Sunday, January 24, 2016

Journey 2016 - Conflict (1/24/2016)

Text:  John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

In our Christian walk we will have conflict.  No exemption was promised.  In fact, Jesus told his disciples in the verse above that they would have trials and sorrows.  Our enemy is real, and we will face battles.

Andrae Crouch wrote a song many years ago that talks about this..."Through It All".  

"If I never had a problem...I'd never know that God could solve them...I'd never know what faith in God could do."  So the reality is that we will have conflict in this Christian life, but the good news is that Jesus has overcome the world...He will be with us.

There are three types of warfare we will face.

1.  Cosmic Warfare
The conflict started in heaven with Lucifer, and it will continue until Jesus reigns supreme over all the earth.  We are in warfare against hell and satan.

I John 5:19 - We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:12 - For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
I Peter 5:8 - Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

2.  Personal Warfare
satan attacks the mind...trying to get to our heart.  If we ponder over the suggestions he puts in our minds, it will cause erosion in our spiritual life.  God has promised He would be with us to fight this enemy.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Where does this conflict come from?  It can come from three sources:
a.  originates with God to increase our faith
b.  our own choices, disobedience
c.  satan, the great deceiver (see I Peter 5:8)

3. Corporate Warfare
The church is under attack by satan...he wants to destroy the Bride of Christ.  In the end, however, the church will prevail.  

Matthew 16:18 - Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

This warfare comes from two directions:
a.  within the church - satan wants to destroy unity in the church.  Jesus has told us how to avoid this conflict:

John 13:34-35 - So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 

b.  outside the church - we live in a world where church is not popular, Christianity is not popular.  satan will use any source he can to destroy that which belongs to Jesus.  However, we are reminded that Jesus has overcome the world.  Today's text:

I John 16:33 - I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Yes, in this Journey 2016 we will have conflict.  But, Jesus will be with us and see us safely through on this Journey if we will walk daily with Him.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Journey 2016 - Commitment (1/17/16)

Today was the third sermon in the series "Journey 2016".  The word for today is Commitment.  In commitment we are called to accountability, integrity, and personal discipline.  

Most people would rather bail out than to stay committed.  A lack of commitment is a detriment to one's spiritual life.  The text for today is from Psalm 37:5:  Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
1.  Commitment to Jesus is Essential

Luke 9:57-62 - The Cost of Following Jesus
As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
These men all showed a willingness to get involved to follow Jesus, but without making a commitment to totally follow Him.  Other things were more important to them.  

Story:  A chicken and a hog were walking along the street and saw the following marquee on the church sign:  "Feed The Poor".  The chicken said to the hog, "We should feed breakfast to the poor."  The hog said back to the chicken, "That's easy for you to say.  You only have to make a contribution, but for me it is a total commitment."  (ham and eggs)  For Brother Hog it was a complete sacrifice, as in Romans 12:1:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
A commitment to follow Jesus is 24/7/365.

2.  Jesus Exemplifies Commitment

Jesus gave His life for us.
Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3.  Jesus' Sacrifice Demands My Commitment

In His journey, Jesus became a living sacrifice so that we can follow His example.
I Peter 2:21
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

Peter had a three year journey with Jesus, but ended up denying Him.  He failed Jesus.  After Jesus died, Peter went back to fishing, his former life.  After the resurrection, Jesus went to the Sea of Tiberius to find Peter.  He reminded Peter of his calling to follow Jesus.  
John 21:15-17
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep."

Jesus had not given up on Peter.  He offered Peter His forgiveness, and reminded him of his calling to total commitment.  On our journey we may mess up, but the love of God compels us to repent and go forward in our commitment.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Journey 2016 - Caution (1/9/16)

Word for today:  Caution

We are on this journey of Journey 2016 that we might know Christ more closely.  Last week we learned that we needed courage.  Today we are looking at passages that talk about caution.

1.  Be Strong and Courageous and Careful to Obey God:

Joshua 1:1-9 (NLT)

After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

2.  Know and Obey the Word of God:

Psalm 119 (NLT)
I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you. (verse 11)
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
    but I will not stop obeying your instructions.  (verse 109)
Guide my steps by your word,
    so I will not be overcome by evil.  (verse 133)

We get guidance for the journey by knowing God's Word and hiding it in our hearts.  We can depend on God's Word.  It will help us avoid danger.

3.  Apostle Paul warned Timothy to Be Cautious:

2 Timothy 3
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!  (verses 1-5)
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.  (verses 14-16)

More instructions written to the Ephesians:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  (Ch 2:8-9)
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  (Ch 4:1)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.  (Ch 5:1-2)
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.   (Ch 5:15)


  • We need to be cautious how we live as Christians.
  • We need to live a life worthy of Christ as we follow His example.  
  • We are exhorted to be careful how we live...that we live as wise people, not foolish.  
  • We will find wisdom in God's Word, and if we live by His wisdom, we will draw others to Christ.  
  • That is our goal:  to know Christ, to be more like Christ, and to draw others to Christ.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Journey 2016 - Courage (1/2/16)

Our pastor started a new sermon series today, this first Sunday in 2016, entitled "Journey 2016".  If you know me at all, you know I consider my life a journey, and I'm keeping a journal...thus my blog "A Slice of Journal Pie".  When the pastor announced this series, I immediately tuned in.  Especially with where Paul and I are at in our journey...taking it one day at a time, not sure what God is up to, but willing to go at His pace, in His time, surrendered to His leading.  

I found myself taking notes during the sermon today, something I have not done for a long time, and I have decided that I would post a weekly blog on this series, which will take us down to Easter.  I will try to recap the sermons in brief notes.  For those of you who do not attend church, check back weekly for a sermon recap from our church and pastor.  Paul and I are grateful to be here for such a time as this, believing God has placed us here for this winter at least.  Believe me, it doesn't make sense to us yet, but we realize we are on an adventure with Jesus, and we are excited.

Sermon Text:  Luke 5:1-11 (NLT)
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Word for today - Courage
Courage is the first thing needed for the journey with Jesus.  It takes a person of integrity to commit to following Jesus and walking in obedience to Him.

1.  Your journey doesn't have to make don't have to understand it.  You just have to be obedient to God.  (Luke 5:5)

2.  Do it God's way.  We need courage to obey God and to do it His way.   (Luke 5:4)

3.  Follow Jesus whatever the cost.  God doesn't make mistakes.  He is God of the mountains, but also God of the valleys.  There will be times when you need to get up and try again, just like Peter the disciple had to do.  He made mistakes, he let Jesus down, but he just got up and kept trying again.  God used Peter in mighty ways.  He can use you. (Luke 5:11)