Tuesday, August 28, 2012

10 Reasons To Share The Gospel

1. Everyone will spend eternity somewhere (Hebrews 9:27)

2.  You cannot have a relationship with Christ and ignore the people He created and cares about (Luke 19:10).

3.  Found people find people (John 1:40-42 & John 1:43-45).

4.  Our main ministry is that of reconciling people to Christ (2 Cor. 5:11-21).  Without Him people cannot get to God (Romans 3:23).
5.  God is patient with people and we should be too - don't give up on them! (II Peter 3:9)
6.  There is not another name (Jesus) that can save people (Acts 4:12)

7.  We will be rewarded for our efforts of evangelism (Mark 2:1-12)

8.  The Gospel is more powerful than any speptic, athiest, or agnostic.  (1 John 4:4)

9.  It is the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15)
10. People cannot clean up their own lives.  Only Jesus can give them a new heart, new spirit, and a new life (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jesus - My Best Friend

Who is your best friend?  Do you remember your best friend from childhood?  What do best friends do?  Everything together!  They share everything, talk about everything, help each other - they are there for one another!  Matthew 1:21-23 tells us Jesus is there for us to save us from our sins.  His name is Immanuel which means, "God with us."   John tells us He became like us (flesh) and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  Jesus didn't come to teach on a hillside, tell us how bad we were, and leave us.  He came to experience life as one of us, get to know us and identifying with us.  He can relate to us.  Afterall, He was a carpenter, had brothers and sisters, and even suffered pain.  Hebrews 2:17-18 says, “That’s why he had to enter into every detail of
human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.”  Jesus helps us, understands us, and loves us - He is our best friend.

There were a series of Nike commercials about 20 years ago that said, "Bo Knows".  Listen, Jesus knows more than Bo ever knew.  Now, Jesus is at the right hand of God and talking to Him on our behalf (Romans 8:34).  Jesus understands a lot about us and our issues and life.  He knows about relationships - he had brothers and sisters (Mark 3:21; 6:3).  He understands the issues of life because He too experienced human life.  Hebrews 4:15 tells us, "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.”

Jesus knows pain.  Isaiah 53:3 and 5 say, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  We can have peace and healing because of His punishment and suffering.  What a friend!

Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  For those who give their lives to Him, Jesus calls them friends.  Jesus said this in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  What an amazing thought that Jesus would call me His friend.  Ever met someone who name dropped their friends they thought were important?  What a great name to drop into conversations, "Hey, I was talking to Jesus the other day...  Jesus told me..."  We can talk to Him about anything, anywhere, anytime.  We can boldly receive grace and mercy in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). 
Why not trust your life with Him today?  He loves you.  He wants to be your best friend.  If you receive Him you can become a child of God (John 1:12).  Jesus wants to be your best friend.  What a friend I've found in Him! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jesus Is The Miracle Worker

This morning I was praying for two miracles - a man who has stage 4 cancer and another lady who is having stoke-like symptoms and can't move her right side.  Some say Jesus doesn't do miracles anymore.  I would wholeheartedly disagree!  In seminary I was taught a principle of "first mention".  This meant if something was controversial in scripture, go back to the first mention of it in scripture.  No doubt Jesus did many miracles.  His first was turning water into wine at a wedding in John 2.  What is so significant about this?  Anyone ever had or seen something go bad at a wedding?  It is supposed to be the perfect day of a bride's life.  No one is more upset when something doesn't work out than the bride - well, maybe her mom.  So much hard work and effort.  So much time and money spent. 

Isn't that true about us when something goes wrong in our lives?  Everything was going so right and then BOOM!  Cancer, stroke, financial ruin, death, etc.  We are in desperate need of a miracle. Jesus still works miracles.  In the middle of your need for Jesus to move, what if He asks you to do something?   Me?  I thought HE was supposed to do it?  Of course Jesus is the only healer and miracle worker, but He wants our faith.  In this story of water being turned to wine, Jesus asked them to go and get large vessels to hold water.  What?  Just make it rain wine Jesus!  Just make it appear in our glasses again. Remember what Jesus' mother told them? (John 2:5) “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'"  Be ready in the middle of your need to do whatever Jesus tells you to do.  Why?  A miracle isn't far behind.

Remember these words.  (Isaiah 55:8-9 LB) “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.”  You must focus on what Jesus wants to do in you.  Stop focusing on the problem at hand and focus on what God wants to do overall in and through the miracle at hand.  1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Trials will come, but so will greater faith, spiritual growth, and a huge blessing in the miracle.

You must believe the unbelievable.  When the world tells you its impossible you must remember Mark 10:27, "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Jesus is still in the business of doing miracles.  It doesn't matter how many miracles you hear about or see sometimes though.  The one you need now isn't the one you read about long ago or hear about in a distant land.  The one you need is yours.  Jesus will do a miracle in you!

You must also expect the best to happen.  In John 2:10 we read, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  Jesus is still saving the best part for your life.  The latter will be greater than the former.  I'm reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in Ephesians, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Eph. 3:20).  Jesus can do more than you could ever expect or see in the natural.  It is time to believe and expect the greatest from the greatest.  Jesus is the miracle worker!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Drink For The Thirsty Soul

John wrote in Revelation 1:18 these powerful words of Jesus, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.” Jesus defeated death and has the keys of not only Hades and Death, but also the key to a fulfilled life in Him. John goes on to say in Revelation 3, “I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” Does that sound like you? Are you spiritually dead? Sometimes the events of life can drain us. Maybe your spiritual life was once vibrant and life-giving but now it has been sucked dry. You can be refreshed and once again be satisfied.

Isaiah 55:1-2 declares the hope you need. “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink, even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk - it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.” There is a drink for the thirsty soul that only Jesus can provide. A drink of alcohol won’t fill you or bring the peace you need. The Lord isn’t saying you need a better diet (although I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt most of us). It is the refreshment in the Spirit. It is time spent in His presence. Jesus is the drink for the thirsty soul.

Maybe you’ve been through some real trials and temptations lately. The Psalmist wrote, “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.” Does this sound like you? There is a drink for the thirsty soul. Perhaps you’ve experienced a personal tragedy. Psalms 61:2 says, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to a rock that is higher than I.” Have you been attacked unjustly by those around you? It especially hurts when it’s those you love the most. The Psalmist experienced this,” With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause” (Psalm 109:3). There is a refuge of living water for your thirsty soul.

Maybe you have been just overwhelmed with work and your life is just full and fast paced. Palm 63:1-2 says, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” There is no land too dry and no time too weary that a drink of His Spirit cannot satisfy. You could be even caught in shame in guilt. Psalm 38:4 says, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” There is no burden too heavy for the Lord.

It is time for you to drink from the fountain of the Lord’s Spirit again. John ends Revelation with these words, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). Refreshment is only found in God’s Spirit. It is better than water in a desert and air conditioning in the summer. Respond to this invitation from the Lord to renew your relationship with Him. Repent of obstacles and sin in your way and drink of His living waters once again.

Friday, August 3, 2012

He's Been There Too

When I have a problem, it is easier for me to talk to someone who has been in my shoes. Those who can identify with me seem to have more compassion and I seem to listen more attentively to their advice. Did you know that Jesus identifies with you in your problems and pain? Isaiah 53:3 tells us Jesus was, “Despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Sometimes we forget (or may not know) that Jesus understands what we go through in life.

Jesus was despised, rejected, and experienced sorrow and grief. Jesus knows what loneliness feels like. He spent the night before His crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you imagine the stress involved in knowing you would die a horrible death the next day? Scripture tells us His sweat had drops of blood in it (Luke 22:43-44). Even the disciples who were supposed to pray with Him that night fell asleep. Didn’t they care He was about to die? One of His own disciples, Judas, had even betrayed Him for a few dollars. All of His disciples left His side while He hung on the cross. Talk about a time of despair and hopelessness.

Next to crucifixion, the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane was the hardest time of His life. But Jesus overcame all of this despair and hopelessness. Remember this statement: before Calvary existed, Gethsemane existed. Jesus endured horrendous pain and suffering on the road to tremendous victory and resurrection.

We all go through times of despair, rejection, ridicule, sorrow and grief. But before we arrived at Anguish Avenue and Despair Drive Jesus had already been there. Sometime you may feel like you’ve been abandoned by everyone. It may even feel like your friends and family have all left in your time of need. Remember Jesus went through Gethsemane to reach Calvary. His disciples left Him. Even God the Father turned His face from Jesus while He took on all the sins of the world. Jesus not only understands but He’s been there too.

One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 4:15. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin." He has been where we are before we ever arrived there. We can go to Him (v. 16) boldly and obtain mercy and grace in our greatest time of need.

Calvary is the hill outside Jerusalem on which Jesus was crucified. While it may seem like a place of torture and sorrow it ultimately was a place of victory and salvation. Jesus did not die on Calvary so God would love us. He died because God loved us. Are you going through a Garden of Gethsemane? God loves you! There is a Calvary insight for you. Stop trying to fix your problems on your own. Men try to fix problems with duct tape. Jesus did it with nails. Give your life to Jesus – you won’t be disappointed. Jesus understands what you are going though because He’s been there too.