Monday, February 25, 2013

Passion for the Lost

Have you ever given much thought to what you are passionate about?  It could be photography, paint or sculpture; perhaps singing or playing an instrument, or sports.  I don't know your passion, but I do know mine.  God has placed within me a passion to counsel.  I love to listen to the issues and problems of those I come in contact with and then as God leads provide a Biblical response to their plight.

Over the past week I have been convicted that my sight has been too narrow, focusing only on those with whom I have influence.  But what if I was passionate about the things God is passionate about?  As I understand scripture, Jesus was passionate about people.  In fact, He said, "I have come to seek and to save the lost."  What if that was the passion and drive of the church; to seek and to save the lost?  What are the implications?

A friend recently caught my attention to the converse implications.  If the church remains content to reach only a few with the Gospel; if we are okay that only some that we share are faith with come to Christ; doesn't that imply that we are okay and content with the remainder to be condemned to Hell?  Sobering thought to me, what about you?  Does that strike a cord in you that causes you to re-evaluate your previous passions?

So again I ask, What are you passionate about? The church of God's Dream has a Passion for the Lost.  

For the full message shared on 02-24-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to:
Passion for the Lost

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Purposeful Unsettledness

I recently returned from a vacation.  For some people the idea of a vacation is sitting on the beach with a good book, soaking up the rays.  Other people might consider that as close to Hell as they ever want to get.  Instead they would be skydiving, rock climbing, or experiencing some kind of adventure.  If they don't come home tired, it wasn't a vacation.  The difference is in what brings contentment.  Often we find ourselves content and according to Paul we can and should be content.  But frequently we allow our contentment to bleed into areas where we should not be content.

This past week, guest speaker Todd Braschler brought a message on Purposeful Unsettledness - Finding our Holy Discontent.

For the full message shared on 02-17-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to:

Monday, February 11, 2013

FYI FANS - Seven Woes

WOE!  Woe! Woe...

This is an onomatopoeia (a word whose sound gives rise to its definition). Of course, the sound "WOE" suggests a guttural cry of anger, pain, or both.  In the Old Testament it was sued to convey grief, despair, sorrow, dissatisfaction  pain and fear of losing one's life.  In the New Testament it is used to speak of sorrow and judgment  carrying mingled ideas of punishment and pity, cursing and compassion.

Jesus, in Matthew 23, used the word "woe" as a divine declaration of judgment from God; condemning the Pharisees but also pointing them toward repentance and salvation.

The scribes and the Pharisees of the day were much like the Fans of today.  Rather than chose to Follow Christ, they followed religion; rules and regulations, rituals and traditions.  They were called HYPOCRITES referring to their false front and deceitful ways.  This is the life of a Fan.

In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounced seven WOEs directed toward the Fans of His time, but an FYI to Fans of ours.

The Seven Woes due to: Exclusion, Subversion, Perversion, Inversion, Extortion, Contamination, and Pretension.

Each of these marks the life of a Fan not a Follower.  And each results in a WOE or a warning.  FYI Fans, maybe you grew up in a home where you were taught all about Jesus.  Through fear and guilt you learned to keep as many of the rules as possible, hoping it would be enough to keep you out of hell.   You were taught to observe different traditions and rituals in an effort to appease God.  Instead of becoming a follower of Christ, you became a follower of religion.  Today is the day for you to become a true Follower of Jesus Christ.

For the full message shared on 02-10-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to:
FYI Fans - Seven Woes

Monday, February 4, 2013

Discerning the Depth of a Disciple

A chicken and a pig were walking past a church building one day when they noticed the Sunday morning sermon posted on the outside bulletin board, "Helping the Poor." They walked away when the chicken suddenly came across with a suggestion. "Brother pig, why don’t we give all the poor people a nice breakfast of ham and eggs?" The pig thought a moment and replied, "That’s all right for you to say because for you it is only a contribution, but for me, it’s total commitment!"
We continue our sermon series : Fan or Follower.  Last week we examined the DTR - Defining the Relationship; specifically our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Today's message falls on Super Bowl Sunday and many will sit on their couches and armchairs and enjoy these two teams battling for supremacy on the field.  Some may even expend their resources on attending the game in person, painting their face in support of their team; but at best these folks are still just fans.  Enthusiastic fans, but fans none the less.  They are involved but not committed.  They don't actually get on the field and play the game.  Fans watch, followers commit.  Fans fill the stadiums, followers get on the field.  The difference is the level of involvement/commitment.  

Jesus had a lot of fans, but when they were confronted with the truth, when they were forced to make a decision to really follow Christ; well, John 6:66 says it all, “From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.

The teachings of Jesus had called those who had been hanging around reaping the benefits of being near the Messiah, but now He called them to make a commitment.  Other passages make similar distinctions:

Luke 9:57-62 –
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' 

Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.' 

 He said to another man, 'Follow me.' 
But he replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'  
Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' 
 Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.' 
 Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'” 

Luke 14:26-27 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Matthew 16:24-25 – “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

A followers of Jesus Christ is not someone looking to receive the benefits of being near to Him.  

Followers sacrifice everything for the sake of being disciples.

For the full message shared on 02-03-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to: