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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mark 10:46-52 (Sermon for the week of October 29th)

Mk 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,"Son of David, have pity on me." Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you. "He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see." Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Another event of miraculous healing that Our Lord who is the Messiah could only do...heal a known blind man! That is what a Messiah can do! Not a fake...not a liar...not a man...and not a teacher! The Messiah, Jesus Christ, healed this man...with scores of people witnessing it.
How many more thousands need to watch the event in order for the non-seers to look?
2,000 years ago Our Lord walked this Earth and by HIS power and Grace alone, we are able to read and learn about it today. THAT WILL ALWAYS BE AS LONG AS TRUE BELIEVERS WHO ARE THE FAITHERS IN JESUS CHRIST WALK THIS EARTH.

Don't forget who your Lord is. Through centuries of oppression, persecution, murder, corruptness, and influence of demons on mankind, the Word of God has existed and will always EXIST on this planet as long as those of us who are called to Him as "faithers" are walking this Earth. GO FOR YOURS AND WE'LL GO TO OURS...our Lord is a mighty Lord! Be secure knowing this.

So, Bartimaeus is a known begging blind man. Jesus was leaving Jericho, a major town and Bartimaeus was begging. Begging ,because a blind man has nothing else to do but beg in these times of the world. What could a blind man do in a world of manual labor? There weren't machines or computers or "knowledge workers". You worked in manual labor and a blind man just couldn't support himself...so he is forced to rely off of the mercy of other people. Sounds like the true spiritual condition of mankind doesn't it?

We are blind and may not face the reality of this...and all we do is BEG in this world to get by...and what we are really doing is panhandling from the Creator who has mercy on us. We get by...barely.

Then the blind man calls out. Calls out from deep within himself. He cries out in such a heartfelt manner that it makes the people in the crowd uncomfortable and they begin to try to SILENCE him. The man is crying out with all his soul and heart to the Messiah for help.


Again, isn't that the same state that believers in Christ reach one day? I know that is my experience, how about yours? We yearned for Him to listen and BEHOLD He heard. It is an experience that builds our faith, and it is one to remind ourselves about! We have proof of our own that He hears...if this isn't your experience...then we may have to look at the definition of yearning...or repentence. Repentence with our hearts.
This is what the blind man does next...he repents!

"Son of David...have mercy on me!!" That is repentence when you are fortunate enough to be in front of the Lord! Notice that the blind begger call Jesus the Son of David! How would this man know that this is Jesus, that Jesus is the Messiah, and that the Messiah would come through the bloodlines of David? HE IS BLIND! Yet, this blind man had no problem shouting the truth that he faithed in. That is the story of our faith also...isn't it? We faith in some things that we may not understand but yearn to learn...and the Lord teaches us! We grow in faith even in times when we are weak doubters and He holds us up.

This blind man is told to approach Jesus because Jesus tells the others that he has been heard and the Lord said: "CALL HIM". The man is called. No one else in the crowd is...but this yearning man allowed him to BE CALLED.

Upon being called...the blind man throws his CLOAK ASIDE. HIS CLOAK! To a blind begger, the cloak or long coat of the begger was the only way he could make a living and survive! Beggers for centuries upon centuries would throw a blanket or long coat beside them in order to catch and claim the few coins that were abruptly and rudely thrown at them once in a while. This blind begger TOSSES the only tool of his survival in this world ASIDE! Why?

For eternal life...a new life calls...one provided by ONLY one...JESUS CHRIST!

We must toss aside our Worldly and Earthly ambitions and desires and run to the one who gives us new life and RENEWS us...and that is Jesus.
Jesus asks the blind man what he wants. The blind man replies that he wishes to see. And it is granted to him by ONE THING....HIS FAITH!!!Not the blind man's works...not the blind man's suffering...but by the blind mans FAITH. FAITH ALONE granted his sight back.

The same is true for us. If we yearn to see...if we yearn to REALLY SEE and have our eyes and spirits opened...then we must ask Jesus.

What do you want?
Do you want to go from blind to being able to see? Do you want eternal life? If we have yearned and called for Him, repented and in His Grace, then we ask HIM for what really counts in this life...to be able to see the Truth...the Truth that is given to us is a result of our Faith.

WE are the ones in the large crowds calling out His name the loudest we can while those around us try to silence us. We are heard...we are saved...and we can't wait to follow Jesus "on the way" to heaven.

God Bless you and your families this week.


Friday, October 27, 2006




Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Christian Persecution in AZERBAIJAN

Azeri Officials Deprive Christian Baby of Name – CompassDirect

Three-month-old Ilya Eyvazov has no official name. Local authorities in the town of Aliabad at first refused to issue a birth certificate when they saw the baby's name was the Russian form of Elijah. After a month, Novruz Eyvazov, the baby's father, succeeded only in securing a birth certificate that left his son's name blank. Considered part of a "foreign" religious sect, the three Baptist congregations in Aliabad face ongoing harassment from the local government, which has refused them official church registration for the past 13 years.

Pray the Holy Spirit will move in power to overcome the spiritual darkness in Azerbaijan and bring unity among the people. Ezekiel 22:30

Every month The Voice of the Martyrs reports on what is really happening around the world where our brothers and sisters are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Now you can receive a free subscription to The Voice of the Martyrs award winning monthly newsletter. You will be inspired, you will learn to pray and even discover practical ways to get involved.

Sign up today.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Mark 10:35-45 (Sermon for the week of October 22nd)

Mk 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."

Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them,"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

James and John came to Jesus and addressed Him as "Teacher"... that is the first sign that we have some human thinking going on! Jesus' own Apostles address Him as teacher and then ask Him to grant them whatever they wish? So, when it comes to selfishneeds... the Apostles who walked side by side, flesh and blood with Jesus are not immune to humanistic, egotistic, selfishness. If James and John aren't immune from absolute selfish desires, Peter is not immune, Martin Luther is not immune, the pope is not immune, and surely you and I are not immune.

Immune from what? Let's say it again...selfishness!

What James and John want from the Lord is selfish is it not? The Lord has yet to endure the suffering and mockery of this world, has yet to be crucified and rise on the third day, and two of His Apostles are asking to be seated at the left and right side of Our Lord's throne? I am agast at the selfish act and yet humbled because I have acted just as selfishly in my life. Now, if I was an Apostle destined to be picked by Jesus...and was picked by Jesus, the same request that came out of James and John's mouth could very well also come from my mouth. I wish that I could tell you I could't be prone to that, but I know myself pretty well, and know the nature of men well enough. I am being honest about it.

At the time that I am writing this, I could not even fathom how anyone could be so fortunate as to be chosen as an Apostle of Jesus and yet ask something of our Lord like this...but people change and we are ALL prone to act selfishly. Period. That is why I need the Lord to redeem me and forgive me.
Instead of rebuking James and John, Jesus gave them an answer that
meant to teach and to correct. It is written to teach and correct us as well.
Jesus answered them and said: "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
And James and John answered..."we can!"

First point: none of us know what the throne of the Lord looks like, let alone what role the person on the left or right of the throne fulfills...so, James and John really don't know what they are asking.

Second point : James and John exclaim that they can drink from the same cup and be baptized with the same baptism? OK! James and John believed it and they will have the opportunity to faith in it by becoming martyrs themselves, but NO ONE will drink from the same cup of Christ unitil Jesus is crucified and ressurrects! Only then will the rite of communion become available and the baptism recognized by God!
Note that Jesus has NOT been crucified yet, that James has not been killed yet, that John has not been killed yet...

The first think they are first but it will be the last in first...a theme that runs through the Gospels.

Look at Jesus' comment:
"but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to givebut is for those for whom it has been prepared"

This is a prophetic statement of predestination! Those who are to sit, those who are to hear the word of God, those who are the sheep and not the goats, are predestined! Heaven is for those for whom it has been prepared. That's all I am going to say on this right now.

Then the other 10 apostles became indignant at James and John. Funny, remember earlier I said I was suprised at their selfishness? Imagine how the other 10 felt...and then Jesus says something very profound:
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all."

First, those who rule over the Gentiles make their authority known and felt. They are great rulers who are the least in God's eyes. The Gentiles who are ruled on earth will be great in God's eyes. They are the servants to the rulers on earth but attain heaven which the rulers won't.
The same will be for the Apostles. They will not rule over people and establish a throne of authority, they will serve...they are to be the slaves of God's people! And so are we! We are slaves to God...not acting in vain glory like the rulers of the Gentiles, or James and John who desire to sit on the sides of Christ's throne...we are owned by God and no one else.

We serve Him the best we can, in all our actions! We are predestined to be the tools of "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"...Our works are His works...and that makes us the servants of God. Slave may have a negative connotation, so servant may be a better word...the meaning is the same in my statement but not for the next statement Jesus makes:
"For the Son of Man did not come to be servedbut to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many".
A ransom? The word ransom was used when a payment was made for the freedom of a slave! What does Jesus mean? Jesus came to free the slaves by offering a ransom...and the ransom was Himself. All of mankind are slaves to this world until Jesus broke the bondage by paying our ransom. No man could pay this ransom except for Jesus who was the Son of God and that is why He had to be crucified so that the world owes Him His life back. Through this paid ransom, you are freed by faithing in Jesus. Jesus' statement of "slavery" has to do with the ransom He paid for His slaves.

Look at the pain and torment the only Son of God had to endure...for us! There is surely no earthly ruler willing to suffer for the people, but the Son of God accepted the torture for our sake...now that is truly an act of a King...The King of Kings!

Let's look at this more closely:
Jesus is OUR fullfillment of the Kinsman Redeemer spoken about Boaz in the Book of Ruth.
Do you remember how it works?
Here we go:
1)We are the slaves.
2)Jesus is the ransom.
3)Jesus pays the ransom by offering His life.
4)Jesus lived a perfect life and thus was unrighteously murdered by this world and Satan.
5)Satan and this world owes Jesus His life back.
6)Satan and this world cannot give Life back.
7)Jesus saves you by intervening on your behalf since the world and Satan owes Him His Life back.
8)Jesus saves you only if you believe (faith"ing) in Him...He doesn't know to save you if He doesn't know you!
He served us by going throught the pain, torment, suffering, and crucifixion...

A question:
Who is the first one into heaven?
The first in heaven is the last person who decided / recognized / had faith in Jesus the Christ!
One of the THIEVES at Golgotha who were crucified on the right and left side of Jesus' cross was the first one in heaven. (Matt 27:38, Mark 15:27) Why?
The LAST will be FIRST...as Jesus said...it is so.

Something to ponder:
This is a question I am not sure can be answered here...but it is a question I have: Who sits on the right or left side of the throne of Jesus? Surely John sees in Revelation 24 thrones for the 24 elders...but is there anyone to the right and left side of Jesus' throne? Here is something to ponder on...
Notice only one thief gets into heaven who is ironically the first in heaven. Why is this? Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and thus does not have anyone sitting on His left.... There is room for one person...one thief...to join Jesus in Paradise the day Jesus was crucified?(Luke 23:39-43)

God bless you and your families this week!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An Open Letter to the Muslim Community

This well-spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart beautifully. Read, absorb and pass on.... it's time to get answers from those who claim their terrorist members do not represent them .. Why are their leaders not LOUDLY AND FIERCELY AND CONTINUOUSLY condemning their visible murderous brethren?

By American Airlines Pilot - Captain John Maniscalco

"I've been trying to say this since 9-11 but you worry me. I wish you didn't. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don't blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me, notice you because I can't help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now.

I don't fully understand their grievances and hate but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks. On September 11, nineteen ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children's mothers.

The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed, as was most of the Arab world. So I notice you now. I don't want to be worried. I don't want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that have destroyed the soul of these terrorists. But I need your help.

As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist. How do I differentiate between the true Arab/Muslim-Americans and the Arab/Muslims in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?

The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me. I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know whether or not you love America.

Do you pledge allegiance to its flag?
Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car?
Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation that He will protect and make it prosper?

Or do you pray that Allah with destroy it in one of your "Jihads"? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? And for a freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by paying the ultimate sacrifice?

Do you love America?

If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME know about it. Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America.

Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy... I am only interested in action. What will you do for America - our great country -- at this time of crisis, at this time of war?

I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting "Allah Bless America " I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the >> victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole. The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize in Muslim communities.
You know them. You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now!

But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals.

The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing "leaders” like Khadafy, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat.

If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good and pure and true when your "leaders" are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance?

It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if large numbers of the world’s Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our president, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam.

Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because our women proudly show their faces in public rather than cover up like a shameful whore? Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because we drink wine with dinner, or celebrate Christmas? Do you and you fellow Muslims hate us because we have befriended Israel, the ONLY FRIENDLY CIVILIZED SOCIETY in the Muslim/Arab area, that thinks and acts like most Americans.

And if you and your fellow Muslims hate us, then why in the world are you even here?

Are you here to take our money?
Are you here to undermine our peace and stability?
Are you here to destroy us?

If so, I want you to leave. I want you to go back to your desert sandpit where women are treated like rats and dogs. I want you to take your religion, your friends, and your family back to your Islamic extremists, and STAY THERE! We will NEVER give in to your influence, your retarded mentality, your twisted, violent, intolerant religion. We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world.

I want to know where every Arab/ Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American.

But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand."
Until then: You worry me!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Mark 10:17-27 (Sermon for the week of October 15th)

Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,"You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! "The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply,"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said,"For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

A man ran up to Jesus...this man had material wealth because Mark mentions it in verse 22 that he had many possessions. The most common sermon you will hear is the one that concentrates on "The Rich Young Ruler" who came to Jesus and asked Jesus how to enter heaven. We have a different insight into these verses, one that cannot be overlooked. There is more to this week's reading than I will say here, but next time we read this story in the Gospel's, I will mention more insights.

First, the man approaches Jesus and says these words:
Teacher? Right from the start, this man has no clue who Jesus is...but a teacher? Teacher or Messiah...pick one! For either Jesus is the Son of God or He is a man, but I say to you that Jesus has proven Himself FROM BIRTH not to be just a human man...He is something much more...the MESSIAH living in a tent of flesh like us...every Christian must learn the Word of God and draw a final conclusion. Is Jesus a Good and Wise Teacher or is He the Son of God? Before arriving at a final conclusion...have you really given this a fair amount of reflection and study, and have you given yourself enough time to learn like you have in other areas of your life? Do you read the Word of God to learn if Jesus is the Son of God and devote just HALF of the time you give to other activities like SURFING THE WEB or watching TV? IF you can't read the Word of God enough to draw a conclusion then you are thinking like this rich young ruler...many of us have in our life...and it is time to recognize it and act on it by arriving to an intelligent answer inspired by the Breath of God. Give it a try.

Is Jesus a Good Teacher or The Son of God? Answering that Jesus is the Son of God and the teacher of teachers is a great answer! How many in their hearts think that Jesus is just a teacher and NOT the Son of God?Are there a few out there who just can't believe that Jesus is the Son of God and create a comfort zone to make Jesus just a teacher and at that a teacher of men who was just a man? OH YES!

Questions to answer:
Did Jesus rise from the grave on the third day? YES OR NO?
Was Jesus born of the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit and not conceived by a human father? YES OR NO?
Did Jesus fulfill over 300 prophecies of the Old Testament which would make the odds of any man fulfilling these prophecies impossible? I'll answer that one now...
A wonderfully inspired man named Mr. Stoner calculated the probability of one man fulfilling only a handful of the over 300 Messianic prophecies in a study. In 1944, he published his research results in Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible. Stoner concluded that the probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the specific prophecies was one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one followed by 17 zeros). How about one person fulfilling just 48 of the over 300 prophecies? Stoner calculated these odds at one chance in 10 to the power of 157 -- way beyond statistical impossibility! So the answer is that NO man could fulfill the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah!

Second, why call Jesus GOOD? So, let's look at this...You can't recognize that Jesus is the Son of God...the Messiah...but you know that Jesus is good? Give me a break! NO MAN IS GOOD...ONLY GOD IS GOOD!

What does "good" mean? Heavenly? Spiritual? Godly? Perfect? Trying your best? Is it defined by what YOU think is good or what GOD thinks is good? What you think is good is nothing close to what God sees as good.

This type of human thinking is the very reason why Jesus had to offer Himself as a final sacrafice for mankind...so that God the Father will see us as Good! The idea of what "good" is was never, is never, and will never be for us to decide and judge...THE ONLY "GOOD" IS GOD! TO KNOEW GOOD IS TO KNOW GOD AND WE KNOW GOD THROUGH HIS SON JESUS! Notice that Jesus makes this statement first and looks past this man's blindness as to who he is talking to. Jesus tells the man right away "Why do YOU call me GOOD?" Yes, this statement by the rich man would bother the Creator who is the Son of God, Jesus...would it not? I think so...

Third, Jesus engages and answers the man's question...however...Jesus answers this question with authority, as a command, and with a promise! Let me point out another small detail...the man seeks to INHERIT eternal life. He does not ask how to get eternal life, what must he do for eternal life but instead asks how to INHERIT...as if it was passed down like a material possession!
To inherit means to: To receive (property or a title, for example) from an ancestor by legal succession or will. Or, to receive by bequest or as a legacy. Or, to receive or take over from a predecessor: To gain (something) as one's right or portion. Sounds like the thinking of a man with riches! His question is flawed from the beginning...

How would you ask Jesus this question?

Jesus begins his answer with a stfew of the commandments and mentions five commandments of the second table. Jesus then throws in one commandment that was never part of the original commandments..."You shall not defraud".
A rich man...a business man...would defraud...and could engage in that quite frequently! But, it was not one of the original commandments...do you see why this is an answer from someone claiming authority? Wouldn't those hearing this be quick to say..."Wait, Jesus, we now have 11 commandments"? Jesus is subsituting the 10th commandment of wishing (coveting) of anothers property for one that a rich man would more likely engage in...defrauding others!

The man answers Jesus that he has kept all these since his youth (v.20)REALLY? Jesus knows the truth...I personally find it hard to believe...but I will take this man on his word. Jesus gives him one thing to do and that one thing comes with a promise of eternal life.
Jesus commands the man: "Sell your possessions, give the money to the poor and follow me!"
The rich man becomes shocked and begins grieving...AND RUNS AWAY!

Why did he run away? So that the years of his life on this planet with his material possessions will last till his death? This man thinks that there must be another way that doesn't involve giving away his material possessions? For goodness sakes, someone...this someone being the actual Messiah...gives this one man the luckiest chance of his soul..."give away your material wealth, have ETERNAL LIFE and undefined TREASURE IN HEAVEN!

Another question:
If the rich man did as instructed, would he be granted eternal life?...YES...FOR JESUS DID NOT, CAN NOT, and WILL NEVER LIE!His Word is THE WORD! This rich man was given a chance that none of us will have, sell our belongings, give the money to the poor, follow Jesus and this man ran from it!

Can the rich be saved? Do they even think about being saved? Do you? Which is more important to the rich: their wealth or God? This life is deceiving...to be successful in the eyes of men you must have material wealth which is very likely to take you away from God, and if you are poor...it is a lot easier to find faith and live by faith as the world looks down on you (for a short time)...

Are riches a blessing or curse? You may have all the wealth in this world, but when faced with the only Begotten Son of God...what will happen? Will you run away crying? With God all things are possible and that goes for the poor and for the rich...I want eternal life...do you?

God Bless you and your families this week!


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It doesn't matter which sin it is...they all lead to death!

Is one sin worse than another? ALL Sin leads to death and it is the same consequence if one commits murder, adultery, steals, and engages in those silent thoughts about wishing you had what your neighbor has...but...

Sin leads to spiritual death...realizing who Jesus was and why faith"ing" in Jesus leads to Eternal life is a paradox that once accepted leads to the best gift that this world has to offer...redemption from the sins in our past, presently, and in our future! Now, that is some GOOD NEWS!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mark 10:2-12 (Sermon for the week of October 8th)

Mark 10:2-12

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."


This weeks Gospel reading is short but loaded with knowledge. The Pharisee's who were the religious "righteous" of the day asked Jesus the question if it is lawful for a husband to divorce
his wife. This question was asked in order to bring controversy and ridicule to Jesus. The Pharisees knew what their answer was, but at this time, there were two schools of thought about the issue of divorce and it was a controversal topic. The Pharisees knew that if Jesus took a position on the issue, they could then try to weaken Jesus' minsitry and bring His wisdom down a notch. This is another opportunity to realize that these Pharisees had ill itentions from the beginning and couldn't recognize the Messiah even if He slapped them across the face.

The Messiah, Jesus, answered on a totally different level than the Pharisees expected. Let's look at His answer more in-depth...

First, in reagrds to the controversy mentioned earlier about divorce among the Jews was that there was a school of Jewish thought that taught that no man should divorce his wife and then there was a school of thought that a man could divorce his wife if he was unhappy. Trivial reasons were given for divorce in this second school of thought.
These two schools of Jewish thought were oppossed in a way that seemed to strike divisions within Jewish society. It was a controversy in which a person had to decide which side of the issue they were on, and once decided, the other half opposed you. Hence, the reason the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with this question.

Second, Jesus' answer "What did Moses command you?" and the Pharisees replied that Moses permitted a husband to divorce his wife. This is not correct.
The Pharisees are referring to:
Deut 24:1-4 which states:
When a man, after marrying a woman and having relations with her,
is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent,
and therefore he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing
her from his house:

if on leaving his house she goes and becomes the wife of another man,
and the second husband, too, comes to dislike her and dismisses her from
his house by handing her a written bill of divorce; or if this second man
who has married her, dies;

then her former husband, who dismissed her, may not again take her as his
wife after she has become defiled. That would be an abomination before the LORD,
and you shall not bring such guilt upon the land which the LORD, your God,
is giving you as a heritage.

This passage describes a man who has already written a bill of divorce (it has not been discussed why or what happened and if the man acted righteously), and if that divorced wife marry's another man and this second husband dies, the first husband cannot take this wife back and remarry her...it is an abomination...not instructions for a divorce!

This is the knowledge behind Jesus' reply to the Pharisees... that Moses gave them this commandment from Deut 24:1-4 because of the hardness of a mans heart that felt compelled to write a bill of divorce. Isn't that what is behind divorce?
A hardness of heart? What makes people divorce? Adultery? Domestic violence? Alcoholism? Indecency? What indecency? As Jesus stated in this weeks Gospel reading "Because of your hardness of heart"...divorce is the escape hatch and before using the escape hatch you need the direction and guidance of God...and in times when a "hard heart"dominates the actions of the husband or wife. If a man becomes selfish, unforgiving, and angry with some aspect of his life it DOES NOT serve as valid excuses for divorce.

No one ever said in this weeks reading divorce is right. Of you don't agree, I ask that you keep your mind and ears open and read a little more...

Is divorce right? Let's look at it. I will approach the lines that people draw in order to protect themselves and that is my point.

What is the worse thing your husband or wife can do to you? If you are not married you can still answer this question. What is it? Adultery? Physical violence? Lying? What? Whatever the worse thing is that you could imagine...does happen... what will you do? Instant divorce? Is that the "escape hatch"? The minute the other spouse does this act...is that it?? Is God involved in any of this dailogue? Has God been involved at all in the marriage? What happened? What is it?

What's the worst thing you can do to God? Not believe in Him? Insult Him with your words of disbelief and judgement? Not talk to Him? Not care if He exists? Not
care at all about the life you were given and the people around you? Do you even believe in the need for forgiveness? Now let us say that a miracle has happened and their eyes are opened and they seek God's forgiveness? Will God offer it? Will God care? Does God have to forgive you?

He will and He does...is that the same attitude or principal we follow in our lives? Do we have the capacity to forgive the worse things done to us in life just like God forgives the worse things you have done to Him? Do we feel this same way within our marriage?

My point is: to jump to conclusions out of fear or anger and immediately seek a divorce is not the right option. It is not right if God is not involved in this descision...marriage is of the Lord God and the Lord better be involved in your marriage!
Look at divorce today...50% of all marriages end in divorce! That is absurd!
We have been talking about some of the serious issues of adultery and violence... is it a fact that 50% of all marriages end because of adultery or domestic violence...NO!
Are these other reasons for divorce the "trivial" escape hatches Jesus is talking about in reference to a hardened heart? YES.

Jesus does the unthinkable to the Pharisees that probably left their mouths open with shame...he brought the question back to His territory and spoke about the creation
of Adam and Eve. (For all of you evolutionists that believe that the Lord used evolution to create man from an ape will have to call our Lord a liar or the Lord Truth because His statement DOES NOT fit with evolution...sorry!)

The Lord Jesus brings the question back to the IDEAL...back to Adam when Eve was taken from Adam... the two are one. Jesus speaks about Moses and now he speaks about God. GOD created male and female. If Jesus is the Creator...then he is talking about what HE CREATED! LISTEN! God made THEM male and female...soul mates? That is a topic to discuss later. But all of mankind is either male and female. A man shall leave his family to be joined to his wife (PREDESTINED?) and the two shall be one.

I want to brainstorm on some questions that I am not answering right now: WHAT IS THE PREMISE OF YOUR MARRIAGE? HOW DID YOU TWO FIND EACH OTHER? MARRIAGE
IS OF GOD...funny that most cultures do it...ever researched to see where marriage comes from? Do you think that marriage around the world has similarities throughout the ages that transcend time and location? Why marry? Who started marriage?
Is the story of Adam and Eve the oldest story of a husband and wife and were Adam and Eve ever actually married?
If God joined two people together...do you want to be a factor in tearing this union of God apart?

Finally, in the last part of this weeks reading, Jesus speaks about divorce. "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery". I need to point out that Jewish patriarchal society DID NOT recognize adultery as an offense against woman!!
Another hint that Jesus is the Messiah...why would a MAN make such a statement if the society he lives in at the time could care less about adultery against women? Jesus speaks about an offense that the society around Him does not believe but is the norm for our society today!

IS DIVORCE WRONG? According to the statement Jesus just made...YES!
If you divorce and re-marry...you are an adulterer.
The MARRIAGE IDEAL is sacred and in The Lord's hands...allow Him to guide you!
If you find yourself in a divorce or coming out of a divorce...let Him guide you!
There are those who frown and condemn...verily...we are all condemned for our
sins! It is seeking the direction and protection of the Lord Jesus that keeps
our lives on track and this is especially true of marriage.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for your sins and yes, this includes divorce. We strive to do our best and to seek a relationship with God...repent and be forgiven..it is there for the taking. A GIFT FOR YOU. There is a difference between those who act in faith and those who don't. Those who are not acting in faith will listen to this sermon, feel guilt that they are in a divorce, and become stagnant and ridgid in seeking the forgiveness and direction of Our Lord.
Don't talk about it...do something! If you have committed adultery...or have contributed to eroding a marriage...repent and ask forgiveness, seek His guidance and move on in faith! Don't sit there and feel ashamed...

a) If you swear on the bible or take an oath? YOUR CONDEMNED!
b) If you retaliate against someone... YOUR CONDEMNED!
c) If you become really angry...YOUR CONDEMNED!

If you turn to Jesus for forgiveness YOU ARE NOT CONDEMNED! Learn how and do it!

God created man and woman AND marriage. Jesus is calling us to a high vision and with Him it is possible. If we fail to keep the standards, we are reminded of why Jesus had to come here to suffer and die for us...becuase if HE didn't we would all be in some serious trouble.
We MUST seek to attain this ideal and not treat it lightly!

If we are having problems in our marriage...He has given us tools to use:
1) Open His Word, and look for a guidance.
2) Open His Word, and look for forgiveness.
3) Pray and tell Him what is really on your heart.
4) Reach out and talk to other Christians. We all have unique experience with
marriage and relationships...you are not alone in your difficulties!

God bless you and your families this week!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Insane Radical Hindus Persecuting Christians in INDIA

For the past several months, persecution against Christians throughout India has continued to increase as Hindu militants use state anti-conversion legislation as a weapon against Christians. Several reports arrived this week, recounting the attacks on believers in Jesus Christ.

In Nana Badvani, Madhya Pradesh, a mob of more than twenty Hindus entered a church meeting on the evening of September 24. According to VOMC sources, two pastors were severely beaten. The attackers demanded that they renounce their faith in Christ or risk death. The Bible of one of the pastors was torn apart and spat on. They were then taken to the police station where they were accused of forcible conversions.

Two days earlier in the same state, two evangelists were ambushed on their way to the village of Khedli. According to a September 26 report from Compass Direct, Lakhan Pawar was severely beaten. Both he and his companion, Shailendra Pawar, were arrested and charged with insulting Hinduism. At last report, they were still in custody. They have not filed a bail petition for fear of further attacks if they were released.
On the evening of September 12, Pastor Job Ramanjanum was leading a small prayer meeting in his home in Nehruji Nagar, Karnataka. Just after the prayer meeting ended, a mob stormed the house and dragged Pastor Job, his wife and four-year-old child from their home and the couple was badly beaten.

In Buntwal, Karnataka, two pastors were called to the police station on September 20. The Sub Inspector asked them to not allow Hindus to attend their prayer meetings. When the pastors replied that they cannot prevent anyone from attending, a group of militant Hindus, who were present at the time, threatened that they would not allow any future prayer meetings to take place. The Sub Inspector told the pastors that he could not provide protection for them from such threats.

In the village of Diviya, Gujarat, pastors Arun Daniel (38) and Dasrath Bai (30) were meeting in a home with six other believers for prayer on September 20. According to VOMC sources, as they left the home, as many as twenty Hindu militants attacked the Christians, shouting anti-Christian slogans and abusive comments. When they went to the police the next day to file a complaint, the Christians were detained. Indian newspaper reports have presented a completely different account of the incident. According to the Indian Express, one of the villagers, Kanji Nayak, accused the eight "missionaries" of offering various inducements to the villagers if they would convert to Christianity. He claimed that, when the Christians faced opposition to their message, one of them pulled out a hand-made pistol and shot three rounds at the fleeing villagers. A cartridge was allegedly recovered from the scene, along with Bibles and leaflets. No weapons have been recovered, but six of the Christians are being held in connection with the incident. The Global Council of Indian Christians has completely rejected the newspaper account, calling it inflammatory and completely baseless.

Pray that believers throughout India will find strength and comfort in the refuge God provides (Psalm 127). Pray that they will not fear but remain faithful even if it means giving their lives for Christ (Revelation 2:10). Pray that they will continue to meet together and find mutual encouragement and support (Hebrews 10:23-25). Pray that the innocence of those facing false charges will become obvious to all and that their accusers will be put to shame.

Every month The Voice of the Martyrs reports on what is really happening around the world where our brothers and sisters are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Now you can receive a free subscription to The Voice of the Martyrs award winning monthly newsletter. You will be inspired, you will learn to pray and even discover practical ways to get involved.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Temple artifacts looted by the Romans are found!

A COLLECTION of sacred artifacts looted by the Romans from the Temple of Jerusalem and long suspected of being hidden in the vaults of the Vatican are actually in the Holy Land, according to a British archaeologist.

Sean Kingsley, a specialist in the Holy Land, claims to have discovered what became of the collection, which is widely regarded as the greatest of biblical treasures and includes silver trumpets that would have heralded the Coming of the Messiah.

The trumpets, gold candelabra and the bejewelled Table of the Divine Presence were among pieces shipped to Rome after the looting in 70 AD of the Temple, the most sacred building in the ancient Jewish faith.
After a decade of research into previously untapped ancient texts and archaeological sources, Dr Kingsley has reconstructed the treasure’s route for the first time in 2,000 years to provide evidence that it left Rome in the 5th century.

He has discovered that it was taken to Carthage, Constantinople and Algeria before being hidden in the Judaean wilderness, beneath the Monastery of Theodosius.
Dr Kingsley said: “The treasure resonates fiercely across modern politics. Since the mid-1990s, a heated political wrangle has been simmering between the Vatican and Israel, which has accused the papacy of imprisoning the treasure.
“The Temple treasure remains a deadly political tool in the volatile Arab-Israeli conflict centred on the Temple Mount [the site of the Jewish Temple and the Muslim Dome of the Rock].

“The treasure’s final hiding place – in the modern West Bank . . . deep in Hamas territory – will rock world religions.”

Emperor Vespasian ordered the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem after a Jewish revolt and Roman forces took about 50 tons of gold, silver and precious art to Rome.
The Arch of Titus, built a decade later, depicts Roman soldiers bearing the sacred spoils on their shoulders. The Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and dispersed throughout the world.
Between AD75 and the early 5th century, the treasure was on public display in the Temple of Peace in the Forum, in Rome
The Vatican has told Dr Kingsley that there is no evidence in its archives that the treasure resided in Rome from the medieval period onwards.
He said: “One thing is for sure – it is not imprisoned deep in Vatican City. I am the first person to prove that the Temple treasures no longer languish in Rome.”
Dr Kingsley’s sources include Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian who sometimes exaggerated but is an authority on Roman and Jewish history. Dr Kingsley also found evidence in, among others, the works of Procopius, a court historian of the Emperor Justinian, who died in AD562, and from Theophanes Confessor (c760-817), a Christian monk from Constantinople.
In Chronographia, which spanned AD284 to 813, Theophanes recorded that Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, loaded the treasures that “Titus had brought to Rome after the capture of Jerusalem” on a boat to Carthage in Tunisia in AD455.

In the first holy crusade in AD533, the Byzantine Belisarius seized the treasure from a royal ship fleeing the Algerian harbour of Hippo Regius. It was then shipped to Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium.In the 7th century, Persians sacked Jerusalem, killing thousands of Christians, and dragging the Patriarch, Zacharias, to Persia. Dr Kingsley believes that his replacement, Modestus, spirited away the treasures to their final hiding place in AD614.
Dr Kingsley will reveal his findings in God’s Gold: The Quest for the Lost Temple Treasure of Jerusalem, to be published by John Murray on October 5.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 (Sermon for the week of October 1st)

Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."
Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"


The Gospel of Mark offers us more depth in some of the same events that the Gospel of Matthew records. So, let's start by reflecting on the first part of this weeks reading. There was a man "driving out demons" who was not one of the Twelve Apostles. This seemed to bother the Apostle John. I need to point out a few things with this verse. Back up a minute and realize that someone...was driving out demons! Yes, as to record it as a commonplace event...there was a person POSSESSED by a demon and someone was driving this demon out of the person in the name of Jesus Christ!! It is amazing to me that some read this passage and never comment about things of this nature in the Gospels. So, I am going to go more in-depth with this in the first part of this weeks sermon.

First, what is a demon? Is it a fallen angel? Do they even exist? Well, they
exist enough that John was bothered that someone else was driving it out of a person and he wasn't!! There seems to be a lack of a clear answer in our modern times, but believe me one can make a full study of the hierarchy of fallen angels and demons. Demons are lumped together with fallen angels and most call them the same thing. Well, I think it is important to know your enemy...but don't get to involved with this study. I will share with you what I know about this. There is a difference between a fallen angel and a demon. The difference is that demons are the offspring of the fallen angels. They are half fallen angel and half human or half of whatever the fallen angels had offspring with. The demons are the reason for the Flood. The "wickedness" of the world and why the Flood had to happen was due to the existance of demons living in flesh in this world. When they were killed during the Flood, their spirits went to hell (the place prepared for them and they are under the direction of fallen angels.) Since demons are half fallen angel, demons can seem to work miracles, that is , things which rouse man's astonishment by reason of the "work" or event being beyond mans power. For even a man doing what is beyond the power and knowledge of another man leads him to marvel at what he has done, so that in a way he seems to that man to have worked a miracle. This is the power of the magicians and it comes from hell. Demons obviously have the ability to possess people. If you were to ask me what would possess someone...a fallen angel or a demon...I would answer a demon. A demon is the natural born hater of mankind and are sent to "do the dirty work" of those fallen angels within the hierarchy of hell. For me, it was important to learn about this at one time in my life...I think it is important if you are "confronted" with a possession or are wondering about exorcisms.

Too much information? For many it will be...but this
information is hard to come by and should be readily taught when reading verses like this one allow an opportunity to discuss it.

I want to go a little further. Would you cast out a demon in Buddha's name, in
name, in Moses' name, or your own name? Try it?
(Actually, don't try it...I will tell you that the answer is No, and harm might come upon you). This is a great time to reflect on this. What do the other religions of the world say about Satan and the existance of demons...what do they do when someone is possessed...and are they able to cast these demons out without the assistance of demons themselves?? I know the answer...you should reflect on what you think.

Also, why does the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ have the power to cast out demons? Would the name of any man or woman in this world have the power to do this? Could it? Proof that Jesus IS THE CREATOR...and faith in THE CREATOR has the power to drive out the most vile and evil spirits of hell! The name of Our Lord has this power ALONE and is more than the sorcerers, magicians, and witches could ever tap into and will drive these spirits OUT...as long as you know (have faith) in the Lord.

That is the meaning behind Jesus' answer to John.

No one would be in front of a person possessed by an actual demon, have the desire to drive
that demon out, know how to drive that demon out by the name of Jesus...and do it without being a disciple of Jesus!!! IT could not happen if they were not a faith"er" in Jesus! Jesus said this to John..."There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me".

Faith (and that is key when driving out demons) in the Lord Jesus will drive
demons out...and you WOULD NOT know that if you didn't have faith and knowledge of Jesus. You COULD NOT speak badly about Jesus and drive out demons...WON'T HAPPEN! EVER!

It is my experience that there is a good amount of Christians that have some sort of run
in with demons...and if you haven't...don't fear it. Jesus will protect you and it may never happen...and if it does...know that the Disciples walking with Jesus saw it and have experienced it many times...you are NOT alone!!

Now for the second part of the sermon. Jesus warns about anyone leading "the little
astray. Allow me to present two points about this. Who is Jesus' talking
about? Is Jesus talking about children? It is my belief that Jesus is talking about those of "NEW" faith. Those who are "new" Christians. You may have been a Christian for 30 years and suddenly your eyes and ears are opened to a path of Christian faith like none other...these are the NEW CHRISTIANS...this also means the 13 year old who just comprehended for the first time that Jesus is the Creator of all things. It also means the every day Church goer who finally understands why Jesus died for your sins...these are all "little ones" and to lead them astray would be really, well...really BAD! So bad that tying a 80lb anchor to your neck and throwing yourself into a deep portion of the sea...may be a very close comparison of the consequences!

So, how could someone
lead new Christians astray? Let me throw out a couple of ideas:

1) Demanding, reminding, sending others to, or stating that you need money from your parish and/or it is commanded of by God. (This is Old Testament tithing...we as Chrisitans were never EVER instructed to take money...Our Lord and the Disciples lived poor)...and remember that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt 10:25).

2) Telling the little one's to seek the direction and guidance of ANY man, woman or angel that has ever lived in place of The Lord Jesus. "But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt 23:8-12).

3) Telling the little one's to do as many "good works" as you can throw at them in order for "God to like them, to see them, answer their prayers..etc". Playing the role as if YOUR will is God's will...or in another scenario...that all of your sins are paid for so who cares if you act purposefully poorly and do whatever you wish...

"They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient,
and disqualified for every good work." (Titus 1:16)
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God
prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

Notice that I am talking about placing these "stumbling blocks" in the path of
the little one's from the perspective of a church leader...but do think of your place in the Lord's world and the stumbling blocks people may place in front of new Christians. Do you judge them? Look at them oddly because they don't seem to come from a "good home"? Question their beliefs in order to
feel superior?

Now, allow me to conclude this weeks sermon with a statement about Jesus' comments
about amputating limbs and hands. To instruct a "little one" that their hand must be cut off because it made them sin...well would qualify you for that 80lb anchor around your neck. I will not get caught in a "literal interpreatation" debate because there is knowledge in these verses. Are we as Christians convinced that we have a soul, that we will die (we may live 80 - 100 years or so), that there is another place that our souls go, and that Jesus is the Creator of All Things?

If we answer no,
are your answers final and complete so as to rest your soul AFTER this short life on Earth?? ARE YOU SURE?? What do you know about death? What do you know about
the place your spirit will go to after you die?

Is there hell? Where did hell come from? Who goes to hell?

Can't answer this? I kindly request that you keep an open mind and attempt
to answer these questions for yourself. No one needs to know...just start by trying to answer these questions...

If we answered yes, then we have faith that eternal life is at hand...

Which is more important: this life or eternal life?

So...if any thing comes in the way of us attaining eternal life...CUT IT OUT! QUICKLY!
Does your hand make you sin? No, YOU SIN. Can you cut out you? You can try but
you will not live and suicide will be the worse decision of...well...the worst decision that you could ever make in the existance of YOU! So, in a dramatic way...Jesus is speaking METAPHORICALLY and to take this literally will be...very painful. Believe me your other hand will eventually lead you to sin and you will have to cut it off... and the needless pain will continue.

But...eternal life is at hand! What do we need to do and what do we need to stop
in order to attain it? Faith is the key...and to have faith we will need to cut some things out of our life...QUICKLY!

Would you like a place to start?

What are you angry about? CUT IT OFF (out) IMMEDIATELY!

Resentful?? OFF (out) IT GOES!!

Do you need me to mention anything else that you should "cut off"??

God bless you and your families this week!!