Something Out of Nothing Faith

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

Romans 4:17 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Over the past several weeks at New Life we have been examining the like of Abraham. Through this study we have learned a lot not only about Abraham, but also about ourselves, and what it means to have faith. We have learned that sometimes people of great faith make mistakes…sometimes even big mistakes. However, we have also learned that we have a gracious, loving, and forgiving God who gives us second and sometimes third chances. In this we have learned that just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean that you are not a person of faith; it just means you are human. On the other hand, we have also learned that people of faith are also people who trust God implicitly. Often God will ask us to do things that are not only difficult, but from a human perspective, can seem down right impossible. Yet people of faith believe God and take him at his word. We know that when God promises something he delivers. For example, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to him. God was asking something of Abraham that was absolutely incomprehensible. Not only was God asking Abraham to kill his son, but this was the son of the Promise and now God was expecting Abraham to surrender him after he has waited so long for him to come. This may seem completely irrational to us, but Abraham knew that he needed to obey God and that God had the power to raise Isaac from the ashes. He understood that God could make something out of nothing. How about you? Do you trust God enough to believe him to make something out of nothing, or to be able to raise something up out of the ashes of despair? Ask God to give you that faith, and like Abraham believed, God will deliver!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

My Biggest Homiletical Challenge

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

Genesis 19:13 (NLT)

13 For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the LORD, and he has sent us to destroy it.”

This Sunday I am preaching without a doubt they most challenging message of my entire Pastoral ministry.  It is a message that for me is long over due and one that desperately needs to be heard throughout our land.  The text of the message is from Genesis 19:1-29, know by the name of the communities mentioned in it; Sodom and Gomorrah.  It addresses a topic that has polarized both the society and the church at large.  That topic is of course homosexuality.  As we speak several mainline denominations are split over the topic of homosexuality.  However, there seems to be a contradiction here, for the Scriptures are clear as glass on this issue.  The Old Testament puts it this way; “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin” (Lev. 18:22, NLT).  The New Testament is also clear on the matter.  The Apostle Paul said, Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10, NLT).  So why is the church split?  Why is this even a question?  It is because we have allowed society to dictate doctrine rather than Scripture.  You can no more be a homosexual Christian that you can be a Christian murderer or thief.  As soon as someone in the church brings up the matter we are labeled as intolerant or accused of preaching hate.  However, we must preach truth despite what society thinks or says. On the other hand, we can never become what they accuse us of being.  We must continue to show the love of Christ to the homosexual community and not treat their sin as greater than liars, thieves or drunkards.  We must reach out and share the love of Christ with all people.  I am sure that there will be those who criticize me as one who preaches hate.  However, I cannot be faithful in my role as a preacher of the Gospel and not stand firm in what Scripture teaches. In my opinion, Billy Graham was absolutely correct when he said, “If God doesn’t judge America he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Making A Difference

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

The former slave and Civil Rights activist Frederick Douglas was once asked by a young man what he should do with his life. Douglas responded by saying simply, “Agitate, agitate, agitate!” Now I cannot be certain what this hero from history meant by that, but to me it means make a difference in life. Once I told a friend that my biggest fear in life is being insignificant. When I leave this life I want to know that my life meant something because I made a positive difference in someone’s life. Let me ask you a question, are you making a difference? Well I know a terrific group of people who made a difference this past week. Some very talented and dedicated people from our church made a difference in the lives of some young children this week. We held our annual kids crusade entitled “Kids Kommotion.” These people gave of their talents, abilities, energies, and time in order to make a difference in the lives of young people in our community. As of right now, four children have given their lives to Christ (and as I write this we still have one night to go). These people understand what pay was saying when he said, “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” These people sacrificed their time, effort and resources to make a difference in the lives of these children. I can’t begin to tell you how very proud I am of them all. This tells me that they understand our vision at New Life which is to transform one life at a time. What about you? Are you working enthusiastically for the Lord? Are you making a difference? Don’t forget, agitate, agitate, agitate!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark