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What Are You Going To Do About It?

Understanding our identity is crucial to fulfilling our destiny.

Our identity is tied to Jesus Christ as the Son of God; Jesus is not simply the latest and greatest savior. He is not simply another choice on the spiritual buffet; you can’t say, I will take a little bit of Jesus, a little bit of astrology, a little slice of Buddhism and a sampling of New Age Philosophy and that will get me to God. No Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus would later tell his disciples “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

The disciples would carry on the same thought in the book of Acts when they told the religious leaders, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

While it is important to remember who we are; it just as important to remember what we are to do. Jesus does not just call us to recognize him or to know him intellectually. Jesus expects us to do something with the knowledge of him.

Homework:  What are you going to do about it?

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Three Ways To Treat Your Mom by Jason Exley

Listen to 1 Timothy 5:1, “Do not rebuke an old man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.  Threat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”  

Mother’s are special people and Paul instructs Timothy to honor the women in his life. Here are three ways  to show love to your mom.

1) Show Her Honor.  In the 10 Commandments, the first command that is not God-directed is “Honor your mother and father…”  One way that you can show someone honor is simply by spending time with them.  Now, I’m not suggesting you move back home – but I am suggesting that you call home, visit home, email, check on their needs.  There are a lot of gifts you can give on Mother’s Day, but the greatest gift is your time.

2) Help Her Out. Even Jesus while he was dying on the cross was aware of his mother’s needs.  You’ve got to top the cross to ignore your mom’s needs. 

3) HEAR HER OUT.  Listen to Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) in Proverbs 1:8 he wrote, “Listen, my son, keep your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Mom’s have your best interest at heart, and they may not always be right 100% of the time – but hear her out.

Homework:  Start by calling or dropping by to visit your mom and spend some time with her.

Surviving and Imperfect Family by Jason Exley

While it may be difficult to live in an imperfect family, it is not at all impossible. Joseph is proof that you can survive an imperfect family situation. We read about Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-41.

Joseph was raised in a home filled with angry, jealous and deceitful people, yet he became one of the two men who’s lives are recorded in the Bible about whom there is not one word of criticism.

While families have changed, there is a sense in which they haven’t changed. Joseph’s family lived some 4000 years ago. While the culture has changed, we’ll see some of the same moral failures in his family that you’d find in some of today’s families.

Joseph’s family tree is a case study in imperfection, one full of FavoritismJealousyHatred, and Rejection.

But Joseph’s life gives us some valuable lessons on surviving imperfect families.

  • Don’t Quit
  • Be Faithful
  • Break the Cycle
  • Trust God
  • Be Useful
Joseph had a rotten family background.  On the surface he would appear to be unqualified to account for much of anything – but his life shows us that God can and will use people from all kinds of backgrounds to accomplish His work.
Homework:  Guard your heart against bitterness, so that God can fulfill His purpose through your life.

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 4) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. Today we finish up our look  at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE SIXTH WORD – 

“It is finished” (John 19:30)

This Sixth Word from the Cross consists of one single word in the Greek – “Finished, accomplished.” It was a loud cry that rang out over the the scene. What did Jesus mean? What was finished? Was he referring to his sufferings or his life’s work? Certainly it was those things, but even more. It was the end of an era. The Old Testament contains a long list of prophetic utterances, beginning with the first family of mankind, when God told the serpent in the Garden of Eden that he would “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15). It was this great conquest that was being enacted. Jesus’ cry was proclaiming his victory over the evil one. In the gigantic struggle between good and evil the Son of Man had suffered grievously but he had finished the work of redemption that his Father had committed to him.It was a shout of victory over sin, death and hell.

THE SEVENTH WORD “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

The First Word from the Cross begins with Jesus addressing His Father – “Father forgive” and now it begins the last. God, the Father, had accepted the sin offering made by Jesus, as would soon be demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead. Jesus had come from his Father and to his Father he would return, but first he had to die physically. And so it was that Jesus consciously gave his life. He laid it upon the altar, just as the burnt offering of the Old Testament which had spoken of the greater sacrifice to come.

Allow these wonderful Words of Jesus from the Cross to speak to you:


“Father, forgive them” – there’s forgiveness for you at the Cross.


“Today, you will be with me” – there’s salvation for you at the Cross.


“Woman, here is your son” – there’s love for you at the Cross.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – there’s atonement for you at the Cross.

“I thirst” – Jesus suffered for you at the Cross.

“It is finished” – Jesus was the victor over sin for you at the Cross.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” – there’s security for you at the Cross.

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 3) by Jason Exley

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 3) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE FOURTH WORD “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46).

There is a depth of feeling in this cry from the heart, made with an intensity matched only by the darkness that had draped itself over the terrible spectacle. All the sin of the world, the awful legacy of the fall of mankind was laid upon Jesus. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).

Now at the climax of his passion, at the moment of making atonement for our sin it was necessary that even his Father should stand aside. Just as a scapegoat of the Old Testament had to be banished into the wilderness, so Jesus had to bear the sin of the world alone – literally. God forsaken. He who was made sin for us was feeling the punishment of the sinner, being separated from God. This Word from the Cross points us to the cost of the atonement made. Thank God, there’s atonement for sin at the Cross by the Lord Jesus.

THE FIFTH WORD “I thirst” (John 19:28).

The hours of torture on the Cross took a tremendous toll on the body of Jesus. Execution by crucifixion was not a sudden death like being shot by a firing squad. It was a long drawn out, lingering death. His wounded hands and feet would be quickly inflamed, resulting in a fever of thirst and his body would soon be dehydrated. The prophetic 22nd Psalm which anticipated our Lord’s passion speaks graphically of his condition, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (14,15).

Jesus had earlier refused to drink a drugged wine designed to alleviate to some extent the intensity of the coming suffering, but now his mission almost complete his cry of thirst could be met from a sponge dipped in wine vinegar. In fact it was necessary that his lips should be moistened because he had yet two momentous Words to utter. There was a Scripture still to be fulfilled. Psalm 69:21 had predicted that the Suffering Servant of Israel would say “They … gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Jesus knew that for him to do his Father’s will required him to fulfill all that had been prophesied of the Messiah down the ages. This Fifth Word from the Cross serves to tell us that there is suffering in the Cross.

To Be Continued…

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 2) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE SECOND WORD “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

If the First Word embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through his prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world but he sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. This fact isn’t just recorded to round up the story, but as a piece of evidence that what was happening was part of God’s plan of salvation. It was conceived before the world existed and revealed through God’s messengers, centuries before. The particular prophecy that was being fulfilled is recorded in Isaiah 53 where the prophet declared that the coming Suffering Servant of the Lord was he who “was numbered with the transgressors” (53:12).

 

No man is beyond hope of redemption in whose soul still lingers some fear of God. And as he spoke, faith rose in his soul and he blurted out his appeal, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” It was a plea that did not fall on deaf ears. The response was immediate, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The word “Paradise” is a Persian word meaning “a walled garden”. When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a “companion of the garden” and he was chosen to walk in the royal garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven. “You will be with me” said Jesus. There’s salvation in the Cross.

 

THE THIRD WORD “Jesus said to his mother, ’Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple ’Here is your mother’” (John 19:26,27).

The Second Word from the Cross spoke of salvation to the sinner, but the Third Word introduces us to the wider implications of this great salvation. It sparks a relationship of love. A psychologist once said, “there are two things that men want: power and love.” At the very heart of all our wanting is the love that Jesus gave us on the Cross.

This Third Word from the Cross also reveals the relationship of Jesus with his disciple John. It didn’t require a long explanation for John to know what was meant. We read that from that hour John took Mary into his own home. This Word tells us that there’s love for you in the Cross, and it’s a love which having been received, is to be shared with others.

To Be Continued…

Seven Words From The Cross by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE FIRST WORD 

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Forgive them” said Jesus. Who, I wonder, was Jesus referring to? There were many groups of people around the Cross. Closest to him would have been the execution party, soldiers of the Roman garrison. But, there were also

 other groups: the teachers who hated him, the priests who bought him with silver, the traitor who sold him out, the crowd who had cried “crucify him”, and in the distance was Pilate  trying to salve his conscience by blaming somebody else. But I like to think that Jesus was encompassing a wider body of people than those I have mentioned: there was the band of disciples who had been his constant companions for nearly three years. Had they lifted a finger to prevent this act of barbarism?  But as Jesus endured the torture of crucifixion, they failed to make even a token protest against the terrible atrocity being committed.

What does this tell us? All these groups either actively or passively helped to crucify Jesus – they were all guilty, but in a very real sense they are only representatives of a wider number of those responsible for crucifying Jesus, because the message of the Bible is that it was the sin of the world which crucified Jesus. The gospel writers simply wrote “They crucified Jesus”. Who crucified him? I’ll tell you who crucified him. I did – and you did – every one of us is equally guilty.

The wonder of this Word From The Cross is that there is forgiveness. Forgiveness for the disciples who betrayed Jesus. Forgiveness for the evil ones who drove Him to the Cross. Forgiveness for the soldiers who nailed him to the tree. Forgiveness for the bitter hearts of his religious enemies. Forgiveness for every person who has ever sinned or made a mistake. Forgiveness for you and for me. Thank God, there is forgiveness but it is a forgiveness that requires to be taken individually, to be drawn on in the way that God has planned. Years later, one of the disciples, John, restated this truth when he wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

To Be Continued…

The Arena of Compassion

The Arena of Compassion  by Jason Exley

 

I remember a time that I was responsible for watching the boys while Renee left to run some errands.  In my preoccupation with work, I failed to realize the bump that my middle child had received while playing rough with his big brother, the pizza that was burning in the oven and large puddles of water that had spilled out of the bath water.  When I finally realized it a fury  frenzy of instructions and frustrated rebukes only made the matters worse.

 

My middle child proceeded to grab my phone and holding it to his ear he said, “I want mommy, PLEASE!”  My child wanted his mommy to rescue him from the frustrations, and the hurts, and all the trouble that he was facing in life.  He needed someone to bring some change into his life.  He needed someone to care for his feelings, his hurts, his inability to handle the changes of life!

 

In Mark 6 people came to Jesus with that same kind of attitude.  They needed someone to care for them.  THey saw Jesus and ran to him with all the frustrations, the hurts, the troubles in their lives.  And in vs 34 it says, “As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

 

And that brings us to the question, if Christ had compassion on the crowds, what are we to do? To love means to carry another’s burdens.  As Christians we must have strong shoulders to bear the burdens of others.

 

Question:

What are you doing to have compassion and help those around you?

 

God So Loved

Usually, when we think of missions we think of the Great Commission. But missions didn’t begin with the Great Commission. Missions began with God. It first beat in His heart before it was ever breathed as the life sustaining force into His church.

Our God is Missions Minded. If He were not, there would be no Christian church.

The Gospel He has given us is a Missions Message. If it could not save every sinner, there would be no reason to take it to every nation.

And the Great Commission is a Missions Mandate.  Here are four truths about this mandate:

1. It is a command with no other option but to obey.

2.It is a capability divinely given to us by God.

3. This capability cannot be achieved without His power.

4. This mandate can only be kept through faith.

Question: No one is excluded from this mandate, perhaps the question is: What is my responsibility with the mandate to reach the world?

Power To Change

Have you figured out yet that a lot of times you are your own worst enemy? It’s your own reactions, your own fears, your own inadequacies that cause you to act in foolish ways. I know that’s true for me.

I need to be saved from myself because there are things I don’t like about me – things I wish I had done differently, things I’d like to change. But I can’t change them, not on my own power. I need an outside power source.

Let me make an important point here: God never wastes energy. He doesn’t waste effort on things that are unnecessary. In other words, if you didn’t need a Savior, he wouldn’t have sent one. The very fact that God sent a Savior means you need one.

The truth is, if you are honest about it, sometimes you feel like your life is out of control. That’s a pretty common feeling. Welcome to the human race.

The apostle Paul felt that way 2,000 years ago. Paul says this in the Bible: “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does” Romans 7:24-25 (The Message). That’s the answer!

You may be looking for salvation in the wrong places, that’s why you’re frustrated.

Some of us think that if we could just get married, or if we could just get a certain job, or a promotion, or attain a certain level of wealth, or have a baby – things would be great.

You’re looking in the wrong places. The answer is not in a place. It’s not in a program or a pill. The answer is a person: Jesus Christ.