Have you fought with a troubled past? Can the bad things from your past be used in a healthy way to bring about good?
Author Archives: slennertz
Are you ready to grow up and stop giving excuses for problems you have? Get into, and fall in love with God’s Word! The apostle Paul stated in the book of Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16 NKJV)
Proverbs 12:18 states, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” How have things people have said affected your life? What words have dominated the way you think, feel, and live day-by-day?
The words that really matter are from above!
This two-minute video will encourage you. We all need encouragement! Do you ever feel like you are not growing, or moving forward in your faith. The good news is, if Christ is in your heart you are growing. This is a clip from a message I shared on August 18th at Eagle Ridge Church in Menifee California.
As we celebrate America’s Independence Day we must never forget our Founding Fathers resolve for our Nation to be under God.
Samuel Adams, one of the signer of the Declaration of Independence and Father of the American Revolution stated, “And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is Prince of Peace.” –As Governor of Massachusetts, Proclamation of a Day of Fast, March 20, 1797.
May the kingdom of Christ Jesus be established in our beautiful United States of America!
Our view of God is a result of how we have been indoctrinated. In other words, whether you believe in God or not is influenced by your experiences, your history; be it in church, outside of church, experiences with Christians, or non-Christians. The experiences we have mold our view of God/Church/Jesus.
My experiences have affected me. As a young person, God was real, but distant (Catholic). In my teen years God was introduced as an alternative to going to hell (Calvary Chapel – Jesus Movement era). As an adult, and on into the ministry years God was introduced through ritual, “this is how we do it” protocols (Baptist). However, I have come to see God through the person of Jesus found in the New Testament, and the ministry of Jesus confirms to me that God desires relationship with me not a religion. Jesus calls me to follow Him in relationship how about you?
Think about this, what if all you have experienced in churches could be erased and you could start fresh, start all over again with a perspective of Jesus that is not tainted by, or inaccurately represented by past experiences.
If you were to look at Jesus through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the four accounts of Jesus’ life found in the Gospels here is what you would find, it is relational! Rules don’t make a relationship LOVE DOES! This is love, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT). This is what Jesus did for us all.
If you start loving Jesus you will start doing things differently. You’ve been in love; you know when love is in your heart you start thinking and doing things differently. Jesus loves you. He says follow me. He doesn’t say; follow religion, the church, or a charismatic leader. He simply says, “Follow Me.”
Take a look at the Jesus of the New Testament. He is much different than what you may have experienced. He accepts you “as-is.” He doesn’t say change, and then you can follow me. The good news is when you begin to follow the Jesus of Scripture He changes you!
You choose, follow/not-follow
Where would the church be today without Godly women who minister so faithfully? Throughout the Scriptures we see God using women in powerful ways! Deborah is one such lady. Did you know Deborah is the only female to have ever led the Israelite people! She was one of Israel’s most dignified leaders. She is an excellent example to all of us. (Judges4&5)
The Jews had enjoyed rest for eighty years due to the godly leadership of Ehud. This was the longest period of peace recorded in the Book of Judges. Sadly, as soon as Ehud had died the people fell back into idolatry bringing with it God’s punishment. The old saying is true, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, keep you longer than you want to stay.” (http://johntrotter.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/i-never-knew-you/)
Interesting, Israel’s trouble came from within “The Promised Land,” from a pagan king. Their rebellion against God had forfeited their claim of God’s Promised Land creating their captivity in there “own land.” Sin robbed Israel of God’s purpose. Israel lived in defeat for twenty years. Sin can rob us as well!
Paul said this about sin in Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.” (HCSB)
Eventually, the burden of Jabin’s wrath caused the children of Israel to cry out to God. The Bible directs us to strive for righteousness, “The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.” (Proverbs 10:16 NKJV) Now, when most people get into a fix, real trouble they will cry out to God, and that’s exactly what the Israelites did.
I’m sure their hopes were in Barak. He was the military commander. However, he had a fearful and fainthearted spirit. Opportunities are often missed because of being reluctant or overly cautious. Many a person fails to act, fails to grasp an opportunity because they are fainthearted, fearful, or unbelieving. They hold back, hesitate, and shrink from some challenge or opportunity—all because they do not have enough faith or enough confidence to step forward. The consequence is tragic, the opportunity is lost and the challenge is rejected. Think of what is often lost because we are hesitant or untrusting.
God does not call us to be reluctant, fainthearted, fearful, and unbelieving. The call of God is to be courageous, to be people of courage! It’s through the cries of the Israelites that God provides a courageous woman named Deborah, a Judge, and Prophetess for the people of Israel. Great leaders are positive, encouraging, and our greatest cheerleaders. They motivate, and inspire their followers with supportive words. Deborah was a woman of great character (Judges 4:4-5).
Dr. Brian Harbour points out, “That between Moses and Samuel, no one else filled all three roles of prophet, judge, and military leader, except Deborah. On top of her service duties, Deborah was also a wife and mother.” (http://ebookbrowse.com/the-story-of-deborah-courage-under-fire-pdf-d225756147)
Deborah exemplified to others what a leader with God, as her firm foundation, ought to look like.
As you read Deborah’s song (Judges 5), she rejoices in those who made the effort to join in the army of God, and she rebukes those who sat on the sidelines and were unwilling to offer themselves.
What do you have to offer God?
Some of you are moving forward in faith and some are sitting on the sidelines. Please know God can use any of us in His service if we are willing and obedient to His call.
The book of Esther is an amazing story with intriguing characters. From the god-like Xerxes who appears to this day in the video game Assassins Creed II, and Frank Miller’s film 300, to Esther the orphan girl raised by her cousin Mordecai, and the scoundrel Haman, complex characters to say the least.
Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle states, “God is never mentioned in the book. Esther is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. Except for explaining the origins of the Jewish feast of Purim, the book seems entirely secular and without any remote reference to God. No one prays, no miracles happen, and God never shows up in any way.” (http://pastormark.tv/2012/09/04/5-reasons-why-esther-may-be-the-toughest-bible-book-ive-ever-preached).
Pastor Mark sparks our interest with this great sermon teaser!
Do you ever wonder if God is at work in your life, in your struggles?
The beautiful story of Esther is a story of imperfect people. The story begins with a king who is quite full of himself. From the vantage point of society, he had good reason to be full of himself. He was ruler of a huge empire that he ruled over 127 provinces from India to Sudan. (Esther 1:1)
For six months, he wowed all his military underlings with a lavish party that culminated with a weeklong closing ceremony that would rival any Super Bowl ceremony. The king indulged his guest showing them his great wealth and power and they all consumed great amounts of wine. The military men and leaders of areas of Xerxes empire now drunk from a weeklong binge, not a pretty site.
Now ladies, imagine for a moment, your drunk husband requesting you to come over so all his drunk buddies can check you out. Not happening! When he didn’t get his own way, he became angry. Vulnerable to flattery by his advisors, he was master of a mighty empire but not master of himself. The king gets rid of queen Vashti at the advise of his attendants, and replaces her with Esther.
A person who is beautiful on the inside is truly a person who stands out in a crowd and this was Esther. Maybe, you are thinking, “Well, Esther is about to have it made and have a great life. It is easy to have a beautiful spirit when your life is good.” Consider this, who you are does not depend on your circumstances. It is your circumstances that reveal who you really are.
The unmentioned God in the book of Esther saved His people, and the unseen God today, is still at work, accomplishing His will. Will you be faithful to him, “at such a time as this?”
Read the story of Esther. At the end of this story, you will have determined if God showed up, or not.
The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry to the persecuted church co-founder Sabina Wurmbrand wasn’t always a follower of Jesus. Sabina told her husband, “I don’t need him. It isn’t natural. We’re Jewish-it’s another way of life.” Eventually Sabina surrendered her heart to Jesus Christ and became a Christian. This was remarkable considering they lived in very difficult times during a Communist State making Christianity frowned upon. Her husband Richard, who was lovingly patient, modeled his faith in Christ, which convinced Sabina to step into a relationship with the Savior. Richard’s love for Sabina created a trust toward him that allowed her to eventually trust in the Lord. (Sabina Wurmbrand, The Pastors Wife, Bartlesville, OK: Vom Books, 1070, 2005, p.75.)
Sabina experienced a grace filled love. What are the effects of grace filled love in your life? What would happen if Christ followers graciously loved people, even the unlovely?
Ruth could answer these questions! In the book of Ruth you will find God’s hand of grace extended in an amazing way through Boaz toward Ruth, and the aroma of that grace flowing over to her mother-in-law Naomi as she moves from bitterness to blessedness. Boaz was to become the “kinsman redeemer.” We have a redeemer in Christ Jesus. The book of Acts says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)