Saturday, September 26, 2015

If this was the last one...

If I knew I had one last message to share with the world this would be the one...

There will be no cowards in Heaven!

Okay, so let's be sure we are the same page
  • Are we called to be disciples?
  • Are we called to proclaim the gospel?
  • Are called to be set apart?
We have to be careful of the gospel we proclaim!
  • We can't sugar coat the truth
Being a cross follower is difficult!

In fact, the gospel tells us over and over again only a few find the path.  When you press into Jesus the goal is to make you a new creature.

2nd Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We have to stop playing church and be the unique passionate church God has called us to be!

Look this is one of my favorite topics, so I am not going to hold back, because I am convinced the idea of "lukewarmness", "get out of hell free card" and "doing enough to just get in" is sending millions straight to hell.

What do believe is the most important topic facing the Church today?
The number one problem facing the American Church today is complacency and apathy.  Over the years a false gospel has been proclaimed and the emphasis has been on grace instead of repentance.  The difference may sound small however it's sending millions to hell.  I know that may sound harsh, and everyone may not agree, but when I open God's word that's what I read.

I don’t think it’s intentional, but I do think we are only telling people half the gospel which is also why the church doesn’t make sense. If grace is the answer then it really doesn’t matter how we live.
  •  Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
If there is no sign of fruit...there is no repentance...if there is no repentance....there is no salvation.  We simply can't have the relationship we long for with Christ without a heart of repentance.

Luke 13:3  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out

Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent

It’s important to restate and to be clear
Without repentance there is no salvation
Without a true desire to repent there is no forgiveness

We are responsible for sharing the gospel..if not who?

Romans 10
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Do Something - Matthew West
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to

Chapter 4: Profile of the lukewarm

This is the deepest chapter so far. It really challenges us to think about our walk with God and to think whether or not we are truly devoted to Him. He talks first about the parable of the sower found in Luke chapter 8. Francis cautions: "Do not assume you are good soil." He says that a relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it. Basically, if it's more important that God, it's a bad thing to have. Is there something that has overtaken your relationship with God at some point in your life, now or in the past?

Wait a minute. Did he say favorite sports teams? Hmmmm.

On page 68 Francis writes 18 descriptions of Lukewarmness:
* Lukewarm people attend church regularly. It's what "good Christians" do.
* Lukewarm people give money to charity/church as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living.
* Lukewarm people choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.
* Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
* Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.  They are not called...it’s for someone else to do.  My questions is what are they called do?
Maybe it’s just me…
People can get their passports to travel the world and do some crazy adventurous stuff and take lots of pictures doing it
But talk about serving internationally - they are full of excuses
* Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends.
* Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and His is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a second of their time, money, and their thoughts, but He isn't allowed to control their lives.
* Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves.
* Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.
* Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven.
* Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as   much as possible to the poor.
* Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty.
* Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.
* Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they do not have to.
Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever.

It’s important to restate and to be clear
Without repentance there is no salvation
Without a true desire to repent there is no forgiveness

Let's take another look at scripture

Matthew 10
Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Rewards
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Revelation - Chapter Three
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, bI will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”





Thursday, September 24, 2015

Napkin reflections...

So, here I sit with a mind racing to understand the complexity of life and the gravity of my decisions.  I am a sinner in desperate need of a loving savior.  I like many who will read this have grown up in church. The words aren't new, but somehow they feel different these days.  Have we missed truth while seeking truth? In our passion for the lost, have we missed the most important component of salvation which is repentance?  If there is no sign of fruit...there is no repentance...if there is no repentance....there is no salvation.  We simply can't have the relationship we long for with Christ without a heart of repentance.  

Luke 13:3  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out

Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent

I love the church and everything which it represents.  No question, God has used so many people to teach me the what gospel looks like through their lives.  Yet, the more I look around the more I question the status of the American church.  If we truly believe the words written in red are from God, shouldn't they dramatically affect how we live? I long for God to use me, yet I don't have a repenters heart.  Many desire is to serve God on my terms.  I want to confess some sins and hide others. 

I want my life to matter, I want to be used by God.  However, the more I study God's perfect love letter, and learn about his overwhelming sovereignty.  The more I realize the significance of my heart and mind toward his amazing love for his children. There's not a human word which can accurately convey the humbleness we should show before him. It's impossible to grasp how a Holy and perfect God would want anything to do with a sinner like me.  Yet the word teaches he knows me and loves me.  In fact, Psalm 139 states "his eyes saw unformed body and all my days are ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came to be."  How crazy is that?   

Daddy loves all of you! I pray God uses you for his glory among the nations.  


* God encounter Copper River Grill Greenville, SC on 9/24/15. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day breaks across the African sky

Jessica, Shannon, and Emmanuel, 
I came across this tonight while cleaning out some old files.  The emotions are raw and deep.  Please know how much I love you! Thanks for allowing me to live out the journey of my salvation in front of you!


Day break comes across the African sky
A mother awakens to the gazes of her
children’s eyes across the room.
She tries to smile, yet the reality of the moment
seizes her and fear falls over her.

She bows her head and begins to wonder
as tears fall from her eyes
It is the gaze of her children which breaks her heart
she searches for what she knows is not there

A nibble of bread, a few pieces of rice will do
none for her she professes
Just enough to feed her children will do
she searches for what she knows is not there

What is she to do?
A mother’s heart once filled with joy
Is now filled with sadness
the new born baby who brought joy
Is now starving in desperation

What is she to do?
She searches for what she knows is not there
men come and go professing their devotion
Only to leave when life is a commotion
alone in the silence she wonders
What is she to do?

She bows her head and begins to wonder
as tears fall from her eyes
It is the gaze of her children which break her heart
she searches for what she knows is not there

With sadness in her heart, she begins to bath each one
and with an extra special touch she tells each one
she loves them as only a mother could do
they walk the dirt trail hand in hand

She bows her head and begins to wonder
as tears fall from her eyes
It is the gaze of her children which breaks her heart
as she walks away from her children praying for a better life
for those she loves

Day break comes across the African sky
A mother awakes
She tries to smile, yet the reality of the moment
Seizes her and fear falls over her
She searches for what she knows is not there


Written by Rob Compton
11/22/12

It's not another day...

Today is not just another ordinary day!  Today is a day God made and ordained to be unique and different, our responsibility is to live and pray like it matters

Read the following verses and stop and think about they say to us as Christ followers.

Colossians 1:16
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The question is how do we really know what God wants from us each and every day?
ASK!

Steve Gaines writes in his book Pray like it Matters the following; No one ever prayed like Jesus.  When it comes to prayer, he truly is the “expert”.  Reading the Gospels reveals how important prayer was to our Lord.  You can transform your prayer life by studying Jesus’ life and following His example in prayer.



Read the verses below and reflect on the importance:

Mark 1:35 
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Luke 5:16
We can never fully learn how to do God’s work until we learn how to pray.



The End of the Road...

We are thankful for everyone who prayed for us during our recent trip to Nepal. This was an incredible trip, but it's extremely h...