Bride of Christ

He Leads Me!

Psa 23:2   ... He leads me…

Your first words you spoke to Jesus were no doubt, “Lord, save me”!    His reply to you was, “Follow me”!  Following Jesus lead, can be quite a trip…  Where is Jesus leading you?

Answering the question of, “Who’s my neighbor”, Jesus tells the story of a Samaritan who was led down the road to Jericho when he came across another traveler… a man in need… a man who could not make it unless someone stopped and stooped down to help him up.  Two professing religious leaders were led down that same road… they saw the need, but didn’t stop or stoop.

Being “LED” is easy… seeing the needs of others is easy… but, taking the personal time, and spending the resources to help someone else is another matter.   

Many people believe that to follow Jesus' lead is a long journey.   
Mother Teresa was once asked, “Why did you choose to serve the poor of Calcutta?”   Her reply was simple… “I chose to follow and serve Jesus and this is where He led me”.

Beloved,  It’s not a matter of where you are led, its a matter of just following His lead.  He may lead you to Calcutta or… to the neighbor next door.

Going where Jesus leads you will be an exciting trip… but, remember, dear one…you already decided to follow Jesus… so.. just look around you.   

Pray: Lord, open my eyes and ears along this path you have me on today.  Grant me a heart of compassion to heal the wounds of others and the resources to help someone else get up and get going.

When they ask, "why are you doing this"?  Just say… "The Lord is my Shepherd, and He leads me…"

pastor John

One More Crown Needed!

Mar 10:33"Listen," He said, "we're going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence Him to die and hand Him over to the Romans.
Mar 10:34They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill Him, but after three days He will rise again."

You would think that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to get His golden crown, sit on His royal throne and judge the world.  You would think that at last every knee would bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.    Well, dear one… He will next time… but not this time!

Of all the many crowns Jesus has, there was still one missing… one crown that He yet needed to go and get… one crown that would change the entire world!   One crown placed on His head… a crown made by fallen, wicked, violent and angry men… twisted and pointed... the one crown that forever gave men the model of love and life giving sacrifice they so desperately needed!   The one crown that would cause those who put Him to death to say, “Surely this is the Son of God”!  This is the crown that Jesus went to Jerusalem to get!

Soon He will enter Jerusalem again… and… this time… at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Which crown did He get the last time He was there?   Why, a crown of thorns, of course.

pastor John

Hiding or Seeking??

Gen 3:9But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?”  ESV

A man was sitting on his porch, listening to some neighborhood kids playing hide and seek.   One of them was chosen to count and the rest took off to hide.    After about an hour, the man heard one of the little boys crying.  Going over to boy, the man asked, “What’s the matter”?   “No one is looking for me anymore”, the boy sobbed!  They all got tired of trying to find me and went home.”!

After Adam and Eve Did what God told them not to do, they became embarrassed and ashamed… so… like us... they went and hid.   But the Lord was out seeking to find them… I can see Him walking through the garden, shouting, “Adam, Where are you”?!

Ever heard people ask, “If there is a God, where is He”?    The question isn’t, where is God… the question is… Where are you?    “Who exactly is hiding from Whom??

Perhaps God’s broken heart is like the little boy...   He wants people to find Him… but no one is seeking Him…   

Perhaps you’ve quit seeking and gone into hiding… get back at seeking again… As it is written…

Jer 29:13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Jer 29:14I will be found by you, declares the LORD

So… beloved… which one best describes you?    Hiding or Seeking?

pastor John

I can Supply!

Deu 15:4But there will be no poor among you…
Deu 15:11For there will never cease to be poor in the land.

Here is another one of those passages that seem to be bit of a contradiction.   First off the Lord says… there will “be no poor among you”  Then He says, “There will never cease to be poor in the land.

The answer lies within this next command...   Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

One of the most refreshing practices and evidences of a disciple of Christ is his generosity.  The Bible calls it, “Cheerful giving”!

There seems to be a strong connection between giving to the needs of others and our memory.   As it is written,

Deu 15:15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you;

Never forget, beloved, that without the generosity of the Lord… you would still be a poor dumb slave.   He saw the poverty of your soul… the bondage to sin… the power of satan in your life that was keeping you chained, addicted, and hopeless…

He saw… He came… He conquered … He paid the price… He set you free.    Why not take some time and ponder that memory today… thank Him for your freedom… then pray… “Lord, restore unto me the joy of my redemption… then open my eyes to see the needs of others… and what I can supply."

pastor John

Ssssay What?

Gen 3:4 But the serpent said…

Adam and Eve…   They had no family pictures of mom or dad… they had no belly button… they had only the handiwork of God’s creation… and the greatest of His work was… them!

They were naked and not afraid.. or even ashamed!  They could only see the beauty of two beings God had formed and the miracle of what He could do with dirt and a rib.  And they were made, not like the other created creatures… but the image of the Creator Himself.    

The only two on the planet… they had to know God’s voice… after all they walked with Him and talked with Him in the garden... in the cool of each day!  How cool was that?  I wonder what some of those conversations were like?   I wonder what questions they asked?  I wonder what He told them?

Beloved, we don’t have to wonder.  If we will meet with Him and learn to hear His voice, He will speak His Word to us.   What He says to you about life… about your future.. what your going through… the plans He has for you… it’s all being spoken… to those who, “have ears to hear”!

But be careful, dear one… there is this, “other voice”.   Its the voice of the sneaky snake who hisses, “Ssssay What?"

Pastor John

Help in Changing Times!

Psa 46:2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth is changing...

What do you do with change?  No, not what you get back from a $20… the kind of change that creates fear?  You know… “different”… different than what you expected… different than what you had hoped… different because it is completely out of your hands… a “change”… that is not really your idea… it just happened!

My dad is 98!  When I ask him about all the changes he has seen on the earth…  he gets sort of a far-away-look in his eye!   “Some of the changes are good”, he says… “but most of them just cause trouble… still… you have to live with it”!

If change is the way of all the earth, then staying sane in the midst of an insane world is dependent on how well you adapt to change.   

So.. how do you do it?   The first verse of this Psalm gives the key… "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”.   Trouble on the earth is due to not wanting God on the earth!   

Beloved, quick and sudden changes are in the winds blowing across the earth… but do not fear…

The One you put your trust in… the One who changes not.. the One who promises and can not lie… the One who says He will never leave you… The Alpha and the Omega.. the beginning and the end.. is there now and will be forever!  He is… the VERY PRESENT HELP in times of change!   

How present is He in your life today?

pastor John

Passions Place!

1Pe 2:11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  ESV

Those addicted to passions of the flesh are being discovered and exposed in every arena!  Politicians, College Professors, Actors and Comedians, Business leaders and even Priests and Pastors... Greed, corruption, lawless and lewd sexual encounters!  What’s the problem?  Passion in the wrong place!!

Now, passion is a great thing… without it you would dream a dream but not have the umph to “get-r-done”.   Without passion, it would be hard to obey the Lords first command to man… "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”  Gen. 1:28

But there is a great difference between God placed passion and world placed passion.   How do I know which is which?

  God placed passion places God first and there is peace.
  World placed passion bring a war to your own soul and there is no peace.

Beloved, as a disciple of Christ, you are only an alien passing through this world.   What place does this world and its passions have in you?  Perhaps it’s time to put your passion in the right place.

pastor John

There goes the Ol EGO!

Num 16:3"You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD's people?"
Num 16:4When Moses heard what they were saying, he fell face down on the ground.

When did Moses ever act like he was greater than the rest of the Lords people?   As I recall, he didn’t even want the job of delivering them from slavery in Egypt, let alone lead them through this desert.    [see Exodus 3]   In reality, no one was more humble than Moses.  Notice how he handled their accusations!

   What was the root problem of this rebellion?   A three letter word will answer that question.   When you get to thinking your a big somebody, and get mad at others who do not acknowledge how “big” a somebody you are…. that’s EGO!   What does EGO look like??

EGO in some way or another, tries to get others to pick up our offense.   EGO comes out of our pride!   EGO says, “I’m the boss here!”  EGO is demonic!   EGO is destructive to those who want to keep it!   [Read Numbers 16]

Perhaps you are at a desert crossing today.   Perhaps God has given you someone to lead you through it.  Maybe your thinking you don’t like the direction they are leading you…   Oops…  there goes my Ego!

pastor John

A Splash of Gladness

Heb 1:9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”  NLT

A man I was witnessing to said, “Jesus never smiles!  He is always serious!   It’s like He’s mad about something!  He must not have a sense of humor!”

Well, it is true that the Lord loves righteousness and yes, He does hate wickedness.  But He is not mad… He is glad!    And, He can’t help but spread gladness wherever He goes.

I think of all the fun He must have had healing lepers, raising the dead, and calming storms.  It makes me smile to think of Him walking on water, and telling Peter to join Him, knowing full well that Pete would sink.   It brings joy to my heart knowing that He forgave a women of adultery, and ate with tax collectors and sinners.  Think of the gladness He brought to each of them!

Yep… Thats my Jesus… thats my Lord.  He has been anointed with the oil of gladness!  A lot of it… a never ending supply of it…  Therefore, “gladness” just runs off Him wherever He goes.   And if you ask Him to, He will splash some of it your way...

Beloved, may the Lord stop by your place today…and splash some gladness on you.  

pastor John

Better than Scum?

Luk 5:30But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum? “  NLT

We’ve all met them!   Those whose religious instruction has ruined them.   Those who want to teach what they “know” about God!   Unfortunately, all they have learned are religious rules… and all they know now is that somehow being better than some means that they right with God.   

Levi got it right.  He was called by Jesus.. he got up and followed Jesus… he invited his “scum” friends to a party… he also invited Jesus!  And guess what?   Jesus came to the party!

When questioned by those with the, “better than some” theology, Jesus simply said,

Luk 5:31   "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do.
Luk 5:32I have come to call NOT those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."

Beloved, its great to be righteous because you are forgiven, but never to “think your righteous”, simply because your better than scum.  

pastor John