Tag Archives: mind

The Church and Salvation: Learning to Live Life Differently

Today’s message summary of January 14, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When you are called to live for Jesus Christ, it is a call to live in a different manner from how you lived in the past.  Something changes.  Your mind and attitude will change.

After Jesus called the twelve apostles, they were thrown into ministry to watch and see how it takes place.  They had to learn how to deal with people.  There will be some who will not listen to your words about Jesus Christ, but it is a privilege to share with others as God uses you.  Some will hear from what you share.

We will be examining passages from the book of Luke, Chapters 6 through 8, for the next few weeks.  We will see how the twelve will learn about ministry.  Jesus will be teaching them.

Do you know that the moment you are saved that you are in ministry?  The Holy Spirit begins the work in us that changes our words and language.

When does this ministry stop?  It doesn’t stop until God calls you home.  Ministry did not stop for the apostles until death.

Luke 6:17-19

After coming down with them, he stood on a level place with a large crowd of his disciples and a great number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. They came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. The whole crowd was trying to touch him, because power was coming out from him and healing them all.

The groups of people there were the apostles, the disciples of Jesus, and a multitude of people.  The large group of people came from all over.  They were from Judea, Jerusalem, Tyre and Sidon.  The book of Matthew added that there people from Galilee, Decapolis and beyond Jordan.

The apostles had to learn how to minister to all of these different groups of people.  Their world was being transitioned to a place of inclusiveness to different nationalities and ethnicities.  The people came with a number of ailments and wanted to be healed.

God empowers each of us who are called into ministry to meet needs if you are willing to do it.

When we minister to others, we are not losing something by giving to those in need.  We are, in fact, sharing what we have with the reminder that God provides it for us to share it.

The church today is still learning how to deal with people of different backgrounds.  Ministry challenges us to learn to minister to people with different views of life.  It helps us to overcome suspicion, uncertainty and mistrust.

Life is opening up for the apostles as they had never seen it.  Ministry showed them life from a new and tremendous perspective.  The apostles were going into a world that they had never expected.

Peter and John never imagined that they would be going from place to place to share the message of Jesus Christ.  When you are walking with the Lord, you will be amazed at where He will take you.

Jesus healed the multitude of people from the different lands (Luke 6:19) and they wanted to touch Him.

Ministry is interesting in that those who you are speaking to will teach you just as they are being taught.

Most of the people that Jesus was dealing with were poor (Luke 6:20).  The gospel was preached to them.  (Note that poor is not just associated with money.  Jesus refers to the poor in spirit.)

Matthew 11:1-6

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns. Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?

Jesus replied to them, Go and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isnt offended by me.

 

The average poor person did not have access to tutors for education, let alone a regular education.  Note that Sunday school was started in England in order that the common people could hear the gospel.

In Matthew, the people who hungered for God would receive righteousness.  The people desired righteousness, but they did not know yet what that meant or what it would look like.  Jesus promised that the people would understand and that they would be satisfied in the future.  He also stated that people will hate and reject you because of Him.

Luke 6:20-23

Then looking up at his disciples, he said:

 

Blessed are you who are poor,

because the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are now hungry,

because you will be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,

because you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you,

when they exclude you, insult you,

and slander your name as evil

because of the Son of Man.

 

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Take noteyour reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

 

Jesus tells the people to rejoice as they have a reward in heaven.  The prophets were treated in this same manner, such as Elijah.

1 Kings 19:9-18

He entered a cave there and spent the night.

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah?

He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.

Then he said, Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lords presence.

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?

I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, he replied, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and theyre looking for me to take my life.

 Then the Lord said to him, Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. But I will leave seven thousand in Israelevery knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.

 

Jeremiah 26:16-24

Then the officials and all the people told the priests and prophets, This man doesnt deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God!

Some of the elders of the land stood up and said to all the assembled people, Micah the Moreshite prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah and said to all the people of Judah, This is what the Lord of Armies says:

Zion will be plowed like a field,

Jerusalem will become ruins,

and the temples mountain will be a high thicket.

Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all the people of Judah put him to death? Did not the king fear the Lord and plead for the Lords favor, and did not the Lord relent concerning the disaster he had pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!

Another man was also prophesying in the name of the LordUriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like all those of Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim, all his warriors, and all the officials heard his words, and the king tried to put him to death. When Uriah heard, he fled in fear and went to Egypt. But King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt: Elnathan son of Achbor and certain other men with him went to Egypt. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who executed him with the sword and threw his corpse into the burial place of the common people.

But Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

 

Jesus then spoke to the people of the woes in Luke 6:

Luke 6:24-26

But woe to you who are rich,

for you have received your comfort.

Woe to you who are now full,

for you will be hungry.

Woe to you who are now laughing,

for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you

when all people speak well of you,

for this is the way their ancestors

used to treat the false prophets.

 

It is hard for a rich person to enter into God’s kingdom because they are secure in their wealth.

Matthew 19:20-24

I have kept all these, the young man told him. What do I still lack?

If you want to be perfect, Jesus said to him, go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Jesus said to his disciples, Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

 

The reversal of life will take place for those who are secure.  Those that are well fed will have hunger and weep.

If those speak well of you, note that Jezebel spoke well of her false prophets.  When you are pleasing others, be aware that it is God that needs to be pleased.  Godly people will recognize your life and offer the appropriate praise.

1 Kings 18:19

Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebels table.

Jeremiah 5:31

The prophets prophesy falsely,

and the priests rule by their own authority.

My people love it like this.

But what will you do at the end of it?

1 Kings 22:8

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is still one man who can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.

The king shouldnt say that! Jehoshaphat replied.

 

Know the people that you surround yourself with.

Jesus now comes from a completely different place as He speaks in Luke 6:27-36.  He speaks of forgiving enemies and showing mercy.

Luke 6:27-36

But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, dont hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, dont ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

 

If you are going to minister to a large number of people, you need to be ready and prepared to forgive others.  Jesus reminds us that we are to treat others in the same way that we want to be treated.

If you come across someone who was raised in an entirely different place and background from you, there is a possibility that this person only trusts himself and distrusts others.  This person, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has to learn about trust.

Jesus tells us to love our enemies and do good to them (Luke 6:27-36).  He challenges us, in our salvation, to show others how life can be when we walk with Jesus.  God showed each of us kindness and mercy by loving us.  We are to do the same and show the love of Christ to others.

Jesus wanted his apostles and disciples to hear His teaching and recognize that this is how they were to minister to others.  They were to do just as their Father in heaven would have them to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Communion

Today’s message summary of January 7, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Communion is something that many churches do every first Sunday.  Some will do it every service.  There is no set time to do it according to Scripture, but whenever it is done, it is to be done in remembrance of Jesus Christ.

When we come to the table, are we doing it out of ritual or tradition?  Is it being done just for participation?  Is it being done out of habit or because people might think that I am in sin or to keep others from being suspicious of me?

1 Corinthians 10:18-21

Consider the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  What am I saying then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons! You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lords table and the table of demons.

You have to decide what table you are to feast at.

There comes a point where you have to make a commitment and say to yourself, “I totally commit to the Lord Jesus Christ.”  “I belong to Him, and therefore I cannot do what the world wants me to do.”

You and I have to make that choice.

1 Corinthians 11:17

A man should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. So too, woman is the glory of man.

People observe your actions.  If you are living in an unrighteous manner, and if you do not take Communion seriously, then it does the body of Christ damage.  There must be a people of one heart and one mind in Christ.  God sees your heart of faithfulness and obedience, and when He sees this effort, He will make provision for you.  God will always provide for His work.

The people who have the mind of Christ have no reason for division within the body.  God will take care of the details if everyone has the mind to put Him first.

God says there is nothing impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26).  Only by the grace of God are we yet standing.

1 Corinthians 11:18-22

For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. When you come together, then, it is not to eat the Lords Supper. For at the meal, each one eats his own supper. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! Dont you have homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you in this matter!

There has to be a distinction of those that are faithful and that are following Jesus Christ.  Let that be you.

Communion represents a sense of order within the church.  It is not a ritual, but it is also not to mock who Christ represents.  We are all saved because of the work that Jesus Christ has done for us.  God wants us to really understand, within the process, that I am sinful, but also see how holy He can make me.

All of this is done not because of deserving anything, but because of love for His people.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.

 

Matthew 26:17-25

On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?

Go into the city to a certain man, he said, and tell him, The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, Surely not I, Lord?

He replied, The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowlhe will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born. 

 Judas, his betrayer, replied, Surely not I, Rabbi?

You have said it, he told him.

 

Note that we should never come to the table without settling matters of sin in our heart (coming as a betrayer), but rather come with the understanding as to how you are blessed and to remember God’s goodness.

As you travel through the Old Testament, there were many instances where people built altars as a way of remembering God’s goodness.  Communion is a reminder of what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary, and for His sacrifice for us.  It is a reminder of His love for us.

Communion is also a reminder that I do not have to carry the burden of sin.  Confession of sin is necessary.  We are to examine ourselves to make sure that we are sincere in our faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5-9

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?unless you fail the test. And I hope you will recognize that we ourselves do not fail the test. But we pray to God that you do nothing wrongnot that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear to fail. For we cant do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray that you become fully mature.

Everything that God has said has either come to pass or will come to pass.  God speaks truth; therefore, Communion is something to be taken very seriously.

1 Corinthians 11:26-32

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

As you come to the table, please take the time between you and the Lord and reflect upon His goodness.  If you need to say, “Lord, forgive me,” then do it.  If you need to ask the Lord for cleansing, then do it.  God wants to meet you where you are in your time of prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Be Filled (Part 3): A Spirit-Filled Mind

A message summary of June 26, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people, But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from Gods Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For

 who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelizenot with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.

The Corinthian church depended upon their own knowledge and wisdom to answer life’s questions, but it turned out to be knowledge that only puffed them up, and it had nothing to do with Christ, the gospel or the church. Paul argued against this worldly wisdom, and it is hoped that you will have a greater understanding of life that is fueled by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that you would be Spirit-filled.

1 Corinthians 2:10

Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

The truth of the gospel is significant in that it is only by Jesus Christ that we are justified by faith, and made righteous and sanctified in Jesus Christ.

These are the things that are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. To the world, the gospel is counted as foolishness.

It is only foolish for those who have not had the truth of the gospel revealed to them.

Anyone who reads the Bible reads the very words of God. He is the one who saves through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has the exact attributes of God, the Father and God, the Son.

God knows all about us. In turn, the Holy Spirit knows everything about us. He is omniscient (all-knowing).

Psalm 69:5

God, You know my foolishness,

and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.

Psalm 90:8

You have set our unjust ways before You,

our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

“Now who can have such a thorough knowledge of God but God?”

–Matthew Henry

I urge you to not reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Spirit knows all about you, but the most important thing that He desires to have a relationship with you.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The only person who can reveal the thoughts of God is the Spirit of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient.

When one compares the natural man with the spiritual man, there are two different natures. It does not mean that the natural man is not smart, but it does mean, according to Paul, that the natural man has no inclination of who God is, while the spiritual man does know and lives his life accordingly.

Paul is trying to encourage the Corinthian church to have like-mindedness with God. They were to turn from human wisdom and draw upon godly wisdom.

Paul used the word “wisdom” several times within the text. The word “wisdom” is translated as sophia. The Greek word means knowledge, and it is a form of the word sophistication.

The Corinthian church was trying to continue in human wisdom–its own philosophy.

Jeremiah 8:9

The wise men will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and snared. They have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom do they really have?

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.

Are you allowing yourself to be filled by social media or the media or commercialism, or are you being filled by the Spirit?

The Spirit must prevail in your life if you are to have true fellowship with God in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Is your mind filled with different philosophies that instruct you, or is the Spirit prevailing in your heart and mind?

Read God’s Word each day and meditate upon it. Whatever you put into your mind, that is what will come out of you.

The mind of Christ stands in sharp contrast from the wisdom of man. It cannot be understood without the input of the Holy Spirit.

Are you being filled? Is Jesus Christ sanctifying you?

A Spirit-filled mind has an eternal focus on Jesus Christ and living for Him. He is waiting for you to make that commitment of obedience and proclaim the good news to others.


Scrambled Eggs

A message summary of April 10, 2016 from Mr. Paul Buzzi:

This church is blessed with many different things. If you know that you have been blessed beyond belief, then you should share with others.

Today, we are going to talk about scrambled eggs, about life, about death and about living.

(Holding up a bible) What is this? Yes, it is a bible, and it is a Book of Instruction. I was reminded that the Lord has taught me a lot of lessons. You have to be willing to hear His Word and do it. Don’t add a question mark to something where God has a period!

My wife tells me not to brag about anything, but I am willing to brag about what the Lord Jesus has done in my life.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

We are all a bunch of Humpty Dumptys. We scramble our eggs, and we don’t know how to unscramble them. Jesus knows how to do it.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

I have had to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my behavior with my wife and even for the questions I have asked that made known my positions in a selfish manner.

To be forgiven is to experience freedom. When I was called to speak at a church, He told me that I needed to ask that congregation for forgiveness, as well, because of how I felt in my heart.

There is healing that needed to take place. God is the One who unscrambles the eggs.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from Gods Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For

who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

My wife and I are two different people, but we are joined together as one spirit in marriage. God proclaimed it, and it has been very good.

We need the Spirit of God in order to understand His Word; otherwise, it is a mystery. And, we cannot figure it out on our own.

God gave me the gift of evangelism and the gift of prophecy, and I don’t know if I like that! Because where much is given, much is required.

What are the wages of sin? The answer, of course, is death (Romans 6:23).

All of us are sinners, of course.

Once you are dead, you are dead. There are no degrees of dead. It’s all the same.

Thankfully, all of us received grace through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who took away our penalty of death.

I was asked to represent a person who was caught in a bank drive through with stolen checks and was high on meth. I went to the jail where the person was, and I told him that there is not much that I can do for you except tell you about Jesus.

Forgiveness is for both the perpetrator of sin and also the victim. It lifts a burden for both of them when there is complete forgiveness.

Ephesians 5:25-26

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.

When you learn to forgive your wife in the way that Christ forgave those as He was being crucified, you understand how much love you need to give to your wife.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Hebrews 4:11-13

Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.

1 John 5:11-12

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesnt have the Son of God does not have life.

He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son is perishing.

He is only the Lord of your life when you make Him Lord.

The fields are ripe with the harvest of those that need Jesus. The devil will tell you that it is too much trouble to witness for Christ. It is a lie from the devil.

One week after I accepted Christ, I was representing a young man who had a long juvenile record who was sent to jail. God spoke to me and told me to go back and speak to him about Me. I hesitated twice because I knew so little about Christ, but I was able to speak to him and he accepted Christ. We were holding hands in prayer in a jail cell and he made a decision for Him.

Psalm 127:3-5

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,

children, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the sons born in ones youth.

Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.

Such men will never be put to shame

when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

If you leave church today alive, you won’t be half-dead. Be sure to share the Bible with everyone you come into contact with–to see people pass from death into life.

Make sure that you leave church today alive in a life for Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is Gods giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.


Your Spiritual Journey

Today’s message summary of December 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

In recent months, I have come up with a phrase to describe my life today: “Every day is an adventure.”

Every day has its challenges. Some of them are expected, while some are new and require flexibility. If you had plans that day, they can and will change at a moment’s notice.  There’s no reason to get ahead of yourself beyond those moments, because each one requires your full attention.

Matthew 6:34 HCSB

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Every day may indeed be an adventure, but each day, one after another, week after week, month after month and year after year—is a journey.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, your relationship with Jesus Christ makes your journey a spiritual journey.

I would like to provide you with an overview of my own spiritual journey with the hope that it will help you to look at where you are in your life journey with Jesus Christ. What I desire for you to see is how this journey, over time, is not so much better because life gets easier—it won’t get easier—but it will get better because your life in Christ will get richer with your personal growth in wisdom and knowledge because of the Spirit’s involvement in everything you do.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The more that you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.”

In examination of my spiritual journey, Roosevelt was absolutely on-target. I had to learn more about who I was as a person in order to come to the realization that I needed to choose Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. From there, I recognized the necessity to make a series of progressions over time to bring me to this point of my journey.

My past as a non-believer was not filled with church experiences; in fact, I seldom went to church. I was only exposed to church on random Easter Sundays, and ironically, those visits involved hearing my grandfather, Rev. Ernest W. Stevens, Sr., preach as a guest speaker at Lee Road Baptist Church or some other church on the east side of Cleveland. I was never involved with church at Christmas time. My parents, at that time, were not believers in Jesus Christ, and there was one King James Version bible in the house that collected dust on a side table.

When I graduated from high school, my first job was work at my uncles’ florist shop in East Cleveland. Of the two uncles, Tyrone was a believer who spoke about the need to accept Christ, and Larry talked about the Lord but was not really following Him. Over the summer, I worked at the shop seven days a week, and I was exposed to a new, entirely different lifestyle. I delivered floral arrangements and took orders over the phone and in-person. A significant experience was dealing with families who had just lost a loved one and orders for bereavement flowers. I also became introspective about the delivery of flowers to funeral homes, where I had to place the flowers on and around the casket of the person. These events are fresh in my mind. In witnessing the aftermath of the death of others, including those of infants who had died prematurely, it made me think more about life and what I had to look forward to.

I listened to the testimonies of my saved uncle and a fellow employee, a young woman named Renee. She mentioned to me that her life was different at that time because of her relationship with the Lord. She used to listen to gospel music and would even sing a few lyrics out loud. She was, and is today, an amazing singer. She also witnessed to my uncle Larry about the Lord. I knew deep down that he liked Renee for her appearance, but she was always a true professional. I respected her approach to life very much, and was a little envious of her contentment. I was anything but content. I was still living at home and I had already bombed out of college. My parents were fighting on a regular basis and were headed for a divorce. Work at the flower shop did not pay a lot, and I had to learn more about money management because I had purchased a new car that I could barely afford.

My past was telling me that my life, at that time, was on the road to nowhere, and it was fast approaching.

I had taken other jobs in order to try to determine what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I circled back to working at the flower shop. In 1986, as the flower shop days were ending, I was invited to a church on the west side of Cleveland—Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Roland H. Crowder was the pastor that delivered about two or three Sunday messages where I had decided that enough was enough. I knew that I didn’t have any solutions on my own for where my life was going, but I knew that I needed Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. That June, I went forward and I got baptized two weeks later before some of my friends that I had invited to church. I was 26 years old, and I was baptized with a group of 8 and 9 year olds. Imagine the sight of that!

With a new beginning in Jesus Christ comes a new template of how to live. I knew that Christ was present, but I was still learning about the presence of the Holy Spirit and what all of it really meant to me. I knew where I was, but I could now see that there was more to life than my own personal experiences. God had to teach me that life is more about serving Him than my own needs or desires.

A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, writes about his own moral dilemma in his book, My Own Story, where at age 14, he willfully disobeyed his parents in spite of his own desire to pursue ministry for the sake of fulfilling his own desires. Simpson does not go into detail about what those things were except that they were things that people who aspire for ministry should not do. When his parents found out about it, his mother went off on him!

“It was the day of judgment for me…my mother wringing her hands and pouring out the vials of her wrath while I sat confounded and crushed. …That tragedy settled the question of the ministry. Soon after I…decided to give up these side issues and prepare myself…to be a minister of the Gospel.”

Everyone has a history to reckon with. At the moment that a person comes to Jesus Christ, that history is part of who the person is, but those periods of history become a part of one’s learning experience. A. B. Simpson learned about what it means to be fully devoted to a life with Jesus Christ. Thankfully, from the moment of our conversion to Jesus Christ, the transformation of our hearts and minds begins:

Romans 12:1-2 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I made a lot of mistakes, and I still do. My history before I became a believer in Christ consisted of looking to the world for answers to questions and problems. Following the world meant living a sinful lifestyle. After all is said and done, I took very bad advice. I am grateful that God has been merciful to me and has allowed me to learn from my mistakes with minimal consequences.

Lamentations 3:22-23 HCSB

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish,

for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

Even though sin is part of our fleshly nature, we learn over time that our Holy Spirit gives us the ability to resist the temptations that lead to sinful behavior. We have power in the Spirit to live a life that honors Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Early in my new life as a believer, God was gradually revealing to me what my talents and gifts were to use in my new faith. I liked art and English as a youth, and while I wasn’t a big reader, I did like to write. I also grew in my verbal communication skills with my career in Collections and as a supervisor. At my first church, I was a greeter, and then soon after that I was selected to teach Sunday school to the teens. My first class subject was the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. God knew that the best way to study His Word was to make me a teacher! It was humbling and yet it launched me to where I am today as an adult Sunday school teacher. I would not be able to do any of these things without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 HCSB

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.

My growth as a believer continued as I developed my communication skills. I was able to finish my undergraduate degree in Business and Organizational Communication at the University of Akron (Go Zips!) in 2002, and it was not long after that when Pastor Gus gave me opportunities to speak from the pulpit. The first couple of times out were a little rough, but I managed to make progress and learn about the preparation and delivery process over time. I learned that while speaking from the pulpit is quite an honor, I was reminded that it is a privilege and that my approach should always be one with prayerful humility.

James 4:6 HCSB

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:

God resists the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.

A. B. Simpson was humble in his service. He was willing to sacrifice his time, and even his own personal stature for the sake of reaching people for Christ. His missionaries, educators and staff were all committed to their areas of service because he set the tone for the ministry. He prayed fervently and provided vision, determination and commitment to everything that he was involved in. His example is what I strive to demonstrate to those that I serve in my church and in my workplace. The desire is to honor Jesus Christ, and not myself.

Colossians 3:16-17 HCSB

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In the midst of all of this, my flesh provides constant reminders of my history before Christ. I know that God’s power through the Holy Spirit is ever-present, but the allure of the things that support the flesh make things like “giving up” or “taking a break from Jesus” more appealing. This is where history can no longer determine the appropriate steps for me. I need to treat history for what it is, and remember that as I repent from my sinful past, God no longer remembers those sins. I am also thankful that Jesus took care of all of my sins once and for all.

Hebrews 10:16-18 HCSB

This is the covenant I will make with them

after those days, says the Lord:

I will put My laws on their hearts

and write them on their minds,

He adds:

I will never again remember

their sins and their lawless acts.

Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

It’s been just under thirty years for me as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have grown in my faith and my ability to serve, but it was not until recently where I was very confident that I was in the place that God would have me to be. My next steps involve looking into serving as a chaplain or pursuing ordination with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I’m sincerely open to what God has in store for me, and I readily acknowledge that, even after I obtain my Master’s degree, I still have a lot to learn as I exercise my faith.

Philippians 2:12-13 HCSB

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

As a Sunday school teacher, it is prudent for me to continue to practice what I teach—ongoing reading and meditation of the Scriptures and living a life of fullness in Christ wherever I may be.

Your spiritual journey in Jesus Christ, from today forward, continues.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference a Week Away!

Our annual Spring Break Relationship Conference is next Friday!

There’s no need to avoid dealing with forgiveness any longer! If you are harboring animosity, resentment or dread over past hurts or injustices, then this two-day seminar is for you! We will discuss and share how forgiveness, with the healing power and grace of God, is the best way to conquer the past, free your mind and soul and experience true rest in Jesus Christ! Join us on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 for lively conversation, prayer time and fellowship! The seminar is free! Hotel rooms, if you choose to stay overnight on the 17th, are based upon availability.

Our program starts next Friday at the Hampton Inn in Stow OH at 5:00 PM. We will break for dinner and resume at 7:45 PM and continue until 8:30 PM, where we will break for the evening. The program resumes Saturday morning after breakfast (hotel guests only) at 9:00 AM, and we will continue through the morning and conclude at about 12 noon.

For more information, call Melvin Gaines at 234.206.0345 or visit our Spring Break 2015 tab at akronalliance.org.Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text


Your IMAGE and Forgiveness – Free Seminar Apr. 17-18, Stow OH

Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text

For more information, please see our Spring Break 2015 page.

Hotel reservations can still be made pending room availability.