Monthly Archives: October 2015

Scripture & 5 Things We Should Do With It!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I don’t think I have ever had so many positive comments on any Wednesday night message from anyone as I did from just guest this past Wednesday night as we continued our study on Growing A Healthy Church. The title of Wednesday’s message was The Role of Scripture In Our Lives and Ministry as a Growing Church – 2 Simple Verses. As we come to this week of Pastor’s Pen and the Series we are in on Sunday nights SELF GUIDED TOUR we are focusing on Being Ready by Being Immersed in God’s Word – The Bible. So let’s continue that idea.

Let me share with you five (5) things you and I should be doing with the Word of God.

Psalm 119 is an amazing Psalm. Not only is it the longest Psalm (176 verses!), but it is also the Psalm that deals the most directly with the topic of Scripture. Virtually every verse, in one way or another, refers to God’s Word.

David (who is most likely the author) uses a variety of terminology to describe God’s Word: commandments, law, statutes, precepts, ordinances, rules, words, testimonies, etc. These all refer to the Scriptures as they existed in David’s day (essentially the Pentateuch).

Thus, Psalm 119 is one of the best examples of Scripture speaking about Scripture. It is the Word about the Word.

And in it, we find David interacting with the Word of God in five ways that should be paradigmatic for all believers:

  1. Trusting the Word of God. Time and time again, David expresses his belief that the Scriptures are true (v.151). He believes in them (v.66). He trusts in their reliability (v.42). He states: “The sum of your word is truth” (v.160).

This first step is key. If a believer doesn’t really regard the Word of God as being fully and entirely trustworthy, then none of the other steps below will follow. This is why the church needs to be quick to deal with the repeated criticisms of the Bible that so often permeate our culture.

  1. Studying the Word of God. David doesn’t just believe the Word; he is a student of the Word. He learns it (v.73), he seeks it (v.155), he has memorized it (v.153), and regularly meditates on it.

This step ought to naturally follow the first one. If God’s Word really is true, then we ought to commit ourselves to being diligent studiers of the Word. We need to embrace it with our minds, as well as our hearts.

  1. Using the Word of God. It’s one thing to believe and know the Word. It is another thing to rely on it. To look to it as a guide during the difficulties and challenges of life. To lean on it for encouragement and hope.

David repeatedly affirms that he uses the Word of God as a “counselor” (v.24), to give “strength” (v.28), and to bring “comfort in affliction” (v.50). He states, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v.105). In short, the Word of God is the very source of life for David (v.156).

This reminds us a very important attribute of God’s Word: it is alive. It is powerful and active. When we talk about the attributes of Scripture, we must remember that it is more than just a true book (encyclopedias can be true). It is also a living book. It is the place where the God of the universe meets us and manifests himself.

  1. Delighting in the Word of God. What is amazing is that David takes things one step further than we might expect. It’s not just that he trusts, studies, and uses the Word of God. He actually has affection for it. He has a deep emotional affinity towards it.

He “loves” God’s Word (v.159), he “rejoices” at his Word (v.162), the Word is “wondrous” (v.18), it is “better than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (v.72), and “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (v.103).

I am convinced that this is the missing piece for most believers today.  For many, the Bible is viewed almost in a utilitarian fashion—it is a mechanical, sterile tool that Christians are supposed to use. It’s like taking your medicine.

In contrast, David has passion, zeal, and excitement for the law and commandments of God. And the reason for this is not hard to find. David loves God’s law not because he is a closet legalist. He loves God’s law because the law reflects God’s own nature and character. He loves God’s law because he loves God—and who God is and what he is like.

Any Christian who says they love God but then despises God’s law is living a life of contradiction. Indeed, they are living a life that is the opposite of Psalm 119. To love God is to love his law.

  1. Obeying the Word of God. Not surprisingly, the prior four characteristics naturally lead to this last one. David repeatedly expresses his desire to actually obey God’s law. He wants to follow it, keep it, and fulfill it.

In our world today, the concept of “obeying the law” is not a popular one. Many see this as contrary to grace. However, two things should be kept in mind. One, David is not keeping the law in order to earn salvation—he is obeying out of love for God. He is obeying out of a heart of faith.

Second, we should remember that Jesus himself was very much about “obeying the law.”  Before we too quickly despise the concept of law-keeping, we should remember that Jesus delighted in keeping his Father’s law. And he kept it absolutely perfectly—for us. He obeyed on our behalf, and his righteous status is imputed to us by faith.

Indeed, Jesus embodies all five of these characteristics. He trusted, studied, used, delighted in, and obeyed God’s Word. In fact, he did all these things even more than the first David. While David certainly serves as an example of what to do with God’s word, Jesus is the ultimate example. One greater than David has come. And he loved God’s Word.

Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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TWO NEW SERIES!

Dear Church Family,

I am so excited to be able to start these two new sermon series today. I have been working on them for some time just waiting to the Lord to show when the right opportunity would be to share them. Well, the time has come. The Pastor’s Pen over the next few weeks will go hand in hand with the morning and night messages. Sunday Mornings I will be sharing a series entitled, God Never Said That! Often times in order to feel better or to help someone else feel better, or in an attempt to share little nuggets of advice, support or sympathy we will say something that sounds good, or that maybe we have heard many times and attribute it to God or His Word, the Bible. But, what if the guidance you are giving or receiving just isn’t true? What if God Never Said That? Well. We will be looking at some common things people say God said, which He never said. The main part of the Pastor’s Pen will be a listening Guide to the Morning Sermon. So, use it, keep it handy during the sermon and during the week to reflect on what God is trying to teach you as you go through the week. Oh, And thanks in advance for attending this series. I think you will both enjoy it as well as learn and grow through it.

GOD NEVER SAID THAT—1

GOD WANTS YOU HAPPY

May all who are godly ___   _______ Psalm 97:12 NLT96

THE THEOLOGY OF HAPPINESS

  • Whatever makes me happy must be _________. Whatever makes me unhappy must be ________.
  • Discomfort, delay, risk, suffering, inconveniences, and obstacles can’t be _______ will.
  • Without knowing it, I begin to __________ the false gods of comfort, money, pleasure, and things.

GOD DOESN’T WANT YOU HAPPY

  • WHEN IT CAUSES YOU TO DO SOMETHING ________ OR __________.
    1.  But just as he who called you is _______, so ____   _______ in all you do. 1 Peter 1:15
  • WHEN IT IS ONLY BASED ON THINGS OF THIS __________. Do not _____  ____  _________ or ____________  ___  _____  _______. If anyone loves the world, ______  _____  _____  __________  ___  ____  ___  ______. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the FGNST_Week_1_Instagram_Quoteather but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but __________  ______  ____  ______  ___  _____  _______  __________. 1 John 2:15-17__________  ___________  ___  ____  ______, and he will give you ____  __________  ___  ______  _______. Psalm 37:4 ESVTHINK ABOUT IT!
  1. May all who are godly ___  ________  ___  ____  ______ and ________  ____  ______  _______! Psalm 97:12 NLT96
  2. GOD WANTS YOU BLESSED
  3. Better possessions + peaceful circumstances + thrilling experiences + the right relationships + the perfect appearance = _______________.
  • ~What does culture say you need in order to be happy?
  • ~Think about a time when you did something wrong or unwise in the pursuit of happiness. Are you currently being tempted?
  • Think about how you delight in the Lord and how you have experienced the blessings of God even when life isn’t going the way you want.

And here is a little insight into the Evening Message Series.

Be Faithful

Key Text: 2 Timothy 1

Theme: The first thing Paul calls Timothy to do is remain faithful. The call to faithfulness grows out of hardship and struggle. They are inextricably connected. Paul knows this from personal experience. He is writing to Timothy from a prison cell. He knows that life in this broken, sinful world is not always easy. Sometimes the pursuit of Christ can make it even more challenging. It is easy to lose faith, to lose hope, to be overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. That’s why Paul’s first admonishment to Timothy is to remain rooted in Christ and in the gospel.

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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He That Winneth Souls is Wise!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Greeting! Let me start by saying, “WOW!” What a Revival! I hope you attended and were revived. God sure used Brother Chris Whittaker and Rev. Don Pierson to bless our church and my soul. It was plugging in a cell phone to the charger, I got my batteries recharged and my soul challenged. Praise the Lord!

With that said, it is interesting that the Psalmist prayed for revival. Psalm 51:1-19 (KJV) 1  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15  O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18  Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. When revival came to his heart, the Psalmist said he would… “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Today, the first Sunday after our revival is Soul Winning Commitment Sunday. One of the sure signs we have had revival that sinners will be won to Christ.

Charles Finney, the great preacher, soul winner and evangelist said, “It is the great business of every Christian to save souls. People complain that they do not know how to take hold of this matter. Why, the reason is plain enough; they have never studied it. They have never taken the proper pains to qualify themselves for the work. If you do not make it a matter of study, how you may successfully act in building up the kingdom of Christ, you are acting a very wicked and absurd part as a Christian.” That is pretty straight talk and easily understood. We are to be about the Father’s Business of winning souls.

Now you and I both know that we cannot save anyone. But we are to be doing all we can to bring people to faith in Christ Jesus, who can save them. In fact with the Great Commission given us by the Lord, and with the many other verses which stress the call to reach the lost, and the direct challenge of Acts 1:8, how can we not understand the importance of winning souls? In fact Jesus asks us the question, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)” You see, most unsaved in the world are not unreachable – simply unreached!

The question is often raised, “What is the best method of soul winning?” “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, won their confidence. Then He bade them, ’Follow Me!’” (Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing page 143) Jesus set the example for us many times. One of the clearest example is with the woman at the well. In the great Commission He tells us the best way is “As you go…” As you go about your day, and You go to your job, your school, or your place of recreation, make disciples.

A traveling man came into a hotel to secure a room for the night. Upon being informed that every room in the building had been taken, he was naturally quite perturbed, until a portly gentleman standing nearby kindly offered to share his room with him. The offer was thankfully accepted. Upon retiring, the portly man knelt and prayed, tenderly mentioning his guest for the night in his petition. In the morning his host informed him that it was his custom to read a portion of the Word of God and pray before taking up the responsibilities of the day. The effect upon the man was moving; a strange feeling came over him; something had been working in his heart all the night. When gently pressed by this stranger to accept the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior, his resistance went down in a heap. A soul had been won for Christ!

But who is this humble ambassador of Christ, who so strikingly resembles a member of President Wilson’s cabinet? When business cards were exchanged before parting, to the guest’s amazement he read, “William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State.”

If we are not careful, we tend to say or think things like, “Well sure Jesus can win people to himself.” Or sure a man like the Secretary of State with all his confidence and education can win someone to Christ, but I can’t.” Can I say, “there is a Greek word for that…BALONEY!”  George W. Truett was the beloved pastor of Dallas’ First Baptist Church for more than 60 years. He tells of a woman who came to him after a service. She was a poverty stricken widow with several children. She said, “Pastor, I have never known you to be unfair — yet you were so in your sermon.” He inquired as to why she felt that way. Her reply, “You said during your sermon that everybody can win someone to Jesus. Certainly you can’t mean me. I am a poor widow. I work long, long hours just to squeeze out a living for my children and me every day. I cannot entertain, or spend time winning souls to the Lord. I can barely exist. You are not fair in your speaking when you say everybody can win someone.”

Truett replied, “Madam, does anyone come to your house?”

She said, “Yes, a few — the mailman, the milkman.”

Truett ended the conversation, “Then you do have an opportunity. You simply have not tried.”

The woman went home troubled and thought about the conversation most of the night. By dawn she heard the milkman at her front step. Convicted, she threw open the door, and greeted the man. As they exchanged small talk, the woman was nervously trying to think of some small word to put in for the Lord — but the milkman turned to go. She began to close the door, but threw it open again. “Come back,” she asked. He did so, and she said, “I wanted to ask you something, but I have been afraid. May I ask you a question?” He agreed. Stumbling, she began, “I just want to know if you know Jesus. Have you been saved?” He looked at her with incredulity, “What in the world made you ask me that? Oh, woman,” said the milkman, “I didn’t sleep at all last night worrying about my soul. Do you know how to find God’s light?” In a short moment, she was sharing with her new friend how to come to Christ. [George W. Truett, A Quest For Souls, (NY, George H. Doran Co, 1917), 58-59. From a sermon by Russell Brownworth “Part One – Tenth Hours” 1/19/2009]

You see most of us pass up opportunities everyday with little or no thought for someone’s eternal soul and destiny. We can all witness and win someone to Christ if we just try. Today on this Soul Winning Commitment Sunday will you commit to allow the Lord to use you to bring someone to Him?

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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