Saturday, December 8, 2018

Chirstmas: The Back Story Pt 3


Pericope: Luke1: 39-45

Sermon Text: Luke 1:44 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Sermon Title: Christmas: The Back Story Pt 3: Relationships Matter

BP: Move the hearers to pick the right relationships.

Introduction: In our text this morning we have the Back Story of Mary, the mother of Jesus and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  This story is central to the Christmas story because it reveals so much about how the right relationships matter when it comes to Christmas becoming a reality.  It also lets us know that Christmas didn’t just show up. Christmas took some human ingenuity, courage and persistence. When God is working out his plans in the earth God needs human relationships to reveal his will to humanity. God needs the right human relationships. Let’s look at this right relationship between Mary and Elizabeth to see what we can learn about making right relationships in our lives.

        The text opens up with this relationship between Mary and Elizabeth.  Luke, the physician, tells us just before Mary is told she will have Jesus Zachariah is told they will have John the Baptist. Then the angel told Mary she was going to have Jesus. Then Mary traveled to see her cousin Elizabeth. Luke says Elizabeth is six months pregnant and Mary is not even showing yet.  She traveled by herself some distance in the hill country to see Elizabeth.

Mary is a strong woman to make this trip by herself. Mary has a deep and profound relationship with God. Mary has just finished talking with no less an angel than Gabriel.  Mary is full of the word of God, literally and full of favor on her life.  Mary is obedient because she told Gabriel as the Lord says.  Mary is not fearful because after you see and talk to an angel and full of the Holy Spirit, there isn’t much that can scare you.  But all of this does not answer the question why does Mary make this trip?  And where is her mother? Where is Jesus grandmother, if Mary is looking for the right relationship?

        Mary is a young teenage temple girl.  Temple girls were young girls given by their parents to the Temple for maturing, source, and upbringing by the Temple staff.  We see this in 1 Samuel when Elis son Heparin and Phinehas were having sex with the Temple girls who waited at the door.  So if Mary’s parents gave her to the Temple to be raised right, where are they now? I believe their absence is why Elizabeth is present.  Everybody needs the right relationship even when you got Jesus, the word, the Holy Spirit, angels, obedience and fearless.  And the lessons Mary and Elizabeth teach us about relationship will help us with the Christmas on the inside of us but help us reveal Christmas to the world.  Mary can’t make it, won’t make it.  It’s impossible for her to make it to Bethlehem without this relationship.  Sometimes we are in too much of a hurry trying to get to Bethlehem nativity without investigating these back stories.

Transition: Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship teaches us…

Point 1:  There must be something in common.  Luke 1: 25-27 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” (26) In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth (27) to a virgin bethrohed to a man whose name was Joseph…the virgin’s name was Mary.  Mary and Elizabeth had a lot in common. Both required divine intervention to get pregnant. Both were visited by Gabriel. They both had miraculous conception of their babies. Both had to deal with people’s reactions to their pregnancies. Both had to deal with doubting husbands. Both had to have Angelic intervention to convince their spouses. Both were isolated. Both had enormous faith and the favor of God on their lives. They were cousins. They both were carrying the central figures that would usher in salvation to the world for all of history.

This relationship had common ground so it could have common goals. It is important when you enter into a relationship with someone that you have something in common with them. When there is nothing in common there is nothing to hold a relationship together.

a)  Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

Amos 3:3

I recently read in a book that said just because a couple are devout Christians does it mean they will have a productive marriage. Notice Amos doesn’t say what the agreement is, just that there is agreement that creates the bond.

Point 2: There has to be a connection.  Luke 1:41 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,

The text says Elizabeth heard Mary‘s voice and her baby, John the Baptist, leaped in her womb. Not only that, she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Now if that isn’t connection I don’t know what is. Relationship must have some intuitive connection and spiritual connection. You cannot be unequally yoke.  2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

NLT - Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 

CEV - Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same?

Just the sound of Mary’s voice penetrated Elizabeth’s very being all the way to her core. Just the sound of Mary’s voice invaded the space in Elizabeth’s womb and into a whole other human being. 

Spiritual connection has to go to the core of who you are. You cannot just have surface spiritual relationships. You must be in spiritual relationships that penetrate who you are in the future that you are carrying inside of you. John the Baptist was Elizabeth’s future. Your relationships need to be meaningful, purposeful and have the potential of changing your walk or why have them. Mary was intentional and she was impactful. Notice she is in her teens and Elizabeth is a much older woman, but age is just a number when it comes down to the spirit.        

Point 3: There must be collaboration. Luke 1: 42-43 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Notice how the two women were collaborative. Elizabeth wanted to know why Mary came to see her. She wanted to know why she was so honored to receive the visit from the mother of the Savior of the world.

Isn’t it interesting how she already knows this about Mary. Elizabeth already knew her place in the relationship. Clearly the Holy Spirit has told her something. So if she already knows that, she already knows how she should collaborate with Mary. She knows her role in Mary’s life. She knows about the absence of Mary’s mother and why. She never asks her where her mother is or why isn’t she seeking counsel from her mother. Elizabeth just jumps right in. How do I know that? The text presupposes it. Luke 1: 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Luke 1: 13…your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call him John 15…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb…16…in the spirit and power of Elijah

Ask yourself are the relationships you’re in collaborative. Are they preset, pre-ordained, already set up or are you trying to make them.

Point 4: There must be commitment. Luke 1:44-45 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 12 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.



When Elizabeth speaks to Mary she is telling Mary she is committed to her.

Conclusion: There is no 90 mile riding from Nazareth to Bethlehem if Mary hadn’t first taken the trip to Elizabeth house alone.  There is no ability to have a baby without her mother if she doesn’t see how it’s done at Elizabeth’s house.  There is no ability to endure the shame of an out of wedlock pregnancy and a disconnected husband if she doesn’t see how Elizabeth manages her relationship with Zachariah’s deaf, dumb and disbelief and all the talk behind that.  There is no birth if she doesn’t see how to manage a miracle baby. 

        This tells me you may have Jesus on the inside. You may be full of the Holy Spirit.  You may have all kind of favor in your life.  You may have daily conversations with your angels but if you are not in a right relationship you won’t be able to birth Jesus and reveal the Jesus in you to the world.   Relationships matter.  I don’t know where Jesus grandmother is. She is not around just like some of your mothers and fathers were not around.  Don’t stop there.  Find the right relationship to help you become the person God called you to be. Christmas by yourself isn’t fun.  Who buys themselves a present sit it under the tree and get up with glee to open it by yourself.  You need the right relationship to have the Christmas God intended for you to have…

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas: The Back Story


Pericope: Matthew 1:17
Sermon Text: Matthew 1: 17 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Sermon Title: Christmas: The Back Story!
Gen 3:15 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Point 1:  God is always working behind the scenes. Vs 17 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
a.  God always works backwards forward. Isiah 46:10 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’.
b.      b. God always has a purpose in mind. Proverbs 19:21 21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
c.       c. To carry out the purpose God shows up when we least expect it. Genesis 15:17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.  Romans 8:28 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 
Point 2: God broke the rules and made exceptions in order to get Jesus to us.  Vs.3, 5, 6, 16 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar… 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth…6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
        a. The only one allowed to break the law is the one who makes the law. Ephesians 2: 8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Point 3: God will move heaven and earth to get you what you need.   Phil 4: 6 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Vs 19 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
        a. Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
        b. God will work against the odds. 2 Kings 6:16 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
        c. God’s timing is perfect. Galatians 4:4-5 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman..

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Premeditated Praise


Pericope:  Psalms 34:1-10 ESV - 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;   his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me  and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps

    around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,  for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Sermon Text:  Psalms 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praises shall continually be in my mouth. 

Sermon Title: Premeditated Praise!



1 Sam 21:12-22:2 - 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?” 22 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

       

Point 1:  Premeditated praise must be prescribed.  Vs. 1-3  

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Point 2:  Premeditated praise must be preoccupied with God.  Vs. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Praise 3:  Premeditated praise must have a prescription.  Vs. 6

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.

        1 Samuel 22:1-2:2 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

         

Point 4:  Premeditated praise must be fearless.  Vs. 7-9 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!

Point 5:  Premeditated praise must be personal.  Vs. 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Vs. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Conclusion:  Vs. 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Power of Your Story


Pericope:  2 Cor. 3:1-3 - Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Sermon Text:  2 Cor. 3:3 -  And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Psalms 139: 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
1: Your story is one for the archives…scars and all…
Joshua 14: 7-8 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.
Vs 8 …Followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Vs 9…you followed the Lord wholeheartedly.  Vs 14…you followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
2: Your story needs to be told and retold
  Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,
3:  Your story is written on human hearts
Vs. 3 - 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4:  Your story Is His-Story  vs. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Straight Line to Success


Sermon Text: Matthew 16:16 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Sermon Title: The Straight Line to Success

BP: Move the hearers to trust God.

Introduction: Everyone wants to know the keys to a successful life.  Millions of people believe if they won the Powerball and meg a millions success would be theirs. Actually there is nothing wrong with wanting success.  Who doesn’t want to  be a successful wife, husband, dad, mom, worker, athlete, golfer, gardener, cook, whatever. No one wants to fail.  Most people I know want to succeed – to be great at something but how.  Let’s look at the life of peter for help…Jesus ask the question who do men say he is? Peter gives the correct answer then gets the keys to the kingdom authority….

Point 1:  Mistakes reveal your true motives. Vs. 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Move 2: Mistakes mature you. Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

Move 3: Mistakes aren’t final. Matthew 17:5 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”   

 

 

 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bruised Not Broken

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Pericope: 2 Corinthians 11:24 – 29
Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 11:24, 25 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
Sermon TitleGREATER: Pt 3: Breaking Point (Bruised But Not Broken)
BP: Move the hearers to trust God.
Introduction: Last Sunday I introduced you to a scrawny scared little boy who had been picked on like Amos. As we looked through the prism of my life and at Amos the fruit picking prophet, we discovered a fruit that only ripens when bruised. In other words, how did I end up being a fearless Bishop in the Lord's church after starting out like I did? Bruised by life itself. That fact makes me ask the question why does God bruise us before he uses us? Why does God permit life to be so hard sometimes? Why do we have to be the fruit he has to bruise so we can ripen? Why can't we be like other fruit that can just linger in the warm sun rays and ripen. Amos picked Sycamore figs and so does God. Remember the sycamore-figs Amos picked had to be bruised before the would ripen. How many of you feel like a sycamore fig? When I raise this question, I can't help but think about Paul in and see how God did some dastardly things to him. The text is just a snippet of Paul’s bruised and difficult life. I want us to investigate his whole life. When we do we will get some answers as to why God permit life to bruise us so he can use us.
Transition: Look at the first thing God did…
Move 1:  God blinded PaulActs 9:8- 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
God knew from the beginning of time Paul was going to write two thirds of the New Testament. God knew before the beginning of time Paul would formulate Christian theology from Christ's life. God knew before the beginning of time Paul would provide leadership for the early church. God knew before the beginning of time Paul would be used to bring organization and order to the early church. God knew before the beginning of time he would use Paul to plant churches all over Europe and Asia minor. But just because God knew Paul’s end from the beginning and his destiny, God still had to blind him to get him there. God had to take Paul through some things to get him to the place he could use him. So, first God blinded him and made him follow before he could lead. 
Vs. 8 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
Paul had to be brought to a place of total submission and humility. For Paul it was blindness. What will it be for you and I?
Humility is key to being used by God. My mother use to tell me, “son stay low and humble, so the Lord can use you. Humility isn’t a fake pious look on your face, its your spirit being controlled by God. Example wild horse…meek inherit the earth…
What kind of situation does God have to bring you to before you are blind enough to seeRepeat. There are times when we are in the middle of the day riding our horse and life itself blinds us. Notice the light only blinded Paul and not the men with him. There are some things in life that God will permit that will only affect you and no one else. The way out is stop trying to see with your eyes and start looking through theblinded eyes of God. Humble yourself before the Lord and he will exalt you…
Transition:  After God temporarily blinded Paul he still wasn't finished making Paul sohe pressurized him.
Move 2: God put Paul under constant pressure2 Corinthians 12:7-87 So to keep me from becoming conceitedbecause of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass meto keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
What kind of God elevates you to see what nobody has ever seen or heard then put you under the pressure of constant attacks to keep you humble? God why did you elevate me if you were only going to put a thorn in my flesh to keep me in check? Why did you let me see so much then not permit me to tell what I saw? God do you not trust me. You trusted me to see it but not tell what I saw. God wouldn't it have been better to never let me experience the third heaven if you couldn't trust me with the revelation.
God wouldn't it have been better had I never had a husband if we were going to get a divorce. God wouldn't it have been better had I not gotten the promotion if it was going to be so stressful. God wouldn't it have been better if I never had a child if they were going to be so disobedient. So many times, we think pressure will be turned off at some point but not so. The human spirit does not have gadgets or instruments that say that's enough. Picture of PSI RPM EXPLAIN
There is no such monitor we can put on our face or head that says that's enough. God himself monitors your pressure valve. God is making steel out of your state of being. When steel is made it is put under a tremendous amount of pressure. The dross on the substance that's part of steel but is weaker than the steel must be separated in order for the steel to be strengthened.
Picture or video of steel being made not until the dross is separated can the steel get its strength. Constant pressure is the only way. God elevates you but keeps you under constant pressure so you can be strong enough to deal with the new level.Some of you are looking for relief just know that God is looking at the pressure release valve. 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
TransitionGod blinded Paul. God put Paul under constant pressure, but God wasn't finished
Move 3: God bruised Paul2 Corinthians 11:24-25 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rodsOnce I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
I am thoroughly bothered with how Godpermitted Paul to be treated. What's the point God that you let all of this happened to Paul. Surely, he has endured enough. Can somebody shout enough already. Look at your neighbor and say I would have quit. At some point you have to understand how God operates. If He bruised his own son there must then we must know we too will be bruised. 
I can't think of one biblical character God didn't bruise. I can't think of one biblical character God didn't rough up a little bit but most of them came out bruised but not broken. Abraham…Isaac…Jacob…Moses…DavidSolomon…The Judges…The Prophets…Jesus…

Chirstmas: The Back Story Pt 3

Pericope: Luke1: 39-45 Sermon Text: Luke 1:44 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb le...