phone home

April 22, 2018

John the Baptist, had a time of doubt. He was languishing in prison and he began to wonder, “If Jesus is truly the Messiah, why am I, His messenger, here in prison?” So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Then He gently rebuked John’s doubt by adding, “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me” (Luke 7:22, 23). Jesus went on to tell the crowd that among those born of women, there is no one greater than John. He was a godly man, but he had his time of doubt.

Maybe you never have doubts about the deity of Jesus. Maybe it’s more a feeling of unworthiness. Hey, you look in the mirror, you know your sins,, your short comings. The sermon always seems to be aimed at you, you read your bible and feel like nothing is sinking in. you hear others at bible study or Sunday school and they are talking about answered prayers and miracles and you’re trying to figure out how to stop jock itch and that weird rash you picked up at the gym.

Like John the Baptist, first reach out to Jesus, take 2 minutes more to read your bible. Set an egg timer to pray a little longer. Any feeling of lack of intimacy with God is your own fault. Nobody likes to hear that. Joel Osteen isn’t going to tell you that, neither will any of the “I have the secret to victory” books at the bible book store.

Stud up, man up, step up, grow up, it’s easier to talk to God than you think. Feeling guilty, that’s what your prayer is going to start with; “God, I feel guilty”. Feel worse than the dog poop you can’t get off your best shoes, yep, that’s your prayer. Angry, yell at God he can take it. I once was so frustrated with the trial I was going through that I was picking up rocks and throwing them at God. I didn’t get struck with lightning, the rocks did come flying back at me. The trial didn’t end. But my prayer life changed.

Make a list of what you are doing wrong, put it in your bible and pray about fixing one thing. Stop waiting for a miracle or thinking that it will suddenly get better because you put more money in the offering plate. It doesn’t work like that.

Read the story of the prodigal son in the NASB, (new American standard bible). It says ‘when he came to his senses’ then he saw the mess he was in and surrendered, swallowed his pride and went home.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

God isn’t Walt Disney and you’re not Pinocchio, although you may be a block head.

Seriously, you need to talk to God more.

  That ye may be blameless and harmless, children of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

  There should be neither undergrowth, nor overgrowth, but balanced growth. Spiritual equilibrium alone will bring forth much fruit both in us and in others.

A popular notion that the first obligation of the Church is to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. The first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it. . . to spread a weak or worn out and degenerate brand of Christianity to pagan lands is not to fulfil the Great Commission.

 We were created for more than our own spiritual development; reproduction, not mere development, is the goal to mature being—reproduction in other lives. There is a tendency in some characters, running parallel to the high cultivation that spends its whole energy on the production of bloom at the expense of seed.

 The flowers (Christians) that are bent on perfecting themselves, by becoming double, (carbon copies, like a cult) end in barrenness, and a like barrenness comes to the soul whose interests are all concentrated upon its own spiritual well-being, heedless of the needs around. The true, ideal flower, (saint) is the one that uses its gifts as means to an end; their experiences are not for their own glory; but a godly, spiritual attractiveness, that draws others to the Lord, like a bee to a flower. That holy flame burning inside, lit by the Holy Spirit, draws strength from the Lord and produces a holy, sweet aroma, a life pleasing to God.

  “Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (Phil. 2:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ann and her battle with abusing prescriptions.

Pray for Sharon as she fight vertigo, pray for a swift healing.

Bread Crumbs

April 20, 2018

Every thinking person has struggled with the problem of doubt. C. S. Lewis, who was an atheist before he was converted to Christianity, acknowledged that just as the Christian has his moments of doubt, so does the atheist. He wrote, “Believe in God, and you will have to face hours when it seems obvious that this material world is the only reality; disbelieve in Him, and you must face hours when this material world seems to shout at you that it is not all. No conviction religious or irreligious will, of itself, end once and for all this fifth-columnist in the soul. Only the practice of faith resulting in the habit of faith will gradually do that.” (Cited in “Focal Point,” July-September, 1989.)

Doubt comes in varying degrees. There is the doubt of the proud skeptic, who delights in his own intellect. He pits himself against God as if he is a match for the Almighty. He delights in upsetting the faith of weak believers. He sets forth his arguments against God’s existence or the Christian faith as if he is the first brilliant thinker in history to come up with such insights. Such doubters often find jobs teaching at American universities! The Bible dismisses such scoffers with the word, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1).

It’s natural to have doubts. The Christian cannot have a mountaintop  experience without the valley experience. And it’s not always in that order. Often the new believer will experience a plethora of panoramic vistas of extreme wonder. Only to be followed by Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones. This to is normal and a good sign. The mature believer must depend more on faith and the promises of the bible versus the experiences of rapture and seemingly every prayer answered, to ‘Knock, Knock, where the heck did God go’ moments.

So if you are going through a ‘dry spell’ never doubt your salvation or sanity. You are now at a moment where God trusts you and your faith to a deeper, and yes, harder walk.

And if you happened to be a child of the 60’s you may remember the comic strip that featured the iconic keep on trucking image.

r crumb

God bless all the old hippies, you made it (with more or less of your brains intact)

Prayer requests, questions and comments to our email.

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

The Pre-Incarnate Preview

April 19, 2018

Ever read all the works of an author and wished they’d written more? What if you discovered they’d written other books, but under another name? We find something similar in Scripture. The Gospels tell us about Jesus. What would you say if I told you that I knew of some bonus material about Him? (don’t freak out we are not talking about ‘some other weird, mystery books’.)

The Old Testament, specifically the preincarnate appearances of Jesus. To become more like Christ, we can closely examine this “bonus material” to learn how Jesus engaged with people. In this devotion, we’ll focus on Jesus’ appearances as the angel of the Lord.

The Bible never clearly states Jesus was the angel of the Lord, but it does suggest it was him. Here are some aspects of his appearances for you to consider:

➤ Jesus came in preincarnate human form—The angel of the Lord took human form, but not human flesh. Jesus did not become incarnate (the word incarnation means “the act of being made flesh”) until his appearance in the New Testament.

➤ Jesus appeared frequently—The term “angel of the Lord” occurs more than 50 times in the Old Testament; “angel of God” occurs nine times. We also find the angel of the Lord appearing as a “glory cloud of God” (e.g., see Ex 16:10).

➤ Jesus revealed his character—As the angel of the Lord, Jesus revealed his character through his actions. Here’s a list of nine ways the appearances teach us about Christ. We see that

  1. He leads (see Ex 13:21)

    2. He defends (see Ex 23:20–23)

    3. He communes (see Ex 24:10–11)

    4. He speaks (see Ex 33:9–11)

    5. He sympathizes (see Isa 63:8–9)

    6. He commands (see Ac 7:38)

    7. He anticipates (see Ex 40:34–38)

    8. He reveals (see Ex 33:18)

    9. He communicates grace (see Ge 16:7–9).

Just as the angel of the Lord prepared the way for the Israelites (see Ex 23:20), these passages prepare us to see Jesus more clearly and more fully.

The better we know Him, the better we can follow and become more like Him. God’s chief desire for us is that we become more Christ like.

God bless you on your spiritual journey, an odyssey of exploration into the majesty and mysteries of Christ, as Ephesians’ says; “the unsearchable riches of Christ”.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

A,B, C’S

April 18, 2018

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6).

Grace + Law = Death. Grace – Law = Life!

“Covenant theology, which has molded the major theological conceptions for many generations, recognizes no distinctions as to ages, therefore can allow for no distinctions between law and grace. This dominating attitude of Covenantism must account for the utter neglect of life truth (growth) in all their works of theology.

No more representative theological dictum from the Covenant viewpoint has been formed than the Westminster Confession of Faith, which valuable and important document recognizes life truth only to the point of imposing the Ten Commandments on Christians as their sole obligation, and in spite of the teachings of the New Testament which asserts that the Law was never given to Gentile or Christian.

While freeing believers from the bondage of Rome, the Protestant Reformation brought them back, in large measure, under the bondage of Sinai. The Reformation took away one set of bindings, but bound the believers with another—and this has atrophied the spiritual life of multitudes.

Not a single cluster of living fruit ever was, or ever will be, culled from the tree of legality. Law can only produce ‘dead works,’ from which we need to have conscience purged just as much as from ‘wicked works.

So where are you, you ask? Simple. Does your church preach about the growth of a Christian, does it talk about maturity, or being in the spirit. Is there love abounding, abiding, ascending? How forgiving is your church? Do people talk about the church being their life line after a royal screw up and how the church stuck by them?

“Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

Grace, Growth, Life, Liberty. Jesus as Savior, the imminent return of Christ. A real heaven to gain and a hell to spurn. If any of this is missing from your church, you are in the wrong church.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Bob P, getting a little burned out from travel and some disappointing partners.

Pray for Clint, probably lives one of the healthiest lifestyles around and now is body is letting him down. Lot’s of anger issues.

Pray for Tim M. new job, new roles, pray for encouragement.

So you thought you had a bad day.

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Michael reply: “Each morning I wake up and say to myself: Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I point out the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy.” I protested.

“Yes, it is.” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situation. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Cell Tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communication tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied: “If I was any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon to be born daughter” Michael replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Michael continued, ” The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he is a dead man’ I knew I needed to take action”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Michael. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.”

“Yes?” I replied.

The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.

I took a deep breath and yelled “Gravity”.

Over the laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.

I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude IS everything.

So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

WHAT TIME IS IT?

April 16, 2018

  “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).

  Grace forsaken is freedom forfeited.

  In considering the whole testimony of the Bible, it is almost as important for the believer who would do the will of God to recognize that which does not concern him as it is for him to recognize that which does concern him.

You may have to read that sentence a couple of times for it to make sense, I rewrote it ten times and that’s the best, clearest way I could write it. (and I know Ms Kate, that’s not good grammar).

 

Apart from the knowledge of dispensational truth, the believer will not be intelligently adjusted to the present purpose and will of God in the world. Such knowledge alone will save him from assuming the hopeless legality of the dispensation that is past or from undertaking the impossible world transforming program belonging to the dispensation which is to come.

We are not living in the kingdom world yet, that dispensation has not occurred yet.

The Law of Moses is interrelated and wholly dependent on the sacrifices and ritual provided for Israel in the land. The laws of the kingdom (Sermon on the Mount) are only related to the future kingdom conditions which shall be in the earth under the power and presence of the King when Satan is bound, creation delivered, and all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest.

 All harmony of truth is shattered when there is the slightest commingling of the principles of law and grace. Grace alone now reigns through Christ to the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  “By the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

DEVOTED DEVOTION

April 15, 2018

  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).

  Ignorance insures insecurity; scriptural knowledge secures strength. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

  “In mechanics, wobbling is weakness. Power issues from God’s restfulness. Are we resting in the Lord? Can we wait patiently for Him to act? Anxiety reduces spiritual energy. Lack of rest of heart is one of the most serious hindrances to Christians.

  Worrying when wronged, or fussing over financial or other concerns, is a depletion of power, a dissipation of energy. From the rock basis of rest in Him we can put forth the whole of our energies. Perfect peace is our promised portion.

 Nothing can separate the believer from the love of God, and under no circumstances whatever can he come under the infliction of wrath from God. He may have to correct His saints for their sins, and where there has been no failure He may chasten (child train) them for their profit, that they may become partakers of His holiness; but all this is in love, not in wrath. Every action of God toward His saints is in grace and blessing; it is ever the outcome of His love.

  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

Pray for Ann, her panic attacks wipe her out for days

Pray for Dave I, his 5th bout with prostate cancer

Pray of Barbara D, her 4th bout with Cancer.

 

WHO KNOWS?

April 14, 2018

Who deserves it, or does it even matter

I was talking to a seminary professor the other day and he told me that over Spring break he had taken a walking tour of Scotland to enjoy hiking and especially to visit some very old churches that have stood for hundreds of years.

At one of these churches it was Sunday and it was the last Sunday for this pastor who was retiring at 94 years of age and had spent 50 years as the pastor of this tiny church, hidden in rugged terrain that most people walked to.

He said the pastor’s sermon was a homiletic master piece, it was deep, moving and a gem. He wondered how the Lord could keep such a master of preaching hidden like a rare gem from the world and how blessed this congregation was to have been guided by such a great shepherd.

He said that as he flew back to America a question began to form in his mind over who would be the most blessed, the pastor of a small struggling flock, that rarely had money, never knew fame, no books, no tv shows, but a faithful pastor; or the mega pastor that touched millions and was there a difference in the eyes of God. Would the reward be different?

I asked him if had reached a conclusion and he said he had (with the foreknowledge that he was not God and this was just his humble opinion). He said that had; he believed that the faithful pastor to a small flock, faithful to the word and the work would receive a larger, better reward, because of the struggle and fight just to keep the doors open and no open earthly reward now.

Ok, it’s just one man’s opinion but I agree with him.

And the reason I’m bringing it up is I have a very good friend who after 32 years at the same church, highly educated, gifted as a speaker, and faithful to the word and the craft of preaching good honest sermons with no baloney or filler at all.

And this month he will receive no salary because the church can’t afford to pay him for an entire month. He doesn’t know that I know this and what I want from all of you is to pray for him, and that this Sunday a visitor will come to church and place more money in the offering plate than ever before, that someone takes him out to lunch and blesses him.

So please keep this servant of God in prayer that like the children of God in the wilderness that he and his family will be divinely kept, that rust, and moth and corruption will not find root in any part of his life, that the car won’t break down, and no one will get sick and things will just work out; and if just one new face could show up on Sunday.

Because he has been faithful to God, and to the word.

This ain’t a chain letter so if you don’t pray nothing bad will happen to you (ha)

God bless and peace out.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE ORDER OF THINGS

April 12, 2018

  God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen. 41:52).

  To share what we have may minister temporarily to the physical; but to minister to the spiritual in an eternal way we must share what we are, and that calls for growth in the Lord Jesus Christ; and honesty about what we really are. Not just who we pretend to be.

It has ever been God’s way to raise up a vessel, personal or corporate, in which His message has been wrought by fiery ordeal. The messenger must not only have the message in him, but he must be in the message: not only in mind and feeling, but in experience and being. That’s why we suffer, why we fail, why we do the wrong thing. Only so we can compare when we are right, right with God, right in fellowship. It’s not about what we do, it’s about what we are. The same in every situation. The same on Friday night as we are on Sunday. The same in the town we live as when we are out of town.

We really can only come into the reality of things by being ‘pressed out of measure’ (2 Cor. 1:8). So the Lord has to take much time to make our spiritual history. When at length our eyes are open, we cry, ‘O, why did I not see it before!’ But everything else had to prove insufficient before we could really be shown, and that takes time.

  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet 5:6).

  “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice” (John 18:37).

  Charismatic Arminianism’s experience omits truth. Covenant Calvinism’s legality chokes truth. Cross-centered Christianity’s Christ-life is Truth!

. Zeal for the purity of divine truth has not kept pace with zeal for the salvation of sinners.

  “God would have us love one another; but the Holy Spirit, by whose power we receive the divine nature, and who pours the love of God into our hearts, is the Spirit of truth, and His office is to glorify Christ.

Therefore, it is impossible that a love which can put up with a doctrine that falsified Christ, or diminishes His place in the order of God and then lifts us up, or which is indifferent to anything that concerns His glory, could possibly be of the Holy Spirit.

  “In all things commending ourselves as the ministers of God. . . by the word of truth” (2 Cor. 6:4, 7)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com