Drawing on the Scriptures from Ephesians 5-6 about our Relationships - Rev. Ted Abbott speaks about his experiences of learning how Right Relationships show that we are a Masterpiece in Progress.
Are you part of the "I Beat Myself Up Club"? If you are, then you need to interact with this series of messages on how you are a Masterpiece in progress.
Pastor Dummitt preaches about God's Master Plan for you from Ephesians chapter 1. You will be encouraged to know that a Relationship with the Master-Planner (God) will bring four things into your life:
1) Restoration (We are all Fixer Uppers)
2) Inheritance (We are the Children of God)
3) Wisdom (Along with Revelation and Understanding)
4) Power (Resurrection Power to be exact)
- There is nothing to FEAR!
Trust God with the Master Plan for your life!
God's Timing is Always Right
Text: John 11:11-15, 39-44 / Matthew 26:47-50
11These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
47And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
HANG IN THERE
Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optimistic soul
But the other took the gloomy view,
"I shall drown he cried, "and so will you."
So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, "Good-bye."
But the other frog, with a merry grin,
Said, "I can't get out, but I won't give in!
I'll swim around till my strength is spent.
For having tried, I'll die content."
Bravely he swam until it would seem
His struggles began to churn the cream.
On the top of the butter at last he stopped
And out of the bowl he happily hopped.
What is the moral? It's easily found.
If you can't get out--keep swimming around!
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 394.
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 1:9, 4:2
One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded as they slept. Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble.
A few days after the tragedy, Marine Corps Commandant Paul X Kelly, visited some of the wounded survivors then in a Frankfurt, Germany, hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived.
As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On the slip of paper were but two words -- "Semper Fi" the Latin motto of the Marines meaning "forever faithful." With those two simple words Nashton spoke for the millions of Americans who have sacrificed body and limb and their lives for their country -- those who have remained faithful.
J. Dobson & Gary Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990, pp. 187-188.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 4:2
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
2 Corinthians 1:18
But [as] God [is] true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
FAITHFUL - comes from the GREEK ‘pistos’ which simply means: trusty - that can be relied on
If You Want a Promotion
George Boldt worked faithfully for years at the front desk in a small hotel. One day an elderly couple came into the lobby and asked for a place to stay. Every room in the hotel—and every hotel in town—was occupied. Realizing that the elderly couple had nowhere to sleep, Boldt offered them his own room. Although they were reluctant to accept his offer, they eventually did so because George insisted.
The next morning when the couple was checking out, the elderly man said to George, "You're the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the country. Some day I'm going to build that hotel and let you manage it."
Several years later, Boldt received a letter in the mail. It contained a round-trip ticket and a note from the man to whom he had given his room years before. The man invited George to visit him in New York City.
When Boldt arrived in New York, the gentleman took him to a downtown corner where a huge building stood. “George, this is the hotel I built for you to manage."
Boldt stared in amazement at the glorious structure. The hotel was the Waldorf-Astoria! The elderly man was William Waldorf Astor, one of the wealthiest men in the country. Boldt’s faithfulness in managing a small hotel had prepared him to manage one of the most magnificent hotels this country has ever seen.
On judgment day, God will examine how well we managed our lives on earth. If we were faithful in fulfilling our responsibilities in this life, He will assign us better things to manage in the next life. (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, pp. 50-51)
1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.
Dynamite and Firecrackers
How we manage little things indicates what we would do if we had more. Why would God give dynamite to someone who can’t handle a firecracker? (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 150)
WHAT DOES FAITHFULNESS LOOK LIKE?
1. The first mark of faithfulness is ACCOUNTABILITY.
All of us as Christians are going to be held accountable. Who will you and I be accountable to? We are going to be accountable to God. It would be a good idea to start being accountable NOW - be accountable to your spouse, to your pastor and other leaders…your job probably has systems in place to keep you accountable.
In the judgement - God will ask:
What did you do do with the Gospel?
What did you do with what I gave you?
our time, talents, possession, and information
HE WILL JUDGE IF WE HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL!
25 cents at at time
Fred Craddock, teaching the practical implications of consecration said… "To give my life for Christ appears glorious," he said. "To pour myself out for others. . . to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom -- I'll do it. I'm ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory. "We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking $l,000 bill and laying it on the table-- 'Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all.' But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $l,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid's troubles instead of saying, 'Get lost.' Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home. Usually giving our life to Christ isn't glorious. It's done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at at time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it's harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul."
2. The second mark of faithfulness is PREPAREDNESS.
If we are faithful we are to always to be prepared.
There is a parable in Mathew chapter 25
3. The third mark of faithfulness is COMMITMENT.
Jesus said it this way:
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 (HCSB)
He also said:
“He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:38 (NKJV)
The commitments we make – MAKE US.
The commitments we make – SHAPE OUR LIVES.
God does not require a lot of things from you.
You’re not required to be brilliant.
You’re not required to be articulate.
You’re not required to be literate.
You’re not required to be handsome or beautiful.
You’re not required to be eloquent.
But you are required to be faithful.
THE GOOD NEWS -
If you will be FAITHFUL TO GOD, HE will be FAITHFUL to you. It starts by REPENTANCE, then BAPTISM FOLLOWS..
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Once you have been baptized in Jesus’ Name and repented of your sins - you are ready to receive God’s Spirit - the gift of the Holy Ghost.
TAKING THE LIMITS OFF
God’s LOVE - Week 3
Texts: Matthew 22:37-39 / John 14 & 15
TEXT: Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself
Most people are not able to Love God and Love Others like they should because they do not yet know how to love themselves.
If you can learn how to love yourself and respect yourself because you see the value and worth God has placed on you - then you will be able to receive the Love that He has for you.
People dislike themselves for all kinds of reasons…some people were born to parents or a parent who degraded them constantly and caused them to feel bad about themselves. Others have been made fun of for physical characteristics that they may or may not have any control over - and so they feel insecure and inadequate.
Many people today live with guilt from things that have happened to them in the past or maybe some life-changing mistakes they have made. They feel like they can never move on from these things because they were “BRANDED” by them. Some have had major failures and setbacks in jobs, careers, education and relationships that have instigated the self-loathing process.
There are so many other reasons why people today have trouble not loving themselves or even LIKING themselves. So seeing this trend in our society - I am very burdened for PEOPLE! It is very easy for us to be judgmental and look down our noses at everyone around us - but what did Jesus do when he came across the same issue in His society? Of all the recorded instances of Jesus meeting people - Did you know that the majority of people that Jesus met didn’t like themselves too much when they first met Him.
We see several instances where people came to theCrossroads in their lives…and at that point - they didn’t love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. So even though this is the FIRST and GREATEST commandment - it is certainly not the first thing that happens.
The woman at the well in Samaria, the woman taken in adultery, Zacchaeus, even some of the disciples…all of these people had issues with themselves when they first met Jesus. Why do we think that everyone has to have it all together? Most times the very thing that brings us to Jesus is the thing that is causing us to dislike ourselves the most!
We come to Jesus weary, worn, and sad…We need Jesus!
What does coming to Jesus do that helps us be able to love ourselves?
When we are in the presence of God - we can see things for how they really are. It is not just our depravity, but it is our worth to Jesus, and the love He and others have for us. - Outside of the presence of God, we not only forget these things, but the devil will try to convince us that there is no way that God could truly love us, not after…
Outside of the presence of God - there is NO TRUE LOVE…because GOD IS LOVE! The world has LUST, and FEELINGS, and EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT - but LOVE IS OF GOD!
That is why there is NO HOPE outside of God and the presence of GOD, because there is no TRUE LOVE! How can I become whole, how can I move beyond the things in my past and the very low self-esteem that I have? Love is the Answer!
Once we have learned how to love ourself and forgive ourself or others for things in the past - we can then move forward. Until we deal with these things, we are just putting off an inevitable breakdown and depression.
If you find yourself in need of healing and wholeness today:
Love is the Answer!
John 15:9-10 (NIV)
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
If you are whole you will be able to love others and treat others the way you want to be treated.
If you are whole, you can accept the love that God has for you and realize that He has already paid the price for everything in your past and you can move forward in His Love.
In John 15:1-11 and Matthew 22:37 we are commanded to Love God… If you are whole, and you have received God’s love - you can love Him in return, because He first loved you!
John 15:12-13 (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
In John 15:12-13 and Matthew 22:39. We are instructed to love each other as we love ourselves and as Jesus loved us. That would simply mean unconditionally! In our humanity, we decide who is and isn’t worthy of love far too often.
So how can we take the limits off of God’s Love?
By LOVING others the way Jesus loves them, and the way we love ourselves. (WHO) - Everybody, Always!
When was the last time you looked at someone you just met and thought to yourself “I Love You”, I love you because Jesus loves you…and I want to be here for you!??
In John 14 and 15 Jesus goes on and on about LOVE. He describes this LOVE as something that will define us and how other see us (as Christians and Jesus’ Followers). Here are just a few highlights of what He describes:
If we truly LOVE, we will:
- BE LOVED IN RETURN (by Him)
- OBEY (Jesus Instructions)
- RECEIVE (the Comforter)
- SERVE (others)
- GIVE (of ourselves freely)
- BEAR FRUIT (making disciples)
Ask yourself right now…are these active in my life?
CLOSING - How can we take the limits off God’s Love?
Repentance brings us into the presence of God…He is Holy and cannot dwell in unclean vessels…we must cleanse…
Be Baptized in Jesus’ Name to wash away every sin and stain..if you have already, ask for cleansing in the Blood!
Receive God’s Spirit and His Love into your life. If you haven’t yet received the Holy Ghost…accept that it is for you and that God does LOVE YOU! If you have HG, then stir up the Gift, with an honest discussion with God about how you LOVE, and get into the presence of God daily to be able to LOVE and Take the LIMITS off of God’s Love every day!
Rev. Cooper reminds us that we can cast our cares upon the One, True, and living God who cares for us!