Tag Archives: rejoice

Giving Thanks Through Worship

Today’s message summary of November 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

 

Psalm 100:1-5

Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God!

Serve the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us, and we are his

his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;

his faithfulness, through all generations.

 

Psalm 100 is very simple to understand.  It is the shortest psalm in the Bible and very memorable.  It is sung during several worship services.  If you have attended a Reformed Presbyterian church, you would have heard this presented as part of a doxology.

Take notice of the title of Psalm 100.  It is written as a psalm of Thanksgiving.  It is also referred to as a psalm of giving praise.  Both references are correct.  Giving thanks is a way of showing appreciation to God for what He has done.  It is an act of worship.

Psalm 100 has two parts.  The first three verses acknowledge God for who He is, and the last two verses worship Him.

The first command in the psalm is in verse 2, where you are asked to serve Him.  In verse 3, we are two know who He is, and is verse 4, we are to give thanks to Him.  The psalm was written for public worship.  In Jesus’s time, the people would have read this psalm within the synagogue.  The people would publicly assemble to come together in a unified presence to praise God.  It was to be done with exuberance.  It is an invitation to come together with excitement!

Everyone, throughout the world, was invited to worship and praise Him.  It was not a song relegated to the Jews.  People were to shout to Him with gladness!  If you can picture everyone coming together to recognize a king or queen, you can imagine the crowd forming and celebrating loudly.  Thousands and thousands of churches are all worshiping right now in this manner.  There is certainly nothing wrong with making a joyful noise unto the Lord!

This praise was (and is) to be a praise of reverence.  While the physical buildings that existed from the days of Jesus and the Old Testament, we are now able to worship the Lord through our own bodies. Jesus declared that our own bodies are temples before Him.  God deserves all praises from mankind and for all of creation.

Luke 19:40

He (Jesus) answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

Note that Psalm 95 has a similar approach to Psalm 100:

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord,

shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation!

Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving;

let us shout triumphantly to him in song.

For the Lord is a great God,

a great King above all gods.

The depths of the earth are in his hand,

and the mountain peaks are his.

The sea is his; he made it.

His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

the sheep under his care.

Today, if you hear his voice.

 

The first command in Psalm 100 is to serve…as in serve the Lord (Psalm 100:2).

The word “serve” describes the act of working or worshiping as a slave before God.  Being a slave for God implies ownership (not in the negative sense of slavery within US history).  God is to be feared as our Master.

Colossians 3:22

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Dont work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.

When you note that we are servants of God, it means that there is a reverence for Him.  In the same way that servants have masters, God does not want His true servants to do what they want to do.  Because we are in the flesh, we are to remain obedient to the Lord because it is in our best interest.  When we serve Him, we are to do so with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

Psalm 2:10-12

So now, kings, be wise;

receive instruction, you judges of the earth.

Serve the Lord with reverential awe

and rejoice with trembling.

Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry

and you will perish in your rebellion,

for his anger may ignite at any moment.

All who take refuge in him are happy.

 

When we serve the Lord, we are being obedient to Him, and we are doing so with gladness.

The epitome of Sunday service worship is summarized in Psalm 100:2. We came and gathered in this building, and into His presence to worship Him.  The building itself is physical and could disappear tomorrow, but we could still gather as a group without the building and worship Him as members of the body of Christ.

The reverence and holiness of God is to be taken into account:

Exodus 20:18-21

All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance.  You speak to us, and we will listen, they said to Moses, but dont let God speak to us, or we will die.

Moses responded to the people, Dont be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.  And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the total darkness where God was.

 

It is to remind us to not sin against the Lord.  Whether we are gathered in a group or even praying and meditating alone before Him, we are to keep the fear of the Lord on our hearts.  Your understanding of who the Lord is will help to dictate your own behavior.  Those who have little to no fear of Him will often only live for themselves.

Be mindful that when you serve the Lord, your service is an act of worship.  Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily and willing perform this service.  Please note, however, that such service without reverence and faith is meaningless.

The second command in Psalm 100 (verse 3) is to know the Lord.

Knowing the Lord is also referred to throughout the book of Ezekiel and in many parts of the Old Testament.  To know the Lord is to take the time to learn about who He is.  It helps you to learn about how to not sin against Him, and He encourages you to be obedient to Him.

Psalm 100:3-4

Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us, and we are his

his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

 

Getting to know who He is puts the focus on Him.  When we take our focus off of Him, that it when things start to slip.  If your focus is on the glory of God–and of Christ, then your desire should be to learn more about Him each and every day.

Romans 9:20-21

But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, Why did you make me like this? Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?

The God of the universe is indeed the Potter, and He has created everything.  His love and His holiness cannot be contained because that is the essence of who He is.

The third command is to give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 100:4).  Note that giving thanks to the Lord is not just relegated to the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is far more than that.  Giving thanks to the Lord is an act of worship, and that is to be done throughout the entire year.  It is an act of worship that others in your life should readily see—and wonder.

Giving thanks is not just about having something like food or possessions.  We give thanks to the Lord because of His goodness.  If a person who has nothing can still give thanks to God for who He is, then they understand the character and nature of a holy and righteous God.  One’s circumstances may change, but the nature of God never changes.

Psalm 100:5

For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.

Advertisements

Three Events Before the Millennium

A message summary of July 3, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The millennium is the time when Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years. Before the millennium, there will be the Bemis seat judgment for believers. After the millennium will be the White Throne Judgment. There are two battles that will take place–before the millennium will be the Battle of Armageddon, and afterward there will be the great final battle, where there will not be any presence of a false prophet or the beast. They will be present during Armageddon.

Whenever you see the name Babylon in Scripture, it refers to rebellion. Out of Babylon comes all of the heresies and false teachings–even today.

Babylon will be destroyed when the Battle of Armageddon takes place.

The destruction of Babylon the Great.

Note the words, “It is done.”

Revelation 16:16-17

So they assembled them at the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the sanctuary from the throne, saying, It is done!

The rejoicing will take place over the fall of Babylon because Jesus Christ will be taking control. He addresses all of the members of the body–past and present–Old Testament and New Testament.

Revelation 18:20

Rejoice over her, heaven, and you saints, apostles, and prophets, because God has executed your judgment on her!

People will rejoice over Babylon’s defeat.

The great city is split into three parts (no nation can stand if the three parts noted will fail):

  1. Government/political

Revelation 19:19-20

Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against His army. But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

  1. Finance/economics

Revelation 13:15-17

He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he requires everyonesmall and great, rich and poor, free and slaveto be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beasts name or the number of his name.

  1. Religion, or what is worshiped

Revelation 13:3-5

One of his heads appeared to be fatally wounded, but his fatal wound was healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. They worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against him?

A mouth was given to him to speak boasts and blasphemies. He was also given authority to act for 42 months.

Don’t think that atheism is not a religion. It is a worship of self and not God. It is also a religion.

The judgment seat of Christ will take place–good or bad. He will judge His own house first.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.

Among the things that the judgment will cover for believers…

Did you build a Christian life?

1 Corinthians 3:12-17

If anyone builds on that foundation with god, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire. Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.

Did you train yourself? Were you in the Word of God studying about Him?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Dont you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market Gods message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.

Did you remain faithful to Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husbandto present a pure virgin to Christ.

Ephesians 6:7-8

Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

Did you produce good works?

Ephesians 2:10

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.

Is your heart in the work?

Colossians 3:24

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Dont you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Judgment begins in God’s house.

1 Peter 4:17

For the time has come for judgment to begin with Gods household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

Matthew 22:8-14

Then he told his slaves, The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet. So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless.

Then the king told the attendants, Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The Wedding of the Lamb, where the bride is the church, and Jesus is the Groom. The wedding is the ceremony of joining two together. This wedding will be the merging of Jesus Christ and His saints for all of eternity.

Revelation 19:6-10

Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying:

Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty,

has begun to reign!

Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,

because the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and His wife has prepared herself.

She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure.

For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate! He also said to me, These words of God are true. Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, Dont do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The wedding is a ceremony of the marriage. Prior to the ceremony, there is something that needs to take place.

–Courtship…wooing the bride…going after her.

John 3:16-17

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

For Hebrew weddings, it was the father who initiated a contract for the son to marry the future bride. There was a dowry payment.

God the Father initiated the contract for His Son to love those who believe in Him (for eternal life). The down payment is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

–Engagement…promise or pledge of marriage.

Marriage is in two parts…the selection and the payment. The down payment of the dowry is from the sacrificial blood of Christ.

Ephesians 1:3-6

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Dont you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

At the proper time, the Father would send servants with the legal contract to the bride’s house. The servant would lead the bride to the groom’s house.

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

Jesus Christ is washing us, cleansing us, and preparing us. We are being cleansed and sanctified through our relationship with Him. Our commitment is to be obedient to Him and allow Him to work in our lives. The more that you are into God’s Word, the more you will be cleansed and prepared for life.

Only the Father knows the time as to when He will bring everyone to Himself. Jesus Christ has prepared a place for his believers.

John 14:1-6

Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Fathers house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.

Lord, Thomas said, we dont know where Youre going. How can we know the way?

Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 24:31

He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

This wedding takes place in heaven. The marriage always takes place in the groom’s home.

Revelation 19:7

Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,

because the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and His wife has prepared herself.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

The celebration feast is the wedding supper.

Revelation 19:9

Then he said to me, Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate! He also said to me, These words of God are true.

Luke 22:14-16

When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

At this celebration, the church (all believers) will drink with Him.


No Ways Tired (God Has Brought Us Through It All)

Rev. James Cleveland

Rev. James Cleveland

Original post August 2, 2009 – Edited for re-post January 19, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cw75v2uqts

I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – Rev. James Cleveland (via YouTube)

I don’t feel no ways tired,
I’ve come too far from where I started from.
Nobody told me that the road would be easy,
I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.

(excerpt from I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – written by Curtis Burrell – sung by Rev. James Cleveland)

 

When your son asks you in the future, ‘What is the meaning of the decrees, statutes, and ordinances, which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ tell him, ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. Before our eyes the Lord inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh and all his household, but He brought us from there in order to lead us in and give us the land that He swore to our fathers. The Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today. Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)”

When reflecting upon our lives as we remember our victories and learn from our defeats, do we respond with awe as to how God has brought us through it all?

We are (if we choose to be) a living testimony to the true statement that “God is able (Ephesians 3:20).” When we look at our life from where we came from to where we are today, we should be giving thanks to the Lord through Jesus Christ, proclaiming aloud “look where God has brought us from.” It is His grace and mercy that has carried us through. God’s grace has brought us out of generations of servitude and bondage to a new generation of freedom. He has allowed us to realize true freedom, not just in this country, but also in our ability to worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Few today know of the sacrifices of our ancestors and predecessors who gave their lives for the freedom that we can celebrate in today. The times of difficulty experienced by those who lived before us in those days of persecution required a strong measure of faith and trust that God would be the One who would sustain them and deliver them. Their vision was far from short-sighted.

We have a responsibility, however, to acknowledge, who Jesus Christ is in our lives. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it’ (Luke 9:23-24).” God has truly blessed us, in our following Jesus Christ, with a sense of family in our neighborhoods when we were raising not just our own children, but the neighbors’ children, too! Today, that precious family value has been lost to a new generation of single parenthood and a lack of a healthy overall family presence. The world has a powerful effect on today’s youth and family structures that has diminished the impact of the family structure.  Only the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome adversity and move people to reconcile with God and with others.  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, pray for the Spirit to change lives and more!  He is able to provide many miracles!

Let’s personalize this.  When looking at where God has brought you from, take the time to review and reflect upon where you are today. Looking back at your past helps you to move today in the right direction in order to be in the place where God would have you to be now and in the future. Jesus transforms lives from a lost existence through repentance and His forgiveness of sin.  His grace and mercy from His gift of salvation is ready for anyone who is willing to trust in Him as personal Lord and Savior.  He can, and will, transform you today.  Just ask, and you will receive.  Amen.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)


Give God Thanks

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

To say “thank you” and have people regard you as a messenger of God is something that we need in the world today. We want people to declare that there is a God in this land and that we can say thank you for His presence.

Psalm 137:1-6
By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There we hung up our lyres
on the poplar trees,
3 for our captors there asked us for songs,
and our tormentors, for rejoicing:
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How can we sing the Lord’s song
on foreign soil?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!

The songs that the people of Israel were called to sing by their captors were not considered to be songs that could be sung publicly, because they were considered to be sacred, but what the Jews did not realize was that those songs were an opportunity to witness and proclaim God’s holy name. Like the people of Israel at that time, who were on the banks of the river Babylon in captivity, it is the overwhelming circumstances of the world today that make you stop and weep. Yet, you need to remember and understand how God brings us out of the wilderness is what causes you to be thankful. You need to always remember the importance of God’s presence and not take Him for granted.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12
10 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you—a land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, 11 houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Does this remind you of America today? A nation that was formed and raised up to be a witness of the world. God has called us to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ and be thankful for His presence–even if no one else sees a reason to do so. We are to be His witness to the world in the presence of he sin and evil of the world.

Psalm 9:17
The wicked will return to Sheol—
all the nations that forget God.

Psalm 50:22
“Understand this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart,
and there will be no one to rescue you.

The world needs to see us praising His name in spite of our troubles and difficulties. They need to know the power of the living God and see His light, and the hope of the world. We have a song of grace, mercy, love and redemption to sing. He showers each of us with his love, mercy, grace and redemption.

Psalm 105:1-5
God’s Faithfulness to His People

1 Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
3 Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
4 Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.
5 Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced.

Psalm 106:1-2
1 Hallelujah!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Who can declare the Lord’s mighty acts
or proclaim all the praise due Him?

In all things, search your heart and seek the One who is worthy of praise and give thanks. Who else can proclaim the works of God and His saving grace? Only God Himself and the ones He has redeemed.

Psalm 107:1-2
Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim
that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe.

Our love for God depends upon our obedience to Him. God wants to show Himself as mighty in your life. The psalmist says “God is good.” It does not matter what you have gone through or are going through.

No one else can tell your own story of how good God has been to you. God has given you life, and you should thank Him for it. Your here because of the grace of God.

We need to be a people that sees the world as if we are passing through. While we are passing through, leave the message as to how God forgives, provides grace, and that He is able.

Psalm 107:8, 19-21, 31-32
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.

19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them from their distress.
20 He sent His word and healed them;
He rescued them from the Pit.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
32 Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
and praise Him in the council of the elders.

If The Lord is not on your side, who is on your side? If The Lord does not help you, who will? Be assured that The Lord will help you and be with you, because He never leaves us nor forsakes us. What has God delivered you from recently. He guides your steps. He cares for you. He gives you the reason to celebrate His presence and give Him thanks.

Always remember the goodness of God. Thank you, Lord, for who you are and for everything You have done!


Celebrating The God We Serve

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today it is not about celebrating Roger and Barb (who are leaving and moving to Denver)–it is about celebrating the God that they serve…the One we are to serve. He has worked continually in their lives, and they are our example of how to live godly lives before others.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Roger and Barb became new creatures in Jesus Christ when they acknowledged Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. God brought about the change in their lives that each of us can see today.

True love for a spouse can be a deeper love with the appreciation of the godly love from Jesus Christ. It is a choice that has to be made.

Colossians 3:1
So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.

Roger and Barb have lives of service
that reflect their love for Jesus Christ. They set their lives before Him in service and in expressing themselves as people of godly dedication. Many times, they are first to arrive at church on Sunday mornings and often the last to leave. Their life is hidden in Christ.

Roger and Barb’s gift of service has always been very apparent.

Romans 12:7
…if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching

A servant is always humble and appreciative of how God has blessed his efforts. They minister to others and are obedient to Him.

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

Roger and Barb exercise faithfulness. When they say they will do something–they will do it. I’m sure that they learned all of this from The Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1 A person should consider us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of God’s mysteries. 2 In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

God has a perfect plan for each of us. In God’s hands, we will always have a future. If we trust in Him and in His plans, He will give us rest and contentment because of our confidence that He is in control. When you live a life of faithfulness to God, you will be surprised at what you will accomplish.


How the Risen Savior Impacts You

Today’s message summary from Gus Brown:

How does the Resurrection affect you? Do you know how it impacts your life? Life is more than just getting up in the morning and going to work and to school. You should know what your life purpose is in everything that you do.

When Jesus died, fear gripped the disciples. In turn, if we don’t understand how Jesus’ death and resurrection affects us, we can live our lives in fear and uncertainty.

We need to personalize Jesus’ role in our lives.

John 11:17-27
17 When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). 19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house.

21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.

24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

We must move beyond the doctrinal teaching of the resurrection to that of a personal relationship with the risen Savior. It’s more than just a period in history. His appearing had a purpose. His appearance would negate the false stories and myths that he was stolen away. He is alive, and wants to have a relationship with you.

He fulfills who He is with His presence. He is the great Comforter–He gives you direction as to where to go and also provides peace in the midst of your difficult experiences. This is how we experience the living God in our lives. He ministers to you in order that we can minister to others.

He came because there would be stories that He did not really rise from the dead:

Matthew 28:11-15
11 As they were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money 13 and told them, “Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ 14 If this reaches the governor’s ears, we will deal with him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day.

John 20:18
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her.

Isn’t it interesting in today’s culture that the women seem to respond first, while men are still playing catchup. Our hearts keep us from seeing and acknowledging God’s presence.

John 20:19-20
19 In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”

20 Having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

John 20:26-29
26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!”

27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”

28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

Jesus will reveal Himself to the believer not in a physical way, but in a spiritual way. It should be readily apparent to the believer of His spiritual presence somewhere in his or her existence. You would know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is present in your life. It’s tougher to see Him in this way when you’re always in a hurry and running to and fro. He wants you to know that He lives and He wants you to be aware of His presence.

1 Corinthians 15:6-8
6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;
most of them are still alive,
but some have fallen asleep.
7 Then He appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
He also appeared to me.

His appearance is to remove fear or concern of His existence (see John 20:19). As time passes, we lose sight of things because people who have influenced our lives are no longer visible or present. We must always note, however, that Jesus is our ever present help. In turn, we do not live in fear. We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Believers are the people to set the example. The more that we learn to love Jesus, the more that we can stand up for Him and declare Him as Lord and Savior to everyone you come into contact with. Instead of fear, we can live for Him in confidence.

Acts 2:14
14 But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. 16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 And it will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;
then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 I will even pour out My Spirit
on My male and female slaves in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will display wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below:
blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.
21 Then everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

That boldness comes from the recognition that the disciples were serving and ministering on behalf of a risen Savior. In the same way, the Holy Spirit will empower you to live boldly for Him.

Acts 3:15-16
15 You killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in His name, His name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Him has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.

Do you ask people whether or not they know Jesus Christ? Just going to church will not save you from your sins. Only Jesus can do that. If you truly understand what it is to no longer hide and live in fear of reprisal from others, you can and will speak boldly for Him.

John 4:1-12
1 Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as the example. 3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.

5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7 After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is

the stone rejected by you builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

God sets the standard as to how we are to live. No matter what the world may dictate, God will enable you with the strength to overcome the opposition and speak boldly for Christ.

Acts 5:27-32
27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us!”

29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging Him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

We’re in a very delicate place in this country. It is becoming more difficult to minister according to God’s Word in light of the world of political correctness. Please note, however, it is always better to obey God then to obey men. Jesus is the One who sends us into the world to share the message of the gospel.

John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

As you go before others on behalf of Jesus Christ, you will continue to grow and develop through His presence.

John 17:18-19
18 As You sent Me into the world,
I also have sent them into the world.
19 I sanctify Myself for them,
so they also may be sanctified by the truth.

The purpose of Jesus’ resurrection was to save each and every one of us. It also eliminates any fear or uncertainty of His presence. He lives to love us and to empower and strengthen us to live victoriously for Him. He has called us to build His kingdom and to challenge others to not live as the world lives. He calls us to be the example of those who can live on a higher plain in the midst of a dying world. May it be our desire to know the power of His resurrection in our lives. Lord, may you work in us and through us for your glory. Amen.


Understanding Sin and its Effect

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

We will be discussing over the next couple of weeks how to understand sin. Can we understand or grasp the recent events of today, such as the mass shooting of children or even the gunman killing his own mother? These events are hard to explain or understand. What we want to explore is what sin really does to us.

Men has done everything he can to try to lessen or minimize the effects of sin. We can’t really understand or grasp what sin is because it is illogical. It is difficult to understand, but it does give us a greater understanding of our need for Jesus Christ. It will also help us to see that there is only one name under heaven and earth that can save us. Please note that we have people who may have said Jesus’ name or confessed that they know Him, but they may not believe that He is Lord and Savior.

Sin robs us from reaching our full potential. It always causes one to be disobedient to God. It can rob us of our integrity, even our shame. We may become insensitive to its embarrassment or guilt.

Romans 7:15
For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.

Sin never shows us its destructive tendencies. It is deceptive to us. Satan wants us to believe that sin is not destructive and that it is not that big of a deal, when in fact it really is. Satan becomes your master when you believe the lie that sin is harmless to you.

Romans 7:18
For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

Satan puts us on a road that seems harmless, but it eventually leads to a problem for us. We may think we are in control in the midst of our sin, but it brings us to a place where we are not in control of anything, including our destruction.

Romans 7:24-25
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

Paul recognizes that God through Jesus Christ is the only one that can rescue us from sin. He sees that Jesus is the One who tells the truth, while Satan only lies (John 8:44). The question is whether or not we will allow Jesus to guide us away from sin.

John 8:44
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Sin is the opposite of righteousness. When God declares matters as sin, He did not make any mistakes. Man tries to rationalize unrighteous acts and still declares himself to be righteous. There is no ambiguity in God’s message about obedience and sin.

Sin is the transgression of God’s divine will for your life. Sin interrupts and prevents us from carrying out God’s will for us.

Sin is always unjust. If someone commits an act of sin against us, we will try to justify our actions against the other person as righteous or necessary. This is another deception from Satan. Sin is never justifiable.

What defines the person who is spiritually dead? There are different ways to define death from a physical realm, but spiritual death is much different.

The effects of sin:
1. Failure to walk in the ways prescribed by Jesus Christ. There is only one way, and the path is narrow, and few will find it.
2. Rebellion against any authority, which is lawlessness.
3. It involves internal and external attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes the attitude is discovered in facial expressions or body language (which is internal), and then manifests itself in behaviors (which are external).

Romans 1:29-31
29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.

The verses above do not describe a person who is truly following Jesus Christ.

4. It makes slaves of the person involved in it.

Romans 6:16-18
16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

5. It suppresses the truth and distorts it. Satan will give you half-truths and it keeps out godly truths. Truth sets one free from the deception of Satan. A person who is a Christian who does not believe in truth will suffer from guilt and oppression and fail to live an abundant life.

Romans 1:18-19
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.

We are to recognize sin for what it is. Sinful behavior is often justified because of cultural norms. The truth will overcome sin.

6. It disagrees with the person of God as described in Scripture. People who try to justify behaviors are attributing issues to God when it fails to acknowledge God’s Word and who He is. God has revealed Himself to us, but we fail to recognize who He is because of our lack of understanding; therefore we try to make Him a different God.

Romans 1:25
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

Do you know that sin did not originate with mankind? Mankind was drawn into sin. Remember that the angels, who were created by God, also had free will. They must have had free will in order to decide whether to follow God or not.

1 John 3:8
The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.

Understanding sin recognizes the need for Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who helps us to overcome sin.

Luke 10:18
He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash.

Look at this verse as an illustration as to how quickly he will deal with sin. Be thankful that He is long-suffering, but the moment that you sin, you incur consequences for that sin even in repentance.

Isaiah 14:12-15
12 Shining morning star,
how you have fallen from the heavens!
You destroyer of nations,
you have been cut down to the ground.
13 You said to yourself:
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will set up my throne
above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly,
in the remotest parts of the North.
14 I will ascend above the highest clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you will be brought down to Sheol
into the deepest regions of the Pit.

Sin begins within the heart of the person committing it, and it declares that the person is in charge of his or her own life. That’s exactly what Lucifer (Satan) did himself before he was expelled by God from heaven. Satan knew that he could not be God or above God, but he readily acknowledged his desire to be like Him. This is what we do when we are caught up in sin. We deny that we want to be in the presence of God, but our actions are such that we are in defiance of Him.

Every person was created for the purpose of worshiping God and His authority. Sin declares that we deny His worship and declare selfishly that we are more important. The deception is that it is natural to do so because of our fleshly nature. Sin is when man tries to live on his own in violation of God’s law. He makes his own law in the course of his sin. He sets his own rules and regulations that contradict what God’s Word says.

People are often deceived by a mere consciousness of God. It is not enough to say “I believe in God.” You need to do more than believe in Him. You need to acknowledge His presence in your life by following Him and living for Him. Just believing in Him does not mean you acknowledge and trust Him as Lord and Savior.

Failure to live for God is a rejection of what Scripture declares about the nature and characteristics of who God is. When God’s Word is revealed to us, we learn that He is unchangeable. God is not going to change to satisfy our personal whims and desires. Sin corrupts our thinking of how God sees us and how we see Him. It also corrupts our views on how we make choices as to what is good and what is evil. Note that the more you are educated does not mean that one can sin less or not at all. The other flaw is that there are areas of influence that causes one to sin, such as television, video games or other media. Sin, in reality, begins in the heart of the person who commits it.

Some people believe, erroneously, that you can accept Jesus in your heart to go to heaven but that you don’t have to be obedient to Him. You cannot accept Jesus just to go to heaven and not fulfill the responsibilities that come with being a believer. Many people accept Jesus not to follow Him but to escape punishment after death. You cannot accept Jesus under your own conditions. He is either The Lord of your life or He isn’t. The deception of the enemy distorts our thinking about who Jesus really is.

Matthew 5:17
17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.”

Jesus understood that without the law, there is lawlessness. He stated that He is the fulfillment of the law. If Jesus Christ lives within you, it gives you the ability to live as He would have you to live. It is your desire to live for Him and please Him in your obedience to Him and His Word.

Matthew 5:19-20
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Just saying that you know Jesus will not grant you entry into heaven. It is most important to hear what God has to say about salvation and live according to what is declared.

Luke 11:28
He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

Psalm 119:11
I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.

James 1:19-26
19 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.

A true love for Jesus Christ is an acknowledgment that His Word is in the person’s heart, and then one’s mind. The heart of a person who is in sin is far from God. As we learn more about the effects of sin, we will see how we truly need Jesus Christ. His presence brings joy to a person’s life with the realization that His truth overcomes sin and our sinful nature.