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by L.Strickland | August 18, 2011
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
by L.Strickland | August 4, 2011
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
by L.Strickland | June 30, 2011
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"
by L.Strickland | May 16, 2011
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
by L.Strickland | April 7, 2011
by L.Strickland | March 31, 2011
by L.Strickland | March 18, 2011
by L.Strickland | March 10, 2011
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.
by L.Strickland | March 3, 2011
by L.Strickland | February 19, 2011
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