Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Cure For Grumpiness

Have you ever felt sorry for yourself and stewed in your grumpiness because of unfair treatment that you have received? I’m ashamed to say that I have. This is when the bible shows us it is not an old book with no relevance for today, but a life-giving answer book for modern man.
Consider this: Paul and Silas, two Christian ministers, had gone into a city to help people, to teach them about Jesus. Several women had already been assisted, and one had been set free from a demonic possession. The apostle’s efforts were not well received. Read:
Acts 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Christians face trouble like everyone else, but it is how we are enabled to respond to the trouble that makes us different.
“And the multitude rose up together against them…” Have you ever felt like the world (the haters) are turning on you?
“The magistrates rent off their clothes…” Have you ever felt humiliated? Embarassed? Stripped of your dignity and openly mocked?
“Commanded to beat them…” Have you ever been hurt, physically or emotionally?
“Cast them into prison…” Have you ever felt like you have been cast aside? Forgotten about?
“Thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks…” Have you ever felt like you are locked in to a situation with no way to get out?
These experiences come to all of us in one form or another.  Yet the response by Paul and Silas is the dynamite that blows away the mountains of self-pity!
“At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them.”
In their dark hour, they prayed and praised God! This wasn’t a meek quiet little tune, but one that was loud enough the other prisoners heard them!

Today, instead of concentrating on all the dirty deeds done to you, begin to pray and praise God and watch the chains of grumpiness and sorrow fall to the ground!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

47th Church Anniversary Video

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Message At Midnight (audio)

A Message At Midnight part 1

A Message At Midnight part 2

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our New Church Communication Number

We are excited about our new two way church communication number.  For many months now we have been able to send out alerts, and information to all church members via our text number, but it was limited in that it was only one way, to you, and no one could respond.

Today we introduce a two-way number that includes keywords for joining a prayer chain, member to ministry class, or register for the next baptism.

The number to save in your phone is (314)899-2079.

You can reply with these keywords:
1. "Pray" (to be added to the text prayer chain)
2. "m2m" (to register for the next Member To Ministry class)
3. "Baptism" (to register for the next baptism)
4. "stop" (to unsubscribe, *note, if you do, you won't be able to use this number to register for a class or etc. in the future, you will have to text "start" to re-establish your account, and why would you want to miss out on important notices?)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sex And The Bible

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

(3)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

(4)  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

(5)  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:


1      A Gift from God

I am reminded of the fellow who was raised in a Christian church who tried hard to keep it’s youth from entering into fornication.  He said I was a little confused about the subject.  They told me sex was a dirty thing that you can catch diseases and then they would turn around and say “You should save it as a special gift for the one you love...”
It is clear in the bible that God intended mankind to enjoy sex not only for procreation, but also recreation.  That the pleasures of physical intimacies were intended by God to be enjoyed in a committed marriage relationship.
Genesis 1:28 (KJV)
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 2:23–25 (KJV)
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The bible even goes so far as to say we have a duty to our spouse to meet their physical, sexual needs, and to not do that is to steal from them.
1 Corinthians 7:2–5 ((KJV)
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

So we see that God was the one that designed sex, He was the one that gave it to us as a gift to be enjoyed.  He even tells us that if we are married, we are forbidden to keep back ourselves from our spouses.
Sex is a good thing.
So if fire.  Fire in a fireplace can warm the whole house, it can cook our food, it can light up the darkness.  Fire is good...when it is in the fireplace.  When fire gets outside of that fireplace, it is destructive.  Now that which was intended for good, is destroying, fire outside of the fireplace burns up the house, could possibly kill the people living there.
That is the same with sex.  Sex in the place where God intended it, between a man and a woman inside a marriage relationship is wonderful.  Sex outside of that marriage relationship is destructive.  It can burn down our whole life, it can even kill you physically, and spiritually.
And lest you think I am being over the top in my descriptions, consider this:
A SOUTH FLORIDA WOMAN is in jail tonight because of her shocking confession to officials.
According to police reports, the young woman went down to the station to make a report against herself telling officials “I buried the good girl in me... “ When questioned by police ,the woman then proclaimed “My goal was to infect as many as possible” she explained.
When asked how many men had she infected with the virus,she said at least fifty or more. She also went on to say her eventual plan was to infect a thousand men with the virus before year’s end, but only because she didn’t have money to buy medication is the reason for her being forth coming.
Relatives close to the teen say they’re equally as shocked as everyone else because they had no idea what the young woman known as Gabie was up to. Relatives of the teen also went on to say “when Gabie discovered she was infected with HIV,she then became very depressed and became a slave to alcohol and drugs wanting die and even went as far as eating poison, but even that failed, which only resulted in further anger and rage.
When speaking with Gabie,she said the pain of knowing her fate was unbearable,and she just couldn’t face the world anymore, so as her life became a mess her only joy was to make all men who she came into contact with pay the price. That price was with their lives.
The stories are many.  A simple google search can reveal many similar situations.  So sex outside of the marriage covenant can sometimes be a death sentence physically, and will always be a death sentence spiritually.
The culture is not what defines what is right or wrong. The culture is ever changing.  God’s Word is standing sure.
Matthew 5:18,19,27-28
(18)  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
(19)  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
 (27)  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
(28)  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

God’s Word is the final authority, our hearts, our emotions, our mind, can deceive us into thinking that we are right, or what we are doing isn’t so bad, this is why the scriptures tell us:
Proverbs 16:25
(25)  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 30:12
(12)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

2      Sex Outside The Marriage

Recently in the headlines there has been a big brouhaha about restrooms and men who identify themselves as women being able to use the women’s restroom and vice versa. The inevitable outcome that we have already seen, is that there have been men arrested for using the women’s room and filming women and girls inside the restroom.

In our society, so many don’t want to be seen as a bigot, or narrow minded, that they keep quiet about things that they see that are common sense.  Should grown men be allowed in the restrooms alone with little girls? NO!
So what does the bible say about homosexuality, and transgender?
The bible is very clear on the subject.
Matthew 19:4
(4)  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
God created us different.  We think different, we look different, our physiology is different.  Not better or worse, just two different sexes to complement each other.
God didn’t make any mistakes.
So what does a man do that finds himself having same sex attraction?  Or a woman that finds herself attracted to another woman?  RESIST THE TEMPTATION!  The same way that a man that finds himself wanting a drink, or attracted to a woman that is not his wife. 
The scripture was so urgent that Paul wrote to the Corinthians to:
1 Corinthians 6:18
(18)  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
In Paul’s letter to the believers at Rome, he was very explicit about homosexuality and it’s results:
Romans 1:21-28
(21)  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(22)  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
(23)  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
(24)  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
(25)  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
(26)  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
(27)  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
(28)  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

What about transgender and cross dressing?
Deuteronomy 22:5
(5)  The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

The Florida zookeeper who was fatally mauled by a tiger last week broke protocol by entering the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said.
Tiger expert Stacey Konwiser, 38, failed to follow the zoo's policy when she entered a portion of the creature's enclosure on April 15 "after it was clearly designated as accessible by a tiger," Palm Beach Zoo president Andrew Aiken said in a statement Friday.
Why did this lady die?  She got comfortable doing things that were wrong.  She didn’t think it could happen to her. She thought she knew better.
That is the same thing for people that are engaging in sex outside of marriage.  They get comfortable doing what is wrong, they think nothing will ever happen to them, or that God understands.
Sex promises so much that when the inevitable end comes, and it doesn’t satisfy as we thought it would, people get depressed.

One result is seen in the spiking suicide rate.
WASHINGTON — Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

So what is the answer then?
How does a man or a woman keep themselves pure in this sex soaked society?
Psa 119:9
(9) Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Psa 119:11
(11)  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Before we come to Christ, we are led by our emotions, we feed sinful desires until they become raging beasts that can not be tamed, ever demanding more.
The little tiger cub eventually becomes a 1000 pound beast that can not be denied.  It will kill you!
The pornography that started with the women’s underwear in the J.C. Penney catalogs that led to an insatiable addiction to internet porn and a life lived in a make believe world.
What is the answer?
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus came to set the captives free.
We so often picture that as being held in captivity by the devil, but usually we are held in captivity by our own lusts, our own desires, our own greed and covetousness.
Ever desiring, never satisfied.
Jesus satisfies!
When we acknowledge that we have sinned, that we are held, that we can’t get free ourselves, and we look to Jesus and ask Him to forgive and set us free, He, who died for us, sets us free from the addictions, desires and habits that have plagued us for so long!
When Jesus comes in to our lives, He gives us the power to overcome.
What if you are single?  Is it possible to live a clean sexually pure life? YES!
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
(3)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
(4)  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
(5)  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Invite Them!

A reminder! #SimplyEaster
Posted by New Testament Christian Church 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Open it!

Joy! His face may be a little blurred because of the movement, but there is no mistaking his expression; JOY! The truth is, we were probably more excited than he was. We hadn't planned on getting him this gift, but when it went on sale, we did it. We were so excited to give it to him, that I told him he could open it now (about 2 weeks before Christmas) or if he wanted, he could wait till Christmas. I thought for sure he would jump at the opportunity to open it without delay, but he didn't. He thought and delayed and instead of quickly agreeing, had to be encouraged to go ahead and receive it now, and this picture is the result.
It made me think about how excited God is to give us His best gifts, and we, like my son, sometimes hesitate in receiving them immediately.
God is saying "I have forgiveness for you! I have deliverance! I have eternal life! Go ahead...open it! OPEN IT!"
And when we do...JOY!
Does the day after Christmas find you disappointed, a little down because the hype of the holiday didn't deliver as expected?
God is saying..."I have something for you...OPEN IT!"

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tell me what you think...

How about a conversation: What do you think about this? (comment below)

We hinder our ability to connect deeply with others by refusing to disclose our vulnerabilities. Share your strengths, create competition, Share your struggles, create community. Isn't this what keeps so many from coming to Christ? Jesus said Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." In the original Greek, the word labor meant: to trouble oneself, to be tired, lose heart. The words heavy laden meant: to be burdened or loaded down. Sounds like Jesus was calling those who would admit their need to experience His rest.

"... the plain truth that, as much as we fight it, we long for the freedom to admit we’re broken. We don’t realize our need to do it. It’s true for every one of us, and it’s most true for those who least realize it."--Kyle Idleman "The End Of Me"
Maybe Eugene Peterson had it right when he used these words for his translation:

Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message by Eugene Peterson)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Friends & Family Day! November 1, 2015

Heaven will be that much sweeter when our friends and family are there with us! Invite them to our Fall Friends and Family event. We will be giving a 8 by 10 photo to each family and if you bring the most family members we will make your photo into a 20 by 30 poster! Remember to turn your clocks back an hour the night before!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sardis: The Autopsy Of A Dead Church

Revelation 3:1-6  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  (2)  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.  (3)  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  (4)  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.  (5)  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (6)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

What comes to mind when you hear someone speak of a “dead church”?  Do you think of a handful of elderly people in an older building meeting weekly to hear a dry, emotionless sermon?

When we consider this week’s church, we find a “dead church” can be filled with people and be the one that has a great reputation in town. 

The important characteristics of an “alive” church, are not measured in the number who attend, the beauty of the building, or the reputation in the community.  The important characteristic is: Are you living in the life giving presence of Christ?  Are you abiding in the vine (Jesus) from whom all spiritual life flows?

The church of Sardis reminds us that like Samson, we can seem to be flourishing, and not even know that God, the source of true life, has left us.

This is a sobering and searching message to us today.

Astronomers tells us that the light from the Polar Star takes 33 years to reach us.  That means that for all we know, the star may have burned out 20 years ago and we wouldn’t know it for another 13 years.  It looks like it is alive, but it is dead.  Looks are deceiving!

When Jesus introduces Himself as the one that hath the seven Spirits of God, He is referring to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  We know there is one Holy Spirit, here, and in Isaiah 11:2 it depicts the Holy Spirit’s seven fold ministry.  A Jewish lampstand, or Menorah, had seven flames and was used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but there was one lampstand. This may have significance in that they were trusting in their human means instead of relying on the Holy Spirit’s power.

To understand more of Jesus’ message to Sardis, let us look at the city of Sardis.  It was a city that sat on a 1500 foot high plateau.  It was the capital of Lydia and founded around 1200 BC.  The city was surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs and there was only one narrow road that led into the city.  That made the city easy to defend, and because of this the inhabitants of the city sometimes became lax in their watching out for the enemy.  It was this overconfidence that allowed the city to be taken twice.  Once, an enemy soldier watched as a soldier of Sardis took a secret path down the side of one of the cliffs, and the enemy soldier was able to use that path, enter the city, and cast open the gates.  Another time, the guards were caught sleeping, and the enemy invaded and overthrew the city.  This makes the command of Jesus: “Be watchful!” even more appropriate.  Your city was overthrown because you had become lax and sleepy in watching for the enemy, your church will die unless you wake up and watch out!

Sardis was a very rich city.  The Greek historian Herodotus tells us that the Lydians were the first people to mint coins.  During the reign of Croesus, the king became so rich that the phrase “As rich as Croesus” is still in use in some places today!

Their riches seemed to make them complacent, even lazy.  They trusted in what their gold could do, and not in what God could do.

The phrase in verse 1 “Thou hast a name that thou livest…” refers to their reputation in Sardis.  If you would come to that city and ask where to find a good Christian church, they would point you to this church.  It had the reputation from the past of being a faithful Christian church.  At this time, Jesus rebukes them because all that was left of their glorious past, was a reputation!

When a church first starts, there is usually near 100% involvement.  There has to be since there are not very many people, the ones that do come have to step up to keep the church going.

This first stage would be called the MOVEMENT stage.  People have a vision and are motivated to do something for Jesus and their community.

As the church grows, more people are added, things that couldn’t be afforded before are bought and there is what could be called a stage of MAGNIFICENCE.  During this time, involvement dips to between 50-70%.  Since there are more people, some begin to think that they can step back into the shadows and let someone else do the work, or service of the church.

As the church continues to move forward, systems and methods are set up to ensure the proper working of the church.  The church enters what one man called the MACHINE stage.  A great lumbering mechanism maintained by systems and checks.  It is here that involvement dips again to around 20%.

Finally the church declines, involvement reaches levels of just 10%, and what was once a living, life giving movement, becomes just a MONUMENT of what it once was.  A church in this stage is dead or near dead.

***While in the Philippines, I entered an ICU unit in a public hospital and was astounded that the artificial respirator, was a bag that another person had to squeeze to make sure the patient had each breath.  Each breath required the visitor to squeeze the bag for the patient.

When we think of that in terms of a church, and in terms of reaching others, if we don’t squeeze the bag, someone will die!  We must all be involved in fulfilling God’s command of going into all the world and making disciples.  We must all be involved in telling them about Jesus!

The strange thing about Jesus’ message to this church is that we see no external enemy.  There are no “depths of satan” there is no “Jezebel” or other false teachers named.  It seems that the church of Sardis’ biggest and worst enemy was themselves!

This rings true of us today.  For many in the church in America, do not face persecution, they are not forced to bow to Caesar or some other false god, but our chief and potent enemy is our luxury, our complacence, and our comfort which lulls us asleep.

Jesus calls us to be a marching army, sacrificing ourselves, our time, and our resources to take captive souls from the clutches of the enemy.

When in reality, many have become snoozing soldiers who are allowing the enemy to sneak into their city and throw open the gates to the world.

There was good news in Sardis.  There were those, even in this sleepy, self-satisfied, near dead church, that had kept their garments white.  They had not given in to the sin that surrounded them.  They had learned to stay in the presence of Jesus!  These, Jesus says, will one day walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.

It was to these that Jesus instructs to strengthen the things that remain.  Get involved!  If we don’t do something, it will die!

James tells us:
 James 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Let us pray the prayer of the Psalmist:
Psalms 13:3  Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Jesus promised that those that overcame, would not be blotted out of the book of life.  That shows us that it is possible to be blotted out, or the promise wouldn't mean anything.

What are some of the signs of a living church?
1.       Growth
All living things are characterized by growth.  As long as we are alive our bodies are growing, maturing, changing, when we stop growing, we are dead!
2.       Harmony
A living church is one that works in harmony one with another.  Cancer is when cells in the body refuse to work with the other cells and actually begin attacking its own body.  A living church has a harmoniously working body.
3.       Emotion
A living church feels joy, sorrow, elation, and sadness.  We, like our Savior, can relate to what others are going through.  Because we are alive, we laugh, cry, sigh, and sing. 
4.       Motion
The life in us leads to us moving.  Dead bodies don’t move, but living bodies, and living churches are filled with action, doing things for Jesus, and serving one another.

Jesus final words to them could be summed up in four statements.
1.       Revive!  Strengthen the things that remain.  They still had some things that had a spark of fire in them.  Stir them up!  Take action!
2.       Remember!  Look back at all the things that God has done for you, and where He has brought you from to fan the flames of love for Him again.
3.       Resolve! Hold Fast…The church was to hold on tightly to the things that are still alive and not to let them die.
4.       Repent! Change the way they are living.  Get rid of the sin that was killing them.

Discussion Questions:
1.       One man has said that the fervency of our prayer life is one sign of the fervor of our spirituality.  What other ways can we “take the pulse” of our spiritual life?
2.       If involvement is one way to stay awake spiritually, what ways can you become more involved in the church?
3.       We know that money is not the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money is.  We are blessed with great prosperity in America.  How can we make sure that this prosperity doesn’t dull us to the spiritual necessities in our community?
4.       There is a promise to those that overcome, that they would not have their names blotted out of the book of life. What are some of the ways that those in the bible overcame? (Rev. 12:11, Rom. 12:21, 1 John 5:4-5)