Thursday, December 30, 2010

Transformation 2011

Late Night Rendezvous
It was a late night rendezvous unlike any before or since.  Imagine Barrack Obama gathering late at night with a bunch of Republicans who would offer him advice on how to run the country, or imagine Alex Rodriguez from the NY Yankees, having a secret meeting at night with the Boston Red Sox players to get advice on how to be a better hitter.  Do you get the picture?  The Pharisees hated Jesus and everything He stood for.  Oh don’t get me wrong, they knew He was from God or at least some of them did, because Nicodemus said, “we know you are a teacher who comes from God”, that’s right the secret rendezvous between Nicodemus and Jesus happened because he was the only one who had the inner fortitude (guts) to approach this man who was a thorn in their side.
Was Jesus pleased that Nicodemus did the unthinkable and came to Him?  Sure, but Jesus wasn’t satisfied with head knowledge.  He quickly informed Nicodemus that his status, reputation, money, or good deeds meant nothing if he wasn’t Born Again.
At TSCC our theme for 2011 is “Transformation”, and it has to begin with being born again.  The Transformation Process begins at our new birth into Christ.  All of our righteous deeds, selfless acts, and good works mean nothing w/o the blood of Christ.  We will be spending nine weeks dealing with the elements of salvation discussed in John 3:16 and I will attempt to put some of these thoughts into my blog.  I’m afraid I’ve avoided this verse through many of my years of preaching because of the stigma that sometimes can be attached. (which by the way is completely ridiculous)
I hope that you will enjoy as I have, truly digging into this powerful verse and allowing it to transform you no matter where you are in life.  The unsaved desperately need to hear this message, and the saved need to be reminded of where they were and are w/o this sinner rescuing passage.  For God so loved…..................................................................................................................
In Christ,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is my room – STAY OUT!

I Said, This is my room – STAY OUT!
Anyone who has had teenagers in the house or has been a teenager themselves have either used or heard those words being used.  It’s a symbol really of I want my privacy, I want my space, I want a part of my life or all of my life to be separate from _______________ fill in the blank (could be siblings or parents, etc.).
Why does this happen?  It could be that they are hiding something, it could be that they are embarrassed about something, it could be they just don’t want to share their things or space with the others in their household.  They are willing to share the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom (sometimes)J, so why not their own room?  Somehow all of us as humans have a desire for privacy that is built in, and it’s definitely not all bad.  There are some things we just keep to ourselves, whether it is feelings, or stuff; emotions or money; pictures or possessions, you name it.
How about God?  Where does He fit in with all of this?  Whether you are a young person or old person or somewhere in the middle, does God have complete access to your life?  Are there things that you refuse to share with Him, talk about with Him, and unload to Him?  He will not force His way into your room, but you will never be truly happy, completely satisfied, fully forgiven, set free from the worries, cares, and burdens of this life if you refuse to let Him in to every single detail of your life.  Remember, He knows what you’re going through already so why not let Him help you through it.
How about it, are you ready to open the door and let God into your room, 100% completely and fully?
1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. NLT

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Additions

I’m working on a building
Those words may not mean anything to you, but every time I see or hear those words a song pops into my mind.  It’s more than just a song sung by the Oak Ridge Boys, (I know those of you non-Southern Gospel fans are rolling your eyes) it is memories.  You see our firstborn son Cade was very little and was having all kinds of stomach problems and constantly crying. One day while he was screaming his head off, we put him in the swing and put on the Oak Ridge Boys and the first song on that album was…… you guessed it – “I’m working on a building”.   He fell asleep almost instantly and the rest is history.
From that moment on when he was restless, upset, hurting or just bedtime, out came the kiddies’ songs and in went the Oak Ridge Boys.  That song is a constant reminder to me that my love for him goes beyond the times I’m proud of him and the times when he and I are having lots of fun together.  My love for him is timeless and unconditional, regardless of the circumstances and situation.
As I prepared this sermon (Home Additions) I thought about all the preparation we are currently making for bringing our new boy home in less than a month, but no matter how much we prepare physically we must begin by preparing our hearts.  My love must pattern God’s love for me and God doesn’t stop loving me even when I’m being a knot-head and yes it does happen.  The fact is that He is faithful when we are faithless and He never stops loving us and waiting for us to come to our senses.
This Sunday we spoke of loving a child, training a child, and releasing a child.  The final two are completely dependent upon the first one.  Take the time this week and re-read 1 Co. 13 and replace the word love with God because after all according to Scripture God is love.  It goes like this, God is patient, God is kind, etc. have you seen God's love in your life, are you living in His love, and are you patterning it to your Home Additions (your children)?
May God bless you as you continue or start on this incredibly difficult yet rewarding task of parenthood.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Surpassing Beauty of a Woman - Prov. 31

A Story of two women
I met the first one many years ago.  She was kind and gentle and was crying the first time I met her or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  But apparently those tears were tears of joy not sadness and if there is one thing I remember the most about this woman, she always seemed to be happy.  Some people might call her blissfully unaware J, but I prefer happy!  The fact is that when she met me, her life changed, and not all for the good because I’ve been told that I was a bit of a handful and I certainly remember causing her pain.  But 37 years ago when I was born, there was a woman who showed me that day (even though I didn’t know it obviously) what the Surpassing Beauty of a Woman is all about.  Her name is Mom.
We lived in an old dilapidated house that was the worst by far in our neighborhood but our home was the most attractive.  The kids came to our house for snacks, even though we were probably the poorest.  My friends liked to hang out at my house and we didn’t have TV, nor did we have nearly as many name brand toys as they did.  Why?  Not because I was a jewel or even my wonderful brothers; no, they came because of the atmosphere created by my Mother.  My kind, compassionate, tender, loving, and joyful Mom.
The second beautiful woman I speak of was more of a kid when I met her, but I can tell you this that I’ve never met a more determined, mature, amazing woman than her.  She was attractive on the outside and has become even more outwardly beautiful through the 16 years that I’ve known her, but it was more than that.  She magnifies the woman in Proverbs 31 in every way as my mother did (although the two have way different personalities J)
Right now she is about a month away from having our second child, and the beauty I see in her has never been more apparent.  I have never been without anything in our 12 years of marriage because of her timeless beauty and the sacrifices she has made.  She became a full time minister’s wife on her 18th birthday; now tell me who in their right mind would do that?  Jennifer Osborn did, and she did it to support and love me and to serve the God she loves. 
Why do I tell you about these two women?  Because if you are reading this you also have been blessed by a beautiful woman, whether she is your mother, sister, friend, or wife, and today is the day for you to recognize her true beauty and tell her about it, as I am doing.  Some of the things I’ve described may bring memories to you and if they do, act upon them and tell them today (instead of waiting for Mother’s day or their b-day, or your anniversary) – how truly beautiful – from the inside out – they are.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Man's Man Part 2

A man after God’s own heart is impulsive.  Really???  Picture David on the hillside watching his father’s sheep and a lion comes out of nowhere and begins to run off with a lamb in his mouth.  David doesn’t have time to think, or plan a strategy, he reacts.  Impulsively he protects those he loves, and he loves the sheep because they belong to his father.  Now picture David bringing lunch to his brothers and while he is there listening to a giant named Goliath screaming insults against God and God’s people.  David’s impulse is not to let someone else handle it, or go back to his job, David’s heart for God causes him to act.
When you have a heart for God, you will impulsively give to someone in need, say a kind word to someone, do a good deed without even thinking about it, and spread the message of Jesus even without a 3 point sermon outline.  A man after God’s own heart will impulsively love his wife, his children, and his neighbor as himself, without having to be asked, poked or prodded.  The question you must ask yourself is, are you impulsively selfish, angry, loving, neighborly, etc. and when you answer that question it will allow you to see inside your heart. 
In second Samuel David who should have been at war with his soldiers acted on several impulses that got him into trouble.  He looked, he asked, he brought her to him, and he acted.  When you aren’t focused on the spiritual battle you are in it’s easy to allow things to distract you from your purpose in life.  David’s impulses weren’t at fault as much as his heart.  Where is your heart today?
The second thing that defines a man after God’s own heart is his imperfections.  David did it, hid it, and wouldn’t admit it.  But when brought to light David repented and turned his life around.  Instead of hiding from our imperfections we must recognize them and use them as learning tools.  There are few things that make a bigger impact in a child’s life than a genuine apology from a father. 
Finally we all know that even when we ask forgiveness it sometimes doesn’t change the fact that there are consequences.  David is told that he will lose his son because of his unfaithfulness and he begs, prays, pleads, and fasts, but God’s answer was no.  The last thing that defines a man after God’s own heart is that he is imperishable.  David loved his newborn son, and did not want him to die but David also knew that this life is only the beginning of greater things.  He and his son were both imperishable souls that would live forever.  I will use David’s words to end this article. 
2 Sam 12:22-23 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.
David’s response, yes even his impulse once he found out that his son was dead was to go to the house of the Lord and worship.   This then is how to be a man after God’s own heart; 1) follow your Godly impulses, 2) correct and learn from your imperfections, and 3) remember that you are imperishable.  Your body will die, but your soul will not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Man's Man (Part 1)

A nine year old boy was asked the secret to a perfect marriage.  His answer?  “You tell your wife she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.”

This Sunday’s message is “A Man’s Man” and it brings to mind pictures of John Wayne, or others that have been held up through the years as being manly men.  God’s definition of a man’s man is a little different. 

Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'  

Of course all the ladies are zooming in on that last part of the verse – He will do everything I want him to do, right?  That’s God talking remember?  David: hero of many battles, overlooked by his family, his father, his contemporaries, and his brothers.  In fact David was overlooked by everyone except God.  A man after God’s own heart!

Even the prophet of God Samuel was convinced that David’s oldest brother would be the one chosen to lead Israel.  1 Samuel 16:6-7.  But when God looked at David’s heart, he saw a heart that was devoted fully to Him. Cf. 1 Kings 11:4

What kind of a man are you?  Or if you are a woman reading this, what kind of a man do you expect the men in your life to be?  All men are simply fathers, sons, and brothers, men who have been hurt, men who have rejoiced, men who have had successes and failures in this life, but the point of this message has nothing to do with your circumstances, but everything to do with your heart.
David, a man after God’s own heart was
Imperfect &
I’ll explain in greater detail (in part 2) after the message on Sunday.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Foundational Words

Matt 7:24-25  "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. THE MESSAGE

Once the Blueprint has been drawn up, it's time to start thinking about building permits.  This series of home improvement is so much more than just trying to fix small things, or improve things that may or may not have an impact on our lives, it's about allowing the foundational words of Jesus to build our lives.  This story Jesus told about the wise and foolish builders, (yes the same story we sang about in Sunday School) is the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount.  This week at TSCC we will be looking at foundational words from this powerful sermon.

These words are the building permits in our lives.  Words like, "Judge not, or you too will be judged", "You cannot serve both God and money", "Do to others what you would have them do to you", "You are the light of the world", and so on.

Jesus is not asking for bits and pieces of our lives, He is asking that we build our entire life on His Words.  How we treat our spouses, our neighbors, our children, our co-workers should not be dependant upon how good we are, it should be dependant upon how much we are letting the Words of Jesus be the foundation of our lives.

May God Bless you as you consider these words.


Saturday, September 4, 2010