Seed Of Faith

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/23/19

Seed of Faith – WWJS -What Would Jesus Say — Follow Me By Pastor Dave  

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Mark 1:16-17

Dear faithful and thankful Seed-Sowers:

It is almost Thanksgiving!  I would like to thank each and everyone of you.  You have touched my life and the life of my wife and family in so many gracious ways.  We are blessed and we are thankful.

This weekend I am in Pittsburgh to celebrate my mentor and my spiritual director’s retirement after 47 years in ministry.  What a wonderful and faithful servant the Rev. Dr. John Gray Hamilton is. “Hammy” or John followed Jesus and served in four different churches during his 47 years of ministry. Think of all of the lives he has touched and changed by sharing God’s grace and love. Think of giving over 2,000 sermons! By the way, our church heard that I wanted this Sunday off so that I could fly out to Pittsburgh and attend John’s last Sunday service. Someone purchased my airfare, another purchased my hotel, and other anonymous people donated the funds for a car rental, and meals. Imagine that: the church being the hands and feet and heart and soul of Jesus.

John Hamilton was my home-church pastor for 13 years. He was the pastor who helped me to decipher my call into ordained ministry. He followed Jesus and he taught me how to listen and follow Jesus for myself.  Today that my hope and prayer, that we all listen and follow Jesus.

Our reading comes from the Gospel of Mark. Let’s pray before we begin. “Lord, Jesus, You are our Lord and Savior, You call us to come and follow You.  Help us to have ears to hear, eyes to see, arms and feet ready to follow and serve wherever you call us.  May your Words become life to our weary souls.  Amen”

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.  Mark 1:14-17

Retired minister and author, Bob Russell, told the following account to illustrate how Christians often go along with the moral pace of those around us, and that, by comparison, we feel safe since “Everyone is doing it,” therefore, we’re okay. Russell writes:  Two months ago my wife and I were visiting our son Rusty and his family. One day Rusty was test-driving a foreign-made car and was frustrated because he couldn’t figure out how to change the speedometer reading from kilometers to miles.  That evening he suggested we take the kids and all go out for ice cream. “We’ll need to take two cars,” he insisted, “so you and mom just follow me.” I followed him … and was surprised when a policeman whizzed up behind us with his lights flashing. I couldn’t imagine he was after me because it didn’t feel like I was speeding. And besides, I was going the exact same speed as the guy in front of me.  The officer came up to my window and said, “Sir, you were going 58 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. But wait right here, I’m going to deal with the car in front of you, and I’ll be right back.” When he went to my son’s car, Rusty quivered, “Officer, I know this is going to sound like a line, but this is the first day I’ve driven this car, and I can’t figure out how to change it from kilometers to miles, so I had no idea how fast I was going. The guy behind me is my dad, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing either!”[i]

Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t really buy you much of an excuse with God, does it?

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, is put into prison.  John had been baptizing people in the Jordan and calling for them to repent. Jesus continues the story line by calling the people to repentance, Jesus also calls them to believe in the Good News!  This may be the only place in Scripture where we are told by Jesus to believe in the Good News. Imagine THE REAL, LIVE, GOOD NEWS is telling the people to believe in the good news! (Would have loved to be there.) Let’s go to the Greek word Jesus’ uses for “believe” is a present active imperative.  In the Greek it means that this a command and the action of believing is non-stop and ongoing.  To “believe” in the Greek culture was to place your trust, to rely on, to have confidence in and to put your faith in…the good news.  The good news of what Jesus was saying and  — not just once, but every day, every hour and every minute of every year.

Jesus is saying, “Hear the Good News!  The time has come! The Kingdom of God is near. The time that God will rule and reign is right here. The time for God to have supremacy is at hand.  The time has come for us to change our minds, to turn back, to turn around and to change direction is at hand.” You know how I always ask you to put yourself in the story?  This is no different. Put yourself on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This Jesus character is going from boat to boat; asking people to repent, be baptized, and follow Him. I propose a preposterous idea: maybe today you are hearing Jesus calling out to you:  turn around, come back, change your mind, repent, be baptized and follow. Is this the GOOD NEWS you are hoping for? Could it be that Jesus wants us to put our trust in Him? To have confidence and faith in Him? And not just today but for every single day of the rest of our lives?

RADICAL CALL — FOLLOW ME
In the days of Jesus, we need to understand how amazingly radical the call of Jesus really was.  During the days of Jesus, the Rabbis (the priests of the synagogue) would come to town and choose the best and brightest of the boys to become their disciples.They would take them and train and educate them. The boys who were not chosen would go into their father’s businesses. We can assume that Peter and Andrew, James and John and the rest of the disciples were not among the best and brightest because they were working in their father’s businesses. Imagine the scene: Jesus comes walking along the shore and calls out to them sitting in their boats, “FOLLOW ME.” The Greek word for “follow” is “opiso” — “come after or come behind.”  Put yourself here into this story.  You have grown up in a little fishing village called Bethsaida.  You’ve made a trip or two to Jerusalem, but most likely never traveled very far from home.  You have no hope of doing anything greater than working in your father’s fishing boat.

Listen again to Jesus words …  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

What a radical message! Let me tell you how I heard Jesus say, “Follow me.” “Hey, hey, you!  Dave Peters, I see you. Working in the family business selling tires!  You.  Yes, you! FOLLOW ME.” At first, all I thought Jesus wanted was for me to shape up a little.  And then a little more.  And then a whole lot more!  Here’s what I want to say to you today: Let Christ rule and reign in your life.  Repent. Turn around, change your mind, your heart and your direction. Believe and keep on believing.  Never stop having trust and faith in this Good News!  What a radical call!  “Come follow me, (insert your name)!  I will make you fishers of people!”

RADICAL OBEDIENCE!
What happens? These untrained, uneducated fishermen follow Jesus!  They had never traveled very far.  They had never talked about much other than what was happening in their fishing village. And along comes Jesus; their world is turned upside down.  History tells us that John became the Bishop of Ephesus, Peter went to Rome, and Andrew went as far as the borders of Russia! By following Jesus, their hearts were enlarged enough to take in the whole world— not just the four corners of Bethsaida.

Immediately the men left everything and followed Jesus. Take note: one of the radical demands of a radical call by Jesus is that you must respond with a radical obedience. (“Immediately” means at once, without delay, without hesitation.)

So What? What a year we’ve had so far.  I don’t know about you but 2019 has not been an easy year, it’s had some ups and downs. I’m ready to begin a new decade, are you? 2020–here we come!

As we begin to study this new series, I want us to hear the words of Jesus as if they were spoken to us. I want us to hear them with new ears fresh every morning. “(YOUR NAME,) follow me.”

Remember Bob and Rusty Russell? Rusty had no idea as to how fast he was driving…but Bob—Bob knew exactly how fast his car was going: 58 in a 45. Bob had decided to follow Rusty. That’s our choice each and every day, are we going to follow Rusty or are we going to follow Jesus? The world behind me, the cross before me…sounds like a catchy tuna–I mean, tune.

Maybe for this series, you can go and get a new journal.  Call it your “SEED OF FAITH GOOD BYE 2019” journal. Let’s study all the times Jesus (the good news) calls us to FOLLOW Him!  It’s going to be another great series. I’m praying for you. Kiss the wave.

Let me explain, this is a famous quote by Charles H. Spurgeon. “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the ROCK OF AGES!” I remember wrestling with my call to go into ordained ministry. I went to see Pastor John. We met over a series of time. We prayed. He checked in with me and listened to me. I remember one day, I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry. No doubt about it.  John looked at me and said, “Okay, I’ve been waiting for this day. Dave, if you can do anything else–then go do that but if you must answer this call–then know that it will break your heart.” I said, “I know. I must follow.” John has been there for me for the past 22 years of my ordained ministry, for my 3 years of seminary, and for my many other years when I served as youth director. He was wise and he was right. Following the call of Christ has broken my heart…but in a good way.

The world behind me, the cross before me. I have decided to follow Jesus. Go ahead, get that journal out.

See You Sunday …

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/16/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen and Amen   By Pastor Dave  

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:20-22

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:

We come to end of our series on the Apostle’s Creed just as I come to the end of my 12-day vacation! Jac and I drove from SOCAL to WACO, TX! We enjoyed our two grandsons and our son and his lovely wife. Jac can’t fly yet due to her lead levels, so we drive: 3 days there and back. We have been so very blessed by our alone time in the car; God has been refreshing and renewing our souls. It’s good to get away and it’s going to be good to get back to ministry at the SEED.

I suggest you take a few moments to read Revelation 3:14-22 & Revelation 22:17-21.  In the opening of the letter we hear, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” Do you see what I see?  Jesus is the faithful and true AMEN!

Today let’s think about three images of Christ:  the patience of Christ, the plea of Christ and the place of Christ at our table. Each one worthy of a SEED OF FAITH!

In William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of The World,” Christ is holding a lantern and knocking at a door. (See bottom right, top photo.)  I had always heard that Christ was knocking at the door of the human heart asking for entrance.  This passage puts a whole new twist on that thought: Could Christ be also knocking on the door of the church?  I think it’s easy for us to envision Christ  knocking on the door of our heart, or knocking on the door of our home.  Have you ever thought about Christ knocking on the door of our churches? Profound thought here.

Let’s look at the painting and see if we can find some of the rich symbolism in it. First, there is no handle on the outside of the door. Why? Isn’t that odd? Could it be that even though Christ desires entry, He never forces his way in. Instead, He must be invited in, the door must be opened from the inside. The decision is ours as to whether Jesus Christ will be invited in–or not. Next, look at the hinges in the picture. They are rusted and the bolts are broken. The door is held in place by vines; showing that the door has never been used or the vines would be torn. Third, Jesus is holding a lantern. The symbolism is to show that Jesus is the light of the world. Outside, there is a neglected garden overgrown with weeds, there are fruit trees which have not been pruned, and a crop which has been lost because of the lack of tending. There is fruit that has fallen on the ground near the feet of Christ symbolizing Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, and that all of mankind has fallen away from God.  One more observation, there is a bat above the door, a nocturnal creature which loves the night. It is dark outside, pointing to the truth of the Scripture, “This is the verdict: ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.’” (John 3:19).

There is so much more in this painting but as we see the painting and read the scripture, “Behold I stand at the door and knock,”  I think we need to ask some questions.

The first question is: To whom is Christ speaking? I had always thought that Christ was speaking to each individual, and that the door represented each individual’s human heart. Christ is knocking because He wants to come into our hearts and lives. I’m not saying that this is incorrect because I have a sneaky suspicion that Christ does want entry into each and every heart. I also want to consider the context. In this chapter, Jesus is speaking to the church.  Isn’t it wild that in this picture Jesus is asking for admission into his own church? Apparently, the church had closed the door on him and never answered his knock.

The three P’s of Christ:
1.  THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST — “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”

Do you see the great love that God has for us, and for His church, as Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks and keeps on knocking over and over, and is still, today, patiently knocking? Sometimes the knock comes through suffering or grief, hardships or difficulties, sickness or death, financial loss or family problems–whatever the case may be–Jesus stands patiently knocking at the door of your heart and the door of his church. It’s totally up to us to open the door and invite Christ inside.

2.  THE PLEA OF CHRIST — “If you hear my voice and open the door…”

The plea of Christ is that we hear His voice.  Each letter to the seven churches of Revelation ends with the words, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  In the Greek language the word “to hear” means to obey, to follow through or to act upon what you had just heard. The plea of Christ is for us to hear the sound of his voice as He stands knocking at the door, and for us to open the door wide so that He may come in.  Remember, we must open the door from the inside. Christ will not open the door.  He will not force Himself upon us.  Christ never forces anyone into salvation. It’s a choice of our free will.  Freely He offers salvation to you and me by grace. Everywhere in Scripture Jesus offers himself to men and women, and grieves over the fact that many do not receive Him. Remember the remarkable scene in the Gospels during Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem as he comes over the top of the Mount of Olives and sees the city spread out beneath him? Jesus wept over the rebellious city saying, “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You stone the prophets and kill everybody God sends to you. How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not…” (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34)  Christ wants us to act upon his knocking—he wants us to open the door, to invite him in, to say to him, “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter my life. Be my Lord. Be my Savior. Deliver me from my sins — and from myself.” As Christ stands at the doors of our churches, shouldn’t we say,  “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter our church. Be our Lord.  Be our Savior. Deliver us from our sins and from ourselves”? Isn’t this the whole plea to the 7 churches in Revelation? This isn’t a knock-knock joke at all.  This is a call to HEAR and ANSWER and OPEN THE DOOR and INVITE CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS, HOMES AND CHURCHES. If you hear His plea, open the door. Churches, don’t resist the Gospel; open the doors!

3.  THE PLACE OF CHRIST AT OUR TABLE — “I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me…”

The third plea is very clear. Jesus will enter in! He says so right here, “If you open the door, I will enter in and remain with you. We will eat together and be together.” What a beautiful picture of Christ: permanently dwelling within you. He will move in and live with you.  The actual word for “eat” here is the Greek word “deipneo” which refers to the evening meal or supper.  Supper was the main meal of the day.  Breakfast was a slice of dry bread dipped in wine.  Lunch was seldom eaten at home. But supper was the time to sit down and fellowship in the home after the work of the day was done. Have you ever traveled to Europe or Mexico? Dining together is an event. It isn’t like here in America:  hurry up and eat so we can do homework, go to a sport’s game, watch TV or go to bed! NO! It’s like sit down, take a load off your feet, sit back, breathe, enjoy this space to just BE–and share the great gift of TIME with your family. Tell stories, laugh and remember.  Build relationships. Back then in Jesus’ time, supper was a time of intimacy and relationship, sharing and fellowship–it was called “communion.” Wow. Let that sink in.

This is not a mere courtesy visit that Christ is promising.  He desires to come in, sit down and spend a long time with us in communion, in conversation, in relationship with us.  This is the place Christ desires: sitting with us at our table; a table filled with intimacy,relationship, sharing and communion.  Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks. Knock, Knock. No joke. Jesus’ plea is that we hear His voice and open the door. He longs to take his place at the table.

SO WHAT?
“So what?” is it that you believe about God the Father?  What is it that you believe about Jesus?  What is that you believe about the Holy Spirit?  What is that you believe about the church and the communion of the saints?  What is that you believe about forgiveness?  What is that you believe about the resurrection and life everlasting? It’s all right here in this APOSTLES’ CREED.

This past week has been a hard week in ministry. Actually, it’s been the most intense month of ministry I’ve ever had. I’ve sat at the bedside of a person who is preparing to go home to meet Jesus face to face. This person wanted to bless her four grandchildren. We’ve been meeting and planning and we were able to complete her plan this week by meeting with each grandchild and blessing them with the meaning of their name. A holy time for me to be able to share that with her. There’s another person who I’ve been visiting regularly who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This man is a longtime friend and coworker in the ministry.  He is a retired surgeon.  Every week, I go and sit with him.  Sometimes other doctors and  friends come by when I am there. We sit out in the hot sun and we laugh and remember the good times and the memories we’ve made together. I have been with him in the hospital when he has gone for treatment.  My friend asks everyone he meets this one, simple question since being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Here’s his question. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?” Go ahead. Answer the question. Take all the time you need. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?”  My dear friend has been sharing the Good News of the resurrection with others as he walks with Jesus through this difficult diagnosis.

So What?  What is it that you believe?  The final thing I want to tell you is this: IF YOU BELIEVE LIKE I BELIEVE…when you die—you will be present with the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I see this all the time. Over and over, the faith of the person dying impacts the way they die. I’ve truly been blessed to be at so many bedsides.

I know a person who had a near death experience.  This person is my wife. She saw heaven. She saw Jesus…on a white horse…riding her way. She saw the celestial city. Said it’s a million Disneylands and prettier and more majestic than you can imagine. The city was filled with people and the people were filled with JOY…the kind of contagious JOY that we cannot imagine. This person told me, “I used to be so afraid of dying. But ever since that experience in June of 2000—I’m not afraid. I’m anxiously waiting for that final call home.” Whenever we talk about death, she says the same thing…word for word. For 19 years now, she’s never changed a word of her story. Jesus, white horse, sword in hand, millions of miles of castles, a city filled with people and love and joy! This lady opened the door to her heart on a dark night in Rochelle, IL, on August 30, 1979. She’s never been the same since that day. She opens her Bible and devours the word each day. She listens to Christian music 24/7. She’s developing a relationship with Jesus. They sit and share communion. She writes, she reads, she sings, she thinks about her life with Christ. I’m here to tell you, I’ve witnessed it and I want to witness it in you, too.

Open the door. Invite Christ in. Here’s a scenario: Jesus is standing outside the door of your heart. Open the door and say, “I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I know that you are Jesus and that you’ve already died for my sins. Come in. Sit. Read with me. Talk with me. Teach me. Amen.”

And that’s the Apostles’ Creed in a nutshell.

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10.  the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11.  the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12.  the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13.  and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

See you Sunday —God loves you. He sent His only Son to die for you. Open the door. Communion.

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/8/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen   By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed-Sowers:

Well, we’ve made it!  We have made to the end of The Apostles’ Creed. Congratulations on making it through this 12-week series. By now, you should know a little more of what you believe and why. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was written around 140 A.D. as a baptismal confession for people joining the church?

Join me as we read The Apostles’ Creed together. I would like to add the word “AMEN” at the end of each line. Here we go:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11. the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12. the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13. and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

So What?  After a dozen weeks, what is it that you believe about God our Father in Heaven?  What is it that you believe about God the Son, our Savior who came from heaven and died for us?  What do you believe about the person and work of the Holy Spirit? What do you believe about the Holy universal, all-embracing catholic church? (That is what catholic means–universal.) What do you believe about the communion of the saints?  What do you believe about the forgiveness of sins?  Do you know that you know that you know that YOU are forgiven? Do you know that we are commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us? What do you believe about the resurrection of the body?  What do you believe about the life everlasting?

It is my hope that after spending 12 weeks studying the CREED that your faith has been strengthened and that you know more emphatically what you believe and why you believe it.  It is my prayer that, as we finish the series, you can and will, stand and say, “YES and AMEN” to the ancient, but relevant, Apostles’ Creed.

So What? What does the word “AMEN” mean? We say it all the time. “Amen.” What do you think it means?

Do you know that the word “AMEN” is used by the Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims?  The word “AMEN’ is used in many languages, and may be the most widely known word in the entire world. Our next-door neighbors are Korean. Each morning, when I go out to do my reading and prayer time, my neighbor does, too. We don’t speak the same language but I can understand my neighbor. As he prays, I hear him saying, “Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen and amen.” Every morning at about 6 am, he prays one word: AMEN for 15 -20 minutes. I often wonder if he’s reading the Scriptures and then just agreeing with the WORD.

Point 1 for today: “AMEN” is a word that is one of the most widely known words in all the world.  Point 2: What does AMEN mean? In the Hebrew language the word means “so it is” or “let it be,” derived from a verb meaning “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in, to trust.”  In the thirty times that “AMEN” appears in the Old Testament it precedes a statement and the people are agreeing that they believe and put their trust in the WORD of God.  The people are agreeing as one body that what will be said will be reliable, sure and firm. The significance of using “AMEN’ is that the people are agreeing that what they heard, they had just adopted as their very own.  In essence, they are saying, “We can take what was just said to the bank.  What was just said is as solid as a rock foundation. What was just said is reliable and we can trust it with our life.” AMEN? AMEN!

Our two Scripture readings for today come from the Gospel of Matthew and from the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Before we go to the Words of life, let us come before the giver of life in prayer. “Lord, God of all creation, we come to say “AMEN’ to your Word of life found in our scriptures.  May Your Words of life be a solid foundation for us, a firm and reliable foundation that will withstand the storms of life.  Amen and Amen”

Matthew 7:24-29
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law..

In the Gospel words we just heard, Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount and had just given His new disciples a detailed “to do” list. Jesus laid down His vital principles for life (Matthew chapters 5-7) and is now applying the final word of truth: AMEN.  This section is the “So What” part of Jesus’ message.  Jesus is confronting His followers with the two possibilities they will face in life:  Will they be wise or will they be foolish? Will they build on the solid rock or will they build on sinking sand?

Warnings about being wise or foolish are found all over the Scriptures. The two men in Jesus’ house story have the same desire–they each long to build a house.  They each want the same thing. At the beginning of the story, there’s no difference between the two. But then it appears, the foolish man does not take the time to listen to others.  The foolish man does not investigate all of the possibilities of how the building should be built.  The foolish man does not look at the blueprints or ask for advice, he just throws up his building.

We are told a little more of the Sermon on the Mount story in Luke’s account in chapter six.  Luke tells us that the wise man dug down deep and laid his foundation on rock, not on the sinking sand. The difference between the two builders is that the wise man did listen, he investigated and desired to build on a solid foundation.

So What?
Will we be wise or will we be foolish? Will we build on the solid rock or will we build on sinking sand?

Remember the word “AMEN” means  “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in or to trust.” What is it that you are saying “AMEN” to you your life?  What is it that you are staking your life on?  What is it that you take to the bank as totally reliable and true? What are you building your life upon?

Jac and I are in Texas as I write this SEED OF FAITH. We drove here. We left earthquake country and entered tornado country.  As we stopped at one of the roadside rest stops in Texas, I noticed a door with a sign on it, “STORM SHELTER.” It made me think.  In California, you have 10-60 seconds to get ready for an earthquake. I remember this summer when we had two back-to-back earthquakes. We were out back cleaning up the pool. The cement block walls started waving back and forth.  Javon hollered, “Earthquake!” The next steps are: DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. Hopefully, you have an outside storage area with water and food supplies. This method is way different from preparing for midwest tornadoes. The sirens go off. You have a five-10 minute warning to seek shelter. You avoid rooms with windows. When we lived in Missouri and Illinois, we ran to the basement. In Texas, we ran to the closet under the stairs. We already had the important items stocked there: flashlights, batteries, storm radio, water and snacks.
Can you see what Jesus is trying to say? KNOW the layout of the land that you are building your house upon. In the case of Christ, build your heart upon Christ, the solid foundation. He is the ROCK OF AGES.

My guess is that you know your area and that you are somewhat prepared for a storm or earthquake but what I really want to know as your pastor, are you building your life on the solid foundation of God’s word? I pray so!
Can I get an AMEN?

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10-25-19

Seed of Faith – I Believe — Everlasting Life   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Dear  Faith-Filled Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:
Are you being blessed by the Lord and walking in His grip of grace today? If not, why not? Grace is free! Costs you nothing because the cost has already been paid by Christ.

We are coming to end of our study of the Apostle’s Creed.  If you have not had a chance to get all the Seed’s of  Faith or would like the full manuscripts of the messages, please send me an email at pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will get them to you.

“I Believe — Everlasting life!”

What is everlasting life? Who wants everlasting life?  Why was this line added to the end of the Apostles’ Creed?  These are a few of the questions that come to my mind as think about the closing lines of Apostles’ Creed. Last week we talked about our hope being anchored in the fact, the reality and the truth, of the resurrection. Have you ever thought about how different our lives would be if there had been no resurrection? Inconceivable really.

Today we turn our thoughts to the last line … “and the life everlasting.”

There is so much written on “everlasting life or eternal life.” Right now, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read John 3:1-22. What is Jesus’ response to Nicodemus visit in the middle of the night? Next, reflect on Jesus’ response to the woman at the well found in John 4:1-26  A few of the verses are recorded above. In John chapter 6 the words “eternal life- everlasting life” are recorded three times.

So what is eternal life?

Realizing that he would soon be gone from this world, Moody said to a friend, “Someday you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody of Northfield is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone higher, that is all—out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that sin cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned into His glorious body. I was born in the flesh in 1837; I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die; that which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”[i]

Nic at night (both a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin) figured this out: Rank doesn’t matter, hand-tailored clothes don’t matter, Gucci sandals don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter that I eat at the five-star place in town or have the biggest house filled with the finest things. Why? BECAUSE OF THAT WILL PERISH. What Jesus is after here is my spirit. Jesus is after my heart, mind, body and soul. My flesh will die but my spirit will live forever!

After THE LAST SUPPER—which wasn’t really known by that, by the way—Jesus prayed. He prayed for the believers, He prayed for future believers, and He prayed for Himself. (Yes, it’s okay to pray for yourself!)  His prayer is found in John 17. The whole chapter is one long prayer.  This is how John (his bff) records the opening of Jesus’ prayer,  “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3)

Did you hear the powerful message of eternal life in verses 2 and 3? God has granted all authority to Jesus in order for Jesus to be the giver of eternal life.  What does Jesus say eternal life is? “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent…”

I know this message has a lot of Scriptures, but the theme of “eternal life” is imprinted in all of them. God is eternal.  In Isaiah God is called the “The Lord is Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4) and in Jeremiah God is called the “King Eternal.” (Jeremiah 10:10) Since God is eternal so are all God’s attributes, blessings and love. The Psalms tells us repeatedly that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

The words “eternal life” are used 42 times in the New Testament. Eternal Life is the major theme of the Bible.  For the writers of the Bible, “eternal life” meant more than just life everlasting. Eternal Life was a quality of existence that held no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, and no more death.  Eternal life meant a life that continues forever in the presence of God whose love is unfailing and unending. Not just here.  Not just now. Not just tomorrow—but forever and ever and ever.

During World War II, a prisoner wrote: Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer held a little service which reached the hearts of all. He had hardly finished his prayer, when the door opened. Two evil-looking soldiers came in and barked: “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us!” The words meant only one thing, the scaffold. As he bid his fellow prisoners good-bye, he said, “For me this is the beginning of a new life, eternal life.”[i]

So What?
What is eternal Life? Why would the early disciples put this in the Apostles’ Creed?  Better yet, why would it be the closing line?

The late and marvelous preacher, Ralph W. Sockman, was writing an Easter sermon one year when he received word that a friend had died. His friend was a scholar, a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, a distinguished missionary to China for forty years. A daily prayer of this remarkable servant included, “Oh, God our Father, I accept Thy gift of love; help me to pass it on for Jesus’ sake.” On the morning of the missionary’s death, at age ninety-two, Lacey Sites said to those near his bedside: “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.”[ii]

What a profound statement…. “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.” Yes! Here it is! Here is why the apostles closed the entire creed with this line:
AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.

Can you hear your own version of this line? I can. “Dave, don’t just live for heaven…live for heaven on earth. Each and every person I put you in contact with needs a drink of this living water. Pour.  Pour out. Don’t count the cost.  The cost we are talking about are souls—and souls who need eternal life. People need living water.”

Friends, don’t wait to live eternally.  Let us start today and live every day in the presence of the living God. Friends, we have this living water to share, we have the bread of life to share. We need to share everlasting life with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers.

How do we live eternally now?

Focus on Jesus the waver-walker and not the waves of live.
Focus on your Savior and not the storms.
Focus on the Cross and not the crime nor the criminal.
Focus on Heaven and not the hurt.
Focus on God’s hope, not the hopeless situations you face.
Focus on God’s mercy and not on the mockery.
Focus on God’s grace and not the gossip.
Focus on God’s love and share this love with the lost.
Focus on the power of the resurrection and let this power resurrect, revive, restore, renew, reconcile and redeem your life—today, every day and forever.

Both Nic at Night and WOMAN at the well figured out the secret to life: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today and begin living eternally every single day.  Live in God’s never-failing love, unending grace and ever-flowing mercy. Live in the forgiveness of your past, present and future!   Come to the water of life and drink from the springs of eternal life. If you meet a guy named Nic or a woman who’s had five husbands–you’ve come to the right spring of LIVING WATER. Jesus is no respecter of clout or sin. He died and rose for ALL…and that means YOU.

The Apostles’ Creed

  1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
  2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;
  3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
  4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;the
  5. third day he rose again from the dead;
  6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
  7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  8. I believe in the Holy Ghost,
  9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
  10. the forgiveness of sins,
  11. the resurrection of the body,
  12. and the life everlasting. Amen.[i]

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

As I close, I was born on 6/18/54 and I received Christ as my Lord and Savior in January of 1981. If you ever hear that I’m dead–don’t you believe it because on that very day, I will be more alive than I’ve ever been!

See you Sunday!

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Seed of Faith – I Believe, Resurrection Life  By Pastor Dave  

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:

It’s the HARVEST season! I pray that you are reaping 30, 60 or 100-fold of all the good that you have sown this year!  It is my hope and prayer that as you walk through each day, that you will know that Jesus walks with you.  It is my prayer for you to know the powerful presence and perfect peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ–both as Lord and Savior. Knowing Christ is everything.

Today we come to the second to last line in the Apostles’ Creed.  Line eleven: we “believe in the resurrection of the body.”  As always, I encourage you take a few moments and read chapter 15 of I Corinthians.this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your mind and heart about the power, the hope, and life we can find in the resurrection.

We need to remember that during the time the Creed was written, it was written to defeat false teaching and to proclaim what a person or group believed about Jesus Christ. When the Apostles’ Creed was written, there were many false teachings that were circulated. There are many false teachings today. The world hasn’t changed all that much.  That is why it is important for us to know what we believe and why we believe what we believe.  

There was a teaching in the early church called Gnosticism, and the teachings of the Gnostics are still with us today.  Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis” meaning “knowledge.” The Gnostics believed that people were saved through special knowledge.  They viewed the physical or material world as evil and corrupt. The Greeks believed that the body or flesh was a prison for the soul and that only the soul was immortal. The Early Church put line eleven in the Apostles’ Creed in order to proclaim that God is the creator and what God created was good and the body is part of God’s creation.  When God created Adam and Eve and breathed life into their lungs, God said that His creation was very good. What God creates is good — very good!

The resurrection of the body is a mystery.  After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him.  When Mary realized the man she thought was the gardener was Jesus, Mary was told not to hold on to Him.  The problem is that we were created very good, but something called sin separates us from God.  Because of this separation, God sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus, to suffer under Pontius Pilate, to be crucified, dead and buried.  But the Good News, the greatest news of all, is that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered sin and death forever by rising from the dead.  Hell, death and the grave were defeated at that single moment of the resurrection.

There’s story after story about what happened after the resurrection! Jesus invited the disciples to eat breakfast on the beach. Jesus told Thomas to put his hands in his nail scars and to put his hand into the place where the speared pierced His side. I’ve always gained such hope from these resurrection stories because if Jesus had a resurrected body, be certain that you and I will have one, too.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery. As I studied this Scripture this week, I read how one early church father by the name of Orgien, thought that the resurrection of the body meant the body of Christ as in the church.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery and some of the most profound writings on the resurrection are found here in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  If you have your Bible, turn with me to Paul’s words on the resurrection.

Paul begins with the resurrection of Christ, then turns his attention to the resurrection of the dead and, finally, his longest teaching on the resurrection of the body.

Here is a radical fact! Death is a fundamental human problem.  The truth is that we will all die, but the Good News is that those in Christ will live with resurrected bodies. Christianity stands out alone among all of the world’s faiths and “isms.” Christianity views death as conquered. To be a Christian is to have a “HOPE” resting on the “FACT” that Jesus rose bodily from the grave, saw over 500 people (witnesses) and now lives eternally in heaven at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

We  can have hope in the power of the resurrection.  The writer of Hebrews say that this hope is an anchor to our soul.

The Apostle Paul tries to explain the mystery of the resurrection by not explaining it.  He points to the mystery of a seed and a tree and offers a word picture as an explanation. Of course, I like the idea of the seed …since that is the name of our Church.  We have been given resurrection life and hope through the seed of God’s word.

Tim Keller is a pastor, writer and teacher of a church in New York.  Keller tells the following story about the power of Christ’s resurrection: “A minister was in Italy, and there he saw the grave of a man who had died centuries before who was an unbeliever and completely against Christianity, but a little afraid of it too. So, the man had a huge stone slab put over his grave so he would not have to be raised from the dead in case there is a resurrection from the dead. He had insignias put all over the slab saying, “I do not want to be raised from the dead. I don’t believe in it.” Evidently, when he was buried, an acorn must have fallen into the grave. So, a hundred years later the acorn had grown up through the grave and split that slab wide open and that tiny seed was now a tall, towering, oak tree. The minister looked at it and asked, ‘If an acorn, which has power of biological life in it, can split a slab of that magnitude, what can the acorn of God’s resurrection power do in a person’s life?'”[i]

Friends, here is the Good News of the resurrection.  Here is the hope we have in the resurrection. The minute we decide to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit comes into your life and you are sealed forever in Christ.   This power of the Holy Spirit that takes up residence in our hearts is just like the power of the resurrection—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  One scholar likes to say that we now have some of Jesus’ DNA in us and we are related.  We have this hope of the resurrection.

Stop for moment to think of the things you see as immovable slabs in your life—your bitterness, your insecurity, your fears, your self-doubts, your hurts, your regrets, your past, and even your future. Those things can all be split and rolled away by the mere power of the seed of faith. The more you know Jesus, the more you will grow into the power and the HOPE of the resurrection.

I know that we don’t have time today to plumb the depths of all these passage on the resurrection. I encourage you to read and reread chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  Get a journal or write in your Bible–allow the Holy Spirit,  your teacher, to teach you all things.

So What?
I like the words that Paul uses to contrast the physical life with the resurrected life.

Perishable vs Imperishable!
Dishonor vs Glory!
Weakness vs Power!
Natural vs Spiritual!

Perishable means that our mortal bodies are subject to corruption, decay, sickness, illness and even death.  But our resurrected bodies will not be subject to any of these maladies or conditions. Dishonor means a state of disgrace, shame and sin.  The resurrected body will be raised in “doxa” — glory!  No more sin and no more shame.  No more condemnation. No more disgrace. Weakness!  The Greek word means to be in want of strength, feebleness, illness, incapacity and timidity. When we come to our resurrection, we will have power instead of timidity —no  fear … we will have power!  Natural bodies!  Wow! This old body will be replaced with a body fully filled and fueled by the Holy Spirit.

The perishable will put on imperishability, this body that is swallowed up with shame and sin will be raised in glory, this body that is weak and broken will be given new power, this natural, decaying, dying body will be given life and life abundantly.

So what does the resurrection of Christ mean to YOU? What does your own future resurrection mean to you?  For the early disciples who stood up and proclaimed the Apostles’ Creed, many did so at the expense of life.  Stand this week in the power, hope and life of the resurrection, and recite the Apostles’ Creed as if your life depended on it…because it does.

My prayer is that the resurrected Jesus will meet you in a room where you are gathered, or on the road to Emmaus, or on the beach. I pray that Christ will ask you to put your hand into his resurrected wounds. I pray Christ will fill you PEACE and that you will be still and that you will soak up the life that only the resurrected Christ can give.

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/11/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Forgiveness of Sins   By Pastor Dave  

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8:11

Dear Faithful and Forgiven Friends:

Grace and mercy to you from Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Today marks the 9th anniversary of the church where I pastor, The Seed Christian Fellowship. It’s always an easy date to remember: 10-10-10! I pray that you have a home church that you love and support. The church is the BODY of CHRIST; when you serve a church, you are serving Christ. Happy ninth Birthday, SEED!

Today’s topic is deep and long.  I know we can never plumb the depths of God’s grace and forgiveness, so I am preparing you now — this will be a long devotional thought.  Please stay with it.  There are some nuggets of God’s gold found in the Scriptures here. I encourage you to grab your Bible now, and read Mark 2:1-12 and John 8:1-11.  Take your journal and/or your ipad/notepad and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read.

Let’s go back 1,800 years and let’s imagine the saints from ages past throughout those 18 centuries, and let’s imagine them all gathered together. We’d have to imagine them in homes, prisons, beaches, mountain hideouts, caves, along riverbanks and in churches both large and small. Let’s imagine all of the saint declaring the APOSTLES’ CREED. Can we imagine their faith?  Can we imagine their courage?  Just imagine the hearts and homes and cities and towns that were changed by this proclamation of faith. Since 140 A.D. saints and sinners alike have gathered together to declare exactly what it is that they believe. What a great cloud of witnesses cries out through the centuries.

As we recite The Apostles’ Creed below, imagine those who have gone before us:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;

5. the third day he rose again from the dead;

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost

9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

10. the forgiveness of sins,

11.  the resurrection of the body,

11.  and the life everlasting. Amen

“I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
So what?  What does it mean to you when you say that? What does it mean when you say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”?  What does the forgiveness of sins look like?  What does the forgiveness of sins feel like?  Who forgives the sins of sinners? Can WE forgive the sins of sinners? What are we to do with the forgiveness of sins?  So many questions come to my mind.  I wish we had more time to plumb the depths of this deep, theological statement.

Let me set the stage. The line that we are talking about wasn’t in the original Creed. It was added later. Why?  In 303 A.D. the Emperor of Rome was a man named Diocletian. Diocletian was a cruel and wicked Emperor. Diocletian ordered that the property of the Christians in Rome was to be seized.  He ordered that all books were to be burned, and that all of the places of worship were to be destroyed. All of the Christian leaders/pastors/teachers were imprisoned. (Did you read that? Think of all of the pastors you know, put into prison.)  Many of them were martyred for their faith. Here’s how Diocletian operated: The Christians were ordered to sacrifice to the Roman gods and if they did not, they were imprisoned or martyred. Diocletian was cruel—he impaled people on poles, he burned people at the stake. I think we can understand why so many frightened Christians of this era came out en mass to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. They renounced their faith. By offering public sacrifices to the Romans gods, these Christians had renounced their baptism, and their faith.

After a while, life returned to normal and Christianity was again tolerated as a part of the Roman pluralistic empire. When this happened, a crisis happened in the church. What was the church to do with the Christian believers who had renounced their faith in order to save their lives from the wicked Diocletian and his army? The early church wrestled with questions like: Can these sinners be accepted back into the faith? Should they be baptized again? Should they be permanently be excluded from participating in the Christian community? In all honesty, these were tremendously difficult questions.  This was a time of deep soul -searching for believers. Throughout this struggle, the deepest questions of Christian identity came into focus.

So what?  What is it that makes you a follower of Christ? What can you do if you have strayed away from the faith?  What can you do if you have sinned? Is church just for the pure and holy, or is the church for those who are weak, struggling, and uncertain? This 4th century church crisis led to many discussions regarding clear answers to these questions. It was finally agreed upon: Failures in following Christ or discipleship — even dramatic failures — do not exclude a person from the grace of God.  The early church then added the 10th line into the Apostles’ Creed:  “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

Can you imagine being so afraid of being impaled that you renounced your faith and sacrificed to Roman gods? This line about forgiveness was added to the Apostles’ Creed so that those who had done the renouncing could be included back into the Church. The church went back and forth on this issue. Do we make them be re-baptized? Isn’t baptism a once and forever kind of thing? Now you understand the turmoil involved in just this one line.

In 381 the Nicene Creed was written as a follow-up creed to the Apostles’ Creed and it included the statement, “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” One God, one Lord, one baptism.

This series on the Apostle’s Creed was our SUMMER SERIES. I thought it was going to be dry and boring. It was anything but. Week by week we covered each line. And week by week, the people we excited to learn more about what we believe and how we came to include the Apostles’ Creed in church. During the summer, a young woman came home from Tennessee to visit her parents and grand parents. She came to church with her family and heard the message that you’re reading about. After church, she said, “I want to be baptized.” WOW!  We met and talked about baptism and what it means and then we met in her grandparents’ pool and she was baptized in front of her family. She read the Apostles’ Creed and then asked to be dunked in the pool three times. One for the Father, one for the Son and one for the holy spirit! What a blessing! And then I received a call from a person I had no connection to but you need to hear her story. Wherever this woman works, a young man named Steven serviced the air conditioners. Over the years, they became friends. (Always be your AC service tech’s friend!) Steven was a friend of Don and Don invited Steven to our Wednesday night bible study. Steven did not attend our church but he did attend our bible study. The grandma had shared with Steven that she didn’t have a home church but she wanted to be baptized. Steven asked me for a business card and the next time he serviced the air conditioning at grandma’s work, he gave her the card and said, “You need to call Pastor Dave.” She did.  She called me in July. I met with her in August and her little granddaughter, all of 8 years old, also wanted to be baptized. Guess what? We baptized both of them in Mom and Dad’s pool! The entire family wanted to read the Apostles’ Creed together, and then each of the girls went under three times: one for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was the baptismal confession of the early church? Oh, how have we lost this amazing tradition? I think it’s time to bring it back, don’t you?

As you read Mark 2:12, take a moment and put yourself into the story.  In the Mark passage who would you be? Would you be one of the friends who carried their friend to Jesus?  Would you be the paralyzed man? Would you be a part of the crowd, just watching in disbelief?  Would you be one of the religious leaders who questioned Jesus? Sometimes it’s a good idea to pretend to be all of the characters involved; you gain different perspectives that way.

In the John passage we have a second, powerful story of forgiveness and grace.  Where are you in this story?  Are you looking in someone’s window to find sin?  Are you dragging the sinner out to be accused by Jesus and the crowd?  Are you a part of the crowd? Are you already holding a stone, ready to throw it?  What if you are the person who was caught in sin? Wow. Try being each character in this story.

I love stories of forgiveness.  As I prayed about teaching on the forgiveness of sins, I prayed about what to teach.  I could teach some of the Old Testament words for forgiveness … “nasa” which means to send away, “kapar” which means to cover up. From this we get Yum Kippor — the day of atonement for the covering of sins (which, by the way, was this past Tuesday, October 8th.) The dynamic of forgiveness in the Old Testament is the releasing of the person from their past. The person’s past acts and deeds of sin are not denied, but there is no longer any bondage attached to the sin.  The chains are broken.  The Old Testament teaches that forgiveness brings freedom.

We could spend a little time looking at the New Testament words for forgiveness. No one really knows what Jesus was writing in the sand that day when they brought the woman to him to be stoned.  What do you think He was scribbling in the sand? I think he was writing a Greek word used 76 times in the New Testament:  “aphiemi.” “Aphiemi” means “to leave behind, to send away, to forgive.”  Jesus taught forgiveness!  Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s prayer — “forgive us of our sins, debts, trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.” When Jesus was about to be betrayed, Jesus told them that the cup they shared at the Lord’s Supper was the cup of forgiveness poured out in His blood.  When He hung on the cross, Jesus said — “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I am going to do something a little different today..  Instead of giving you several illustrations of forgiveness that bring the point home, I am giving you 14 Bible passages on forgiveness. I would like for you to spend some time during the next week looking up these passages and reflecting on the stories and the passages.  Write some notes, thoughts and prayers.  I always ask myself — “What is it that you Lord want to teach me in this passage?”  What is that God wants to say to you about forgiveness?

Exodus 34:1-10 … “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

2 Chronicles 7:11-22 … “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Psalm 103:1-12 … “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion …” (Psalm 103:1-4)

Jeremiah 31 … “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Micah 7 … “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

Matthew 6:5-15 … “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)

Mark 2:1-12 … “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

Matthew 18:21-35 — “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33)

Matthew 26:17-30 .. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

Luke 23:26-43 … “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Colossians 3 … “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14)

Ephesians 1:3-14 … “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Acts 13 … “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. (Acts 13:38)

I John 1:1-10 … “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

THE FINAL “SO WHAT?”
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  When you confess your sin, you are set free.  When you forgive yourself, you set yourself free! When you forgive those who have hurt you, abandoned you, offended you, insulted you, upset you, slighted you, cheated you, lied to you or sinned against you … when you forgive them — you set yourself free. Life is too short to go through it living in unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is the only meal that eats you from the inside out. Unforgiveness eats your breakfast, lunch and supper. I get it. People are mean.  People are cruel. People do and say horrible things. When Jesus went to the cross, he died for all sin. He died for YOUR sin and for all the sins committed against you. Put yourself in the story of Luke 23:26-43. Hear the words Jesus spoke from the cross as though they were for you alone. “Father, forgive (put that name in here right now) for they know not what they do.”

Forgiving costs us nothing because forgiving cost Jesus everything. 

AMEN.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/27/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Holy Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:16-18

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Grace and peace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful person of the Holy Spirit.  I have to tell you that one of my favorite persons of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit.  I love how the Holy Spirit speaks to me, guides me, instructs me, teaches me and even corrects me.  A simple prayer every morning when you get up. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart and home, teach me, guide me, heal me and fill me. Amen”

In last week’s devotional we looked at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  “This business is under new management.” Today I would like for us to reflect on the power and person of the Holy Spirit.  Join me as we journey deeper into Jesus as we think about the power and person of the Holy Spirit.

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When Jesus says that He “will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…” what does He mean?  First, let’s look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence.  The first word is the word “another” and in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” means “another one just like the first one.”  Who is the first Advocate?  It is obviously Jesus himself.  Therefore, the second Advocate is just like the first one. The Holy Spirit is a divine being living within all disciples who believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  The Trinity is truly a mystery.  When we speak of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we speak of them as persons.   When John Calvin wrote of the persons of the Trinity, he said, “In the Trinity we have one essence (being) and three subsistence’s.  The three persons of the Godhead subsist in the divine essence (being).”  Now that is a lot of deep, theological language.  The EZ PZ translation: When we recognize God alone as our sovereign creator and we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts to live, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes and lives.  We are sealed with the third person. In essence, we are allowing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — the Trinity–to rule and reign in our lives.  One of the things I witness as a pastor is that we may  have the main question about the Holy Spirit a bit backwards.  Often we ask, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?” I wonder if we should be asking, “How can the Holy Spirit get more of me?”

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Do you know that the role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ? The Holy Spirit acts as a mirror and reflects Christ to us.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who reflects God, teaches us and leads us into all truth.  The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by reproducing more of Jesus in all  believers. “Christian” means “little Christ” and the Holy Spirit does this work in a Christian’s life by reproducing little Christs IN us.  Next in the Greek is the meaning of the word “Advocate,” “Comforter”, or “Counselor”. It is of great importance.  The Greek word for “Advocate” comes from “parakletos” which is a compound of two Greek words: “para” meaning “alongside of” and “kletos” which means “called.”  “Parakletos” therefore means “one who is called alongside of”, another person called alongside you or me as our helper.  The Latin Bible translates “parakletos” as “Advocate,” however, this word can also be translated as “comforter” and “counselor.”  The word “comforter” comes from two words: “cum” which means “with” and “fortis” which means “strength.”  In other words a comforter is a person who comes alongside you or me with strength.  The Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” is the one who will bring us the strength we need in order to live as little Christs.  The Holy Spirit as “Comforter” will bring us strength to withstand the blows and the wounds that we incur in the world.  The “Comforter” gives us the strength and power to stand up and face whatever comes against us.  The Holy Spirit is the one who comes with strength — who is called alongside to guide us, to comfort us, to convict us and challenge us to grow and trust more and more in God (the TRINITY) alone.  The Holy Spirit reflects Jesus Christ so that you and I can reflect Christ to others.

SO WHAT?
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.  When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”  But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package?”  She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents of the package, the power for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.  The power for growth comes from using our spiritual gifts and allowing the fruit of the Spirit to grow and blossom in our lives.  Scripture says that we shall be known by our fruit.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit is defined in Galatians chapter five: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.  This is the power of the Holy Spirit and this is the precious fruit that the HOLY SPIRIT will PRODUCE in you and in me.

When I think of a GPS (Global Positioning System), I realize that not many people can afford a car or system that gives you a GPS.  But, in reality, we all have our own inner GPS — GOD’S PROMISED SPIRIT, GOD’S PERSONAL SPIRIT AND GOD’S POWERFUL SPIRIT — to guide us, to fill us, to strengthen us, to counsel us, to convict us and comfort us….if we let Him in and listen.

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.”

To know about God, the Father, alone is good, to believe in Jesus, as Lord, is great and to be filled with the Holy Spirit is wonderful. Don’t be afraid to open the box — the gift that Christ has given you — the Promise, the Person, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. I love to say that the Holy Spirit is the identical twin of Jesus–except in Spirit.

Today I encourage you to pray, “Holy Spirit, I want you to get more and more and more of me. Consume the parts and pieces of me that don’t serve YOU. Teach me.  Correct me. Produce YOUR fruit in me. Be my counselor, my comforter, and my advocate forever. Amen.”

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me — melt me — mold me — fill me — use me!

Here is a YouTube song about the Holy Spirit. — https://youtu.be/BagH-zTfnsQ

See You Sunday,

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/22/19

Seed of Faith – Under New Management   By Pastor Dave  
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord! Fall is just around the corner. Time for football and pumpkin spice!
We continue our series on the Apostles’ Creed.  Line 8 of the Apostles’ Creed says, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”  Over the next few weeks, we will look at the promise, the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This week, let’s look at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to read John 14:15-27.

Let me tell you a story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. He went regularly to the Salvation Army church. One day he came home rather sad. His wife said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “I’ve just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don’t have a red sweater.” She said, “I’ll knit one.” So she knitted him a red sweater. The next Sunday after he went to church, he still wasn’t happy. His wife said, “What’s wrong this time?” He said, “I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing.”  They were both illiterate, but she said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll embroider some writing on for you.”  She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater said. The Salvation Army has a yellow circle, and inside the circle it reads, “BLOOD AND FIRE.” That’s their motto.  The man’s wife had no idea what the letters said, plus, she couldn’t read. She copied a sign from a store window opposite their home. True, she embroidered the words of the store sign onto his red sweater.  When he came back the next Sunday, she said, “Did they like your sweater?”  “They loved my sweater. Some of them said they liked my sweater better than their sweater.” The sign on the store window she had copied read, THIS BUSINESS IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.

That’s what it means to trust in God alone. That’s what it means to know Jesus as Lord. That’s what it means for the Holy Spirit to fill you: this business (meaning YOU) is under new management.

The Word of God promises us the Holy Spirit. The words “Holy Spirit”, or “Spirit of God”, or “the Spirit of the Lord” are used 131 times in the Bible.  In our Old Testament reading from the prophet Joel, God promises the Holy Spirit, “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)  What a wonderful promise — God will pour out His Spirit upon all people!  On the night before He was to die for our sins, Jesus offered to us the promise of the Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:16-18) Jesus promises to give us another advocate — the Holy Spirit who will be with us forever.  What a powerful and comforting promise.  We will not be orphaned — we will never be alone! We always have the promise of the Holy Spirit.

When I think of the promise of the Holy Spirit, I think of Alka-Seltzer. Alka-Seltzer promises fast relief for fever, body aches, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.  Alka-Seltzer promises healing, wholeness and comfort.  So often we have the medicine for healing, but we do not open the package. What would happen if you dropped an unopened package of Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water?  Of course, nothing would happen. There would be no power, no healing, and no comfort if the package was never opened.  Yet there is a promise for comfort if we open the package and watch it fizz away!

So What?
The promise of the Holy Spirit is given to us when Jesus tells us that he will ask His Father to send the Holy Spirit to come and be with us forever. This past weekend in church, a little girl spilled her cup of gold fish crackers on the floor. I told her father that we could get a broom.  Then I realized that the closet was locked and there was no broom.  Someone came up and started talking to me and I got distracted. I turned around and watched the young dad get down on the floor and pick up all the little gold fish that had been scattered over the floor.  Some of the gold fish had been stepped on and were smashed.  The father picked them all up and put them back in the cup.

Later this week, I thought about that encounter on Sunday morning with spilled and smashed gold fish. I thought about our Father sending His Son to promise us that the Holy Spirit would come and fill our hearts.  I believe that one of the truths of the Holy Spirit is that He wants to come into our hearts and fill us so that our lives are under new management.  I saw God sending His Son to bend down and pick up all the spilled and smashed pieces of our lives and offer to put us back together.

The week — take some time and reflect on the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to open the package and be filled with the Holy Spirit … plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a re-builder He is.  The Holy Spirit will come in and pick up the spilled and smashed pieces of your life! It’s fall and I’m thinking I need a new red sweater with yellow writing that says: Under New Management!

There’s so much more to say about this third person of the Trinity. In closing, I want you to know I’ve found the Holy Spirit to be a gentle friend, not a pushy one. My fear was that once I accepted Christ into my heart as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit would plow in and take over.  Soon I’d be on the street corners with a megaphone shouting about heaven and hell.  Nope. Never happened. Once I accepted Christ, I had this warm sense that I had a friend who wanted to make me the best me I could be. I started feeling good when I read the Bible and when I did kind things for my wife and children. I started feeling happy when I listened to praise music. Little by little, I was inspired to be a better person. So far, I haven’t ever stood on a street corner–but you never know, it could happen!  The Holy Spirit is a great respecter of who you are and of what gifts and talents you have. I love to study. I love to read. I love to learn. Made perfect sense to go to seminary. I love to watch as God transforms people. Made sense to become a pastor. I’ve been on this Holy Spirit journey since 1981. It’s more of an inside-out change than it is outside-in. I couldn’t do life without the Holy Spirit.

Before I close, Jac and I had our appointments with our doctor. Three years ago, Jac was a 12 on the scale and now she is a 6. She’s rid her body of half of the lead she contained! I started at 10 and am now at 4! I have one chelation left and will do that in January of 2020.  I should read NORMAL next summer.  Jac has a little longer road to travel but she’s happy she’s halfway through. Keep the prayers coming!
See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/12/19

Seed of Faith –  I Believe – First Importance By Pastor Dave  

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (I Corinthians 15:3-8)

Dear Friends:

It’s been hot! Only a few weeks until September 23 and we officially begin FALL! I love the heat and I love the summer–it’s my favorite time of the year! I hope and pray that you are growing in Christ’s grace as we meet each week. On a health note, my wife and I go to the doctor this coming Tuesday to get our lead level test results. Pray we have lowered our numbers; while you’re praying–let’s pray for under 2! That would be a miracle!

Last week … we ended with a so what?  Here it is if you missed it.
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others in your life even know that you believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him?

I will tell you that this is one reasons that I wear my cross on the outside of my shirts. I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS as I love myself. The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell the others that they had lived with Jesus. They heard His teaching, His preaching. They saw the miracles! They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching which He condensed to two commandments: love God, love others.

When we read the above passage in I Corinthians, it sounds a little like the Apostles’ Creed, doesn’t it? The Apostle Paul followed Jesus because he had seen  risen Jesus and encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He was on a “Christian Killing” Crusade but God turned it into something so much more. Paul became one of those Christians he was so used to murdering. It’s quite a phenomenal story.

Today we come to the line in The Apostles’ Creed that says, “HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN…and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

Dr. Gardner Taylor, a pastor in New York City and a professor at Harvard Divinity School, told a story in one of his lectures. He was preaching in Louisiana during the Depression. Electricity was just coming into that part of the country, and Taylor was out in a rural church that had one, little light bulb hanging down from the ceiling to light up the entire sanctuary. He was preaching away, and in the middle of his sermon, the electricity went out. The building went pitch black.  Dr. Taylor didn’t know what to say or do. He stumbled around until one of the elderly deacons sitting in the back of the church cried out, “Preach on, preacher! We can still see Jesus in the dark!”[i]

There’s a thought. Can you still see Jesus in the dark? Sometimes that’s the only time we can see Jesus —in the dark. In the dark night of our soul with nowhere to go–we are forced to look around our darkness. The good news of the Gospel is that whether we can see Jesus in the dark or not, Jesus can see us in the dark! He has ascended (Jesus has risen up) from the grave. He has risen up into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. What does Jesus do there? HE PRAYS FOR YOU and ME! “Intercedes” is the word. Do you know what that word means? Get ready, it’s powerful: INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER. Keep with me. What does “intervene” mean? It means “to come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events.” Are you still with me? When Jesus says He has gone to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand to intercede for you, He is coming between you and your situation in order to prevent or alter a result or a course of events–JUST FOR YOU…on your behalf. I  don’t know about you but I needed to hear this today!

When we were in Zambia in 2015, we went to worship at the Jesus Army Church on a Sunday morning.  The electricity went on and go off all during the worship.  That never stopped the worship team from singing and playing and worshiping.  If the electricity went off, they just kept on singing.  I’ve thought a lot about that.  THIS is exactly what we are called to do.  No matter what, we are called to keep witnessing and sharing the hope and power of the resurrection with everyone we meet. Whether it’s smooth sailing or rough waters!

So What?
Speaking of smooth sailing or rough waters, our son had a football coach who was often heard telling his team, “Don’t tell me how rough the waters are just bring the ship home!”  There’s quite a bit of truth here. We’ve been given a big job, a huge task: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. It isn’t as easy as it looks. We all love it when life is sailing along and the sea is like glass. Those are the fun times; not a care in the world. But then the darkness creeps in, doesn’t it? And you’re up at night with a sinking feeling in your heart and gut. And it stays for way too long. I think this line in the creed is there for us to remember: no matter how dark it gets…Jesus is interceding on your behalf. Jesus is intervening on your behalf. He sits between YOU and GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY…trying to calm the rough waters, or trying to calm YOU in the rough seas.

Recently I took my family to see TOY STORY 4. I loved it. I’ve talked about it for weeks. “Who are you like in the movie?” I’m Woody. I feel a huge responsibility to make sure everyone gets to heaven. I deal with a lot of FORKY types–people who think they are trash and not one of God’s personal favorites! Listen, you are not trash. You never were. God thought you up. Created you. Made you uniquely special. And you have a job as a Christian: love God, love others as you love yourself.

Friends, each one of us are in a TOY STORY of our own making. We are an action figure for Jesus Christ and for His ministry on earth. It’s a big job we’ve been given. I will tell you to bring your ship home–but I will also tell you that when you are out there in the roughest of seas–Jesus is with you. When you are in the darkest night of your soul, Jesus is with you. Whether you can see Him or not, He’s there. And He is there interceding for you…on your behalf…to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. The end result is that our life on earth is used to display our LOVE FOR GOD and our LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER. Can you do that? Can you trust Jesus to intercede for you?

No matter what. Can you trust Jesus to pray for you? When you’re up at 2 a.m.–can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When the test results are what you hoped for, can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When Plan Z seems so far away and Plan A has blown up in your face, can you pray, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” That’s your homework for the week. TRUST JESUS…in all things…in all hours of the day and night…and go out there in faith knowing that Jesus is interceding for you, on your behalf–to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY.

King of cool that we serve a KING who rose from the dead.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/5/19

Seed of Faith – I BELIEVE — JESUS HIGHLY EXALTED   By Pastor Dave  

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:8-11

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord.  It is my prayer that you are walking with Jesus and that His grace and love surround you today and everyday. Throughout the summer, we have been working our way through a series on the Apostles’ Creed.  If you have not had a chance to read the other Seeds of Faith on this series, you can go to our website — www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

The question that I would like for us to reflect on today is “Why is the ascension important?”

First, the ascension is important because it tells us that Jesus’ earthly ministry was completed and that Jesus has gone to be with God the Father to begin His heavenly ministry of interceding for us, (that’s a powerful thought. Jesus ascended into heaven and prays for us.) Second, the ascension is important because Jesus’ earthly ministry has been delegated–to us! (Read that again!)

Today we will look at the first point.  I encourage you to pick up your Bible. Read Acts 1:1-11 and Philippians 2:5-11.

So What? does it mean that Jesus is Highly Exalted?

Luke wrote both of his books (the book of Luke and the book of Acts) to a person named “Theophilus,” a name translated “friend of God.” Whether Theophilus is a real individual or whether Theophilus is any “friend of God” is open to debate, but clearly Luke is writing to a community eager for more detailed and accurate information concerning the origin, history and meaning of the Christian faith. At the beginning of his gospel, Luke tells us he intends “to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”  In Acts, Luke jumps right into the action and says, “In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (1:1-2).

In his gospel, Luke wants Theophilus (friend of God) to “know the truth,” and in Acts he begins by making a strong connection between the life of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. As the book of Acts begins, an important transition takes place. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, all of the work of preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God was done by Christ alone.  Jesus spent three years training, preparing, instructing and teaching the disciples for their future calling to be “martures”– the Greek word for “witnesses.”  Jesus’ great work of providing redemption for us through His life, death and resurrection is now finished and Luke is determined to encourage those of us left behind.

So What?
Here’s what I want you to think about: Is Christ’s work of ministry and proclamation finished? Or is Luke writing to tell us that this is now our job–to finish Christ’s work!? That’s a profound idea. Here’s another question:  Are we? Are we finishing the work Jesus started? Are we loving God and loving others as we love ourselves? Am I ? Are you? Pastor Dave, now you are meddling.

George Whitefield, a famous English pastor, was getting the people of Edinburgh out of their beds at 5 o’clock in the morning in order to hear his preaching. One morning a man who was on his way to the church met David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic. Surprised at seeing him on his way to hear Whitefield, the man said, “I thought you did not believe in the gospel.” Hume replied, “I do not, but he does.”[i] Ah. Perhaps we are here to be a witness to the skeptics? Love God.  Love others. I don’t know but maybe God wants to use you among your circle of influence?

Here’s another meddling question:
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others even know that you believe in Jesus and follow Him? I think this is a question we all must finally come to. This is one reason that I purposefully wear my cross on the outside of my shirt, I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS. I cannot tell you how often people will make a comment to me about my cross. It’s been a great conversation starter.

The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell others that they had seen Him, been taught by Him and lived with Him. They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching: love God, love others.

The challenge today is what are we doing with the witness of the resurrection and the ascension in our lives, our homes, our families, our friends, our workplaces, and neighborhoods?  Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus?

If I started preaching at 5 a.m. in Central Park in Cucamonga, would you come listen? (Relax, not happening.)

I’m praying for you. Pray for me.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do i,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/23/19

Seed of Faith – WWJS -What Would Jesus Say — Follow Me By Pastor Dave  

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Mark 1:16-17

Dear faithful and thankful Seed-Sowers:

It is almost Thanksgiving!  I would like to thank each and everyone of you.  You have touched my life and the life of my wife and family in so many gracious ways.  We are blessed and we are thankful.

This weekend I am in Pittsburgh to celebrate my mentor and my spiritual director’s retirement after 47 years in ministry.  What a wonderful and faithful servant the Rev. Dr. John Gray Hamilton is. “Hammy” or John followed Jesus and served in four different churches during his 47 years of ministry. Think of all of the lives he has touched and changed by sharing God’s grace and love. Think of giving over 2,000 sermons! By the way, our church heard that I wanted this Sunday off so that I could fly out to Pittsburgh and attend John’s last Sunday service. Someone purchased my airfare, another purchased my hotel, and other anonymous people donated the funds for a car rental, and meals. Imagine that: the church being the hands and feet and heart and soul of Jesus.

John Hamilton was my home-church pastor for 13 years. He was the pastor who helped me to decipher my call into ordained ministry. He followed Jesus and he taught me how to listen and follow Jesus for myself.  Today that my hope and prayer, that we all listen and follow Jesus.

Our reading comes from the Gospel of Mark. Let’s pray before we begin. “Lord, Jesus, You are our Lord and Savior, You call us to come and follow You.  Help us to have ears to hear, eyes to see, arms and feet ready to follow and serve wherever you call us.  May your Words become life to our weary souls.  Amen”

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.  Mark 1:14-17

Retired minister and author, Bob Russell, told the following account to illustrate how Christians often go along with the moral pace of those around us, and that, by comparison, we feel safe since “Everyone is doing it,” therefore, we’re okay. Russell writes:  Two months ago my wife and I were visiting our son Rusty and his family. One day Rusty was test-driving a foreign-made car and was frustrated because he couldn’t figure out how to change the speedometer reading from kilometers to miles.  That evening he suggested we take the kids and all go out for ice cream. “We’ll need to take two cars,” he insisted, “so you and mom just follow me.” I followed him … and was surprised when a policeman whizzed up behind us with his lights flashing. I couldn’t imagine he was after me because it didn’t feel like I was speeding. And besides, I was going the exact same speed as the guy in front of me.  The officer came up to my window and said, “Sir, you were going 58 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. But wait right here, I’m going to deal with the car in front of you, and I’ll be right back.” When he went to my son’s car, Rusty quivered, “Officer, I know this is going to sound like a line, but this is the first day I’ve driven this car, and I can’t figure out how to change it from kilometers to miles, so I had no idea how fast I was going. The guy behind me is my dad, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing either!”[i]

Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t really buy you much of an excuse with God, does it?

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, is put into prison.  John had been baptizing people in the Jordan and calling for them to repent. Jesus continues the story line by calling the people to repentance, Jesus also calls them to believe in the Good News!  This may be the only place in Scripture where we are told by Jesus to believe in the Good News. Imagine THE REAL, LIVE, GOOD NEWS is telling the people to believe in the good news! (Would have loved to be there.) Let’s go to the Greek word Jesus’ uses for “believe” is a present active imperative.  In the Greek it means that this a command and the action of believing is non-stop and ongoing.  To “believe” in the Greek culture was to place your trust, to rely on, to have confidence in and to put your faith in…the good news.  The good news of what Jesus was saying and  — not just once, but every day, every hour and every minute of every year.

Jesus is saying, “Hear the Good News!  The time has come! The Kingdom of God is near. The time that God will rule and reign is right here. The time for God to have supremacy is at hand.  The time has come for us to change our minds, to turn back, to turn around and to change direction is at hand.” You know how I always ask you to put yourself in the story?  This is no different. Put yourself on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This Jesus character is going from boat to boat; asking people to repent, be baptized, and follow Him. I propose a preposterous idea: maybe today you are hearing Jesus calling out to you:  turn around, come back, change your mind, repent, be baptized and follow. Is this the GOOD NEWS you are hoping for? Could it be that Jesus wants us to put our trust in Him? To have confidence and faith in Him? And not just today but for every single day of the rest of our lives?

RADICAL CALL — FOLLOW ME
In the days of Jesus, we need to understand how amazingly radical the call of Jesus really was.  During the days of Jesus, the Rabbis (the priests of the synagogue) would come to town and choose the best and brightest of the boys to become their disciples.They would take them and train and educate them. The boys who were not chosen would go into their father’s businesses. We can assume that Peter and Andrew, James and John and the rest of the disciples were not among the best and brightest because they were working in their father’s businesses. Imagine the scene: Jesus comes walking along the shore and calls out to them sitting in their boats, “FOLLOW ME.” The Greek word for “follow” is “opiso” — “come after or come behind.”  Put yourself here into this story.  You have grown up in a little fishing village called Bethsaida.  You’ve made a trip or two to Jerusalem, but most likely never traveled very far from home.  You have no hope of doing anything greater than working in your father’s fishing boat.

Listen again to Jesus words …  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

What a radical message! Let me tell you how I heard Jesus say, “Follow me.” “Hey, hey, you!  Dave Peters, I see you. Working in the family business selling tires!  You.  Yes, you! FOLLOW ME.” At first, all I thought Jesus wanted was for me to shape up a little.  And then a little more.  And then a whole lot more!  Here’s what I want to say to you today: Let Christ rule and reign in your life.  Repent. Turn around, change your mind, your heart and your direction. Believe and keep on believing.  Never stop having trust and faith in this Good News!  What a radical call!  “Come follow me, (insert your name)!  I will make you fishers of people!”

RADICAL OBEDIENCE!
What happens? These untrained, uneducated fishermen follow Jesus!  They had never traveled very far.  They had never talked about much other than what was happening in their fishing village. And along comes Jesus; their world is turned upside down.  History tells us that John became the Bishop of Ephesus, Peter went to Rome, and Andrew went as far as the borders of Russia! By following Jesus, their hearts were enlarged enough to take in the whole world— not just the four corners of Bethsaida.

Immediately the men left everything and followed Jesus. Take note: one of the radical demands of a radical call by Jesus is that you must respond with a radical obedience. (“Immediately” means at once, without delay, without hesitation.)

So What? What a year we’ve had so far.  I don’t know about you but 2019 has not been an easy year, it’s had some ups and downs. I’m ready to begin a new decade, are you? 2020–here we come!

As we begin to study this new series, I want us to hear the words of Jesus as if they were spoken to us. I want us to hear them with new ears fresh every morning. “(YOUR NAME,) follow me.”

Remember Bob and Rusty Russell? Rusty had no idea as to how fast he was driving…but Bob—Bob knew exactly how fast his car was going: 58 in a 45. Bob had decided to follow Rusty. That’s our choice each and every day, are we going to follow Rusty or are we going to follow Jesus? The world behind me, the cross before me…sounds like a catchy tuna–I mean, tune.

Maybe for this series, you can go and get a new journal.  Call it your “SEED OF FAITH GOOD BYE 2019” journal. Let’s study all the times Jesus (the good news) calls us to FOLLOW Him!  It’s going to be another great series. I’m praying for you. Kiss the wave.

Let me explain, this is a famous quote by Charles H. Spurgeon. “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the ROCK OF AGES!” I remember wrestling with my call to go into ordained ministry. I went to see Pastor John. We met over a series of time. We prayed. He checked in with me and listened to me. I remember one day, I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry. No doubt about it.  John looked at me and said, “Okay, I’ve been waiting for this day. Dave, if you can do anything else–then go do that but if you must answer this call–then know that it will break your heart.” I said, “I know. I must follow.” John has been there for me for the past 22 years of my ordained ministry, for my 3 years of seminary, and for my many other years when I served as youth director. He was wise and he was right. Following the call of Christ has broken my heart…but in a good way.

The world behind me, the cross before me. I have decided to follow Jesus. Go ahead, get that journal out.

See You Sunday …

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/16/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen and Amen   By Pastor Dave  

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:20-22

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:

We come to end of our series on the Apostle’s Creed just as I come to the end of my 12-day vacation! Jac and I drove from SOCAL to WACO, TX! We enjoyed our two grandsons and our son and his lovely wife. Jac can’t fly yet due to her lead levels, so we drive: 3 days there and back. We have been so very blessed by our alone time in the car; God has been refreshing and renewing our souls. It’s good to get away and it’s going to be good to get back to ministry at the SEED.

I suggest you take a few moments to read Revelation 3:14-22 & Revelation 22:17-21.  In the opening of the letter we hear, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” Do you see what I see?  Jesus is the faithful and true AMEN!

Today let’s think about three images of Christ:  the patience of Christ, the plea of Christ and the place of Christ at our table. Each one worthy of a SEED OF FAITH!

In William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of The World,” Christ is holding a lantern and knocking at a door. (See bottom right, top photo.)  I had always heard that Christ was knocking at the door of the human heart asking for entrance.  This passage puts a whole new twist on that thought: Could Christ be also knocking on the door of the church?  I think it’s easy for us to envision Christ  knocking on the door of our heart, or knocking on the door of our home.  Have you ever thought about Christ knocking on the door of our churches? Profound thought here.

Let’s look at the painting and see if we can find some of the rich symbolism in it. First, there is no handle on the outside of the door. Why? Isn’t that odd? Could it be that even though Christ desires entry, He never forces his way in. Instead, He must be invited in, the door must be opened from the inside. The decision is ours as to whether Jesus Christ will be invited in–or not. Next, look at the hinges in the picture. They are rusted and the bolts are broken. The door is held in place by vines; showing that the door has never been used or the vines would be torn. Third, Jesus is holding a lantern. The symbolism is to show that Jesus is the light of the world. Outside, there is a neglected garden overgrown with weeds, there are fruit trees which have not been pruned, and a crop which has been lost because of the lack of tending. There is fruit that has fallen on the ground near the feet of Christ symbolizing Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, and that all of mankind has fallen away from God.  One more observation, there is a bat above the door, a nocturnal creature which loves the night. It is dark outside, pointing to the truth of the Scripture, “This is the verdict: ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.’” (John 3:19).

There is so much more in this painting but as we see the painting and read the scripture, “Behold I stand at the door and knock,”  I think we need to ask some questions.

The first question is: To whom is Christ speaking? I had always thought that Christ was speaking to each individual, and that the door represented each individual’s human heart. Christ is knocking because He wants to come into our hearts and lives. I’m not saying that this is incorrect because I have a sneaky suspicion that Christ does want entry into each and every heart. I also want to consider the context. In this chapter, Jesus is speaking to the church.  Isn’t it wild that in this picture Jesus is asking for admission into his own church? Apparently, the church had closed the door on him and never answered his knock.

The three P’s of Christ:
1.  THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST — “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”

Do you see the great love that God has for us, and for His church, as Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks and keeps on knocking over and over, and is still, today, patiently knocking? Sometimes the knock comes through suffering or grief, hardships or difficulties, sickness or death, financial loss or family problems–whatever the case may be–Jesus stands patiently knocking at the door of your heart and the door of his church. It’s totally up to us to open the door and invite Christ inside.

2.  THE PLEA OF CHRIST — “If you hear my voice and open the door…”

The plea of Christ is that we hear His voice.  Each letter to the seven churches of Revelation ends with the words, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  In the Greek language the word “to hear” means to obey, to follow through or to act upon what you had just heard. The plea of Christ is for us to hear the sound of his voice as He stands knocking at the door, and for us to open the door wide so that He may come in.  Remember, we must open the door from the inside. Christ will not open the door.  He will not force Himself upon us.  Christ never forces anyone into salvation. It’s a choice of our free will.  Freely He offers salvation to you and me by grace. Everywhere in Scripture Jesus offers himself to men and women, and grieves over the fact that many do not receive Him. Remember the remarkable scene in the Gospels during Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem as he comes over the top of the Mount of Olives and sees the city spread out beneath him? Jesus wept over the rebellious city saying, “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You stone the prophets and kill everybody God sends to you. How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not…” (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34)  Christ wants us to act upon his knocking—he wants us to open the door, to invite him in, to say to him, “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter my life. Be my Lord. Be my Savior. Deliver me from my sins — and from myself.” As Christ stands at the doors of our churches, shouldn’t we say,  “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter our church. Be our Lord.  Be our Savior. Deliver us from our sins and from ourselves”? Isn’t this the whole plea to the 7 churches in Revelation? This isn’t a knock-knock joke at all.  This is a call to HEAR and ANSWER and OPEN THE DOOR and INVITE CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS, HOMES AND CHURCHES. If you hear His plea, open the door. Churches, don’t resist the Gospel; open the doors!

3.  THE PLACE OF CHRIST AT OUR TABLE — “I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me…”

The third plea is very clear. Jesus will enter in! He says so right here, “If you open the door, I will enter in and remain with you. We will eat together and be together.” What a beautiful picture of Christ: permanently dwelling within you. He will move in and live with you.  The actual word for “eat” here is the Greek word “deipneo” which refers to the evening meal or supper.  Supper was the main meal of the day.  Breakfast was a slice of dry bread dipped in wine.  Lunch was seldom eaten at home. But supper was the time to sit down and fellowship in the home after the work of the day was done. Have you ever traveled to Europe or Mexico? Dining together is an event. It isn’t like here in America:  hurry up and eat so we can do homework, go to a sport’s game, watch TV or go to bed! NO! It’s like sit down, take a load off your feet, sit back, breathe, enjoy this space to just BE–and share the great gift of TIME with your family. Tell stories, laugh and remember.  Build relationships. Back then in Jesus’ time, supper was a time of intimacy and relationship, sharing and fellowship–it was called “communion.” Wow. Let that sink in.

This is not a mere courtesy visit that Christ is promising.  He desires to come in, sit down and spend a long time with us in communion, in conversation, in relationship with us.  This is the place Christ desires: sitting with us at our table; a table filled with intimacy,relationship, sharing and communion.  Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks. Knock, Knock. No joke. Jesus’ plea is that we hear His voice and open the door. He longs to take his place at the table.

SO WHAT?
“So what?” is it that you believe about God the Father?  What is it that you believe about Jesus?  What is that you believe about the Holy Spirit?  What is that you believe about the church and the communion of the saints?  What is that you believe about forgiveness?  What is that you believe about the resurrection and life everlasting? It’s all right here in this APOSTLES’ CREED.

This past week has been a hard week in ministry. Actually, it’s been the most intense month of ministry I’ve ever had. I’ve sat at the bedside of a person who is preparing to go home to meet Jesus face to face. This person wanted to bless her four grandchildren. We’ve been meeting and planning and we were able to complete her plan this week by meeting with each grandchild and blessing them with the meaning of their name. A holy time for me to be able to share that with her. There’s another person who I’ve been visiting regularly who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This man is a longtime friend and coworker in the ministry.  He is a retired surgeon.  Every week, I go and sit with him.  Sometimes other doctors and  friends come by when I am there. We sit out in the hot sun and we laugh and remember the good times and the memories we’ve made together. I have been with him in the hospital when he has gone for treatment.  My friend asks everyone he meets this one, simple question since being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Here’s his question. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?” Go ahead. Answer the question. Take all the time you need. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?”  My dear friend has been sharing the Good News of the resurrection with others as he walks with Jesus through this difficult diagnosis.

So What?  What is it that you believe?  The final thing I want to tell you is this: IF YOU BELIEVE LIKE I BELIEVE…when you die—you will be present with the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I see this all the time. Over and over, the faith of the person dying impacts the way they die. I’ve truly been blessed to be at so many bedsides.

I know a person who had a near death experience.  This person is my wife. She saw heaven. She saw Jesus…on a white horse…riding her way. She saw the celestial city. Said it’s a million Disneylands and prettier and more majestic than you can imagine. The city was filled with people and the people were filled with JOY…the kind of contagious JOY that we cannot imagine. This person told me, “I used to be so afraid of dying. But ever since that experience in June of 2000—I’m not afraid. I’m anxiously waiting for that final call home.” Whenever we talk about death, she says the same thing…word for word. For 19 years now, she’s never changed a word of her story. Jesus, white horse, sword in hand, millions of miles of castles, a city filled with people and love and joy! This lady opened the door to her heart on a dark night in Rochelle, IL, on August 30, 1979. She’s never been the same since that day. She opens her Bible and devours the word each day. She listens to Christian music 24/7. She’s developing a relationship with Jesus. They sit and share communion. She writes, she reads, she sings, she thinks about her life with Christ. I’m here to tell you, I’ve witnessed it and I want to witness it in you, too.

Open the door. Invite Christ in. Here’s a scenario: Jesus is standing outside the door of your heart. Open the door and say, “I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I know that you are Jesus and that you’ve already died for my sins. Come in. Sit. Read with me. Talk with me. Teach me. Amen.”

And that’s the Apostles’ Creed in a nutshell.

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10.  the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11.  the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12.  the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13.  and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

See you Sunday —God loves you. He sent His only Son to die for you. Open the door. Communion.

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/8/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen   By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed-Sowers:

Well, we’ve made it!  We have made to the end of The Apostles’ Creed. Congratulations on making it through this 12-week series. By now, you should know a little more of what you believe and why. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was written around 140 A.D. as a baptismal confession for people joining the church?

Join me as we read The Apostles’ Creed together. I would like to add the word “AMEN” at the end of each line. Here we go:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11. the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12. the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13. and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

So What?  After a dozen weeks, what is it that you believe about God our Father in Heaven?  What is it that you believe about God the Son, our Savior who came from heaven and died for us?  What do you believe about the person and work of the Holy Spirit? What do you believe about the Holy universal, all-embracing catholic church? (That is what catholic means–universal.) What do you believe about the communion of the saints?  What do you believe about the forgiveness of sins?  Do you know that you know that you know that YOU are forgiven? Do you know that we are commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us? What do you believe about the resurrection of the body?  What do you believe about the life everlasting?

It is my hope that after spending 12 weeks studying the CREED that your faith has been strengthened and that you know more emphatically what you believe and why you believe it.  It is my prayer that, as we finish the series, you can and will, stand and say, “YES and AMEN” to the ancient, but relevant, Apostles’ Creed.

So What? What does the word “AMEN” mean? We say it all the time. “Amen.” What do you think it means?

Do you know that the word “AMEN” is used by the Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims?  The word “AMEN’ is used in many languages, and may be the most widely known word in the entire world. Our next-door neighbors are Korean. Each morning, when I go out to do my reading and prayer time, my neighbor does, too. We don’t speak the same language but I can understand my neighbor. As he prays, I hear him saying, “Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen and amen.” Every morning at about 6 am, he prays one word: AMEN for 15 -20 minutes. I often wonder if he’s reading the Scriptures and then just agreeing with the WORD.

Point 1 for today: “AMEN” is a word that is one of the most widely known words in all the world.  Point 2: What does AMEN mean? In the Hebrew language the word means “so it is” or “let it be,” derived from a verb meaning “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in, to trust.”  In the thirty times that “AMEN” appears in the Old Testament it precedes a statement and the people are agreeing that they believe and put their trust in the WORD of God.  The people are agreeing as one body that what will be said will be reliable, sure and firm. The significance of using “AMEN’ is that the people are agreeing that what they heard, they had just adopted as their very own.  In essence, they are saying, “We can take what was just said to the bank.  What was just said is as solid as a rock foundation. What was just said is reliable and we can trust it with our life.” AMEN? AMEN!

Our two Scripture readings for today come from the Gospel of Matthew and from the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Before we go to the Words of life, let us come before the giver of life in prayer. “Lord, God of all creation, we come to say “AMEN’ to your Word of life found in our scriptures.  May Your Words of life be a solid foundation for us, a firm and reliable foundation that will withstand the storms of life.  Amen and Amen”

Matthew 7:24-29
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law..

In the Gospel words we just heard, Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount and had just given His new disciples a detailed “to do” list. Jesus laid down His vital principles for life (Matthew chapters 5-7) and is now applying the final word of truth: AMEN.  This section is the “So What” part of Jesus’ message.  Jesus is confronting His followers with the two possibilities they will face in life:  Will they be wise or will they be foolish? Will they build on the solid rock or will they build on sinking sand?

Warnings about being wise or foolish are found all over the Scriptures. The two men in Jesus’ house story have the same desire–they each long to build a house.  They each want the same thing. At the beginning of the story, there’s no difference between the two. But then it appears, the foolish man does not take the time to listen to others.  The foolish man does not investigate all of the possibilities of how the building should be built.  The foolish man does not look at the blueprints or ask for advice, he just throws up his building.

We are told a little more of the Sermon on the Mount story in Luke’s account in chapter six.  Luke tells us that the wise man dug down deep and laid his foundation on rock, not on the sinking sand. The difference between the two builders is that the wise man did listen, he investigated and desired to build on a solid foundation.

So What?
Will we be wise or will we be foolish? Will we build on the solid rock or will we build on sinking sand?

Remember the word “AMEN” means  “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in or to trust.” What is it that you are saying “AMEN” to you your life?  What is it that you are staking your life on?  What is it that you take to the bank as totally reliable and true? What are you building your life upon?

Jac and I are in Texas as I write this SEED OF FAITH. We drove here. We left earthquake country and entered tornado country.  As we stopped at one of the roadside rest stops in Texas, I noticed a door with a sign on it, “STORM SHELTER.” It made me think.  In California, you have 10-60 seconds to get ready for an earthquake. I remember this summer when we had two back-to-back earthquakes. We were out back cleaning up the pool. The cement block walls started waving back and forth.  Javon hollered, “Earthquake!” The next steps are: DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. Hopefully, you have an outside storage area with water and food supplies. This method is way different from preparing for midwest tornadoes. The sirens go off. You have a five-10 minute warning to seek shelter. You avoid rooms with windows. When we lived in Missouri and Illinois, we ran to the basement. In Texas, we ran to the closet under the stairs. We already had the important items stocked there: flashlights, batteries, storm radio, water and snacks.
Can you see what Jesus is trying to say? KNOW the layout of the land that you are building your house upon. In the case of Christ, build your heart upon Christ, the solid foundation. He is the ROCK OF AGES.

My guess is that you know your area and that you are somewhat prepared for a storm or earthquake but what I really want to know as your pastor, are you building your life on the solid foundation of God’s word? I pray so!
Can I get an AMEN?

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10-25-19

Seed of Faith – I Believe — Everlasting Life   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Dear  Faith-Filled Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:
Are you being blessed by the Lord and walking in His grip of grace today? If not, why not? Grace is free! Costs you nothing because the cost has already been paid by Christ.

We are coming to end of our study of the Apostle’s Creed.  If you have not had a chance to get all the Seed’s of  Faith or would like the full manuscripts of the messages, please send me an email at pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will get them to you.

“I Believe — Everlasting life!”

What is everlasting life? Who wants everlasting life?  Why was this line added to the end of the Apostles’ Creed?  These are a few of the questions that come to my mind as think about the closing lines of Apostles’ Creed. Last week we talked about our hope being anchored in the fact, the reality and the truth, of the resurrection. Have you ever thought about how different our lives would be if there had been no resurrection? Inconceivable really.

Today we turn our thoughts to the last line … “and the life everlasting.”

There is so much written on “everlasting life or eternal life.” Right now, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read John 3:1-22. What is Jesus’ response to Nicodemus visit in the middle of the night? Next, reflect on Jesus’ response to the woman at the well found in John 4:1-26  A few of the verses are recorded above. In John chapter 6 the words “eternal life- everlasting life” are recorded three times.

So what is eternal life?

Realizing that he would soon be gone from this world, Moody said to a friend, “Someday you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody of Northfield is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone higher, that is all—out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that sin cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned into His glorious body. I was born in the flesh in 1837; I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die; that which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”[i]

Nic at night (both a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin) figured this out: Rank doesn’t matter, hand-tailored clothes don’t matter, Gucci sandals don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter that I eat at the five-star place in town or have the biggest house filled with the finest things. Why? BECAUSE OF THAT WILL PERISH. What Jesus is after here is my spirit. Jesus is after my heart, mind, body and soul. My flesh will die but my spirit will live forever!

After THE LAST SUPPER—which wasn’t really known by that, by the way—Jesus prayed. He prayed for the believers, He prayed for future believers, and He prayed for Himself. (Yes, it’s okay to pray for yourself!)  His prayer is found in John 17. The whole chapter is one long prayer.  This is how John (his bff) records the opening of Jesus’ prayer,  “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3)

Did you hear the powerful message of eternal life in verses 2 and 3? God has granted all authority to Jesus in order for Jesus to be the giver of eternal life.  What does Jesus say eternal life is? “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent…”

I know this message has a lot of Scriptures, but the theme of “eternal life” is imprinted in all of them. God is eternal.  In Isaiah God is called the “The Lord is Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4) and in Jeremiah God is called the “King Eternal.” (Jeremiah 10:10) Since God is eternal so are all God’s attributes, blessings and love. The Psalms tells us repeatedly that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

The words “eternal life” are used 42 times in the New Testament. Eternal Life is the major theme of the Bible.  For the writers of the Bible, “eternal life” meant more than just life everlasting. Eternal Life was a quality of existence that held no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, and no more death.  Eternal life meant a life that continues forever in the presence of God whose love is unfailing and unending. Not just here.  Not just now. Not just tomorrow—but forever and ever and ever.

During World War II, a prisoner wrote: Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer held a little service which reached the hearts of all. He had hardly finished his prayer, when the door opened. Two evil-looking soldiers came in and barked: “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us!” The words meant only one thing, the scaffold. As he bid his fellow prisoners good-bye, he said, “For me this is the beginning of a new life, eternal life.”[i]

So What?
What is eternal Life? Why would the early disciples put this in the Apostles’ Creed?  Better yet, why would it be the closing line?

The late and marvelous preacher, Ralph W. Sockman, was writing an Easter sermon one year when he received word that a friend had died. His friend was a scholar, a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, a distinguished missionary to China for forty years. A daily prayer of this remarkable servant included, “Oh, God our Father, I accept Thy gift of love; help me to pass it on for Jesus’ sake.” On the morning of the missionary’s death, at age ninety-two, Lacey Sites said to those near his bedside: “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.”[ii]

What a profound statement…. “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.” Yes! Here it is! Here is why the apostles closed the entire creed with this line:
AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.

Can you hear your own version of this line? I can. “Dave, don’t just live for heaven…live for heaven on earth. Each and every person I put you in contact with needs a drink of this living water. Pour.  Pour out. Don’t count the cost.  The cost we are talking about are souls—and souls who need eternal life. People need living water.”

Friends, don’t wait to live eternally.  Let us start today and live every day in the presence of the living God. Friends, we have this living water to share, we have the bread of life to share. We need to share everlasting life with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers.

How do we live eternally now?

Focus on Jesus the waver-walker and not the waves of live.
Focus on your Savior and not the storms.
Focus on the Cross and not the crime nor the criminal.
Focus on Heaven and not the hurt.
Focus on God’s hope, not the hopeless situations you face.
Focus on God’s mercy and not on the mockery.
Focus on God’s grace and not the gossip.
Focus on God’s love and share this love with the lost.
Focus on the power of the resurrection and let this power resurrect, revive, restore, renew, reconcile and redeem your life—today, every day and forever.

Both Nic at Night and WOMAN at the well figured out the secret to life: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today and begin living eternally every single day.  Live in God’s never-failing love, unending grace and ever-flowing mercy. Live in the forgiveness of your past, present and future!   Come to the water of life and drink from the springs of eternal life. If you meet a guy named Nic or a woman who’s had five husbands–you’ve come to the right spring of LIVING WATER. Jesus is no respecter of clout or sin. He died and rose for ALL…and that means YOU.

The Apostles’ Creed

  1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
  2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;
  3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
  4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;the
  5. third day he rose again from the dead;
  6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
  7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  8. I believe in the Holy Ghost,
  9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
  10. the forgiveness of sins,
  11. the resurrection of the body,
  12. and the life everlasting. Amen.[i]

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

As I close, I was born on 6/18/54 and I received Christ as my Lord and Savior in January of 1981. If you ever hear that I’m dead–don’t you believe it because on that very day, I will be more alive than I’ve ever been!

See you Sunday!

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Seed of Faith – I Believe, Resurrection Life  By Pastor Dave  

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:

It’s the HARVEST season! I pray that you are reaping 30, 60 or 100-fold of all the good that you have sown this year!  It is my hope and prayer that as you walk through each day, that you will know that Jesus walks with you.  It is my prayer for you to know the powerful presence and perfect peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ–both as Lord and Savior. Knowing Christ is everything.

Today we come to the second to last line in the Apostles’ Creed.  Line eleven: we “believe in the resurrection of the body.”  As always, I encourage you take a few moments and read chapter 15 of I Corinthians.this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your mind and heart about the power, the hope, and life we can find in the resurrection.

We need to remember that during the time the Creed was written, it was written to defeat false teaching and to proclaim what a person or group believed about Jesus Christ. When the Apostles’ Creed was written, there were many false teachings that were circulated. There are many false teachings today. The world hasn’t changed all that much.  That is why it is important for us to know what we believe and why we believe what we believe.  

There was a teaching in the early church called Gnosticism, and the teachings of the Gnostics are still with us today.  Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis” meaning “knowledge.” The Gnostics believed that people were saved through special knowledge.  They viewed the physical or material world as evil and corrupt. The Greeks believed that the body or flesh was a prison for the soul and that only the soul was immortal. The Early Church put line eleven in the Apostles’ Creed in order to proclaim that God is the creator and what God created was good and the body is part of God’s creation.  When God created Adam and Eve and breathed life into their lungs, God said that His creation was very good. What God creates is good — very good!

The resurrection of the body is a mystery.  After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him.  When Mary realized the man she thought was the gardener was Jesus, Mary was told not to hold on to Him.  The problem is that we were created very good, but something called sin separates us from God.  Because of this separation, God sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus, to suffer under Pontius Pilate, to be crucified, dead and buried.  But the Good News, the greatest news of all, is that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered sin and death forever by rising from the dead.  Hell, death and the grave were defeated at that single moment of the resurrection.

There’s story after story about what happened after the resurrection! Jesus invited the disciples to eat breakfast on the beach. Jesus told Thomas to put his hands in his nail scars and to put his hand into the place where the speared pierced His side. I’ve always gained such hope from these resurrection stories because if Jesus had a resurrected body, be certain that you and I will have one, too.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery. As I studied this Scripture this week, I read how one early church father by the name of Orgien, thought that the resurrection of the body meant the body of Christ as in the church.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery and some of the most profound writings on the resurrection are found here in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  If you have your Bible, turn with me to Paul’s words on the resurrection.

Paul begins with the resurrection of Christ, then turns his attention to the resurrection of the dead and, finally, his longest teaching on the resurrection of the body.

Here is a radical fact! Death is a fundamental human problem.  The truth is that we will all die, but the Good News is that those in Christ will live with resurrected bodies. Christianity stands out alone among all of the world’s faiths and “isms.” Christianity views death as conquered. To be a Christian is to have a “HOPE” resting on the “FACT” that Jesus rose bodily from the grave, saw over 500 people (witnesses) and now lives eternally in heaven at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

We  can have hope in the power of the resurrection.  The writer of Hebrews say that this hope is an anchor to our soul.

The Apostle Paul tries to explain the mystery of the resurrection by not explaining it.  He points to the mystery of a seed and a tree and offers a word picture as an explanation. Of course, I like the idea of the seed …since that is the name of our Church.  We have been given resurrection life and hope through the seed of God’s word.

Tim Keller is a pastor, writer and teacher of a church in New York.  Keller tells the following story about the power of Christ’s resurrection: “A minister was in Italy, and there he saw the grave of a man who had died centuries before who was an unbeliever and completely against Christianity, but a little afraid of it too. So, the man had a huge stone slab put over his grave so he would not have to be raised from the dead in case there is a resurrection from the dead. He had insignias put all over the slab saying, “I do not want to be raised from the dead. I don’t believe in it.” Evidently, when he was buried, an acorn must have fallen into the grave. So, a hundred years later the acorn had grown up through the grave and split that slab wide open and that tiny seed was now a tall, towering, oak tree. The minister looked at it and asked, ‘If an acorn, which has power of biological life in it, can split a slab of that magnitude, what can the acorn of God’s resurrection power do in a person’s life?'”[i]

Friends, here is the Good News of the resurrection.  Here is the hope we have in the resurrection. The minute we decide to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit comes into your life and you are sealed forever in Christ.   This power of the Holy Spirit that takes up residence in our hearts is just like the power of the resurrection—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  One scholar likes to say that we now have some of Jesus’ DNA in us and we are related.  We have this hope of the resurrection.

Stop for moment to think of the things you see as immovable slabs in your life—your bitterness, your insecurity, your fears, your self-doubts, your hurts, your regrets, your past, and even your future. Those things can all be split and rolled away by the mere power of the seed of faith. The more you know Jesus, the more you will grow into the power and the HOPE of the resurrection.

I know that we don’t have time today to plumb the depths of all these passage on the resurrection. I encourage you to read and reread chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  Get a journal or write in your Bible–allow the Holy Spirit,  your teacher, to teach you all things.

So What?
I like the words that Paul uses to contrast the physical life with the resurrected life.

Perishable vs Imperishable!
Dishonor vs Glory!
Weakness vs Power!
Natural vs Spiritual!

Perishable means that our mortal bodies are subject to corruption, decay, sickness, illness and even death.  But our resurrected bodies will not be subject to any of these maladies or conditions. Dishonor means a state of disgrace, shame and sin.  The resurrected body will be raised in “doxa” — glory!  No more sin and no more shame.  No more condemnation. No more disgrace. Weakness!  The Greek word means to be in want of strength, feebleness, illness, incapacity and timidity. When we come to our resurrection, we will have power instead of timidity —no  fear … we will have power!  Natural bodies!  Wow! This old body will be replaced with a body fully filled and fueled by the Holy Spirit.

The perishable will put on imperishability, this body that is swallowed up with shame and sin will be raised in glory, this body that is weak and broken will be given new power, this natural, decaying, dying body will be given life and life abundantly.

So what does the resurrection of Christ mean to YOU? What does your own future resurrection mean to you?  For the early disciples who stood up and proclaimed the Apostles’ Creed, many did so at the expense of life.  Stand this week in the power, hope and life of the resurrection, and recite the Apostles’ Creed as if your life depended on it…because it does.

My prayer is that the resurrected Jesus will meet you in a room where you are gathered, or on the road to Emmaus, or on the beach. I pray that Christ will ask you to put your hand into his resurrected wounds. I pray Christ will fill you PEACE and that you will be still and that you will soak up the life that only the resurrected Christ can give.

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/11/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Forgiveness of Sins   By Pastor Dave  

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8:11

Dear Faithful and Forgiven Friends:

Grace and mercy to you from Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Today marks the 9th anniversary of the church where I pastor, The Seed Christian Fellowship. It’s always an easy date to remember: 10-10-10! I pray that you have a home church that you love and support. The church is the BODY of CHRIST; when you serve a church, you are serving Christ. Happy ninth Birthday, SEED!

Today’s topic is deep and long.  I know we can never plumb the depths of God’s grace and forgiveness, so I am preparing you now — this will be a long devotional thought.  Please stay with it.  There are some nuggets of God’s gold found in the Scriptures here. I encourage you to grab your Bible now, and read Mark 2:1-12 and John 8:1-11.  Take your journal and/or your ipad/notepad and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read.

Let’s go back 1,800 years and let’s imagine the saints from ages past throughout those 18 centuries, and let’s imagine them all gathered together. We’d have to imagine them in homes, prisons, beaches, mountain hideouts, caves, along riverbanks and in churches both large and small. Let’s imagine all of the saint declaring the APOSTLES’ CREED. Can we imagine their faith?  Can we imagine their courage?  Just imagine the hearts and homes and cities and towns that were changed by this proclamation of faith. Since 140 A.D. saints and sinners alike have gathered together to declare exactly what it is that they believe. What a great cloud of witnesses cries out through the centuries.

As we recite The Apostles’ Creed below, imagine those who have gone before us:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;

5. the third day he rose again from the dead;

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost

9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

10. the forgiveness of sins,

11.  the resurrection of the body,

11.  and the life everlasting. Amen

“I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
So what?  What does it mean to you when you say that? What does it mean when you say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”?  What does the forgiveness of sins look like?  What does the forgiveness of sins feel like?  Who forgives the sins of sinners? Can WE forgive the sins of sinners? What are we to do with the forgiveness of sins?  So many questions come to my mind.  I wish we had more time to plumb the depths of this deep, theological statement.

Let me set the stage. The line that we are talking about wasn’t in the original Creed. It was added later. Why?  In 303 A.D. the Emperor of Rome was a man named Diocletian. Diocletian was a cruel and wicked Emperor. Diocletian ordered that the property of the Christians in Rome was to be seized.  He ordered that all books were to be burned, and that all of the places of worship were to be destroyed. All of the Christian leaders/pastors/teachers were imprisoned. (Did you read that? Think of all of the pastors you know, put into prison.)  Many of them were martyred for their faith. Here’s how Diocletian operated: The Christians were ordered to sacrifice to the Roman gods and if they did not, they were imprisoned or martyred. Diocletian was cruel—he impaled people on poles, he burned people at the stake. I think we can understand why so many frightened Christians of this era came out en mass to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. They renounced their faith. By offering public sacrifices to the Romans gods, these Christians had renounced their baptism, and their faith.

After a while, life returned to normal and Christianity was again tolerated as a part of the Roman pluralistic empire. When this happened, a crisis happened in the church. What was the church to do with the Christian believers who had renounced their faith in order to save their lives from the wicked Diocletian and his army? The early church wrestled with questions like: Can these sinners be accepted back into the faith? Should they be baptized again? Should they be permanently be excluded from participating in the Christian community? In all honesty, these were tremendously difficult questions.  This was a time of deep soul -searching for believers. Throughout this struggle, the deepest questions of Christian identity came into focus.

So what?  What is it that makes you a follower of Christ? What can you do if you have strayed away from the faith?  What can you do if you have sinned? Is church just for the pure and holy, or is the church for those who are weak, struggling, and uncertain? This 4th century church crisis led to many discussions regarding clear answers to these questions. It was finally agreed upon: Failures in following Christ or discipleship — even dramatic failures — do not exclude a person from the grace of God.  The early church then added the 10th line into the Apostles’ Creed:  “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

Can you imagine being so afraid of being impaled that you renounced your faith and sacrificed to Roman gods? This line about forgiveness was added to the Apostles’ Creed so that those who had done the renouncing could be included back into the Church. The church went back and forth on this issue. Do we make them be re-baptized? Isn’t baptism a once and forever kind of thing? Now you understand the turmoil involved in just this one line.

In 381 the Nicene Creed was written as a follow-up creed to the Apostles’ Creed and it included the statement, “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” One God, one Lord, one baptism.

This series on the Apostle’s Creed was our SUMMER SERIES. I thought it was going to be dry and boring. It was anything but. Week by week we covered each line. And week by week, the people we excited to learn more about what we believe and how we came to include the Apostles’ Creed in church. During the summer, a young woman came home from Tennessee to visit her parents and grand parents. She came to church with her family and heard the message that you’re reading about. After church, she said, “I want to be baptized.” WOW!  We met and talked about baptism and what it means and then we met in her grandparents’ pool and she was baptized in front of her family. She read the Apostles’ Creed and then asked to be dunked in the pool three times. One for the Father, one for the Son and one for the holy spirit! What a blessing! And then I received a call from a person I had no connection to but you need to hear her story. Wherever this woman works, a young man named Steven serviced the air conditioners. Over the years, they became friends. (Always be your AC service tech’s friend!) Steven was a friend of Don and Don invited Steven to our Wednesday night bible study. Steven did not attend our church but he did attend our bible study. The grandma had shared with Steven that she didn’t have a home church but she wanted to be baptized. Steven asked me for a business card and the next time he serviced the air conditioning at grandma’s work, he gave her the card and said, “You need to call Pastor Dave.” She did.  She called me in July. I met with her in August and her little granddaughter, all of 8 years old, also wanted to be baptized. Guess what? We baptized both of them in Mom and Dad’s pool! The entire family wanted to read the Apostles’ Creed together, and then each of the girls went under three times: one for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was the baptismal confession of the early church? Oh, how have we lost this amazing tradition? I think it’s time to bring it back, don’t you?

As you read Mark 2:12, take a moment and put yourself into the story.  In the Mark passage who would you be? Would you be one of the friends who carried their friend to Jesus?  Would you be the paralyzed man? Would you be a part of the crowd, just watching in disbelief?  Would you be one of the religious leaders who questioned Jesus? Sometimes it’s a good idea to pretend to be all of the characters involved; you gain different perspectives that way.

In the John passage we have a second, powerful story of forgiveness and grace.  Where are you in this story?  Are you looking in someone’s window to find sin?  Are you dragging the sinner out to be accused by Jesus and the crowd?  Are you a part of the crowd? Are you already holding a stone, ready to throw it?  What if you are the person who was caught in sin? Wow. Try being each character in this story.

I love stories of forgiveness.  As I prayed about teaching on the forgiveness of sins, I prayed about what to teach.  I could teach some of the Old Testament words for forgiveness … “nasa” which means to send away, “kapar” which means to cover up. From this we get Yum Kippor — the day of atonement for the covering of sins (which, by the way, was this past Tuesday, October 8th.) The dynamic of forgiveness in the Old Testament is the releasing of the person from their past. The person’s past acts and deeds of sin are not denied, but there is no longer any bondage attached to the sin.  The chains are broken.  The Old Testament teaches that forgiveness brings freedom.

We could spend a little time looking at the New Testament words for forgiveness. No one really knows what Jesus was writing in the sand that day when they brought the woman to him to be stoned.  What do you think He was scribbling in the sand? I think he was writing a Greek word used 76 times in the New Testament:  “aphiemi.” “Aphiemi” means “to leave behind, to send away, to forgive.”  Jesus taught forgiveness!  Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s prayer — “forgive us of our sins, debts, trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.” When Jesus was about to be betrayed, Jesus told them that the cup they shared at the Lord’s Supper was the cup of forgiveness poured out in His blood.  When He hung on the cross, Jesus said — “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I am going to do something a little different today..  Instead of giving you several illustrations of forgiveness that bring the point home, I am giving you 14 Bible passages on forgiveness. I would like for you to spend some time during the next week looking up these passages and reflecting on the stories and the passages.  Write some notes, thoughts and prayers.  I always ask myself — “What is it that you Lord want to teach me in this passage?”  What is that God wants to say to you about forgiveness?

Exodus 34:1-10 … “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

2 Chronicles 7:11-22 … “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Psalm 103:1-12 … “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion …” (Psalm 103:1-4)

Jeremiah 31 … “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Micah 7 … “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

Matthew 6:5-15 … “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)

Mark 2:1-12 … “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

Matthew 18:21-35 — “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33)

Matthew 26:17-30 .. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

Luke 23:26-43 … “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Colossians 3 … “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14)

Ephesians 1:3-14 … “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Acts 13 … “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. (Acts 13:38)

I John 1:1-10 … “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

THE FINAL “SO WHAT?”
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  When you confess your sin, you are set free.  When you forgive yourself, you set yourself free! When you forgive those who have hurt you, abandoned you, offended you, insulted you, upset you, slighted you, cheated you, lied to you or sinned against you … when you forgive them — you set yourself free. Life is too short to go through it living in unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is the only meal that eats you from the inside out. Unforgiveness eats your breakfast, lunch and supper. I get it. People are mean.  People are cruel. People do and say horrible things. When Jesus went to the cross, he died for all sin. He died for YOUR sin and for all the sins committed against you. Put yourself in the story of Luke 23:26-43. Hear the words Jesus spoke from the cross as though they were for you alone. “Father, forgive (put that name in here right now) for they know not what they do.”

Forgiving costs us nothing because forgiving cost Jesus everything. 

AMEN.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/27/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Holy Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:16-18

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Grace and peace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful person of the Holy Spirit.  I have to tell you that one of my favorite persons of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit.  I love how the Holy Spirit speaks to me, guides me, instructs me, teaches me and even corrects me.  A simple prayer every morning when you get up. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart and home, teach me, guide me, heal me and fill me. Amen”

In last week’s devotional we looked at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  “This business is under new management.” Today I would like for us to reflect on the power and person of the Holy Spirit.  Join me as we journey deeper into Jesus as we think about the power and person of the Holy Spirit.

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When Jesus says that He “will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…” what does He mean?  First, let’s look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence.  The first word is the word “another” and in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” means “another one just like the first one.”  Who is the first Advocate?  It is obviously Jesus himself.  Therefore, the second Advocate is just like the first one. The Holy Spirit is a divine being living within all disciples who believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  The Trinity is truly a mystery.  When we speak of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we speak of them as persons.   When John Calvin wrote of the persons of the Trinity, he said, “In the Trinity we have one essence (being) and three subsistence’s.  The three persons of the Godhead subsist in the divine essence (being).”  Now that is a lot of deep, theological language.  The EZ PZ translation: When we recognize God alone as our sovereign creator and we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts to live, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes and lives.  We are sealed with the third person. In essence, we are allowing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — the Trinity–to rule and reign in our lives.  One of the things I witness as a pastor is that we may  have the main question about the Holy Spirit a bit backwards.  Often we ask, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?” I wonder if we should be asking, “How can the Holy Spirit get more of me?”

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Do you know that the role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ? The Holy Spirit acts as a mirror and reflects Christ to us.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who reflects God, teaches us and leads us into all truth.  The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by reproducing more of Jesus in all  believers. “Christian” means “little Christ” and the Holy Spirit does this work in a Christian’s life by reproducing little Christs IN us.  Next in the Greek is the meaning of the word “Advocate,” “Comforter”, or “Counselor”. It is of great importance.  The Greek word for “Advocate” comes from “parakletos” which is a compound of two Greek words: “para” meaning “alongside of” and “kletos” which means “called.”  “Parakletos” therefore means “one who is called alongside of”, another person called alongside you or me as our helper.  The Latin Bible translates “parakletos” as “Advocate,” however, this word can also be translated as “comforter” and “counselor.”  The word “comforter” comes from two words: “cum” which means “with” and “fortis” which means “strength.”  In other words a comforter is a person who comes alongside you or me with strength.  The Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” is the one who will bring us the strength we need in order to live as little Christs.  The Holy Spirit as “Comforter” will bring us strength to withstand the blows and the wounds that we incur in the world.  The “Comforter” gives us the strength and power to stand up and face whatever comes against us.  The Holy Spirit is the one who comes with strength — who is called alongside to guide us, to comfort us, to convict us and challenge us to grow and trust more and more in God (the TRINITY) alone.  The Holy Spirit reflects Jesus Christ so that you and I can reflect Christ to others.

SO WHAT?
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.  When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”  But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package?”  She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents of the package, the power for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.  The power for growth comes from using our spiritual gifts and allowing the fruit of the Spirit to grow and blossom in our lives.  Scripture says that we shall be known by our fruit.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit is defined in Galatians chapter five: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.  This is the power of the Holy Spirit and this is the precious fruit that the HOLY SPIRIT will PRODUCE in you and in me.

When I think of a GPS (Global Positioning System), I realize that not many people can afford a car or system that gives you a GPS.  But, in reality, we all have our own inner GPS — GOD’S PROMISED SPIRIT, GOD’S PERSONAL SPIRIT AND GOD’S POWERFUL SPIRIT — to guide us, to fill us, to strengthen us, to counsel us, to convict us and comfort us….if we let Him in and listen.

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.”

To know about God, the Father, alone is good, to believe in Jesus, as Lord, is great and to be filled with the Holy Spirit is wonderful. Don’t be afraid to open the box — the gift that Christ has given you — the Promise, the Person, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. I love to say that the Holy Spirit is the identical twin of Jesus–except in Spirit.

Today I encourage you to pray, “Holy Spirit, I want you to get more and more and more of me. Consume the parts and pieces of me that don’t serve YOU. Teach me.  Correct me. Produce YOUR fruit in me. Be my counselor, my comforter, and my advocate forever. Amen.”

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me — melt me — mold me — fill me — use me!

Here is a YouTube song about the Holy Spirit. — https://youtu.be/BagH-zTfnsQ

See You Sunday,

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/22/19

Seed of Faith – Under New Management   By Pastor Dave  
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord! Fall is just around the corner. Time for football and pumpkin spice!
We continue our series on the Apostles’ Creed.  Line 8 of the Apostles’ Creed says, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”  Over the next few weeks, we will look at the promise, the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This week, let’s look at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to read John 14:15-27.

Let me tell you a story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. He went regularly to the Salvation Army church. One day he came home rather sad. His wife said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “I’ve just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don’t have a red sweater.” She said, “I’ll knit one.” So she knitted him a red sweater. The next Sunday after he went to church, he still wasn’t happy. His wife said, “What’s wrong this time?” He said, “I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing.”  They were both illiterate, but she said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll embroider some writing on for you.”  She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater said. The Salvation Army has a yellow circle, and inside the circle it reads, “BLOOD AND FIRE.” That’s their motto.  The man’s wife had no idea what the letters said, plus, she couldn’t read. She copied a sign from a store window opposite their home. True, she embroidered the words of the store sign onto his red sweater.  When he came back the next Sunday, she said, “Did they like your sweater?”  “They loved my sweater. Some of them said they liked my sweater better than their sweater.” The sign on the store window she had copied read, THIS BUSINESS IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.

That’s what it means to trust in God alone. That’s what it means to know Jesus as Lord. That’s what it means for the Holy Spirit to fill you: this business (meaning YOU) is under new management.

The Word of God promises us the Holy Spirit. The words “Holy Spirit”, or “Spirit of God”, or “the Spirit of the Lord” are used 131 times in the Bible.  In our Old Testament reading from the prophet Joel, God promises the Holy Spirit, “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)  What a wonderful promise — God will pour out His Spirit upon all people!  On the night before He was to die for our sins, Jesus offered to us the promise of the Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:16-18) Jesus promises to give us another advocate — the Holy Spirit who will be with us forever.  What a powerful and comforting promise.  We will not be orphaned — we will never be alone! We always have the promise of the Holy Spirit.

When I think of the promise of the Holy Spirit, I think of Alka-Seltzer. Alka-Seltzer promises fast relief for fever, body aches, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.  Alka-Seltzer promises healing, wholeness and comfort.  So often we have the medicine for healing, but we do not open the package. What would happen if you dropped an unopened package of Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water?  Of course, nothing would happen. There would be no power, no healing, and no comfort if the package was never opened.  Yet there is a promise for comfort if we open the package and watch it fizz away!

So What?
The promise of the Holy Spirit is given to us when Jesus tells us that he will ask His Father to send the Holy Spirit to come and be with us forever. This past weekend in church, a little girl spilled her cup of gold fish crackers on the floor. I told her father that we could get a broom.  Then I realized that the closet was locked and there was no broom.  Someone came up and started talking to me and I got distracted. I turned around and watched the young dad get down on the floor and pick up all the little gold fish that had been scattered over the floor.  Some of the gold fish had been stepped on and were smashed.  The father picked them all up and put them back in the cup.

Later this week, I thought about that encounter on Sunday morning with spilled and smashed gold fish. I thought about our Father sending His Son to promise us that the Holy Spirit would come and fill our hearts.  I believe that one of the truths of the Holy Spirit is that He wants to come into our hearts and fill us so that our lives are under new management.  I saw God sending His Son to bend down and pick up all the spilled and smashed pieces of our lives and offer to put us back together.

The week — take some time and reflect on the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to open the package and be filled with the Holy Spirit … plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a re-builder He is.  The Holy Spirit will come in and pick up the spilled and smashed pieces of your life! It’s fall and I’m thinking I need a new red sweater with yellow writing that says: Under New Management!

There’s so much more to say about this third person of the Trinity. In closing, I want you to know I’ve found the Holy Spirit to be a gentle friend, not a pushy one. My fear was that once I accepted Christ into my heart as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit would plow in and take over.  Soon I’d be on the street corners with a megaphone shouting about heaven and hell.  Nope. Never happened. Once I accepted Christ, I had this warm sense that I had a friend who wanted to make me the best me I could be. I started feeling good when I read the Bible and when I did kind things for my wife and children. I started feeling happy when I listened to praise music. Little by little, I was inspired to be a better person. So far, I haven’t ever stood on a street corner–but you never know, it could happen!  The Holy Spirit is a great respecter of who you are and of what gifts and talents you have. I love to study. I love to read. I love to learn. Made perfect sense to go to seminary. I love to watch as God transforms people. Made sense to become a pastor. I’ve been on this Holy Spirit journey since 1981. It’s more of an inside-out change than it is outside-in. I couldn’t do life without the Holy Spirit.

Before I close, Jac and I had our appointments with our doctor. Three years ago, Jac was a 12 on the scale and now she is a 6. She’s rid her body of half of the lead she contained! I started at 10 and am now at 4! I have one chelation left and will do that in January of 2020.  I should read NORMAL next summer.  Jac has a little longer road to travel but she’s happy she’s halfway through. Keep the prayers coming!
See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/12/19

Seed of Faith –  I Believe – First Importance By Pastor Dave  

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (I Corinthians 15:3-8)

Dear Friends:

It’s been hot! Only a few weeks until September 23 and we officially begin FALL! I love the heat and I love the summer–it’s my favorite time of the year! I hope and pray that you are growing in Christ’s grace as we meet each week. On a health note, my wife and I go to the doctor this coming Tuesday to get our lead level test results. Pray we have lowered our numbers; while you’re praying–let’s pray for under 2! That would be a miracle!

Last week … we ended with a so what?  Here it is if you missed it.
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others in your life even know that you believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him?

I will tell you that this is one reasons that I wear my cross on the outside of my shirts. I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS as I love myself. The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell the others that they had lived with Jesus. They heard His teaching, His preaching. They saw the miracles! They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching which He condensed to two commandments: love God, love others.

When we read the above passage in I Corinthians, it sounds a little like the Apostles’ Creed, doesn’t it? The Apostle Paul followed Jesus because he had seen  risen Jesus and encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He was on a “Christian Killing” Crusade but God turned it into something so much more. Paul became one of those Christians he was so used to murdering. It’s quite a phenomenal story.

Today we come to the line in The Apostles’ Creed that says, “HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN…and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

Dr. Gardner Taylor, a pastor in New York City and a professor at Harvard Divinity School, told a story in one of his lectures. He was preaching in Louisiana during the Depression. Electricity was just coming into that part of the country, and Taylor was out in a rural church that had one, little light bulb hanging down from the ceiling to light up the entire sanctuary. He was preaching away, and in the middle of his sermon, the electricity went out. The building went pitch black.  Dr. Taylor didn’t know what to say or do. He stumbled around until one of the elderly deacons sitting in the back of the church cried out, “Preach on, preacher! We can still see Jesus in the dark!”[i]

There’s a thought. Can you still see Jesus in the dark? Sometimes that’s the only time we can see Jesus —in the dark. In the dark night of our soul with nowhere to go–we are forced to look around our darkness. The good news of the Gospel is that whether we can see Jesus in the dark or not, Jesus can see us in the dark! He has ascended (Jesus has risen up) from the grave. He has risen up into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. What does Jesus do there? HE PRAYS FOR YOU and ME! “Intercedes” is the word. Do you know what that word means? Get ready, it’s powerful: INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER. Keep with me. What does “intervene” mean? It means “to come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events.” Are you still with me? When Jesus says He has gone to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand to intercede for you, He is coming between you and your situation in order to prevent or alter a result or a course of events–JUST FOR YOU…on your behalf. I  don’t know about you but I needed to hear this today!

When we were in Zambia in 2015, we went to worship at the Jesus Army Church on a Sunday morning.  The electricity went on and go off all during the worship.  That never stopped the worship team from singing and playing and worshiping.  If the electricity went off, they just kept on singing.  I’ve thought a lot about that.  THIS is exactly what we are called to do.  No matter what, we are called to keep witnessing and sharing the hope and power of the resurrection with everyone we meet. Whether it’s smooth sailing or rough waters!

So What?
Speaking of smooth sailing or rough waters, our son had a football coach who was often heard telling his team, “Don’t tell me how rough the waters are just bring the ship home!”  There’s quite a bit of truth here. We’ve been given a big job, a huge task: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. It isn’t as easy as it looks. We all love it when life is sailing along and the sea is like glass. Those are the fun times; not a care in the world. But then the darkness creeps in, doesn’t it? And you’re up at night with a sinking feeling in your heart and gut. And it stays for way too long. I think this line in the creed is there for us to remember: no matter how dark it gets…Jesus is interceding on your behalf. Jesus is intervening on your behalf. He sits between YOU and GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY…trying to calm the rough waters, or trying to calm YOU in the rough seas.

Recently I took my family to see TOY STORY 4. I loved it. I’ve talked about it for weeks. “Who are you like in the movie?” I’m Woody. I feel a huge responsibility to make sure everyone gets to heaven. I deal with a lot of FORKY types–people who think they are trash and not one of God’s personal favorites! Listen, you are not trash. You never were. God thought you up. Created you. Made you uniquely special. And you have a job as a Christian: love God, love others as you love yourself.

Friends, each one of us are in a TOY STORY of our own making. We are an action figure for Jesus Christ and for His ministry on earth. It’s a big job we’ve been given. I will tell you to bring your ship home–but I will also tell you that when you are out there in the roughest of seas–Jesus is with you. When you are in the darkest night of your soul, Jesus is with you. Whether you can see Him or not, He’s there. And He is there interceding for you…on your behalf…to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. The end result is that our life on earth is used to display our LOVE FOR GOD and our LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER. Can you do that? Can you trust Jesus to intercede for you?

No matter what. Can you trust Jesus to pray for you? When you’re up at 2 a.m.–can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When the test results are what you hoped for, can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When Plan Z seems so far away and Plan A has blown up in your face, can you pray, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” That’s your homework for the week. TRUST JESUS…in all things…in all hours of the day and night…and go out there in faith knowing that Jesus is interceding for you, on your behalf–to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY.

King of cool that we serve a KING who rose from the dead.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/5/19

Seed of Faith – I BELIEVE — JESUS HIGHLY EXALTED   By Pastor Dave  

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:8-11

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord.  It is my prayer that you are walking with Jesus and that His grace and love surround you today and everyday. Throughout the summer, we have been working our way through a series on the Apostles’ Creed.  If you have not had a chance to read the other Seeds of Faith on this series, you can go to our website — www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

The question that I would like for us to reflect on today is “Why is the ascension important?”

First, the ascension is important because it tells us that Jesus’ earthly ministry was completed and that Jesus has gone to be with God the Father to begin His heavenly ministry of interceding for us, (that’s a powerful thought. Jesus ascended into heaven and prays for us.) Second, the ascension is important because Jesus’ earthly ministry has been delegated–to us! (Read that again!)

Today we will look at the first point.  I encourage you to pick up your Bible. Read Acts 1:1-11 and Philippians 2:5-11.

So What? does it mean that Jesus is Highly Exalted?

Luke wrote both of his books (the book of Luke and the book of Acts) to a person named “Theophilus,” a name translated “friend of God.” Whether Theophilus is a real individual or whether Theophilus is any “friend of God” is open to debate, but clearly Luke is writing to a community eager for more detailed and accurate information concerning the origin, history and meaning of the Christian faith. At the beginning of his gospel, Luke tells us he intends “to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”  In Acts, Luke jumps right into the action and says, “In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (1:1-2).

In his gospel, Luke wants Theophilus (friend of God) to “know the truth,” and in Acts he begins by making a strong connection between the life of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. As the book of Acts begins, an important transition takes place. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, all of the work of preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God was done by Christ alone.  Jesus spent three years training, preparing, instructing and teaching the disciples for their future calling to be “martures”– the Greek word for “witnesses.”  Jesus’ great work of providing redemption for us through His life, death and resurrection is now finished and Luke is determined to encourage those of us left behind.

So What?
Here’s what I want you to think about: Is Christ’s work of ministry and proclamation finished? Or is Luke writing to tell us that this is now our job–to finish Christ’s work!? That’s a profound idea. Here’s another question:  Are we? Are we finishing the work Jesus started? Are we loving God and loving others as we love ourselves? Am I ? Are you? Pastor Dave, now you are meddling.

George Whitefield, a famous English pastor, was getting the people of Edinburgh out of their beds at 5 o’clock in the morning in order to hear his preaching. One morning a man who was on his way to the church met David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic. Surprised at seeing him on his way to hear Whitefield, the man said, “I thought you did not believe in the gospel.” Hume replied, “I do not, but he does.”[i] Ah. Perhaps we are here to be a witness to the skeptics? Love God.  Love others. I don’t know but maybe God wants to use you among your circle of influence?

Here’s another meddling question:
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others even know that you believe in Jesus and follow Him? I think this is a question we all must finally come to. This is one reason that I purposefully wear my cross on the outside of my shirt, I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS. I cannot tell you how often people will make a comment to me about my cross. It’s been a great conversation starter.

The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell others that they had seen Him, been taught by Him and lived with Him. They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching: love God, love others.

The challenge today is what are we doing with the witness of the resurrection and the ascension in our lives, our homes, our families, our friends, our workplaces, and neighborhoods?  Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus?

If I started preaching at 5 a.m. in Central Park in Cucamonga, would you come listen? (Relax, not happening.)

I’m praying for you. Pray for me.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do i,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/23/19

Seed of Faith – WWJS -What Would Jesus Say — Follow Me By Pastor Dave  

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Mark 1:16-17

Dear faithful and thankful Seed-Sowers:

It is almost Thanksgiving!  I would like to thank each and everyone of you.  You have touched my life and the life of my wife and family in so many gracious ways.  We are blessed and we are thankful.

This weekend I am in Pittsburgh to celebrate my mentor and my spiritual director’s retirement after 47 years in ministry.  What a wonderful and faithful servant the Rev. Dr. John Gray Hamilton is. “Hammy” or John followed Jesus and served in four different churches during his 47 years of ministry. Think of all of the lives he has touched and changed by sharing God’s grace and love. Think of giving over 2,000 sermons! By the way, our church heard that I wanted this Sunday off so that I could fly out to Pittsburgh and attend John’s last Sunday service. Someone purchased my airfare, another purchased my hotel, and other anonymous people donated the funds for a car rental, and meals. Imagine that: the church being the hands and feet and heart and soul of Jesus.

John Hamilton was my home-church pastor for 13 years. He was the pastor who helped me to decipher my call into ordained ministry. He followed Jesus and he taught me how to listen and follow Jesus for myself.  Today that my hope and prayer, that we all listen and follow Jesus.

Our reading comes from the Gospel of Mark. Let’s pray before we begin. “Lord, Jesus, You are our Lord and Savior, You call us to come and follow You.  Help us to have ears to hear, eyes to see, arms and feet ready to follow and serve wherever you call us.  May your Words become life to our weary souls.  Amen”

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.  Mark 1:14-17

Retired minister and author, Bob Russell, told the following account to illustrate how Christians often go along with the moral pace of those around us, and that, by comparison, we feel safe since “Everyone is doing it,” therefore, we’re okay. Russell writes:  Two months ago my wife and I were visiting our son Rusty and his family. One day Rusty was test-driving a foreign-made car and was frustrated because he couldn’t figure out how to change the speedometer reading from kilometers to miles.  That evening he suggested we take the kids and all go out for ice cream. “We’ll need to take two cars,” he insisted, “so you and mom just follow me.” I followed him … and was surprised when a policeman whizzed up behind us with his lights flashing. I couldn’t imagine he was after me because it didn’t feel like I was speeding. And besides, I was going the exact same speed as the guy in front of me.  The officer came up to my window and said, “Sir, you were going 58 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. But wait right here, I’m going to deal with the car in front of you, and I’ll be right back.” When he went to my son’s car, Rusty quivered, “Officer, I know this is going to sound like a line, but this is the first day I’ve driven this car, and I can’t figure out how to change it from kilometers to miles, so I had no idea how fast I was going. The guy behind me is my dad, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing either!”[i]

Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t really buy you much of an excuse with God, does it?

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, is put into prison.  John had been baptizing people in the Jordan and calling for them to repent. Jesus continues the story line by calling the people to repentance, Jesus also calls them to believe in the Good News!  This may be the only place in Scripture where we are told by Jesus to believe in the Good News. Imagine THE REAL, LIVE, GOOD NEWS is telling the people to believe in the good news! (Would have loved to be there.) Let’s go to the Greek word Jesus’ uses for “believe” is a present active imperative.  In the Greek it means that this a command and the action of believing is non-stop and ongoing.  To “believe” in the Greek culture was to place your trust, to rely on, to have confidence in and to put your faith in…the good news.  The good news of what Jesus was saying and  — not just once, but every day, every hour and every minute of every year.

Jesus is saying, “Hear the Good News!  The time has come! The Kingdom of God is near. The time that God will rule and reign is right here. The time for God to have supremacy is at hand.  The time has come for us to change our minds, to turn back, to turn around and to change direction is at hand.” You know how I always ask you to put yourself in the story?  This is no different. Put yourself on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This Jesus character is going from boat to boat; asking people to repent, be baptized, and follow Him. I propose a preposterous idea: maybe today you are hearing Jesus calling out to you:  turn around, come back, change your mind, repent, be baptized and follow. Is this the GOOD NEWS you are hoping for? Could it be that Jesus wants us to put our trust in Him? To have confidence and faith in Him? And not just today but for every single day of the rest of our lives?

RADICAL CALL — FOLLOW ME
In the days of Jesus, we need to understand how amazingly radical the call of Jesus really was.  During the days of Jesus, the Rabbis (the priests of the synagogue) would come to town and choose the best and brightest of the boys to become their disciples.They would take them and train and educate them. The boys who were not chosen would go into their father’s businesses. We can assume that Peter and Andrew, James and John and the rest of the disciples were not among the best and brightest because they were working in their father’s businesses. Imagine the scene: Jesus comes walking along the shore and calls out to them sitting in their boats, “FOLLOW ME.” The Greek word for “follow” is “opiso” — “come after or come behind.”  Put yourself here into this story.  You have grown up in a little fishing village called Bethsaida.  You’ve made a trip or two to Jerusalem, but most likely never traveled very far from home.  You have no hope of doing anything greater than working in your father’s fishing boat.

Listen again to Jesus words …  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

What a radical message! Let me tell you how I heard Jesus say, “Follow me.” “Hey, hey, you!  Dave Peters, I see you. Working in the family business selling tires!  You.  Yes, you! FOLLOW ME.” At first, all I thought Jesus wanted was for me to shape up a little.  And then a little more.  And then a whole lot more!  Here’s what I want to say to you today: Let Christ rule and reign in your life.  Repent. Turn around, change your mind, your heart and your direction. Believe and keep on believing.  Never stop having trust and faith in this Good News!  What a radical call!  “Come follow me, (insert your name)!  I will make you fishers of people!”

RADICAL OBEDIENCE!
What happens? These untrained, uneducated fishermen follow Jesus!  They had never traveled very far.  They had never talked about much other than what was happening in their fishing village. And along comes Jesus; their world is turned upside down.  History tells us that John became the Bishop of Ephesus, Peter went to Rome, and Andrew went as far as the borders of Russia! By following Jesus, their hearts were enlarged enough to take in the whole world— not just the four corners of Bethsaida.

Immediately the men left everything and followed Jesus. Take note: one of the radical demands of a radical call by Jesus is that you must respond with a radical obedience. (“Immediately” means at once, without delay, without hesitation.)

So What? What a year we’ve had so far.  I don’t know about you but 2019 has not been an easy year, it’s had some ups and downs. I’m ready to begin a new decade, are you? 2020–here we come!

As we begin to study this new series, I want us to hear the words of Jesus as if they were spoken to us. I want us to hear them with new ears fresh every morning. “(YOUR NAME,) follow me.”

Remember Bob and Rusty Russell? Rusty had no idea as to how fast he was driving…but Bob—Bob knew exactly how fast his car was going: 58 in a 45. Bob had decided to follow Rusty. That’s our choice each and every day, are we going to follow Rusty or are we going to follow Jesus? The world behind me, the cross before me…sounds like a catchy tuna–I mean, tune.

Maybe for this series, you can go and get a new journal.  Call it your “SEED OF FAITH GOOD BYE 2019” journal. Let’s study all the times Jesus (the good news) calls us to FOLLOW Him!  It’s going to be another great series. I’m praying for you. Kiss the wave.

Let me explain, this is a famous quote by Charles H. Spurgeon. “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the ROCK OF AGES!” I remember wrestling with my call to go into ordained ministry. I went to see Pastor John. We met over a series of time. We prayed. He checked in with me and listened to me. I remember one day, I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry. No doubt about it.  John looked at me and said, “Okay, I’ve been waiting for this day. Dave, if you can do anything else–then go do that but if you must answer this call–then know that it will break your heart.” I said, “I know. I must follow.” John has been there for me for the past 22 years of my ordained ministry, for my 3 years of seminary, and for my many other years when I served as youth director. He was wise and he was right. Following the call of Christ has broken my heart…but in a good way.

The world behind me, the cross before me. I have decided to follow Jesus. Go ahead, get that journal out.

See You Sunday …

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/16/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen and Amen   By Pastor Dave  

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:20-22

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:

We come to end of our series on the Apostle’s Creed just as I come to the end of my 12-day vacation! Jac and I drove from SOCAL to WACO, TX! We enjoyed our two grandsons and our son and his lovely wife. Jac can’t fly yet due to her lead levels, so we drive: 3 days there and back. We have been so very blessed by our alone time in the car; God has been refreshing and renewing our souls. It’s good to get away and it’s going to be good to get back to ministry at the SEED.

I suggest you take a few moments to read Revelation 3:14-22 & Revelation 22:17-21.  In the opening of the letter we hear, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” Do you see what I see?  Jesus is the faithful and true AMEN!

Today let’s think about three images of Christ:  the patience of Christ, the plea of Christ and the place of Christ at our table. Each one worthy of a SEED OF FAITH!

In William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of The World,” Christ is holding a lantern and knocking at a door. (See bottom right, top photo.)  I had always heard that Christ was knocking at the door of the human heart asking for entrance.  This passage puts a whole new twist on that thought: Could Christ be also knocking on the door of the church?  I think it’s easy for us to envision Christ  knocking on the door of our heart, or knocking on the door of our home.  Have you ever thought about Christ knocking on the door of our churches? Profound thought here.

Let’s look at the painting and see if we can find some of the rich symbolism in it. First, there is no handle on the outside of the door. Why? Isn’t that odd? Could it be that even though Christ desires entry, He never forces his way in. Instead, He must be invited in, the door must be opened from the inside. The decision is ours as to whether Jesus Christ will be invited in–or not. Next, look at the hinges in the picture. They are rusted and the bolts are broken. The door is held in place by vines; showing that the door has never been used or the vines would be torn. Third, Jesus is holding a lantern. The symbolism is to show that Jesus is the light of the world. Outside, there is a neglected garden overgrown with weeds, there are fruit trees which have not been pruned, and a crop which has been lost because of the lack of tending. There is fruit that has fallen on the ground near the feet of Christ symbolizing Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, and that all of mankind has fallen away from God.  One more observation, there is a bat above the door, a nocturnal creature which loves the night. It is dark outside, pointing to the truth of the Scripture, “This is the verdict: ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.’” (John 3:19).

There is so much more in this painting but as we see the painting and read the scripture, “Behold I stand at the door and knock,”  I think we need to ask some questions.

The first question is: To whom is Christ speaking? I had always thought that Christ was speaking to each individual, and that the door represented each individual’s human heart. Christ is knocking because He wants to come into our hearts and lives. I’m not saying that this is incorrect because I have a sneaky suspicion that Christ does want entry into each and every heart. I also want to consider the context. In this chapter, Jesus is speaking to the church.  Isn’t it wild that in this picture Jesus is asking for admission into his own church? Apparently, the church had closed the door on him and never answered his knock.

The three P’s of Christ:
1.  THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST — “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”

Do you see the great love that God has for us, and for His church, as Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks and keeps on knocking over and over, and is still, today, patiently knocking? Sometimes the knock comes through suffering or grief, hardships or difficulties, sickness or death, financial loss or family problems–whatever the case may be–Jesus stands patiently knocking at the door of your heart and the door of his church. It’s totally up to us to open the door and invite Christ inside.

2.  THE PLEA OF CHRIST — “If you hear my voice and open the door…”

The plea of Christ is that we hear His voice.  Each letter to the seven churches of Revelation ends with the words, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  In the Greek language the word “to hear” means to obey, to follow through or to act upon what you had just heard. The plea of Christ is for us to hear the sound of his voice as He stands knocking at the door, and for us to open the door wide so that He may come in.  Remember, we must open the door from the inside. Christ will not open the door.  He will not force Himself upon us.  Christ never forces anyone into salvation. It’s a choice of our free will.  Freely He offers salvation to you and me by grace. Everywhere in Scripture Jesus offers himself to men and women, and grieves over the fact that many do not receive Him. Remember the remarkable scene in the Gospels during Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem as he comes over the top of the Mount of Olives and sees the city spread out beneath him? Jesus wept over the rebellious city saying, “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You stone the prophets and kill everybody God sends to you. How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not…” (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34)  Christ wants us to act upon his knocking—he wants us to open the door, to invite him in, to say to him, “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter my life. Be my Lord. Be my Savior. Deliver me from my sins — and from myself.” As Christ stands at the doors of our churches, shouldn’t we say,  “Come in, Lord Jesus. Enter our church. Be our Lord.  Be our Savior. Deliver us from our sins and from ourselves”? Isn’t this the whole plea to the 7 churches in Revelation? This isn’t a knock-knock joke at all.  This is a call to HEAR and ANSWER and OPEN THE DOOR and INVITE CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS, HOMES AND CHURCHES. If you hear His plea, open the door. Churches, don’t resist the Gospel; open the doors!

3.  THE PLACE OF CHRIST AT OUR TABLE — “I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me…”

The third plea is very clear. Jesus will enter in! He says so right here, “If you open the door, I will enter in and remain with you. We will eat together and be together.” What a beautiful picture of Christ: permanently dwelling within you. He will move in and live with you.  The actual word for “eat” here is the Greek word “deipneo” which refers to the evening meal or supper.  Supper was the main meal of the day.  Breakfast was a slice of dry bread dipped in wine.  Lunch was seldom eaten at home. But supper was the time to sit down and fellowship in the home after the work of the day was done. Have you ever traveled to Europe or Mexico? Dining together is an event. It isn’t like here in America:  hurry up and eat so we can do homework, go to a sport’s game, watch TV or go to bed! NO! It’s like sit down, take a load off your feet, sit back, breathe, enjoy this space to just BE–and share the great gift of TIME with your family. Tell stories, laugh and remember.  Build relationships. Back then in Jesus’ time, supper was a time of intimacy and relationship, sharing and fellowship–it was called “communion.” Wow. Let that sink in.

This is not a mere courtesy visit that Christ is promising.  He desires to come in, sit down and spend a long time with us in communion, in conversation, in relationship with us.  This is the place Christ desires: sitting with us at our table; a table filled with intimacy,relationship, sharing and communion.  Jesus patiently stands at the door and knocks. Knock, Knock. No joke. Jesus’ plea is that we hear His voice and open the door. He longs to take his place at the table.

SO WHAT?
“So what?” is it that you believe about God the Father?  What is it that you believe about Jesus?  What is that you believe about the Holy Spirit?  What is that you believe about the church and the communion of the saints?  What is that you believe about forgiveness?  What is that you believe about the resurrection and life everlasting? It’s all right here in this APOSTLES’ CREED.

This past week has been a hard week in ministry. Actually, it’s been the most intense month of ministry I’ve ever had. I’ve sat at the bedside of a person who is preparing to go home to meet Jesus face to face. This person wanted to bless her four grandchildren. We’ve been meeting and planning and we were able to complete her plan this week by meeting with each grandchild and blessing them with the meaning of their name. A holy time for me to be able to share that with her. There’s another person who I’ve been visiting regularly who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This man is a longtime friend and coworker in the ministry.  He is a retired surgeon.  Every week, I go and sit with him.  Sometimes other doctors and  friends come by when I am there. We sit out in the hot sun and we laugh and remember the good times and the memories we’ve made together. I have been with him in the hospital when he has gone for treatment.  My friend asks everyone he meets this one, simple question since being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Here’s his question. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?” Go ahead. Answer the question. Take all the time you need. “If I believe the way you believe, what will happen to me when I die?”  My dear friend has been sharing the Good News of the resurrection with others as he walks with Jesus through this difficult diagnosis.

So What?  What is it that you believe?  The final thing I want to tell you is this: IF YOU BELIEVE LIKE I BELIEVE…when you die—you will be present with the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I see this all the time. Over and over, the faith of the person dying impacts the way they die. I’ve truly been blessed to be at so many bedsides.

I know a person who had a near death experience.  This person is my wife. She saw heaven. She saw Jesus…on a white horse…riding her way. She saw the celestial city. Said it’s a million Disneylands and prettier and more majestic than you can imagine. The city was filled with people and the people were filled with JOY…the kind of contagious JOY that we cannot imagine. This person told me, “I used to be so afraid of dying. But ever since that experience in June of 2000—I’m not afraid. I’m anxiously waiting for that final call home.” Whenever we talk about death, she says the same thing…word for word. For 19 years now, she’s never changed a word of her story. Jesus, white horse, sword in hand, millions of miles of castles, a city filled with people and love and joy! This lady opened the door to her heart on a dark night in Rochelle, IL, on August 30, 1979. She’s never been the same since that day. She opens her Bible and devours the word each day. She listens to Christian music 24/7. She’s developing a relationship with Jesus. They sit and share communion. She writes, she reads, she sings, she thinks about her life with Christ. I’m here to tell you, I’ve witnessed it and I want to witness it in you, too.

Open the door. Invite Christ in. Here’s a scenario: Jesus is standing outside the door of your heart. Open the door and say, “I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I know that you are Jesus and that you’ve already died for my sins. Come in. Sit. Read with me. Talk with me. Teach me. Amen.”

And that’s the Apostles’ Creed in a nutshell.

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10.  the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11.  the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12.  the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13.  and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

See you Sunday —God loves you. He sent His only Son to die for you. Open the door. Communion.

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/8/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe – Amen   By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed-Sowers:

Well, we’ve made it!  We have made to the end of The Apostles’ Creed. Congratulations on making it through this 12-week series. By now, you should know a little more of what you believe and why. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was written around 140 A.D. as a baptismal confession for people joining the church?

Join me as we read The Apostles’ Creed together. I would like to add the word “AMEN” at the end of each line. Here we go:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!

5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!

6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!

7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!

8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!

9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!

10. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!

11. the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!

12. the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!

13. and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]

So What?  After a dozen weeks, what is it that you believe about God our Father in Heaven?  What is it that you believe about God the Son, our Savior who came from heaven and died for us?  What do you believe about the person and work of the Holy Spirit? What do you believe about the Holy universal, all-embracing catholic church? (That is what catholic means–universal.) What do you believe about the communion of the saints?  What do you believe about the forgiveness of sins?  Do you know that you know that you know that YOU are forgiven? Do you know that we are commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us? What do you believe about the resurrection of the body?  What do you believe about the life everlasting?

It is my hope that after spending 12 weeks studying the CREED that your faith has been strengthened and that you know more emphatically what you believe and why you believe it.  It is my prayer that, as we finish the series, you can and will, stand and say, “YES and AMEN” to the ancient, but relevant, Apostles’ Creed.

So What? What does the word “AMEN” mean? We say it all the time. “Amen.” What do you think it means?

Do you know that the word “AMEN” is used by the Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims?  The word “AMEN’ is used in many languages, and may be the most widely known word in the entire world. Our next-door neighbors are Korean. Each morning, when I go out to do my reading and prayer time, my neighbor does, too. We don’t speak the same language but I can understand my neighbor. As he prays, I hear him saying, “Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen and amen.” Every morning at about 6 am, he prays one word: AMEN for 15 -20 minutes. I often wonder if he’s reading the Scriptures and then just agreeing with the WORD.

Point 1 for today: “AMEN” is a word that is one of the most widely known words in all the world.  Point 2: What does AMEN mean? In the Hebrew language the word means “so it is” or “let it be,” derived from a verb meaning “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in, to trust.”  In the thirty times that “AMEN” appears in the Old Testament it precedes a statement and the people are agreeing that they believe and put their trust in the WORD of God.  The people are agreeing as one body that what will be said will be reliable, sure and firm. The significance of using “AMEN’ is that the people are agreeing that what they heard, they had just adopted as their very own.  In essence, they are saying, “We can take what was just said to the bank.  What was just said is as solid as a rock foundation. What was just said is reliable and we can trust it with our life.” AMEN? AMEN!

Our two Scripture readings for today come from the Gospel of Matthew and from the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Before we go to the Words of life, let us come before the giver of life in prayer. “Lord, God of all creation, we come to say “AMEN’ to your Word of life found in our scriptures.  May Your Words of life be a solid foundation for us, a firm and reliable foundation that will withstand the storms of life.  Amen and Amen”

Matthew 7:24-29
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law..

In the Gospel words we just heard, Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount and had just given His new disciples a detailed “to do” list. Jesus laid down His vital principles for life (Matthew chapters 5-7) and is now applying the final word of truth: AMEN.  This section is the “So What” part of Jesus’ message.  Jesus is confronting His followers with the two possibilities they will face in life:  Will they be wise or will they be foolish? Will they build on the solid rock or will they build on sinking sand?

Warnings about being wise or foolish are found all over the Scriptures. The two men in Jesus’ house story have the same desire–they each long to build a house.  They each want the same thing. At the beginning of the story, there’s no difference between the two. But then it appears, the foolish man does not take the time to listen to others.  The foolish man does not investigate all of the possibilities of how the building should be built.  The foolish man does not look at the blueprints or ask for advice, he just throws up his building.

We are told a little more of the Sermon on the Mount story in Luke’s account in chapter six.  Luke tells us that the wise man dug down deep and laid his foundation on rock, not on the sinking sand. The difference between the two builders is that the wise man did listen, he investigated and desired to build on a solid foundation.

So What?
Will we be wise or will we be foolish? Will we build on the solid rock or will we build on sinking sand?

Remember the word “AMEN” means  “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in or to trust.” What is it that you are saying “AMEN” to you your life?  What is it that you are staking your life on?  What is it that you take to the bank as totally reliable and true? What are you building your life upon?

Jac and I are in Texas as I write this SEED OF FAITH. We drove here. We left earthquake country and entered tornado country.  As we stopped at one of the roadside rest stops in Texas, I noticed a door with a sign on it, “STORM SHELTER.” It made me think.  In California, you have 10-60 seconds to get ready for an earthquake. I remember this summer when we had two back-to-back earthquakes. We were out back cleaning up the pool. The cement block walls started waving back and forth.  Javon hollered, “Earthquake!” The next steps are: DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. Hopefully, you have an outside storage area with water and food supplies. This method is way different from preparing for midwest tornadoes. The sirens go off. You have a five-10 minute warning to seek shelter. You avoid rooms with windows. When we lived in Missouri and Illinois, we ran to the basement. In Texas, we ran to the closet under the stairs. We already had the important items stocked there: flashlights, batteries, storm radio, water and snacks.
Can you see what Jesus is trying to say? KNOW the layout of the land that you are building your house upon. In the case of Christ, build your heart upon Christ, the solid foundation. He is the ROCK OF AGES.

My guess is that you know your area and that you are somewhat prepared for a storm or earthquake but what I really want to know as your pastor, are you building your life on the solid foundation of God’s word? I pray so!
Can I get an AMEN?

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10-25-19

Seed of Faith – I Believe — Everlasting Life   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Dear  Faith-Filled Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:
Are you being blessed by the Lord and walking in His grip of grace today? If not, why not? Grace is free! Costs you nothing because the cost has already been paid by Christ.

We are coming to end of our study of the Apostle’s Creed.  If you have not had a chance to get all the Seed’s of  Faith or would like the full manuscripts of the messages, please send me an email at pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will get them to you.

“I Believe — Everlasting life!”

What is everlasting life? Who wants everlasting life?  Why was this line added to the end of the Apostles’ Creed?  These are a few of the questions that come to my mind as think about the closing lines of Apostles’ Creed. Last week we talked about our hope being anchored in the fact, the reality and the truth, of the resurrection. Have you ever thought about how different our lives would be if there had been no resurrection? Inconceivable really.

Today we turn our thoughts to the last line … “and the life everlasting.”

There is so much written on “everlasting life or eternal life.” Right now, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read John 3:1-22. What is Jesus’ response to Nicodemus visit in the middle of the night? Next, reflect on Jesus’ response to the woman at the well found in John 4:1-26  A few of the verses are recorded above. In John chapter 6 the words “eternal life- everlasting life” are recorded three times.

So what is eternal life?

Realizing that he would soon be gone from this world, Moody said to a friend, “Someday you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody of Northfield is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone higher, that is all—out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that sin cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned into His glorious body. I was born in the flesh in 1837; I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die; that which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”[i]

Nic at night (both a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin) figured this out: Rank doesn’t matter, hand-tailored clothes don’t matter, Gucci sandals don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter that I eat at the five-star place in town or have the biggest house filled with the finest things. Why? BECAUSE OF THAT WILL PERISH. What Jesus is after here is my spirit. Jesus is after my heart, mind, body and soul. My flesh will die but my spirit will live forever!

After THE LAST SUPPER—which wasn’t really known by that, by the way—Jesus prayed. He prayed for the believers, He prayed for future believers, and He prayed for Himself. (Yes, it’s okay to pray for yourself!)  His prayer is found in John 17. The whole chapter is one long prayer.  This is how John (his bff) records the opening of Jesus’ prayer,  “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3)

Did you hear the powerful message of eternal life in verses 2 and 3? God has granted all authority to Jesus in order for Jesus to be the giver of eternal life.  What does Jesus say eternal life is? “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent…”

I know this message has a lot of Scriptures, but the theme of “eternal life” is imprinted in all of them. God is eternal.  In Isaiah God is called the “The Lord is Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4) and in Jeremiah God is called the “King Eternal.” (Jeremiah 10:10) Since God is eternal so are all God’s attributes, blessings and love. The Psalms tells us repeatedly that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

The words “eternal life” are used 42 times in the New Testament. Eternal Life is the major theme of the Bible.  For the writers of the Bible, “eternal life” meant more than just life everlasting. Eternal Life was a quality of existence that held no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, and no more death.  Eternal life meant a life that continues forever in the presence of God whose love is unfailing and unending. Not just here.  Not just now. Not just tomorrow—but forever and ever and ever.

During World War II, a prisoner wrote: Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer held a little service which reached the hearts of all. He had hardly finished his prayer, when the door opened. Two evil-looking soldiers came in and barked: “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us!” The words meant only one thing, the scaffold. As he bid his fellow prisoners good-bye, he said, “For me this is the beginning of a new life, eternal life.”[i]

So What?
What is eternal Life? Why would the early disciples put this in the Apostles’ Creed?  Better yet, why would it be the closing line?

The late and marvelous preacher, Ralph W. Sockman, was writing an Easter sermon one year when he received word that a friend had died. His friend was a scholar, a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, a distinguished missionary to China for forty years. A daily prayer of this remarkable servant included, “Oh, God our Father, I accept Thy gift of love; help me to pass it on for Jesus’ sake.” On the morning of the missionary’s death, at age ninety-two, Lacey Sites said to those near his bedside: “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.”[ii]

What a profound statement…. “If we live the eternal life now, we will always.” Yes! Here it is! Here is why the apostles closed the entire creed with this line:
AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.

Can you hear your own version of this line? I can. “Dave, don’t just live for heaven…live for heaven on earth. Each and every person I put you in contact with needs a drink of this living water. Pour.  Pour out. Don’t count the cost.  The cost we are talking about are souls—and souls who need eternal life. People need living water.”

Friends, don’t wait to live eternally.  Let us start today and live every day in the presence of the living God. Friends, we have this living water to share, we have the bread of life to share. We need to share everlasting life with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers.

How do we live eternally now?

Focus on Jesus the waver-walker and not the waves of live.
Focus on your Savior and not the storms.
Focus on the Cross and not the crime nor the criminal.
Focus on Heaven and not the hurt.
Focus on God’s hope, not the hopeless situations you face.
Focus on God’s mercy and not on the mockery.
Focus on God’s grace and not the gossip.
Focus on God’s love and share this love with the lost.
Focus on the power of the resurrection and let this power resurrect, revive, restore, renew, reconcile and redeem your life—today, every day and forever.

Both Nic at Night and WOMAN at the well figured out the secret to life: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today and begin living eternally every single day.  Live in God’s never-failing love, unending grace and ever-flowing mercy. Live in the forgiveness of your past, present and future!   Come to the water of life and drink from the springs of eternal life. If you meet a guy named Nic or a woman who’s had five husbands–you’ve come to the right spring of LIVING WATER. Jesus is no respecter of clout or sin. He died and rose for ALL…and that means YOU.

The Apostles’ Creed

  1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
  2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;
  3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
  4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;the
  5. third day he rose again from the dead;
  6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
  7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  8. I believe in the Holy Ghost,
  9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
  10. the forgiveness of sins,
  11. the resurrection of the body,
  12. and the life everlasting. Amen.[i]

[i] Historic Creeds and Confessions. (1997). (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Lexham Press.

As I close, I was born on 6/18/54 and I received Christ as my Lord and Savior in January of 1981. If you ever hear that I’m dead–don’t you believe it because on that very day, I will be more alive than I’ve ever been!

See you Sunday!

God Loves You and So Do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Seed of Faith – I Believe, Resurrection Life  By Pastor Dave  

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:

It’s the HARVEST season! I pray that you are reaping 30, 60 or 100-fold of all the good that you have sown this year!  It is my hope and prayer that as you walk through each day, that you will know that Jesus walks with you.  It is my prayer for you to know the powerful presence and perfect peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ–both as Lord and Savior. Knowing Christ is everything.

Today we come to the second to last line in the Apostles’ Creed.  Line eleven: we “believe in the resurrection of the body.”  As always, I encourage you take a few moments and read chapter 15 of I Corinthians.this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your mind and heart about the power, the hope, and life we can find in the resurrection.

We need to remember that during the time the Creed was written, it was written to defeat false teaching and to proclaim what a person or group believed about Jesus Christ. When the Apostles’ Creed was written, there were many false teachings that were circulated. There are many false teachings today. The world hasn’t changed all that much.  That is why it is important for us to know what we believe and why we believe what we believe.  

There was a teaching in the early church called Gnosticism, and the teachings of the Gnostics are still with us today.  Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis” meaning “knowledge.” The Gnostics believed that people were saved through special knowledge.  They viewed the physical or material world as evil and corrupt. The Greeks believed that the body or flesh was a prison for the soul and that only the soul was immortal. The Early Church put line eleven in the Apostles’ Creed in order to proclaim that God is the creator and what God created was good and the body is part of God’s creation.  When God created Adam and Eve and breathed life into their lungs, God said that His creation was very good. What God creates is good — very good!

The resurrection of the body is a mystery.  After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him.  When Mary realized the man she thought was the gardener was Jesus, Mary was told not to hold on to Him.  The problem is that we were created very good, but something called sin separates us from God.  Because of this separation, God sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus, to suffer under Pontius Pilate, to be crucified, dead and buried.  But the Good News, the greatest news of all, is that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered sin and death forever by rising from the dead.  Hell, death and the grave were defeated at that single moment of the resurrection.

There’s story after story about what happened after the resurrection! Jesus invited the disciples to eat breakfast on the beach. Jesus told Thomas to put his hands in his nail scars and to put his hand into the place where the speared pierced His side. I’ve always gained such hope from these resurrection stories because if Jesus had a resurrected body, be certain that you and I will have one, too.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery. As I studied this Scripture this week, I read how one early church father by the name of Orgien, thought that the resurrection of the body meant the body of Christ as in the church.  The resurrection of the body is a mystery and some of the most profound writings on the resurrection are found here in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  If you have your Bible, turn with me to Paul’s words on the resurrection.

Paul begins with the resurrection of Christ, then turns his attention to the resurrection of the dead and, finally, his longest teaching on the resurrection of the body.

Here is a radical fact! Death is a fundamental human problem.  The truth is that we will all die, but the Good News is that those in Christ will live with resurrected bodies. Christianity stands out alone among all of the world’s faiths and “isms.” Christianity views death as conquered. To be a Christian is to have a “HOPE” resting on the “FACT” that Jesus rose bodily from the grave, saw over 500 people (witnesses) and now lives eternally in heaven at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

We  can have hope in the power of the resurrection.  The writer of Hebrews say that this hope is an anchor to our soul.

The Apostle Paul tries to explain the mystery of the resurrection by not explaining it.  He points to the mystery of a seed and a tree and offers a word picture as an explanation. Of course, I like the idea of the seed …since that is the name of our Church.  We have been given resurrection life and hope through the seed of God’s word.

Tim Keller is a pastor, writer and teacher of a church in New York.  Keller tells the following story about the power of Christ’s resurrection: “A minister was in Italy, and there he saw the grave of a man who had died centuries before who was an unbeliever and completely against Christianity, but a little afraid of it too. So, the man had a huge stone slab put over his grave so he would not have to be raised from the dead in case there is a resurrection from the dead. He had insignias put all over the slab saying, “I do not want to be raised from the dead. I don’t believe in it.” Evidently, when he was buried, an acorn must have fallen into the grave. So, a hundred years later the acorn had grown up through the grave and split that slab wide open and that tiny seed was now a tall, towering, oak tree. The minister looked at it and asked, ‘If an acorn, which has power of biological life in it, can split a slab of that magnitude, what can the acorn of God’s resurrection power do in a person’s life?'”[i]

Friends, here is the Good News of the resurrection.  Here is the hope we have in the resurrection. The minute we decide to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit comes into your life and you are sealed forever in Christ.   This power of the Holy Spirit that takes up residence in our hearts is just like the power of the resurrection—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  One scholar likes to say that we now have some of Jesus’ DNA in us and we are related.  We have this hope of the resurrection.

Stop for moment to think of the things you see as immovable slabs in your life—your bitterness, your insecurity, your fears, your self-doubts, your hurts, your regrets, your past, and even your future. Those things can all be split and rolled away by the mere power of the seed of faith. The more you know Jesus, the more you will grow into the power and the HOPE of the resurrection.

I know that we don’t have time today to plumb the depths of all these passage on the resurrection. I encourage you to read and reread chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.  Get a journal or write in your Bible–allow the Holy Spirit,  your teacher, to teach you all things.

So What?
I like the words that Paul uses to contrast the physical life with the resurrected life.

Perishable vs Imperishable!
Dishonor vs Glory!
Weakness vs Power!
Natural vs Spiritual!

Perishable means that our mortal bodies are subject to corruption, decay, sickness, illness and even death.  But our resurrected bodies will not be subject to any of these maladies or conditions. Dishonor means a state of disgrace, shame and sin.  The resurrected body will be raised in “doxa” — glory!  No more sin and no more shame.  No more condemnation. No more disgrace. Weakness!  The Greek word means to be in want of strength, feebleness, illness, incapacity and timidity. When we come to our resurrection, we will have power instead of timidity —no  fear … we will have power!  Natural bodies!  Wow! This old body will be replaced with a body fully filled and fueled by the Holy Spirit.

The perishable will put on imperishability, this body that is swallowed up with shame and sin will be raised in glory, this body that is weak and broken will be given new power, this natural, decaying, dying body will be given life and life abundantly.

So what does the resurrection of Christ mean to YOU? What does your own future resurrection mean to you?  For the early disciples who stood up and proclaimed the Apostles’ Creed, many did so at the expense of life.  Stand this week in the power, hope and life of the resurrection, and recite the Apostles’ Creed as if your life depended on it…because it does.

My prayer is that the resurrected Jesus will meet you in a room where you are gathered, or on the road to Emmaus, or on the beach. I pray that Christ will ask you to put your hand into his resurrected wounds. I pray Christ will fill you PEACE and that you will be still and that you will soak up the life that only the resurrected Christ can give.

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/11/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Forgiveness of Sins   By Pastor Dave  

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8:11

Dear Faithful and Forgiven Friends:

Grace and mercy to you from Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Today marks the 9th anniversary of the church where I pastor, The Seed Christian Fellowship. It’s always an easy date to remember: 10-10-10! I pray that you have a home church that you love and support. The church is the BODY of CHRIST; when you serve a church, you are serving Christ. Happy ninth Birthday, SEED!

Today’s topic is deep and long.  I know we can never plumb the depths of God’s grace and forgiveness, so I am preparing you now — this will be a long devotional thought.  Please stay with it.  There are some nuggets of God’s gold found in the Scriptures here. I encourage you to grab your Bible now, and read Mark 2:1-12 and John 8:1-11.  Take your journal and/or your ipad/notepad and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read.

Let’s go back 1,800 years and let’s imagine the saints from ages past throughout those 18 centuries, and let’s imagine them all gathered together. We’d have to imagine them in homes, prisons, beaches, mountain hideouts, caves, along riverbanks and in churches both large and small. Let’s imagine all of the saint declaring the APOSTLES’ CREED. Can we imagine their faith?  Can we imagine their courage?  Just imagine the hearts and homes and cities and towns that were changed by this proclamation of faith. Since 140 A.D. saints and sinners alike have gathered together to declare exactly what it is that they believe. What a great cloud of witnesses cries out through the centuries.

As we recite The Apostles’ Creed below, imagine those who have gone before us:

The Apostles’ Creed

1.  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;

2.  and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord;

3.  who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell;

5. the third day he rose again from the dead;

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost

9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

10. the forgiveness of sins,

11.  the resurrection of the body,

11.  and the life everlasting. Amen

“I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
So what?  What does it mean to you when you say that? What does it mean when you say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”?  What does the forgiveness of sins look like?  What does the forgiveness of sins feel like?  Who forgives the sins of sinners? Can WE forgive the sins of sinners? What are we to do with the forgiveness of sins?  So many questions come to my mind.  I wish we had more time to plumb the depths of this deep, theological statement.

Let me set the stage. The line that we are talking about wasn’t in the original Creed. It was added later. Why?  In 303 A.D. the Emperor of Rome was a man named Diocletian. Diocletian was a cruel and wicked Emperor. Diocletian ordered that the property of the Christians in Rome was to be seized.  He ordered that all books were to be burned, and that all of the places of worship were to be destroyed. All of the Christian leaders/pastors/teachers were imprisoned. (Did you read that? Think of all of the pastors you know, put into prison.)  Many of them were martyred for their faith. Here’s how Diocletian operated: The Christians were ordered to sacrifice to the Roman gods and if they did not, they were imprisoned or martyred. Diocletian was cruel—he impaled people on poles, he burned people at the stake. I think we can understand why so many frightened Christians of this era came out en mass to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. They renounced their faith. By offering public sacrifices to the Romans gods, these Christians had renounced their baptism, and their faith.

After a while, life returned to normal and Christianity was again tolerated as a part of the Roman pluralistic empire. When this happened, a crisis happened in the church. What was the church to do with the Christian believers who had renounced their faith in order to save their lives from the wicked Diocletian and his army? The early church wrestled with questions like: Can these sinners be accepted back into the faith? Should they be baptized again? Should they be permanently be excluded from participating in the Christian community? In all honesty, these were tremendously difficult questions.  This was a time of deep soul -searching for believers. Throughout this struggle, the deepest questions of Christian identity came into focus.

So what?  What is it that makes you a follower of Christ? What can you do if you have strayed away from the faith?  What can you do if you have sinned? Is church just for the pure and holy, or is the church for those who are weak, struggling, and uncertain? This 4th century church crisis led to many discussions regarding clear answers to these questions. It was finally agreed upon: Failures in following Christ or discipleship — even dramatic failures — do not exclude a person from the grace of God.  The early church then added the 10th line into the Apostles’ Creed:  “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

Can you imagine being so afraid of being impaled that you renounced your faith and sacrificed to Roman gods? This line about forgiveness was added to the Apostles’ Creed so that those who had done the renouncing could be included back into the Church. The church went back and forth on this issue. Do we make them be re-baptized? Isn’t baptism a once and forever kind of thing? Now you understand the turmoil involved in just this one line.

In 381 the Nicene Creed was written as a follow-up creed to the Apostles’ Creed and it included the statement, “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” One God, one Lord, one baptism.

This series on the Apostle’s Creed was our SUMMER SERIES. I thought it was going to be dry and boring. It was anything but. Week by week we covered each line. And week by week, the people we excited to learn more about what we believe and how we came to include the Apostles’ Creed in church. During the summer, a young woman came home from Tennessee to visit her parents and grand parents. She came to church with her family and heard the message that you’re reading about. After church, she said, “I want to be baptized.” WOW!  We met and talked about baptism and what it means and then we met in her grandparents’ pool and she was baptized in front of her family. She read the Apostles’ Creed and then asked to be dunked in the pool three times. One for the Father, one for the Son and one for the holy spirit! What a blessing! And then I received a call from a person I had no connection to but you need to hear her story. Wherever this woman works, a young man named Steven serviced the air conditioners. Over the years, they became friends. (Always be your AC service tech’s friend!) Steven was a friend of Don and Don invited Steven to our Wednesday night bible study. Steven did not attend our church but he did attend our bible study. The grandma had shared with Steven that she didn’t have a home church but she wanted to be baptized. Steven asked me for a business card and the next time he serviced the air conditioning at grandma’s work, he gave her the card and said, “You need to call Pastor Dave.” She did.  She called me in July. I met with her in August and her little granddaughter, all of 8 years old, also wanted to be baptized. Guess what? We baptized both of them in Mom and Dad’s pool! The entire family wanted to read the Apostles’ Creed together, and then each of the girls went under three times: one for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was the baptismal confession of the early church? Oh, how have we lost this amazing tradition? I think it’s time to bring it back, don’t you?

As you read Mark 2:12, take a moment and put yourself into the story.  In the Mark passage who would you be? Would you be one of the friends who carried their friend to Jesus?  Would you be the paralyzed man? Would you be a part of the crowd, just watching in disbelief?  Would you be one of the religious leaders who questioned Jesus? Sometimes it’s a good idea to pretend to be all of the characters involved; you gain different perspectives that way.

In the John passage we have a second, powerful story of forgiveness and grace.  Where are you in this story?  Are you looking in someone’s window to find sin?  Are you dragging the sinner out to be accused by Jesus and the crowd?  Are you a part of the crowd? Are you already holding a stone, ready to throw it?  What if you are the person who was caught in sin? Wow. Try being each character in this story.

I love stories of forgiveness.  As I prayed about teaching on the forgiveness of sins, I prayed about what to teach.  I could teach some of the Old Testament words for forgiveness … “nasa” which means to send away, “kapar” which means to cover up. From this we get Yum Kippor — the day of atonement for the covering of sins (which, by the way, was this past Tuesday, October 8th.) The dynamic of forgiveness in the Old Testament is the releasing of the person from their past. The person’s past acts and deeds of sin are not denied, but there is no longer any bondage attached to the sin.  The chains are broken.  The Old Testament teaches that forgiveness brings freedom.

We could spend a little time looking at the New Testament words for forgiveness. No one really knows what Jesus was writing in the sand that day when they brought the woman to him to be stoned.  What do you think He was scribbling in the sand? I think he was writing a Greek word used 76 times in the New Testament:  “aphiemi.” “Aphiemi” means “to leave behind, to send away, to forgive.”  Jesus taught forgiveness!  Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s prayer — “forgive us of our sins, debts, trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.” When Jesus was about to be betrayed, Jesus told them that the cup they shared at the Lord’s Supper was the cup of forgiveness poured out in His blood.  When He hung on the cross, Jesus said — “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I am going to do something a little different today..  Instead of giving you several illustrations of forgiveness that bring the point home, I am giving you 14 Bible passages on forgiveness. I would like for you to spend some time during the next week looking up these passages and reflecting on the stories and the passages.  Write some notes, thoughts and prayers.  I always ask myself — “What is it that you Lord want to teach me in this passage?”  What is that God wants to say to you about forgiveness?

Exodus 34:1-10 … “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

2 Chronicles 7:11-22 … “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Psalm 103:1-12 … “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion …” (Psalm 103:1-4)

Jeremiah 31 … “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Micah 7 … “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

Matthew 6:5-15 … “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)

Mark 2:1-12 … “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

Matthew 18:21-35 — “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33)

Matthew 26:17-30 .. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

Luke 23:26-43 … “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Colossians 3 … “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14)

Ephesians 1:3-14 … “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Acts 13 … “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. (Acts 13:38)

I John 1:1-10 … “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

THE FINAL “SO WHAT?”
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  When you confess your sin, you are set free.  When you forgive yourself, you set yourself free! When you forgive those who have hurt you, abandoned you, offended you, insulted you, upset you, slighted you, cheated you, lied to you or sinned against you … when you forgive them — you set yourself free. Life is too short to go through it living in unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is the only meal that eats you from the inside out. Unforgiveness eats your breakfast, lunch and supper. I get it. People are mean.  People are cruel. People do and say horrible things. When Jesus went to the cross, he died for all sin. He died for YOUR sin and for all the sins committed against you. Put yourself in the story of Luke 23:26-43. Hear the words Jesus spoke from the cross as though they were for you alone. “Father, forgive (put that name in here right now) for they know not what they do.”

Forgiving costs us nothing because forgiving cost Jesus everything. 

AMEN.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/27/19

Seed of Faith – I Believe In The Holy Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:16-18

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Grace and peace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful person of the Holy Spirit.  I have to tell you that one of my favorite persons of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit.  I love how the Holy Spirit speaks to me, guides me, instructs me, teaches me and even corrects me.  A simple prayer every morning when you get up. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart and home, teach me, guide me, heal me and fill me. Amen”

In last week’s devotional we looked at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  “This business is under new management.” Today I would like for us to reflect on the power and person of the Holy Spirit.  Join me as we journey deeper into Jesus as we think about the power and person of the Holy Spirit.

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When Jesus says that He “will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…” what does He mean?  First, let’s look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence.  The first word is the word “another” and in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” means “another one just like the first one.”  Who is the first Advocate?  It is obviously Jesus himself.  Therefore, the second Advocate is just like the first one. The Holy Spirit is a divine being living within all disciples who believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  The Trinity is truly a mystery.  When we speak of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we speak of them as persons.   When John Calvin wrote of the persons of the Trinity, he said, “In the Trinity we have one essence (being) and three subsistence’s.  The three persons of the Godhead subsist in the divine essence (being).”  Now that is a lot of deep, theological language.  The EZ PZ translation: When we recognize God alone as our sovereign creator and we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts to live, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes and lives.  We are sealed with the third person. In essence, we are allowing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — the Trinity–to rule and reign in our lives.  One of the things I witness as a pastor is that we may  have the main question about the Holy Spirit a bit backwards.  Often we ask, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?” I wonder if we should be asking, “How can the Holy Spirit get more of me?”

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Do you know that the role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ? The Holy Spirit acts as a mirror and reflects Christ to us.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who reflects God, teaches us and leads us into all truth.  The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by reproducing more of Jesus in all  believers. “Christian” means “little Christ” and the Holy Spirit does this work in a Christian’s life by reproducing little Christs IN us.  Next in the Greek is the meaning of the word “Advocate,” “Comforter”, or “Counselor”. It is of great importance.  The Greek word for “Advocate” comes from “parakletos” which is a compound of two Greek words: “para” meaning “alongside of” and “kletos” which means “called.”  “Parakletos” therefore means “one who is called alongside of”, another person called alongside you or me as our helper.  The Latin Bible translates “parakletos” as “Advocate,” however, this word can also be translated as “comforter” and “counselor.”  The word “comforter” comes from two words: “cum” which means “with” and “fortis” which means “strength.”  In other words a comforter is a person who comes alongside you or me with strength.  The Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” is the one who will bring us the strength we need in order to live as little Christs.  The Holy Spirit as “Comforter” will bring us strength to withstand the blows and the wounds that we incur in the world.  The “Comforter” gives us the strength and power to stand up and face whatever comes against us.  The Holy Spirit is the one who comes with strength — who is called alongside to guide us, to comfort us, to convict us and challenge us to grow and trust more and more in God (the TRINITY) alone.  The Holy Spirit reflects Jesus Christ so that you and I can reflect Christ to others.

SO WHAT?
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.  When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”  But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package?”  She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents of the package, the power for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.  The power for growth comes from using our spiritual gifts and allowing the fruit of the Spirit to grow and blossom in our lives.  Scripture says that we shall be known by our fruit.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit is defined in Galatians chapter five: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.  This is the power of the Holy Spirit and this is the precious fruit that the HOLY SPIRIT will PRODUCE in you and in me.

When I think of a GPS (Global Positioning System), I realize that not many people can afford a car or system that gives you a GPS.  But, in reality, we all have our own inner GPS — GOD’S PROMISED SPIRIT, GOD’S PERSONAL SPIRIT AND GOD’S POWERFUL SPIRIT — to guide us, to fill us, to strengthen us, to counsel us, to convict us and comfort us….if we let Him in and listen.

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.”

To know about God, the Father, alone is good, to believe in Jesus, as Lord, is great and to be filled with the Holy Spirit is wonderful. Don’t be afraid to open the box — the gift that Christ has given you — the Promise, the Person, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. I love to say that the Holy Spirit is the identical twin of Jesus–except in Spirit.

Today I encourage you to pray, “Holy Spirit, I want you to get more and more and more of me. Consume the parts and pieces of me that don’t serve YOU. Teach me.  Correct me. Produce YOUR fruit in me. Be my counselor, my comforter, and my advocate forever. Amen.”

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me — melt me — mold me — fill me — use me!

Here is a YouTube song about the Holy Spirit. — https://youtu.be/BagH-zTfnsQ

See You Sunday,

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/22/19

Seed of Faith – Under New Management   By Pastor Dave  
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord! Fall is just around the corner. Time for football and pumpkin spice!
We continue our series on the Apostles’ Creed.  Line 8 of the Apostles’ Creed says, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”  Over the next few weeks, we will look at the promise, the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This week, let’s look at the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to read John 14:15-27.

Let me tell you a story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. He went regularly to the Salvation Army church. One day he came home rather sad. His wife said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “I’ve just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don’t have a red sweater.” She said, “I’ll knit one.” So she knitted him a red sweater. The next Sunday after he went to church, he still wasn’t happy. His wife said, “What’s wrong this time?” He said, “I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing.”  They were both illiterate, but she said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll embroider some writing on for you.”  She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater said. The Salvation Army has a yellow circle, and inside the circle it reads, “BLOOD AND FIRE.” That’s their motto.  The man’s wife had no idea what the letters said, plus, she couldn’t read. She copied a sign from a store window opposite their home. True, she embroidered the words of the store sign onto his red sweater.  When he came back the next Sunday, she said, “Did they like your sweater?”  “They loved my sweater. Some of them said they liked my sweater better than their sweater.” The sign on the store window she had copied read, THIS BUSINESS IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.

That’s what it means to trust in God alone. That’s what it means to know Jesus as Lord. That’s what it means for the Holy Spirit to fill you: this business (meaning YOU) is under new management.

The Word of God promises us the Holy Spirit. The words “Holy Spirit”, or “Spirit of God”, or “the Spirit of the Lord” are used 131 times in the Bible.  In our Old Testament reading from the prophet Joel, God promises the Holy Spirit, “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)  What a wonderful promise — God will pour out His Spirit upon all people!  On the night before He was to die for our sins, Jesus offered to us the promise of the Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:16-18) Jesus promises to give us another advocate — the Holy Spirit who will be with us forever.  What a powerful and comforting promise.  We will not be orphaned — we will never be alone! We always have the promise of the Holy Spirit.

When I think of the promise of the Holy Spirit, I think of Alka-Seltzer. Alka-Seltzer promises fast relief for fever, body aches, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.  Alka-Seltzer promises healing, wholeness and comfort.  So often we have the medicine for healing, but we do not open the package. What would happen if you dropped an unopened package of Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water?  Of course, nothing would happen. There would be no power, no healing, and no comfort if the package was never opened.  Yet there is a promise for comfort if we open the package and watch it fizz away!

So What?
The promise of the Holy Spirit is given to us when Jesus tells us that he will ask His Father to send the Holy Spirit to come and be with us forever. This past weekend in church, a little girl spilled her cup of gold fish crackers on the floor. I told her father that we could get a broom.  Then I realized that the closet was locked and there was no broom.  Someone came up and started talking to me and I got distracted. I turned around and watched the young dad get down on the floor and pick up all the little gold fish that had been scattered over the floor.  Some of the gold fish had been stepped on and were smashed.  The father picked them all up and put them back in the cup.

Later this week, I thought about that encounter on Sunday morning with spilled and smashed gold fish. I thought about our Father sending His Son to promise us that the Holy Spirit would come and fill our hearts.  I believe that one of the truths of the Holy Spirit is that He wants to come into our hearts and fill us so that our lives are under new management.  I saw God sending His Son to bend down and pick up all the spilled and smashed pieces of our lives and offer to put us back together.

The week — take some time and reflect on the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to open the package and be filled with the Holy Spirit … plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a re-builder He is.  The Holy Spirit will come in and pick up the spilled and smashed pieces of your life! It’s fall and I’m thinking I need a new red sweater with yellow writing that says: Under New Management!

There’s so much more to say about this third person of the Trinity. In closing, I want you to know I’ve found the Holy Spirit to be a gentle friend, not a pushy one. My fear was that once I accepted Christ into my heart as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit would plow in and take over.  Soon I’d be on the street corners with a megaphone shouting about heaven and hell.  Nope. Never happened. Once I accepted Christ, I had this warm sense that I had a friend who wanted to make me the best me I could be. I started feeling good when I read the Bible and when I did kind things for my wife and children. I started feeling happy when I listened to praise music. Little by little, I was inspired to be a better person. So far, I haven’t ever stood on a street corner–but you never know, it could happen!  The Holy Spirit is a great respecter of who you are and of what gifts and talents you have. I love to study. I love to read. I love to learn. Made perfect sense to go to seminary. I love to watch as God transforms people. Made sense to become a pastor. I’ve been on this Holy Spirit journey since 1981. It’s more of an inside-out change than it is outside-in. I couldn’t do life without the Holy Spirit.

Before I close, Jac and I had our appointments with our doctor. Three years ago, Jac was a 12 on the scale and now she is a 6. She’s rid her body of half of the lead she contained! I started at 10 and am now at 4! I have one chelation left and will do that in January of 2020.  I should read NORMAL next summer.  Jac has a little longer road to travel but she’s happy she’s halfway through. Keep the prayers coming!
See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/12/19

Seed of Faith –  I Believe – First Importance By Pastor Dave  

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (I Corinthians 15:3-8)

Dear Friends:

It’s been hot! Only a few weeks until September 23 and we officially begin FALL! I love the heat and I love the summer–it’s my favorite time of the year! I hope and pray that you are growing in Christ’s grace as we meet each week. On a health note, my wife and I go to the doctor this coming Tuesday to get our lead level test results. Pray we have lowered our numbers; while you’re praying–let’s pray for under 2! That would be a miracle!

Last week … we ended with a so what?  Here it is if you missed it.
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others in your life even know that you believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him?

I will tell you that this is one reasons that I wear my cross on the outside of my shirts. I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS as I love myself. The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell the others that they had lived with Jesus. They heard His teaching, His preaching. They saw the miracles! They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching which He condensed to two commandments: love God, love others.

When we read the above passage in I Corinthians, it sounds a little like the Apostles’ Creed, doesn’t it? The Apostle Paul followed Jesus because he had seen  risen Jesus and encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He was on a “Christian Killing” Crusade but God turned it into something so much more. Paul became one of those Christians he was so used to murdering. It’s quite a phenomenal story.

Today we come to the line in The Apostles’ Creed that says, “HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN…and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

Dr. Gardner Taylor, a pastor in New York City and a professor at Harvard Divinity School, told a story in one of his lectures. He was preaching in Louisiana during the Depression. Electricity was just coming into that part of the country, and Taylor was out in a rural church that had one, little light bulb hanging down from the ceiling to light up the entire sanctuary. He was preaching away, and in the middle of his sermon, the electricity went out. The building went pitch black.  Dr. Taylor didn’t know what to say or do. He stumbled around until one of the elderly deacons sitting in the back of the church cried out, “Preach on, preacher! We can still see Jesus in the dark!”[i]

There’s a thought. Can you still see Jesus in the dark? Sometimes that’s the only time we can see Jesus —in the dark. In the dark night of our soul with nowhere to go–we are forced to look around our darkness. The good news of the Gospel is that whether we can see Jesus in the dark or not, Jesus can see us in the dark! He has ascended (Jesus has risen up) from the grave. He has risen up into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. What does Jesus do there? HE PRAYS FOR YOU and ME! “Intercedes” is the word. Do you know what that word means? Get ready, it’s powerful: INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER. Keep with me. What does “intervene” mean? It means “to come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events.” Are you still with me? When Jesus says He has gone to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand to intercede for you, He is coming between you and your situation in order to prevent or alter a result or a course of events–JUST FOR YOU…on your behalf. I  don’t know about you but I needed to hear this today!

When we were in Zambia in 2015, we went to worship at the Jesus Army Church on a Sunday morning.  The electricity went on and go off all during the worship.  That never stopped the worship team from singing and playing and worshiping.  If the electricity went off, they just kept on singing.  I’ve thought a lot about that.  THIS is exactly what we are called to do.  No matter what, we are called to keep witnessing and sharing the hope and power of the resurrection with everyone we meet. Whether it’s smooth sailing or rough waters!

So What?
Speaking of smooth sailing or rough waters, our son had a football coach who was often heard telling his team, “Don’t tell me how rough the waters are just bring the ship home!”  There’s quite a bit of truth here. We’ve been given a big job, a huge task: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. It isn’t as easy as it looks. We all love it when life is sailing along and the sea is like glass. Those are the fun times; not a care in the world. But then the darkness creeps in, doesn’t it? And you’re up at night with a sinking feeling in your heart and gut. And it stays for way too long. I think this line in the creed is there for us to remember: no matter how dark it gets…Jesus is interceding on your behalf. Jesus is intervening on your behalf. He sits between YOU and GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY…trying to calm the rough waters, or trying to calm YOU in the rough seas.

Recently I took my family to see TOY STORY 4. I loved it. I’ve talked about it for weeks. “Who are you like in the movie?” I’m Woody. I feel a huge responsibility to make sure everyone gets to heaven. I deal with a lot of FORKY types–people who think they are trash and not one of God’s personal favorites! Listen, you are not trash. You never were. God thought you up. Created you. Made you uniquely special. And you have a job as a Christian: love God, love others as you love yourself.

Friends, each one of us are in a TOY STORY of our own making. We are an action figure for Jesus Christ and for His ministry on earth. It’s a big job we’ve been given. I will tell you to bring your ship home–but I will also tell you that when you are out there in the roughest of seas–Jesus is with you. When you are in the darkest night of your soul, Jesus is with you. Whether you can see Him or not, He’s there. And He is there interceding for you…on your behalf…to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. The end result is that our life on earth is used to display our LOVE FOR GOD and our LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER. Can you do that? Can you trust Jesus to intercede for you?

No matter what. Can you trust Jesus to pray for you? When you’re up at 2 a.m.–can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When the test results are what you hoped for, can you say, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” When Plan Z seems so far away and Plan A has blown up in your face, can you pray, “I’m going to trust you, Jesus, pray for me.” That’s your homework for the week. TRUST JESUS…in all things…in all hours of the day and night…and go out there in faith knowing that Jesus is interceding for you, on your behalf–to GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY.

King of cool that we serve a KING who rose from the dead.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/5/19

Seed of Faith – I BELIEVE — JESUS HIGHLY EXALTED   By Pastor Dave  

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:8-11

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers:
Greetings in the name of the Lord.  It is my prayer that you are walking with Jesus and that His grace and love surround you today and everyday. Throughout the summer, we have been working our way through a series on the Apostles’ Creed.  If you have not had a chance to read the other Seeds of Faith on this series, you can go to our website — www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

The question that I would like for us to reflect on today is “Why is the ascension important?”

First, the ascension is important because it tells us that Jesus’ earthly ministry was completed and that Jesus has gone to be with God the Father to begin His heavenly ministry of interceding for us, (that’s a powerful thought. Jesus ascended into heaven and prays for us.) Second, the ascension is important because Jesus’ earthly ministry has been delegated–to us! (Read that again!)

Today we will look at the first point.  I encourage you to pick up your Bible. Read Acts 1:1-11 and Philippians 2:5-11.

So What? does it mean that Jesus is Highly Exalted?

Luke wrote both of his books (the book of Luke and the book of Acts) to a person named “Theophilus,” a name translated “friend of God.” Whether Theophilus is a real individual or whether Theophilus is any “friend of God” is open to debate, but clearly Luke is writing to a community eager for more detailed and accurate information concerning the origin, history and meaning of the Christian faith. At the beginning of his gospel, Luke tells us he intends “to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”  In Acts, Luke jumps right into the action and says, “In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (1:1-2).

In his gospel, Luke wants Theophilus (friend of God) to “know the truth,” and in Acts he begins by making a strong connection between the life of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. As the book of Acts begins, an important transition takes place. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, all of the work of preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God was done by Christ alone.  Jesus spent three years training, preparing, instructing and teaching the disciples for their future calling to be “martures”– the Greek word for “witnesses.”  Jesus’ great work of providing redemption for us through His life, death and resurrection is now finished and Luke is determined to encourage those of us left behind.

So What?
Here’s what I want you to think about: Is Christ’s work of ministry and proclamation finished? Or is Luke writing to tell us that this is now our job–to finish Christ’s work!? That’s a profound idea. Here’s another question:  Are we? Are we finishing the work Jesus started? Are we loving God and loving others as we love ourselves? Am I ? Are you? Pastor Dave, now you are meddling.

George Whitefield, a famous English pastor, was getting the people of Edinburgh out of their beds at 5 o’clock in the morning in order to hear his preaching. One morning a man who was on his way to the church met David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic. Surprised at seeing him on his way to hear Whitefield, the man said, “I thought you did not believe in the gospel.” Hume replied, “I do not, but he does.”[i] Ah. Perhaps we are here to be a witness to the skeptics? Love God.  Love others. I don’t know but maybe God wants to use you among your circle of influence?

Here’s another meddling question:
Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus? Do the others even know that you believe in Jesus and follow Him? I think this is a question we all must finally come to. This is one reason that I purposefully wear my cross on the outside of my shirt, I want people to know that I’m a Christian. Wearing my cross on the outside of my shirt also helps me to LOVE GOD and to LOVE OTHERS. I cannot tell you how often people will make a comment to me about my cross. It’s been a great conversation starter.

The early followers of Jesus knew Jesus and they wanted to tell others that they had seen Him, been taught by Him and lived with Him. They wanted others to follow Jesus’ teaching: love God, love others.

The challenge today is what are we doing with the witness of the resurrection and the ascension in our lives, our homes, our families, our friends, our workplaces, and neighborhoods?  Would others follow you because of your belief in Jesus?

If I started preaching at 5 a.m. in Central Park in Cucamonga, would you come listen? (Relax, not happening.)

I’m praying for you. Pray for me.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do i,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.