this. Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18. Their minds are full of darkness. They wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”

20. “But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him. 22. Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  24.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.”

25. “So stop telling people lies.  Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  26.  And don’t sin by letting anger control you.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.  27.  For anger gives a foothold to the devil”, Holy Bible New Living Translation, Second Edition.     

I love these verses.  It’s not easy being a Christian and living up to all the expectations that others have for us, not to mention the expectations that we have as Christians.

Verse 22 says “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.”  Before accepting Jesus into our lives as our savior, we were more concerned about ourselves and filling our sinful needs and wants, but when we accept Jesus into our lives and become Christians, we need to be more concerned with others’ needs and not putting our sinful nature first. It’s about loving others and being more like Christ and when we do sin, we need to be aware of it and ask for forgiveness and try to not fall back into that same mindset again.      I love in verse 26 it says not to “let the sun go down while you are still angry.”  My wife and I try to not to go to sleep mad at each other and that is just one example, but the big picture is to not go to sleep mad at anyone.  That’s a hard feat to accomplish.  We don’t know if we will wake up tomorrow and it would be a travesty if we didn’t make amends with a loved one and didn’t get the chance to say you’re sorry and you love them.  Verse 27 says “for anger gives a foothold to the devil”.  The Devil wants nothing more than to destroy us and every chance he gets he will try to replace our good-hearted nature with sinful nature, so don’t let the devil get a foothold into your life, remember to Love like Jesus.

Sleeping Too Close to the Getting in Spot

Our Sunday school teacher told the Sunday school a story the other day and I wanted to share it with you.

He said, one night a small child rolled out of bed and landed on the floor. His Mom came in and picked the child up off the ground and consoled him and after the boy was calmed down put him back in bed. The Mom asked why did you fall out of bed and the boy thought about it for a while and after a minute or so said, well I guess I went to sleep too close to the getting in spot.

Our Sunday school teacher compared that to us as Christians. He said sometimes if we aren’t careful after getting saved, we may grow stagnant and go to sleep too close to the getting in spot. We think we are saved now and we don’t need to put forth any effort in our relationship with God. We’re good, we’re saved, right?

God already knows everything about us, he made us, but what do we know about God? I think the least we can do for giving his only son to die on the Cross for us, so we can be saved by God’s grace and go to Heaven is to spend some time and effort on our relationship with him. How do we get to know God, by meditating in our Bible (not just reading it), praying, and going to Church, to name a few and to be as close in our lives as possible to live like Jesus, yes Jesus was perfect and we are not, but we should strive to live like Jesus and to love like Jesus after all being a Christian is about loving others.

The Sunday school teacher also shared a story about sharing a garden with his neighbors and they would plant the garden, harvest the garden and share the crops from the garden. He said the men were all God fearing Christians, but he noticed one of the neighbor’s brothers stopped going to Church because he was afraid God would call on him to be a preacher like his other brothers.

It’s sad that some of us are afraid to step outside of our comfort zone to serve the Lord, whether that is being a Sunday school teacher, leading the music in our Church, preaching, serving on the pulpit committee, being a deacon, or all the other positions that are required for a Church to be successful. Aren’t we supposed to serve God?

Be careful not to go to sleep too close to the getting in spot and step out of your comfort zone to help your Church by serving God.

The Perception of a Christian

I have this perception of a Christian and I have pretty high standards for Christians, it’s pretty much perfection. And maybe I need to work on that. We are going to make mistakes, we are not perfect, sometimes we may say a curse word (under our breath), we may overreact to a situation, or we may even get a ticket as long as we realize our shortcomings and work on changing them. It’s like having weaknesses. I have many. When you are in a job interview and are asked what are your weaknesses. I think the best thing is to state them (one of two, don’t offer up too many.) It shows that your cognizant of your weaknesses, you have identified your weaknesses and you are working on them to change them from weaknesses to strengths.

As a Christian, I believe in Christ. I am saved and I have asked God to forgive me of my sins. I believe (faith) when I die, I will live eternally in Heaven. I will strive to be a better person each day with strong morals and ethics. That’s the best we can do as Christians.

What is your perception of a Christian?