God on Trial

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When you stop to consider the events of this Wednesday about 2,000 years ago, it is mind-blowing that the creator and sustainer of life was put on trial by His own creation for sins He had not done. In the late hours of Wednesday, Jesus Christ was put on trial as a criminal. By Thursday He would be hanging on the cross. There he would take upon Himself the wrath of God for your sin and mine. While all Israel celebrated the passover in Jerusalem, just outside the city, on a hill called Golgotha, Jesus would become THE final passover lamb.

About a year ago, I preached a sermon series through the Gospel of Mark. I thought that I would share the sermons related to the events of the Passion Week beginning today.  On this day, I encourage you to meditate on your Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday—God on Trial (Keynote)

Thursday—Viewing Calvary (Keynote)

Sunday—His Resurrection calls us to Total Abandonment (Keynote)

Timeline of the Passion Week

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Get Some Light!

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Light illuminates. It makes it possible to see and to take steps. It exposes. It reveals clearly what was dark or vague. It answers questions. What was unknown and causing wonder, light cuts through the darkness giving certain answers. That fact is light is a good thing…a really good thing. Can you imagine living a day without light? Can you image if the sun did not come up and you had no electricity. Can you imagine what you would do? Can you imagine how much you would long to have light?

We have just been talking about physical darkness. While that may be intolerable, many will tolerate living days of their lives in spiritual darkness. What do I mean? The Bible tells us in Psalm 119:130,  “The entrance of thy words giveth light; It giveth understanding unto the simple.”  I often hear as a pastor, “I just don’t have time to read my Bible.” “I don’t read my Bible as much as a should.” “My life is busy, so I just depend on the pastor’s message.” Many believers live dark lives. They stumble and fall. They struggle to have victory over sin. They have no sense of God future will let alone His daily will. They live without the comfort of God. They feel helpless against the onslaught of temptation and pressure from the world, the flesh and the devil. God has told us that His Word is the light, the illumination that we need. As believers, we have Holy Spirit indwelling us and the Bible tells us that He is our guide into all truth. He is there to teach us the truth of Scripture as we read and receive it.

Let me encourage you not to live in spiritual darkness. Dive into the Bible! You will be amazed at how the things you are facing in life all of a sudden become clear as the light of Scripture illumines your heart and mind.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path.

Here are a few reading plans you might find helpful.

When Fire Falls

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Recently I was listening to a sermon that really gripped my attention. We live in a day of so many false realities. The world is in search for something is real. This message challenged my heart to seek the power of God on my life and ministry as opposed to pursuing pragmatic philosophy. I hope this message will encourage you in the same way.

When Fire Falls by William Maricle

God’s “Bigness”

God often brings us to situations that are bigger than our faith, experience, resources and the human help available to us. Time after time in Scripture, God allowed men and women to come face to face with their own limitations in order that He might prove his “bigness.” Think about a few (of many) illustrations with me.

Abraham and Sarah

God had promised that He would make Abraham’s family to grow in the generations to come to be as numberless as the sand of the seashore. That’s a big family tree! Yet, Abraham and Sarah had no children. They were rapidly ageing and Sarah had long passed her children bearing days. Humanly, physically what God had promised was impossible. In Genesis 18:14 the question was asked of Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” The correct answer is “NOTHING!” Even though there were some moments of doubt, Abraham believed God and God gave them a son through Sarah.

The Unnamed Widow

In 2 Kings 4 we find a widow of a godly servant of the Lord in a crisis situation. Debt collectors were coming after her for the debts her husband had left behind. She did not have the resources necessary nor the physical strength to work to earn the money necessary to pay off the debt. She met the prophet Elisha to get some advice. He gave instruction as to how God would meet the need. The need would not be met by human strategy but simple obedience to a “God-plan.” This was a plan that would totally fail if God did not come through. She was to take a pot of oil, that she had, and fill as many borrowed pots that she could. She then was to sell the oil and use the proceeds to pay off her debt. As many pots as she borrowed, God gave oil to fill. God fully met her need!

Jehoshaphat

In 2 Chronicles 20 we find king Jehoshaphat in an impossible situation. The armies of Moab, Ammon and others were marching to invade Judah. As Jehoshaphat received the news, he and all of Judah began to fear and tremble. This enemy alliance would certainly crush them. By all human predictions, they were done. There was no hope. Jehoshaphat called the people of Judah to seek God by prayer and fasting. He prayed, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) Notice his complete reliance and dependence on God. Without God doing something God-sized, they were done! God told him that the battle would be the LORD’s. Long story short, they went out to battle and God fought for them. The end of the story is amazing! 2 Chronicles 20:27 “Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.

Here is the bottom line! God is bigger than every problem, enemy, fear, need, financial shortfall, circumstance, health issue, church need and all our own human limitations. God delights in proving his “bigness.” Trust Him to be as big in your situation as He has revealed Himself to be throughout the pages of the Bible.

Making Time For Revival

One of the highlights of the year for me is revival meetings. There is something very special about gathering together with other believers to sing, pray, be challenged by God‘s Word through preaching and to seek God for personal and corporate revival. I have found that not all believers see the need nor will take the time to engage in revival meetings.

Some wonder, “Why a revival meeting?” Don’t we already have enough to do in life? True! There is a lot on our calendars. We are busy. Home, work, sports, friends all have space on our calendars and then there are our devices that deceptively suck hours of our time out of our days. Some will say in frustration and excuse, “I just don’t have any time this week for revival, Pastor!” May I have a moment to challenge your thinking.

Ephesians 5:16 tells us “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Paul was encouraging believers, who lived in days that were against God, to buy back time from being wasted on temporal pursuits and invest it in what was truly, eternally important. More important than anything else in our lives, is our walk with God and that walk being revived (reset or refreshed…whatever the need). Who you are with God is more important than who you are with your family, your coworkers and your friends. Your walk with God is more important than any program, than any project or pursuit. When we walk with God as we ought, we are the best spouse, the best employee, the best friend and the best child. Everything flows from my walk with God. Perhaps that is why Solomon challenged his son to “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.“ (Proverbs 4:23)

Make the time by setting aside things that are not as eternally important as your walk with God. If a few Facebook friends don’t get a like from you, will that really matter in eternity? If you miss a ball game, your favorite TV show or your child misses a sport practice, will it matter in eternity? If you miss some sleep in order to gather with other believers to be under the preaching of the Word, will you regret that in eternity?

No one has time, we all have to make time for what is truly important. Our walk with God and the preaching of God’s Word for revival is truly important.

Merry Christmas!

More than the presents we give and receive, the presence of Jesus ought bring the greatest joy and satisfaction. This Christmas morning before opening gifts, we enjoyed opening the Bible to Luke 2 and Matthew 2 and reading of the events surrounding Christ’s birth. We prayed and thanked God for His gift to us as well as each other. One big lesson our family has learned this year is not to take each other for granted. Life is such a gift to be cherished everyday and especially on holidays like Christmas. May God give you a truly wonderful Christmas as you celebrate Jesus with your family.