Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time is of the Essence
It is. Extremely. The phrase is popular in contractual language meaning that the specified time in the contract is mandatory. It implies that, “I’m really serious about this time thing…”.

How serious? How about grounds for negating the contract…?

Time is of the essence. That just SOUNDS serious. Say it. It sounds like something a protagonist might say in a movie when things are starting to get really good!

The plan we’re attempting to execute is gonna have to fall within a certain timeframe. Or we’re in trouble.

In our Christian lives… time is of the essence. I used to work in a morgue.

Take my word for it. Time is of the essence. I used to look at the toe tags and think… I wonder if they were ready for what happened yesterday?

I thought about myself… and I ultimately came to the conclusion that I didn’t have yesterday. It was gone. I don’t have tomorrow. Just a little consideration for tomorrow will bring you to the inescapable conclusion that tomorrow is just about as abstract a thought as you can have. Tomorrow never gets here. It never comes into existence.

It’s always today.

That’s what you have. Today.

That’s the time that is essential. What you do today is infinitely more important than what you did yesterday… I don’t care what you did yesterday. Unless you bought me a present then I want to know what it is (I just put that in to see if you were still reading…). But seriously, what you did yesterday… forget it. What you do today… right now is what’s important.

What you’re gonna do tomorrow? Forget it! Well maybe not forget it… but don’t place an importance on it that is equal to or greater than today. (man this is good advice… I should probably take it for myself).

Now… here we go. Ready?

How we spend our time is of the upmost importance. It easily defines who we are. It is a major source of our identity. Some people’s lives are their jobs. They eat, sleep, and tweet their careers. For some… its hobbies. For others: video games, children, charity work, an online life, etc.

We are locked in a cell our whole lives… it is a 24hour/day cell. There’s no lock on the door because there’s no door. There is no escape. We are bound to that time limit.

One day… you will give an account of how you spent your time on earth.
We are accountable to how we spend our time. What we say. What we do. What we think.

How we spend our time is gonna determine how we spend our Eternity.

2 Corinthians 6 begins with these words…

1And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain--

2for He says,
Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"—

Now is the time to Obey the gospel.

Now is the time to rededicate your life.

Now is the time to let go of all excuses that hold us back.

Now is the time to find what it is that is keeping us from being closer to God than we are right now..

There is no other time. Only this time. Right now. That is why it is: of the essence.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Silent Invasion

You live in your house.
Your whole family does.
You have a way you do things.
Your family does too...
And you do it that way because... that's just the way it’s done. It seems like it’s been this way forever…
For example. You have a certain time you set aside to eat. To sleep. to watch tv.
You have your own space. You have places where you come together with your family. you have certain freedoms and certain responsibilities.
In your house. Right?
You come home one day…
There's a guy in your house.
He's not supposed to be there. Where did he come from? He hasn't ever been here before.
He's in your house!... like he deserves to be there. He's acting completely natural.
You speak. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

He doesn’t even look up before responding… “Don’t worry about who I am. You’ll get used to me soon… I’ll be showing up from time to time… maybe once a month… every two months. Sometimes… I’ll stay for an entire month… whatever. When I show up… you’ll sleep in the back yard… don’t come in here… when I’m here, you sleep outside.”
What would you say to this person?
What would you do?
This is the time of the reading where you weigh your options… You know you need to do something. But… you are just floored that this is happening? Are you on Candid Camera? No… no one is jumping out of the shadows yelling, “Gotcha!”. Are you ready with your decision on what to do? Good. *INSERT OBVIOUS ANSWER HERE*
So what you are saying is that if something came into your life… and you didn’t like it… you’d do whatever you could ( if you could do something about it) to make it go away. To get things back to normal. To make your life right. Correct?
Well, then we agree. If that guy’s in your house when you get home… call the cops. Or Terminex. Either way… he’ll leave.
Sometimes we let things in our lives that get in the way of our walk with God. We don’t even know how they got there. We don’t know how long they’ve been there, sometimes. We just notice, one day, that it’s there. And it’s wrong. Regardless of what we once thought of this… now we see it for what it is.
It’s trash, basically. If it takes us even a step away from God… it’s trash. Throw it away.
Now let’s meet the players in our little analogy today.
Your house represents your Christian life.
You represent your knowledge and understanding of God’s word and His will for your life.
The man in your house represents anything in your Christian life that doesn’t belong. If it doesn’t belong in your Christian life… it doesn’t belong in your work life, your spare-time life, your waiting-in-line-at-the-store life, etc… cause they are all the same life anyway.
The cops represent your will. They represent the power you have over your own mind. When I quit smoking… my mind was the battleground where that fight was won. It wasn’t anything physical. Make no mistake… if you have control of your own mind… you are a powerful person. And if you love the Lord your God with all your mind… You are a powerful soldier in the Lord’s Army.
Proverbs 16:
1The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives.
3Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

Friday, August 6, 2010

That's the Plan...

Let’s talk about what makes a good plan.
Why good plans fail.
What characteristics formulate bad plans.
We are constantly making plans. Even if they are plans for the day. Grocery lists are plans!

My plan used to be for song nights was to NOT take requests cause there was a good chance I wouldn’t know it. But now I’ve got this little program that assigns the tones for me and I can learn the song… and most of the time the songs are on YouTube… now I take requests… if I don’t know them I’ll work it into my hectic social calendar and learn it for the next song service.
That’s one of my plans.

And when people ask me what my plans are for the kids for the summer I know what they are asking me… but really what my primary plan is for the kids to be closer to God at the end of the summer than right now. That’s the overall plan… but that’s a plan that we are all involved in.

The Legislators of our country put laws into motion formulating a future plan for our country. Our state. Our county. Plans for the world that our children will inherit from us.

When we develop a plan, we need an understanding of the topic we are developing a plan for. Is it easy to make up a grocery list at work? No. You’re not at home to see what you need.

The mother of the sons of Zebeedee had a plan to secure a position for her two sons, james and john. But she lacked the knowledge to formulate a good plan. In actuality she wasn’t thinking in spiritual terms but rather in physical… She wanted her sons close to Jesus… that would secure their position. Physical location was what she desired for them. IN Matthew 20:20-23 we have the story of how her request was met. Of how her plan turned out. Read.

When they answered WE CAN to the question of can you drink the cup that I am going to drink? James probably had no idea that he was in fact going to. It is recorded in Acts 12 that Herod had him put to death with the sword.

God had a plan to test Abraham. In Genesis 22:9 we find the story of God’s request that Abraham offer Isaac as a burnt offering. And of course Abraham did as the Lord requested, just short of slaying his son with a knife before the angel of the Lord stopped him. This was God’s plan to see if Abraham would really go so far, in attempting to please Him, even in killing his only son. Would he go that far? God was pleased with the answer.
But we can also see that there is another aspect to God’s plan. God is all-knowing. We hold this truth among the great truths… but if you can imagine what that’s like, think about it for a moment.

What if I was to tell you who was going to win the championship in one sport or another next year? What if I was to tell you what your child was going to grow up to be? When you were going to die. How you were going to die. Would it affect the plans we make??

Ponder that for a moment and we’ll come back to the first two considerations.
But the matter concerning death… many people make plans for their own deaths. They don’t want to be a burden to their family when they’re gone. These are age-specific plans generally… usually middle age people are just planning to get older. What will life be like when I’m older??? Those sorts of things. But eventually there will be plans laid out for what is to occur after the aging person is gone. This is a very responsible thing to do.
When you go to the doctor, and you fill out all that information… that’s so they can formulate a plan for their treatment of you. And again they need INFORMATION to do this.
Plans for when we die.

Jesus’s death.

The plan of salvation was wholly dependent upon how Jesus met his death.

Why do plans fail? WE have already touched on a few reason why plans fail. We lack the knowledge to put a solid plan together. If a plan involved more than one person, it may lack cooperation for one reason or another. Perhaps there is not a consensus among those involved that it is a good plan. That may affect people’s respective actions in the plan and it may fail due to lack of enthusiasm.

We make plans for the church at the men’s business meetings. If you have never been to one, you are unaware of how carefully, the decisions that are made are planned out. And it is not just the big things that will get attention. I mean the smallest things… the smallest aspects of service or concerning an activity or supplies for the church. The men that meet for the business meetings are taking it seriously. That’s the beginning of plans… And the more men we have the greater the knowledge base we can have. So do you see how, by that rationale---and I think It is valid--- that the more men we have, the better the plans we will make?

We all have individual plans.

We have plans for our families.

In satan's plan of condemnation, his infinite jealousy and perfect deceit meld into a justification for sinful man.
It leaves no one out.
It is ready when we are.
It fits our time. Our lifestyle. Our calendar. As long as we allow it to come between us and God.
It will shackle us to the darkness in Hell.

It is designed to exploit any and all weaknesses you may have. Satan… is real. And he’s very subtle. He’ll say, oh its okay… to do this or that… One time someone told me that it would be okay to miss a church service and get a group of people together to play paintball. There’ll be no one there…

I wish you could have seen me 12 years ago. The beginning monologue to my #10 on my top ten favorite movies has a line in it… the person says about something very insignificant… “You see that? That was nothing… but that’s how it always begins… very small.”

One little thing can set you off course… will it? I don’t’ know… but I just know it can… maybe it happens down the road based on decisions we make now. the rudder of a ship in James chapter 3… remember it.

In God’s plan of Salvation his Infinite Justice and Perfect Love meld into the solution for sinful men.
It leaves no one out.
Its ready when we are.
It fits our time, our lifestyle, our calendars—as long as these things are in accordance with God.
It will take us home to Heaven.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


starts next week... bring your friends!

The story of Noah...

and next year...


This is how fast things happen...

last night my lesson transcended a few points... we went from Accountability to the Age of Accountability... to why we need God in the days of our Youth, to the Evil days... which bring us those great moral issues that we must be ready to answer at a moments notice.

Sometimes the answer to these issues is not clear. We have to know where we stand. We need something to stand on that we know is right. If only to get our bearings.

Love. that's always a good place to start.

But regardless... we have to be ready... you never know what's gonna happen. Or when.

Case and Point: last night i'm getting on the bus... to take the kids home... i walk out to open the door to the bus... look back at Zoe and say, "okay... c'mon", and as they start for the bus (looking like the beginning of a horse race)... i catch out of the corner of my eye--- Devon all over Joseph. something was definitely afoot.

Had to pull them aside and have a little talk. Anyone remember any of my examples i used last night??? this ringing a bell?

I appealed to their love. for each other. Hope that has an impact. but chances are they just started up again when they got home. I hope they didn't.

my point is: things like this will be on you before you know it.
be ready.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Key Lime Pies... you can make me one if you like...


• 5 egg yolks, beaten
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1/2 cup key lime juice
• 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix well. Pour into unbaked graham cracker shell.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Top with whipped topping and garnish with lime slices if desired.

• 1-2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until well-combined.

Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or tin.

For baked pies, preheat oven to 350 F and pre-bake crust for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool before filling. For no-bake refrigerator or freezer pies, no baking is necessary.

Yield: one 9-inch crust

True or False?

Truth? What is truth?

Most of you know I read comic books. I want to tell you of one in particular…. Action comics 858. It’s the story of superman… most of you may not know about Clark’s adventures as a kid… some of you may not know the story of the Legion of Superheros…

Before I get into that… I want to explain why I’m beginning my sermon with an overview of a comic book… or Konik book as little Taylor calls them…

I talk to people who don’t attend church sometimes and most of the time it gets around to some of them saying something like this… you’re gonna tell me about truth… but this church believes this… this one believes this… and this one something else… you all say you believe the same bible pray to the same God, but you can’t agree… You are going to tell ME that your way is right???!!!!

And it’s a valid argument… it is… so what is truth… ?

The Legion of superheros are a group of teenagers in the year 3009… the legion stories always take place 1000 years into the future… the legion was formed by these teenagers reading these old comic books from our time and being inspired by the heroics in the pages they read about… so they formed their own superhero group in the future. The legion of superheros. They came back to present day earth when superman was still a young boy living in Smallville and brought him into the future with them for adventures… but always brought him back in time for dinner…
And in a great ironic turn… the hero that inspired them to be heros themselves was taught how to be a hero by the legion… before he grew up. Their stories are very intertwined.

They all have special abilities and they are from all different planets and galaxies… now I said all that to get to the meat of this…

There was an emergency and they brought him to the future when he’s older… in action858… people are spreading lies about superman… they are saying that he was born in Smallville and that mother earth gave him his powers and they he was earth’s greatest defender… and that he fought for truth justice and the human way… and that he fought against the legion of superheros… aliens… and the policy is death to all aliens… the main issue is that this anti-alien way is being taught in the schools… to the kids. They are turning earth into a racist state… this is being done out of fear. Its an awesome story… and one that when I read it… I can’t escape the thought of we can’t teach God in our schools…

But what if we did and they didn’t teach it right?

What if they didn’t teach the truth? What is truth… a lot of people think it is relative… in john 18…Pilate once asked Christ was is truth… it stood before Pilate as he asked.

Truth is the basis for our foundation in Christ… quick Crete… alone it is useless… unless you just wanna make a mess… but add water to it… it can be formed into a foundation. Take the water away… nothing.

That’s what happens to us when you take the truth away. Why are we so insistent on being such sticklers for the truth??! Why do we sometimes go to ridiculous measures (by some people’s standards) to defend the truth? Because whatever you’ve built on that foundation is going to be swallowed up… the foundation is gone… its nothing more than sinking sand.

Is absolute truth a necessity or is pretty close to the truth okay.??? Leighton ford a religious leader once said… preach the gospel and don’t be so negative that you refuse to work or endorse those who belong to a different gospel than the one you preach…

But Galatians 1:8 says…But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! And we know from II Corinthians 11 that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light…

There is one truth and it is Jesus.

John 14: 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

It is not complicated, but it must be read with no pretense… it says what it says and should not be taken for what we want it to say.

We have the ability to think the thoughts of God… but not without truth. When we make God’s truth our own… we can understand who he is…

John 17: 17 says…" Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. "

Sanctify is just a word that means to purify from sin…

I want to throw a scenario at you now… it involves truth… I’m gonna let you guys tell me what is true… what we can say is true… and what we can’t say is true…

Okay… you walk in classroom on Sunday morning… lets say it is the high school class… lots of rough looking characters in there… you walk in and Taylor has a bloody nose and Sydney’s standing in front of him with a clenched fist.

Raise your hand if you know for a fact that Sydney punched Taylor in the nose…
Does it seem likely? But are you so sure you’d bet your car on it… or your house on it.? Not that we are supposed to gamble… but you get my meaning…

Now… the new scenario is that you are in the class and Taylor makes some comment about how football is better that softball… and Sydney stands up and pops him in the nose. You see it happen.

Now… raise your had if you can say for an absolute fact that Sydney punched Taylor in the nose…

Yeah… now we know what is true… We’ve gotten to the truth.

Now that we have our two scenarios… we must ask… what type of truth are we as Christians interested in? how about absolute truth? Truth that is complete and never changes. The truth of God.

Man’s ideas about what God’s truth may change, but we know that it never actually change… God’s not pushing out updates to His word every first Tuesday of every month… it needs no revision or amending… it is absolute.

And it is an absolute fact that we face the same enemy that Adam and Eve faced in the garden… Eve was told something that she took as fact… without really knowing if it was truth or not… and she paid the consequences of it. We must face the consequences of the truths we believe in life as well.

If we believe God’s truth…we’ll be pretty happy with the consequences of that… they’ll be good. God will give to every person according to what he has done…

Have you ever believed something that someone told you… completely without factually firsthand knowledge of actually being there when this thing happened?

Like Sydney punching Taylor in the nose… you hear about it a day later and you say… she did?! I can’t believe she did that! Horrible conduct!

What if it turns out a week later that it didn’t happen that way… see the danger of our own imperfect truth? Of how we appoint truth to situations that we don’t have the knowledge to do so? How do we know what happened?

We don’t. plain and simple. The only people who know are the people who were there.
This situation deals with corruptible truth or imperishable… in this… if the one who is lying never relents and confesses… it will never be known what really happened… truth will escape us.

The absolute truth of God does not escape us. We can escape from it for a time…. But in the end… it is incorruptible or imperishable. 1 Peter 1:22 and following

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

A philosopher will say that We are absolutely sure of one thing and that is that there is no absolute truth of which anyone can be sure.
We are absolutely positive about that!

The Christian should hold truth to the highest standards. To do anything else is to justify the crazy state of truth in the world today…
Imagine for a minute that we make up a bunch of shirts with these saying on them…

Truth can be found here…
Righteous judgment can be found here.
Understanding can be found here.
Compassion can be found here.
Mercy can be found here.
Forgiveness can be found here.

Would we as Christians be worthy of wearing them…? if we did… would they be truthful?
If we put this on our sign out front… would it be the truth?

The stands we take in life… are they based on truth… or what we think is truth?
Is the truth important? Look at the teen pregnancy rate… look at the prevalence of drugs in our lives… look at alcoholism… look at the murder rate… look at the rampant problem with pornography on the internet…

A World without truth… is a world that does not see God.

I'm back!!!!

God is testing you to see if you REALLY love Him…

Deuteronomy 13:3

Like it or not… you must be tested. Yeah… You. And me…

Sometimes I’m in class and I’ll be reading a scripture and I come across a passage… and it hits me… I’m talking about something that I need to work on in my OWN life… and I look up and some of the kids are smiling at me. They know it! They know me! They hear me talk about stuff like TRAFFIC!

*important driving notes: don’t cut in line… left lane fast, right lane slow… and if someone is tailgating you on the interstate> hit your windshield washer fluid and they’ll go around you*

Not just traffic… but things in life that stress you out! It affects us. Patience. I gotta get some more of that stuff.

It all comes down to passing a test. There’s no cramming at the last minute for these tests… you don’t even realize you are taking them. And they’re upon you before you know it. You don’t see it coming… But your love for God is being tested.
Someone once told me that when we sin… it’s in a moment when we don’t love God. I thought long about that… trying to make it not true. I just didn’t want to believe that I didn’t love God at anytime—but it’s true. If we are talking about the right kind of love… the CAPITOL ‘L’ love that I talk about in class. The REAL love. The love that never fails. When we sin… we fail the test. We put our own wants before God and that basically means we are at a point in life when we love something more than him—and that translates to ‘we don’t love God’. It’s basic to idolatry. He wants all of us… not part.

Love the Lord your God with HALF your heart??? Nope. Love the Lord your God on Thursdays??? Nope.

Hard pill to swallow, I know. I sin. I’m there when I do it so I can say it with authority.

In Exodus 16, God tells Moses that He’s gonna give them bread from heaven and a certain amount to gather on certain days to TEST them… to see if they do it like He wants them to.

God led the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years to test them…
I Corinthians 10 speaks of this… and it warns us to heed the mistakes they made… in failing their test. Think of the Red Sea as your Baptism… and the Promised Land as heaven… we are tested in between.

In our wandering through this wilderness.

If you get a minute sometime… read Exodus 15:22-27. And realize… God is testing us. Right now. On this Lord’s day (or whatever day you happen to read this on). He wants to know if we REALLY love him. God allows for our moral training. He wants us to show him that we’re not just calling out “Lord, Lord!” but that we are doing the His will.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15).

What could be more important than doing that…?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My last word on last night's class.

i didn't get to this last night... but my main scripture was from Luke.

Luke 14: 16-24

16But He said to him, "A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many;

17and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything is ready now.'

18"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.'

19"Another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.'

20"Another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.'

21"And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.'

22"And the slave said, 'Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.'

23"And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.

24'For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.'"

our excuses won't work.

last night's class...

was great.


but i hope we all understand that when excuses are thrown our way we need to be able to respond to them.

AND when WE make up excuses... we need to identify why we are having to make them... and fix the problem.

God's not going to listen to our excuses.

Here's a list of excuses He's not going to listen to:

I work on sundays.
I was rejected by someone i invited to church... so i was scared to do it again.
I just figured they wouldn't come...
I'm too weak. I'll fall right back into sin so why try.
The church is full of hypocrites!
I like our youth group the way it is... if we brought in someone else... it might not be as fun.

just a few examples... but you get the idea.

john 8:29
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Christian Teen Forums

Man, there's a lot of work to do guys...

We CAN all understand.