The Weekend Funnies – Turn Off the TV and Match Your Socks!

My wife Liza and I just returned this week from a vacation getaway in Puerto Vallarta, celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We had such a restful, relaxing time – it was wonderful! And so, in addition to today’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, I thought I would share with you a few photos from the beautiful scenery in Mexico. Enjoy…

Calvin & Hobbes - TV turn off

Calvin & Hobbes - socks matching

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Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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Supernatural: The Missing Ingredient of Boldness #2

Supernatural Cover FINAL with Bevere quote front onlySupernatural Chapter Four:

The Missing Ingredient of Boldness – Part #2

What was the one ingredient that the early church had that caused them to be world shakers and history makers? Boldness! How do we get more boldness in our lives? By being with Jesus, praying for boldness, and being filled with the Spirit. Let’s take a look at each of these keys:

Three Keys to Receiving More Boldness:

  1. Be with Jesus.

“When they saw the boldness of Peter and John… they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).

After spending time with Jesus, Peter and John had a boldness to go and tell other people the Good News. If you’re a Christian, and you have a living, vibrant relationship with Him, your experience will empower you to share with others what He is doing in your life. When you walk with Jesus, you will have your own story to tell others. You can go to church your whole life and never have boldness. You can read your Bible your whole life and never have boldness. But when you spend time with Jesus, there’s a boldness that will rise up on the inside of you!

Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5). You may have a desire to see your family members come to know Jesus. You may have a desire to see your neighbors get saved, delivered or healed. But unless you spend time with Jesus first, you won’t be able to do it. It’s as we abide in the vine, spending time with Jesus in prayer, that the life, joy, peace and victory that’s in His presence flows into our lives. We can’t do it in our own strength. When we choose to spend time with Him, we will bear much fruit.

If we want to become bold disciples of Jesus, we need to make sure that we do first things first. Look at the original call of Jesus to His disciples: “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.” (Mark 3:13-15). The first thing Jesus called His disciples to do, before they went out preaching the Gospel and healing the sick, was to be with Him. We need to come to Jesus first, and then go to the world.

You can always tell when someone’s been with Jesus. There’s something about them that’s different. You’ve met people like this before. There’s a sparkle in their eyes, a bounce in their step, and a joy and a peace in their heart that comes from being in the presence of God. We need more Christians like that in the world today.

We must remember that the Christian life is all about balance. Some believers love spending all of their time with Jesus – praying, praising, going to church, reading their Bibles, listening to Christian sermons, and being with Jesus. Although this must be our foundation and our starting point, it’s not good enough to just be with Jesus. After coming to Jesus, we need to go to the world. On the other end of the spectrum, there are Christians who don’t have time for worship or prayer, they just want to go out and do the stuff. The problem is that those believers will eventually burn out or run dry from giving, giving, and giving, because they don’t do it in the strength that He gives. There’s a two-fold call that we must respond to – to be with Jesus, and go to the world.

  1. Pray for Boldness.

“Now, Lord… grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30).

If you were to make a list of the boldest, most courageous people in the Bible, who would be at the top of that list? Here are some of the key contenders:

The young shepherd boy, David, who said to the giant Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46a).

The three young Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who said to the wicked King: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16b-18).

Caleb, who quieted the ten spies who brought up an evil report of the land and said: “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30).

Esther, who saved her people by speaking up to the king, said: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).

In the list of valiant heroes of the faith, let’s not neglect the two champions, Peter and John. These two fishermen-turned-preachers were heading to church one day, and got out of the proverbial boat, reached out to the crippled man, and helped him experience a powerful miracle from the Lord. Peter preached a bold, convicting message that resulted in two thousand people being born again. When the religious leaders commanded them to stop preaching about Jesus, Peter and John responded by saying, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20). And yet, right after this experience, these two bold preachers went back to church and prayed, “Lord, give us more boldness!” If there was anyone that I would think did not need to pray for boldness, it would have been Peter and John. They were bold! But they prayed, “More boldness, Lord!” And guess what? They received more boldness. “And when they had prayed… they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31).

Do you know why we don’t have more boldness in the church today? We’re not praying for it. “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2). If we want more boldness, we need to ask God to give us more boldness. What else did the church pray for? They prayed that the Lord would stretch out His hand to heal, “and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30b). They prayed for healings and signs and wonders to take place. Because the early church in Acts is our example, it’s okay for us to pray for miracles, too. The early church prayed for miracles, and miracles happened. If we want more boldness, then let us ask God to give us boldness.

  1. Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31).

Can you imagine being in a prayer meeting where the building was shaken? These believers had literally become world shakers! When they prayed, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and consequently, they spoke the Word with boldness. It is not enough to have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the past. We need to be filled – present tense – with the Spirit today. If we want more boldness in our lives, we need to be continually filled with the Spirit. Isn’t that what Acts 1:8 says? “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” When do we receive power? When the Holy Spirit comes on us, we receive the dunamis power and boldness to do what God is calling us to do.

Freedom from Fear:

Your personality might be timid or shy or fearful. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, there’s a boldness that enables you to do things beyond your natural temperament. I am a very quiet and reserved person by nature. But when I get up to preach and minister God’s Word, a fiery passion and boldness comes upon me that is greater than my disposition. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He empowers us to do what in the natural we cannot do.

I’m not a naturally gifted speaker. In the small town where I grew up, I had to give a speech for the nine students in my grade 12 English class. I was so nervous about having to speak in front of my peers. I had never done it before. I looked over the teacher’s handout which outlined the expectations for the speech, and I purposed that I would do well on every one of the items on the list. One of the categories we would be graded on was eye contact. I determined that I would keep my eyes glued to the paper I was reading, and would not be distracted by anything else in that classroom. I think I got a zero out of five on that part of the speech, because I never once made eye contact with my fellow classmates. Public speaking was not an innate ability to me. After becoming a Christian, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, everything changed for me.

What God did for me, He will do for you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be a pastor, preaching to a congregation of people. But when you talk to your friends, family members, co-workers about Jesus, you don’t have to be afraid. Jesus said, “do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11b-12).

The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

There are many Christians today who are bound by a spirit of fear, worry and anxiety. Not only are they afraid to talk to people about the Lord, they are afraid to be around people, period. Is that you? God didn’t give you that spirit of fear. And if it didn’t come from Heaven, then guess where it came from? The enemy, Satan. God wants you to have a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. A sound mind is a mind that is at peace. No worry. No anxiety. No fear. No freaking out all the time. Just peace.

Do you have a spirit of fear? You can be set free from that spirit, by allowing me to pray this prayer for you. Lord, I pray that those who have been battling with fears and anxieties would receive your peace. Set them free from that spirit of fear, and replace it with your Holy Spirit – a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. Give them boldness, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.

  • “The Missing Ingredient of Boldness” is one of the chapters from my book: “Supernatural: Contending for Signs and Wonders Today.” Contact me today if you would like a free copy of the e-book version of this study in the Book of Acts!
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Supernatural: The Missing Ingredient of Boldness #1

Supernatural Cover FINAL with Bevere quote front onlySupernatural Chapter Four:

The Missing Ingredient of Boldness

THE BIG IDEA:

What was the one ingredient that the early church had in Acts that caused them to be world shakers and history makers? Boldness! How do we get more boldness in our lives? By being with Jesus, praying for boldness, and being filled with the Spirit.

“When a man who has crept along for years in conventional Christianity suddenly zooms into spiritual alertness, becomes aggressive in the battle of the Lord, and has a quenchless zeal for the lost, there is a reason for it. But we are so subnormal these days that the normal New Testament experience seems abnormal.” (Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries).

P.C. – A Preacher Who Wasn’t Very P.C:

Peter Cartwright was a famous Methodist missionary who became a preacher in 1802. He helped start the Second Great Awakening, a period of amazing spiritual revival in the United States. He was known for his bold, uncompromising preaching. One of my favorite stories about him happened one day when Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, came to his church. Because of their pastor’s radical and sometimes controversial preaching, the elders warned him not to say anything that might offend the President. Peter Cartwright wasn’t the most politically correct preacher in his day!

When Peter Cartwright got up to preach, the first words out of his mouth were, “I understand that President Andrew Jackson is here this morning. I have been requested to be very guarded in my remarks. Let me say this: Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent of his sin!” The entire congregation gasped with shock at Cartwright’s boldness. How could this young preacher dare to offend the tough old general in public? But that’s not the end of the story.

Later, when the preacher met Andrew Jackson, the President looked him in the eye and said, “Mr. Cartwright, you are a man after my own heart. I highly approve of your independence; that a minister of Jesus Christ ought to love everybody and fear no mortal man. If I had a few thousand such independent, fearless officers as you were, and a well drilled army, I could take Old England!”

Thousands of people came to Christ during the ministry of this courageous man of God. Where does that kind of boldness come from?

Two Bold Fishermen:

In the last chapter, we looked at the story of Peter and John. On their way to a church prayer meeting, they encountered a man who was crippled. Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” After this man was healed, he went into the temple with them, leaping and praising God. The people were filled with wonder and amazement. As a crowd of people gathered around, Peter preached a powerful message about Jesus, saying, “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” This brings us to the beginning of chapter four, where we pick up the story:

“Now as they (Peter and John) spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.” (Acts 4:1-3).

Let’s step into the scene of this Bible story and imagine what’s happening here. Peter and John had just healed a man who had been born crippled, and the crowds of people knew he had been in that condition for over forty years. Then the religious leaders – the Sadducees – got angry because they were preaching that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Isn’t that something? Peter and John had done a good deed – helped someone who was crippled to be able to walk again – and the religious leaders got upset. There are still people in certain churches who get mad at us because we preach the Full Gospel and tell people that Jesus still heals today. Whenever we get radical in our walk with Jesus, someone’s going to get upset about it.

What was the consequence of Peter and John’s participation in this miracle? They were persecuted and put in jail. Sometimes we have the idea that once we become a Christian, nothing bad will ever happen to us. Jesus taught us otherwise when He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b). If Jesus has overcome the world, then we too can overcome the world.

Some of you might wonder why I am passionate about contending for signs and wonders, healings and miracles to be restored to the church. Look at what happened as a result of this man being healed: “However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” (verse 4). Two thousand more people came to faith in Jesus just because one person got healed! One person healed, two thousand people saved. That sounds like a good return to me, and that tells me that signs and wonders are an important part of the ministry of the church. When people’s lives are transformed, the world will stand up and take notice. When people are healed from sicknesses, delivered from addictions and bondages, or find freedom from fear, worry and anxiety, this will impact their families, their friends, and their co-workers. People will come to know Jesus as a result of it.

“And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:5-12).

When Peter gave his defense, he didn’t preach a watered down, politically correct sermon. He said, “You killed Jesus – it was your sin that put Him on the Cross – but God has raised Him from the dead. And even though you might call me narrow-minded, I declare to you that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.” That kind of preaching got Peter into trouble in the first century, and that kind of preaching will get us into trouble today. In today’s morally relativistic world, people say, “There are many roads that lead to Heaven.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). Peter proclaimed this truth boldly; he didn’t care what the people thought. Peter knew that if he compromised the truth, and preached a message that said, “There are many ways to God, come however you choose,” that people wouldn’t get to Heaven. What happened after Peter preached this message?

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” (Acts 4:13-14).

Why were they bold? Because they knew in whom they believed. They knew their Redeemer lived. They knew Jesus personally – they had walked with Him and talked with Him.

Not Ashamed of the Gospel:

One of my favorite Scriptures is Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Paul declared that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because he knew that this Good News had the power to change people’s lives. The Gospel has the power to take someone out of darkness, and translate them into the kingdom of His marvelous light. It has the power to take someone who was lost, and cause them to be found. It has the power to take someone who was a child of the devil, and make them a child of God. It has the power to take someone who was sick, and heal them. It has the power to take someone who was addicted to drugs, alcohol, or sexual immorality, and set them free. And he who the Son sets free is free indeed! Paul said, “I’m not ashamed of that Good News.”

If the Gospel truly is so powerful, then why are there so many Christians who are ashamed of it? Why are so many believers afraid of what other people think of them? How do we get rid of this fear of man? How can we stop being so concerned about what people think of us? How can we stop being people pleasers? We want people to like us. We don’t want to be rejected. We’re so afraid of offending people. Peter wasn’t like that. He had a bold, unshakable confidence.

After they saw the boldness of Peter and John, these religious leaders sent them out of the council chamber and discussed what they would do with them. They said, “We can’t deny they have done a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But perhaps we can stop them from spreading their propaganda. We’ll warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and told them never again to speak or teach about Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.” The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign – the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years. (Acts 4:15-22, nlt).

Peter and John had performed an amazing miracle, and then they were thrown in jail and threatened by the religious leaders of their day. But throughout this entire ordeal, Peter and John responded with a steadfast, confident boldness from Heaven.

“And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:23-31).

What was the one ingredient that the early church had that caused them to be world shakers and history makers? Boldness! How do we get more boldness in our lives? By being with Jesus, praying for boldness, and being filled with the Spirit.

Continued tomorrow…

  • “The Missing Ingredient of Boldness” is one of the chapters from my book: “Supernatural: Contending for Signs and Wonders Today.” Contact me today if you would like a free copy of the e-book version of this study in the Book of Acts!
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The Family of God #1: Giving Generously – #Sermon of the Week

THE FAMILY OF GOD #1: GIVING GENEROUSLY

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

To listen to or download the audio MP3 or sermon outline, click HERE.

The Family of God

INTRO TO TOPIC: Discuss my experiences in the church as the family of God.

A LOOK AT THE EARLY CHURCH:

“42 They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NLT).

  • See how Luke described the early church: they met together, shared everything, shared meals with joy and generosity, and God added to the church new people every day.

THE BIG IDEA: As God’s family, we are called to be people who walk in love, acceptance and forgiveness, and give generously of our hearts, our lives, and our resources.

1.  GOD’S CHILDREN WALK IN LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS:

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1, NKJV).

  • As Christians, we are called to be like God. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world…”

Jesus said, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, NKJV).

“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, NKJV).

  • If we want to be like Jesus, we need to love like Jesus. He helps us to do this!

“So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.” (Romans 5:17, NLT).

  • QUOTE: “Love means accepting people the way they are for Jesus’ sake. Jesus hung around with sinners. He didn’t isolate Himself in the synagogue. In fact, Jesus mixed with sinners so much that the self-righteous people got upset about it.” (Jerry Cook, Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness).

ACCEPTANCE ILLUSTRATION:

Have people stand up and give them signs: what country they’re from, what job they do, whether they are old are young. Despite all our differences, we are all children of God.

The Family of God - group

 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NLT).

  • If we want to be like Jesus, we need to forgive like Jesus. Three things we need to know:
  • 1. God’s children are imperfect and they are sometimes going to hurt us.
  • 2. When we are hurt, we must choose to forgive.
  • 3. We must choose to stick together. No ‘unfriending’. Faithful. Commitment.

2.  GOD’S CHILDREN GIVE GENEROUSLY:

Verse 32: “All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had.”

  • “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5, NLT).
  • When you believe in Jesus – when you trust His love – you don’t have to worry.
  • “As the Scriptures say, “Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.” (2 Corinthians 9:9, NLT).
  • Those who know and believe the love of God will be the most generous people.

 

THE EXAMPLE OF BARNABAS:

“32 All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. 33 And the apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great favor was upon them all. 34 There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them 35 and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need. 36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need.” (Acts 4:32-37, NKJV).

  • Barnabas is one of the little known heroes of the book of Acts:
  • 9:27     – Barnabas believed in Saul when no one else did
  • 11:22   – he encouraged and cared for the new believers in Antioch
  • 11:30   – he was trusted to bring relief money to the poor
  • 13:2     – he was the first partner of Paul on his first missionary journey
  • 15:37   – he was willing to give John Mark a second chance after he messed up

QUOTE: “Barnabas shines as one of the most mature, reliable, loveable leaders of the early church. And right here Luke shows us how Barnabas’ trusted ministry began—with a demonstrated freedom from the love of things, and a heart of love for the poor. He sold his field and gave all the proceeds to the apostles. In this story he stands for the way true faith in Christ creates a bond of love for people and cuts a bond of love for things… Ananias and Sapphira stand for the exact opposite: people who have not really been changed on the inside by being satisfied with all that God is for them in Christ, but who still want some place in the visible church.” (John Piper, Be a Barnabas, Not an Ananias audio sermon).

THE EXAMPLE OF ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA:

“1 There was also a man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, but he claimed it was the full amount. His wife had agreed to this deception. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God.” 5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men wrapped him in a sheet and took him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” 9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of doing a thing like this — conspiring together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Just outside that door are the young men who buried your husband, and they will carry you out, too.” 10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and all others who heard what had happened.” (Acts 5:1-11, NLT).

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA?

  • They loved their money.
  • They wanted to look more generous than they were.
  • They lied – they were hypocrites.
  • They didn’t believe in God, or didn’t believe He was actively involved in the church.

HOW WAS BARNABAS DIFFERENT?

  • He did not love money and things. He loved helping people.
  • He did not want to appear more generous than he was.
  • He did not lie. He walked in integrity.
  • He knew that God was alive and well and brought glory to Him by being generous.

QUOTE: “When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church of Jesus Christ becomes what Jesus was in the world: a center of love designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God.” (Jerry Cook, Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness).

CHALLENGE:

If you are a believer in Jesus, then be like Barnabas. Let’s love people, not money!

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Piper, Be a Barnabas, Not an Ananias audio sermon.

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The Weekend Funnies – I’m Innocent, and my Lawyer is Incompetent!

Thank God It’s Friday! Here are your weekly Calvin and Hobbes strips to kick start the weekend for you… enjoy!

Calvin & Hobbes - innocent of throwing snowball

Calvin & Hobbes - innocent

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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On the Bookshelf – Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness by Jerry Cook

pdf templateI was first introduced to Jerry Cook’s book Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness during my first year at Pacific Life Bible College. This book quickly became the blueprint I adopted for my philosophy of ministry, and now, some almost 20 years later, it still contains many well-expounded Biblical principles that I employ in my ministry as a pastor.

As I have been re-reading this book this past week, I felt compelled to share it with the readers of my blog to introduce you to the readings of this amazing Foursquare pastor. In my involvement as an adjunct professor at PLBC after graduation, I had several opportunities to meet Jerry Cook, before he went home to be with the Lord in January of 2014. He is a gentle and humble servant of the Lord, and I pray that his teachings will encourage and inspire you as they did me!

LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS QUOTES:

“The church is people – real people – changed by the power of Christ, filled with the Spirit of Christ, touching the hurting, dying and cynical modern man with the life of Jesus Himself.”

Jerry Cook Memes - Love Acceptance and Forgiveness

“Love, acceptance, forgiveness – those three things are absolutely essential to consistently bring people to maturity and wholeness. If the church – the living presence of Christ in His people – is to be the force for God in the world that it should be, it must learn to love people, accept them, and forgive them.”

Jerry Cook Memes 2 - Love Acceptance and Forgiveness

“The minimal guarantee we must make is that we will love people – always, under every circumstance, with no exceptions. The second guarantee is that we will accept them, totally, without reservation. The third thing we must guarantee people is that no matter how miserably they fail or how blatantly they sin, our unreserved forgiveness is theirs for the asking with no bitter taste left in anybody’s mouth.”

“Love means accepting people the way they are for Jesus’ sake. Jesus hung around with sinners. He didn’t isolate Himself in the synagogue. In fact, Jesus mixed with sinners so much that the self-righteous people got upset about it.”

“When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church of Jesus Christ become what Jesus was in the world: a center of love designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God.”

Jerry Cook Memes 3 - Love Acceptance and Forgiveness

“One basic premise in my own philosophy of the church is that the people themselves are the ministers. Sunday morning is a meeting of the church staff. When a crisis arises, it doesn’t necessarily have to come to the pastor’s office.”

“It’s not the job of the pastor to minister to every need in the church. The job of the pastor is to teach everybody in the church how to minister.”

“The church is people, redeemed, filled with the Holy Spirit, equipped to serve, meeting needs everywhere in Jesus’ name.”

“Releasing people to minister means setting them free to meet other people’s needs whenever and however they can… Let’s be clear about this: ministering is not inviting people to church services. Ministry is serving people… Jesus was literally Immanuel; He was God with us. He came where we were and brought God to us. That is Christianity – bringing God to people where they are.”

“I am convinced that pure, raw, direct exposure to the Word of God will absolutely change people’s lives.”

“Sometimes people get offended with one another or the pastor. These situations must be resolved immediately before they get worse. Often, the problem is spiritual in origin. The Bible says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165, KJV). A person who is easily offended apparently doesn’t love God’s law very much.”

“One of the greatest services a church can offer a community is to provide a place for people to be brought to wholeness – to be healed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. A place where people can be loved, accepted and forgiven. People are fragmented. They are torn. Life doesn’t work for them because they are without Jesus.”

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Quotes by Jerry Cook (c) 2009.

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Saying Goodbye to our Furry Friend Cooper

This past Easter Sunday, our family had to say goodbye to our dog Cooper who had been a part of our family for about nine years. Cooper was a ruby King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Over the past couple of months, we had begun noticing signs of age – it was harder for him to jump up on our beds, and he was a little bit less active than he used to be.

Cooper

For the past couple of days, he had been coughing a lot and having problems breathing, and on Saturday night he went to sleep and didn’t wake up again. Needless to say, there were a lot of tears in our household on Sunday. Today’s blog post is a little memorial for Cooper. We will miss you!

Cooper Camping

Every summer, our family goes camping – one of Cooper’s least favourite things to do. He was never much of an outdoor dog!

The bottom photo was taken with Cooper and our four kids about seven years ago.

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