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God is on...24/7 - Sunday, 8/14

AM Service_8.14

Pastor always takes the Word and presents it in such a way that each of us can apply it to our own lives.  Today was no exception.  He brought us to Luke 13:10-21 to meet a woman who had been suffering for eighteen years and a religious man who suffered when he argued with Jesus.  Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath when this woman, bent over and disabled, came in.  He called her over to Him, laid His hands on her (unusual in that culture for a man to touch a woman) and freed her of an unclean spirit causing her affliction.  “People reached out to touch Jesus; oddly enough this woman did not reach out to Him.  Maybe she felt like she had lost all hope.  Maybe she thought Jesus was busy and important – that she did not want to trouble Him. Whatever you do, don’t lose hope.  Don’t ever give up hope”, said Pastor Randy.  This woman is hurting, she is sick and yet she is still in church.  Pastor thought that maybe her best shot at being healed was to be in church.  “I wonder how many of us decided to stay home and hear that we missed the best service in months.  I have learned that when I don’t go to church that it is probably the time I need it the most”, he said.  In fact, just this morning while I was talking to one of our ladies she said she did not feel like coming to church but had something she was committed to do.  My hope is that this was an especially fulfilling and nourishing morning for her!  “This is our Jesus.  It’s fantastic.  What does the woman do?  Immediately she was made straight and she glorified God.  It doesn’t take this woman long to worship.   What an ending to a great story…that is, if it would have ended that way”, said Pastor. 

The ruler of the synagogue (preacher) is offended because Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  He was upset because there are six other days to work and be healed, and does not believe it should be done on the Sabbath.  “He began arguing with Jesus.  Just so you know that’s never a good idea…that means you are wrong.  Pastor quotes: ‘Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites!  Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?  And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’  As He said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him’.  Jesus shows up, does something wonderful.  The woman is really happy and the religious people are upset.  Why?  Now, emphatically it’s a debate over the law.  The Bible has laws.  The first five books of the Old Testament have 613 laws, rules and commands”, said Pastor Randy.  He went on to say “The law in and of itself will be something that troubles you unless you know who God is.  So when your loving Father tells you to do something or not do something, you have to presume He loves you – He’s trying to protect you.  He’s trying to save you from harm and suffering and death.  What happened, and what always happens, is that religious people took God’s laws and make a lot of additional rules and laws to the point where something as good as the Sabbath becomes a burden and not a blessing.  The Sabbath was a gift that God gave.”

He said that religious people always want to ‘help’ God, not allow God to help them.  “The Kingdom is about the King, not the King about the Kingdom.  If you have Jesus, you have the Kingdom.  Quit listening to the media and start ‘listening’ to the Bible.  Stop fretting and start praising, God will show you what He can do”.

Best Quote of the Day: “When Jesus walked into a place He had an eye to see what He could do to help, not to see what’s wrong or what’s right.”  -Pastor Randy Scroggins 

 

Go Toward Life - Sunday, 7/31

AM Service_7.31.11

During praise and worship this morning I was inspired by one of our visitors.  He was enjoying the music so much that it looked like he was about to bust a move!  It was a blessing, and actually it made me realize how much I still hold back during praise and worship.  Note to self: Let more Go and let more God. We really have a great worship team! 

Pastor Randy’s sermon was from Luke 13:1-5 today – Repent or Perish.   Jesus said ‘But unless you repent, you too will all perish’.  “People don’t want to talk about repentance anymore…the subject is unpopular.  What is popular in pulpits is self-love, self-esteem, self-actualization, not repentance.  You can be a theologian and go to hell if you don’t what?  REPENT.  So this word is very important, is it not?  Of all the words in our language this word ‘repent’ is the most important.  Jesus uses it twice in five verses…it means to change one’s life course or direction.  You’re going toward sin, you turn around and go toward God; you’re going toward death, you turn around and go toward life”, he said.

Pastor told us that repentance is something you do to become a Christian and to grow as a Christian.  That if you do something to go against God or another human being you must repent.  Imagine how much better our society would be if everyone would be willing to admit their mistakes and repent – to ask for forgiveness.  I believe that we don’t see ourselves as others do.  I have a close coworker and friend who I have asked to let me know if I have stepped out of line at any time, sure that I don’t always see things the way that I should.  She’s been great helping with my accountability. 

Pastor Randy said: “We don’t always know what God is doing.  We live by faith and not by sight.  We get some of our questions answered in this life but the Bible teaches elsewhere that we know that in part.  We see it dimly.  One day when we’re with Jesus on the other side of resurrection all the questions will be answered.  We’ll see it all clearly.  We’ll know it all fully.  Until then, we live by faith, not by sight.  God doesn’t give us answers to all our questions.  He gives us Jesus!  Someone Who has suffered and died and risen to take away our sin, give us new life and get us to the Kingdom where it all makes sense.  Are you ready to die?  You’re going to die.  You say ‘I will get ready’ – but you do not know when you will die, so get ready right now...  Repent or perish.”

Jesus died for our sins and by faith in Him and grace from Him, we can put our sin to death.  Pastor told us not to hide our sin in shame, not to excuse it, tolerate, nurture, embrace or defend it but to kill it.  That is repentance.

Best Quote of the Day:

“We are all sinners save by grace” – Pastor Randy Scroggins

 

R U Ready? - Sunday, 6/26

During his sermon this morning, Pastor Randy reminded us that God knows our every thought – and what we are thinking at every moment.  My mind was just returning from a split-second side trip and I found myself smiling at his reminder.  It had gone to an elderly gentleman walking an old, slow dog that we saw in the park yesterday.  We were riding bikes, mind you, but the Lord had given me reason to pause and acknowledge the man.  He handed me a note card from a stack and asked me to read it.  It contained a handwritten question about the reader’s perception on who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell.  He was sharing the gospel in the park yesterday, as I presume he does on many days.  I appreciate that ‘God moment’; that gentleman and his dog left an impression on my heart and I hope there are more out there that felt the same way.

Pastor’s message today presented a simple question: ‘Are you ready for Jesus’ return?’  It was based on Luke 12:35-48; keeping watch for His return.  Every believer is called on to be spiritually ready at all times and to wait.   “The Lord is not stupid!  He knew if He gave us an exact date we would push the envelope.  He is saying that we are to be ready at all times”, said Pastor.  “He gives us three reasons for readiness in this scripture – The Command, The Unpredictability and The Consequence”.   

The Command is to be dressed in readiness and to keep our lamps lit, in other words ‘live your life right’.  Jesus told us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.  Treating others right is a huge part of this, in my opinion.  When you begin to respect and to love others it will change you from the inside out; it is letting that light shine before you so they too may want to know who this Jesus is!  “We are to take action – we are to be like Him.  Be ready, be alert.  Don't be asleep at your post.  Be actively involved in the Lord’s work”, said Pastor Randy.  “You are in full time ministry, everywhere you go you are in ministry”.

The Unpredictability of not knowing when He will return.  “We don’t know when He is coming back.  This is emphasized no less than three times in this scripture (Vs 38, 40 & 46).  It is emphasized in the New Testament over and over again; ‘No one knows the day and the hour, not even the Son, but only the Father (Mt 24:36)’.  I mean really, this is some pretty important stuff here!  Jesus is coming back, if you miss that appointment you are in a mess; there is no rescheduling.  Your command is not to guess the time of His return, it is to be ready at all times”, said Pastor.  He also reminded us that He knows our thoughts right now.  He is aware of our motives and why we do what we do.  We are going to slip up, we are human, but we need to be sure our hearts are in the right place and if we do slip up make it right again.  Apologize, fix it, replace it…whatever it is.

The Consequence of not being ready is judgement (Vs 45&46).  “The best way to be unready is to be an unbeliever; or to know but not accept, Jesus as your Savior…the next best way is to ‘talk the talk but not walk the walk’ of a believer.  Therefore, a good way to examine yourself is to examine your own attitude about the second coming”, said Pastor.  He asked us if our attitude about it is one of inspiration and wanting to faithfully serve Him, or is it one of ‘No big deal, I’ve been hearing this for years’?   

"Where are you at today?  Does the news of Jesus inspire you?  Does your life do 'well' in church but not so good out there in the world?", asked Pastor Randy.  "I will still worship and praise - for He is the one that brought me from where I was to where I am today"

 

 

Practice Prayer - Sunday 4/17

AM Service_4.17

I missed this Sunday’s service, but after viewing the video – it was a real home run!  What a blessing to join in the praise and worship and watch the service, even if it was from home.  You can’t replace being at New Beginnings in person, but I so appreciate the fact that it can be seen online.

Pastor Randy read from Luke 11:1-13, regarding Jesus’ teaching on how we should pray.  “There is probably nothing in the Christian life that is more advocated and less attempted, more urged and less understood, more recommended and less resorted to, or more praised and preached about and less practice than prayer…effective prayer is rooted in the understanding of Who God is.  His name is to be treated as Holy”, said Pastor.   He told us that we assume meaningful prayer should come naturally, like talking to a friend and we feel discouraged when it doesn’t.  But there are differences between the two.  Immediate feedback, through words, tones and expression create evidence of how that conversation is going – with God that does not happen.  “For you to believe that prayer is more than a monologue requires constant exercise of faith”, he said.  This very subject came up yesterday for me with someone asking for prayer, who has not prayed in a long time.  It is amazing how each week’s sermons take on a life of their own through my daily walk!

When one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in this scripture, Jesus gave him what we call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (see Luke 11:2-4).  Pastor Randy began to break it down during his sermon but about halfway through the sermon his message changed and his message took a somewhat different route.  He said “Somewhere through my ministry it dawned on me…’Seek ye first, the Kingdom of Heaven, and His righteousness, and His mercy, and His grace and His unmerited favor and all these other things will be added to you.  I learned that God is not about abuse, He is not about threats, He is about mercy and grace.  The Holy Spirit lifts you up and gives you hope – He never brings you down and leaves you hopeless.  I learned that I could preach with an uplifting spirit – I can teach you how you can win”. 

 
He asked us that when we leave today, to share our faith this week with somebody else and tell them about Jesus – invite them to church, and reminded us that nobody, nowhere loves us like Jesus does.  Even when we mess up, He’s still there – He does not hold it against us.  Jesus hung on a cross and died so that we may live.  That, my friends, is Love!  This is extremely encouraging, even when our answer to prayer may seem so far away.  If we give it up to God, it will be in the hands of the Master.  Who better to trust than Him?  I have been waiting for an answer to something for many years and sometimes that spirit of discouragement comes around, but I remind myself of Who is standing in the gap and in Who’s timing that answer really rests.

This is a message that you really need to watch if you missed it.  From the praise and worship to the passionate message that Pastor Randy shared, it was a spiritual feast and offered much of what I call ‘meat and potatoes’!  I am looking forward to see what is in store for this coming Resurrection Day Service.

Best Quote of the Day:

“Is the only time we pray when we are in a mess?”  -Pastor Randy

 

What Kind of Neighbor Are You? - Sunday, 4/3

 AM Service_4.3
 
I have to admit it – when I woke up this morning I had no motivation and no joy and felt like pulling the covers back over my head.  That is the time, on Sunday mornings, when I need to do exactly what I did.  I went to the enemy’s camp and took back what he stole from me; by the time service ended my joy had returned and my spirit felt energized!  Thank you, Pastor Randy, for your passion to share God with everyone.  It changes lives and hearts.
 
Pastor read Luke 10:25-37 today, which is about The Good Samaritan.  “Few of Jesus’ parables are more familiar or seemingly understood than the story of The Good Samaritan.  It is usually interpreted as an object lesson on the duty of benevolence – and it is.  However, it is so much more” he said.  In this scripture a lawyer asks Jesus ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ and Jesus asked him ‘What was written in the Law?’   The lawyer replied ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself…and who is my neighbor?’  Pastor asked us what will this lawyer do with the answer…and what will WE do with it?  “And that really is the bottom line, when you hear the truth, what will you do with it?  You can’t do anything to inherit something.  As inheritance depends entirely on the relationship you have with the giver, and on his will as expressed in his Will.  Jesus hardly gave anybody a direct answer to anything…He usually would either answer a question with a question, or say ‘Let me tell you a story’.  It seemed that Jesus always wanted to make the people He was talking with, think for themselves in order to give them the opportunity the think with Him”, said Pastor Randy.  This is where, after the lawyer asked his questions, Jesus told him the parable of The Good Samaritan. 
 
Please read this parable again…and decide for yourself, what kind of neighbor you are.  Are you like the Priest and the Levite, who passed by on the other side of the road from the man who was beaten and robbed, or are you like the Good Samaritan who stopped to bandage his wounds and put him up at an inn to heal?  Do you show compassion to others who are spiritually or physically wounded?  Do you lend a hand to help someone up the stairs or open a door for them?  Do you pray for others who are less fortunate than yourself?  Do you worry what others might think of you instead of doing what you believe is right?
 
Best Quote of the Day:
“We would be so much better off if we would stop worrying about what other people think about us”
 
-Pastor Randy Scroggins
 

It Is On The Way! - Sunday, 3/27

 AM Service – 3.27
 
Pastor Scroggins’ message today, Dare to Dream, brought the following scripture to my mind: ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened’ - Matthew 7:7-8.  Jesus encourages us to be perseverant in prayer…that we must keep asking, seeking and knocking.  It requires sincere petitioning and obedience to God’s will.  I enjoyed hearing Pastor’s message – it was encouraging, and as he said, if we do ‘Dare to Dream’ we first must seek God’s Kingdom.  He said that “Jesus stands still for you – if you call on Him, He will stand still”.  I don’t know about you, but that created a powerful image in my mind.  No matter how many call on Him, no matter who calls on Him, no matter where He is called upon, He will stand still and listen to you!  We serve an awesome God.
 
This morning we read Matthew 16:13-19 and Mark 10:46-52. “What the world thinks about Jesus will depend on how you emulate or imitate Jesus.  Your dreams and your destiny depend on who you think Jesus is.  Something great is about to come to pass, I say Lord, let it come! - ‘New Beginnings, Dare to Dream!!!” said Pastor Randy.  Just as Jesus stood still and asked Bartimaeus in Mark 10:51 ‘What do you want me to do for you?’  Pastor believes Jesus is asking all of us the same question.  “It is time we as children of the King dare to dream!  I want you to realize you are the Bride of Christ, and everything you desire that is in the will of God is in your grasp.  Get a vision, but get into the Word first before you dream!  Throw away your fear and start walking in the power”, he said.  I believe if we seek first the Kingdom of God, there would be no fear of failure - He will order our steps and open doors we thought were locked.  I had a dream for a long time and God began to open the door to that dream about a year ago.  It has been a slow start, but just knowing that it was first approved by our awesome God, I have great hope for its fruition down the road! 
 
“God is challenging someone to get a dream; get a vision and see if He won’t come through”, said Pastor.  “You have got to get around the right people.  People are either dream builders or dream stealers.  They will do it with discouraging words – don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream, and get rid of your fear of failure.  If the fear of failure dominates your life you will never do anything!” 
 
Do not let your circumstances dictate your joy or your success!  We all come across many people who allow their joy to be stolen – there is just no need for that to happen.  “For some of you, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you need to create your own light.  Jesus is the light of the world – when He said ‘let there be light’, there WAS light!  That light lives inside of you.  Start speaking positive.  The Bible says ‘As a man thinks in his heart so is he’.  If you think you are a loser, you will be.  If you think you are going under, you will”, said Pastor.  Lastly, he again reminded us to throw away our fear and start walking in the power.  Easier said than done sometimes, but remember this:  Jesus stands still just to listen to you! 
 
Best Quote of the Day:
“God is not finished with us yet!”   -Pastor Randy Scroggins

 

You Have Victory Over Satan! - Sunday, 3/13

 AM Service_3.13
 
One of the things Pastor spoke about today was how Satan falls every time we do something good or right.  One way or another, God opens my eyes and heart to something from Pastor Randy’s message every week.  This week it came in the form a phone call at work.  It was a kind, elderly gentleman looking to do something good for someone else.  He told me it was so nice to talk to someone pleasant - that he’d been dealing with grumpy people all day, and ended the call with a scripture he said would ‘blow my socks off’.  It is Psalms 37:1-4 ‘Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.  Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’.  What lovely scripture to meditate on - I do believe Satan fell a little bit lower that day!
 
Today’s message was taken from Luke 10:17-24 that talks about the 70 disciples returning after Jesus sent them out.  “They realized that Christ’s power over the minions or cronies of Satan was one of the signs that the Kingdom had come in, and through Jesus…That is a great thing for sure.  While Jesus wanted them to be even happier about more important things than this, He acknowledged their joy by pausing to celebrate it with them”, said Pastor.  He encouraged us as disciples for Christ that it is our job to sometimes just say something nice, or to acknowledge another’s achievement with a ‘Good job, way to go, you did it!’  In verse 18, Jesus says ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven’ and to that, Pastor asks “When did He see this?  And, is it a reference to Satan’s original fall from grace?  Certainly that fall is not irrelevant, but here is the fascinating thing about this; I find the verb interesting.  In the Greek it is an imperfect tense, and could very well be translated ‘I’ve been watching Satan fall’…Jesus is implying that the original fall of Satan, the defeat of Satan, the thwarting and frustration of Satan’s rebellion against God, is repeated in the activity of the Church…every time we do a kind deed, he falls again. Every time we encourage someone, he falls again.  Every time you give of your tithes and offering, he falls again.  Every time you say to someone less fortunate than you ‘I love you’, he falls again.  I have great news!  Every time the body of Christ shares the Gospel he just continues to fall!”  Now I don’t know about you, dear reader, but that makes me want to shout for victory!  What a great way to show your faith – don’t you find it important to expedite Satan’s fall by being Christ-like both inside and outside the doors of this church?  I do.  The ‘fall’ list is endless, and the more you put it into practice the easier it becomes!
 
Jesus said in Verse 19: ‘Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.’  This passage teaches us, as Pastor Randy said, “When the Church marches forward in faith and obedience, in the name of Christ, it can expect to experience substantial victory over sin, darkness and evil.”  Matthew 16:18 says that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against us.  Hallelujah!  He encouraged us, as Christians, to quit waiting for Satan to advance on our lives and to take back what he stole from us, be it our children, our spouses, our finances, peace, sanity and/or our future.  It reminds me of a song: ‘I went to the enemy’s camp and I took back what he stole from me.  He’s under my feet, he’s under my feet, Satan is under my feet’.  “Is it wrong to rejoice in success, in life or ministry?  No, absolutely not!  But in comparison to our own salvation, it is nothing”, said Pastor Randy.  Revelations 1:18 ‘I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades’. 
 
Best Quote of the Day:
“Who does the devil think he is?  We’ve taken his keys” – Pastor Randy Scroggins

Devotion: Unwavering & Complete - Sunday, 3/6

 AM Service_3.6

What a worship we had this morning!  Yes, they are always fantastic but this morning was exceptional.    I appreciate the worship team, for bringing such a powerful and dynamic time of song and praise.  It puts my heart and mind in the right place – to be still and know that He is God.  Pastor said this morning, “If there’s any other reason for being here today – we missed it – we just came to praise the Lord.”  Last week’s message left me more aware of delivering positive responses to negative comments.  To smile even when I did not always feel like it.  To let others know how much better my life is with Christ.  Today I received an email from a coworker who is visiting with a sick family member – she let me know how the situation is and how concerned she is for him because he does not seem to have the will to live anymore.  She asked me to pray for him, and how much she appreciates my friendship (and I appreciate her!).  This is what it is, to be a disciple for Christ, and to be the best I can be for Him in all that I do at home, in public or at work - this coworker is potentially one more soul.  

We read through Luke 10:1-20, “In this text today, the Lord sends out the Seventy.  In his instructions to them, we learn part of the reason for that urgency and something for our proper response to it.  The reason given for the urgency of our task is twofold – the first part of it is that the harvest is plentiful…let’s face it, sin is a universal problem”, said Pastor Randy.  He told us that that without God, we are without hope for a future, and not believing in God, Heaven or hell, does not mean it does not exist!  He said “That’s like getting on top of this building and jumping off, and on the way down shouting ‘I don’t believe in gravity!’, but I promise you, you soon will!”  We are all given the opportunity to receive God’s mercy, as in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life’.   God loves THE WORLD!  The gift of salvation will not only change your life, but it will have an effect on everything you do and everyone you come into contact with. “This is the message that is desperately needed by every single person on the planet and you are commissioned to take it to every single person on the planet”, said Pastor.  Our ‘great commission’ is to take the gospel and preach it to the world (see Matthew 28:19) – the church is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all people.  “Who is the church?” asked Pastor Randy, “Go home and look in the mirror…that is the church.  Preaching the gospel is not only talking, but it is also working, showing, giving and acting out your salvation.  It’s greeting at the door, running a vacuum, sending out letters, or saying ‘hello’ with a smile.”

“Christ is coming back and I am concerned we have put many things in front of the urgency of this message – to be born again.  Urgency is in the air.  This may sound hard, but if you are a true believer there is nothing more important to you than ‘One More Soul’.  Truly, the harvest is plentiful…to say that the harvest is plentiful is simply to say that the opportunity is great.  The problem is not the size of the harvest but the labor force” said Pastor.  He told us that we would actually have to start thinking about others before ourselves; I feel that if you are a Christian that should come naturally, but unfortunately it does not come naturally for everyone.  Pastor said “I cannot speak for anyone else, but there is urgency in the air for me.”

He shared these statistics with us:  There are 494,357 teens that give birth each year.  There were 820,151 abortions in 2005 (less than 5% due to medical risks).  Nearly 6.2 million students dropped out of school.  Approximately 44.5 million people currently live in poverty.  1 out of 8 children go to bed hungry each night.  About 3.5 million US residents have been homeless for a significant period of time.  Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year involving about 5.8 million children, resulting in almost 5 children dying each day.  There are 463,000 children in foster care.  Every 15 seconds someone is assaulted.  Approximately 44 people are murdered every day.  Every hour 11 people are raped. And there is a suicide every 15 minutes.  “Knowing what we know…if you were on your way to Hell, wouldn’t you want somebody to step up and get in your way?  Today, that is what I want to do by telling about Jesus who loves you so very much.  I am trying to get in your way”, said Pastor Scroggins. 

 

Commitment May Bring Rejection - Sunday, 2/27

 AM Service_2.27
 
Today’s message reflected upon rejection and commitment.  There was something about Pastor’s comment regarding Jesus coming into His own and being rejected that piqued my curiosity.  He referred to John 1:11, and after taking it back to the beginning and reading through to verse 12, I understood ‘His own’ was the human race.  When I take something from Pastor’s sermon and dig into the Word, it takes on not only more meaning but a life of its own.  Check it out – John 1:10-11 ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.  He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.’  Jesus was a human being with human emotions, and you can bet he felt the sting of rejection.  I’m sure we all know what it feels like; a lack of acceptance, to be set aside, disapproved of or dismissed.  Imagine how Jesus felt and look at how He handled it.  If we are committed to Jesus, then we should recognize it as an assault from the enemy and to never let it compromise our commitment.
 
Pastor Scroggins read through Luke 9:51-62 today, where Jesus and his disciples began the journey to Jerusalem.  He sent some disciples ahead to a village along the way, to prepare for his arrival but the citizens had no desire for His visit so they just traveled to another village.  Jesus did not get mad at this rejection but I bet His feelings were hurt.  Along the way men were asking Jesus if they could follow Him, but they had to take care of personal situations first.  Jesus said “No procrastination.  No backward looks.  You can’t put God’s Kingdom off until tomorrow.  Seize the day”.  That’s a pretty awesome statement; don’t put salvation off because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Pastor said “Rejection is a major theme in Luke’s Gospel, because it was a frequent experience for Jesus.  It is interesting to note, each major phase of Jesus’ ministry began with rejection…When you look not only at Luke, but other gospels this was a pattern – initial enthusiasm that turns to rejection.”  Surely these experiences were hurtful for Jesus.  It seemed like nobody understood Him.
 
“How does this apply to us, as the Lord’s disciples?” asked Pastor.  “First, we should realize that it is okay to desire understanding and acceptance and to hurt when it is not received.  Our Lord did.  But then we must also realize that He steadfastly preferred the pain of that rejection than to compromise of His principles or mission.  Are we willing to follow Him in that?”  He then asked us “Are we willing, after being rejected, mistreated, lied about, deceived and abused, to continue steadfastly in His principals and toward His mission?”   Pastor said it is easy to serve the Lord when everything is going our way, but what if the rejection comes from another believer?  “If He had not accepted the possibility of rejection and had been at complete peace with Himself about it, He would have never completed the journey.”  How do we deal with rejection as Christians, then?  Pastor gave us three suggestions;  1) Expect it – those who rejected Him will reject us for the same reasons, 2) Accept it – for one day you will hear God say ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, and 3) Respond to it – as Jesus did, not with rejection in turn, but with love.
 
Finally, I don’t know if anyone could have left the building this morning without considering what they may have hanging on the ‘nail’ in their doorway.    “To all who are here today”, said Pastor, “Jesus did not come and die to condemn you, but to give you life…The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy - God comes to give life.  Get rid of everything that has the enemy’s name on it.” 
 
He then shared a parable from a Haitian pastor.  It is worth repeating: “A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000.  Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor he couldn’t afford the full price.  After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation; he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door. 
 
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back but the new owner was unwilling to sell.  So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned.  Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail. 
 
The Haitian pastor’s conclusion: “If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.”

There is Darkness & There is Light - Sunday, 2/13

 AM Service_2.13
 
It has taken me five days to write and rewrite this first paragraph.  Not until today did I understand God’s reasoning behind it; each time it was written I had placed too much focus on one particular subject, and that subject matter is for another time.  Something that Pastor Randy said today should have had our full attention: “Until the day I die, I will say whatever I have to say to teach you to win in your spiritual lives.  That’s how much I love you”.  Did everyone get that?  That was deeply personal and heartfelt.  He wants to build spiritual warriors, not whimps. I want a pastor that has a heart for the entire church family, who lets God lead the way, who believes whole-heartedly in prayer, and a pastor who delivers real messages for real people in a real world.  That is what we have in Pastor Randy here at New Beginnings.  He was concerned that today he might offend someone with his message and perhaps he did.  The message caused me to take a few dusty memories off the proverbial shelf and revisit them – but I was not offended.  They are not pleasant memories, but I believe God allowed me to fumble through them for a reason.
 
This blog is going to barely touch today’s message in its entirety.  There was a lot packed into it and I cannot cover it all, nor do it justice.  Please take the time to view it online if you missed it. We read Luke 9:37-45 this morning; we are still taking an educational journey through the Book of Luke.  “I want all to hear this clearly”, said Pastor, “Satan causes suffering.  You can run from God, try to do what you think will give you happiness and excitement, but if you miss everything this morning, don’t miss this: Outside of a relationship with Christ your life will end up in total misery”.  In this portion of scripture Jesus and the disciples came down from the mountain and there was, as usual, a huge crowd waiting for Him.  A man in the crowd was begging Jesus to remove an evil spirit from his son.  “This was his only son…in that day children were highly treasured and greatly valued among the people of God.  The culture, in general, would oftentimes ‘throw children away’ and discard them…God’s people sought to be married and have children.  They considered them to be a blessing from God…less than 40% of people who were born would actually live to see age twenty and so it was a very difficult day in which to have children”, said Pastor Randy.  “It’s exactly the opposite of today’s culture that we are in.  The closer you get to a city, less people get married, less people have children, and children are very expensive.  The very kids they tried to preserve, we freely kill through abortion every day here in America.”  I know that was not easy for any of us to hear, but it is a fact.  “The Bible is filled with genealogy, and the hope is that from one generation to the next, God’s people have children who love and serve God, and that legacy continues”, he said.  His concern with parents who lack regular attendance in church is that they are teaching their children God is second, or even further down the list.  Time passes so quickly - get your children grounded in God.  By getting them into church and attending regularly, you too will be grounded in God.  Pastor said to “Ask yourself: What kind of spiritual legacy am I leaving my children?”
 
Going back to the story about the man and his son, “At this point, all we know is here is a man who has one child, a son.  Everything is riding on this boy.  This son is all that he has.  He’s being physically attacked by an unclean spirit, a demon…God is good. Satan is bad.  I know that sounds simple, but what’s amazing is some people get confused about that because of eastern religion, where God is good and evil, and all is one.  No. The Bible says God is good and Satan is evil.  Satan is so horrendous that he actually sends a demon to torment a little boy”, said Pastor.  Satan does not care about you, or your children. He is the Father of Lies. When Jesus rebuked the demons it freed the boy and Jesus gave him back to his father.  “We don’t get the impression here that the boy is demon-possessed, he’s demonically oppressed”.  Pastor said that according to Mark, the father allowed his son to remain in this condition even though he was a believer (see Mark 9:21-29), and that we need to know that there is power in Jesus – you do not need to stay the way you are.  “However, for you to tap into that power you must be a Christian, a believer, a faithful person to everything that is about Christ”, he said.  I believe in the power of God, and know that because of that power and the faithful, vigilant prayer of some family members – I am here today and serving the Lord.  There were things of darkness in my youth, and these were the memories I revisited on Sunday. There is no doubt in my mind that ‘God is good.  Satan is bad’.  Please don’t choose to be around the things that may intrigue you about the darkness.  It is not a game. 
 
Best Quote of the Day:
 “There is darkness and light.  There is lie and truth.  There is Satan and God.  There is hell and Heaven”.     –Pastor Randy Scroggins 

 

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