Ever been to a yogurt shop and get one of those small taster cups to sample the different flavors? If it’s really good, doesn’t it make you look forward to that full cup? I know this is a weak comparison but I think God gives us that same experience with Him. A little taste of the glory of heaven, a sampling of what is to come, to build in an excitement and anticipation.
It just happened to me.
I was sitting at my desk thinking about how blessed I am. Not because of anything this world can give me or has given me. I feel so blessed simply because I know Jesus Christ! Suddenly, my heart was bursting with an overwhelming joy that filled my eyes with tears and my heart with grateful worship. What was happening? My Father was giving me a little taste of glory, just a sampling of what was to come. It was awesome and it made me think, if this is just a sample, what is it going to be like when I experience the fullness of Him.
1 Co 13:12 (ESV) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
If the dim mirror is so glorious, what will full sight be like? If knowing Him in part is so amazing what will knowing Him fully be like? If a mere taste is so overwhelming what will the full experience do to us! What a future awaits all who are His.
Posted in God's Glory, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
I am thankful that God in His love chose me from before the creation of the world and then drew me to Himself, overcoming all my resistance.
I am thankful that in spite of all the mistakes and stupid choices I’ve made in the 30+ years I’ve been a Christian that God has never stopped taking care of me as my loving Father. We have never had a lot of money but we have never missed paying a bill or eating a meal.
I am thankful for the life God has allowed me to live. Without having much money, I have traveled the world as a mission pastor. Acted like James Bond while smuggling Bibles into different countries. Lived in England where God allowed us to plant a church that is still going. I toured Austria in a Christian contemporary band. I haven’t deserved any of these blessings but have been a recipient of amazing grace.
I thank God that as the world panics over terrorism I have no fear. My days have already been numbered. Nobody is in control of when I die and how I die but God. I thank God that I can go to all those soft targets with no worries at all.
I thank God that glory is rushing at me. That because of the work of Christ on the cross, the grave has become my servant rather than my enemy. It is now the door I go through that ends up in the presence of my Lord. I will see Him face-to-face.
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
I never do this, I probably will never do it again, but I think just this once it will be OK. So here goes.
To move a church takes money. New graphics and signs. Printing to announce your arrival to the neighborhood. We need some new sound equipment and perhaps a trailer to move everything from storage to the church, and back again… the list goes on and on.
THE GOOD NEWS!
Somebody has offered to match everything that is donated up to $5000.00. The one stipulation, it must be given before December 6th.
It’s a great opportunity to invest in the kingdom and have your investment doubled!
If you’d like to help you can go to our old website (the new site is being developed). There you’ll find a link for Online Giving. That will take you to a page where you can give to the relaunch fund. You can create an account but you don’t have too. There is an option that is titles “quick give”.
Our website address:
The direct link to online living is.
God bless and thank you in advance.
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I haven’t blogged lately. I know that’s an understatement, the last blog being July 28, 2011. I feel compelled to start it up again because I’m excited about what God is doing in our church. So, I thought I’d jump back online and share it with my web friends.
What God is doing
Let me start this with a clever little saying. “God is moving and so are we!” How spiritual was that!
Anyway, here are the details.
Saving Grace Community Church is re-launching in Portola Springs in January 2016.
Everything will be new and fresh.
- We have a new name. “Grace Springs Bible Church.” This ties us into the area of Portola Springs.
- We have a new home. A brand new beautiful school.
- We have a new look. We are working on a fresh logo and web site. I saw the first draft of our new site and it looked great!
So all of you who know us on Facebook, SermonAudio.com, Blue Letter Bible, the different churches I’ve spoken in etc. We ask that you would pray for us as we embark on this new, exciting journey. Please pray that God would be glorified in every aspect of this move. That He would give us wisdom and provide all the funding for all the various needs that this move will present.
God bless and thank you.
Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »
I doubt many in the church realize what the Pastor experiences in his preparation during the week. How the warfare rages during his study. How familiar he has become with the satanic hiss that tempts him to water down the message. “Teach THAT and you’ll lose people. Quit being so serious. You need to be more upbeat, more positive, more user friendly. Tell more jokes. That’s how churches grow today!”
I recently taught a message on the church of Thyatira out of Revelation 2. In it, God sends a very severe warning to His people being seduced by the evil Jezebel into idolatry and sexual immorality. He warns them that His patience was running out and unless there was repentance, He would bring intense suffering and for some, even death. The message; Jesus takes sin in His church very seriously. The application; if He’s speaking to you about a sin in your life and has given you time to repent, take advantage of that time quickly. As Thomas Fuller put it, “You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late.” Not a feel good sermon to be sure, but a necessary message for the church today.
As I studied and began to understand what Christ was really saying to His church, the warfare began. Fiery darts of fear and doubt began to be hurled my way, all dripping with the temptation to temper the message. “If you want the church to grow (I do. We are a new, small church) then tell them what they want to hear, and they don’t want to hear that!” This is a slippery slope that has claimed many victims. Water down one message to make it more palatable and it will make it easier to weaken the next. Eventually the pulpit becomes so compromised, that the gospel being proclaimed no longer convicts or converts. You can end up filling chairs with people converted to church but not to Christ.
The Bible rescues us here by providing many examples to pull from. Men who simply proclaimed what God said and left the consequences with Him. Men like Paul who was able to say to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” He could stand before God with a clear conscience, knowing that he had honestly proclaimed the comfortable and the uncomfortable. Truth that gave security and truth that sent a shiver up the spine because of its severity.
The ministry of Jesus, the greatest preacher of all, shows us that solid, loving but uncompromised teaching will cause some to leave. His message in John 6 created a mass exodus and we are told that many of His disciples stopped following Him from that point on. He knew that message would reduce the congregation, yet He still taught it. He also knew those who stayed, those who wanted to hear the truth even when it hurt, were the type of people He could turn the world upside down with. The point is loud and clear, teach the truth and some will look for the exit signs. If it happened to Jesus it will happen to us. We must accept this and stand against the temptation to lessen the impact of God’s Word to avoid it.
I believe that God’s Word is sufficient for the building of His church. That it will accomplish the purposes He sent it out for (Isaiah 55:10-11). I also believe you can build a church with a watered down message, I just wonder if it is God’s church that is being built.
Posted in Pastoring, Spiritual Warfare | 8 Comments »
2 Cor 5:17 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Richard was an interesting character to say the least. I met him in 1998 while ministering in England when he wandered into our church, sat down, never looked up, didn’t speak to anybody and left. We tried to communicate with him but it was obvious he was not interested. I simply chalked it up to another odd incident in ministry and thought I would never see him again. If anybody was not attracted to our church and its people it was this man. To my surprise he came back the next Sunday and repeated this odd behavior. This would carry on for weeks, no interaction, nothing but a blank look and downcast eyes.
Then one day Richard looked up and Richard smiled and Richard talked and talked and talked. We discovered he had been suffering from clinical depression and on that day had been delivered through the preaching of the Gospel. God had swooped down into his personal darkness and had turned on the light and Richard was beaming.
Richard epitomized 2 Corinthians 5:17. He was truly a new creation in Christ, the old had gone, the new had come and it was glorious to watch. He started attending everything we did; he volunteered to help and was one of the most faithful servants in our church. Every aspect of Richard blossomed in Christ including his sense of humor; to our surprise he was hilarious!
This is why we do what we do as a church. Why we continue to proclaim the message of Christ service after service. It alone has the power to take a man who barely existed, who was just keeping his head above the water and give him his life back. The gospel gave Richard his smile back, it gave him his laughter back, it gave him a family that loved and cared for him and most importantly it gave him heaven by bringing him into an intimate relationship with the living God.
No wonder the gospel is called the Good News.
John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Richard was living proof of how true that scripture is.
Also see: How the gospel saved a hero.
What about your testimony? What has God done for you?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged deliverance, depression, Gospel | 5 Comments »
Had an interesting day today. I grabbed a handful of tracts and headed to the dog park to walk my dog, as I was leaving I asked my wife to pray God would use me. Within minutes I was in a conversation about Christianity with three men. Here are three interesting aspects of our conversation. The last one I have left open for conversation.
One man argued that all religions are basically the same. I replied that Christianity is completely unique because it’s the only religion that has an answer for man’s sin. God Himself was willing to leave glory and go to a cross as our substitute; He allowed our sins to be poured out on Him and to be judged in our place. Therefore any who place their faith in His saving work will have their record of sin wiped completely clean.
He followed up by saying he believed God would forgive everybody anyway. After all his mother forgave him for everything he had done so why wouldn’t God, isn’t God more loving than his mother? I took him to Revelation 20 and the great white throne judgment where the books will be opened and each man is judged according to his deeds. This gave me the opportunity to reiterate that in the case of a believer there will be no sins listed in those books because of the work of Christ. If God has already judged those sins on Jesus He will not judge them again on the believer.
He had obviously had enough of this and became a bit more aggressive. He said he really didn’t believe in God anyway and couldn’t understand the concept of a God who supposedly knows everything before it happens yet would continue on with creation. If He understood man was going to fall and must be punished with hell why would He continue on with His plans? He used the example of an ant hill. If you were creating an ant hill and knew they would rebel, forcing you to pour lighter fluid over them and burn them why wouldn’t you stop before that happens? He piled on one more thought. If you knew a man was going to be a rapist and murderer would you still create him? Right at that moment the conversation unfortunately had an abrupt interruption and we were unable to continue.
I think this is a great opportunity to sharpen our evangelism skills by discussing this.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged dog park, evangelism, forgiveness, grace, judgment, substitution, Wrath | 16 Comments »