EXPERIENTIAL OVERLOAD

Recently I have been teaching on how God has always provided a place He referred to as a place flowing with milk and honey.  The Israelites failed to possess this land because they saw giants in the land and failed to believe that God would give them the ability to overcome all and every obstacle that would oppose them.


Jesus tells us in John 10: 10 that we have been given the ability to have life and have it abundantly.  One translation says we have the possibility of experiencing life to its fullest.


I see that as God’s promise to us as believers that we too can possess a place “flowing with milk and honey.”  The book of Hebrews calls it a place of rest.

The human model of how we become who we are is the following: body – mind – spirit.  Our bodies experience feelings, emotions, circumstances, experiences, ups and downs, etc. which influence how we interpret things.  Our minds become programmed by our experiences in life.  We form opinions, prejudices, etc. by what we experience in life.  Our spirits, the inner most parts of us, are formed by what we have experienced throughout our lives.


According to the human model of personal formation we are what we have experienced in life and how others have influenced our thinking.


By God’s design we have a limited life span with experiences we will PERSONALLY have to face in life: OUR successes, OUR failures, deaths of those with whom we have come to know and love in life by close, physical, face to face relationships, etc.  All these experiences have to do with us, PERSONALLY.


God has given us the ability even as non-Christians to handle what we experience, PERSONALLY.


Sadly today, our personal experiences are not the only things that will form us.  Social media: texts, emails and all the other social media avenues are bombarding us with the experiences of others.


Facebook is especially an avenue of what I call Experiential Overload.  No longer do I have to face my personal experiences which affect my life but the experiences of all my so-called Facebook friends.


True personal communication is over 90% body language and tone of voice, both of which are not experienced by social media communication.  However we will experience the successes, joys, failures, tragedies, heartbreaks, pain and sufferings of all those individuals who post their own personal life experiences.


We are bombarded by the experiences, both good and bad, of our so-called Facebook friends.  Their experiences, their opinions and especially their expressed feelings toward us have an incredible influence on our feelings and emotions.


We were designed to handle the experiences of the limited people we come to know by personal contact in our lives.  We were never designed to handle the incredible amount of experiences of all those who we call friends on social media.


I am always amazed how our younger generation is mesmerized by social media.  Is it no wonder that this generation is facing such mental issues as depression, anxiety, worry and fear.


They are being bombarded by the problems and bad experiences of others.  That is what I have coined as Experiential Overload.

God has given us a remedy for Experiential Overload.


God’s model for our formation is different than man’s model.  God had provided a place of rest, peace and happiness for us even though we will to face our personal challenges and experiences.


I will explain this wonderful place and how to get there in my next blog.


-Pastor Jim

POWER OVER THE STORMS OF LIFE

January 30, 2019

There is a tremendous lesson to be learned in the account of a storm encountered by the disciples described in Mark 4:37 – 41.


The disciples were experiencing a mega storm.  Their mode of transportation to get where they were commanded to go began to fill with water and they were filled with fear that they were going to perish.


However, Jesus referred to as the Word of God in John 1:1, who was made flesh and dwelt among us (vs. 14) was asleep in the hinder part of the ship.  It wasn’t until they awoke Him in terror, believing they were about to die, that the Word arose and spoke and the storm ceased.


Isn’t it interesting that Mark 4:40 records that after Jesus rebuked the storm it states that the disciples feared exceedingly.  They were actually more afraid of the power that stopped the storm than they were of the storm itself.  


After Jesus rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, peace, be still, He asked His disciples “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Fear is the opposite of faith and trust.  They had more faith and trust in the power of the storm to kill them then the Word of God which was right there with them.


The fact is this:  the power of the Word is greater than any storm you will ever face in this life.  Just as Jesus was in the same storm with them, the Word of God is ever with us.  What activates the power of that Word over any storm in your life is your faith and trust in the power of that Word.  


Just as Jesus spoke to render that storm powerless to harm them, we too can speak the Word of God to the storms we will face in life.  Though you may not always see an immediate result, the Word that God has spoken WILL BE.  


The Lord says to us in Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void (without producing any effect, useless) but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Amplified Bible)


Storms come to all believers.  Their goal is to cause you to fear; to test and shake your faith and trust in the Word of God.  So when the storm strikes, stand up in your boat and take authority over that devil and declare the Word of God.  It WILL BE!!  Your tongue is the launching pad of the power of God to render ineffective and powerless every attack of the enemy.


-Pastor Jim

LIVING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

In Matthew 6: 33, Jesus makes an incredible and profound statement, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these thing shall be added unto you.”


The things that He said would be added unto us were those things we worry about not getting.  They were then and still somewhat today things concerning our needs or our provision.  Back in Jesus day getting enough food to eat was crucial.  Getting water to drink was very crucial also.  The only way you got water to drink was to find a well and hopefully be able to get your share of water for that day.  Competition was brutal. 


Then there was the clothing you needed to keep you warm or sandals to cover your feet.  Foot ailments in that day were common among the people who had to walk on dusty, dirty and rough roads.  


Worry, worry, worry!  So the issue Jesus was addressing was worry.  He was telling them to seek first the kingdom of God and those things for which they were worrying about would be provided by God if we followed the principles of the kingdom of God.  In this case faith and trust in our loving Father.


There are three kingdoms operating simultaneously on this earth.  The kingdom of darkness which consists of all kinds of evil: sickness, disease, poverty, and the various forms of fear like worry, depression, anxiety or anger.  The ruler of that kingdom is Satan.

Next we have the kingdom of man.  That consists of man’s ways of thinking, speaking and living.  People without God operate by living according to what they see, feel and hear.  They are living according to what their life’s experiences and man’s education and training has taught them.  Truth is based on man’s rationale and thinking.


Jesus introduces us to a new type of living: living according to the principles of the kingdom of God.  This is life according to God’s way of thinking, speaking and living.  Jesus lived according to the kingdom of God principles such as faith and trust in God.  

Life according to the Kingdom of God is living a life that thinks, speaks, acts and reacts not according to our emotions, education, experiences or what man says, but according to the Word of God. 


The Bible is our instruction manual on Kingdom of God living.  How to think, speak, act and react as God would react.  Who is our perfect example to follow?  Jesus.  Jesus didn’t think, speak, act or react like others.  He lived by Kingdom principles.  


Rom. 12: 2 tells us what the believers’ life on this earth is all about: transformation .  We are being instructed not to be conformed to this world.  In other words don’t be conformed to this world’s ways of thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.  We are to be transformed.  How?  By the renewing of our minds to what the Word of God says.  


Listen to the teachings of Jesus who teaches how to transform ourselves from man’s ways to God’s ways:  Fear to faith and worry to trust.


Don’t read your Bible just for education but for transformation.   Seek first, the Kingdom of God and all these wonderful things will be added unto you.


-Pastor Jim

CAREFUL: YOU MAY GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2019

In Luke 15 there is the story of what we refer to as the Prodigal Son.  In verse 12 it states that the younger of two sons asked his father to give him the portion of goods that fell to him.  Then it states in the next verse, “And he (the father) divided unto them HIS living.”


It was customary that when the father died, his living would be divided among the surviving sons; the eldest receiving the bigger share.  This younger son was making a very poor decision.  To ask such a thing was essentially saying to his father, you are dead to me, give me my share of your living.  


Notice it states that what was given to the son was what the father had worked hard for all his life.  Most of what the son was going to receive, he did not earn.  The father knew the younger son was making a foolish decision but because he loved his son, the father gave the son what he asked for.


In the Old Testament we read of a similar type of foolish request.  Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the land that the Lord told them to go and possess.  10 of the returning spies gave an evil report that said that they could never be able to conquer the inhabitants of the land.  Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb said that because the Lord was with them, they could easily defeat the inhabitants and possess the land.


The people refused to have faith in the promise of the Lord and murmured and complained.  They would not go forward to possess the land.  They were so ardent about their demand they were ready to stone Moses.  The Lord was about to wipe them out but because of the cries of Moses unto the Lord, God spared them.


However, because they were so determined to stay where they were, the Lord gave them what they asked for.


In Numbers 14: 28  the Lord replies to their demand, “Say unto them, as truly as I live, saith the Lord, as you have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you.”


Because they asked for it, God gave them what they foolishly asked for.  Another very poor decision.  They remained in that land another forty years until what the Lord proclaimed took place.  


Their carcasses fell in that wilderness. Everyone one of them from twenty years old and upward died in the wilderness in which they asked to stay.  They never saw the land, flowing with milk and honey promised to them by the Lord.


Why? Because they got what they asked for.  Lesson in both of these stories: Be careful what you ask you.  Be careful of those you things you so stubbornly demand, because as Prov. 18: 21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”


Proverbs 13: 2 also states that we will eat good (or bad) by the fruit of our mouths.



Be careful for what you ask; because you will get that for which you ask.


- Pastor Jim

KNOW YOUR GOD

FEBRUARY 25, 2019

Listen to these three wonderful and very powerful quotes by A.W. Tozer:


“One of the main causes for lack of spiritual growth is the failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God.”


“The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God.”


“Nothing twists or deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.”


How important is it for you and me to pursue to know our Father God and His Word.  I believe it is a matter of life or death, success or failure and peace or struggle in this life.


The Lord tells us what His desire is for every person in I Timothy 2: 4 “Who will have all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.”


John 3: 16 tells us that if we believe in Jesus we will not perish but have everlasting life.


John 17: 3 defines life eternal. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ who thou hast sent.”


There are so many places in the Bible that tell us that to fully understand who our God is, who we are as believers in Jesus and what the will of God is for our life, we must do as Jesus stated in Matt. 6: 33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”


How do we come to know our Father God?  We spend time in prayer, talking and listening to God.  We spend time worshipping Him.  We study about Him in the Word of God.  And we learn about Him in what we experience in our lives.


How do we come to the knowledge of the truth?  God’s word is truth.   Rom. 12: 1 – 2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to the Word of God which is found in the Bible.  


How do we come to know Jesus?  By reading about Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  We see how He thinks, speaks, acts and reacts.  



As true believers our whole lives should be a pursuit to know our Lord and God.  This should be our motto in life:  to know Him and to make Him known.


- Pastor Jim

DISCIPLE OR DESERTER?

MARCH 4, 2019

Jesus said in John 8: 31 – 32 “…If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples in deep; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”


A disciple is defined as one who is a pupil or follower of any teacher or school.


Being a disciple involves discipline which is defined as training that develops self-control, efficiency, etc.;  strict control to enforce obedience.


If one is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ they are someone who studies the teachings of Jesus Christ.  The Bible says we are to be conformed to His image.  This discipline will involve a decision and a dedication.


Rom. 12: 1 – 2 speaks of this type of Biblical discipline.  Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.  That means becoming a discipline will involve a sacrifice of our time.  


Paul further tells us in Rom. 12: 2 not to be conformed to this world (its ways of thinking, speaking and living) but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.


Being a disciple will demand your time to seek out in the Word of God how God wants us to think, speak and live.


If continue is the Greek word, meno, which means to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy.  It means to abide, continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand and tarry.


Being a disciple means being steadfast in the pursuit of the knowledge of God and His word.


A deserter is defined as one who abandons or forsakes;  to leave one’s position.


I believe that everyone who truly receives Jesus as Lord and Savior starts out with the intent to be a disciple. However the Word of God tells us how one can go from being a disciple to a deserter.


In Mark 4: 14 – 20 Jesus teaches His disciples the parable of the sower.  In this parable the seed sown is the Word of God.  In all these cases the Word of God is heard by each person. 


Each person who hears the Word of God may begin desiring to be a disciple of Jesus.  However He warns His disciples about those things which could cause a disciple to become a deserter.


In the case of the wayside hearer, they hear the Word of God, but Satan comes immediately to steal that word that was sown in their hearts.  Satan can only steal that which is not believed and received.


In the case of another hearer of the word, they come under persecution, affliction or anything that may be a challenge to their faith in that word.  They become offended, resentful of God and easily abandoning their faith.


The other hearer, hears the Word, but the distractions and attractions of this world cause them to abandon the time and discipline necessary to becoming a stronger disciples.  Once a discipline now a deserter.


If you find yourself fitting the definition of a deserter; one who once spent the time in the Word of God and faithfully attending church to be taught the Word of God there is hope for you.


Peter was one of the most faithful and strongest disciples of Jesus.  When Jesus was arrested Peter denied knowing Jesus and being one of His disciples.


Peter abandoned Jesus. Peter became a deserter.  Yet we know that Peter once again became one of the greatest disciples of Jesus.  How does go from being a deserter to a disciple?


Peter repented.  He recognized and acknowledged his failure, weeping bitterly.  Like in the parable of the prodigal son, the Father ran to meet the repenting son.  The son was fully restored because of the love of his father.



If you once loved Jesus and His Word and something caused you to abandon your faith, don’t give up hope.  The Father has been waiting for your return.


- Pastor Jim

Civil War

March 12, 2019

In Ephesian 6 we are told in verses 10 – 12 to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  We are to put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


Ephesians 6: 12 – 18 reveals to us with whom we are at war and the description of our weapons.


The Bible is very clear that we have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys.  We imagine ourselves fighting the devil in this on-going war of good versus evil.  It is him against us.  Us against him.


However, it says in many places of the Bible that this war begins with what I will call a civil war.  


Civil war is defined in the dictionary as a war between different factions of the same nation. During their battle for freedom from England, the people of the Colonies of the United States were united.  That unity among people from 13 different Colonies produced the strength to defeat a much more powerful adversary.


The Civil War that occurred between the South and the North was a war because that unity no longer existed.  That war was over differing ideologies and thoughts. 


Matt. 12: 25 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”


I believe that the weapons that God has given to us are to be used in our war against the devil. However I believe that war begins as a civil war.  Our ways of thinking, speaking and living, once united in possible opposition to the Word of God become challenged once we give our hearts to Jesus.


What we thought was right we find to be in complete opposition to what God says in His word.  What was established as truth in our hearts by our former education, peers and experiences are now challenged by what we read in the Word of God.  Thus the civil war begins within us.


Paul writes in Romans 7: 15 – 25 that a war goes on within him.  He knows what is right according to God but his flesh desires to do that which he knows is wrong.


This is a battle we all fight but the victory to overcome our flesh can be won.  Romans. 12: 1- 2 tells us to offer ours bodies as a living sacrifice.  We are told not to be conformed to this world’s way of thinking and living, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to the Word of God.


Jesus tells us in John 8: 31-32 that if we continue in His word and teachings, we are truly His disciples.  Then we will know the truth and the truth will make us free.


Being a disciple means we are disciplined.  Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice means we are living a disciplined life which will involve participation in the civil war that will occur within us. 

 

Romans 8: 8 “For they live according to their flesh will follow the dictates of their flesh but those who live after the spirit will follow the dictates of the Spirit”


The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. ( II Corinth. 10:4)  Strongholds are those things that have a "strong hold" on you.  Our old ways of thinking, speaking and living which are not according to the Word of God have been firmly embedded in us.  Once we give our hearts to Jesus, the civil war begins. 

 

Our spirits no longer can agree with our fleshly, earthly minds.   The war begins.  Our heart, our mind and our spirit can no longer be in agreement.  We begin by renewing our minds to the truths in God’s word. 

 

If we continue to follow the discipline of renewing our minds to the Word of God, the mind will begin to agree with the spirit.  Our minds will be renewed.  The civil war within us will cease as the flesh must come in line with the renewed mind and the recreated spirit.


Finally, victory has been won.  However this battle will occur over and over as each area of our lives falls in line with the Word of God.



We will be a house united, and with unity comes strength.


- Pastor Jim

Growing up

MArch 18, 2019

When I first confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of 11, I did it by answering an altar call in a very small Church of Christ in New Jersey.  I don’t remember if I fully understood what I was doing.  However, I do remember the feeling that it was something I needed to do.


That denomination believed that water baptism was an absolute necessity to be truly saved, so I was driven to another church that had a baptistry and dunked that evening.


What I felt that night and for several days afterwards was wonderful.  I felt clean and close to God.  It didn’t take long though, because I wasn’t taught that it would happen, that I thought I was disappointing God due to some things I did that I thought made God mad at me.  Maybe I said a bad word or disobeyed my parents by not taking the garbage out.  I had failed God and was destined to an eternal life in hell. 


No one taught me that I would make mistakes.  No one taught me that God was forgiving.  No one taught me that my new born-again status was that of an infant needing to grow over time in the things of God.


When was 26 I recommitted my life to God via a radio program that always ended in an encouragement to pray the sinners prayer and commit my life to Jesus.


It was then that I began to read my Bible, especially the words and teachings of Jesus.  Hey, why not get to know to whom I committed my life.  I realized I needed to go to church, to gather with others who I could love and be loved.


It was there where I submitted to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.  Not what other men wrote or spoke, expressing their opinions about God and life, but what the Word of God said.


I realized that life as a believer in Jesus Christ was a life of the pursuit of the knowledge of God; to develop a relationship with Jesus and learning to hear the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to help me in this life.


I learned that when I received Jesus, I became a new individual.  However that new life begins as an infant.  Just like a new born baby, I had to learn a whole new way of thinking, speaking and living, just as a baby needs to learn to talk and walk.


I realized that life was a pursuit to grow up in the things of God.  I had to eat spiritual food, the Word of God, to feed my spirit so I could come to know God and His ways.  


Jesus tells us in Matt. 6: 33 to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  My righteousness came by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. My faith in His sacrifice is what makes me right in the sight of God, not by doing or not doing what I think will earn my way to heaven.


I Timothy 2: 4 says tells us the will of God, “who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth.”


Well I got saved at the age of 11 but was never taught I had to pursue the knowledge of the truth.  Life was be good and God was happy; make a mistake and God was mad at you.


If I had been taught the truths in God’s word or realized I had to pursue the truth, I would have learned that I will make mistakes, but God is a loving Father who understands and forgives.  He knew I had to learn that failure is a part of life and that in failure is when I need God the most.  



Wish I had known that at the age of 11.


- Pastor Jim

reigning in life

MArch 25, 2019

Romans 5: 17 “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”


(amp) “For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive (God’s ) over flowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness (putting them into right standing with Himself), reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One.)”


What an incredible revelation which we need to totally understand.  When Adam sinned, death reigned.  That state of death speaks of eternal separation from God; sickness and disease; poverty; suffering and pain.  Jesus said in John 10: 10 that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  The devil’s goal is to bring death into our lives.


But here in Romans 5: 17 it says that if we must receive the abundance of God’s grace;

not just a small part, which comes from the lack of understanding of God’s grace, but all of it.


And if we receive the gift of righteousness which was bought by the death of Jesus Christ, we shall reign in life by one Christ Jesus.


We need to come into a full understanding of the grace of God. Ephesians 2: 8 tells us that we are saved by the grace of God through faith.  In other words we need to fully understand that grace.  We do not deserve it nor can we earn it. We just need to receive it by faith.


Romans 5: 1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Do you believe that you are at peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice?


Then we must also receive the gift of righteousness.  Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. Not by my works, but by my faith in what Jesus did to make me right with God.  Notice it is a gift!


Romans 3: 24 says that we are justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

  

I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 5: 17 says that we must receive this gift of righteousness.  What is the proof that you have received it:  a life style of gratitude, thanks giving and appreciation.


The word reign is the Greek word, basileuo, which means to rule.  It comes from the Greek root word, basileus: a foundation of power.


Throughout the New Testament we see the words: conqueror, victory, overcomer, power and authority.  These are words that describe one who reigns or rules in life.

We don’t exercise rule over others but over our weaknesses, our temptations and the works of the devil.

  

Study the Word of God and come to fully understand the abundance of grace that God has given us.  Study the Word of God so you can fully understand the gift of righteousness so you can stand as a child of God without inferiority, guilt or shame.

  


With that confidence and faith in what you have received, favor and right standing with God, you can reign in that delegated place of power and authority over all that the enemy throws at you, in Jesus Name.


- Pastor Jim

The New birth

April 16, 2019

In John 3: 3 Jesus makes a statement to a Pharisee who hungered after an intimate relationship with the God that he only knew about:


“…verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see (fully comprehend) the kingdom of God.”


So many believers in Jesus Christ think that this new birth, or becoming born again, is a one-time event.  I believe the sinner’s prayer; the prayer of decision to make Jesus your savior and the Lord of your life; the prayer of admission of our sinful state, our repentance and pledge of allegiance to Jesus is only the beginning of a process known as the new birth or born again experience.


As the spring season approaches and new life begins to spring forth from the ground we all know that this is just the beginning of a plants’ growth process.  We don’t expect the flowers to just pop out of the ground.  We don’t expect to pick fruit immediately.  We all know that there are first the little green shoots which continue to grow and produce its leaves then eventually after the proper nourishment and proper conditions the flowers finally appear.


So it is when a person becomes born again; the new birth process begins.  All new believers need an environment where they are loved, nourished and supported during times of challenge to their growing process.


That’s why God created the church: the community of believers at various levels of maturity overseen by spiritual leadership who is responsible for the nourishment and the training of the believers at all levels of maturity.


We see the glory of God revealed in all of nature.  When those flowers finally appear the beauty of God’s creation is revealed.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It was a process.  Nature isn’t impatient as some young believers are.  It is a steady consistent march to maturity.



Discipline is defined as a steady effort to accomplish.  That is what the Christian walk is all about.  A disciplined life that seeks to accomplish all that God has called us to do and to be.  When we face the challenges to our growth we trust in the faithfulness of God to help us to face those challenges, to be patient, knowing the fruit of our steady effort will produce the maturity God expects in us; but in its season.


Enjoy your new life and embrace the process!


- Pastor Jim

The pursuit of utopia

April 23, 2019

Utopia was an imaginary island with a perfect political and social system, described in a book entitled, Utopia, written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More who was an English statesman.


We have come to define it as any idealized place of perfection.


If we listen to the some of the wrong teachings about the life of the believer in Jesus Christ, we would come to believe that the life of the believer will be a life of Utopia.  Utopia being a life of perfection, happiness, health and prosperity.


I believe what the Bible teaches.  Psalms 35: 27 says that God has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.


Job 36: 11 “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasures.”


Jesus said in John 10 :10 that He came that we might have a life of abundance.


So it would seem that the true believer’s life will the utopian life of prosperity and abundance.


We also read in the Bible that Jesus came to provide for us a life free of sickness and disease, sorrow or pain. 


Isaiah 53: 5 and I Peter 2: 24 tells us that by His stripes we were healed.  In other words, by the death of Jesus Christ healing and health were provided to us as believers.


So the Christian utopia is that place of physical perfection: prosperity, peace and a long and healthy life?


Because of this misconception there exists in our churches people who feel like failing sinners because their lives are not lives that are experiencing the Christian utopia. 


People who are suffering from depression, anxiety, fear, worry, sickness and disease or sorrow and loneliness are trying to figure out what they are doing wrong or what sin they are committing because they are not living in that Christian utopia.


Many of these blessings and privileges were obtained for us by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.  However it is very clear in the Word of God that we need to consider three things revealed to us in that Word.


  1. These blessing are conditional.  For instance I Peter 3: 10-11 says, “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it.”
    1. In John 10: 10 Jesus said that He came that we “might” have life and life more abundantly”.  Might means it is conditional.
    2. The Word of God is clear about the consequences of our actions and words that may be contrary to what is right and proper in the eyes of God.


  1. Heb. 11: 6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  In the life of Jesus we see Him unable to heal, deliver or bless people due to their lack of faith.
    1. Faith is something that needs to be developed.  Rom. 10: 17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing.  What are you consistently listening to?


  1. Also in John 10: 10 Jesus tells us that we have someone who fights against us to make sure we don’t have the blessings that Jesus died to get for us.  “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.”
    1. It is no wonder that the book of Ephesians talks about our enemies and the weapons we need to defeat them.
    2. How many Christians realize that we are in a war?  We have an enemy who attacks us with mental thoughts, lack, worry, fear, sickness, disease, sorrow and pain.
    3. We have to fight a war in this life.  We have to continually fight for utopia in this life.  In this life the enemy never gives up.  If I am attacked with sickness or disease, the temptation to be depressed or fearful, I have to fight back with the weapons of our warfare to obtain what God says is mine.



Here is the good news.  Though we may have to fight the good fight of faith to pursue the many blessings in this life, the strength we have to fight this fight comes from our hope in the Utopia in the next life.


- Pastor Jim

the biblical remedy for fear

April 30, 2019

Fear is defined as: “to regard with dread or apprehension”.  Fear expects the worst in any given situation.  Faith is the Bible’s remedy for fear.  Faith is the opposite of fear.  Faith believes what God says in His word.  The Bible says that, “the just shall live by faith.” The literal translation says that the just shall live a life of faith.


Heb. 11: 6 says, “but without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a REWARDER of them that diligently seek Him.”


A REWARDER!  What should I be afraid of when God seeks to reward those who diligently seek Him? If you seek God in the Bible you will see words like VICTORY, OVERCOME, JOY, HOPE, PEACE and PROSPERITY and many more positive things that God promises the diligent seeker. Faith expects the best in any circumstance, good or bad, because God promises to be with you and help you.


How does faith come?  Romans 10:17 says, “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.”  What are you listening to?  Seek God!  Listen to His word.


What are you hearing in church?  Faith building words of God or just nice talk.  God’s word will give you faith like David who faced Goliath.  David said in Psalm 27, “the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”



Problems come to all.  But faith comes to those who pursue God and His word.  IT IS YOUR CHOICE: FEAR OR FAITH.  Chose faith! You will sleep better at night!


- Pastor Jim

what is truth

may 22, 2019

In the Bible, according to the account of Jesus’s beloved disciple John, it is recorded that when Pilate was interrogating Jesus, Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king.  Jesus replied in John 8: 37 “…I was born for that purpose.  And I came to bring truth to the world.  All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”


Pilate then replied, “What is truth?”


The New Testament was translated from the Greek.  The Greek meaning for this word truth meant something revealed and no longer concealed.


In John 14: 6, Jesus declares, “ I am the way, the truth and the life”.


In John 8: 31 – 32 Jesus declared,  “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings.  And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”


What is truth?  Pilate may have asked Jesus that question over 2000 years ago but if there was ever a time to ask that question again it is today.  


For many centuries, the truth was based upon the teachings recorded in the Bible.  However today there has been many successful efforts to remove the Bible from schools, municipal buildings, court houses, homes and even in some churches.  My question is this: if we ignore the teachings of the Bible, where then is our source of truth?


Truth today seems to be determined by legislation, the opinions of influential or powerful individuals, political or social groups who exert great pressure upon our legislative leaders.  What was once accepted as truth has now become illegal.  What was once accepted as being wrong, not only by God, but by the majority of the people is now legal.  


Just because a state legislature declares it is legal to kill a baby after it is born does not make it right.  There are so many other things that have been declared right that are absolutely wrong and so many things that are right that have been legally declared wrong.  


Isaiah 5: 20 declares “Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark…”


If Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life, then those who oppose Him oppose the only way, the only truth and the true life.  Jesus declared in John 1: 4 – 5 “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  Those who deny or oppose Jesus and His teachings of truth call what is dark, light and what is light, dark.  Destruction is sure to follow.


We have already seen the consequences of removing the Bible from our schools.  Shootings, disrespect for teachers, drugs and all other sorts of problems.  Then people have the nerve to say, “where is God”. They threw Him out years ago.  


What will happen to us as a nation if we continue to remove the Lord and His word from our nation?  If people turned back to the Bible they would see that there are grave consequences.  


As Christians we need to pray for our nation, our legislative leaders and those who oppose the only way, the only truth and the only life.  We need to again declare the truth.  We need to go to church and to read our Bibles, so we know the real truth.  We need to bring our children to church because teaching our children the Bible in our homes and in our churches is the only place where they will hear the truth.



What is truth?  Psalm 117 “O praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him all ye people.  For His merciful kindness is great towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever.  

Praise ye the Lord.”


- Pastor Jim

Biblical Hope

June 5, 2019

Many unbelievers hope they will have a better future.  The question is, what is the difference between the unbeliever’s hope and Biblical hope?


Hebrews 6: 19 says that we have “hope” as an anchor of the soul.  To the person who doesn’t have a personal relationship with God through their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, we can best define hope according to the Websters dictionary.  It states that hope means to desire, with belief in the possibility of obtaining.


This hope, however, comes with the possibility of not obtaining or failure.  It is like buying a lottery ticket.  You can hope you win but there exists the possibility you will not win.


Someone once said not to hope for too much, this way you when you don’t get what you hoped for, you won’t be disappointed.  That is a pretty sad way to live life.


In the Bible, especially stated in our above scripture, the word “hope” is defined to anticipate with pleasure; a confident expectation.  Biblically speaking there is no possibility of failure here.


To the believer in Jesus Christ and the Bible, there is the confident expectation or hope, that what God says in His Word will come to pass in their life.  God’s promise of eternal life, divine protection and the provisions of joy, peace and comfort in adversity are my confident expectation.



How can I as a believer have such hope?  It is very simple: trust in the promises of God because God is not liar!


- Pastor Jim

making the right decisions

june 26, 2019

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Today we seemed to be faced with the responsibility of making many important decisions throughout our lifetime.


As a Christian, our decisions should be pleasing to the Lord.  I have seen so many Godly people wrestling with decisions about jobs, finances, friendships, etc.  So many worry about whether or not their decisions or choices are right in the eyes of God.  That is a great attitude to have.

 

May I make a suggestion that is in line with the Word of God?  RELAX AND DON’T BE ANXIOUS OR WORRIED.  Phillipians 4: 6 tells us just that.


The person who seeks to obey God’s word with all their heart will make the right choices.  How do I know?  Proverbs 11: 3 “The integrity of the upright shall guide them.”


In Gen. 20: 1 – 6, there is a story of Abimelech, King of Gerar.  This king, after being lied to by Abraham, who told his wife to tell the king that she was his sister, planned on taking Sarah as his wife.  This choice would have resulted in the sin of adultery.


God was going to kill Abimelech if this sin was carried out.  However, God stopped Abimelech before he made the wrong decision.  Why did God do this?  As Abimelech replied to God in vs. 5, “In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”


God said in vs. 6, “Yes I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart, for I also withheld you from sinning against me.”

Proverbs 11: 3 again, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them.”  Integrity means innocence.  Its root is the Hebrew word, TAMAM, which means to be complete, in good sense, here. 

 

Integrity- soundness of moral principle and character, uprightness and honesty.  People who obey God’s ways are people of integrity.  Your integrity will cause you, by God’s guiding hand, to make the right decision. 

 


Stay faithful to God and His word and He will direct your steps.


- Pastor Jim

OUR SHELTER

July 2, 2019

Does it seem that things are getting a little scary lately?  Economic forecasts seem a little shaky?  Politicians are doing more criticizing of each other rather than working together, concentrating on the issues at hand.  How is my nest egg doing?  Crimes that are being committed seem to make no sense.


The world seems to be going a little crazy!


Isn’t it interesting that the Bible talks about these times?  II Timothy 3: 1 says, “In the last days, perilous times shall come.”


Luke writes in Luke 21: 26, “The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth…”


Remember the fallout shelters that were (and may still be) located in buildings throughout the cities of America?  They were supposed to offer shelter and provision in case of a nuclear attack.


The dictionary defines shelter as a place that protects, covers and provides provision in times of danger or attack.


You may be facing a time of danger or you are under attack in your life: financial, marital, sickness and disease or you are just losing hope in the future.


May I suggest the remedy that the Bible suggest:  the community of the local church.  In the church you should be hearing what the Bible says about your loving Father God and who you are in His sight, especially in times like today.


The church was designed by God to be a place of encouragement and hope.  A place to be edified and a place of love; where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught.  Gospel means good news.  Actually it means too good to be true.


The Bible says that the Lord is a very present help in time of need.  The Lord our God is described as our refuge, our fortress and our defender.



So if you have to run for shelter, make sure you run to the right place.  


- Pastor Jim

The Golden Rule

July 10, 2019

I heard an older adult once comment how much kinder people were when they lived by the Golden Rule.  


What in the world is the Golden Rule?


I think the world believes that the Golden Rule is the principle that says, he who has the most gold rules.  Thus, the stress-filled pursuit to get rich.  However I have met some rich people who would pay any price for peace, contentment and joy.


The dictionary defines the Golden Rule as the principle of people treating others as they would like to be treated.  They note the Biblical quote of Jesus Christ from His sermon on the mount in Matthew 7: 12, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.”


This is actually the second half of what Jesus called the first and greatest commandment of all, found in Mark 12: 29 – 31, “The most important commandment is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord you God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.  The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  No other commandment is greater than these.”



Can you imagine a world full of people who follow that rule?  Can you imagine your home with family members who follow that rule?  


It is no wonder that the Bible says, “Great peace have they which love Thy law.”


- Pastor Jim

Who and what is really a christian?

July 23, 2019

The first mention of the word, “Christian”, is found in the Acts 11: 26.  Barnabas, a follower of Jesus, found Saul (Paul) at Tarsus.  Both of them went to Antioch.  The second half of verse 26 says, “And it came to pass that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church and taught many people.  And the DISCIPLES were called CHRISTIANS first at Antioch.”


Some people think they are Christians because they are not Jewish or Hindu, etc.  Some think they are born Christians because their parents call themselves Christians.  God’s word links two important words together: Disciple and Christian.  According to the Bible, Christian means a disciplined follower of Jesus’ teachings or Christ-like.



Jesus said in John 8: 31 “…if you continue in My word then are you my disciples indeed…”  So, being a Christian isn’t a title, it is a Christ -like lifestyle.  In reality, no true Christian needs to convince people he or she is a Christian, everyone else will know by their everyday lifestyle.


- Pastor Jim

perplexed or at peace

July 30, 2019

In Luke 21: 25 – 26 Jesus gives us the status of the earth in the end times.


“…and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity.”


The Amplified Bible translates it this way, “And upon the earth (there will be) distress (trouble and anguish) of nations in bewilderment and perplexity (without resources, left wanting, embarrassed in doubt, not knowing which way to turn)”.


How will this come about?  We are beginning to see the cause even today in our own country.  Truth, morality, what was considered right or wrong in this nation was based upon the teachings in the Bible.  However, people who I believe are motivated by the enemy of God, have made great strides in removing the Bible from wherever they could.


Any mention of the Lord Jesus Christ or the Bible is systematically being removed from our schools, court houses, literature, everywhere it used to be found.


Without a standard of ethics and morality, how do you determine what is right or wrong?  That is why so many people are perplexed.


A person perplexed is a person who doesn’t know who they are, why they are here, what is considered right or wrong and without answers to the problems facing them in life.


Today whoever makes the loudest protests seem to be the ones who get enough attention to change laws and cause our leaders to base ethics and morality, what is right and wrong on what those who make the most noise believe.


The Bible predicted these times.  Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to them that call evil good and good evil…”


The Bible exposes evil.  It is no wonder why some people want the Bible to go away. The Word of God is what God says is right and what is wrong.


Some would say, why doesn’t God deal with these people.  Jesus said to His disciples who wanted to call down fire to destroy those who opposed them in Luke 9: 56 “For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”


How then do we turn this around?  Are these special interest groups going to force us to not believe the truth of what is right and what is wrong?


Christians need to believe what the Word of God says.  We need to teach the truth of God’s Word.  The Apostle Paul tells us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation.  Churches need to teach the Bible.  Parents need to teach their children what is right and what is wrong in the eyes of God.


True believers in Jesus do not need to be perplexed.  We know what is right and what is wrong.  Take a stand for Biblical truth.  Declare it and live it.


Jesus said we are the light of the world.  Light exposes darkness.  As long as believers live and believe the truth, people will see there is another way:  God’s way which leads to a life of peace in a very perplexed world.



- Pastor Jim

Ambassadors for christ

August 8, 2019

If you have received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been appointed to an incredible position.  This position is defined as the highest-ranking diplomatic representative of God and heaven.


A representative is one who presents to others the mind, the likeness and the image of the one they are called to represent.  The representative also symbolizes who they represent.  They act in the place of who they represent using the authority that was conferred to them by who they represent.


What an incredibly powerful position.  What is this position called?


II Corinthians 5: 20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…”


Ambassadors for Christ: therefore, we present to others the mind, the likeness and the image of Jesus Christ to others.  We also symbolize Jesus to others.


We act in the place of Jesus using the authority conferred upon us by Jesus, Himself, to do what He did while He was on the earth.


Did you know that Jesus was also an ambassador? He represented His Father.  Jesus demonstrated the love that God has for mankind.  Jesus taught the Truth, healed the sick, raised the dead, delivered the oppressed and lifted the spirits of the downcast.  Jesus also represented heaven on earth.


This is a position of power!!  It is also a position of great responsibility.  That is why it is so important to know the character and nature of Jesus.  To misrepresent Him to the world would be terrible, yet some Christians do exactly that.


If you study the life of Jesus you will demonstrate His love, His mercy, His kindness and His desire to teach the truth about God to others.  If we are to act in His place then we need to be teaching people the Gospel, healing the sick, delivering people from Satanic bondages and forgiving the sinner.


Ambassadors are usually provided a place of residence called an embassy.  Do you know where the embassy of God is today?  It is the church.  It is where the ambassadors for Christ gather to worship who they represent.  They also come to be refreshed by the teaching of the Word of God.  They come to be encouraged and instructed by Pastors called by God.


At the embassy they are continually instructed as to the character and nature of Jesus so they can properly and accurately represent Him. 


An embassy is also the place where people can come for asylum: a place of safety and refuge.  As ambassadors of God and heaven we demonstrate the love of God in the gathering of the saints and those who need to be saved.  



It is a great responsibility to present to the world an accurate representation of our Father God and heaven.  With that in mind continually seek to know the Lord more each day.  Pray that you present to the world a loving Father God who desires all men to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth.


- Pastor Jim

To visit: more than just a hello

august 15, 2019

Jesus tells us one of the things we can do to inherit the kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world:  Matt. 26: 36 “…I was sick and you visited me.”


Most people probably think that is you going to the hospital or someone’s home and saying hello, maybe praying for them, holding their hand and leaving. However, after studying this word, “visited”, I found it that it means a lot more.


This is the Greek word, episkeptomai which yes, means to scope out or inspect.  That is a good reason to visit someone.  To check them out.  It is nice to visit a person who is sick or hurting.  But this word also has another incredible meaning.  


It also means to relieve.  To relieve means to ease pain or anxiety; to give or bring aid; to provide a pleasing change.  Wow!  That is a lot more than just stopping by to say hello.


To further describe the word, visited, let’s look at some other places in scripture where this word is used. 


Luke 1: 68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people.”  Thank God that means a lot more than just stopping by to say hello.


Luke 1: 78, “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us.”


Vs. 79 tells why He visited us: “to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”


Thank God that means a lot more than just a hello.  


Luke 7: 16 “ And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and that God hath visited His people.”


Again this is more than God just stopping by to say hello or hold our hand.


God comes with the REMEDY!  Jesus visited us to bring us relief.  He came to ease our pain and anxiety; He came to provide a pleasing change.


We are to do the same.  Everywhere Jesus went He HEALED those who were sick or diseased.  (Matt. 4: 23).  According to John 14: 12 Jesus said, “He that believes in Me the works that I do shall he do also…”


Only those who believe in Jesus and the full work of the cross will offer more than just a hello to those who need a remedy.  Jesus sacrificial death on the cross provided salvation.  Jesus not only died to provide us eternal life, but heath and healing.  


When that fact becomes entrenched in your heart, you will provide a lot more than just a hello to those who are sick and diseased.   



- Pastor Jim

Satan's trick: Being offered

what you already have

August 21, 2019

In Genesis 1:26 the Word of God says that God created man in His image and likeness.  It also says that God gave man dominion and authority over everything on the earth, including Satan.


God also gave man a right standing with Himself.  Adam could walk and talk with God.  In Genesis 1:28, God gave instructions to Adam as to the purpose of this authority and power on the earth. He told Adam to be fruitful and multiply; replenish (restore) the earth; subdue it and have dominion.


What an incredible right and privilege given to man.  Adam was God’s representative, enforcer and yet a great friend. 


Along comes Satan in Genesis 3, who tempts Adam and Eve with an offer: God is a liar. If you obey me, you will be like God.  But Adam and Eve were already like God.  They could talk to God at any time.  They were created in the image and likeness of God.  


God gave them the same power and authority He had.  Satan was tempting Adam and Eve with something they already possessed!  Why did Adam and Eve give in?


Ignorance to who they were and what God had given them led them to give in to the lies of Satan.  Adam had the authority and power delegated to them by God to have absolute dominion over Satan, yet because of what seemed good to their senses they gave in to Satan’s lie.


Because of their disobedience to God, they abdicated their authority, dominion and power over the earth to Satan.  


Fast forward:  Jesus comes as the second Adam to fulfill what Adam failed to do.  Jesus, as a man, regains the right standing with God (righteousness), the authority and dominion over the earth and over Satan.


Today the believer in Jesus Christ has been given that right standing with God and the authority and dominion to carry out God’s will upon the earth.  We are to do the same works that Jesus did when He was on the earth.


I recently read that over 90% of Christians either do not know the complete work of the cross or they refuse to believe it.


So guess what: Satan is still deceiving them into believing that they can get health, prosperity, happiness and fulfillment by obeying his ways rather than God’s ways.


God makes it very clear in Hosea 4:6, that His people (believers in Jesus Christ) are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  By Jesus’ death on the cross we have received the right to full provision (prosperity), health and healing and dominion and authority over all the works of the devil.  


Satan has nothing to offer the true believer in Jesus Christ.  However because most Christians have an identity crisis, not knowing who they are in Christ Jesus and what has been given to them, they fall to the devil’s lies.


These Christians pursue what God has already given them through means provided by the devil, therefore submitted to the devil’s ways they once again become the devil’s pawns.


Sadly these Christians are overcome with sickness and disease, depression, anxiety, lack, worry and fear.  Those types of Christians give a very poor representation of our Father God who is a good provider for His children.  They were the ones who prevented me from ever wanting to be like them.  They showed me a God who was uncaring, cruel and unforgiving.


Thank God I met people who knew who they were in Jesus Christ.  Thank God I was taught the Word of God which reveals to all who pursue the truth, that we are in right standing with God and that Jesus died for my healing and my full provision.


Don’t give in to the devil’s lies.  Don’t be destroyed for lack of knowledge. Find the truth in the Word of God.  Be taught the truth in a church that teaches the complete work of the cross.


Please, please, please properly represent who our loving Father God really is and all that Jesus died to provide for us.  That truth will attract a hurting world to Jesus more than anything else.



- Pastor Jim

the blood bought right to intimacy

August 29, 2019

If you attended our Sunday service on Aug. 25th, this message will be a review for you.  However I assume there are many people who read this blog who did not make Sunday service or they do not attend House on the Rock.


There are, what I call, some of the most scariest scriptures in the Bible, at least to me.  They are found in Matt. 7: 21 – 23.  It essentially speaks of those who will call Jesus, Lord.  They will stand before Jesus declaring all the great things, they think they should have done for Him, yet they will be denied entry into the kingdom of Heaven.  


Wow!  Why will they be denied entry into the Kingdom of Heaven?  Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you…”


Sounds to me like that getting to know the Lord is essential to our salvation.  Jesus made a tremendous statement in John 3: 16, “For God so loved the word He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life”.  Some translations say, “will have eternal life”.


So if someone just believes in Jesus they will have eternal life.  That word “believes” is a lot more than just saying you believe in Jesus.  It means to rely upon, cling to and trust daily.  I believe it involves some other things too.


What is eternal life?  Jesus answers that question in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”


Why did God send His Son to die on the cross?  Every believer knows it was to forgive us of our sins. But why?  Almost every believer would say, so we could go to heaven.  That is true but sadly some say a prayer and believe that’s it. They are going to heaven and feel no responsibility to do anything else while on this earth.


Yes Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, but many don’t realize that Jesus came to restore to all mankind the authority, power and privilege to have the same intimate relationship with God that Adam originally had.


Jesus eliminated the barrier that stood between God and a relationship with man.  That barrier was sin.  At the same time that Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished”, the veil in the temple that served as a barrier to the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom.  No longer was there a barrier that blocked access to God.  Jesus died so you and I could have an intimate relationship with Father God.


It is our responsibility to pursue that relationship.  It is our responsibility to get to know God.  And believe it or not, God wants you to get to know Him more than you do.


Now we can understand that scary scripture to those who thought they were doing all they thought to do to earn their way to eternal life.   In fact the New Living Translation essentially puts it this way: and Jesus replied, that which you thought you needed to do was not authorized by me.  Because they did not bother to get to know Jesus, they could not hear His voice and receive His direction for their lives.  They did their own thing.


It is not about what you do only.  It is all about who you get to know.  Jesus died to remove all obstacles to you getting to know the Lord.


It starts by saying, Father, I want to know you.  It continues by getting to know the Lord through the study of the Word of God.  Tell the Lord you love Him and thank Him for the many blessings He has given you.


- Pastor Jim

do I need to go to church?

september 3, 2019

If I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, how important is it that I attend church?


When I realized that there was no way I could make it to heaven or have a relationship with God as my Father on my own, I prayed a prayer.  I repented. Which means I changed my mind.  I realized I was a sinner who needed a savior.  I realized there was no way I could earn my own salvation by being a good person and doing good things.


The Bible clearly states in Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.”


Ephesians 2:8–9 “For by grace (Divine favor) are you saved through faith (you got to receive it); and that not of yourselves; it is a gift (the grace) of God; NOT OF WORKS lest any man should boast.”


Once I made that decision, I thought it was just me and God.  I didn’t think I needed to attend church. I spent my Sundays in the woods or just home relaxing.  It was just me and God.  I read my Bible and I prayed.  It was just me and God.


However I felt something wasn’t right.  One day while reading my Bible I noticed  Hebrews 10:24–25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”


The amplified Bible says “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers) as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging and encouraging) one another and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”


Wow, when I read that, I knew what I was missing as a believer.  I couldn’t do that while walking in the woods.  The squirrels or the rabbits I encountered didn’t need encouraging, neither did they encourage me.


You go to church to serve other believers.  


I also found out that I needed to go to church to be taught the Word of God.  I needed to submit to a spiritual teacher and authority.


Heb. 13: 17 (amplied) “Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them (continually recognizing their authority over you) for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account (of their trust).  (Do your part to) let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning for that would not be profitable to you (either).


It is extremely important and necessary for the believer in Jesus Christ to join themselves to a church where they teach the complete Word of God and where they can serve other believers.  


Once I joined a church and submitted to the authority and teaching of a Pastor, I began to grow in my faith.  I came to fully understand the rights and privileges and responsibilities I had as a child of God.


I also learned to be committed, submitted, faithful and loyal to my church and my Pastor.  I didn’t always agree with how things were done but I agreed with what I was being taught.  People are human and so was I.  I learned to be quick to forgive.


Your faithfulness, loyalty and submission to your church are the physical demonstration of your spiritual faithfulness, loyalty and submission to the Lord.


Not going to church or jumping from church to church is a demonstration of your lack of commitment and faithfulness to the Word of God which tells us to be faithful, loyal and submitted to a body of believers.  You don’t go to church out of obligation but out of appreciation.


You go to church to worship, give, learn, submit and to serve.  You can’t do that by only watching some preacher on TV, or hopping all over the place, or "out there": just you and God.



- Pastor Jim


the importance of imagination

September 10, 2019

We have heard people speak of their faith as either Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.  But that is not what Biblical faith is all about


How important is faith in the eyes of God?  In three different places of the Bible, Old Testament and New, the Bible says the just will live by faith. This literally means that the just shall live a life of faith.


Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God.  What kind of faith is this?  Hebrews 11:6 further explains: for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.


Biblical faith believes that the Lord, He is God and that He is a good God, rewarding those who diligently seek Him.


Biblical faith believes that the Lord is God, yet we do not see Him.  Hebrews 11:1 explains it better: “now faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things not seen.


When you hope for something, it is something not yet visible but is seen very clearly in our imagination.  What picture do you have in your mind of the Lord?  If you base you picture on the God of the Old Testament, remember those people chose to be under the law.  If you broke the law, there was a penalty.


Under the New Testament (or new covenant), grace has been extended to the sinner through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Our sins have been forgiven!


Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God.  Not of works lest any man should boast.”


Faith is the substance, or the material, of what you imagine or picture in your mind.  Your imagination paints the picture.  It is the evidence of what you may not see in the natural, but it starts in your imagination.


Faith comes by hearing and hearing.  What you hear will eventually become what you believe.  You will start to paint the picture in your mind.  You will start to imagine it.  What you imagine will come to pass.  


In Genesis 11:1-4, the people decided to build a very large tower.  They said in verse 4, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower who's top may reach unto heaven…”


They saw it first in their imaginations.  Then they went to work to fulfill what they saw in their imaginations.


Listen to what the Lord said in vs. 6 “…and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do.”


God gave us an imagination so that we could picture things in our minds before they are expressed either in word or in deed.  The key for the believer is found in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world; (its ways of thinking, speaking and doing) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (and know) what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”


You read the Word of God, and find out the will of God.  We read that Jesus died to make us the righteousness of God in Christ.  Do you see (imagine) your self in right standing with God?


You read the Word of God, and find out it is the will of God for you to be in good health. Do you see (imagine) yourself free from sickness and disease?


You read the Word of God and find out that Jesus died to give you power and authority over all the power of the thief (the devil) who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  Do you see yourself using that authority against the enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy in your life?  Do you see yourself standing in victory as a conqueror?  


As believers we need to practice the power of imagination.  Faith sees before our senses see.  Our imagination sees before it becomes a reality in our flesh (to our senses).


We see things before we think, speak and act.  Our imaginations are always at work.  Just make sure they are working to the glory of God. 


- Pastor Jim

my crutch & my escape

September 24, 2019

Several years ago, someone asked me what I did for a living.  I told them I was a pastor of an interdenominational church.


He had an interesting reply.  He said that what we believe in is just a crutch and an escape.  I told him he was correct.


I told him that my faith in Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior, was a crutch and an escape.  I told him that a crutch is something you lean upon for support.


Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”


My faith in Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior, is also an escape.  Escape from what?  Romans 5:8–9 says “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him.”


As believers in Jesus as our justifier, we are saved from the wrath of God reserved for those who have rejected His Son.  Jesus’ death on our behalf has provided an escape.  Jesus is our deliverer.  


Colossians 1:13 speaks of His deliverance:  “Who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”


Thank God that Jesus Christ is my crutch and my escape.  If anyone ever tells you that Jesus is just a crutch and an escape, with boldness reply, “Yes He is.  What is yours?”



- Pastor Jim

what is more important?

october 1, 2019

In Luke 10:38–41 there is the story of Jesus being invited into the home of Martha and her sister, Mary.


In verse 39 we read that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word, while Martha was cumbered about much serving.  In other words, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to what Jesus was speaking, Martha was running around, probably preparing a meal or busy serving her guests.


In frustration Martha came to Jesus and complained about Him not caring that she was busy serving while Mary sat there listening to the teaching of Jesus.


Jesus replied in verses 41–42 “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”


The Amplified Bible says in the latter part of Luke 10:47, “…Mary has chosen the good portion (that which is to her advantage), which shall not be taken away from her.”


Martha was not doing something evil or hurtful to anyone.  She invited Jesus into her house and she wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable.  However Jesus made it very clear that in her frustration to try please everyone she was missing the more important issue.


Being “busy” for what you think is necessary, especially trying to please everyone rather than seeing what really was important, was the issue Jesus was trying to convey to Martha.


I wonder if Martha received the correction and stopped what she was doing to sit down and listen to what Jesus was teaching?  I hope she did because Jesus was apparently saying some things Martha needed to hear.  


Before Jesus died for us on the cross, we were all in subjection to the whims of Satan.  All mankind was destined to die and be eternally separated from God due to our sin nature.


When Jesus died on the cross, bearing our sins, sicknesses and pain upon the cross, the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus so those who received Jesus as Lord and Savior would not have to suffer that punishment.


Jesus also died that mankind would no longer have to be under the dominion of Satan.  Now being free, we could make a freewill choice to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior or not.  


Today we live in a crazy, busy, busy world.  The enemy of God has done everything he can to keep us distracted from what is the most important thing in life.  Sporting events for our kid to participate on Sundays instead of church.  Cell phones that keep us available to everyone 24/7; TV or computers that keep us mesmerized and occupied and so many things to do at home or at work.  We are too busy to stop and listen to what Jesus has to say either by reading our Bibles, being taught the Word of God in church or sitting and just talking and listening to God (prayer).


Mary chose the right thing: to listen to the teaching of Jesus.  She chose the good portion; that which was to her advantage.  Jesus teaches us things that are eternal and profitable for our eternal salvation.


The things that keep us busy in this life, that we think are so important, are temporal things that have nothing to do with our eternal security.


Jesus died to give us the freedom of choice.  Decide wisely as to what you consider important in your life and the life of your children.  For your choice will have eternal consequences. 



- Pastor Jim

declaring what you believe

october 8, 2019

This Sunday I had the privilege of teaching another work that was accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross.  It was the work for our health and healing.


This is probably one of the greatest accomplishments by Jesus on the cross either not taught, misunderstood or not believed: that Jesus not only suffered and died for the forgiveness of sin but that He died for our physical and mental health and healing.


I will ask you, who are saved, the same question I asked the congregation:  Are you saved?  Do you believe because of your faith in what Jesus did on that cross, that you are going to go to heaven?  I asked them for proof.  The only proof we can offer is our faith in what the Word of God tells us.


John 3:16 states what we believe.  Ephesians 2:8-9 also declares what we believe, which essentially says that we are saved by our faith in the grace of God and not by our works.


Romans 10:9-10 says that if we confess with our mouths the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved.


According to what we just have read, we must not only believe in our heart, but we must also confess with our mouths.  We must declare what we believe.  This isn’t just one time; it is something we must continually do throughout our lives.  Declaring to others and ourselves what we believe.  This is continually solidifying our faith in our hearts. 


Isaiah 53:4-5 is another scripture that describes what Jesus accomplished on the cross.  We believe what it says:  Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and was bruised for our iniquities.  We believe that Jesus did this for the forgiveness of our sin.


But what about the latter part of verse 5: “…the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”


Another translation says, “…the chastisement, the punishment, necessary for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.”


The word, peace, here is the Hebrew word, shalom which means to be well, happy, healthy and prosperous.”


Do you believe this?


The word, healed, is the Hebrew word, rapha, which means mended, cured and repaired.  Do you believe this?


How about I Peter 2:24 “Who His own self bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we, being dead in our sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you WERE healed.”


This word, healed, is the Greek word, isomai which means to cure, to heal and to make whole.


If you are saved because you believe that Jesus died for your sin, you are told to confess it with your mouth despite how you feel, see or hear.


Likewise, if you believe what we have just read in the Word of God concerning healing, are you confessing your healing with your mouth.  Most Christians don’t.  Instead they declare with their mouths, they are sick. Why?  Because they believe what they feel and see.


Faith is the substance of things hoped (imagined) for; the evidence of things NOT seen.


I may not immediately see or feel I am healed but I will obey what II Corinthians 4:13 says: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe and therefore speak.”


What you declare when you are attacked with sickness and disease will reveal what you really believe in your heart. 


Declare what the Word of God says, and you will begin to establish once and for all what needs to be in your heart to be healed.


“the chastisement or punishment necessary for my shalom: my wellness, my happiness, my health and my prosperity, was upon Jesus and by His stripes I am rapha: mended, cured and repaired.”


Declare what you believe!


- Pastor Jim

you are being watched

October 15, 2019

Several years ago, a movie came out that was about “Big Brother” watching us.  It caused quite a stir.  What is more incredible is that we see this coming true in our present day and age.  Video surveillance cameras everywhere, rumors of our cell phone conversations and computer use being monitored.  We are being watched!


Did you know as believers in Jesus Christ we are being watched? Not by “Big Brother” but by those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Many of those “sitting on the fence” haven’t made up their minds about what they believe.  


What we as believers need to understand, is that we have an impact on those type of people.  We are being watched.


There is an interesting story in the Word of God that demonstrates the impact our lifestyles and behavior have on the watching crowd. 


How interesting the story is recorded by the Apostle John, the apostle of love.  In John 8:1-11 we see the story of the Scribes and the Pharisees bringing a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus.  It says in John 8:6 that they did this to tempt him, that they might accuse him.


The Law demanded that this woman, caught in the act of adultery, be stoned.  Jesus ignored their accusations, writing in the dirt.  Finally, after they continued to ask Him what should be done with this sinner, He stood upright and replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”


Verse 9 says, that they being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest even unto the last.  The woman was left standing alone before Jesus.


Jesus then said to her, “where are your accusers?  Is there anyone left to condemn you?”  She replied, “no man Lord.”  Jesus replied, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”


Something a lot of people do not notice is found in John 8: 2 “And early in the morning He came again into the temple and all the people came unto Him and He sat down and taught them.”


When the Scribes and Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus, it was in front of that crowd.  I can imagine the heads turning from side to side as the discussion transpired between the woman’s accusers and Jesus.


Jesus was being watched.  They watched what took place as the Law accused and condemned and Jesus, who represented our Father God, spoke mercy and forgiveness.  Jesus was being watched.


What did all those people who came unto Him to hear the teachings of Jesus see?  They saw a man who represented God; who taught the Kingdom of God; put into practical application what He taught.


Jesus, by His reaction to the accusations of the Scribes and Pharisees, who misrepresented our God, demonstrated the true character and nature of God.  


Those who were bystanders, observers of this drama, saw first-hand evidence of a God who was merciful and forgiving.  


In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His disciples that they would receive the Holy Ghost, who would give them the ability to be witnesses, giving first hand evidence of the character and nature of our Lord and Savior, who will forgive the sinner and grant them grace, mercy and forgiveness.


Yes, you are being watched.  So live a life that demonstrates the true character and nature of our Lord and Savior, who loves the sinner and grants them grace, mercy and forgiveness.


- Pastor Jim

which one are you?

October 22, 2019

I love writing these blogs.  However, I understand if you are reading them you are probable a believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  This particular blog would be a great benefit to an unbeliever, but I believe it will also help the believer understand that there are two types of people who will react to the message of the Gospel.


We could sum up the Gospel by saying that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of the sins of mankind.  As John 3:16 puts it, God so loved that world, sinners, that He sacrificed His only Son to die for our sins, and that whosoever believed this fact would not perish but have eternal life.


Jesus died for the sins of every human being.  Whether you receive this truth is the free will that God has given to every person.  We are saved by the grace of God.  However that grace must be received by faith.  Eph. 2: 8 says that we are saved by grace through faith.  Not every person is going to receive this grace.


A great example of this is found in the account of Jesus’ crucifixion found in Luke 23:39-43.  It says that there were two malefactors or criminals being crucified with Jesus. One on the either side of Jesus.


Luke 23:39 I believe represents the person who doesn’t receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.  It says, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged, railed on Him, saying if thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”


Isn’t this typical of people who mock God.  They say if God was truly a God of graced and mercy why are there wars, murders, people dying of diseases, pain and sorrow?


What those people do not understand is that God gave men free will.  What have those people personally done to help alleviate the suffering in this world?  Mankind left to their own wills, without God, are self-seeking and evil.  


The other malefactor responds to the one who railed on Jesus in verse 40-42.  This man is also a criminal, but he accepts the fact that they deserve their punishment.  However this man accepts who Jesus is; what Jesus has done nothing to deserve this punishment. 


Then he says in verse 42, “Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”


He calls Jesus, Lord.  He asks for mercy and grace.  He admits he deserves to be punished but he has probably heard or seen Jesus demonstrate forgiveness and mercy.  He repents of his wrongdoings because repentance means he understands he can never be saved by his own merit but only by the grace of God.


How does Jesus respond to this criminal?  Luke 23:43, “And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”


Wow, one criminal rejects Jesus as Lord.  The other receives Jesus as Lord.  One believes he doesn’t deserve to die and wants escape.  The other admits he is guilty but throws himself on the mercy of God.


Which one are you?  Repentance is not trying to remember every sin you have ever committed and saying you are sorry.  Repentance is accepting the fact that you are sin and can never save yourself; you need a savior.


Having faith, trust and an absolute assurance that you are forgiven and saved by an act of mercy by God is what saves you.  Not by what you think you have done to earn your salvation.


Which one are you?  One who mocks God and accuses Him of being heartless and cruel.  Or one who admits they are a sinner and do not deserve to be saved but place their faith in trust in the grace and mercy of God.


Salvation is simple.  Give up your pride and self-reliance.  Admit who you are.  Ask forgiveness and receive the grace of God earned by the death of Jesus on that cross.


Jesus died to give you that choice.  


- Pastor Jim

a house Divided

October 29, 2019

In Matthew 12:25 Jesus reveals to us an incredible truth: “…every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”


The Lord makes it very clear that He isn’t one who says one thing then contradicts what He said later.  Nor does He do something then does the opposite later.


In Malachi 3:6 it says, “For am the Lord, I change not…”


Listen to what James says in James 3:9-12 concerning what we say and do:


We should not bless God then curse men.  A fountain cannot send forth sweet water and bitter.  Can a fig tree bear olive berries? 


Both James and Jesus are addressing the fact that you cannot say or do one thing then do the opposite.  A house divided cannot stand.  Why would the Lord tell you not to be double minded or double tongued if He was?


When it comes to temptation James says in James 1:13 that God cannot be tempted with evil neither will He tempt us with evil.  


James also says in James 1:18 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”


Jesus came to demonstrate the character and nature of our Father God.  Everywhere Jesus went He healed the sick and diseased; He opened blind eyes and deaf ears; He raised the dead.  


Jesus was one who blessed and did not curse.  Jesus demonstrated the incredible love of God.  He revealed to us that our Father God is the author of blessing not cursing; good and not evil.  


Before I went into ministry, I was involved in the medical field. I was trained as a Medical Technologist.  I worked as a Senior Diagnostic Sales representative for Abbott Laboratories, training lab technicians how to use our diagnostic products to help physicians diagnose different medical conditions.


I had extensive training in anatomy and physiology.  The human body is an incredible machine that has the ability to heal itself.  Our body produces antibodies to fight sickness and disease.  Our bodies have many defense mechanisms to defend itself against sickness and disease.


Our Father God created these incredible bodies with all these wonderful abilities.  Why would God then fight against His own creation and be the author of sickness and disease?


A house divided against itself will not stand!


Why would God be one who blesses us then turn around and curse us with sickness and disease?  Why would God give you good things as the Word of God says in several places then take then away?


A house divided against itself will not stand!


Jesus clearly states who does what in John 10:10, “The thief comes not but to steal, and to kill and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”


The devil steals, kills and destroys.  God is not the thief, who blesses you with something good then takes it away.  That is stealing.  God doesn’t give life then kill it.  God doesn’t create something good then destroy it.


A house divided against itself will not stand!


Don’t become a house that is divided but calling God good then credit Him for the evil which the devil does.


Our Father God is a good Father, period!



- Pastor Jim


Remedy

November 5, 2019

Besides our normal service on Sunday, House on the Rock Family Church has a Wednesday evening service, which has followed the same format as our Sunday service.


This past Wednesday I announced to our congregation that I wanted our Wednesday service to be known as our remedy service or remedy church.


The word, remedy, comes from two Latin words: re: again and mederi: heal.  The Webster’s New World dictionary defines remedy as any medicine or treatment for a disease; something to correct a wrong.


I believe every time we meet in our church, the Word of God that is taught provides information that can correct a wrong whether physical, mental or spiritual.


Romans 12:3 says, “And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”


In keeping with this definition, I want our Wednesday services to be specifically targeted to providing remedy to the many physical, mental and spiritual ills of our day.  


The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of hope.  It provides a remedy or cure for the hurts of so many people today.  Jesus proclaimed why He came to this earth and why He was empowered by the Holy Spirit of God in Luke 4:18.


Luke 4:18-19 (Amplified Bible translation) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me (the Anointed One, the Messiah) to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed (who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed and broken down by calamity).  To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord (the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.)”


That is a ministry that offers remedy.


All throughout Jesus’ ministry, He commanded His disciples and us today to continue His work.  Jesus also came to reveal the character and nature of our Father God, who loves us and wants us to be made whole and to prosper.


All those who put their daily trust and faith in Jesus can continue to do what Jesus did. 


Notice Matthew 4:23-24 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, TEACHING in their synagogues and PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom and HEALING all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”


Jesus also tells us in John 14:12 “…he that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works shall he do…”


I don’t believe that was a suggestion nor just a promise.  I believe Jesus is telling us to do what He did.  Jesus offered the remedy to the ills of His time.  We are to offer remedy to the ills of our time.


If you are a believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the next time you look in the mirror, remind yourself, that you have the remedy.  If you have asked the Father to fill you with His Holy Spirit, you possess the same source of power that Jesus possessed.  Be the remedy!  


- Pastor Jim

how spiritual are you?

november 13, 2019

Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”


How spiritual are you?  Some may determine they are spiritual because they go to church every week.  Others may believe they are spiritual because they pray or read their Bible every day. Others may believe they are spiritual because they pray in tongues a lot.


It is a valid question to ask yourself, how spiritual am I?  How do I measure how spiritual I am?  The Word of God says in Romans 8:5, “For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”


Another translation says it this way:  they that live according to their flesh follow the dictates of their flesh; but they that live according to the Spirit follow the dictates of the Spirit of God.”


In other words, if you live according to the flesh your life will be dictated by your emotions and feelings. But if you live according to the Spirit of God your life will be dictated by the Word of God.


The Word of God reveals to us some things that will show you whether you are living according to your feelings and emotions or living in obedience to the Word of God.


One great example is found in Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (KJV)


Let us look at another translation of this very revealing scripture:


“Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual (who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit) should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.”  (AMP)


This is just one test to reveal whether you are spiritual and led by the Holy Spirit.  Ask yourself this question.  How did I treat a brother or sister who has been overtaken in a fault or a sin?  Did you gossip and spread the news about another Christian who is having an affair or going through a divorce or got arrested for something you aren’t even sure about?  Did you spread the rumor about something you heard from someone else without knowing all the facts about the situation?


Did you approach this brother or sister in meekness and gentleness to tell them you were there to listen and assist them in any way to help them turn away from their sin?  Did you at least pray for them?  Did you refuse to listen to others who were criticizing or judging that person who is in sin?


This is a test of how spiritual you really are.  The next time you are made aware of a brother or sister overtaken in a fault or in sin, say this: this is a test of my spirituality.  Whether you fail or pass is up to you.


Choose to be led by the Spirit of God which is to follow the dictates of the Word of God.  In this case help to restore that person; restore them in a spirit of gentleness and meekness.  


Take heed to the warning revealed in this scripture: “consider thyself” (do not exalt yourself as being above the same fall).


Pass the test and do what the Word of God tells you to do.  Then you can truthfully say you are spiritual.


- Pastor Jim

what will people think?

november 20, 2019

Sometimes when I do the altar call at the end of our services, I quote Matthew 10:32-33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”


I usually ask those who are receiving Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior for the first time to just raise their hands, count to five, then put their hands down.


Then sometimes I quote Matthew 10:32-33.  I tell them not to be ashamed or afraid to make their decision known to everyone in the church.  At least in the church you are among other believers.


But what about in our everyday lives?  My Bible has a subtitle listed above theses scriptures:  it says, “Warning against man fear.”


Prior to these verses in Matthew 10, Jesus is telling his disciples and us not to fear those who can only kill your body but not your soul.  Jesus says you need to fear him who can destroy both the body and the soul in hell.


Jesus is addressing the fear of men.  When Jesus talks about confessing Him before others, I believe He is referring not only to be bold speaking about your faith to others, but also your behavior.  I recently read the following, “People will not be drawn to us because of our similarities, but because of the things that make us unique.  Our need to be liked and to be popular can lead to a religious spirit that cripples risk taking and faith-walking.”


Jesus tells His followers that if they called Him a child of the devil, don’t be surprised if they call you the same.  We should never be ashamed to tell others what we believe.  If you do it with simplicity and a loving concern for their welfare, you may convert a sinner.  Don’t judge or condemn.  Don’t worry about whether or not they surrender their hearts to Jesus at that moment.  The Word of God tells us that some sow the word, others water that word and others will reap what you have sown.


Tell others that God loves them; that Jesus voluntarily went to the cross to die on their behalf to pay the penalty for their sin.  Tell them that all they have to do is believe what Jesus did for them, and receive Jesus as their Savior.  Thats what grace is all about.


Then, just like a new born baby, tell them they need to grow in their understanding of the Lord.  


Like I said earlier, confessing your faith is not just speaking your faith, it is living your faith.  If you are not ashamed of Jesus you will be willing to do those things which Jesus addresses in His word.  What you do, or don’t do, will also be an open show to others of your faith.  


You may be ridiculed for no longer hanging out with your past friends, who do things you know you can no longer do.  Being fearful of rejection, persecution or ridicule is something you will no longer fear as you grow closer to the Lord.


It is a basic human desire to be liked and accepted by everyone.  However that can no longer be a desire as a believer in Jesus Christ.  Meditate in the Word of God on a regular basis.  Study the many promises God makes to us in His word about how loving He is and what Jesus died to provide for us in this life.


May your strongest desire be to grow closer to God.  Eventually another desire in your heart will no longer to be accepted by others but to see others accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior


- Pastor Jim

Have an attitude of gratitude

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving.  It is the time of eating and being with friends and family.  It is a day off from work.  It is the day before Black Friday.  It is the day before left-overs day.  Sandwiches piled high with turkey, stuffing and cranberries.


That is so wonderful, however don’t forget it is supposed to be a day where we give thanks.  Not only to those who cooked your meal or your boss who gave you the day off or the lady who finally let go of that sweater you will be holding onto for dear life at that sale.  It is a day to give thanks to our Creator and provider of all that is good: the Lord our God.


Our forefathers who first came to this country established a day to give thanks.  They gave thanks to their Father God and to Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.  They took the time to recognize that all they had was from God and they thanked Him for His provision in this life and the next.  


They also thanked God for their protection.  Not only from their hostile environment, but for the fact that they made it to America in ships that would have frighten even the most seasoned sailor today.


Maybe it is easier to give thanks to God when you have to believe for your provision and protection on a daily basis.  Today we can walk into a supermarket and get all we need for our feast.  We live in a relatively safe environment and we feel pretty secure that we will wake up tomorrow safe and sound.


Sometimes even Christians forget to stop and pause to give thanks to a Father God who not only provides and protects us on this earth, but who also sent His Son Jesus to suffer and die on a cross bearing our sins so that we may enjoy the benefits of God’s love to His children.


We live in a society today that just expects to be provided for and protected. Sadly people look to the government to fulfill their every desire.   This entitlement mentality has made so many people forget that it is the Lord who blesses us and protects those who trust in Him.


Because of this Godless attitude people seem to be unhappy, angry and irritated.  Sadly they don’t even know why they feel this way.


I believe it is because they lack what I call an attitude of gratitude.  Some of the happiest people I have ever met have this attitude of gratitude.  Rather than spend their lives complaining about what they think they deserve, they are thankful for what they have. 


These people realize there is a higher purpose in this life other than just them.  They seek out the less fortunate and offer them assistance.  They realize their abundance comes from God.  Since they recognize that all they have is from the Lord, they are ready and willing to share their abundance with others.


Those who have this attitude of gratitude not only celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day but every day of their lives.  


How much trouble is it to stop, look up and say thank you to the Lord.   No matter who you are, how much you have or don’t have, a grateful heart who recognizes Jesus as their Lord and Savior who died for your eternal salvation, will never be alone, go without or ever need to be afraid.



“Praise ye the Lord.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good ; for His mercy endureth forever.”


- Pastor Jim

POwer producing power

December 04, 2019

II Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”


God has given us power.  This is the Greek word dunamis.


We also use the same word power in the Lord’s promise to His disciples in Acts 1: 8, “but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”


Jesus said that the Holy Ghost would supply the power they needed to accomplish the same works that Jesus did on this earth.


In Luke 4:14 says that after the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus return in the power of the Holy Spirit.  In Luke 4:18 Jesus explains the purpose of this power: 

  • Jesus was anointed with this power to preach the Gospel to the poor
  • Jesus was anointed with this power to heal the broken hearted
  • Jesus was anointed with this power to preach deliverance to the captives
  • Jesus was anointed with this power for the recovering of sight to the blind
  • Jesus was anointed with this power to set at liberty them that are bruised.
  • Jesus was anointed to declare the acceptable year of the Lord.

(amplified) the year when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.


Every believer has been given the blood-bought right to receive this same Holy Ghost power.


Luke 11: 13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.”


To receive this power, all you need to do is ask.  Then, when you receive the Holy Ghost, you receive His power to do the works that Jesus did.


John 14:12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father.”


What is this power?  Again, this is the Greek word, dunamis.  The Strongs concordance defines this Greek word as miraculous power.  By implication it means it is a power itself; a power within itself.


To better understand the meaning of this we can look at the dynamo: Energy or physical force in motion.


A dynamo produces the power to power itself.  Can you imagine something that produces enough power to be used while producing power to power itself?


An internal combustion engine requires a combustible ingredient to burn to produce power.   An electric generator needs a fuel supply to power it to produce electricity.  Even a windmill needs the energy of the wind to turn it to produce energy.


Something that needs nothing else to produce power in whatever form would be an incredible invention.  You push a button; it begins to run and produces the needed power in whatever form and needs no other power source to continue running to produce the power you need.


That is what the power of God is all about.  It is the miracle itself.  That miracle power produces what is needed to produce a miracle.


However there is one requirement.  Continuous motion is required for that dynamo to produce power to power itself and the power needed for something else.  Action will produce action.  If you don’t actively use that power on a continuing basis it will no longer produce power.


That is what Jesus meant in Luke 4:18.  That power anointed Jesus to be used to bless others.  What good is the power produced by the dynamo if it isn’t used.  


The Holy Ghost power given to the early disciples was given to empower them to do what Jesus did.  That principle is still in operation today.  


If you ask the Father to receive the Holy Ghost, you are given the potential power source.  What good is having the dunamis if it isn’t being used?


The power of the Holy Ghost was not given to you so you could just say you have the power of the Holy Ghost.  That power is given to be used to bless others.  


When that engine fires up it is just a running engine.  Hook that engine up to a drive shaft it will power something to move.


When that generator is running, it is just a spinning generator.  Hook that generator up to a fan, a heater or anything electrically powered something is going to move.


A person anointed with the power of the Holy Ghost is just an idle believer.  If that believer declares the Word of God somebody is going to be moved.  If that Holy Ghost empowered believer touches someone in need, something is going to be moved. 


The Holy Ghost power is going to produce the power to effect a change.



As Holy Ghost empowered believers we need to utilize that incredible power to produce the power that unbelievers will see.  That is what being a witness of the Lord is all about.  Power that produces power.


- Pastor Jim

how many souls did you win today?

December 11, 2019

Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”


Proverbs 11:30 (amplified translation) “the fruit of the (uncompromisingly) righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise captures human lives (for God, as a fisher of men – he gathers and receives them for eternity).”


As a young Christian I was told that this scripture meant that it was my job as a believer to witness to as many people as possible because it was my responsibility to win people to Jesus Christ.


I was made to feel pressure because if one day went by and I had not tried to win someone to Jesus I felt guilty.  In my mind I always wondered how many souls did I need to convert to Jesus to make God happy?


The other day I was working in my yard.  A SUV pulled up near me in my driveway.  An older woman walked out of the vehicle with a Bible in her hand.  She began to ask me questions.  Without hesitation I told her I was a Christian and I was faithful to my church.


I very rarely tell people I am a Pastor.  Even though I could tell she wanted to further engage in her presentation to me, she said she was happy that I was a spiritual person and walked away, disappointed.  More work needed to reach her goal for the day. 


It is sad that this particular church stressed to their followers that their eternal destiny was based upon how many converts they made to their church.  I once told someone else who approached me that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but they still wanted to engage in a discussion that they hoped would convince me to join their church.


Honestly I was made to feel the same way by some Christians who did not understand what the grace of God was all about.  Ephesians 2:8–9 is very clear.


“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.  NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.”


Are people really going to stand before God and believe they are better than someone else because they think they won 150 people to Christ and I only won 27?


Before I got saved someone witnessed to me.  Because they had a goal they tried to convince me to receive Jesus or I was going to die young and burn in hell if I did not pray with them.  Out of fear and honestly to get them to go away, I prayed the prayer.  There was no love or concern for my welfare in their presentation.  I really even didn’t believe what they made me pray.


They may have checked me off on their list as a soul won but they were wrong.  Not everyone is anointed to be an evangelist and win many souls to Christ.  However every Christian should have a heart to win those whom they love to Jesus at the very least.


I believe in relational evangelism.  Be kind to people.  Listen to their hearts.  Become a friend to them.  Then those who are even hardened to the Gospel will drop their defense shields because they sense your love and concern for them.


Now you can share how your life has been changed by God because you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Present to them a loving Jesus who died to forgive all their sins and make them right with God. 


You can pray to the Lord to send people across your path who need to hear the good news.  You can rejoice every time someone surrenders their heart to the Lord.  Remember what Jesus told His disciples.  Don’t just make converts; make disciples.  That takes a little more of your time and effort but those to whom you continue to love and teach will be going out and telling people about Jesus also.


So the pressure should be off of you about numbers.  God is more concerned about your heart for others; quality not quantity.  Who knows; maybe the next person to whom you show love and have the open door to win to Jesus could be the next Billy Graham.  

 

- Pastor Jim