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.

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!

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