Sunday, November 8, 2015

God has an open door policy.

Aren't you glad, that God does not discriminate?

Acts 15:8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

Donald Sterling, who is formerly the owner of the L.A. CLIPPERS was removed from ownership over this national basketball team because he ONCE TOLD HIS GF: DON'T BRING THOSE BLACK PEOPLE TO MY GAMES ... Including Magic JOHNSON.

ONE OF THE MOST SHOCKING THINGS ABOUT HIS STATEMENT, IS THAT NOT ONLY WERE over 90 percent of his team black, not only was Magic Johnson a close associate of his, but his girlfriend was mostly black.

But the madness does not stop here.  We also have the recent controversy over the resource officer fields, who slung a 16 year old girl across the room in an effort to dislodge her from her chair because she was disruptive in her classroom.   It was said that this was not racially motivated because his girlfriend was black.

But the question that I have is that if his girlfriend were in that chair, would he have slung her, the way that he slung that girl?  If his mother (or a family member) were in that chair, would he have slung his momma, or sister, the way he slung that girl.

You see, our problem in America, is that we have a tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water.  While the water might be dirty, we sometimes forget in our effort to clean up the bath water, that there's a baby in tub...

You see, a police officers Job is to protect and to serve.  So that there would be justice for all.  But somehow the mission statement got changed to protect and to serve some, but not all.

What does this mean spiritually?

It means that if we are not careful, the church can get like that as well.  The church could end up
Discriminating against the very people it should be helping.

The church is a home for saints... But it's also a hospital for sinners...And Jesus is our doctor.

You see, sinner and saint are one and the same, because Jesus said, I came to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2).

And Paul said, for all have sinned and come short the glory of God. (Rom 3:23).

If we are not careful, we can forget that and start making a difference between people based on outer appearance, or what they wear, they're unregenerate conduct, or their background.

It was in this spirit and mind that Peter had to address the Jewish counsel at Jerusalem.

Some of the Jews wanted the non Jews to be circumcised, but Peter had to step in a say, we are saved by grace and not by our religion.

Listen, religion does not save you...  It's a relationship with Jesus Christ that saves you...

God does not care that you go to a church where everybody trims their hair, wears suits, and carries a bible under their arm, and parks straight...That's religion.

Gods primary goal is to save the world. (John 3:16).

Three thing about God

1. God does not discriminate.
- The Nation of Islam says that the true man is the black man and white folks are Devils who will not be able to board the mother ship which now houses the honorable Elijah Muhammad.

But Jesus said, that God so loved the world

That's everybody!

One of the biggest problems with religious people is that religious people always have an us and them attitude.

As if for some reason, because they got to church first this morning, they get the biggest blessing.

The beautiful thing about knowing Jesus is that Jesus puts us all on the same playing field.  He shatter the glass bubble.  The division line of partition between people and puts us all together as one people.

2. God has made the blood of Jesus his only requirement for being saved

My salvation has nothing to do with man.  It was not debated, then, approved by a committee.  I'm saved because the blood of Jesus was shed for me?

 Romans 5:9 >>
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

3. God accept you just the way you are but he doesn't leave you where you are

-Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve.  So we are saved by his grace, so that he can began a work of regeneration in us.(Eph 2:5)

The scripture says, acts 15:9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

Ephesians 2:5 >>
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye aresaved;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why It's Important To Please God Rather Than People?
Acts 5:27-29

You simply cannot always please people and please God at the same time...  If we are going to be effective Christians, it is important to focus on pleasing God rather than people.

Kim Davis was the Kentucky clerk, who was held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples.  For doing this, Kim was sent to jail.  Kim said,  she is being "forced to disobey her God" by allowing her office to issue licenses to gay couples.  Kim Davis, who is a democrat, felt so strongly that God would not be pleased if she issued marriage licenses to gay couples, that she was willing to go to jail for her belief.   

What about you?  Are you willing to endure the criticism of people and persecution of people in order to please God?  Put another way, are you a God pleaser, or are you a people pleaser.

If you are going to be an effective Christian for Jesus Christ, you must be willing at some point, to take a stand for God.

In our text, Acts 5:27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! Acts 5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

1. Pleasing God sometimes means disobeying people.

Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.

Most times, you cannot please people, and please God.   This is because unregenerate man is cannot understand God.  They think Christians are foolish for obeying Him.   Please look at: 1 Cor. 2:14 "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." 

Over my years of building a ministry, I have learned that it is far better to disobey people and honor God.  For example, todays society teaches that each religion is equally true.  Therefore, we should never attempt to convert others to faith in Jesus Christ, because all roads lead to God anyway. (false)

I was told several times not to hand out Bible tracts to people and talk to them about Jesus because it is wrong to offend others.  Jesus, however, stated that I am the only way to salvation. (see John 14:6).  To obey people, would mean allowing the lost to go to Hell without ever hearing about Jesus.

People would have been pleased, but God would not be pleased.  

2. Pleasing God sometimes means that we are called to be a witness for  God.

Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.

We live in a time where the name of Jesus is not welcome.   He is not welcome in the military. He is not welcome in the public schools.   He is not welcome in the Universities.

I remember, being a freshman in college, and the professor was teaching that we did not come from God, we evolved from apes.  After class, I spoke to him about what he said.  We had a long conversation about God and what I believed.  Although he defended his position, I still had an obligation to speak up for Jesus Christ.

Would you speak up for Jesus?  Today, we live in a culture where intellectual intimidation is practiced. People who do not believe what the larger context of society believes are either silenced or ridiculed.  To question the assumptions of evolution, the ethics of abortion, or the morality of gay marriage, is to submit yourself to ridicule and persecution. 

However, scripture teaches us that Christ holds a special place in heaven for those who would speak up for him.

Matthew 5:19 (ASV) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

3. Pleasing God will cause the Angels and the resources of heaven to be at your disposal.

Acts 5:18They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20"Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life."…

God will stand up for you when your enemies try to do you harm.

David said, yeah though I travel through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because the Lord is with me.  When God is with you, the devil might think he has you locked up, but when the Lord is with you, he will set you free every time.

The apostles were locked in prison, but God sent an Angel to set them free.

Have you ever been in a bind?  Are you in a bind now?  Remember, you have the entire host of heaven on your side.  But, you must be willing to stand for him!

A few years ago, my wife Sandra and I were in a bind.  We were named in a lawsuit involving property that we did not own.  

The man had named us in the suit because we were a church, and he figured that he could get money from us.   We were obligated to pay the man over $20,000.  However, God's angels were released on our behalf.  After much prayer, God sent an angel to reversed the decision.  The man ended up losing his property in a mortgage foreclosure.  We were released from the debt.   

If you chose to please God, God will release His heavenly resources to you.  He did the same thing for me, Peter, the early church time and time again, and he will do it for you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Trusting God When You're- In Between.

Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the new world, America.  He set out on from Spain on August 3, 1492 with three ships the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria on a journey that took nearly three months to complete.  And on October 12, 1492, he arrived to his destination.  But did you know that somewhere -in between -Christopher Columbus' journey, his compass failed?  So he was stuck with the prospect of telling the crew and having them to turn back, or hiding it from the crew and later having them to stage a mutiny.   Christopher Columbus decided to sailed on, because he believed that, eventually,  od would get him to his destination.  Eventually the crew found out Columbus secret, and were on the verge of revolt.  But Columbus convinced the crews to forge on just a little bit farther.  And on October 12, 1492, Columbus finally spotted land and brought their ships to rest on that day.

For nearly 3 full months, Columbus was on the longest journey of his life.  When he first set sail, he was sure where he was going.  But somewhere in between his departure and his arrival, doubt set in.  It wasn't at the beginning of the Journey,  it wasn't at the end of the Journey.  It was -IN BETWEEN. 

Have you ever been in between?   In between jobs?  In between destinations?  In between answers to prayer?  You're waiting to see if things will turn out in your favor, but you don't know yet, because you're -in between.

Abraham was about 75 years old when God first told him that he was going to bless him with a land, and give him a son. 

I'm sure Abraham thought that it was going to happen right away.  He did not know that -in between- the promise and the blessing, there would be 25 years!

Abraham is called the father of the faithful, because he was the first to be -in between.

Abraham was  -in between -the promises of God and His blessings.

Although it seemed that his Isaac would never be born, Abraham never stopped trusting God.  

He knew that God is faithful even when we are -in between the almost, and not yet.

You might be -in between.  You have prayed to God for an answer to your prayers, but you're in between his promise and his blessing.

God wants us to know that he is faithful.  The word of God reminds us in Isaiah 40:31,
that they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Three things we learn being - in between:

1. When you're- in between- time does not matter to God, he still is in control.

Abraham was 75! He already was an old man.  Some people might have thought, if God were going to give him a son, he would have done it earlier.

My wife Sandra and I were married late in life.  She was already over the age of 30 when we got married.  So we tried to start a family right away, but we couldn't.  Because God wasn't ready for us to have a child yet.  However, 10 years passed and God finally gave us a son!  he still is in control.

Ps 31:15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.

You see, we have to learn that God takes his time.  My mother used to say, He may not come when you want him, but He's always right on time.

Abraham was made about three promises.  Genesis 12:1-3
  1. The Land Promise: "A land that I will show you."
  2. The National Promise: "A great nation."
  3.  The Spiritual Promise: "All the families of the earth shall be blessed."

2. When you're -in between- God still wants us to trust him.   There was a point when Abraham did not know where God was taking him.  He was following God, but it was out of trust

God wants us to trust him! 

Look at Hebrews 11:8 - By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

You see, faith is trusting God even though you don't know where God is going.

When I started this ministry, I did not know where I was going.  All I knew was that God had called me to start True Vine ministries, but I did not know from one week to the next, where we were going to have service.

Like Abraham, I was in between.  Faithfully, God provided a place for us to meet every week without fail.

Have you ever felt like God has called you to a blessing, but you did not know how, or where it was taking you?

The Bible says that Abraham left Harron  by Faith.  Faith is trusting God to do what he said he was going to do.

Declare right now that you trust God to fulfill his promise.

3. When you're -in between- God wants us to receive his promises by faith.

This means acting just like you have them now.  Rejoicing just like God has already given you the promise.  Look at Hebrews 11:8 - By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

God wants us to receive our blessings by faith.  Faith is receiving the promises of God before you see the physical manifestation.  

It took 25 years for Abraham to receive his Isaac!  But Abraham did not waver in his belief that he would be the father of many nations just as God had told him.

Today, make the decision to receive the promises of God and trust Him to bring it to past.  Rejoice today like you have it right now.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What's Love Got To Do With It?

What's Love Got To Do With It?

1 John 3:11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

Those of you who are at least 40 years old, remember the song what's Love Got to Do with it?  In this song Tina Turner made the case for love being a second hand emotion.

Yet, in this book of 1 John, John makes a strong case for love being the most important thing that a Christian should do.  Listen to what he says: We should love one another.

John reminds us that Being a Christian is not only a name that the world calls us, but it is a requirement to be something as well.  The requirement is to be Loving Towards one another.

And no wonder, John was merely repeating the command of Jesus when he said:  “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So What's love got to do with it?

1. Love is a requirement  for Christian Faith.

You cannot call yourself a Christian without love.
John 13:35
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another

2. Love keeps us from murdering one another.
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

Notice that John said, when we don't love, we have become murderers

  We back bite.  We hold grudges. We practice treachery.

3. Love causes us to give up our own selfish ambitions and share what we have.
1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

We will feed the hungry.  We will give sacrificially.