Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fruit: Goodness…when what is natural goes against our nature!

Once there was a husband and wife with a 3-year-old child. They lived in a nice home; the husband’s favorite place was his den where he had decorated it with many expensive models, which was his favorite, yet costly hobby. He always kept the door closed so his 3 year old could not get in. His wife loved him, yet desired that he would see how important it was to be a “model” to his son. His models seemed more important than the family, and he continued to carry habits that were quite immature that can badly influence his little boy. Spit, belch, and yawn loudly in church. She would lovingly ask him to change, but he would only respond with “ I’m just doin what comes natural!” She loved him, so she continued to pray that he would learn. One Saturday she went shopping, he was left to watch his son in the family room. He fell asleep on the couch watching football; unbeknownst to him his son had learned to open doors. When his wife returned she found her husband asleep and saw the door to his den open. 
There…all over the room were pieces of model planes, trains, boats, and cars. Her son had been having a GREAT time playing! She laughed, which woke her husband up; he saw his den and was in shock! He said “how could he do this to my den?” She just smiled and said, “He's just doin what comes natural!”

The fruit of goodness, if we are willing, is something that can become natural. The Holy Spirit is willing to make it a part of our new nature.
Be careful not to cheapen the meaning of the word.

In Aristotle’s "ETHICS" he defines the goal of all action as the attainment of some form of Good.

In Hellenistic thought God is "the good" That may sound right, but it is subtle in the way it removes the person of God.

The Bible shows that God is the one Who is good, not just "the good".

Scripture makes it clear that the concept of good & evil between men and men, does exist, however, when speaking of Goodness on the level of God vs. man there is no comparison. God is never evil and man is never good:

Mark 10:17-18 And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

The level of goodness Jesus is talking about is not simply absence of outward evil; this goodness goes to the core! God is the only One good like this. As the Holy Spirit begins to produce this fruit, it will be seen, but it comes from within. Goodness is just not doing evil…it is proactive. If all we do is cease doing wrong, but do not activly do good it is like putting the car in neutral and think because we are not rolling backwards that progress is being made!

All fruit is expressed:

Love is not equal to never saying you hate someone, it is shown.

Longsuffering is not equal to just putting up with, it is overcoming the circumstance.

When we hear "He was a good man" what do we mean; he didn't smoke, drink, beat his wife, cuss, etc.? Goodness is much more than that. Do we seek God, serve our spouse, invest in our children, and forgive all…I could go on. As God produces this fruit in us we begin to think like God thinks.

Goodness, (moral excellence) is not easy to hide. Goodness is tied to Holiness and that is what God desires from His people.

Importance of this fruit:

1. That is the way people will know Who you belong to.

Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "So then, you will know them by their fruits.

2. It leads us in the direction that will please God.

Eph. 5:9-10 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

3. It is the bases for our Judgment for rewards.

2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

4. It is what we were saved for (Purpose)

Ephes. 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

5. Key to victory

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So how do I know if this is becoming part of my nature?

Questions to ask:

Is what I am doing benefiting the Kingdom of God? Would Jesus be involved in this? Am I doing what I am doing the way Jesus would do it?

If it is from God it will benefit the kingdom – how you work, play, parent, etc. Everything we do, when we do it toward Him benefits the Kingdom. It testifies to those around us Who we belong to. Remember Christ was a carpenter for many years, during that time He always glorified God.

It should become “natural” that everything you do in your life is toward God!
Make a list of the roles you have, i.e., father, parent, worker etc., and ask yourself, do you naturally express Christ in every role? Ask the Holy Spirit to begin a work in you now.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

You say po-tay-toe, I say po-tah-toe…do they really mean the same thing?

Probing Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
It has been stated that “words matter!” That is true to a point; still I have found that meanings matter most. Words change, evolve due to culture, or usage. In 1987 I moved from Hawaii to Pastor a church in the Bible belt. I did not come from a Christian background, so I did not know some of the traditions of the church. I had been in the area for about a month and attended a meeting with a number of Pastors. One still spoke the King’s English...literally!  He was describing to me about high school camp, which I had led many times in Hawaii, but the church in Hawaii was very different than the Bible belt of America. It did not have quite the same history and depth of traditions that the Bible belt had. So when this Pastor said that his favorite part of camp was the last night when they had their “faggot burning” service! Flabbergasted, I asked what he meant. He explained that they would build a bon fire and would burn “fagots!’ Confused, I said, “Excuse me?” He said they all went out and got fagots and threw them in the fire! I was bewildered. I said, “I don’t understand.” One of the other men said, “He means sticks!” The other Pastor said, “of course I meant sticks, what else would I mean?” I said, “Brother you go to Hawaii and say that…you will end up in the fire!” 
What I did not know was the word “faggot” was an archaic word from England that meant “sticks.” For many years in the South this night was known by that term. In Hawaii we also had a bon fire where the teens would make a decision, and throw a stick in the fire as a testimony of their decision. However, for me, the word “fagot” had always been something demeaning and derogatory. That’s why for me, I pay more attention to what the words are meaning to those that are using them, than the words themselves. Manipulation of words is a major tactic of the enemy. With one little word he has killed millions: “Oh, we are not killing babies, we are just getting rid of “fetuses!” That is about as honest as “the shooter did not kill that person, the bullet did!” So it is important that we understand the full meaning behind a word.

This Proverb requires that! Charlatans throughout the centuries have twisted words to use the Scripture to enrich themselves, and led many astray by appealing to their greed. Today it is a plague on society. The one organism that is suppose to guide people to freedom from sin and toward a life with God…the Church…is full of these liars that portray God as a genie that is at the command of humans to enrich themselves with “things.” They make Him a god obsessed with material things and promises to make His followers just as obsessed. He guarantees all happiness, which means their circumstances must remain always good, because happiness is based on emotions. Plus, everyone is promised health…but here is where their god really fails, because people keep getting sick and dying! Oh yea, they handle that also though, if you get sick it is because YOU lack faith!

This Proverb states that: The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich. Rich…what does that mean? Obviously from the Scripture it includes the meaning of money. Many verses talk about both the blessing and cursing of wealth. So there is no doubt this Proverb is including the fact that God’s blessings can benefit us financially, but do not limit the idea of “rich” to only temporal things. Consider these Scriptures also in our meaning of rich:

Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4–7  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

When God blesses His children, His riches minister to the whole person! The riches of character fruit, wisdom and eternal life are worth far more than any temporal “thing,” no matter how enjoyable it may be. The great thing about our Lord is much of the time He blesses with both the eternal and temporal! Whenever God is the One that blesses with temporal riches, there is no sorrow…because He will not bless with that, unless you can handle it?

Consider: What are the “riches” in your life? How are you using the Temporal ones? How are you using the Eternal ones? What do you feel you lack? What are you doing to change that?