1 - 2 - 3 - 4

On the Mountain 2 - Sunday, 1/30

 AM Service_1.30
Pastor said something today that I needed to be reminded of, he told us that we do not control the spirit of the Living God, He shows up in His time and blesses you when He wants to.  “Don’t dictate or control God”, he said.  How many times do we place something in His hands and then take it back in an attempt to ‘fix’ it ourselves?   God knows all the details, and He knows the perfect time to take care of each situation.  Isaiah 40:31 - ‘…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (NIV).  There are promises in this scripture: God’s strength to revive us in times of suffering and exhaustion, the ability to rise above our troubles, and the ability to run spiritually without tiring.  He has promised us that if we patiently trust Him, He will provide what we need – constantly.  What a great and awesome God we serve!
We went back to the scripture from last week, Luke 9:28-36, where we learned the reasons why Jesus went up to the mountain, it was for encouragement for “…He was about to take the trip of a lifetime”, said Pastor Randy.  Last week he talked about the significance of Jesus being up on the mountain, this week we learned the significance of Elijah, Moses and the three disciples’ visit up there.  “As Jesus prepares to set foot on the last journey to Jerusalem and the cross, which then would usher in the New Covenant, two representatives of the Old Covenant show up to see Him off.  It is my opinion they were there to encourage Jesus and to give Him strength…to encourage the One who was about to make the trip of His life.  Moses and Elijah were there for Jesus’ sake, but also for their own.  Their own salvation ultimately depended upon Jesus going through with His sacrifice.  They knew their trip to Heaven was based upon His successful trip to the cross”, said Pastor.  You see, in order to go to Heaven you need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; but at that time He had not died on the cross yet, so in the Old Covenant the saints were in a place called ‘Paradise or Abrham’s Bosom’.  So Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem held great importance to Moses and Elijah, for then they and others would finally be taken into Heaven under the New Covenant.
Then there were the disciples who apparently still did not get the real meaning of what they were witnessing on the mountain.  “Nevertheless, had they been paying better attention, there were a couple of things they might have profitably noticed…one is that they were experiencing the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Luke 9:27; ‘But I say to you truthfully that there are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God’.  The disciples were granted, before their deaths, to see the Kingdom in the glory of the King as it will not be seen again until it comes.  This experience of theirs has become a prototype for a kind of experience that God still grants His people, to encourage and inspire them along the way.  It is because of this passage…that we still speak of to this day as a ‘mountain top experience’.  There was another important lesson for the disciples in contrast to what they experienced on the mountain and that’s what was happening down in the valley”, said Pastor.  There was that ‘mountain top experience’, but the needs in the valley – the need to minister to the people - was still there. 
I get it – God grants us these spiritual ‘mountain top experiences’ to encourage us and give us strength, a cool drink of spiritual water so to speak, so we can walk through the dry valleys of our day to day lives and work to save souls for Him.
Best Quote of the Day:
“Heaven is reaching for you.  Hell is afraid of you.  God is depending on you.”
-Pastor Randy Scroggins



On the Mountain 1 - Sunday, 1/23

 AM Service_1/23
Our walk through the Book of Luke has created a greater desire and need for me to know more about Jesus than ever before.  I look forward to the day that I can meet Jesus face to face and thank Him for the sacrifice He made for all of us.  I can only imagine how tired and weary he must have been toward the end of His time here on earth.  He did it all for you and for me – selflessly and completely. 
Today we read through Luke 9:28-36, as Part One of this Two Part sermon.  Pastor Randy urged us to read through the scripture again to really get a sense of what was going on.  He said “We come today to one of the strangest stories in all of scripture.  Only, we being somewhat familiar with it dull the sense of awe we should have as we read it”.  The story is about Jesus’ transfiguration; His transformation into what He really was – God in human flesh.  He took Peter, John and James with Him up to a mountain to pray, but God chose that time to show them Jesus as he really was – in His heavenly glory.  God said to the three disciples, ‘This is my Son, Whom I have chosen; listen to Him’. “This event in the life of Jesus takes on an added meaning and importance if we look at it not just as an isolated episode, but as it appears in the context of Jesus’ life.  We begin by recalling Jesus’ baptism, because when Jesus came up out of the water He heard the same voice giving Him the same message (see Luke 9:35) ‘This is my beloved Son’.  This cannot be a coincidence”, said Pastor.    Part of the purpose of the transfiguration was for God to inform the disciples that Jesus had to suffer on the cross (verse 31).  Pastor also said “At these verses we are on the very brink of the chain of events that lead inevitably toward the final resolution, for coming right up in Luke 9:51 is that chilling statement that Jesus purposefully set his face to go to Jerusalem.  When we look at the transfiguration in this light, it is easy to sense the psychological and spiritual weight of the Cross beginning to grow in Jesus’ mind.  He initially had taken Peter, James and John up to the mountain to pray.  We can now see this as a step on the journey that would eventually lead to Gethsemane”.  The disciples don’t seem to be dealing with this whole thing very well – they appear to either be in denial or it’s just going right over their heads.  In Verse 36 we are told that the disciples kept the event on the mountain to themselves, and told no one at the time what they had seen.  It would be a lot for them to attempt to understand, the fact that Jesus was going to die a horrible death and that He was knowingly headed right toward that place must have been a concept difficult to grasp.
The road to salvation is difficult.  To deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus is not always easy to do.  It does come with a price.  “If you are thinking this Christian walk is going to be a piece of cake, you had better think again.  I said it last week and I will reiterate again, you had better count the cost and make up your mind that you are in this, come hell or high water.  As Joshua 24 says; As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, said Pastor Randy.  “If your path does not present you with challenges or needs, I think you must question ‘Am I on the right path?’  We talked about it last week and today, it is the path of those who have denied themselves and taken up their Cross to follow Him.” 
Pastor Randy gave us (with quite a bit of exuberance I might add!) some verses to turn to for reassurance when the going gets tough.  God is so good!  Open your Bible to the Book of Psalms which is ‘the Book of praises, written to express the deep inner emotions of the human heart in relation to God’, to find the following reassuring Scriptures:  Psalms 23,  Psalms 46:1-3,  Psalms 121:1-4 and Psalms 18:2-3.   Pastor Randy also shared; ‘Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4), which is one of my own‘go to’ verses.  What is your ‘go to’ verse?
Best Quote of the Day:
Today is your day.  Give yourself to Jesus, surrender your all.  To make His desires your desires, His will becomes your will and His walk becomes your walk.  Who will make that kind of trip with Jesus beginning today?”
-Pastor Randy Scroggins

Something Out of Nothing - Sunday 1/9

 AM Service_1/9
Pastor Randy’s sermon today was taken out of Luke 9:10-17, about the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 people who came to see Him.  As I was reading through it I found myself looking to the other Gospels to follow the story again.  Reading back in Luke 9:1-6, Jesus had just met up with the disciples after they had been sent out by Him to preach the gospel and heal people – this is the first time Jesus sent them out to not only represent Him by word but also by deed.  They all went into the town of Bethsaida to talk, and most likely find some rest.  But the crowds heard about them and followed.  Once again Jesus spoke and healed the sick.  It seems that unless He is in the middle of a raging storm on the sea, Jesus can’t catch a few moments of rest!  I had not thought about how tired He must have been toward the end of His time on earth until we began working through the Book of Luke.  This is yet another ‘growth moment’ in my walk.
“There are skeptics all around; there are those who will never be satisfied with what God is doing right in front of their eyes”, said Pastor Randy.  He was talking about some of the other miracles we have been reading about in Luke.  Skeptics might think the calming of the storm was a coincidence, or that Jairus’ daughter was not dead, she was just sleeping.  “But this event cannot be dismissed or explained away. Three factors went into the feeding of the 5,000 that we would call today ‘a media event’”, he said.   First, there were 5,000 witnesses; second, they were in a desert area where no food could be hidden somewhere; and third, the miracle met an immediate need for every person in the crowd.  At this time Jesus is already looked upon as perhaps being ‘The One’ when all these people witness this miracle, of which Pastor says ‘ups the ante in several, significant ways’.  “He is revealed as the Lord of Creation, the One who multiplies, and the One who takes nothing and makes something”.
There was also a significant lesson in this Chapter regarding the disciples.  They tell Jesus they should send the people to the villages for food and lodging; “They came to Jesus with a solution to a problem”, said Pastor.  Of course, Jesus had a different idea and told the disciples to feed the people.  I’m sure the disciples’ response was not unexpected for they knew it was impossible for them to do that, so Jesus gave them a task they could do – seat the people into groups of about 50.  “He commanded the disciples to feed the people only to elicit their admission that they could not do it.  The need being met here is not so much the need for full bellies…the more important need is the disciples’ need to minister”, said Pastor Randy.  He asked us if we wish to serve the Lord; after all He has done for us, what other desire could we have?  “We start with an awareness of a need and the desire to meet it…add to that an awareness of our own inability to meet that need…then the determination to obey Jesus in the face of that inability…then we have set the stage for God to meet the need – and He will do it by using those very resources that were so inadequate when they were in our hands.”  Pastor encouraged each of us to ‘break out the bread and the fish’ and get to work.  “Are you ready to get your bread and fish so you can reach people out there to hear about Jesus?  God is ready to take your nothing so He can change that nothing into something”.
Best Quote of the Day:
“Don’t stay focused on the problem very long, if you do – it will be the only thing you see when the answer arises”.  –Pastor Randy Scroggins



Going Home - Sunday, 1/2

 AM Service _1.3
It looks like the New Beginnings family is going to jump into 2011 with both feet (and a wrist) – canvassing Douglas County with conversation provoking bracelets.  They are intended not only to be worn by us but to share with others - they are meant to be given away.  I will consider each one I purchase an investment toward the coming harvest.  Pastor Randy’s theme for 2011 is: ‘One More Soul’.  There is nothing he enjoys more in his life than to lead people to the Lord, and he asked us that in 2011 we set everything else aside and go after one more soul.  Joshua wrote and performed a beautiful worship song about it - thank you for sharing your music with us Joshua, it is always inspiring! 
‘Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him’ Psalms 62:5 (NIV)
Pastor Randy took us through Luke 15:11-32 this morning, about the prodigal son.  A ‘prodigal’ is someone who acts irresponsibly and later regrets it.  He said that the son had no intention of having a relationship with his father and only wanted what he could get.  Instead of offering his father help, or asking what he could do for him, the son was asking for what was his – and wanting it now.  That sounds like some of us at one time or another, doesn’t it?   “You want to be very careful with what you ask God.  He may just give it to you”, said Pastor.  “This boy wanted to be on his own, so he asked his father for his inheritance early…then he headed off into the world away from God.  May I just say that you need to be so very careful where you find yourself…there are places where people go that God is not pleased with”, he said. 
As the prodigal son headed out into the world he found himself with many friends...that is as long as he had money to spend on them.  As he ran into hard times, his money ran out and so did the ‘friends’.  He was starving and alone, eventually finding a job tending to pigs – the Bible says he was hungry enough that even the pig feed was appealing.  “Not having a relationship with his father lead to the pig pen, and this morning I make you a promise, sooner or later if you do not develop a personal relationship with the Father and His son Jesus Christ, you will also find yourself in a pig pen of sorts”.
Eventually he came to his senses.  Or as Pastor Randy put it, he ‘woke up’ or ‘came to himself’ - he realized there must be a better way.  “You must understand, that is what sin does, it separates you from God and causes you to do things you really don’t want to be doing.  That is when we must do what the prodigal did and ‘come to ourselves’; quit blaming everybody, take responsibility, come to ourselves and straighten up”.  This son decided to go home and ask for forgiveness.  He was even willing to become a servant in his father’s household for he felt unworthy.   His father saw him from a long way off as he was walking home, and he was filled with compassion for his son.  He had been watching and waiting for him – never giving up on his return, just like God does for each and every one of us.  Pastor said, “I believe from the day his boy left, Papa was looking for him to come home.  From the day he walked out Daddy saw him walk back in, in his mind’s eye.  I believe every morning, noon and night he stood at the porch, looking for the silhouette of his boy to come walking home…God is standing at Heaven’s door, He has His hands cupped over His brow, and He is waiting for you to come home”.    
What an amazing story this is – no wonder it’s considered one of the most famous short stories ever recorded!  I have read through this Chapter several times since Sunday, and each time reflect on it in different way.  It always takes me to the same conclusion - God is waiting for us with open arms and is filled with compassion for each and every soul.  What a wonderful thing!
God never gave up because He wants one more soul.  He died for all…He died for one more soul.



Giving Your Gift - Sunday, 12/26

 AM Service_12.26
Christmas has come and gone again so quickly. We had to look more closely at the economic impact Christmas spending would have on our home this year – but happily, it did not change anything important.  It was still full of singing, cooking, family chatter and good memories.  I thought it was the older I get the more important these times together become, but I don’t believe that is it – I believe it’s the closer I get to the ‘Reason for The Season’ that makes these times together more important.  I am so grateful that He has given me the ability to see how lovely these things are.
Joshua Scroggins presented the message today, and he asked us what we could give God that He has not already given us.  “What do you give someone who already has something?  What is it that we can give God?  What do you give Him that is not a re-gift?” asked Joshua.  He presented a few ideas like: Giving a bigger offering…our money is a re-gift.  He provided it for us. Giving your heart…another re-gift. God gave us His heart.  Giving your life…you guessed it, a re-gift.  Jesus already gave His for us. “Any gift you give from the heart is the best gift”, said Joshua.  Even if it is a re-gift, God appreciates it. 
Worship is something we can give Him that He hasn’t already given us.  “Humble admission that there is someone greater than you - there is no one greater.  It requires a large dose of humility…Worship is submission to the One who is greater.  Worship is all about honest appreciation and expression of thanks”, said Joshua.  He said that God can change all things for you, but you have to submit and line up with Him.  ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ Romans 8:28 (NIV).  This passage should be an encouragement to us when we have to deal with suffering in our lives.  If we line ourselves up with Him, He will bring good out of our situation(s).  That promise is limited however, in the sense that we cannot purposefully sin or be negligent as Christians.
“One other thing we can give is rejection”, said Joshua.  God has never given us rejection.  I cannot imagine giving Him rejection, yet so many do.  Deuteronomy 30:15-19 gives us two options: Life and prosperity or death and destruction.  Verses 19 and 20 say ‘…Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life…’ (NIV). 
Joshua’s message was an inspiration.  I want to worship more freely and look to the throne like never before.  God gives us so much, the least we can do is give Him the gift of worship and adoration in return.

Let it Shine - Sunday 12/19

 AM Service_12.19
“Jesus puts Himself into you and says ‘Start walking and change the world’”, said Pastor Randy.  What a powerful statement about discipleship.  I found the following on www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org regarding Christian discipleship and how to begin (in a nutshell): Study His Word daily and spend time alone in prayer, become a member of a Bible-teaching church, seek out companionship of other Christians, participate in a ministry and meet the needs of other believers, and share what you are learning about Christ with others.  These things should ring a big bell with all of us - Pastor Randy teaches these same principles.  The cool thing about his teaching is that he breaks it down in such a way that we can understand it and can’t help but be encouraged to take it out the doors to be the example that Jesus wants us to be.  It’s not always easy but it is possible – letting your light shine changes everything.
Pastor Randy presented his sermon today out of Luke 9:1-10.  He covered several topics, the first one being ‘our calling’, which is a two-fold topic: To preach and to heal.  “Like Jesus’ first disciples, we are commissioned to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom…it is not an option, it is a mandate.  It is the Good News that has been entrusted to us to deliver to all the world”, said Pastor.  He said that some of us are called to preach from the pulpit as he does, while most of us are called to deliver it informally as ambassadors for Christ.  In respect to healing, Pastor said “The atonement is the death of our Lord Jesus erasing the guilt and taking the penalty for all who believe.  All pain and suffering are the results of sin, sometimes direct but often indirect.  We have been given the power to pray for the sick and suffering and to believe they will be healed”. As believers we need to be willing to pray for one another, it is a real comfort to know someone is praying for us and believing with us.  It is a gift and an honor to be entrusted by another person, believer or non-believer, to pray for his or her needs.  “We are to go out and preach and heal in various ways”, said Pastor Randy.
He also addressed church hopping.  I was a ‘church hopper’ for two years before making New Beginnings my home.  That hopping left me empty, alone and spiritually lacking.  What a difference being a part of this church family has made – getting involved and being faithful in tithing has taken my walk to a whole new level.  There are so many good people here and it is a joy and a blessing to know them.  Pastor said that “Church hoppers never accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God…Grow where you are planted and do what God has got planned for you to do”.  He also stated that we should prefer permanent relationships instead of free circulation - we all need commitment and accountability to be the ambassadors that God wants us to be.
Pastor told us that it was the disciples who reached more people with the Good News than Jesus himself because they went out to the people, drawing interest in Jesus’ ministry – causing them to think about Jesus and wanting to see Him.  “Until we get people at least that far there is no opportunity for conversion”.  Each one of us is commissioned to go out, let our light shine and share Jesus – we are ambassadors!  ‘You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.’ Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).

Moving Mountains - Sunday, 12/5

We serve an awesome God!  There are three words that keep running through my mind: Pray.  Believe.  Expect.  I’ve been serving the Lord for many years, but the way He’s been responding to my prayers the past three months has had quite an impact on my life as well as my expectations. I’m not one for asking for help too often but this past Sunday morning when Pastor offered his prayer team’s service to the New Beginnings family I was up and running.  Honestly, that was a ‘Let Go and Let God’ moment - I barely remember moving forward.  I have faith that the prayer we sent up this morning will be answered, maybe not tomorrow, but in His due time which is always the right time!  That then brings my thoughts to the woman Pastor Randy talked about today and the level of faith she must have had – to believe that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be healed.  She did not care who saw her or who she brushed past as she crawled through the crowd to get to Jesus - she just knew that a touch would bring healing.  How many of us have that kind of faith?  That is a level to aspire to.
Pastor Randy read through Luke 8:40-56 with us this morning.  “Jesus is unbelievable in his outpouring of love, affection and service for people” he said.  As they row to the shore, returning from the place where Jesus healed the demonic man, the people gathered to meet Him.  Crowding Him in,  and every one having needs.  This scripture focuses on two very different but equally important healings that took place between Jesus, a woman and a dying girl.  As he discussed the two most pressing demands on Jesus at this point (the woman and the girl), Pastor reminded us of all the demands that Jesus had during his day to day life – that sometimes one of the hardest things in Jesus’ ministry was discerning the crises at hand.  In this crowd, Jesus was confronted by a desperate father named Jairus whose young daughter was dying.  This man threw himself at Jesus’ feet which was not something a grown man, much less a ruler in a synagogue, would do – but he believed that Jesus could save his daughter.  “This man’s need was greater than his pride”, said Pastor Randy.  He was begging Jesus to leave the crowd and come to his home where the girl was lying in bed. At the same time, there was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She was a social outcast because she was considered unclean and impure under the old covenant, and there she was crawling through the crowd to get to Jesus just to touch his robe. Nobody has touched or hugged her and she did not have a husband or any physical contact for twelve years.  She was alone in all that she did. Doctors who could not heal her and she had no money left. She was broken.  “The only thing worse than suffering, is suffering in isolation”, said Pastor. ‘She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped’ Luke 8:44 (NIV).
“I want you to understand this is an act of faith. For some of you this concept of faith, that we’re saved by faith and that we live by faith may be a difficult, abstract concept.  I want you to see it here as reaching out to Jesus.  Many of you talk such a good game when it comes to your walk with Jesus; however it is only a game.  Your talk…and your faith are miles apart”, said Pastor Randy.  James 1:22 says ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says’ (NIV).  The faith that the woman had was pure.  She knew that merely touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak would be enough.  Pastor said that it was God unleashed in her life, and added that this woman is a picture of all who are saved by faith, reaching out to Jesus and receiving new life.
Just because Jesus is not standing in front of us in the flesh does not mean He is not with us.  Faith.  Jesus can do the same thing for us as He did for that woman, or for anyone.  ‘In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence’, Ephesians 3:12 (NIV).  Faith in healing.  Faith in prosperity.  Faith in restoration of lives and relationships.  Faith, as Pastor put it: “That can move mountains”.

Reality Check 2 - Sunday 11/28

AM Service_11.28
I know that Jesus crossed the lake from Galilee to the region of Gerasenes as it says in the book of Luke, but I did not know why the people from that region asked Jesus to leave after He healed the man from his demons (Luke 8:37) and why they feared Him, until today.  During his sermon, Pastor mentioned that Galilee was predominantly Christian whereas the region Jesus sailed to (Gerasenes) was predominantly pagan.  They were afraid of Him - their pagan practices took them far away from anything Godly.  That brought the boat trip and the storm that tested the disciples’ faith to mind.  What was the significance of that storm and the fear they had about their survival?  Did someone have a bit of doubt to begin with?  It caused them to better understand who Jesus was, that He could even command the winds and water. If they were not fully trusting in Jesus what might have happened on that shore? We as Christians are facing spiritual conflict with Satan and his evil spirits every day.  Fear comes from Satan, so don’t forget - Jesus waged battle against him at the cross and Satan lost that battle!
Pastor continued this morning with Luke 8:26-36. He told us that in order to win, we must understand our enemy.  Last week he covered five of the nine names given to Satan in the Bible: Accuser, Adversary, Destroyer, Deceiver and Father of Lies.  Today he gave us the remaining four.  Satan is the Tempter – “There is flesh within us, a seed of rebellion from our first father, Adam, that wants to disregard, dishonor and disobey God…you need to know, when you’re tempted to sin, there’s a demonic battle that’s raging in your life”, said Pastor Randy.  Satan is the Murderer – “This is his final goal.  He hates life.  God is the living God.  God is the author of life.  Satan is the one who loves death”.  Pastor shared that Satan wants marriages, families, friendships, cultures, churches and even the unborn, to die.  He wants us to die through reckless behavior, depression and suicide.  His ultimate goal is death.  Satan is the Evil One – “When you look at the world and its history, all the devastation and destruction, the sin and the suffering…the wars that have been waged and the dollars spent.  The elections that have been held and the organizations that have been launched, evil has not come to an end”.  He added that to believe that we’re all good people and things will get better in time is just naïve mythology – a lie and a deception, because behind the world system is the Evil One.  Lastly, the name Enemy is given by Jesus in Matthew 13:28-29 and 39 – “Your enemy is not flesh, and if you know Jesus you are in a war.  You and I have an enemy and he has nothing good intended for us.  He has nothing truthful to tell us”.
As tired as Jesus was, He still got into the boat to heal the demon possessed man.  He did not care that the man was naked and filthy, and knew He was going into a place where the people would not appreciate His presence.  “He cared enough about this outcast to go to the other side of the lake and share the good news of who He, Jesus, is.  Here at New Beginnings we’ll share the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone until this city is changed”, said Pastor Randy.  He was told that this is not a place (New Beginnings) where you can just sit and not make some sort of decision, and to that he said that we are building warriors here, not wimps.  “Jesus is coming so very soon and I am trying to get you ready, and trying to get you to understand how to get others ready”.
God is real. Jesus is real.  Satan is real.  And we are really responsible for our own behaviors and choices.  I am so thankful for the heart that God has given Pastor Randy to reach ‘anyone and everyone’ no matter who they are or where they come from, if they are clean or dirty, rich or poor, addicted or sober, young or old…he desires to lead them all to the Lord and equip them to live the way God has intended for them to live.  ‘Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand’ –Ephesians 6:13 (NIV).

Reality Check 1 - Sunday 11/21

 AM Service_ 11/21
Today, Pastor fed us one of those ‘You have got to get this’ sermons.  The first thing that came to my mind afterward was the old adage ‘You are what you eat’.  It basically means to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food.  That applies to us in a spiritual sense just as much as a physical sense, does it not?  If you fill yourself with inappropriate shows, books or magazines, or speak slanderously and gossip, aren’t you putting that ‘food’ into your spirit?  Think about what you say – is it feeding or poisoning others in your midst?  Be mindful of what you ‘eat’.
Pastor Randy brought us to Luke 8:26-36 today.  He said that we are about to study the work of Jesus in the life of one of the more known people in the Bible – a demon possessed man.  He compared the ‘fame’ of this man to other men in the Bible like Jonah, Noah and Moses. I'm not sure why this man would be as well known as the others...perhaps it's simply human curiosity and/or fear of the 'dark side'.  He said “If we don’t talk about demonic possession we won’t know…It worries me deeply as your shepherd that your blood will be on my hands”.  People today are dealing with the mind and the body (seeing therapists, taking medication, etc.) but what about the soul?  Pastor said to deal with the foundation and to get your soul where it is supposed to be by getting a hold of the very One who made the therapists.
As the scripture tells us, Jesus got off the boat across the lake from Galilee and was immediately greeted by a demon possessed man.  This man had lived a long time like this.  When he saw Jesus he immediately knew who He was and begged Jesus not to torture him.  When Jesus asked the demon inside this man what his name was, he replied ‘Legion’, because there were many living in him.  Jesus chose to allow the demons to be cast into a herd of pigs as they requested, instead of into the abyss. When they were cast into the pigs they ran off a cliff and died.  “You’ll never make me believe this man wanted to be like this or was born like this.  I believe over a certain number of years, doing certain things or indulging in certain activities he now finds himself in a grip that he cannot get out of”.  Many people find themselves in the grip of a lifestyle that they don’t believe they can escape – that it’s their destiny to have a horrible life.  Pastor said that to believe that it is your destiny is a lie from the pits of hell.  His reality is “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.  We do believe as Christians, because the Bible teaches it and Jesus confirms it – there really is a satan…and there really are demons who work with him”.  There really is someone after your soul whose entire purpose is to take you to hell with him and Pastor is right – once this battle is over there is no return.  He wages nonstop war against God, against His angels, and His servants (Christians). Pastor Randy began listing off several of the names given to satan as they are found in the Bible: the accuser (leaving you without hope), the adversary (he’s opposed to you), the destroyer (he destroys legacies, generations and churches), the deceiver (convinces you that unholy things are okay) and the father of lies (lying is his daily language).  We were told today that when you lie, you give birth to the demonic language – that’s an intense thought.  I never put it in that perspective before but I do agree with him.  He said that “The devil is a liar.  Today the enemy of your soul wants you to die.  Today the Giver of Life, God the Father, wants you to live.  The question is: Who will you listen to?”
Best Quote of the Day:
"Recognize your enemy" - Pastor Randy Scroggins

Light the Way! - Sunday 11/7

AM Service_11.7
Yet another two hours of ‘wow’ today!  God is certainly doing His thing at New Beginnings and He is not done yet – not by a long shot.  Just look at how much this church has grown.  Pastor Randy started out this morning by pointing out how loud and excited we get when he mentions our favorite football teams and wonders why we don’t get that excited over God.  On the count of three we gave an unbelievable ovation for the One that really deserves it all.  He is the eternal Lord, beyond time altogether, the first and the last and the Living One.  Such a loud rush of praise - it made my heart cry out with joy!  It’s something we all should do every day.  We also gave a well-deserved, standing ovation to thank the Veterans in our church for their service to this country as we prepare to celebrate Veterans Day this Thursday.
Pastor based his message on Luke 8:16-21. He asked us “How do you portray the light?  Who we are determines what we do.  It is not what we do that determines who we are”.  As Christians, we portray the light by our identity – then our activity.  “…Through the grace of God and the work of Jesus we receive an identity.  And out of that identity, there is activity”. The world first sees who you are, your accomplishments (activity), and that determines your identity.  Portraying the light can be something as simple as holding the door open for someone, asking the clerk at the store how he or she is doing, sharing a smile and a word of encouragement or a prayer.  That light has illuminated someone else’s world where there may have not been any.  It may draw them to find out who you are and what makes you so different.  You just showed them activity by way of your identity.  My heart is burdened for a friend we recently visited, after not seeing each other for 20 years.  She did not accomplish the things in life she thought would be accomplished by now, i.e. marriage, children and financial security (there’s that activity first) and she feels like she failed… she has no ‘identity’ as the world has told her.
“…God commands us to activity, it is simply the out-working of our identity.  He makes us someone so we can do some things.  The Bible says I can do all things through Christ, and through that identity I can accomplish anything He has for me.  Who I am determines what I do”, said Pastor Randy.  I know we all make mistakes and decisions that are not the wisest, but if we have totally surrendered to God not only will He forgive us, but He will use us.  Speaking of using us, I was feeling burned out after doing so much in a previous church that I did not actively pursue or volunteer for anything in years.  But once I surrendered it to God and put it in His hands, I found myself joyfully volunteering again – identity created activity.  I am excited to do things at New Beginnings!  “You, my friends, are extremely important to the plan of God, and only you can do with perfection the ministry that God has called you to do”, said Pastor.

Luke 8:16-17 shares Jesus’ words about letting our light shine, there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed – nothing concealed that will not be brought out into the open.  Jesus IS the light of the world and the world is darkness.  Matthew 5:16 says: ‘In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven’ (NIV).  Pastor Randy said that where there is error Jesus illuminates it as being wrong - not to embarrass or condemn but to save.  The function of His light is to illuminate where there is need.  This is what alters our identity.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4