Friday, March 30, 2012

Falling in Love with HIStory: How to Make the Bible Come Alive (Part II)

From Pastor Len Harper at South Brandon Worship Center

2. Memorize the Bible Regularly!!

Ps. 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Someone told the Pastor this verse will help him.  They said that this verse will keep him from sin; or sin will keep him from this verse.

Thus, 1) memorize the Word of God and carry it with you where ever you go.  It is like a smart phone in your head.  2) it gives you the ability to share it with others.

There is no need for you to force it on others.  Live it and they will ask.  From Hebrews 4:12, we know that the Word of God is living and active.  Something in them will come alive.

In sharing your faith, are you familiar with verses that can lead someone to Christ?  Are you familiar with the Romans Road?

Rom. 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Rom. 10:13 “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

By memorizing the Bible, we are able to share it fluidly with others.

The Bible will change you. In the same way they say, garbage in, garbage out; good things in good things out.

Falling in Love with HIStory: How to Make the Bible Come Alive (Part I)

From Pastor Len Harper at South Brandon Worship Center

The Bible is not boring.  It is the greatest story every told.  It continues adventure, wisdom, hope and inspiration. 

The middle verse in the Bible is Ps. 118:8.  That verse reads,  “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”

Recognizing the above, we need to:

1. Believe the Bible is God’s Word!

It is not enough to say that the Bible contains God’s Word; but that it is God’s Word.

There is a difference between just studying facts and understanding that as stated, the Bible is living and active.

Before you read it, pray, Holy Spirit show me what you are trying to say.  Speak to me through your word.

Although some readings may be difficult, there was never a time when I said, it was a waste a time.

2 Peter 1:21 “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[a] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the Bible was God’s idea, not man’s.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

David's Display of Faith in Confronting Goliath

I was at bat Tuesday morning for the devotional at the CBCmeeting.  Last week, during my Bible reading I was impressed while reading the story of David and Goliath, so I decided to make that the focus of the devotional.

I had a glimpse of the children’s show Davy and Goliath, but I did not do any voices (“Gee Davy’) nor did I ask anyone if they remembered the story. 

My main focus was on the strength of David’s faith.  Many kids who attend Sunday School are very familiar with the story of David and Goliath.  That falls in the class of the top 5 that all kids know about regardless of denomination.  We all know that little shepherd boy David, brought down Goliath with a sling shot and 5 smooth stones.  Actually, he carried 5 smooth stones and took down Goliath with one stone.

As an adult, and reading through the book of Samuel, I picked up on things that may not have been discussed as a child in Sunday School class.  The thing that stood out was the strength of David’s faith.  When David heard Goliath challenging the Israeli fighting men, he said "Who is this pagan Philistine anyway that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?" 1 Sam. 17:26.

This is noteworthy because the Bible says that Goliath was huge.  He was 9.75 feet tall.  In other words, he was very close to being 10 feet tall.  David was probably a teenager at the time. Jewish men in that era were less than 6 feet tall, probably 5’5” to 5’8.”  So Goliath was nearly twice as big as David.  When the Israeli soldiers, and King Saul, heard Goliath, they were terrified.

David was the youngest of 8 boys (he had some sisters as well).  His three older brothers fought in Saul’s army and the oldest, Eliab, was angry with David for being on the battlefield.  David dismissed his brother’s discouraging words and said, “Don’t worry about that Philistine, I will go fight him” 1 Sam. 17:32.

Saul wonders why this child is willing to confront this giant.  David talked about how he tended sheep and when bears and lions tried to take the sheep he fought them away.  I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” 1 Sam. 17:36-37.

So then he confronts, Goliath.  Goliath, who had been trash talking for weeks, asks “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. 1 Sam. 17:43-44.

David did not allow Goliath to intimidate him.  David moved in against Goliath, who again was nearly twice David’s size.

“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!  And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 1 Sam. 17:45-47.

Throughout this encounter, David never hesitated.  From the moment that he observed Goliath, to the time that he slung the stone and brought Goliath down, David remained confident that the Lord was with him.  This differs from the many other commissions and military conflicts presented in the Old Testament.  Moses tried to get God to select someone else to lead Israel out of Egypt.  Nearly two chapters are devoted to Moses trying to get God to change his mind.  It seems that other men who were called by God responded by saying, who me?  These responses were made by Barak and Gideon in the book of Judges.  In this battle, David recognized that God was with him and no matter what, he was not going to lose. See e.g. Psalms 23.   David was far from perfect.  Still, this story demonstrates that David possessed an incredible level of faith in God.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Falling in Love with HIStory (cont.)

3.   HIStory is About Him Restoring Us (cont.)

Jesus is a King, but he is not the king that the people were looking for.  He went from being exalted to being condemned (crucify).  He hung on the cross for 6 hours.  Everything went black.  For several days everything is quiet.  But then Sunday morning comes.  Jesus reversed everything that happened in Eden.

Then as promised, he sends us the Helper.  That is the Holy Spirit.  Check out the Book of Acts.  His followers become light to the rest of the World.

His Mission is not carried out through a nation.  Rather, his Mission is delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit reigning in the hearts of his followers, the Church.  The church members come together to encourage and strengthen one another.  Peter and Paul are revealed as leaders of the Church.

Next, we are given the letters.  A large portion of the letters came from Paul.  These letters instruct us how to live as Christians.

Then, the Rest of the Story – Revelation.  Some would say that this is the scariest part of the Bible.  Look at what Hollywood has done to the book.  In reality, it is the most hopeful book of the Bible.  It reveals that Jesus is coming back.

An example of this hope is illustrated in Revelation 5:9-10.  That passage reads:

And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.
The Book of Revelation is the end of the story.  It is not meant to scare, but to encourage.  The author was instructed to write it all down.  The words that he delivered are trustworthy and true.

He is making everything new. The book reveals that Jesus is coming soon.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

He wants us to read his book.  He wants us to fall in love with HIStory. And through it we will trust Him.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick Was A Preacher

Depending on your circle of friends, most would associate St. Patrick’s Day with going to an Irish bar or any bar and drinking several rounds of beer.  There is no doubt that local police and sheriff’s departments will be out on the streets pulling people over left and right for DUIs.  For others, St. Patrick is associated with parades and wearing green.  When you look around, you would think that St. Patrick was all about Irish Pride.

In reality, St. Patrick was a preacher.  While I use the term preacher, a more accurate statement would be an evangelist.   In his day, St. Patrick preached to the people of Ireland and many turned away from their pagan religion and turned towards Jesus Christ.  Not only did St. Patrick preach the gospel in Ireland, but he preached against an environment that was hostile to the gospel.  Dr. Russell D. Moore provides the following thoughts on the legacy of St. Patrick:

Any evangelical seeking to kindle a love for missions among the people of God will benefit from this volume’s [St.Patrick of Ireland:A Biography] demonstration that the Great Commission did not lie dormant between the apostle Paul and William Carey. Patrick’s love and zeal for the Irish may also inspire American evangelicals to repent of our hopelessness for the conversion of, say, the radical Islamic world—which is, after all, no more “hopeless” than the Irish barbarians of Patrick’s era.
See, An Evangelical Looks at St. Patrick.  So next time someone suggests that St. Patrick is associated with heavy drinking, you can tell them that St. Patrick was a preacher committed to the Great Commission.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Donations and Sponsorships for Tampa Bay H.E.A.T. (Home Education Activities Teams)

Please see the fundraising letter below for the Tampa Bay HEAT.  This provides sports for kids who are homeschooled.  I am proud to say that my 8-year-old son is part of the Triathlon Club.  There season just started a couple of weeks ago.  Help support healthy kids.  The big event is IronKids Florida at Haines City, which is near Orlando.

Tampa Bay H.E.A.T. (Home Education Activities Teams)
1011 Knowles Road, Brandon, FL 33511
Phone (813) 658-0559     Fax (813) 217-9808

Feb.6, 2012

We are the Tampa Bay Heat, a homeschool  group representing many areas in Tampa.  Our group was originally formed to organize reconized sports so homeschool  kids might too be able to get  athletic scholarships to college.  As both kids and parents, we have seen the problem with childhood obeisty.  In the state of Florida alone it was reported last year that one of every three kids was considered obese.  It is our desire to help kids be healthy and active through exercise and sports programs.  That is how Keeping Kids Fit began.  We hold fundraisers that involve exercise to sponsor children so they too can be on sports teams, participate in races, go to camp, and also pay for sporting equipment.  We financially support families who cannot afford to have their children involved  in athletic programs.  We truly believe a healthy child is a happy  child.

Our current fundraising project is a 5K race being held at Alderman’s Ford Park. The race is going to be March. 24, 2012.  We expect to have at least 75 racers.  We are trying to find sponsors for our event. We are looking for gifts to give away and also money to help pay for expenses.

We would love to  put your buisness logo on every t-shirt printed, our web site, and our registration table.  Thanks  for your consideration in sponsoring us in this event. It truly will be a blessing to many children who need an oppurtunity to be heatlhy through exercise.

                                                                                            Tracy Reed