Seed Of Faith

Weekly

Seed of Faith – Joy In The Journey Psalm 122  By Pastor Dave  

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Welcome to this week’s Seed of Faith. It is our prayer at the SEED that the verse for our church will be amazingly true for each one of you: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23) 

Yes, we pray that we will all be born again and again though God’s enduring Word of life, Jesus Christ. There is no other way!

Each year at this time I sit down with pen and paper and spend time in prayer. I seek the Lord’s will and guidance as what I am to preach and teach. Twice a year, I put together the Sundays for six months of the year. I sit with an empty preaching calendar—complete with potential titles, subjects, and Scriptures. I also have my bible nearby and the church calendar list of Sundays. This gives me helpful guidance as I attempt to layout the year ahead, breaking it down into two six month sets. I have been praying for many months for the sermon series outline for the first half of this year.

The Lord put it on my heart to teach through the Psalms of Ascent during this Lenten season leading up through Palm Sunday and Easter. After Easter, we will turn to the last book of the Bible and dive deep into the book of Revelation and the seven churches.

I encourage you to take time to read Psalms 120-134 during this season of Lent.

As I prayed and heard the Holy Spirit whisper to continue the Psalms of Ascent, I went to my computer to look. I sort of remembered doing them—was it a series I’d done in Round Rock, Upland or Aurora? Was it a bible study I had done somewhere? It just seemed familiar to me. I went to my computer and I realized that I started it during Lent of 2020. We all know what happened next: COVID. I saw that I had started the series and had preached on two psalms: 120 and 121.

These are the psalms (songs) the people would sing together as they traveled UP THE MOUNTAIN TO JERUSALEM in order to celebrate their special FEAST days. Three times a year, the Jewish people were to gather together in Jerusalem. Soon there were psalms that they memorized and sang together as they hiked up the mountain.

Psalm 120 is the Psalm of repentance. A perfect place to start singing. “God, I’m a sinner and I need to repent of my ways.” Perfect place to begin.

Psalm 121 calls us out of the world and the environment of deceit, lies and hostility and sets us on our way to God. Psalm 121 is the Psalm of trust. It teaches us to “lift our eyes to the mountains,” for that is where our help comes. Think about climbing up the mountain together with a group of your best friends and family, and there you are singing, “Where does our help come from?” “Our help comes from the mountain maker! Psalm 121 is a demonstration of a person who determinedly trusts God to work out His will and “guard you from every evil” in the midst of difficulty.

Here we are now at Psalm 122–the Psalm of worship. Psalm 122 is a demonstration of what people of faith everywhere always do: gather to an assigned place and worship their God. Just like us today, gathered in person and online—gathered in an assigned place in order to worship GOD.

Right above us are the San Gabriel mountains. At the top of one of the peaks is Mt. Baldy. Can you imagine us all gathering together and singing this psalm of worship as we made our way to the top? A song of worship would be perfect as we hiked.

Worship! What comes to your mind when you hear the word “worship?”

So many questions came to mind when I sat down to write this week’s message.

What does it mean to worship?

How are we to worship?

When are we to worship?

Why do we worship?

Why is there so much voluntary and faithful worship by Christians?

The word for “worship” is used 173 times in the Old Testament and 79 times in the New Testament—252 times total. The Greek word for “worship” is “προσκυνέω proskuneō” which means to bow down, prostrate oneself, kiss or give reverence.

Jonathan Edwards, who is considered the greatest theologian that America has had, said this about worship, “If man does not give his highest respect to the God that made him, there will be something else that has the possession of it. Men will either worship the true God, or some idol. It is impossible it should be other wise; something will have the heart of man. And that which a man gives his heart to may be called his god.”[i]

Brother Lawrence said, “The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”[ii]

So what is in your heart?

In his book, “What Is Worship?” J. Vernon McGee tells of the time one of his church leaders invited him to hear a symphony orchestra perform. He said he knew nothing about music, but went anyway “to be nice.” What he first heard was a horrid cacophony of individual squeals and squawks, as each musician tuned his instrument. But then, he related when the conductor entered the scene, what a difference there was! At his cue, all those different instruments blended their voices to create truly beautiful music. Today, McGee explains, “every man is playing his own little tune. (But) one of these days, out from the wings will step the Conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will burst forth into song. Every bird, every angel, and then man will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you and I can bow before Him and bring our own little souls into the harmony of heaven.”[iii]

While we were back in Illinois recently, my wife and I had the wonderful joy and blessing to go to our eldest granddaughter’s concert at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is on a full-ride scholarship there for playing the viola. Jac and I paid our respects at our dear friend’s visitation and then we drove 90 miles into Chicago. We arrived a little early, so we met our granddaughter in the food court for a little snack. She had just finished tuning up. We then walked over to the concert hall for the concert. Wow! What a blessing. I would agree with J Vernon McGee, as they were warming up, the noise in the room was loud and annoying but when the conductor came and stood in front of them and began to direct each instrument to play in tune, the music was amazing and such a joy.

This is what worship is about, dear friends. We all come together to offer our different gifts and together we create an amazing symphony for God to be glorified with.

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:1-2

When we read or sing these opening verses, we see that the pilgrims have arrived in the city of Jerusalem. They walked and worked their way up the mountain. Why? To worship and give God all their praises.

Jerusalem is the city of peace. The pilgrims were called to praise and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is an amazing point: The place of worship should bring peace, a peace that surpasses all our understanding. The Prince of Peace came to rule and reign in the city of peace called Jerusalem.

WORSHIP. Proskeneo…we bow down before our God, and we sing praise.

SO WHAT?

As we begin this series on opening doors in 2024, where or what door is God calling you to walk through when it comes to making your journey with Jesus? There are open doors for worship. There are open doors for praise. There are open doors for prayer. Have you ever thought that it might be a great idea for each of us to open our Bibles up during the week, and not just together on Sundays? I could tell you this much, if we knew that next Sunday, we would be walking up to Baldy to reach the summit together, there would be many of us who grabbed the Living Word like it was our only road map! Go ahead, get out your book of Psalms and start reading 5 a day—and do not miss the idea that you can make notes in your Bible, or in a journal, about what ideas the Holy Spirit fills your head and your heart with. Today is February 4th—so this means if we have read 5 Psalms on the1st, 2nd, and 3rd—today we would be reading Psalms 16-20! If that is too much, then get your Bible out (even get your phone out) and get ready for next week’s journey up to Baldy with Psalm 123! Read it like it is your guide and road map! Or sit and ponder your notes and Psalm 122 each morning. The point is that we WORSHIP—bow with reverence before our God.

Every week during the message on Sunday, my wife is using the NOTES section on her phone. She takes precocious notes and clicks away at the power points. I have often wondered why she does that. This week I figured it out. When I am on the airplane, I am either reading on my iPad or listening to music or both. This week, on our flight to Chicago, I saw her using her phone and re-reading her notes and the PowerPoints from last week’s message! I did not just see her do it one time, but there she was on every flight pulling up notes from previous Sunday. Do you know what else?  As we landed, and made our way to the next gate, I heard her dropping verses and points all along her way. Anyone here even remember what the message was about? 2024—THE OPEN DOOR! I cannot tell you how many times I heard her speak to complete strangers about their open door! One man, let us call him Jerry, told her an amazing, almost unbelievable story. He and Jac talked about Jesus and how Jesus has changed their lives. Jerry accepted Christ 5 years ago and he has not missed a Sunday since! Jac gave Jerry a business card from THE SEED and sat there and showed him how to take the spiritual gifts test! His mom and sister were with him and they, too, are taking the test. I asked Jac on our last flight, “What’s going on?” She said, “I’m taking this OPEN DOOR 2024 serious, Dave. I pray every day that I do not miss a single OPEN DOOR. I pray that if God shows me an OPEN DOOR—I am going through it—no matter that I have no idea where it may lead.” Let me tell you, Jerry—was a big guy, he had tats all over, and he had been to jail. He came to Jesus in jail. Seriously, usually I am the guy talking Jesus, but I got to see the words the Holy Spirit gave me from Sunday be lived out this week as my wife shared. Jac had been reading and rereading all the scriptures about open doors. The hour-long JESUS discussion at the O’Hare airport began with Jac asking, “How was your time in Chicago?” Kind of like—well, here is an open door—wonder if Jerry wants to go with me through it? Jerry’s son had just graduated from Navy bootcamp, and this proud dad could not contain himself. He talked about how the Navy went all out for the ceremony and how his son is going to train to be a Navy seal. I just sat back and watched God work as Jerry shared and Jac planted seeds of faith.

Remind you of us going up that mountain together to worship God? Yes! Maybe this week it’s going to be your turn to plant seeds of faith.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

Each week we have the opportunity to come to church and worship. Worship is voluntary. But when we gather together to worship, we get to encounter the presence of living God together– in our worship, our praise, and our prayers. We grow stronger together as a community of believers as we worship — as we give our voices, our time, our talents, and our treasures to the One who loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son. In worship we come face to face with the God who created us, the God who redeems us and the God who continues to provide for us. WORSHIP…proskuneo…we fall on our knees, and we praise our God as we pilgrimage HOME!

As we conclude today’s message, let us recite the last 3 verses of Psalm 122 as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:7-9

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

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 2/3/2024

Seed of Faith – Open Doors In 2024   By Pastor Dave  

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

In the Hebrew calendar this year is 5784 while in America it is 2024. What is interesting is that in the Hebrew language the letter for “four” is called a “dalet.” Get ready! The Hebrew image of the number four is an open door. In the prophetic arm of the church, they call this year, 2024, “the open door” because of the number four. Rosh Hashanah (or the Jewish New Year) was on Friday, September 15, 2023—or 5784 if you are Jewish. Interesting that the image of the dalet (the number 4) is an open door?

I do not want to spend a lot of time today on the context of these passages since it is my hope to do a series on the seven churches of Revelation after Easter as we move towards Pentecost but what we do need to know is that this church we are speaking of in Philadelphia was small. The members of this small church had “little strength” to oppose the forces of evil. Yet they “kept my word and … not denied Jesus’ name” (v. 8). One other note is that they “kept my command to endure patiently” (v. 10).

What high praise from the Lord!  Makes me think of THE SEED.

A few good so what questions and thoughts to begin with …

Do you feel like you are of little strength?

Have you kept Jesus’ words?

Have you NOT denied Jesus’ name?

Have you kept Jesus’ commands and endured patiently?

Friends, what this passage teaches us today is that God lives behind the door. We are told in Revelation that the One — that is Jesus–holds the keys of David.

Listen again to what Jesus says, “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus will close doors that no one can open. Jesus has opened a door for you that no one can shut. That should make us jump up and shout HALLELJUH — PRAISE THE LORD. Our job is go find that open door. And—there’s more than one!

In John 10 we have two more of the great I Am statements of Jesus. Jesus tells us — Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate (DOOR) for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate (DOOR); whoever enters through me will be saved (or kept safe) He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14

Twice Jesus tells us that He is the gate/door and twice Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd.

When Jesus repeats Himself, we should listen. That’s a sort of a big deal in Scripture!

So What?

I believe that Jesus wants to open doors this year in your life. I also believe that Jesus will be closing some doors.

So what are some of the doors that Jesus is opening?

Reconciliation —- family, friends. coworkers, employers, employees, work, church, school!

Restoration

Renewal

Grace

Forgiveness

Love

Mercy

Ministry

Missions

Money — finances

Health

Healing

Family

Wisdom

The challenge for each of us is this: will we walk through the open doors or will we stop and hold back?

Will we offer forgiveness to others and walk through an open door?

Will we offer finances to someone in need and walk through an open door?

Will we reconcile with someone and walk through an open door?

Will we accept a call to work in a ministry and walk through an open door?

Will we hear the call to do mission work and walk through open doors?

Will we love others like God has loved us and walk through that open door?

The biggest challenge I hear over and over again is, “Why is God not opening that door for me?”  “Why has God not answered my prayers?”  Maybe God is closing doors that no one can open. Maybe it is so you will not be hurt any more than you already have been.

Do you remember the old TV show called “Let’s Make A Deal”? The contestant could choose between door number 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes the contestants made the right deal and went home with some wonderful prizes and other times they cashed out and lost everything.

Later in chapter three of Revelation we hear that Jesus is knocking on the door — “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.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus is the Door and the Good Shepherd. Jesus holds the Keys of David and can open the door. Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus closes doors that no one can open. Yet we are told that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door He will come in and eat with us forever and ever.

I have a good friend who has been praying the same prayer for two years. It is a prayer about reconciliation and restoration within her family.   This is what she said, “Pastor Dave, I have been knocking and knocking on that door for two years. It remains closed to me. While sitting on the beach, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, ‘What does it say in Revelation 3:20? Jesus stands at the door and knocks? The Living Word says the Lord stands there and knocks and knocks and knocks. It does not say I stand there and knock and knock and knock.’ Pastor Dave, I have been standing at a very closed door for a very long time. I have been knocking and waiting and knocking for two years and no one has ever once come to open the door. You know why? That door is closed to me. Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to let Jesus stand there and knock and I am moving forward.” Funny thing, she is doing just that. Her heart is lighter, her smile is wider and, in her words, “I sicked Jesus on them and their closed door. He can knock Himself out now! That is His job now, not mine. I am free to move forward to the open a different door!”

So what? —- Look and see what doors Jesus is opening and walk through them with Holy Boldness.  Stop trying to go through doors that are closed!

I am praying for each of us daily—that we find many open doors and that we boldly go through them.  I am also praying for us that if we’ve been standing and knocking and knocking at a closed door—that we will be like my friend and say, “Jesus, it says in Revelation that standing at a closed door is YOUR job. Would you please stand here and keep knocking at that door? I really am wasting daylight if I just stand at that closed door—I need to go find the OPEN DOORS that you have for me.”

2024…the year of the open door? May you find at least one a day and may the LORD give you the wisdom to decipher between open and closed doors and may you be given the strength to move forward. Jesus is the professional door knocker—sick Him on those really difficult closed doors. He is the one who will bring repentance, restoration and reason. If that door ever opens, you will know and you will be able to be a part of that glorious reunion. 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.

Love In A Line

Seed of Faith – Love In A Line   By Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us. Matthew 1:21-23

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I pray daily for you; that your heart and home are filling up with the HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE of the CHRIST child, of CHRISTMAS! (Christmas means more of Christ!)

Last week, we studied the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s gospel. Listen, this genealogy is no fairy tale. It’s not Disney nor is it Star Wars or Star Trek. What we learned the first week of Advent is that this is the real deal. This is a true story and we can go back 49 generations. The birth of Jesus starts the JUBILEE! He is our Jubilee in so many ways. Let’s move on to the second week of Advent. (A side note: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a hectic, busy, intense Autumn for my wife and I. We poured ourself in ministry and went to 3 far away places—where Jac fell, went to the ER and needed PT. Then I had my health issues and went to ER. The truth is I just don’t feel well. My doctor rechecked my chest xrays and called to say he is referring me to both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. Of course, that was yesterday, December 21st! Will get this done early next year. In all truth and honesty, I am struggling with my breathing and with debilitating headaches. It all started after my hernia surgery when I was put under. I do have a partial, lower-left collapsed lung and I am sure this is the cause of my concerns. Please remember to pray for me and for my medical care. Thank you.)

This week’s devotional is on the second candle of Advent when we look at how God’s love now works through the line of Abraham. This is the greatest story ever told: From the cradle through the cross.

Remember —- put your self into the ancient story and don’t leave until you’ve put the story in you anew!

Today we come to the Christmas story. And at first glance it reads like it could be another legend or a fairy tale. Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into our world and has miraculous powers. This Jesus character can calm the storms in our lives. Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, heals people; not only that He raises people from the dead. Then the antagonists — the enemies— come onto the scene and turn on him. They not only turn on Jesus, but they put Him to death. Just when it seems like all hope is over, Jesus rises from the dead and saves those who call upon His name. (And you will name Him JESUS for He will save His people from their sin!)

So many people read the stories of Jesus, His miracles and resurrection, and they think, “Wow! Another great fairy tale!” Indeed, it looks like the Christmas story is one more story that gives us fiction and fairy tales. (The big guy in the red suit? Reindeer?)

But Matthew’s Gospel refutes that by grounding Jesus in history. The story of Jesus is not “once upon a time” nor is it—”In a galaxy far, far away.” Jesus’ story is not about going to Disneyland to see all the magnificent make-believe in a small world. Matthew tells us that the story of Jesus is real, and is grounded in history. Jesus Christ is not one more lovely story pointing to the unrealities of make believe. Jesus IS the true reality to which all the stories of this Bible we read. Jesus is the foundation built upon 49 generations.

The common starting point intertwined within each of the four Gospels begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. But before they get to the ministry of John the Baptist, each of the Gospel writers has a unique introduction that precedes its account of John the Baptist’s ministry. Mark begins with a simple one-line statement: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Luke starts with a personal first-person account of his reasons for writing, directed to an influential friend whose name was Theophilus, followed by a detailed account of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus does not appear until chapter 3. John’s gospel has a prologue that says, “In the Beginning was the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God.” John traces Jesus’ ancestry to eternity past and speaks of the incarnation without any specific mention of Jesus’ miraculous conception or birth.

Not so the gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins with a genealogy that traces Jesus’ ancestry first to King David and then further back to Abraham.

Beginning a book with a genealogy may seem strange to us, “just a listing of names” and, to be honest with you, I think so many of us skip over the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Maybe because it is a genealogy with a lot of names that are hard to pronounce. Maybe we skip over it because we do not understand the significance.

I love to spend my free time working on my ancestry through ancestry.com. My wife and I did our DNA tests so we could see who some of our relatives are. Now I know that can be good and bad. You find the in-laws and the out-laws. I have printouts of my relatives. I will not bore you with the names and dates. My wife said she would not let me … ha. There are a lot of names that are hard to pronounce, especially in her Italian genealogy. (Conigliaro, Trupiano, Mirabella, Di Lorenzo…)

My grandmother on my dad’s side raised me after my brother’s death. Her name was Margaret. I spent time with her, and she is the one who was responsible for bringing me to church. She was a staunch, Scottish/English Presbyterian. When I met and fell in love with my wife, I brought her up to Illinois from Kirksville, Missouri, to meet my grandmother. I told Nanny, that this was Jacalyn Trupiano and that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Nanny looked at me, looked at Trupi and said, “I assume she is Italian and Catholic.” And then before I could say anything, she said, “Well, David, I am not going to any Catholic wedding.”

Nanny and my grandfather did not travel down to St Louis for our wedding but when our first daughter was born, she took Jenni in her arms and started cooing and rocking her and she said, “Well, you know, Jennifer, you can be a DAR— Daughter of the American Revolution—but your mother cannot!”  My wife looked at her and smiled and said, “Nanny, did not my relatives, Christopher Columbus, an Italian, drive the boat your relatives were on?” Nanny laughed and said, “Jackie, I think we are going to be good friends after all.” At the time, I did not understand that Nanny had done her ancestry—all the way back to the Mayflower and beyond. She was so very proud of her heritage. Through Ancestry, I have gone back thirteen generations, and can go two generations ahead. I come from royalty—from Lords and Ladies and Doctors and Pastors. I now understand why Nanny was so very proud of the Spencer line. (Princess Diana?)

Today we live in a very individualistic culture where you recommend yourself to others with a list of your degrees, work experience, and accomplishments. We call it our resume. And, sometimes, people embellish their resumes with fairy tale truths.

In the Old Testament times and in the time of Jesus that is not it how it was done. This was done through their “LINE” through their ancestry. Theirs was a more communal, family-oriented society. It’s like when Ancestry dings my phone and says, “You have a new match!” It’s exciting to me to go find other relatives and to see how we correlate in my “line”!

Matthew chapter one might look like a genealogy with a list of names but In those times it was your family pedigree, your clan—the people you were connected to—that constituted your résumé. So, a genealogy was a way of saying to the world, “This is who I am and this is where I come from.” The purpose of a genealogical résumé was to impress onlookers with the high quality and respectability of one’s roots.

What is so fascinating with Matthew’s account is that he does the very opposite with Jesus. This genealogy is shockingly unlike other ancient genealogies. To begin with, there are five women listed in the genealogy, all mothers in the line of Jesus. This will not strike modern readers as unusual, but in ancient, patriarchal societies, a woman was virtually never named in such lists, let alone five women!

In the times of Jesus, women were “gender outsiders.” Yet when Matthew begins his Gospel, there they are—five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Also, an interesting note is that most of the women in Jesus’ résumé were not all Jews but Gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth) …Canaanites and a Moabite. To the ancient Jewish people, these nations were unclean. The people from these nations were not allowed into the tabernacle or temple to worship. We could call them “racial outsiders,” and yet, here they are listed in Jesus’ genealogy.

As I studied, I knew I had to look at these women. Who were they? Why did Matthew mention them?

TAMAR: In Genesis 38 we are told the story of Tamar. Tamar tricked her father-in-law, Judah, into sleeping with her (even though in the full story it is also clear that Judah had been unjust to her). This was an act of incest which was against the law of God. Another note in this genealogy is that even though Jesus was descended from Perez not Zerah, Matthew includes both Perez and Zerah, both Judah and Tamar, to make sure we bring the whole story to mind. It was out of that dysfunctional family that the Messiah came. (Are you listening?)

RAHAB: In Joshua chapter2 and 6 we have the story of Rahab. In verse five of Matthew one we find the name of Rahab. She was not just a Canaanite woman, but she was also a prostitute. Notice that from the line of Rahab we get King David. (Still listening?)

RUTH: Next we are told about Ruth, the Moabite woman, who followed her mother-in-law, Naiomi, back to Bethlehem and ends up marrying Boaz. They have a son named Obed. Ruth is famous for saying to Naomi when Naomi tries to leave Ruth back in Moab — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18) From this story, Ruth gleans Boaz’s field. Boaz becomes Ruth’s “Kinsman Redeemer” and the line to Jesus is further established!

You have Tamar and Rahab as Canaanite women and Ruth as a Moabite woman. Are you following Matthew yet? Why is Matthew including women in this genealogy?

Perhaps the most interesting character and background story in the whole genealogy, however, is in verse six. There it says that in Jesus’ line is King David. You would think, if you were writing your resume or genealogy, you would want someone like King David in your genealogy. What is so fascinating is how Matthew records this, David was the father of Solomon, “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. ”Does that name ring a bell? Uriah? This story is recorded in 2 Samuel chapters11 and 12. Why not just give her name? Her name was Bathsheba, but I believe hat Matthew is summoning his Jewish readers to recall a tragic and terrible chapter of Israel’s history. King David had an affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and he had her husband killed so he could marry her. Why is this story recorded in the genealogy of Jesus?

Do you know why Matthew leaves off the name “Bathsheba”? It is not a slight of Bathsheba—it is a slam of David. It was out of that dysfunctional family, and out of that deeply flawed man, that the Messiah came. (I pray you are still listening. We all have families that can be labeled “dysfunctional”.)

Perhaps Jesus’ genealogy is the greatest story of all time that precedes the greatest story of all time.

So What?

The story of Jesus is not fiction nor is it a fairy tale. The story of Jesus is truth.

In this genealogy of Jesus—the Son of God–we have moral outsiders—adulterers, adulteresses, incestuous relationships, prostitutes. We have Kings who worshiped foreign Gods and had their own failures. Indeed, we are reminded that even the prominent male ancestors—Judah and David—were moral failures at one time of their lives.  (God redeems.)

I believe that this genealogy tells us about cultural outsiders, racial outsiders, and gender outsiders. The Law of Moses excluded these people from the presence of God, and yet, right here, they are all publicly acknowledged by Matthew (the tax accountant, the guy who is good with numbers and details) as the ancestors of Jesus, the SAVIOR of the world.

So what does it mean? First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God, can be brought into Jesus’ family.

In Matthew’s genealogy we find a truth that is to be celebrated and told over and over again. It is not the good people who are in and the bad people who are out. Everyone is in only by the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God. We are in the genealogy of Jesus because we are adopted into his family. We are all OUT before Jesus, we are all dysfunctional and, yet, we are beloved by God. Brought into the line, grafted in to be made whole and forgiven.

This genealogy is the prequel to the greatest story ever told.  Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? I pray you do.

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.

Waiting In Hope

Seed of Faith – Waiting In Hope   By Pastor Dave  

“But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” Luke 1:13

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers & Hopeful Christmas Cheerers,

Here we go! I have to share that it’s been a wild Christmas season thus far. People need ministry. People are falling and going to the hospital—in droves. And, out here in Cucamonga, there are many hospitals to visit. I’m keeping up with my beautiful “shut ins” who so need a visit at this season. All this to say, I apologize for not getting this “Seed of Faith” out sooner but I do still believe that God knows no time, is not bound by time, and can still work in us. Despite it being almost time for the third candle of Advent Joy—we can go back and begin at the first candle; the candle of HOPE. So grab your cup of coffee, tea or water and let’s sit and ponder the coming of CHRISTmas.

Let’s open our living word to the birth stories of Jesus in Matthew 1& 2 and Luke 1 & 2. There are so many characters in these stories. As always, put yourself into the story. Look at all the people and places and try on a few of their costumes and sandals. Think of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, shepherds & wise men, Herod and the people of Nazareth and Jerusalem. Try on an angel costume just for fun.

I like to say … put yourself in the story and then put the story in you. Don’t you date close the bible and just leave it on your desk, or kitchen table or bedside table! NO! Put this incredible story into your life; put it into your mind, heart, soul, spirit. Ask yourself, “Where can I be more like ______________ today, in 2023?” And go work it out as you live your crazy, busy schedule—always pondering and treasuring this Christmas story. Where can you bring Jesus Christ into your life today? How can you live Christmas every day? That’s the application the ancient words call you to make: from then to now. Read it. See it. Live it.

So what? Who do you identify with this Advent season? Why are these people mentioned?

Advent is about preparation. Sometimes we forget that before God sent his Son into the world, God had already prepared the way. Jesus arrived on the scene after 400 years of silence from God. Jesus arrived after an angel named Gabriel visited numerous people—preparation. God even saw fit to prepare the way for his Son by sending a man named John who would call people to repentance. God is into preparation.

Are we prepared for Christmas? I am not asking if we have our trees up, or if we have done our shopping, but are we really prepare?.  Are we prepared for the arrival of God’s Son? One might wonder how we can prepare for this great event. Luke helps us by telling the story of an old Jewish priest and his wife.

I have been pondering old Zechariah this week.

FAITHFUL – FEARFUL – FAITHLESS – FAVORED

In Luke chapter one, we see that Zechariah was a priest.  I would say that in this story we see Zechariah as a faithful priest preforming his duties even though God had been silent and had not answered his prayers during the many years of his lifetime. He and his wife had prayed for a child. Diligently.

We also see that Zechariah was fearful. Zechariah was fearful when the angel Gabriel appeared in the Holy of Holies. I love when an angel appears in the bible for they often say, “Do not be afraid.”

Zechariah was also faithless when he did not believe what Gabriel was telling him. He questioned the angel. What he wanted to say was something like this, “Gabe, Sara and I are really old now. We have asked for a child for many years. Never had a child. What you are saying is that now at our old age, you’re telling me that when we should become grandparents—we will become parents?” Zechariah was afraid, he was fearful and he was a bit faithless. That didn’t stop the angel from delivering God’s message, though. Old Zech was silenced until the birth of his son, John. Zech had plenty of time to treasure and ponder the miracle of God.

We also see at the end of our reading of our reading that Zechariah was favored. The Lord remembered Zechariah and heard his prayer.

I wonder if Zechariah ever lost hope.

I wonder as we are going through harrowing times if many of us begin to lose hope.  Will this Covid stuff ever  end?   Will these wars in the Ukraine and Israel ever end? Will this inflation ever stop?  Will we ever get back to our lives as we once knew them?  My health is going south, help me. My finances are shot, help me. My relationships are a mess, help me. Over and over we cry out. Has God forgotten us?  Why does not God hear our prayers?

It is interesting to note —-

The name Zechariah means “The Lord Remembers.”

The name Elizabeth means “My God Is Absolutely Faithful.”

Think about this for a minute! Zechariah is righteous. He is old. He is a priest. He knows God. He knows what it means to serve God. If there ever was a real saint, it is this guy. But he still had some growing to do. God sent the angel Gabriel to him to give him a marvelous promise. But what does Zechariah do? He doubts God. He underestimates God. Have you ever underestimated God?

Zechariah is an example of a person who has known the Lord for a long time. He goes to church. He gives his tithes. He leads a small group. He goes on mission trips. He prays before meals. He reads the Bible every day. He does all the right things, in all the right places, in all the right ways but when God comes along and challenges him to a new level of faith, he is afraid.

This couple reminds us that it really does not matter how long you have known God, or how well you’ve obeyed God, or how faithfully you’ve served God; we always have room for growth. God is committed to stretching and growing the faith of people like Zechariah and Elizabeth and God is committed to doing the same in people like you and me.

SO WHAT?

The so what question for today:  How do these words written so long ago about the Advent of the Christ-child change us and give us hope?

Zechariah was not prepared for the Advent of Christmas because he did not believe God could step into his life and answer long-forgotten prayers in ways he had never dreamed of. I wonder if some of us here today are secretly disappointed with God, but afraid to admit it. Like old Zechariah, we just do what we are supposed to do, never really believing that God is at work to bless us in ways that would totally overwhelm us and silence us in His presence.

We may believe that God would do this for someone else, but not for us.  We think: You do not know what I have done. You do not know what I have gone through. You do not know how hopeless my situation is. Some of us have become so cynical and jaded by life that we no longer believe God is at work within us. We are stuck in our unbelief; we are not ready for God’s gift. But God has some interesting ways of getting through to us.

One verse that I would like for you to take home today is verse 13. Put it to memory Put your name into the verse instead of Zechariah’s.  Like this: But the angel said to (your name here), “Do not be afraid, (your name here), for your prayer has been heard.”

We have the next three weeks to truly prepare ourselves for the Advent of the Christ-child.  This is the beginning of week one:  disappointed hope to appointed hope, disappointed hope to anointed hope.  Here is the “so what?”

From faithful to fearful to faithless to favored.

Are we open to God answering our prayer in ways we have never dreamed of?

Are we prepared for Christmas?

This week let us get real with God.  Spend some time reading the gospel story of Christ’s birth in Luke and Matthew.  Tell God where you need a blessing in your life. Maybe you need to feel forgiven. Maybe you need to forgive.  Maybe you need God to remove the sign from around our neck that says, “Defect,” “Imperfect,” “Sinner,” “Guilty,” “Grief stricken.”   This first week of Advent, let us get into hopeful prayer.

Let us pray:

O God of HOPE, you come into our lives in such amazing ways.  We ask and pray that You will come again this Advent season.  Come and fill the hopeless situations in our lives with hope, touch the hurting parts of our life with Your healing presence.  Remove our disgrace.  Answer our prayers.  Bless us, O God of Hope.  Prepare in each of us, a heart with room to spare for the birth of the Christ child. The living Savior came into our world to redeem, restore, and reconcile—do this in us this Advent Season. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A closing story of hope. One of our church members fell. We met her at the ER and spent the day with her. She had broken her eye orbital, and her cheekbone and she had a concussion. Her daughter spent the weekend with her and then my wife and I took over the doctor visits for the week. It was bleak news that included the word surgery. My friend is a recent widow and she was feeling fearful and afraid and vulnerable. On Wednesday night she came to “Get A Life” group. We were doing this very story. At the end of the bible study, she asked if she could share. Of course. Here’s what she said, “I came to bible study tonight afraid, alone and feeling so very vulnerable but as we’ve studied I actually heard the Lord speak to me and I feel like I need to share it from the rooftops!” We all wanted to know what she had heard. I have a feeling some of you need to hear it, too, so here it is: DO NOT BE AFRAID. My friend said, “No matter what—surgery, no surgery—God is with me and I do not need to be afraid.” You could tell she had had a moment with the Lord—kind of like Zechariah; all the people outside while she had a conversation with God!?

Truth is, a week later her surgeon who had told her surgery was a pretty done deal saw her and said, “I think you got divine intervention. There’s absolutely no need for surgery.” Cry out. Keep crying out. You are heard. And in His time, He will answer you.

A lifetime is not too long to wait. Trust me. There’s a few things I’m still waiting on.

HOPE: Heaven’s One Promise Emmanuel.

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 9.16.2023

Seed of Faith – Witness of the Spirit – No Fear   By Pastor Dave  

“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (adoption) And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  Romans 8:14-15

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed Sowers,

I want to pause and give thanks to all who have written, called, emailed and texted concerning my health concerns.  I am waiting to see the physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon so that I’m able to get an MRI and more xrays.  I want to tell you that with all of your prayers, my pain level has gone down and is so much more tolerable.  Thank you!

This week in our Seed of Faith we will look at two verses.  This is really part one of two parts on Romans 8:14-17.

We began looking at Romans 8 many weeks ago. We have been walking slowly through these verses trying to dig deep into the meaning and teaching that Paul had given the early church. We have looked at a “Life in Christ” and we spent time on verse one of Romans, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) Chapter 8 of Romans is often heralded as one of the greatest chapters in all the Bible. I think it is because Romans begins with NO CONDEMNATION and ends with NO SEPARATION; meaning if you are in JESUS CHRIST—you have nothing to worry about. You are not condemned and there is no way you can be separated from God. I suppose I would agree with the scholars who say it is a pretty great chapter!

Last week we looked at what it means to have a “Life in the Spirit.” Remember the hand and the glove? We are the glove, and the Holy Spirit is the hand. How we need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, guidance, and power in our lives. There’s a cute cartoon that has two friends talking. One friend says, “Man, I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can go do great things!” The other friend replies, “I need the Holy Spirit to fill me just to go to Walmart!” If our minds and hearts are controlled by the Spirit of God, we will have life and life abundantly. Our foundational verse for that message was verse eleven, And “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

If we move aside and quit trying to control and manipulate everyone and everything, and if we simply ask the Holy Spirit to empower us—we are going to LIVE and live well—and that’s whether we are just going to Walmart or holding a crusade for Christ.

A good point to ponder is that these words of Paul gave the early church such power and courage to transform their world. When we get down to verse thirty-seven, we will read that Paul called the early church, “more than conquerors through Christ.”

The Spirit leads us into new life — holiness.

“… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

When we read all of chapter eight in one setting, we can understand that Paul is teaching the early church that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. When our mind is on the things of the Spirit, we will walk in the light as He is in the light. The Holy Spirit will then guide and teach us all things, giving us heavenly wisdom, knowledge and insight. When Jesus was leaving His disciples the night he was betrayed, he promised those in the upper room the gift and person of the Holy Spirit. Listen to Jesus’ own words, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 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. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

“SO WHAT?” is this promise? Better yet, who is this promise? 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?

I believe that we need to look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence. The first word that we should see is the word “another” in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” in the Greek means “another just like the first one.”

Who is the first Advocate? It is Jesus himself. Therefore, the second Advocate is to be just like the first one, Jesus. That is, He is to be a divine being just like Jesus who is now living within each believer. 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 and other theologians speak of the persons of the Trinity, they mean that 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. When we recognize God alone as our Sovereign creator and believe in Jesus Christ, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes, and lives. 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. I believe that if we talk or think about the Holy Spirit as a mysterious power, we will be continually thinking, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?”

On the other hand, if we think of the Holy Spirit as a person, our thoughts will be, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?” 

That is a great question —how can the Holy Spirit have more of me?

There is a small book called, MY HEART, CHRIST’S HOME by Robert Munger. The premise of the book is that our hearts are likened to a home—the entry, the dining room, kitchen, library, family room, bedroom, bathroom, and even the hallway closet. The Holy Spirit wants entry into every room in our heart—but as always, the Holy Spirit is a gentle person—the spirit waits until we give the green light. “Hey,  Jesus or Holy Spirit, do not just stand there in the entry. Take off your coat and come on in! “Mi casa es su casa!” Do not be too surprised if your heart is challenged to change a few things: the way you talk, think, act, and …. what you read, what you watch, what you eat…Okay. I will stop meddling.

When the Holy Spirit has more of us, we are led into a life of living for and with the Lord Jesus.

POINT #1 for today: The Holy Spirit leads me into a new life of holiness. 

  1. The Spirit brings us out of fear into freedom.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, …” (Romans 8:15a)

The other day I was having a conversation with someone who was really struggling with an issue. We talked and prayed together. The verse that God gave me for this person who was struggling deeply with some fears of failure and pains of the past was from John 10:10. I love chapter ten of the Gospel of John. There are two of the great “I Am” statements in John 10.

Jesus says “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”(John 10:9) Another of the great “I Am” statements are, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John10:11) But the verse that is sandwiched in between those two great “I Am” statements of Jesus is John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

In this world, there is so much bad news each day and so many people are afraid. The truth is that our enemy, the thief, the devil, only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have printed out a few pages of the many passages in Scriptures where we are told not to be afraid. If you would like them, email me and i will send them to you.

What Paul is teaching us is that we have not be given a spirit of fear to be a slave again to fear.

POINT #2: We have not been given a Spirit that makes us a slave to fear…we have been given the identical twin Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ…and we now have a spirit of FREEDOM in Christ. Christ came to give us life to the full. Open that door to your heart and let the Holy Spirit in!

So What?

This week, we are reminded to give more and more of our heart and lives over to the rule and reign of Christ. “Less of me. More of Thee.” Remember the question to ask is “How can I give more of my life to Christ and the Holy Spirit?” Even King David asked this of God in Psalm 139:24, “See if there any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Wow. Try that one on for fun!

We are reminded that we have not been given a spirit of fear.  Whatever offensive things or ways that we have, the Holy Spirit will gently nudge and lead us to the way everlasting. That should help us to stand and shout. “Hallelujah and Praise the Lord.”

I encourage you to walk in the boldness of your new life in Christ. If you haven’t ever given your heart to Christ—today is the perfect day. It’s simple but it’s not easy:

Dear God: I am a sinner, we both know that. I believe that Jesus Christ is your one and only Son. I believe He died on the cross for my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and live within me as my Lord and Savior. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Jesus stands outside and knocks until you open the door. There’s no door handle on the outside. Best decision I ever made to open the door and invite Christ into my heart, my home, my life, my church, my preaching, my family, my marriage, my work—oh the lists is endless. Let me know if you need any help or encouragement in taking this step or in becoming ALL you are meant to be and do.

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 9.9.2023

Seed of Faith – Life In The Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings! It’s been few long weeks of doctor visits for me: extreme pain in my neck and left shoulder plus a hernia that needs surgery. The hernia surgery is scheduled for 11-8-23. I should only be down a week. The neck and shoulder aren’t such an easy fix. I’m growing bone—from my skull, my spine, and then having free floaters in my neck and shoulder area. In order to get an MRI, I need three weeks of PT. The earliest PT appointment they had was 10-8! As my wife would say, Pastor needs prayer.

Speaking of prayer, It is my prayer that as you read the SEED OF FAITH each week that you come to grow in the LOVE of GOD, the GRACE of CHRIST, and the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT. That’s The Seed’s mission statement and it’s my prayer for you.

If you have been reading the Seeds of Faith for the past month, you will remember that we are spending time in Romans 8.  I encourage you to take and read chapter 8 of Romans several times—why not daily?  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you again and again of God’s unending love and outrageous grace just for you. This chapter has it all!

Last week we looked at what a life in Christ might be.  This week we take a little dip in the deep waters of living a life in the Spirit. (These “seedlings” are but a portion of my weekly messages. You can always ask  for the complete manuscripts of the weekly messages.)

Romans chapter eight has been called by theologians “one of the greatest chapters in the Bible”. An old German commentator named Spener said, “If the Bible was a ring and the Book of Romans a precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel.”[i]

Many commentators have divided this chapter into different headings for the thirty-nine verses it contains. In the NIV Bible there are three sections, “Life in the Spirit”, “Present Suffering and Future Glory”, and “More Than Conquerors.” Chapter 8 is all about the Holy Spirit and the work that the Holy Spirit does within us as we live our life “in Christ.”  In the first seven chapters of Romans there have only been two mentions of the Holy Spirit: a passing reference to “the Spirit of holiness” in chapter 1, verse 4, and the other is found in chapter 5, verse 5 where the Holy Spirit is described as the pouring out of the love of God within our hearts—so twice in the first 7chapters, and now 20 times in Chapter 8. When something is repeated in the Bible, pay attention.

Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Romans 8 could be named the chapter of “freedom through the Holy Spirit”.

Romans 8 begins with the promise: there is therefore now no condemnation in Christ and it ends with there is now no separation in Christ. Isn’t that the gospel? No CONDEMNATION. NO SEPARATION. What good news here in Chapter 8.

The position that Paul wants the Christian to know is that they are free.

We are free from condemnation.

Why? Because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

A good so what question at this point is, “Do I know the freedom I have in Christ?”

Paul writes these words to the us from the Book of Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Paul tells us here in Chapter 8 that our position in Jesus is that we stand free with no condemnation. What GOOD NEWS. We stand free, without any condemnation.

So how do we put this freedom into practice?

That is what Paul will explain in the next fifteen verses.

In this next section we have some great big theological themes like incarnation, atonement, justification, and sanctification. I want to slow down and read these verses and interject a thought or two.

Again, and always, when you read the living word, put yourself into the story. The Apostle Paul is writing around 57 AD. He’s writing from the Greek city of Corinth, just 3 years after the 16 year-old Nero became the Emperor of Rome. Are you in this story? Perhaps we are in a small home church in Rome, and we heard that Paul has written us! Rome was a tough city to be a believer in. How we long for the words of Paul.

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,” (Romans 8:2)— the law is powerless to save us because of our sinful nature.

“God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.” (Romans 8:3) God is the one who is doing all the action here, we are not.  We are saved by grace.  God chose to send His One and Only Son (this is the incarnation) to become like us — a human. Jesus was a sin offering in order to fulfill the law.

“And so he (GOD) condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.(Romans 8:3-4) Just pause and ponder that powerful statement. God chose to put all the sin of humankind upon His One and Only Son so that, through His One and Only Son, the righteous requirements of the law are met… for you and for me.  We can never meet the righteous requirements of the law. Only one man can and did: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:5-7) Notice how many times Paul uses the word “mind” –five times. Paul contrasts the mind of sinful people with the mind of those who live according to the Holy Spirit.

As we put ourselves into the story, we also must put the story into our hearts and minds. Here’s a few “so what” questions:

What about your mind?

What is your mind set on?

What do you spend your time and money on?

What do you think about the most?

There is a clear warning here … the sinful mind is hostile to God.

“Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:8-10)

Paul challenges us here and begins to step on our toes.  What are we being controlled by? Paul makes it clear that a mind set on the works of the flesh leads to death, while the mind set on the Spirit leads to life. As we listen to Paul’s words, are we setting our mind on the Spirit of Life?

I was reading the end of Deuteronomy this past week and was reminded of the challenge that Moses gave to the people before they entered the promise land.  Listen to this verse from Deuteronomy 30:16— “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” Deuteronomy 30:16

I read a disturbing statistic in one of my Christian emails this past week. Do you know that 26 million Americanshave mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible during COVID? “Currently, only 10 percent of Americans report daily Bible reading.” [i]

If there are 500 people reading this message, the statistics say that 450 aren’t reading their Bible daily, only 50 are.  Instead of letting that statistic discourage you, resolve today to make it a priority to read and study God’s Word. Be one of the 10%-ers.

Paul is telling us that in order for us to live in the freedom that Christ provided us on the cross, we need to know what this book says. Lamentations tells us that God’s word is new every morning. I’ve been reading my word daily since 1987 and I can tell you that there are many days when I read something I’ve never read before—and I read this Bible through each year.

SO WHAT?

This theological process of living a life in the Spirit is called sanctification— or holy living. There is an awe-inspiring connection between the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.  The manifestation of the Spirit’s power and presence brings control, and peace, and knowledge and grace and so many good things. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our life brings about our sanctification—we are actually being made holy as we repent, confess, submit and surrender to the inner work of the Holy Spirit within us. It’s honestly amazing to me to be a pastor and to watch this transformation take place in people. It’s why I do what I do.

What Paul is saying is that “if the Spirit of God lives in you, you will be controlled by the Spirit.” It’s a daily wrestling match for each of us. Sometimes we are good, and our halo shines brightly. Sometimes we fail and regret soils our halo. But…each new day we are given “new mercies” in order that we learn to live in the freedom that Christ bought for us on the cross.

Corrie ten Boom offered an insight into this marvelous truth: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.”

That is what it means to make room for the Holy Spirit to live within us. We are the glove. The Holy Spirit is the hand in the glove.

SO WHAT, Pastor Dave”?

POSITION, PRACTICE.POWER. PRESENCE.

Position — Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Practice — What are your daily devotional practices like so that you are filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you in the 10% club?

Power — Glove or no glove? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify you each moment of each day? Is your glove empty, just sitting on the shelf? Or is your glove full of the living word of God, empowering your heart and soul and mind to make “holy” decisions that give you life and freedom?

In the fall of 1987 I started reading my bible daily. I read 5 psalms, and a chapter of Proverbs each day. Here I am 36 years later still reading 5 psalms and a chapter of Proverbs (plus a gospel and a ton of other theology) and there are days I look and think, “I’ve never noticed that before.” Why? Because God’s mercies are new for us each morning.

No condemnation. No separation. Remember that.

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave

 

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 8/18/2023

Seed of Faith – A Life In Christ  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Romans Chapter 8:

No condemnation — in Christ!

No separation – in Christ!

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and joy and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Praise God!

We will be working through some of the passages in which Paul teaches us that we have a new “LIFE IN CHRIST.”

Do you know that the words “IN CHRIST” are used 119 times just in Paul’s letters alone?

Paul wrote thirteen letters to the churches plus his letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.  “IN CHRIST” is a dominating theme for Paul. It is fitting that the apostle Paul, who received the revelation of the mystery of the union of Jew and Gentile into one body, should coin a phrase to describe those incorporated into one body. This body is, of course, the body of Christ, the church. Pentecost is the church universal’s birthday; the day the promised Holy Spirit fell upon those who believed in Jesus.

I have a handout with a few of the 119 times where Paul tells us what life is like in Christ. If you would like one —- email me at: pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will email you back a copy!

I would like to spend the next few minutes on verse one of Chapter 8 of Romans—possibly one of the greatest chapters in all of the living word!  In the Greek verse one is only eight words.  But these eight words are powerful and give us a promise of the freedom we have in Christ. I’m going to go over the verse as it is in presented in the Greek lineup—not in the English.

No! — oude

The first word in the Greek is an adjective with an emphasis.  The word is “No.” This word is weak in the English translation. In our texts it is a simple negative, like most other negatives. In the Greek text “no” (oude) is strongly emphasized. First, it is not the simple negative “ou” but the compound and therefore the stronger negative “oude.” Second, it occurs at the beginning of the sentence, which intensifies the negation. This word “oude” can be translated, “not one, nothing, no one, none, or just plain no.” The strong emphasis could be translated with a double negative like “no, nothing — no, not one— no—none— no,  no one–or simply no no!”

It’s important to note that this word Oude (NO, NO!) describes the noun “condemnation” for anyone who is IN CHRIST. There is simply no, no, no, not one, nothing, none—no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! That’s great news.

Therefore!— ara

The second great word in this sentence is “therefore.” To what does it refer?  Does “therefore” bring us back to the arguments of the struggle with sin in chapters 7, chapter 5 or chapter 3 of Romans? NO,NO! Most scholars say that Paul’s “therefore” is all inclusive, pointing back to the entire argument of the epistle—all 7 chapters prior!  The Good News that Paul is telling us is this—- there is no, not one, nothing, none, no, no, no condemnation for us. What Paul is really saying is this, “You know everything else I’ve written in this letter—in the previous 7 chapters…well all of that was to come to this: THEREFORE…there’s NO CONDEMNATION if you believe in Jesus Christ.

Why?  Because God’s work done in Jesus Christ (through his life, death and resurrection) and through the the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost—this all leads us to this one thing: there is now “no condemnation” for any person who is “in Christ”.

Now!— vuv

“Now” is a time word, pointing to the change that has come about as the result of our believing in the work of justification that Jesus Christ made possible by his death. Before we believed IN CHRIST, we stood condemned by God. We were due to suffer the penalty of an eternal death for our sins, the “wages of sin” being “death”.  But once we believe in Christ…therefore, there is now no condemnation.

Now — not tomorrow.

Now — not next week.

Now — not next year.

Now — not when you get your life together.

Now — not when you do good works for your sins.

NOW — is translated with words like, “at this present time, now, at this very time, just now.”

I love that word!

This past week, I was captured by that word in 2 Corinthians 5:5 — “NOW it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

I truly believe that God wants us to live in the now and not the the tomorrows or yesterdays. Will Rogers once wrote these profound words about living in the “NOW.” This is what he said, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.(1)

I know that I have at times allowed yesterday’s mistakes, sins, and failures to hold me back. What we are learning today is that if we are “in Christ,” yesterday’s sins contain no condemnation for us. Zero. None.

So What?

Now is the time to receive the undeserved and unearned gift of grace that God has given to us through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into heaven —no, not one, none, nothing — no condemnation.

Condemnation — katakrima

This Greek word means that there has been a legal decision in a court case and the verdict is guilty. Did you hear that? “Guilty” was our status! If we were to read the opening chapters of Romans, we would see that we are to be condemned as sinners. We were condemned sinners, subject to the outpoured wrath of God. But suddenly Jesus entered our world and died for us, bearing the wrath of God in our place, and there is NOW “no condemnation” fort hose who are in Christ.  

This is such a groundbreaking chapter in the Bible. Chapter 8 starts with THERE IS NOW NOCONDEMNATION for those IN CHRIST JESUS…and ends with…THERE IS NOW NO SEPARATION from the LOVE OF GOD for those of us in Christ.

You see, what will happen when we each face the “Day of reckoning” is that we will have the greatest defender of all stand with us before the judge of all. No matter what the enemy says about us—the grace of God will cover us—if we are in Christ! Instead of a GUILTY verdict, our Lord and Savior will deliver to us a NOT GUILTY verdict—all because he paid the price of our sin on that cross at Calvary.

Oude ara vuv katakrima….

OUDE: No, nothing, no not one thing, no none, no no one, no, no, no….

ARA: Therefore…and not just chapter 7, 5 or 3…but the whole kicking kaboodle of the Bible and the fall of man has been covered by the blood of Jesus…

VUV: NOW….not yesterday, not when you were little, not in your teen years, not in your college years (OH BOY) no…not then…but NOW…just now…today, not yesterday…

KATAKRIMA: NOT GUILTY….

That’s not Greek to us anymore! How about in English? “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. ”Romans 8:1

Let’s take a moment to pause and ponder the great grace of Jesus who pardons us…now might be a goodtime to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me”

I don’t know about you, but I want to run around right now and shout, “HEY! I am IN CHRIST, people! I AM LIVING IN CHRIST!”

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go plant that seed into your family, friends, strangers, etc. Who doesn’t need to hear the living word of Jesus Christ? Not GUILTY. Saved. Justified (Just as I’ve never sinned), forgiven.That big gavel in the judges hand is going to slam onto the desk and, if you are a believer, if Jesus Christ is your lord and Savior, you are going to hear over and over again, NOT GUILTY.

Your “SO WHAT?” homework for the week: How does this SEED OF FAITH make me feel? Give me 3 words that describe how you feel knowing there’s no condemnation for you? Here are my three: free, forgiven, unafraid.

“Father God, I believe. I believe Jesus is your only son who died for my sins. Forgive me. Set me free to live in Christ…today and tomorrow. Thank you that after a long and  surly court case—you have declared me NOT GUILTY and I am free from all condemnation. Help me to turn from my wicked way and to learn how to live the rest of my life in Christ. God, help me. Amen.”

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 8/5/2023

Seed of Faith – Holy Spirit Power  By Pastor Dave  

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17-21

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that each of us grows in the grace of Jesus Christ and that we get so full of this amazing grace that we go in the power of the Holy Spirit sowing SEEDS of faith in our world. God’s love and grace are transformational, so get out there in your world and sow those seeds of faith!

God wants us to know His Ways and desires for us to be empowered by His “Ruach” Holy Spirit to live Holy lives, bearing much fruit in Him. Have you ever thought that God wants us to live a holy life? Salvation. Sanctification. Glorification. Three powerful words and three powerful life transformations. Salvation—we believe Jesus is God’s only Son, who died for our sins, then rose triumphant on the 3rd day. Sanctification—from the moment we are “saved”, we grow further and further into sanctification; being made holy in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, we take our last breath and we arrive in heaven—glorified. Triumphant.

So let’s start with a first “so what?” Holy. Are you trying to live a holy life?

In Ezekiel, the prophet gave these words to the Jewish people. “And I will put My Ruach —Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”  (Ezekiel 36:27)

You might not know the name Angelo Dundee, but you have undoubtedly heard of Muhammad Ali, probably the most famous professional boxer of all time. For more than two decades, Angelo Dundee was in Muhammad Ali’s corner, literally. He was Ali’s cornerman! He is the one who made Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He also trained fifteen other world boxing champions. Angelo Dundee described his job as a cornerman this way: “When you’re working with a fighter, you’re a surgeon, an engineer, and a psychologist.”[i]

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have someone even better than a surgeon-engineer-psychologist in our corner we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third PERSON of the Trinity!

The disciples were told to “go and wait” for the promise gift that Jesus would give. One note that we should see is that the disciples were obedient, and they went and waited and waited and waited. They waited ten days and then whoosh the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty wind and tongues of fire filled the place and everyone who was in the room. In verse four we read these words from Dr Luke, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Luke 2:4)

The Greek word for “all” means “all.” All one hundred and twenty of those gathered were filled, which means in Greek to be “generously supplied or overflowing” with the Holy Spirit. After being generously filled, they then began to speak. The Greek word for speak is one of those present active verbs which means the act of speaking never stopped. The Holy Spirit filled them generously and repeatedly so that they could continue to speak over and over again.

Imagine with me that you have decided to go sailing. The problem is that you know next to nothing about sailing. So, you go to the store, and you purchase several books to find out what is involved. You carefully read them and then you talk to a veteran sailor who answers questions for you. The next day, you rent a sailboat. You examine it closely to make certain that everything needed for a successful sailing experience is present and in good working order. Then, you take your boat out onto the lake. Your excitement is at a fever pitch, though you’re also afraid. But you follow the instructions you have read, and the counsel received from the experienced sailor, and you launch your boat into the water. You carefully monitor each step and hoist the sail.[ii]

At that precise moment you learn a crucial lesson. You can study sailing. You might even be able to build a sailboat. You can seek from the wisest and most veteran of sailors. You can cast your boat onto the most beautiful of lakes under a bright and inviting sun. You can successfully hoist the sail. But—and this is a big “but”—only God can make the wind blow!

“You and I can study the Bible…. We can orchestrate a worship service according to biblical guidelines. We can do everything that lies in the power of a Christian man or woman. But only the Spirit can make the wind blow inside that service!

The power of the Holy Spirit was what enabled the disciples to continually speak about Jesus. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that put wind in the sails of the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. It was to power of the Holy Spirit that the birthed the church and on the day of Pentecost three thousand people were added.

So What?

At the closing of our reading in verses seventeen through twenty-one, we hear the quote from Joel that says that Holy Spirit will be poured on all people: Young men, old men, servants, men, and women, will prophesy. The Holy Spirit will show wonders in the heavens and signs below. But the promise is this: all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Greek word for “saved” means “to be rescued, delivered, healed, to keep safe, and unharmed.”

When I finally came to faith in Christ a verse from Romans eight forever changed my life. It was Romans 8:15-16 — “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you aslave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’schildren.” Romans 8:15-16

It was the Spirit of sonship that forever changed my life. What I heard was that God wanted to be my Father and I would be His son and he would be with me forever. Then verse sixteen said that it was His Spirit that would testify to my spirit that the presence of the Holy Spirit would never leave me. It was that promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit that forever changed my life. (January 1981)

Tesla. Chevy. Nissan. Porsche. Audi. VW. A dozen major carmakers are now building electric vehicles, and the market is expected to grow.

But there is a problem: The charging ports are all over the cars.

When you go to a gas station to fill up your gas-powered car, you can be pretty sure that you will pump gas into the tank from the side of the car, near the rear. But where do you put the charger into your electric car?

Could be the front. Or the back. Or one of the sides. Very confusing.

In Korea, the car-maker Hyundai recently embarked on a project of building public charging stations in Seoul, and they wanted to accommodate as many car brands as possible. According to Fast Company magazine, they tapped the consulting firm McKinsey to design a universal charger that would easily work with any electric car.

The result was the “Hyundai Hi-Charger,” and you will never guess what inspired its design. “Self-serve car washes,” says a partner at McKinsey. “They have the sprayer hanging down from the top and it kind of rotates around.”

Same with the Hyundai Hi-Charger. It has a beacon, featuring a glowing halo. The halo rotates and drops the charging cable in just the right spot, depending on the make and model of your electric car.[iii]

It is a universal charger.

The promise of Pentecost is that God is with us, always with us, and this is true for all Christians, not just those labeled Pentecostal or Charismatic. It echoes the promise made when Jesus was given the name Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matthew1:23). The Holy Spirit is our Universal Charger, hovering above us and within us. Bringing us the healing, help, wisdom, knowledge and guidance we need, in every time, place, and situation.

Let me ask you again? Except let me word it a little differently: How are you doing allowing the HOLY SPIRIT (the universal charger) to grow the HOLY in you?

If we could only get a glimpse! We’ve been saved and sealed with God’s very own holy spirit. Maybe it’s a good time to pray?

”Holy Spirit, I want my life to grow in holiness. God has promised never to leave me, never to forsake me. Today, maybe show me just one thing I can do, just one thing I can say, just one thing I can read that will feed my spirit and grow my roots deeper in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

I’m praying for you. I pray for you each day. Do you know why I went into ministry? My biggest hope is to watch lives be transformed by God’s grace, love, and power!

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go save the world.

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 6.2.2023

Seed of Faith – Go and Wait By Pastor Dave  

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,
In verses four and five of the books of Acts, I was stopped in my study with the words “wait” and “promise.”  I know that there are many words in these verses that we could spend a lot of time on. We could talk about the command that Jesus gives. Why is it so hard to follow Jesus’ commands? We heard hurry and“ Go and Tell.” We heard “Go and Make.” Now we hear “Do Not Leave Jerusalem.” Is Jesus thinking clearly!?  Jerusalem is not a safe place. Does not Jesus remember what happened the last time they were all in Jerusalem? Wait! Wait in Jerusalem!

We can hardly wait for our phone to connect to the internet as the little circle goes round and round. A funny side note, I know a woman who was directed by the Holy Spirit to pick the word WAIT as her word of intention two years ago. She truly learned how to wait that year.
The Greek word that Dr. Luke uses for “wait” is “perimeno” and it is a present active verb that mean that the action is continuous– to “stay in one place and anticipate or expect” over and over and over again. Never stop waiting. Keep on waiting.

I think of Abraham and Sarah waiting almost 80 years to have a baby. I think of Daniel in the lion’s den waiting for God to rescue him in the morning. I think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego waiting in a fiery furnace. I think of Moses and the Israelites waiting and wandering in the wilderness for forty years. It was forty days that the Israelites waited when Goliath stood and challenged them and mocked God. Then David showed up with a sling shot and five smooth stones. Zechariah and Elizabeth waited for years for their baby, John the Baptist. How about the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethsaida? He waited for 38 years to be healed. Martha and Mary waited for Jesus to show up but then their brother died. Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus showed up and what does he do? Resurrection time! Those are just some of the stories of the people in the bible who are waiting.

Are you waiting on Jesus? You, my friend, are in great company.

Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the promise. The promise was the Holy Spirit. The person and the power of the Holy Spirit. In next week’s SEED OF FAITH we will spend some more time talking about the Holy Spirit—just wait!
But rest assured. When Jesus promises something — it will come to be fulfilled. It would be good to hold onto some of the promises in the Bible. One of the best promises we have been given is that we will have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Remember the ending of Matthew. Jesus gave the Great Commission and said — “Remember I will be with you always even to the end of the age.”

So What?

We can all be witnesses. Can I Get A Witness!?
Here is your SO WHAT PASTOR DAVE homework for the week: As you wait, pray. Yep. When you go the grocery store and are waiting in line, stop, look around and pray for the people you see. Do the same at the gas station, at the doctor’s, everywhere you go—and as you are forced to GO AND WAIT…why not try praying for the places we go and people we see? I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me the people’s heart as I pray. We never know how our prayers will affect another heart. Let me give you an example: 31 years ago our eldest daughter graduated from High School. We threw a big party for her and invited everyone we knew! A young girlfriend of our daughter’s came to the party but decided she was to shy to come in. She dropped off her gift and left. My wife is a terrific communicator and she sensed that this young girl needed prayer. She prayed for her, asked our daughter who she was, and then Jac sent her a card thanking her for coming to the party and leaving a gift. Inside her card my wife enclosed a magnet—a GOD loves you magnet.
You are going to have to read next week’s SEED OF FAITH in order to understand how important it is in the kingdom of God for us to learn to wait. Let’s put Habukkuk to memory: Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

We sang a song last week by the group CAIN called THE COMISSION. Somewhere in the song we sang, “I have the purpose…God has the plan.” May we always remember that. The song is not IN MY TIME…but IN HIS TIME. God will make all things beautiful IN HIS TIME.

Want to know what happened in 31 years time with this young lady?

WAIT.

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 5/16/2023

Seed of Faith – Just Show Up  By Pastor Dave  

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

After Easter worship, my wife and I jumped on a plane! That’s right, as soon as worship services and the egg hunt were completed, my wife and I flew to Texas in order to show up for five of our two grandsons’ baseball games for the week. What a joy and blessing it was to be there. Our younger grandson plays high school base ball and had two great games.  Of course, I could brag and show you videos and pictures. His older brother is a freshman in college. If you don’t know this, college sports are a whole other beast of athletism. Mason is a lefthanded pitcher. He is one pitcher on a team of 20 pitchers. Freshman usually have to pay their dues and that translates to: we sat in the stands and watched an all-day during double hitter and only saw our grandson warm up! We left Waco at 10 am, drove to Dallas, spent the day and returned home at 10 pm. It was a long, 12-hour day. Our grandson may not have gotten the chance to pitch in the game but the important thing is that we showed up. We cheered the team on (they won one, lost one.) We were able to watch our grandson snag balls during infield practice, and warm up in the dugout. After the first game, he was able to talk with us for a few minutes in the stands. He apologized for not playing and that we drove such along way for that. We told him, “Mason, just remember to show up. Life isn’t about showing up because you’re the star of the game. Life is just about showing up no matter what.”

When Jesus met Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in the garden by the empty tomb, He told them not to be afraid, but He actually told them more. Listen to Jesus’ words … Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:10

If you have read the Bible, you know that there are many resurrection appearances of Jesus that have been recorded. The New Testament indicates that there were at least ten appearances of the risen Lord, plus another appearance to Paul some years later. As we noted in our opening reading of the Gospel of John, Jesus appeared in the Upper room not once but twice. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appears to the disciples walking down the road to Emmaus after the resurrection.  In John we find Jesus appearing to the disciples on the seashore in Galilee and cooking fish tacos for their morning breakfast. We hear of Jesus forgiving Peter three times by asking Peter to love Him and feed His sheep. Did Jesus do that so that He and bff Pete were “even up” for the three times that Peter denied knowing Jesus? Maybe.  In eight of these appearance accounts, Christ gives an explicit commission, and in five of the eight he commands his followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Our reading in Matthew comes after breakfast by the sea. Some scholars suggest that the timing of Matthew’s account is some fifty to fifty-five days after the resurrection. We could spend some time trying to put all the pieces together chronologically, but I do not think that is what we are called to do.

In Matthew, Jesus gives some powerful action points that are necessary for His followers to follow in order to fulfill their supreme mission on earth–to reach the mountain peak of their calling, as it were. These action points I would like to address over the next few Seeds of Faith: show up, worship, obedience — go make, baptize, and teach.

Notice the ending of verse 10 and the action in verse 11.  The women were told to go and tell the disciples (hiding in the upper room) to go the Galilee for there they would see Jesus. You know what the disciples did? They went.  That is what verse eleven tells us. They showed up, they were available.

I wonder how often I have failed to show up. I try and listen to what God is trying to tell and ask of me through the Holy Spirit each moment of each day. Sometimes I miss the boat and the result is I miss the opportunity to see God at work in my life and in the lives of others.

While we were in Texas, my wife and I went to one of my favorite Christian book stores (Mardel) to walk around and browse the books and Christian art. We picked out only a few books this trip knowing that we only had so much room in our 48 pound suitcases! We were standing in the checkout line—which was long—and my wife started waving all the other people behind us to go ahead of us. They only had one or two items and we had 7 books and we were in no hurry. The lady just in front of my wife thanked us because she only had a small amount of time before she had to go pick up her kids and she had prayed that she’d get in and out in record time. You know my wife, they talked about kids and then my wife noticed the title of the two books this woman was buying, The books were by Lysa Terkeurst! She was buying Lysa’s newest book called, “You’ll Get Through This”. The woman saw my cross and asked if I was a pastor. Then she shared with us that she was going through a messy divorce. They had been married 35 years and he just left for another younger woman. By now she was crying. Jac asked her about the books she has read by Lysa. Turns out, she has read almost all of them—except, she missed GOOD  BOUNDARIES AND GOODBYES—the very study our SEED BOSSY women are studying this Spring! Jac was like, “NO! NO! You need to get this book before you get that book! This boundaries book is the precursor and foundation of that book! First, you need to know about boundaries and good byes!” You got it, I had already left the line and had gone to pick up the study guide and the book. Jac is leading the women’s study at the SEED. While I was gone, the woman told Jac, “OK. I will go home, go to work and make more money and come back and get that study in two weeks.” After the woman checked out, Jac asked her if she could wait just another moment for a blessing. You got it. THE SEED bought this woman the tools she needed to finish her mountain climbing for this season. Oh, how she cried. After we were done checking out our own 7 books, we went off to the side of the checkout aisle and prayed for this broken-hearted person. Jac wrote down an encouraging note in her book, showed her how to access the 6 videos online and left her cell phone number.

SO WHAT?

Point number one!  Show up — be available. As we were listening to the Christian radio in Waco, a caller shared that she had participated in the local PAY IT FORWARD TUESDAY last week. You know, you’re in the drive up line and someone pays for the car behind them? This person drove through the bistro and said, “ I want to pay for mine and for the car behind me.” The next Tuesday this woman showed up again and the bistro told her that the last time they paid it forward—20 cars!

What I’m trying to tell you is that you don’t always go out and say, “Here I am. Showing up!” Sometimes you simply are nothing but available. You’re there and ALL OF A SUDDENLY…there’s an opportunity to watch God work…and God may even be using you to do just that!

That’s what Jesus is commanding here. “Go tell the family of God to JUST SHOW UP. I’ll take care of the rest.”

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 – Joy In The Journey Psalm 122  By Pastor Dave  

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Welcome to this week’s Seed of Faith. It is our prayer at the SEED that the verse for our church will be amazingly true for each one of you: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23) 

Yes, we pray that we will all be born again and again though God’s enduring Word of life, Jesus Christ. There is no other way!

Each year at this time I sit down with pen and paper and spend time in prayer. I seek the Lord’s will and guidance as what I am to preach and teach. Twice a year, I put together the Sundays for six months of the year. I sit with an empty preaching calendar—complete with potential titles, subjects, and Scriptures. I also have my bible nearby and the church calendar list of Sundays. This gives me helpful guidance as I attempt to layout the year ahead, breaking it down into two six month sets. I have been praying for many months for the sermon series outline for the first half of this year.

The Lord put it on my heart to teach through the Psalms of Ascent during this Lenten season leading up through Palm Sunday and Easter. After Easter, we will turn to the last book of the Bible and dive deep into the book of Revelation and the seven churches.

I encourage you to take time to read Psalms 120-134 during this season of Lent.

As I prayed and heard the Holy Spirit whisper to continue the Psalms of Ascent, I went to my computer to look. I sort of remembered doing them—was it a series I’d done in Round Rock, Upland or Aurora? Was it a bible study I had done somewhere? It just seemed familiar to me. I went to my computer and I realized that I started it during Lent of 2020. We all know what happened next: COVID. I saw that I had started the series and had preached on two psalms: 120 and 121.

These are the psalms (songs) the people would sing together as they traveled UP THE MOUNTAIN TO JERUSALEM in order to celebrate their special FEAST days. Three times a year, the Jewish people were to gather together in Jerusalem. Soon there were psalms that they memorized and sang together as they hiked up the mountain.

Psalm 120 is the Psalm of repentance. A perfect place to start singing. “God, I’m a sinner and I need to repent of my ways.” Perfect place to begin.

Psalm 121 calls us out of the world and the environment of deceit, lies and hostility and sets us on our way to God. Psalm 121 is the Psalm of trust. It teaches us to “lift our eyes to the mountains,” for that is where our help comes. Think about climbing up the mountain together with a group of your best friends and family, and there you are singing, “Where does our help come from?” “Our help comes from the mountain maker! Psalm 121 is a demonstration of a person who determinedly trusts God to work out His will and “guard you from every evil” in the midst of difficulty.

Here we are now at Psalm 122–the Psalm of worship. Psalm 122 is a demonstration of what people of faith everywhere always do: gather to an assigned place and worship their God. Just like us today, gathered in person and online—gathered in an assigned place in order to worship GOD.

Right above us are the San Gabriel mountains. At the top of one of the peaks is Mt. Baldy. Can you imagine us all gathering together and singing this psalm of worship as we made our way to the top? A song of worship would be perfect as we hiked.

Worship! What comes to your mind when you hear the word “worship?”

So many questions came to mind when I sat down to write this week’s message.

What does it mean to worship?

How are we to worship?

When are we to worship?

Why do we worship?

Why is there so much voluntary and faithful worship by Christians?

The word for “worship” is used 173 times in the Old Testament and 79 times in the New Testament—252 times total. The Greek word for “worship” is “προσκυνέω proskuneō” which means to bow down, prostrate oneself, kiss or give reverence.

Jonathan Edwards, who is considered the greatest theologian that America has had, said this about worship, “If man does not give his highest respect to the God that made him, there will be something else that has the possession of it. Men will either worship the true God, or some idol. It is impossible it should be other wise; something will have the heart of man. And that which a man gives his heart to may be called his god.”[i]

Brother Lawrence said, “The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”[ii]

So what is in your heart?

In his book, “What Is Worship?” J. Vernon McGee tells of the time one of his church leaders invited him to hear a symphony orchestra perform. He said he knew nothing about music, but went anyway “to be nice.” What he first heard was a horrid cacophony of individual squeals and squawks, as each musician tuned his instrument. But then, he related when the conductor entered the scene, what a difference there was! At his cue, all those different instruments blended their voices to create truly beautiful music. Today, McGee explains, “every man is playing his own little tune. (But) one of these days, out from the wings will step the Conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will burst forth into song. Every bird, every angel, and then man will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you and I can bow before Him and bring our own little souls into the harmony of heaven.”[iii]

While we were back in Illinois recently, my wife and I had the wonderful joy and blessing to go to our eldest granddaughter’s concert at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is on a full-ride scholarship there for playing the viola. Jac and I paid our respects at our dear friend’s visitation and then we drove 90 miles into Chicago. We arrived a little early, so we met our granddaughter in the food court for a little snack. She had just finished tuning up. We then walked over to the concert hall for the concert. Wow! What a blessing. I would agree with J Vernon McGee, as they were warming up, the noise in the room was loud and annoying but when the conductor came and stood in front of them and began to direct each instrument to play in tune, the music was amazing and such a joy.

This is what worship is about, dear friends. We all come together to offer our different gifts and together we create an amazing symphony for God to be glorified with.

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:1-2

When we read or sing these opening verses, we see that the pilgrims have arrived in the city of Jerusalem. They walked and worked their way up the mountain. Why? To worship and give God all their praises.

Jerusalem is the city of peace. The pilgrims were called to praise and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is an amazing point: The place of worship should bring peace, a peace that surpasses all our understanding. The Prince of Peace came to rule and reign in the city of peace called Jerusalem.

WORSHIP. Proskeneo…we bow down before our God, and we sing praise.

SO WHAT?

As we begin this series on opening doors in 2024, where or what door is God calling you to walk through when it comes to making your journey with Jesus? There are open doors for worship. There are open doors for praise. There are open doors for prayer. Have you ever thought that it might be a great idea for each of us to open our Bibles up during the week, and not just together on Sundays? I could tell you this much, if we knew that next Sunday, we would be walking up to Baldy to reach the summit together, there would be many of us who grabbed the Living Word like it was our only road map! Go ahead, get out your book of Psalms and start reading 5 a day—and do not miss the idea that you can make notes in your Bible, or in a journal, about what ideas the Holy Spirit fills your head and your heart with. Today is February 4th—so this means if we have read 5 Psalms on the1st, 2nd, and 3rd—today we would be reading Psalms 16-20! If that is too much, then get your Bible out (even get your phone out) and get ready for next week’s journey up to Baldy with Psalm 123! Read it like it is your guide and road map! Or sit and ponder your notes and Psalm 122 each morning. The point is that we WORSHIP—bow with reverence before our God.

Every week during the message on Sunday, my wife is using the NOTES section on her phone. She takes precocious notes and clicks away at the power points. I have often wondered why she does that. This week I figured it out. When I am on the airplane, I am either reading on my iPad or listening to music or both. This week, on our flight to Chicago, I saw her using her phone and re-reading her notes and the PowerPoints from last week’s message! I did not just see her do it one time, but there she was on every flight pulling up notes from previous Sunday. Do you know what else?  As we landed, and made our way to the next gate, I heard her dropping verses and points all along her way. Anyone here even remember what the message was about? 2024—THE OPEN DOOR! I cannot tell you how many times I heard her speak to complete strangers about their open door! One man, let us call him Jerry, told her an amazing, almost unbelievable story. He and Jac talked about Jesus and how Jesus has changed their lives. Jerry accepted Christ 5 years ago and he has not missed a Sunday since! Jac gave Jerry a business card from THE SEED and sat there and showed him how to take the spiritual gifts test! His mom and sister were with him and they, too, are taking the test. I asked Jac on our last flight, “What’s going on?” She said, “I’m taking this OPEN DOOR 2024 serious, Dave. I pray every day that I do not miss a single OPEN DOOR. I pray that if God shows me an OPEN DOOR—I am going through it—no matter that I have no idea where it may lead.” Let me tell you, Jerry—was a big guy, he had tats all over, and he had been to jail. He came to Jesus in jail. Seriously, usually I am the guy talking Jesus, but I got to see the words the Holy Spirit gave me from Sunday be lived out this week as my wife shared. Jac had been reading and rereading all the scriptures about open doors. The hour-long JESUS discussion at the O’Hare airport began with Jac asking, “How was your time in Chicago?” Kind of like—well, here is an open door—wonder if Jerry wants to go with me through it? Jerry’s son had just graduated from Navy bootcamp, and this proud dad could not contain himself. He talked about how the Navy went all out for the ceremony and how his son is going to train to be a Navy seal. I just sat back and watched God work as Jerry shared and Jac planted seeds of faith.

Remind you of us going up that mountain together to worship God? Yes! Maybe this week it’s going to be your turn to plant seeds of faith.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

Each week we have the opportunity to come to church and worship. Worship is voluntary. But when we gather together to worship, we get to encounter the presence of living God together– in our worship, our praise, and our prayers. We grow stronger together as a community of believers as we worship — as we give our voices, our time, our talents, and our treasures to the One who loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son. In worship we come face to face with the God who created us, the God who redeems us and the God who continues to provide for us. WORSHIP…proskuneo…we fall on our knees, and we praise our God as we pilgrimage HOME!

As we conclude today’s message, let us recite the last 3 verses of Psalm 122 as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:7-9

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

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 2/3/2024

Seed of Faith – Open Doors In 2024   By Pastor Dave  

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

In the Hebrew calendar this year is 5784 while in America it is 2024. What is interesting is that in the Hebrew language the letter for “four” is called a “dalet.” Get ready! The Hebrew image of the number four is an open door. In the prophetic arm of the church, they call this year, 2024, “the open door” because of the number four. Rosh Hashanah (or the Jewish New Year) was on Friday, September 15, 2023—or 5784 if you are Jewish. Interesting that the image of the dalet (the number 4) is an open door?

I do not want to spend a lot of time today on the context of these passages since it is my hope to do a series on the seven churches of Revelation after Easter as we move towards Pentecost but what we do need to know is that this church we are speaking of in Philadelphia was small. The members of this small church had “little strength” to oppose the forces of evil. Yet they “kept my word and … not denied Jesus’ name” (v. 8). One other note is that they “kept my command to endure patiently” (v. 10).

What high praise from the Lord!  Makes me think of THE SEED.

A few good so what questions and thoughts to begin with …

Do you feel like you are of little strength?

Have you kept Jesus’ words?

Have you NOT denied Jesus’ name?

Have you kept Jesus’ commands and endured patiently?

Friends, what this passage teaches us today is that God lives behind the door. We are told in Revelation that the One — that is Jesus–holds the keys of David.

Listen again to what Jesus says, “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus will close doors that no one can open. Jesus has opened a door for you that no one can shut. That should make us jump up and shout HALLELJUH — PRAISE THE LORD. Our job is go find that open door. And—there’s more than one!

In John 10 we have two more of the great I Am statements of Jesus. Jesus tells us — Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate (DOOR) for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate (DOOR); whoever enters through me will be saved (or kept safe) He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14

Twice Jesus tells us that He is the gate/door and twice Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd.

When Jesus repeats Himself, we should listen. That’s a sort of a big deal in Scripture!

So What?

I believe that Jesus wants to open doors this year in your life. I also believe that Jesus will be closing some doors.

So what are some of the doors that Jesus is opening?

Reconciliation —- family, friends. coworkers, employers, employees, work, church, school!

Restoration

Renewal

Grace

Forgiveness

Love

Mercy

Ministry

Missions

Money — finances

Health

Healing

Family

Wisdom

The challenge for each of us is this: will we walk through the open doors or will we stop and hold back?

Will we offer forgiveness to others and walk through an open door?

Will we offer finances to someone in need and walk through an open door?

Will we reconcile with someone and walk through an open door?

Will we accept a call to work in a ministry and walk through an open door?

Will we hear the call to do mission work and walk through open doors?

Will we love others like God has loved us and walk through that open door?

The biggest challenge I hear over and over again is, “Why is God not opening that door for me?”  “Why has God not answered my prayers?”  Maybe God is closing doors that no one can open. Maybe it is so you will not be hurt any more than you already have been.

Do you remember the old TV show called “Let’s Make A Deal”? The contestant could choose between door number 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes the contestants made the right deal and went home with some wonderful prizes and other times they cashed out and lost everything.

Later in chapter three of Revelation we hear that Jesus is knocking on the door — “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.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus is the Door and the Good Shepherd. Jesus holds the Keys of David and can open the door. Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus closes doors that no one can open. Yet we are told that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door He will come in and eat with us forever and ever.

I have a good friend who has been praying the same prayer for two years. It is a prayer about reconciliation and restoration within her family.   This is what she said, “Pastor Dave, I have been knocking and knocking on that door for two years. It remains closed to me. While sitting on the beach, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, ‘What does it say in Revelation 3:20? Jesus stands at the door and knocks? The Living Word says the Lord stands there and knocks and knocks and knocks. It does not say I stand there and knock and knock and knock.’ Pastor Dave, I have been standing at a very closed door for a very long time. I have been knocking and waiting and knocking for two years and no one has ever once come to open the door. You know why? That door is closed to me. Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to let Jesus stand there and knock and I am moving forward.” Funny thing, she is doing just that. Her heart is lighter, her smile is wider and, in her words, “I sicked Jesus on them and their closed door. He can knock Himself out now! That is His job now, not mine. I am free to move forward to the open a different door!”

So what? —- Look and see what doors Jesus is opening and walk through them with Holy Boldness.  Stop trying to go through doors that are closed!

I am praying for each of us daily—that we find many open doors and that we boldly go through them.  I am also praying for us that if we’ve been standing and knocking and knocking at a closed door—that we will be like my friend and say, “Jesus, it says in Revelation that standing at a closed door is YOUR job. Would you please stand here and keep knocking at that door? I really am wasting daylight if I just stand at that closed door—I need to go find the OPEN DOORS that you have for me.”

2024…the year of the open door? May you find at least one a day and may the LORD give you the wisdom to decipher between open and closed doors and may you be given the strength to move forward. Jesus is the professional door knocker—sick Him on those really difficult closed doors. He is the one who will bring repentance, restoration and reason. If that door ever opens, you will know and you will be able to be a part of that glorious reunion. 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.

Love In A Line

Seed of Faith – Love In A Line   By Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us. Matthew 1:21-23

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I pray daily for you; that your heart and home are filling up with the HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE of the CHRIST child, of CHRISTMAS! (Christmas means more of Christ!)

Last week, we studied the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s gospel. Listen, this genealogy is no fairy tale. It’s not Disney nor is it Star Wars or Star Trek. What we learned the first week of Advent is that this is the real deal. This is a true story and we can go back 49 generations. The birth of Jesus starts the JUBILEE! He is our Jubilee in so many ways. Let’s move on to the second week of Advent. (A side note: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a hectic, busy, intense Autumn for my wife and I. We poured ourself in ministry and went to 3 far away places—where Jac fell, went to the ER and needed PT. Then I had my health issues and went to ER. The truth is I just don’t feel well. My doctor rechecked my chest xrays and called to say he is referring me to both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. Of course, that was yesterday, December 21st! Will get this done early next year. In all truth and honesty, I am struggling with my breathing and with debilitating headaches. It all started after my hernia surgery when I was put under. I do have a partial, lower-left collapsed lung and I am sure this is the cause of my concerns. Please remember to pray for me and for my medical care. Thank you.)

This week’s devotional is on the second candle of Advent when we look at how God’s love now works through the line of Abraham. This is the greatest story ever told: From the cradle through the cross.

Remember —- put your self into the ancient story and don’t leave until you’ve put the story in you anew!

Today we come to the Christmas story. And at first glance it reads like it could be another legend or a fairy tale. Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into our world and has miraculous powers. This Jesus character can calm the storms in our lives. Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, heals people; not only that He raises people from the dead. Then the antagonists — the enemies— come onto the scene and turn on him. They not only turn on Jesus, but they put Him to death. Just when it seems like all hope is over, Jesus rises from the dead and saves those who call upon His name. (And you will name Him JESUS for He will save His people from their sin!)

So many people read the stories of Jesus, His miracles and resurrection, and they think, “Wow! Another great fairy tale!” Indeed, it looks like the Christmas story is one more story that gives us fiction and fairy tales. (The big guy in the red suit? Reindeer?)

But Matthew’s Gospel refutes that by grounding Jesus in history. The story of Jesus is not “once upon a time” nor is it—”In a galaxy far, far away.” Jesus’ story is not about going to Disneyland to see all the magnificent make-believe in a small world. Matthew tells us that the story of Jesus is real, and is grounded in history. Jesus Christ is not one more lovely story pointing to the unrealities of make believe. Jesus IS the true reality to which all the stories of this Bible we read. Jesus is the foundation built upon 49 generations.

The common starting point intertwined within each of the four Gospels begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. But before they get to the ministry of John the Baptist, each of the Gospel writers has a unique introduction that precedes its account of John the Baptist’s ministry. Mark begins with a simple one-line statement: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Luke starts with a personal first-person account of his reasons for writing, directed to an influential friend whose name was Theophilus, followed by a detailed account of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus does not appear until chapter 3. John’s gospel has a prologue that says, “In the Beginning was the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God.” John traces Jesus’ ancestry to eternity past and speaks of the incarnation without any specific mention of Jesus’ miraculous conception or birth.

Not so the gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins with a genealogy that traces Jesus’ ancestry first to King David and then further back to Abraham.

Beginning a book with a genealogy may seem strange to us, “just a listing of names” and, to be honest with you, I think so many of us skip over the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Maybe because it is a genealogy with a lot of names that are hard to pronounce. Maybe we skip over it because we do not understand the significance.

I love to spend my free time working on my ancestry through ancestry.com. My wife and I did our DNA tests so we could see who some of our relatives are. Now I know that can be good and bad. You find the in-laws and the out-laws. I have printouts of my relatives. I will not bore you with the names and dates. My wife said she would not let me … ha. There are a lot of names that are hard to pronounce, especially in her Italian genealogy. (Conigliaro, Trupiano, Mirabella, Di Lorenzo…)

My grandmother on my dad’s side raised me after my brother’s death. Her name was Margaret. I spent time with her, and she is the one who was responsible for bringing me to church. She was a staunch, Scottish/English Presbyterian. When I met and fell in love with my wife, I brought her up to Illinois from Kirksville, Missouri, to meet my grandmother. I told Nanny, that this was Jacalyn Trupiano and that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Nanny looked at me, looked at Trupi and said, “I assume she is Italian and Catholic.” And then before I could say anything, she said, “Well, David, I am not going to any Catholic wedding.”

Nanny and my grandfather did not travel down to St Louis for our wedding but when our first daughter was born, she took Jenni in her arms and started cooing and rocking her and she said, “Well, you know, Jennifer, you can be a DAR— Daughter of the American Revolution—but your mother cannot!”  My wife looked at her and smiled and said, “Nanny, did not my relatives, Christopher Columbus, an Italian, drive the boat your relatives were on?” Nanny laughed and said, “Jackie, I think we are going to be good friends after all.” At the time, I did not understand that Nanny had done her ancestry—all the way back to the Mayflower and beyond. She was so very proud of her heritage. Through Ancestry, I have gone back thirteen generations, and can go two generations ahead. I come from royalty—from Lords and Ladies and Doctors and Pastors. I now understand why Nanny was so very proud of the Spencer line. (Princess Diana?)

Today we live in a very individualistic culture where you recommend yourself to others with a list of your degrees, work experience, and accomplishments. We call it our resume. And, sometimes, people embellish their resumes with fairy tale truths.

In the Old Testament times and in the time of Jesus that is not it how it was done. This was done through their “LINE” through their ancestry. Theirs was a more communal, family-oriented society. It’s like when Ancestry dings my phone and says, “You have a new match!” It’s exciting to me to go find other relatives and to see how we correlate in my “line”!

Matthew chapter one might look like a genealogy with a list of names but In those times it was your family pedigree, your clan—the people you were connected to—that constituted your résumé. So, a genealogy was a way of saying to the world, “This is who I am and this is where I come from.” The purpose of a genealogical résumé was to impress onlookers with the high quality and respectability of one’s roots.

What is so fascinating with Matthew’s account is that he does the very opposite with Jesus. This genealogy is shockingly unlike other ancient genealogies. To begin with, there are five women listed in the genealogy, all mothers in the line of Jesus. This will not strike modern readers as unusual, but in ancient, patriarchal societies, a woman was virtually never named in such lists, let alone five women!

In the times of Jesus, women were “gender outsiders.” Yet when Matthew begins his Gospel, there they are—five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Also, an interesting note is that most of the women in Jesus’ résumé were not all Jews but Gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth) …Canaanites and a Moabite. To the ancient Jewish people, these nations were unclean. The people from these nations were not allowed into the tabernacle or temple to worship. We could call them “racial outsiders,” and yet, here they are listed in Jesus’ genealogy.

As I studied, I knew I had to look at these women. Who were they? Why did Matthew mention them?

TAMAR: In Genesis 38 we are told the story of Tamar. Tamar tricked her father-in-law, Judah, into sleeping with her (even though in the full story it is also clear that Judah had been unjust to her). This was an act of incest which was against the law of God. Another note in this genealogy is that even though Jesus was descended from Perez not Zerah, Matthew includes both Perez and Zerah, both Judah and Tamar, to make sure we bring the whole story to mind. It was out of that dysfunctional family that the Messiah came. (Are you listening?)

RAHAB: In Joshua chapter2 and 6 we have the story of Rahab. In verse five of Matthew one we find the name of Rahab. She was not just a Canaanite woman, but she was also a prostitute. Notice that from the line of Rahab we get King David. (Still listening?)

RUTH: Next we are told about Ruth, the Moabite woman, who followed her mother-in-law, Naiomi, back to Bethlehem and ends up marrying Boaz. They have a son named Obed. Ruth is famous for saying to Naomi when Naomi tries to leave Ruth back in Moab — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18) From this story, Ruth gleans Boaz’s field. Boaz becomes Ruth’s “Kinsman Redeemer” and the line to Jesus is further established!

You have Tamar and Rahab as Canaanite women and Ruth as a Moabite woman. Are you following Matthew yet? Why is Matthew including women in this genealogy?

Perhaps the most interesting character and background story in the whole genealogy, however, is in verse six. There it says that in Jesus’ line is King David. You would think, if you were writing your resume or genealogy, you would want someone like King David in your genealogy. What is so fascinating is how Matthew records this, David was the father of Solomon, “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. ”Does that name ring a bell? Uriah? This story is recorded in 2 Samuel chapters11 and 12. Why not just give her name? Her name was Bathsheba, but I believe hat Matthew is summoning his Jewish readers to recall a tragic and terrible chapter of Israel’s history. King David had an affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and he had her husband killed so he could marry her. Why is this story recorded in the genealogy of Jesus?

Do you know why Matthew leaves off the name “Bathsheba”? It is not a slight of Bathsheba—it is a slam of David. It was out of that dysfunctional family, and out of that deeply flawed man, that the Messiah came. (I pray you are still listening. We all have families that can be labeled “dysfunctional”.)

Perhaps Jesus’ genealogy is the greatest story of all time that precedes the greatest story of all time.

So What?

The story of Jesus is not fiction nor is it a fairy tale. The story of Jesus is truth.

In this genealogy of Jesus—the Son of God–we have moral outsiders—adulterers, adulteresses, incestuous relationships, prostitutes. We have Kings who worshiped foreign Gods and had their own failures. Indeed, we are reminded that even the prominent male ancestors—Judah and David—were moral failures at one time of their lives.  (God redeems.)

I believe that this genealogy tells us about cultural outsiders, racial outsiders, and gender outsiders. The Law of Moses excluded these people from the presence of God, and yet, right here, they are all publicly acknowledged by Matthew (the tax accountant, the guy who is good with numbers and details) as the ancestors of Jesus, the SAVIOR of the world.

So what does it mean? First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God, can be brought into Jesus’ family.

In Matthew’s genealogy we find a truth that is to be celebrated and told over and over again. It is not the good people who are in and the bad people who are out. Everyone is in only by the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God. We are in the genealogy of Jesus because we are adopted into his family. We are all OUT before Jesus, we are all dysfunctional and, yet, we are beloved by God. Brought into the line, grafted in to be made whole and forgiven.

This genealogy is the prequel to the greatest story ever told.  Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? I pray you do.

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.

Waiting In Hope

Seed of Faith – Waiting In Hope   By Pastor Dave  

“But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” Luke 1:13

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers & Hopeful Christmas Cheerers,

Here we go! I have to share that it’s been a wild Christmas season thus far. People need ministry. People are falling and going to the hospital—in droves. And, out here in Cucamonga, there are many hospitals to visit. I’m keeping up with my beautiful “shut ins” who so need a visit at this season. All this to say, I apologize for not getting this “Seed of Faith” out sooner but I do still believe that God knows no time, is not bound by time, and can still work in us. Despite it being almost time for the third candle of Advent Joy—we can go back and begin at the first candle; the candle of HOPE. So grab your cup of coffee, tea or water and let’s sit and ponder the coming of CHRISTmas.

Let’s open our living word to the birth stories of Jesus in Matthew 1& 2 and Luke 1 & 2. There are so many characters in these stories. As always, put yourself into the story. Look at all the people and places and try on a few of their costumes and sandals. Think of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, shepherds & wise men, Herod and the people of Nazareth and Jerusalem. Try on an angel costume just for fun.

I like to say … put yourself in the story and then put the story in you. Don’t you date close the bible and just leave it on your desk, or kitchen table or bedside table! NO! Put this incredible story into your life; put it into your mind, heart, soul, spirit. Ask yourself, “Where can I be more like ______________ today, in 2023?” And go work it out as you live your crazy, busy schedule—always pondering and treasuring this Christmas story. Where can you bring Jesus Christ into your life today? How can you live Christmas every day? That’s the application the ancient words call you to make: from then to now. Read it. See it. Live it.

So what? Who do you identify with this Advent season? Why are these people mentioned?

Advent is about preparation. Sometimes we forget that before God sent his Son into the world, God had already prepared the way. Jesus arrived on the scene after 400 years of silence from God. Jesus arrived after an angel named Gabriel visited numerous people—preparation. God even saw fit to prepare the way for his Son by sending a man named John who would call people to repentance. God is into preparation.

Are we prepared for Christmas? I am not asking if we have our trees up, or if we have done our shopping, but are we really prepare?.  Are we prepared for the arrival of God’s Son? One might wonder how we can prepare for this great event. Luke helps us by telling the story of an old Jewish priest and his wife.

I have been pondering old Zechariah this week.

FAITHFUL – FEARFUL – FAITHLESS – FAVORED

In Luke chapter one, we see that Zechariah was a priest.  I would say that in this story we see Zechariah as a faithful priest preforming his duties even though God had been silent and had not answered his prayers during the many years of his lifetime. He and his wife had prayed for a child. Diligently.

We also see that Zechariah was fearful. Zechariah was fearful when the angel Gabriel appeared in the Holy of Holies. I love when an angel appears in the bible for they often say, “Do not be afraid.”

Zechariah was also faithless when he did not believe what Gabriel was telling him. He questioned the angel. What he wanted to say was something like this, “Gabe, Sara and I are really old now. We have asked for a child for many years. Never had a child. What you are saying is that now at our old age, you’re telling me that when we should become grandparents—we will become parents?” Zechariah was afraid, he was fearful and he was a bit faithless. That didn’t stop the angel from delivering God’s message, though. Old Zech was silenced until the birth of his son, John. Zech had plenty of time to treasure and ponder the miracle of God.

We also see at the end of our reading of our reading that Zechariah was favored. The Lord remembered Zechariah and heard his prayer.

I wonder if Zechariah ever lost hope.

I wonder as we are going through harrowing times if many of us begin to lose hope.  Will this Covid stuff ever  end?   Will these wars in the Ukraine and Israel ever end? Will this inflation ever stop?  Will we ever get back to our lives as we once knew them?  My health is going south, help me. My finances are shot, help me. My relationships are a mess, help me. Over and over we cry out. Has God forgotten us?  Why does not God hear our prayers?

It is interesting to note —-

The name Zechariah means “The Lord Remembers.”

The name Elizabeth means “My God Is Absolutely Faithful.”

Think about this for a minute! Zechariah is righteous. He is old. He is a priest. He knows God. He knows what it means to serve God. If there ever was a real saint, it is this guy. But he still had some growing to do. God sent the angel Gabriel to him to give him a marvelous promise. But what does Zechariah do? He doubts God. He underestimates God. Have you ever underestimated God?

Zechariah is an example of a person who has known the Lord for a long time. He goes to church. He gives his tithes. He leads a small group. He goes on mission trips. He prays before meals. He reads the Bible every day. He does all the right things, in all the right places, in all the right ways but when God comes along and challenges him to a new level of faith, he is afraid.

This couple reminds us that it really does not matter how long you have known God, or how well you’ve obeyed God, or how faithfully you’ve served God; we always have room for growth. God is committed to stretching and growing the faith of people like Zechariah and Elizabeth and God is committed to doing the same in people like you and me.

SO WHAT?

The so what question for today:  How do these words written so long ago about the Advent of the Christ-child change us and give us hope?

Zechariah was not prepared for the Advent of Christmas because he did not believe God could step into his life and answer long-forgotten prayers in ways he had never dreamed of. I wonder if some of us here today are secretly disappointed with God, but afraid to admit it. Like old Zechariah, we just do what we are supposed to do, never really believing that God is at work to bless us in ways that would totally overwhelm us and silence us in His presence.

We may believe that God would do this for someone else, but not for us.  We think: You do not know what I have done. You do not know what I have gone through. You do not know how hopeless my situation is. Some of us have become so cynical and jaded by life that we no longer believe God is at work within us. We are stuck in our unbelief; we are not ready for God’s gift. But God has some interesting ways of getting through to us.

One verse that I would like for you to take home today is verse 13. Put it to memory Put your name into the verse instead of Zechariah’s.  Like this: But the angel said to (your name here), “Do not be afraid, (your name here), for your prayer has been heard.”

We have the next three weeks to truly prepare ourselves for the Advent of the Christ-child.  This is the beginning of week one:  disappointed hope to appointed hope, disappointed hope to anointed hope.  Here is the “so what?”

From faithful to fearful to faithless to favored.

Are we open to God answering our prayer in ways we have never dreamed of?

Are we prepared for Christmas?

This week let us get real with God.  Spend some time reading the gospel story of Christ’s birth in Luke and Matthew.  Tell God where you need a blessing in your life. Maybe you need to feel forgiven. Maybe you need to forgive.  Maybe you need God to remove the sign from around our neck that says, “Defect,” “Imperfect,” “Sinner,” “Guilty,” “Grief stricken.”   This first week of Advent, let us get into hopeful prayer.

Let us pray:

O God of HOPE, you come into our lives in such amazing ways.  We ask and pray that You will come again this Advent season.  Come and fill the hopeless situations in our lives with hope, touch the hurting parts of our life with Your healing presence.  Remove our disgrace.  Answer our prayers.  Bless us, O God of Hope.  Prepare in each of us, a heart with room to spare for the birth of the Christ child. The living Savior came into our world to redeem, restore, and reconcile—do this in us this Advent Season. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A closing story of hope. One of our church members fell. We met her at the ER and spent the day with her. She had broken her eye orbital, and her cheekbone and she had a concussion. Her daughter spent the weekend with her and then my wife and I took over the doctor visits for the week. It was bleak news that included the word surgery. My friend is a recent widow and she was feeling fearful and afraid and vulnerable. On Wednesday night she came to “Get A Life” group. We were doing this very story. At the end of the bible study, she asked if she could share. Of course. Here’s what she said, “I came to bible study tonight afraid, alone and feeling so very vulnerable but as we’ve studied I actually heard the Lord speak to me and I feel like I need to share it from the rooftops!” We all wanted to know what she had heard. I have a feeling some of you need to hear it, too, so here it is: DO NOT BE AFRAID. My friend said, “No matter what—surgery, no surgery—God is with me and I do not need to be afraid.” You could tell she had had a moment with the Lord—kind of like Zechariah; all the people outside while she had a conversation with God!?

Truth is, a week later her surgeon who had told her surgery was a pretty done deal saw her and said, “I think you got divine intervention. There’s absolutely no need for surgery.” Cry out. Keep crying out. You are heard. And in His time, He will answer you.

A lifetime is not too long to wait. Trust me. There’s a few things I’m still waiting on.

HOPE: Heaven’s One Promise Emmanuel.

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 9.16.2023

Seed of Faith – Witness of the Spirit – No Fear   By Pastor Dave  

“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (adoption) And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  Romans 8:14-15

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed Sowers,

I want to pause and give thanks to all who have written, called, emailed and texted concerning my health concerns.  I am waiting to see the physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon so that I’m able to get an MRI and more xrays.  I want to tell you that with all of your prayers, my pain level has gone down and is so much more tolerable.  Thank you!

This week in our Seed of Faith we will look at two verses.  This is really part one of two parts on Romans 8:14-17.

We began looking at Romans 8 many weeks ago. We have been walking slowly through these verses trying to dig deep into the meaning and teaching that Paul had given the early church. We have looked at a “Life in Christ” and we spent time on verse one of Romans, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) Chapter 8 of Romans is often heralded as one of the greatest chapters in all the Bible. I think it is because Romans begins with NO CONDEMNATION and ends with NO SEPARATION; meaning if you are in JESUS CHRIST—you have nothing to worry about. You are not condemned and there is no way you can be separated from God. I suppose I would agree with the scholars who say it is a pretty great chapter!

Last week we looked at what it means to have a “Life in the Spirit.” Remember the hand and the glove? We are the glove, and the Holy Spirit is the hand. How we need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, guidance, and power in our lives. There’s a cute cartoon that has two friends talking. One friend says, “Man, I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can go do great things!” The other friend replies, “I need the Holy Spirit to fill me just to go to Walmart!” If our minds and hearts are controlled by the Spirit of God, we will have life and life abundantly. Our foundational verse for that message was verse eleven, And “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

If we move aside and quit trying to control and manipulate everyone and everything, and if we simply ask the Holy Spirit to empower us—we are going to LIVE and live well—and that’s whether we are just going to Walmart or holding a crusade for Christ.

A good point to ponder is that these words of Paul gave the early church such power and courage to transform their world. When we get down to verse thirty-seven, we will read that Paul called the early church, “more than conquerors through Christ.”

The Spirit leads us into new life — holiness.

“… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

When we read all of chapter eight in one setting, we can understand that Paul is teaching the early church that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. When our mind is on the things of the Spirit, we will walk in the light as He is in the light. The Holy Spirit will then guide and teach us all things, giving us heavenly wisdom, knowledge and insight. When Jesus was leaving His disciples the night he was betrayed, he promised those in the upper room the gift and person of the Holy Spirit. Listen to Jesus’ own words, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 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. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

“SO WHAT?” is this promise? Better yet, who is this promise? 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?

I believe that we need to look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence. The first word that we should see is the word “another” in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” in the Greek means “another just like the first one.”

Who is the first Advocate? It is Jesus himself. Therefore, the second Advocate is to be just like the first one, Jesus. That is, He is to be a divine being just like Jesus who is now living within each believer. 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 and other theologians speak of the persons of the Trinity, they mean that 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. When we recognize God alone as our Sovereign creator and believe in Jesus Christ, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes, and lives. 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. I believe that if we talk or think about the Holy Spirit as a mysterious power, we will be continually thinking, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?”

On the other hand, if we think of the Holy Spirit as a person, our thoughts will be, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?” 

That is a great question —how can the Holy Spirit have more of me?

There is a small book called, MY HEART, CHRIST’S HOME by Robert Munger. The premise of the book is that our hearts are likened to a home—the entry, the dining room, kitchen, library, family room, bedroom, bathroom, and even the hallway closet. The Holy Spirit wants entry into every room in our heart—but as always, the Holy Spirit is a gentle person—the spirit waits until we give the green light. “Hey,  Jesus or Holy Spirit, do not just stand there in the entry. Take off your coat and come on in! “Mi casa es su casa!” Do not be too surprised if your heart is challenged to change a few things: the way you talk, think, act, and …. what you read, what you watch, what you eat…Okay. I will stop meddling.

When the Holy Spirit has more of us, we are led into a life of living for and with the Lord Jesus.

POINT #1 for today: The Holy Spirit leads me into a new life of holiness. 

  1. The Spirit brings us out of fear into freedom.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, …” (Romans 8:15a)

The other day I was having a conversation with someone who was really struggling with an issue. We talked and prayed together. The verse that God gave me for this person who was struggling deeply with some fears of failure and pains of the past was from John 10:10. I love chapter ten of the Gospel of John. There are two of the great “I Am” statements in John 10.

Jesus says “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”(John 10:9) Another of the great “I Am” statements are, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John10:11) But the verse that is sandwiched in between those two great “I Am” statements of Jesus is John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

In this world, there is so much bad news each day and so many people are afraid. The truth is that our enemy, the thief, the devil, only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have printed out a few pages of the many passages in Scriptures where we are told not to be afraid. If you would like them, email me and i will send them to you.

What Paul is teaching us is that we have not be given a spirit of fear to be a slave again to fear.

POINT #2: We have not been given a Spirit that makes us a slave to fear…we have been given the identical twin Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ…and we now have a spirit of FREEDOM in Christ. Christ came to give us life to the full. Open that door to your heart and let the Holy Spirit in!

So What?

This week, we are reminded to give more and more of our heart and lives over to the rule and reign of Christ. “Less of me. More of Thee.” Remember the question to ask is “How can I give more of my life to Christ and the Holy Spirit?” Even King David asked this of God in Psalm 139:24, “See if there any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Wow. Try that one on for fun!

We are reminded that we have not been given a spirit of fear.  Whatever offensive things or ways that we have, the Holy Spirit will gently nudge and lead us to the way everlasting. That should help us to stand and shout. “Hallelujah and Praise the Lord.”

I encourage you to walk in the boldness of your new life in Christ. If you haven’t ever given your heart to Christ—today is the perfect day. It’s simple but it’s not easy:

Dear God: I am a sinner, we both know that. I believe that Jesus Christ is your one and only Son. I believe He died on the cross for my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and live within me as my Lord and Savior. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Jesus stands outside and knocks until you open the door. There’s no door handle on the outside. Best decision I ever made to open the door and invite Christ into my heart, my home, my life, my church, my preaching, my family, my marriage, my work—oh the lists is endless. Let me know if you need any help or encouragement in taking this step or in becoming ALL you are meant to be and do.

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 9.9.2023

Seed of Faith – Life In The Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings! It’s been few long weeks of doctor visits for me: extreme pain in my neck and left shoulder plus a hernia that needs surgery. The hernia surgery is scheduled for 11-8-23. I should only be down a week. The neck and shoulder aren’t such an easy fix. I’m growing bone—from my skull, my spine, and then having free floaters in my neck and shoulder area. In order to get an MRI, I need three weeks of PT. The earliest PT appointment they had was 10-8! As my wife would say, Pastor needs prayer.

Speaking of prayer, It is my prayer that as you read the SEED OF FAITH each week that you come to grow in the LOVE of GOD, the GRACE of CHRIST, and the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT. That’s The Seed’s mission statement and it’s my prayer for you.

If you have been reading the Seeds of Faith for the past month, you will remember that we are spending time in Romans 8.  I encourage you to take and read chapter 8 of Romans several times—why not daily?  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you again and again of God’s unending love and outrageous grace just for you. This chapter has it all!

Last week we looked at what a life in Christ might be.  This week we take a little dip in the deep waters of living a life in the Spirit. (These “seedlings” are but a portion of my weekly messages. You can always ask  for the complete manuscripts of the weekly messages.)

Romans chapter eight has been called by theologians “one of the greatest chapters in the Bible”. An old German commentator named Spener said, “If the Bible was a ring and the Book of Romans a precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel.”[i]

Many commentators have divided this chapter into different headings for the thirty-nine verses it contains. In the NIV Bible there are three sections, “Life in the Spirit”, “Present Suffering and Future Glory”, and “More Than Conquerors.” Chapter 8 is all about the Holy Spirit and the work that the Holy Spirit does within us as we live our life “in Christ.”  In the first seven chapters of Romans there have only been two mentions of the Holy Spirit: a passing reference to “the Spirit of holiness” in chapter 1, verse 4, and the other is found in chapter 5, verse 5 where the Holy Spirit is described as the pouring out of the love of God within our hearts—so twice in the first 7chapters, and now 20 times in Chapter 8. When something is repeated in the Bible, pay attention.

Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Romans 8 could be named the chapter of “freedom through the Holy Spirit”.

Romans 8 begins with the promise: there is therefore now no condemnation in Christ and it ends with there is now no separation in Christ. Isn’t that the gospel? No CONDEMNATION. NO SEPARATION. What good news here in Chapter 8.

The position that Paul wants the Christian to know is that they are free.

We are free from condemnation.

Why? Because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

A good so what question at this point is, “Do I know the freedom I have in Christ?”

Paul writes these words to the us from the Book of Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Paul tells us here in Chapter 8 that our position in Jesus is that we stand free with no condemnation. What GOOD NEWS. We stand free, without any condemnation.

So how do we put this freedom into practice?

That is what Paul will explain in the next fifteen verses.

In this next section we have some great big theological themes like incarnation, atonement, justification, and sanctification. I want to slow down and read these verses and interject a thought or two.

Again, and always, when you read the living word, put yourself into the story. The Apostle Paul is writing around 57 AD. He’s writing from the Greek city of Corinth, just 3 years after the 16 year-old Nero became the Emperor of Rome. Are you in this story? Perhaps we are in a small home church in Rome, and we heard that Paul has written us! Rome was a tough city to be a believer in. How we long for the words of Paul.

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,” (Romans 8:2)— the law is powerless to save us because of our sinful nature.

“God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.” (Romans 8:3) God is the one who is doing all the action here, we are not.  We are saved by grace.  God chose to send His One and Only Son (this is the incarnation) to become like us — a human. Jesus was a sin offering in order to fulfill the law.

“And so he (GOD) condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.(Romans 8:3-4) Just pause and ponder that powerful statement. God chose to put all the sin of humankind upon His One and Only Son so that, through His One and Only Son, the righteous requirements of the law are met… for you and for me.  We can never meet the righteous requirements of the law. Only one man can and did: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:5-7) Notice how many times Paul uses the word “mind” –five times. Paul contrasts the mind of sinful people with the mind of those who live according to the Holy Spirit.

As we put ourselves into the story, we also must put the story into our hearts and minds. Here’s a few “so what” questions:

What about your mind?

What is your mind set on?

What do you spend your time and money on?

What do you think about the most?

There is a clear warning here … the sinful mind is hostile to God.

“Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:8-10)

Paul challenges us here and begins to step on our toes.  What are we being controlled by? Paul makes it clear that a mind set on the works of the flesh leads to death, while the mind set on the Spirit leads to life. As we listen to Paul’s words, are we setting our mind on the Spirit of Life?

I was reading the end of Deuteronomy this past week and was reminded of the challenge that Moses gave to the people before they entered the promise land.  Listen to this verse from Deuteronomy 30:16— “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” Deuteronomy 30:16

I read a disturbing statistic in one of my Christian emails this past week. Do you know that 26 million Americanshave mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible during COVID? “Currently, only 10 percent of Americans report daily Bible reading.” [i]

If there are 500 people reading this message, the statistics say that 450 aren’t reading their Bible daily, only 50 are.  Instead of letting that statistic discourage you, resolve today to make it a priority to read and study God’s Word. Be one of the 10%-ers.

Paul is telling us that in order for us to live in the freedom that Christ provided us on the cross, we need to know what this book says. Lamentations tells us that God’s word is new every morning. I’ve been reading my word daily since 1987 and I can tell you that there are many days when I read something I’ve never read before—and I read this Bible through each year.

SO WHAT?

This theological process of living a life in the Spirit is called sanctification— or holy living. There is an awe-inspiring connection between the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.  The manifestation of the Spirit’s power and presence brings control, and peace, and knowledge and grace and so many good things. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our life brings about our sanctification—we are actually being made holy as we repent, confess, submit and surrender to the inner work of the Holy Spirit within us. It’s honestly amazing to me to be a pastor and to watch this transformation take place in people. It’s why I do what I do.

What Paul is saying is that “if the Spirit of God lives in you, you will be controlled by the Spirit.” It’s a daily wrestling match for each of us. Sometimes we are good, and our halo shines brightly. Sometimes we fail and regret soils our halo. But…each new day we are given “new mercies” in order that we learn to live in the freedom that Christ bought for us on the cross.

Corrie ten Boom offered an insight into this marvelous truth: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.”

That is what it means to make room for the Holy Spirit to live within us. We are the glove. The Holy Spirit is the hand in the glove.

SO WHAT, Pastor Dave”?

POSITION, PRACTICE.POWER. PRESENCE.

Position — Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Practice — What are your daily devotional practices like so that you are filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you in the 10% club?

Power — Glove or no glove? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify you each moment of each day? Is your glove empty, just sitting on the shelf? Or is your glove full of the living word of God, empowering your heart and soul and mind to make “holy” decisions that give you life and freedom?

In the fall of 1987 I started reading my bible daily. I read 5 psalms, and a chapter of Proverbs each day. Here I am 36 years later still reading 5 psalms and a chapter of Proverbs (plus a gospel and a ton of other theology) and there are days I look and think, “I’ve never noticed that before.” Why? Because God’s mercies are new for us each morning.

No condemnation. No separation. Remember that.

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave

 

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 8/18/2023

Seed of Faith – A Life In Christ  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Romans Chapter 8:

No condemnation — in Christ!

No separation – in Christ!

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and joy and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Praise God!

We will be working through some of the passages in which Paul teaches us that we have a new “LIFE IN CHRIST.”

Do you know that the words “IN CHRIST” are used 119 times just in Paul’s letters alone?

Paul wrote thirteen letters to the churches plus his letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.  “IN CHRIST” is a dominating theme for Paul. It is fitting that the apostle Paul, who received the revelation of the mystery of the union of Jew and Gentile into one body, should coin a phrase to describe those incorporated into one body. This body is, of course, the body of Christ, the church. Pentecost is the church universal’s birthday; the day the promised Holy Spirit fell upon those who believed in Jesus.

I have a handout with a few of the 119 times where Paul tells us what life is like in Christ. If you would like one —- email me at: pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will email you back a copy!

I would like to spend the next few minutes on verse one of Chapter 8 of Romans—possibly one of the greatest chapters in all of the living word!  In the Greek verse one is only eight words.  But these eight words are powerful and give us a promise of the freedom we have in Christ. I’m going to go over the verse as it is in presented in the Greek lineup—not in the English.

No! — oude

The first word in the Greek is an adjective with an emphasis.  The word is “No.” This word is weak in the English translation. In our texts it is a simple negative, like most other negatives. In the Greek text “no” (oude) is strongly emphasized. First, it is not the simple negative “ou” but the compound and therefore the stronger negative “oude.” Second, it occurs at the beginning of the sentence, which intensifies the negation. This word “oude” can be translated, “not one, nothing, no one, none, or just plain no.” The strong emphasis could be translated with a double negative like “no, nothing — no, not one— no—none— no,  no one–or simply no no!”

It’s important to note that this word Oude (NO, NO!) describes the noun “condemnation” for anyone who is IN CHRIST. There is simply no, no, no, not one, nothing, none—no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! That’s great news.

Therefore!— ara

The second great word in this sentence is “therefore.” To what does it refer?  Does “therefore” bring us back to the arguments of the struggle with sin in chapters 7, chapter 5 or chapter 3 of Romans? NO,NO! Most scholars say that Paul’s “therefore” is all inclusive, pointing back to the entire argument of the epistle—all 7 chapters prior!  The Good News that Paul is telling us is this—- there is no, not one, nothing, none, no, no, no condemnation for us. What Paul is really saying is this, “You know everything else I’ve written in this letter—in the previous 7 chapters…well all of that was to come to this: THEREFORE…there’s NO CONDEMNATION if you believe in Jesus Christ.

Why?  Because God’s work done in Jesus Christ (through his life, death and resurrection) and through the the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost—this all leads us to this one thing: there is now “no condemnation” for any person who is “in Christ”.

Now!— vuv

“Now” is a time word, pointing to the change that has come about as the result of our believing in the work of justification that Jesus Christ made possible by his death. Before we believed IN CHRIST, we stood condemned by God. We were due to suffer the penalty of an eternal death for our sins, the “wages of sin” being “death”.  But once we believe in Christ…therefore, there is now no condemnation.

Now — not tomorrow.

Now — not next week.

Now — not next year.

Now — not when you get your life together.

Now — not when you do good works for your sins.

NOW — is translated with words like, “at this present time, now, at this very time, just now.”

I love that word!

This past week, I was captured by that word in 2 Corinthians 5:5 — “NOW it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

I truly believe that God wants us to live in the now and not the the tomorrows or yesterdays. Will Rogers once wrote these profound words about living in the “NOW.” This is what he said, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.(1)

I know that I have at times allowed yesterday’s mistakes, sins, and failures to hold me back. What we are learning today is that if we are “in Christ,” yesterday’s sins contain no condemnation for us. Zero. None.

So What?

Now is the time to receive the undeserved and unearned gift of grace that God has given to us through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into heaven —no, not one, none, nothing — no condemnation.

Condemnation — katakrima

This Greek word means that there has been a legal decision in a court case and the verdict is guilty. Did you hear that? “Guilty” was our status! If we were to read the opening chapters of Romans, we would see that we are to be condemned as sinners. We were condemned sinners, subject to the outpoured wrath of God. But suddenly Jesus entered our world and died for us, bearing the wrath of God in our place, and there is NOW “no condemnation” fort hose who are in Christ.  

This is such a groundbreaking chapter in the Bible. Chapter 8 starts with THERE IS NOW NOCONDEMNATION for those IN CHRIST JESUS…and ends with…THERE IS NOW NO SEPARATION from the LOVE OF GOD for those of us in Christ.

You see, what will happen when we each face the “Day of reckoning” is that we will have the greatest defender of all stand with us before the judge of all. No matter what the enemy says about us—the grace of God will cover us—if we are in Christ! Instead of a GUILTY verdict, our Lord and Savior will deliver to us a NOT GUILTY verdict—all because he paid the price of our sin on that cross at Calvary.

Oude ara vuv katakrima….

OUDE: No, nothing, no not one thing, no none, no no one, no, no, no….

ARA: Therefore…and not just chapter 7, 5 or 3…but the whole kicking kaboodle of the Bible and the fall of man has been covered by the blood of Jesus…

VUV: NOW….not yesterday, not when you were little, not in your teen years, not in your college years (OH BOY) no…not then…but NOW…just now…today, not yesterday…

KATAKRIMA: NOT GUILTY….

That’s not Greek to us anymore! How about in English? “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. ”Romans 8:1

Let’s take a moment to pause and ponder the great grace of Jesus who pardons us…now might be a goodtime to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me”

I don’t know about you, but I want to run around right now and shout, “HEY! I am IN CHRIST, people! I AM LIVING IN CHRIST!”

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go plant that seed into your family, friends, strangers, etc. Who doesn’t need to hear the living word of Jesus Christ? Not GUILTY. Saved. Justified (Just as I’ve never sinned), forgiven.That big gavel in the judges hand is going to slam onto the desk and, if you are a believer, if Jesus Christ is your lord and Savior, you are going to hear over and over again, NOT GUILTY.

Your “SO WHAT?” homework for the week: How does this SEED OF FAITH make me feel? Give me 3 words that describe how you feel knowing there’s no condemnation for you? Here are my three: free, forgiven, unafraid.

“Father God, I believe. I believe Jesus is your only son who died for my sins. Forgive me. Set me free to live in Christ…today and tomorrow. Thank you that after a long and  surly court case—you have declared me NOT GUILTY and I am free from all condemnation. Help me to turn from my wicked way and to learn how to live the rest of my life in Christ. God, help me. Amen.”

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 8/5/2023

Seed of Faith – Holy Spirit Power  By Pastor Dave  

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17-21

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that each of us grows in the grace of Jesus Christ and that we get so full of this amazing grace that we go in the power of the Holy Spirit sowing SEEDS of faith in our world. God’s love and grace are transformational, so get out there in your world and sow those seeds of faith!

God wants us to know His Ways and desires for us to be empowered by His “Ruach” Holy Spirit to live Holy lives, bearing much fruit in Him. Have you ever thought that God wants us to live a holy life? Salvation. Sanctification. Glorification. Three powerful words and three powerful life transformations. Salvation—we believe Jesus is God’s only Son, who died for our sins, then rose triumphant on the 3rd day. Sanctification—from the moment we are “saved”, we grow further and further into sanctification; being made holy in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, we take our last breath and we arrive in heaven—glorified. Triumphant.

So let’s start with a first “so what?” Holy. Are you trying to live a holy life?

In Ezekiel, the prophet gave these words to the Jewish people. “And I will put My Ruach —Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”  (Ezekiel 36:27)

You might not know the name Angelo Dundee, but you have undoubtedly heard of Muhammad Ali, probably the most famous professional boxer of all time. For more than two decades, Angelo Dundee was in Muhammad Ali’s corner, literally. He was Ali’s cornerman! He is the one who made Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He also trained fifteen other world boxing champions. Angelo Dundee described his job as a cornerman this way: “When you’re working with a fighter, you’re a surgeon, an engineer, and a psychologist.”[i]

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have someone even better than a surgeon-engineer-psychologist in our corner we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third PERSON of the Trinity!

The disciples were told to “go and wait” for the promise gift that Jesus would give. One note that we should see is that the disciples were obedient, and they went and waited and waited and waited. They waited ten days and then whoosh the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty wind and tongues of fire filled the place and everyone who was in the room. In verse four we read these words from Dr Luke, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Luke 2:4)

The Greek word for “all” means “all.” All one hundred and twenty of those gathered were filled, which means in Greek to be “generously supplied or overflowing” with the Holy Spirit. After being generously filled, they then began to speak. The Greek word for speak is one of those present active verbs which means the act of speaking never stopped. The Holy Spirit filled them generously and repeatedly so that they could continue to speak over and over again.

Imagine with me that you have decided to go sailing. The problem is that you know next to nothing about sailing. So, you go to the store, and you purchase several books to find out what is involved. You carefully read them and then you talk to a veteran sailor who answers questions for you. The next day, you rent a sailboat. You examine it closely to make certain that everything needed for a successful sailing experience is present and in good working order. Then, you take your boat out onto the lake. Your excitement is at a fever pitch, though you’re also afraid. But you follow the instructions you have read, and the counsel received from the experienced sailor, and you launch your boat into the water. You carefully monitor each step and hoist the sail.[ii]

At that precise moment you learn a crucial lesson. You can study sailing. You might even be able to build a sailboat. You can seek from the wisest and most veteran of sailors. You can cast your boat onto the most beautiful of lakes under a bright and inviting sun. You can successfully hoist the sail. But—and this is a big “but”—only God can make the wind blow!

“You and I can study the Bible…. We can orchestrate a worship service according to biblical guidelines. We can do everything that lies in the power of a Christian man or woman. But only the Spirit can make the wind blow inside that service!

The power of the Holy Spirit was what enabled the disciples to continually speak about Jesus. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that put wind in the sails of the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. It was to power of the Holy Spirit that the birthed the church and on the day of Pentecost three thousand people were added.

So What?

At the closing of our reading in verses seventeen through twenty-one, we hear the quote from Joel that says that Holy Spirit will be poured on all people: Young men, old men, servants, men, and women, will prophesy. The Holy Spirit will show wonders in the heavens and signs below. But the promise is this: all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Greek word for “saved” means “to be rescued, delivered, healed, to keep safe, and unharmed.”

When I finally came to faith in Christ a verse from Romans eight forever changed my life. It was Romans 8:15-16 — “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you aslave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’schildren.” Romans 8:15-16

It was the Spirit of sonship that forever changed my life. What I heard was that God wanted to be my Father and I would be His son and he would be with me forever. Then verse sixteen said that it was His Spirit that would testify to my spirit that the presence of the Holy Spirit would never leave me. It was that promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit that forever changed my life. (January 1981)

Tesla. Chevy. Nissan. Porsche. Audi. VW. A dozen major carmakers are now building electric vehicles, and the market is expected to grow.

But there is a problem: The charging ports are all over the cars.

When you go to a gas station to fill up your gas-powered car, you can be pretty sure that you will pump gas into the tank from the side of the car, near the rear. But where do you put the charger into your electric car?

Could be the front. Or the back. Or one of the sides. Very confusing.

In Korea, the car-maker Hyundai recently embarked on a project of building public charging stations in Seoul, and they wanted to accommodate as many car brands as possible. According to Fast Company magazine, they tapped the consulting firm McKinsey to design a universal charger that would easily work with any electric car.

The result was the “Hyundai Hi-Charger,” and you will never guess what inspired its design. “Self-serve car washes,” says a partner at McKinsey. “They have the sprayer hanging down from the top and it kind of rotates around.”

Same with the Hyundai Hi-Charger. It has a beacon, featuring a glowing halo. The halo rotates and drops the charging cable in just the right spot, depending on the make and model of your electric car.[iii]

It is a universal charger.

The promise of Pentecost is that God is with us, always with us, and this is true for all Christians, not just those labeled Pentecostal or Charismatic. It echoes the promise made when Jesus was given the name Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matthew1:23). The Holy Spirit is our Universal Charger, hovering above us and within us. Bringing us the healing, help, wisdom, knowledge and guidance we need, in every time, place, and situation.

Let me ask you again? Except let me word it a little differently: How are you doing allowing the HOLY SPIRIT (the universal charger) to grow the HOLY in you?

If we could only get a glimpse! We’ve been saved and sealed with God’s very own holy spirit. Maybe it’s a good time to pray?

”Holy Spirit, I want my life to grow in holiness. God has promised never to leave me, never to forsake me. Today, maybe show me just one thing I can do, just one thing I can say, just one thing I can read that will feed my spirit and grow my roots deeper in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

I’m praying for you. I pray for you each day. Do you know why I went into ministry? My biggest hope is to watch lives be transformed by God’s grace, love, and power!

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go save the world.

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 6.2.2023

Seed of Faith – Go and Wait By Pastor Dave  

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,
In verses four and five of the books of Acts, I was stopped in my study with the words “wait” and “promise.”  I know that there are many words in these verses that we could spend a lot of time on. We could talk about the command that Jesus gives. Why is it so hard to follow Jesus’ commands? We heard hurry and“ Go and Tell.” We heard “Go and Make.” Now we hear “Do Not Leave Jerusalem.” Is Jesus thinking clearly!?  Jerusalem is not a safe place. Does not Jesus remember what happened the last time they were all in Jerusalem? Wait! Wait in Jerusalem!

We can hardly wait for our phone to connect to the internet as the little circle goes round and round. A funny side note, I know a woman who was directed by the Holy Spirit to pick the word WAIT as her word of intention two years ago. She truly learned how to wait that year.
The Greek word that Dr. Luke uses for “wait” is “perimeno” and it is a present active verb that mean that the action is continuous– to “stay in one place and anticipate or expect” over and over and over again. Never stop waiting. Keep on waiting.

I think of Abraham and Sarah waiting almost 80 years to have a baby. I think of Daniel in the lion’s den waiting for God to rescue him in the morning. I think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego waiting in a fiery furnace. I think of Moses and the Israelites waiting and wandering in the wilderness for forty years. It was forty days that the Israelites waited when Goliath stood and challenged them and mocked God. Then David showed up with a sling shot and five smooth stones. Zechariah and Elizabeth waited for years for their baby, John the Baptist. How about the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethsaida? He waited for 38 years to be healed. Martha and Mary waited for Jesus to show up but then their brother died. Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus showed up and what does he do? Resurrection time! Those are just some of the stories of the people in the bible who are waiting.

Are you waiting on Jesus? You, my friend, are in great company.

Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the promise. The promise was the Holy Spirit. The person and the power of the Holy Spirit. In next week’s SEED OF FAITH we will spend some more time talking about the Holy Spirit—just wait!
But rest assured. When Jesus promises something — it will come to be fulfilled. It would be good to hold onto some of the promises in the Bible. One of the best promises we have been given is that we will have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Remember the ending of Matthew. Jesus gave the Great Commission and said — “Remember I will be with you always even to the end of the age.”

So What?

We can all be witnesses. Can I Get A Witness!?
Here is your SO WHAT PASTOR DAVE homework for the week: As you wait, pray. Yep. When you go the grocery store and are waiting in line, stop, look around and pray for the people you see. Do the same at the gas station, at the doctor’s, everywhere you go—and as you are forced to GO AND WAIT…why not try praying for the places we go and people we see? I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me the people’s heart as I pray. We never know how our prayers will affect another heart. Let me give you an example: 31 years ago our eldest daughter graduated from High School. We threw a big party for her and invited everyone we knew! A young girlfriend of our daughter’s came to the party but decided she was to shy to come in. She dropped off her gift and left. My wife is a terrific communicator and she sensed that this young girl needed prayer. She prayed for her, asked our daughter who she was, and then Jac sent her a card thanking her for coming to the party and leaving a gift. Inside her card my wife enclosed a magnet—a GOD loves you magnet.
You are going to have to read next week’s SEED OF FAITH in order to understand how important it is in the kingdom of God for us to learn to wait. Let’s put Habukkuk to memory: Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

We sang a song last week by the group CAIN called THE COMISSION. Somewhere in the song we sang, “I have the purpose…God has the plan.” May we always remember that. The song is not IN MY TIME…but IN HIS TIME. God will make all things beautiful IN HIS TIME.

Want to know what happened in 31 years time with this young lady?

WAIT.

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 5/16/2023

Seed of Faith – Just Show Up  By Pastor Dave  

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

After Easter worship, my wife and I jumped on a plane! That’s right, as soon as worship services and the egg hunt were completed, my wife and I flew to Texas in order to show up for five of our two grandsons’ baseball games for the week. What a joy and blessing it was to be there. Our younger grandson plays high school base ball and had two great games.  Of course, I could brag and show you videos and pictures. His older brother is a freshman in college. If you don’t know this, college sports are a whole other beast of athletism. Mason is a lefthanded pitcher. He is one pitcher on a team of 20 pitchers. Freshman usually have to pay their dues and that translates to: we sat in the stands and watched an all-day during double hitter and only saw our grandson warm up! We left Waco at 10 am, drove to Dallas, spent the day and returned home at 10 pm. It was a long, 12-hour day. Our grandson may not have gotten the chance to pitch in the game but the important thing is that we showed up. We cheered the team on (they won one, lost one.) We were able to watch our grandson snag balls during infield practice, and warm up in the dugout. After the first game, he was able to talk with us for a few minutes in the stands. He apologized for not playing and that we drove such along way for that. We told him, “Mason, just remember to show up. Life isn’t about showing up because you’re the star of the game. Life is just about showing up no matter what.”

When Jesus met Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in the garden by the empty tomb, He told them not to be afraid, but He actually told them more. Listen to Jesus’ words … Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:10

If you have read the Bible, you know that there are many resurrection appearances of Jesus that have been recorded. The New Testament indicates that there were at least ten appearances of the risen Lord, plus another appearance to Paul some years later. As we noted in our opening reading of the Gospel of John, Jesus appeared in the Upper room not once but twice. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appears to the disciples walking down the road to Emmaus after the resurrection.  In John we find Jesus appearing to the disciples on the seashore in Galilee and cooking fish tacos for their morning breakfast. We hear of Jesus forgiving Peter three times by asking Peter to love Him and feed His sheep. Did Jesus do that so that He and bff Pete were “even up” for the three times that Peter denied knowing Jesus? Maybe.  In eight of these appearance accounts, Christ gives an explicit commission, and in five of the eight he commands his followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Our reading in Matthew comes after breakfast by the sea. Some scholars suggest that the timing of Matthew’s account is some fifty to fifty-five days after the resurrection. We could spend some time trying to put all the pieces together chronologically, but I do not think that is what we are called to do.

In Matthew, Jesus gives some powerful action points that are necessary for His followers to follow in order to fulfill their supreme mission on earth–to reach the mountain peak of their calling, as it were. These action points I would like to address over the next few Seeds of Faith: show up, worship, obedience — go make, baptize, and teach.

Notice the ending of verse 10 and the action in verse 11.  The women were told to go and tell the disciples (hiding in the upper room) to go the Galilee for there they would see Jesus. You know what the disciples did? They went.  That is what verse eleven tells us. They showed up, they were available.

I wonder how often I have failed to show up. I try and listen to what God is trying to tell and ask of me through the Holy Spirit each moment of each day. Sometimes I miss the boat and the result is I miss the opportunity to see God at work in my life and in the lives of others.

While we were in Texas, my wife and I went to one of my favorite Christian book stores (Mardel) to walk around and browse the books and Christian art. We picked out only a few books this trip knowing that we only had so much room in our 48 pound suitcases! We were standing in the checkout line—which was long—and my wife started waving all the other people behind us to go ahead of us. They only had one or two items and we had 7 books and we were in no hurry. The lady just in front of my wife thanked us because she only had a small amount of time before she had to go pick up her kids and she had prayed that she’d get in and out in record time. You know my wife, they talked about kids and then my wife noticed the title of the two books this woman was buying, The books were by Lysa Terkeurst! She was buying Lysa’s newest book called, “You’ll Get Through This”. The woman saw my cross and asked if I was a pastor. Then she shared with us that she was going through a messy divorce. They had been married 35 years and he just left for another younger woman. By now she was crying. Jac asked her about the books she has read by Lysa. Turns out, she has read almost all of them—except, she missed GOOD  BOUNDARIES AND GOODBYES—the very study our SEED BOSSY women are studying this Spring! Jac was like, “NO! NO! You need to get this book before you get that book! This boundaries book is the precursor and foundation of that book! First, you need to know about boundaries and good byes!” You got it, I had already left the line and had gone to pick up the study guide and the book. Jac is leading the women’s study at the SEED. While I was gone, the woman told Jac, “OK. I will go home, go to work and make more money and come back and get that study in two weeks.” After the woman checked out, Jac asked her if she could wait just another moment for a blessing. You got it. THE SEED bought this woman the tools she needed to finish her mountain climbing for this season. Oh, how she cried. After we were done checking out our own 7 books, we went off to the side of the checkout aisle and prayed for this broken-hearted person. Jac wrote down an encouraging note in her book, showed her how to access the 6 videos online and left her cell phone number.

SO WHAT?

Point number one!  Show up — be available. As we were listening to the Christian radio in Waco, a caller shared that she had participated in the local PAY IT FORWARD TUESDAY last week. You know, you’re in the drive up line and someone pays for the car behind them? This person drove through the bistro and said, “ I want to pay for mine and for the car behind me.” The next Tuesday this woman showed up again and the bistro told her that the last time they paid it forward—20 cars!

What I’m trying to tell you is that you don’t always go out and say, “Here I am. Showing up!” Sometimes you simply are nothing but available. You’re there and ALL OF A SUDDENLY…there’s an opportunity to watch God work…and God may even be using you to do just that!

That’s what Jesus is commanding here. “Go tell the family of God to JUST SHOW UP. I’ll take care of the rest.”

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 – Joy In The Journey Psalm 122  By Pastor Dave  

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Welcome to this week’s Seed of Faith. It is our prayer at the SEED that the verse for our church will be amazingly true for each one of you: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23) 

Yes, we pray that we will all be born again and again though God’s enduring Word of life, Jesus Christ. There is no other way!

Each year at this time I sit down with pen and paper and spend time in prayer. I seek the Lord’s will and guidance as what I am to preach and teach. Twice a year, I put together the Sundays for six months of the year. I sit with an empty preaching calendar—complete with potential titles, subjects, and Scriptures. I also have my bible nearby and the church calendar list of Sundays. This gives me helpful guidance as I attempt to layout the year ahead, breaking it down into two six month sets. I have been praying for many months for the sermon series outline for the first half of this year.

The Lord put it on my heart to teach through the Psalms of Ascent during this Lenten season leading up through Palm Sunday and Easter. After Easter, we will turn to the last book of the Bible and dive deep into the book of Revelation and the seven churches.

I encourage you to take time to read Psalms 120-134 during this season of Lent.

As I prayed and heard the Holy Spirit whisper to continue the Psalms of Ascent, I went to my computer to look. I sort of remembered doing them—was it a series I’d done in Round Rock, Upland or Aurora? Was it a bible study I had done somewhere? It just seemed familiar to me. I went to my computer and I realized that I started it during Lent of 2020. We all know what happened next: COVID. I saw that I had started the series and had preached on two psalms: 120 and 121.

These are the psalms (songs) the people would sing together as they traveled UP THE MOUNTAIN TO JERUSALEM in order to celebrate their special FEAST days. Three times a year, the Jewish people were to gather together in Jerusalem. Soon there were psalms that they memorized and sang together as they hiked up the mountain.

Psalm 120 is the Psalm of repentance. A perfect place to start singing. “God, I’m a sinner and I need to repent of my ways.” Perfect place to begin.

Psalm 121 calls us out of the world and the environment of deceit, lies and hostility and sets us on our way to God. Psalm 121 is the Psalm of trust. It teaches us to “lift our eyes to the mountains,” for that is where our help comes. Think about climbing up the mountain together with a group of your best friends and family, and there you are singing, “Where does our help come from?” “Our help comes from the mountain maker! Psalm 121 is a demonstration of a person who determinedly trusts God to work out His will and “guard you from every evil” in the midst of difficulty.

Here we are now at Psalm 122–the Psalm of worship. Psalm 122 is a demonstration of what people of faith everywhere always do: gather to an assigned place and worship their God. Just like us today, gathered in person and online—gathered in an assigned place in order to worship GOD.

Right above us are the San Gabriel mountains. At the top of one of the peaks is Mt. Baldy. Can you imagine us all gathering together and singing this psalm of worship as we made our way to the top? A song of worship would be perfect as we hiked.

Worship! What comes to your mind when you hear the word “worship?”

So many questions came to mind when I sat down to write this week’s message.

What does it mean to worship?

How are we to worship?

When are we to worship?

Why do we worship?

Why is there so much voluntary and faithful worship by Christians?

The word for “worship” is used 173 times in the Old Testament and 79 times in the New Testament—252 times total. The Greek word for “worship” is “προσκυνέω proskuneō” which means to bow down, prostrate oneself, kiss or give reverence.

Jonathan Edwards, who is considered the greatest theologian that America has had, said this about worship, “If man does not give his highest respect to the God that made him, there will be something else that has the possession of it. Men will either worship the true God, or some idol. It is impossible it should be other wise; something will have the heart of man. And that which a man gives his heart to may be called his god.”[i]

Brother Lawrence said, “The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”[ii]

So what is in your heart?

In his book, “What Is Worship?” J. Vernon McGee tells of the time one of his church leaders invited him to hear a symphony orchestra perform. He said he knew nothing about music, but went anyway “to be nice.” What he first heard was a horrid cacophony of individual squeals and squawks, as each musician tuned his instrument. But then, he related when the conductor entered the scene, what a difference there was! At his cue, all those different instruments blended their voices to create truly beautiful music. Today, McGee explains, “every man is playing his own little tune. (But) one of these days, out from the wings will step the Conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will burst forth into song. Every bird, every angel, and then man will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you and I can bow before Him and bring our own little souls into the harmony of heaven.”[iii]

While we were back in Illinois recently, my wife and I had the wonderful joy and blessing to go to our eldest granddaughter’s concert at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is on a full-ride scholarship there for playing the viola. Jac and I paid our respects at our dear friend’s visitation and then we drove 90 miles into Chicago. We arrived a little early, so we met our granddaughter in the food court for a little snack. She had just finished tuning up. We then walked over to the concert hall for the concert. Wow! What a blessing. I would agree with J Vernon McGee, as they were warming up, the noise in the room was loud and annoying but when the conductor came and stood in front of them and began to direct each instrument to play in tune, the music was amazing and such a joy.

This is what worship is about, dear friends. We all come together to offer our different gifts and together we create an amazing symphony for God to be glorified with.

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:1-2

When we read or sing these opening verses, we see that the pilgrims have arrived in the city of Jerusalem. They walked and worked their way up the mountain. Why? To worship and give God all their praises.

Jerusalem is the city of peace. The pilgrims were called to praise and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is an amazing point: The place of worship should bring peace, a peace that surpasses all our understanding. The Prince of Peace came to rule and reign in the city of peace called Jerusalem.

WORSHIP. Proskeneo…we bow down before our God, and we sing praise.

SO WHAT?

As we begin this series on opening doors in 2024, where or what door is God calling you to walk through when it comes to making your journey with Jesus? There are open doors for worship. There are open doors for praise. There are open doors for prayer. Have you ever thought that it might be a great idea for each of us to open our Bibles up during the week, and not just together on Sundays? I could tell you this much, if we knew that next Sunday, we would be walking up to Baldy to reach the summit together, there would be many of us who grabbed the Living Word like it was our only road map! Go ahead, get out your book of Psalms and start reading 5 a day—and do not miss the idea that you can make notes in your Bible, or in a journal, about what ideas the Holy Spirit fills your head and your heart with. Today is February 4th—so this means if we have read 5 Psalms on the1st, 2nd, and 3rd—today we would be reading Psalms 16-20! If that is too much, then get your Bible out (even get your phone out) and get ready for next week’s journey up to Baldy with Psalm 123! Read it like it is your guide and road map! Or sit and ponder your notes and Psalm 122 each morning. The point is that we WORSHIP—bow with reverence before our God.

Every week during the message on Sunday, my wife is using the NOTES section on her phone. She takes precocious notes and clicks away at the power points. I have often wondered why she does that. This week I figured it out. When I am on the airplane, I am either reading on my iPad or listening to music or both. This week, on our flight to Chicago, I saw her using her phone and re-reading her notes and the PowerPoints from last week’s message! I did not just see her do it one time, but there she was on every flight pulling up notes from previous Sunday. Do you know what else?  As we landed, and made our way to the next gate, I heard her dropping verses and points all along her way. Anyone here even remember what the message was about? 2024—THE OPEN DOOR! I cannot tell you how many times I heard her speak to complete strangers about their open door! One man, let us call him Jerry, told her an amazing, almost unbelievable story. He and Jac talked about Jesus and how Jesus has changed their lives. Jerry accepted Christ 5 years ago and he has not missed a Sunday since! Jac gave Jerry a business card from THE SEED and sat there and showed him how to take the spiritual gifts test! His mom and sister were with him and they, too, are taking the test. I asked Jac on our last flight, “What’s going on?” She said, “I’m taking this OPEN DOOR 2024 serious, Dave. I pray every day that I do not miss a single OPEN DOOR. I pray that if God shows me an OPEN DOOR—I am going through it—no matter that I have no idea where it may lead.” Let me tell you, Jerry—was a big guy, he had tats all over, and he had been to jail. He came to Jesus in jail. Seriously, usually I am the guy talking Jesus, but I got to see the words the Holy Spirit gave me from Sunday be lived out this week as my wife shared. Jac had been reading and rereading all the scriptures about open doors. The hour-long JESUS discussion at the O’Hare airport began with Jac asking, “How was your time in Chicago?” Kind of like—well, here is an open door—wonder if Jerry wants to go with me through it? Jerry’s son had just graduated from Navy bootcamp, and this proud dad could not contain himself. He talked about how the Navy went all out for the ceremony and how his son is going to train to be a Navy seal. I just sat back and watched God work as Jerry shared and Jac planted seeds of faith.

Remind you of us going up that mountain together to worship God? Yes! Maybe this week it’s going to be your turn to plant seeds of faith.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

Each week we have the opportunity to come to church and worship. Worship is voluntary. But when we gather together to worship, we get to encounter the presence of living God together– in our worship, our praise, and our prayers. We grow stronger together as a community of believers as we worship — as we give our voices, our time, our talents, and our treasures to the One who loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son. In worship we come face to face with the God who created us, the God who redeems us and the God who continues to provide for us. WORSHIP…proskuneo…we fall on our knees, and we praise our God as we pilgrimage HOME!

As we conclude today’s message, let us recite the last 3 verses of Psalm 122 as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:7-9

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

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 2/3/2024

Seed of Faith – Open Doors In 2024   By Pastor Dave  

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

In the Hebrew calendar this year is 5784 while in America it is 2024. What is interesting is that in the Hebrew language the letter for “four” is called a “dalet.” Get ready! The Hebrew image of the number four is an open door. In the prophetic arm of the church, they call this year, 2024, “the open door” because of the number four. Rosh Hashanah (or the Jewish New Year) was on Friday, September 15, 2023—or 5784 if you are Jewish. Interesting that the image of the dalet (the number 4) is an open door?

I do not want to spend a lot of time today on the context of these passages since it is my hope to do a series on the seven churches of Revelation after Easter as we move towards Pentecost but what we do need to know is that this church we are speaking of in Philadelphia was small. The members of this small church had “little strength” to oppose the forces of evil. Yet they “kept my word and … not denied Jesus’ name” (v. 8). One other note is that they “kept my command to endure patiently” (v. 10).

What high praise from the Lord!  Makes me think of THE SEED.

A few good so what questions and thoughts to begin with …

Do you feel like you are of little strength?

Have you kept Jesus’ words?

Have you NOT denied Jesus’ name?

Have you kept Jesus’ commands and endured patiently?

Friends, what this passage teaches us today is that God lives behind the door. We are told in Revelation that the One — that is Jesus–holds the keys of David.

Listen again to what Jesus says, “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus will close doors that no one can open. Jesus has opened a door for you that no one can shut. That should make us jump up and shout HALLELJUH — PRAISE THE LORD. Our job is go find that open door. And—there’s more than one!

In John 10 we have two more of the great I Am statements of Jesus. Jesus tells us — Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate (DOOR) for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate (DOOR); whoever enters through me will be saved (or kept safe) He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14

Twice Jesus tells us that He is the gate/door and twice Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd.

When Jesus repeats Himself, we should listen. That’s a sort of a big deal in Scripture!

So What?

I believe that Jesus wants to open doors this year in your life. I also believe that Jesus will be closing some doors.

So what are some of the doors that Jesus is opening?

Reconciliation —- family, friends. coworkers, employers, employees, work, church, school!

Restoration

Renewal

Grace

Forgiveness

Love

Mercy

Ministry

Missions

Money — finances

Health

Healing

Family

Wisdom

The challenge for each of us is this: will we walk through the open doors or will we stop and hold back?

Will we offer forgiveness to others and walk through an open door?

Will we offer finances to someone in need and walk through an open door?

Will we reconcile with someone and walk through an open door?

Will we accept a call to work in a ministry and walk through an open door?

Will we hear the call to do mission work and walk through open doors?

Will we love others like God has loved us and walk through that open door?

The biggest challenge I hear over and over again is, “Why is God not opening that door for me?”  “Why has God not answered my prayers?”  Maybe God is closing doors that no one can open. Maybe it is so you will not be hurt any more than you already have been.

Do you remember the old TV show called “Let’s Make A Deal”? The contestant could choose between door number 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes the contestants made the right deal and went home with some wonderful prizes and other times they cashed out and lost everything.

Later in chapter three of Revelation we hear that Jesus is knocking on the door — “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.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus is the Door and the Good Shepherd. Jesus holds the Keys of David and can open the door. Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus closes doors that no one can open. Yet we are told that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door He will come in and eat with us forever and ever.

I have a good friend who has been praying the same prayer for two years. It is a prayer about reconciliation and restoration within her family.   This is what she said, “Pastor Dave, I have been knocking and knocking on that door for two years. It remains closed to me. While sitting on the beach, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, ‘What does it say in Revelation 3:20? Jesus stands at the door and knocks? The Living Word says the Lord stands there and knocks and knocks and knocks. It does not say I stand there and knock and knock and knock.’ Pastor Dave, I have been standing at a very closed door for a very long time. I have been knocking and waiting and knocking for two years and no one has ever once come to open the door. You know why? That door is closed to me. Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to let Jesus stand there and knock and I am moving forward.” Funny thing, she is doing just that. Her heart is lighter, her smile is wider and, in her words, “I sicked Jesus on them and their closed door. He can knock Himself out now! That is His job now, not mine. I am free to move forward to the open a different door!”

So what? —- Look and see what doors Jesus is opening and walk through them with Holy Boldness.  Stop trying to go through doors that are closed!

I am praying for each of us daily—that we find many open doors and that we boldly go through them.  I am also praying for us that if we’ve been standing and knocking and knocking at a closed door—that we will be like my friend and say, “Jesus, it says in Revelation that standing at a closed door is YOUR job. Would you please stand here and keep knocking at that door? I really am wasting daylight if I just stand at that closed door—I need to go find the OPEN DOORS that you have for me.”

2024…the year of the open door? May you find at least one a day and may the LORD give you the wisdom to decipher between open and closed doors and may you be given the strength to move forward. Jesus is the professional door knocker—sick Him on those really difficult closed doors. He is the one who will bring repentance, restoration and reason. If that door ever opens, you will know and you will be able to be a part of that glorious reunion. 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.

Love In A Line

Seed of Faith – Love In A Line   By Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us. Matthew 1:21-23

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I pray daily for you; that your heart and home are filling up with the HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE of the CHRIST child, of CHRISTMAS! (Christmas means more of Christ!)

Last week, we studied the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s gospel. Listen, this genealogy is no fairy tale. It’s not Disney nor is it Star Wars or Star Trek. What we learned the first week of Advent is that this is the real deal. This is a true story and we can go back 49 generations. The birth of Jesus starts the JUBILEE! He is our Jubilee in so many ways. Let’s move on to the second week of Advent. (A side note: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a hectic, busy, intense Autumn for my wife and I. We poured ourself in ministry and went to 3 far away places—where Jac fell, went to the ER and needed PT. Then I had my health issues and went to ER. The truth is I just don’t feel well. My doctor rechecked my chest xrays and called to say he is referring me to both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. Of course, that was yesterday, December 21st! Will get this done early next year. In all truth and honesty, I am struggling with my breathing and with debilitating headaches. It all started after my hernia surgery when I was put under. I do have a partial, lower-left collapsed lung and I am sure this is the cause of my concerns. Please remember to pray for me and for my medical care. Thank you.)

This week’s devotional is on the second candle of Advent when we look at how God’s love now works through the line of Abraham. This is the greatest story ever told: From the cradle through the cross.

Remember —- put your self into the ancient story and don’t leave until you’ve put the story in you anew!

Today we come to the Christmas story. And at first glance it reads like it could be another legend or a fairy tale. Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into our world and has miraculous powers. This Jesus character can calm the storms in our lives. Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, heals people; not only that He raises people from the dead. Then the antagonists — the enemies— come onto the scene and turn on him. They not only turn on Jesus, but they put Him to death. Just when it seems like all hope is over, Jesus rises from the dead and saves those who call upon His name. (And you will name Him JESUS for He will save His people from their sin!)

So many people read the stories of Jesus, His miracles and resurrection, and they think, “Wow! Another great fairy tale!” Indeed, it looks like the Christmas story is one more story that gives us fiction and fairy tales. (The big guy in the red suit? Reindeer?)

But Matthew’s Gospel refutes that by grounding Jesus in history. The story of Jesus is not “once upon a time” nor is it—”In a galaxy far, far away.” Jesus’ story is not about going to Disneyland to see all the magnificent make-believe in a small world. Matthew tells us that the story of Jesus is real, and is grounded in history. Jesus Christ is not one more lovely story pointing to the unrealities of make believe. Jesus IS the true reality to which all the stories of this Bible we read. Jesus is the foundation built upon 49 generations.

The common starting point intertwined within each of the four Gospels begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. But before they get to the ministry of John the Baptist, each of the Gospel writers has a unique introduction that precedes its account of John the Baptist’s ministry. Mark begins with a simple one-line statement: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Luke starts with a personal first-person account of his reasons for writing, directed to an influential friend whose name was Theophilus, followed by a detailed account of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus does not appear until chapter 3. John’s gospel has a prologue that says, “In the Beginning was the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God.” John traces Jesus’ ancestry to eternity past and speaks of the incarnation without any specific mention of Jesus’ miraculous conception or birth.

Not so the gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins with a genealogy that traces Jesus’ ancestry first to King David and then further back to Abraham.

Beginning a book with a genealogy may seem strange to us, “just a listing of names” and, to be honest with you, I think so many of us skip over the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Maybe because it is a genealogy with a lot of names that are hard to pronounce. Maybe we skip over it because we do not understand the significance.

I love to spend my free time working on my ancestry through ancestry.com. My wife and I did our DNA tests so we could see who some of our relatives are. Now I know that can be good and bad. You find the in-laws and the out-laws. I have printouts of my relatives. I will not bore you with the names and dates. My wife said she would not let me … ha. There are a lot of names that are hard to pronounce, especially in her Italian genealogy. (Conigliaro, Trupiano, Mirabella, Di Lorenzo…)

My grandmother on my dad’s side raised me after my brother’s death. Her name was Margaret. I spent time with her, and she is the one who was responsible for bringing me to church. She was a staunch, Scottish/English Presbyterian. When I met and fell in love with my wife, I brought her up to Illinois from Kirksville, Missouri, to meet my grandmother. I told Nanny, that this was Jacalyn Trupiano and that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Nanny looked at me, looked at Trupi and said, “I assume she is Italian and Catholic.” And then before I could say anything, she said, “Well, David, I am not going to any Catholic wedding.”

Nanny and my grandfather did not travel down to St Louis for our wedding but when our first daughter was born, she took Jenni in her arms and started cooing and rocking her and she said, “Well, you know, Jennifer, you can be a DAR— Daughter of the American Revolution—but your mother cannot!”  My wife looked at her and smiled and said, “Nanny, did not my relatives, Christopher Columbus, an Italian, drive the boat your relatives were on?” Nanny laughed and said, “Jackie, I think we are going to be good friends after all.” At the time, I did not understand that Nanny had done her ancestry—all the way back to the Mayflower and beyond. She was so very proud of her heritage. Through Ancestry, I have gone back thirteen generations, and can go two generations ahead. I come from royalty—from Lords and Ladies and Doctors and Pastors. I now understand why Nanny was so very proud of the Spencer line. (Princess Diana?)

Today we live in a very individualistic culture where you recommend yourself to others with a list of your degrees, work experience, and accomplishments. We call it our resume. And, sometimes, people embellish their resumes with fairy tale truths.

In the Old Testament times and in the time of Jesus that is not it how it was done. This was done through their “LINE” through their ancestry. Theirs was a more communal, family-oriented society. It’s like when Ancestry dings my phone and says, “You have a new match!” It’s exciting to me to go find other relatives and to see how we correlate in my “line”!

Matthew chapter one might look like a genealogy with a list of names but In those times it was your family pedigree, your clan—the people you were connected to—that constituted your résumé. So, a genealogy was a way of saying to the world, “This is who I am and this is where I come from.” The purpose of a genealogical résumé was to impress onlookers with the high quality and respectability of one’s roots.

What is so fascinating with Matthew’s account is that he does the very opposite with Jesus. This genealogy is shockingly unlike other ancient genealogies. To begin with, there are five women listed in the genealogy, all mothers in the line of Jesus. This will not strike modern readers as unusual, but in ancient, patriarchal societies, a woman was virtually never named in such lists, let alone five women!

In the times of Jesus, women were “gender outsiders.” Yet when Matthew begins his Gospel, there they are—five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Also, an interesting note is that most of the women in Jesus’ résumé were not all Jews but Gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth) …Canaanites and a Moabite. To the ancient Jewish people, these nations were unclean. The people from these nations were not allowed into the tabernacle or temple to worship. We could call them “racial outsiders,” and yet, here they are listed in Jesus’ genealogy.

As I studied, I knew I had to look at these women. Who were they? Why did Matthew mention them?

TAMAR: In Genesis 38 we are told the story of Tamar. Tamar tricked her father-in-law, Judah, into sleeping with her (even though in the full story it is also clear that Judah had been unjust to her). This was an act of incest which was against the law of God. Another note in this genealogy is that even though Jesus was descended from Perez not Zerah, Matthew includes both Perez and Zerah, both Judah and Tamar, to make sure we bring the whole story to mind. It was out of that dysfunctional family that the Messiah came. (Are you listening?)

RAHAB: In Joshua chapter2 and 6 we have the story of Rahab. In verse five of Matthew one we find the name of Rahab. She was not just a Canaanite woman, but she was also a prostitute. Notice that from the line of Rahab we get King David. (Still listening?)

RUTH: Next we are told about Ruth, the Moabite woman, who followed her mother-in-law, Naiomi, back to Bethlehem and ends up marrying Boaz. They have a son named Obed. Ruth is famous for saying to Naomi when Naomi tries to leave Ruth back in Moab — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18) From this story, Ruth gleans Boaz’s field. Boaz becomes Ruth’s “Kinsman Redeemer” and the line to Jesus is further established!

You have Tamar and Rahab as Canaanite women and Ruth as a Moabite woman. Are you following Matthew yet? Why is Matthew including women in this genealogy?

Perhaps the most interesting character and background story in the whole genealogy, however, is in verse six. There it says that in Jesus’ line is King David. You would think, if you were writing your resume or genealogy, you would want someone like King David in your genealogy. What is so fascinating is how Matthew records this, David was the father of Solomon, “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. ”Does that name ring a bell? Uriah? This story is recorded in 2 Samuel chapters11 and 12. Why not just give her name? Her name was Bathsheba, but I believe hat Matthew is summoning his Jewish readers to recall a tragic and terrible chapter of Israel’s history. King David had an affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and he had her husband killed so he could marry her. Why is this story recorded in the genealogy of Jesus?

Do you know why Matthew leaves off the name “Bathsheba”? It is not a slight of Bathsheba—it is a slam of David. It was out of that dysfunctional family, and out of that deeply flawed man, that the Messiah came. (I pray you are still listening. We all have families that can be labeled “dysfunctional”.)

Perhaps Jesus’ genealogy is the greatest story of all time that precedes the greatest story of all time.

So What?

The story of Jesus is not fiction nor is it a fairy tale. The story of Jesus is truth.

In this genealogy of Jesus—the Son of God–we have moral outsiders—adulterers, adulteresses, incestuous relationships, prostitutes. We have Kings who worshiped foreign Gods and had their own failures. Indeed, we are reminded that even the prominent male ancestors—Judah and David—were moral failures at one time of their lives.  (God redeems.)

I believe that this genealogy tells us about cultural outsiders, racial outsiders, and gender outsiders. The Law of Moses excluded these people from the presence of God, and yet, right here, they are all publicly acknowledged by Matthew (the tax accountant, the guy who is good with numbers and details) as the ancestors of Jesus, the SAVIOR of the world.

So what does it mean? First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God, can be brought into Jesus’ family.

In Matthew’s genealogy we find a truth that is to be celebrated and told over and over again. It is not the good people who are in and the bad people who are out. Everyone is in only by the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God. We are in the genealogy of Jesus because we are adopted into his family. We are all OUT before Jesus, we are all dysfunctional and, yet, we are beloved by God. Brought into the line, grafted in to be made whole and forgiven.

This genealogy is the prequel to the greatest story ever told.  Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? I pray you do.

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.

Waiting In Hope

Seed of Faith – Waiting In Hope   By Pastor Dave  

“But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” Luke 1:13

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers & Hopeful Christmas Cheerers,

Here we go! I have to share that it’s been a wild Christmas season thus far. People need ministry. People are falling and going to the hospital—in droves. And, out here in Cucamonga, there are many hospitals to visit. I’m keeping up with my beautiful “shut ins” who so need a visit at this season. All this to say, I apologize for not getting this “Seed of Faith” out sooner but I do still believe that God knows no time, is not bound by time, and can still work in us. Despite it being almost time for the third candle of Advent Joy—we can go back and begin at the first candle; the candle of HOPE. So grab your cup of coffee, tea or water and let’s sit and ponder the coming of CHRISTmas.

Let’s open our living word to the birth stories of Jesus in Matthew 1& 2 and Luke 1 & 2. There are so many characters in these stories. As always, put yourself into the story. Look at all the people and places and try on a few of their costumes and sandals. Think of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, shepherds & wise men, Herod and the people of Nazareth and Jerusalem. Try on an angel costume just for fun.

I like to say … put yourself in the story and then put the story in you. Don’t you date close the bible and just leave it on your desk, or kitchen table or bedside table! NO! Put this incredible story into your life; put it into your mind, heart, soul, spirit. Ask yourself, “Where can I be more like ______________ today, in 2023?” And go work it out as you live your crazy, busy schedule—always pondering and treasuring this Christmas story. Where can you bring Jesus Christ into your life today? How can you live Christmas every day? That’s the application the ancient words call you to make: from then to now. Read it. See it. Live it.

So what? Who do you identify with this Advent season? Why are these people mentioned?

Advent is about preparation. Sometimes we forget that before God sent his Son into the world, God had already prepared the way. Jesus arrived on the scene after 400 years of silence from God. Jesus arrived after an angel named Gabriel visited numerous people—preparation. God even saw fit to prepare the way for his Son by sending a man named John who would call people to repentance. God is into preparation.

Are we prepared for Christmas? I am not asking if we have our trees up, or if we have done our shopping, but are we really prepare?.  Are we prepared for the arrival of God’s Son? One might wonder how we can prepare for this great event. Luke helps us by telling the story of an old Jewish priest and his wife.

I have been pondering old Zechariah this week.

FAITHFUL – FEARFUL – FAITHLESS – FAVORED

In Luke chapter one, we see that Zechariah was a priest.  I would say that in this story we see Zechariah as a faithful priest preforming his duties even though God had been silent and had not answered his prayers during the many years of his lifetime. He and his wife had prayed for a child. Diligently.

We also see that Zechariah was fearful. Zechariah was fearful when the angel Gabriel appeared in the Holy of Holies. I love when an angel appears in the bible for they often say, “Do not be afraid.”

Zechariah was also faithless when he did not believe what Gabriel was telling him. He questioned the angel. What he wanted to say was something like this, “Gabe, Sara and I are really old now. We have asked for a child for many years. Never had a child. What you are saying is that now at our old age, you’re telling me that when we should become grandparents—we will become parents?” Zechariah was afraid, he was fearful and he was a bit faithless. That didn’t stop the angel from delivering God’s message, though. Old Zech was silenced until the birth of his son, John. Zech had plenty of time to treasure and ponder the miracle of God.

We also see at the end of our reading of our reading that Zechariah was favored. The Lord remembered Zechariah and heard his prayer.

I wonder if Zechariah ever lost hope.

I wonder as we are going through harrowing times if many of us begin to lose hope.  Will this Covid stuff ever  end?   Will these wars in the Ukraine and Israel ever end? Will this inflation ever stop?  Will we ever get back to our lives as we once knew them?  My health is going south, help me. My finances are shot, help me. My relationships are a mess, help me. Over and over we cry out. Has God forgotten us?  Why does not God hear our prayers?

It is interesting to note —-

The name Zechariah means “The Lord Remembers.”

The name Elizabeth means “My God Is Absolutely Faithful.”

Think about this for a minute! Zechariah is righteous. He is old. He is a priest. He knows God. He knows what it means to serve God. If there ever was a real saint, it is this guy. But he still had some growing to do. God sent the angel Gabriel to him to give him a marvelous promise. But what does Zechariah do? He doubts God. He underestimates God. Have you ever underestimated God?

Zechariah is an example of a person who has known the Lord for a long time. He goes to church. He gives his tithes. He leads a small group. He goes on mission trips. He prays before meals. He reads the Bible every day. He does all the right things, in all the right places, in all the right ways but when God comes along and challenges him to a new level of faith, he is afraid.

This couple reminds us that it really does not matter how long you have known God, or how well you’ve obeyed God, or how faithfully you’ve served God; we always have room for growth. God is committed to stretching and growing the faith of people like Zechariah and Elizabeth and God is committed to doing the same in people like you and me.

SO WHAT?

The so what question for today:  How do these words written so long ago about the Advent of the Christ-child change us and give us hope?

Zechariah was not prepared for the Advent of Christmas because he did not believe God could step into his life and answer long-forgotten prayers in ways he had never dreamed of. I wonder if some of us here today are secretly disappointed with God, but afraid to admit it. Like old Zechariah, we just do what we are supposed to do, never really believing that God is at work to bless us in ways that would totally overwhelm us and silence us in His presence.

We may believe that God would do this for someone else, but not for us.  We think: You do not know what I have done. You do not know what I have gone through. You do not know how hopeless my situation is. Some of us have become so cynical and jaded by life that we no longer believe God is at work within us. We are stuck in our unbelief; we are not ready for God’s gift. But God has some interesting ways of getting through to us.

One verse that I would like for you to take home today is verse 13. Put it to memory Put your name into the verse instead of Zechariah’s.  Like this: But the angel said to (your name here), “Do not be afraid, (your name here), for your prayer has been heard.”

We have the next three weeks to truly prepare ourselves for the Advent of the Christ-child.  This is the beginning of week one:  disappointed hope to appointed hope, disappointed hope to anointed hope.  Here is the “so what?”

From faithful to fearful to faithless to favored.

Are we open to God answering our prayer in ways we have never dreamed of?

Are we prepared for Christmas?

This week let us get real with God.  Spend some time reading the gospel story of Christ’s birth in Luke and Matthew.  Tell God where you need a blessing in your life. Maybe you need to feel forgiven. Maybe you need to forgive.  Maybe you need God to remove the sign from around our neck that says, “Defect,” “Imperfect,” “Sinner,” “Guilty,” “Grief stricken.”   This first week of Advent, let us get into hopeful prayer.

Let us pray:

O God of HOPE, you come into our lives in such amazing ways.  We ask and pray that You will come again this Advent season.  Come and fill the hopeless situations in our lives with hope, touch the hurting parts of our life with Your healing presence.  Remove our disgrace.  Answer our prayers.  Bless us, O God of Hope.  Prepare in each of us, a heart with room to spare for the birth of the Christ child. The living Savior came into our world to redeem, restore, and reconcile—do this in us this Advent Season. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A closing story of hope. One of our church members fell. We met her at the ER and spent the day with her. She had broken her eye orbital, and her cheekbone and she had a concussion. Her daughter spent the weekend with her and then my wife and I took over the doctor visits for the week. It was bleak news that included the word surgery. My friend is a recent widow and she was feeling fearful and afraid and vulnerable. On Wednesday night she came to “Get A Life” group. We were doing this very story. At the end of the bible study, she asked if she could share. Of course. Here’s what she said, “I came to bible study tonight afraid, alone and feeling so very vulnerable but as we’ve studied I actually heard the Lord speak to me and I feel like I need to share it from the rooftops!” We all wanted to know what she had heard. I have a feeling some of you need to hear it, too, so here it is: DO NOT BE AFRAID. My friend said, “No matter what—surgery, no surgery—God is with me and I do not need to be afraid.” You could tell she had had a moment with the Lord—kind of like Zechariah; all the people outside while she had a conversation with God!?

Truth is, a week later her surgeon who had told her surgery was a pretty done deal saw her and said, “I think you got divine intervention. There’s absolutely no need for surgery.” Cry out. Keep crying out. You are heard. And in His time, He will answer you.

A lifetime is not too long to wait. Trust me. There’s a few things I’m still waiting on.

HOPE: Heaven’s One Promise Emmanuel.

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 9.16.2023

Seed of Faith – Witness of the Spirit – No Fear   By Pastor Dave  

“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (adoption) And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  Romans 8:14-15

Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed Sowers,

I want to pause and give thanks to all who have written, called, emailed and texted concerning my health concerns.  I am waiting to see the physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon so that I’m able to get an MRI and more xrays.  I want to tell you that with all of your prayers, my pain level has gone down and is so much more tolerable.  Thank you!

This week in our Seed of Faith we will look at two verses.  This is really part one of two parts on Romans 8:14-17.

We began looking at Romans 8 many weeks ago. We have been walking slowly through these verses trying to dig deep into the meaning and teaching that Paul had given the early church. We have looked at a “Life in Christ” and we spent time on verse one of Romans, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) Chapter 8 of Romans is often heralded as one of the greatest chapters in all the Bible. I think it is because Romans begins with NO CONDEMNATION and ends with NO SEPARATION; meaning if you are in JESUS CHRIST—you have nothing to worry about. You are not condemned and there is no way you can be separated from God. I suppose I would agree with the scholars who say it is a pretty great chapter!

Last week we looked at what it means to have a “Life in the Spirit.” Remember the hand and the glove? We are the glove, and the Holy Spirit is the hand. How we need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, guidance, and power in our lives. There’s a cute cartoon that has two friends talking. One friend says, “Man, I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can go do great things!” The other friend replies, “I need the Holy Spirit to fill me just to go to Walmart!” If our minds and hearts are controlled by the Spirit of God, we will have life and life abundantly. Our foundational verse for that message was verse eleven, And “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

If we move aside and quit trying to control and manipulate everyone and everything, and if we simply ask the Holy Spirit to empower us—we are going to LIVE and live well—and that’s whether we are just going to Walmart or holding a crusade for Christ.

A good point to ponder is that these words of Paul gave the early church such power and courage to transform their world. When we get down to verse thirty-seven, we will read that Paul called the early church, “more than conquerors through Christ.”

The Spirit leads us into new life — holiness.

“… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

When we read all of chapter eight in one setting, we can understand that Paul is teaching the early church that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. When our mind is on the things of the Spirit, we will walk in the light as He is in the light. The Holy Spirit will then guide and teach us all things, giving us heavenly wisdom, knowledge and insight. When Jesus was leaving His disciples the night he was betrayed, he promised those in the upper room the gift and person of the Holy Spirit. Listen to Jesus’ own words, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 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. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

“SO WHAT?” is this promise? Better yet, who is this promise? 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?

I believe that we need to look at a few of the Greek words that are used in this sentence. The first word that we should see is the word “another” in the Greek, the word is “allos.”  “Allos” in the Greek means “another just like the first one.”

Who is the first Advocate? It is Jesus himself. Therefore, the second Advocate is to be just like the first one, Jesus. That is, He is to be a divine being just like Jesus who is now living within each believer. 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 and other theologians speak of the persons of the Trinity, they mean that 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. When we recognize God alone as our Sovereign creator and believe in Jesus Christ, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to set up residence in our hearts, our homes, and lives. 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. I believe that if we talk or think about the Holy Spirit as a mysterious power, we will be continually thinking, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?”

On the other hand, if we think of the Holy Spirit as a person, our thoughts will be, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?” 

That is a great question —how can the Holy Spirit have more of me?

There is a small book called, MY HEART, CHRIST’S HOME by Robert Munger. The premise of the book is that our hearts are likened to a home—the entry, the dining room, kitchen, library, family room, bedroom, bathroom, and even the hallway closet. The Holy Spirit wants entry into every room in our heart—but as always, the Holy Spirit is a gentle person—the spirit waits until we give the green light. “Hey,  Jesus or Holy Spirit, do not just stand there in the entry. Take off your coat and come on in! “Mi casa es su casa!” Do not be too surprised if your heart is challenged to change a few things: the way you talk, think, act, and …. what you read, what you watch, what you eat…Okay. I will stop meddling.

When the Holy Spirit has more of us, we are led into a life of living for and with the Lord Jesus.

POINT #1 for today: The Holy Spirit leads me into a new life of holiness. 

  1. The Spirit brings us out of fear into freedom.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, …” (Romans 8:15a)

The other day I was having a conversation with someone who was really struggling with an issue. We talked and prayed together. The verse that God gave me for this person who was struggling deeply with some fears of failure and pains of the past was from John 10:10. I love chapter ten of the Gospel of John. There are two of the great “I Am” statements in John 10.

Jesus says “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”(John 10:9) Another of the great “I Am” statements are, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John10:11) But the verse that is sandwiched in between those two great “I Am” statements of Jesus is John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

In this world, there is so much bad news each day and so many people are afraid. The truth is that our enemy, the thief, the devil, only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have printed out a few pages of the many passages in Scriptures where we are told not to be afraid. If you would like them, email me and i will send them to you.

What Paul is teaching us is that we have not be given a spirit of fear to be a slave again to fear.

POINT #2: We have not been given a Spirit that makes us a slave to fear…we have been given the identical twin Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ…and we now have a spirit of FREEDOM in Christ. Christ came to give us life to the full. Open that door to your heart and let the Holy Spirit in!

So What?

This week, we are reminded to give more and more of our heart and lives over to the rule and reign of Christ. “Less of me. More of Thee.” Remember the question to ask is “How can I give more of my life to Christ and the Holy Spirit?” Even King David asked this of God in Psalm 139:24, “See if there any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Wow. Try that one on for fun!

We are reminded that we have not been given a spirit of fear.  Whatever offensive things or ways that we have, the Holy Spirit will gently nudge and lead us to the way everlasting. That should help us to stand and shout. “Hallelujah and Praise the Lord.”

I encourage you to walk in the boldness of your new life in Christ. If you haven’t ever given your heart to Christ—today is the perfect day. It’s simple but it’s not easy:

Dear God: I am a sinner, we both know that. I believe that Jesus Christ is your one and only Son. I believe He died on the cross for my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and live within me as my Lord and Savior. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Jesus stands outside and knocks until you open the door. There’s no door handle on the outside. Best decision I ever made to open the door and invite Christ into my heart, my home, my life, my church, my preaching, my family, my marriage, my work—oh the lists is endless. Let me know if you need any help or encouragement in taking this step or in becoming ALL you are meant to be and do.

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 9.9.2023

Seed of Faith – Life In The Spirit   By Pastor Dave  

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings! It’s been few long weeks of doctor visits for me: extreme pain in my neck and left shoulder plus a hernia that needs surgery. The hernia surgery is scheduled for 11-8-23. I should only be down a week. The neck and shoulder aren’t such an easy fix. I’m growing bone—from my skull, my spine, and then having free floaters in my neck and shoulder area. In order to get an MRI, I need three weeks of PT. The earliest PT appointment they had was 10-8! As my wife would say, Pastor needs prayer.

Speaking of prayer, It is my prayer that as you read the SEED OF FAITH each week that you come to grow in the LOVE of GOD, the GRACE of CHRIST, and the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT. That’s The Seed’s mission statement and it’s my prayer for you.

If you have been reading the Seeds of Faith for the past month, you will remember that we are spending time in Romans 8.  I encourage you to take and read chapter 8 of Romans several times—why not daily?  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you again and again of God’s unending love and outrageous grace just for you. This chapter has it all!

Last week we looked at what a life in Christ might be.  This week we take a little dip in the deep waters of living a life in the Spirit. (These “seedlings” are but a portion of my weekly messages. You can always ask  for the complete manuscripts of the weekly messages.)

Romans chapter eight has been called by theologians “one of the greatest chapters in the Bible”. An old German commentator named Spener said, “If the Bible was a ring and the Book of Romans a precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel.”[i]

Many commentators have divided this chapter into different headings for the thirty-nine verses it contains. In the NIV Bible there are three sections, “Life in the Spirit”, “Present Suffering and Future Glory”, and “More Than Conquerors.” Chapter 8 is all about the Holy Spirit and the work that the Holy Spirit does within us as we live our life “in Christ.”  In the first seven chapters of Romans there have only been two mentions of the Holy Spirit: a passing reference to “the Spirit of holiness” in chapter 1, verse 4, and the other is found in chapter 5, verse 5 where the Holy Spirit is described as the pouring out of the love of God within our hearts—so twice in the first 7chapters, and now 20 times in Chapter 8. When something is repeated in the Bible, pay attention.

Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Romans 8 could be named the chapter of “freedom through the Holy Spirit”.

Romans 8 begins with the promise: there is therefore now no condemnation in Christ and it ends with there is now no separation in Christ. Isn’t that the gospel? No CONDEMNATION. NO SEPARATION. What good news here in Chapter 8.

The position that Paul wants the Christian to know is that they are free.

We are free from condemnation.

Why? Because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

A good so what question at this point is, “Do I know the freedom I have in Christ?”

Paul writes these words to the us from the Book of Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Paul tells us here in Chapter 8 that our position in Jesus is that we stand free with no condemnation. What GOOD NEWS. We stand free, without any condemnation.

So how do we put this freedom into practice?

That is what Paul will explain in the next fifteen verses.

In this next section we have some great big theological themes like incarnation, atonement, justification, and sanctification. I want to slow down and read these verses and interject a thought or two.

Again, and always, when you read the living word, put yourself into the story. The Apostle Paul is writing around 57 AD. He’s writing from the Greek city of Corinth, just 3 years after the 16 year-old Nero became the Emperor of Rome. Are you in this story? Perhaps we are in a small home church in Rome, and we heard that Paul has written us! Rome was a tough city to be a believer in. How we long for the words of Paul.

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,” (Romans 8:2)— the law is powerless to save us because of our sinful nature.

“God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.” (Romans 8:3) God is the one who is doing all the action here, we are not.  We are saved by grace.  God chose to send His One and Only Son (this is the incarnation) to become like us — a human. Jesus was a sin offering in order to fulfill the law.

“And so he (GOD) condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.(Romans 8:3-4) Just pause and ponder that powerful statement. God chose to put all the sin of humankind upon His One and Only Son so that, through His One and Only Son, the righteous requirements of the law are met… for you and for me.  We can never meet the righteous requirements of the law. Only one man can and did: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:5-7) Notice how many times Paul uses the word “mind” –five times. Paul contrasts the mind of sinful people with the mind of those who live according to the Holy Spirit.

As we put ourselves into the story, we also must put the story into our hearts and minds. Here’s a few “so what” questions:

What about your mind?

What is your mind set on?

What do you spend your time and money on?

What do you think about the most?

There is a clear warning here … the sinful mind is hostile to God.

“Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:8-10)

Paul challenges us here and begins to step on our toes.  What are we being controlled by? Paul makes it clear that a mind set on the works of the flesh leads to death, while the mind set on the Spirit leads to life. As we listen to Paul’s words, are we setting our mind on the Spirit of Life?

I was reading the end of Deuteronomy this past week and was reminded of the challenge that Moses gave to the people before they entered the promise land.  Listen to this verse from Deuteronomy 30:16— “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” Deuteronomy 30:16

I read a disturbing statistic in one of my Christian emails this past week. Do you know that 26 million Americanshave mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible during COVID? “Currently, only 10 percent of Americans report daily Bible reading.” [i]

If there are 500 people reading this message, the statistics say that 450 aren’t reading their Bible daily, only 50 are.  Instead of letting that statistic discourage you, resolve today to make it a priority to read and study God’s Word. Be one of the 10%-ers.

Paul is telling us that in order for us to live in the freedom that Christ provided us on the cross, we need to know what this book says. Lamentations tells us that God’s word is new every morning. I’ve been reading my word daily since 1987 and I can tell you that there are many days when I read something I’ve never read before—and I read this Bible through each year.

SO WHAT?

This theological process of living a life in the Spirit is called sanctification— or holy living. There is an awe-inspiring connection between the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.  The manifestation of the Spirit’s power and presence brings control, and peace, and knowledge and grace and so many good things. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our life brings about our sanctification—we are actually being made holy as we repent, confess, submit and surrender to the inner work of the Holy Spirit within us. It’s honestly amazing to me to be a pastor and to watch this transformation take place in people. It’s why I do what I do.

What Paul is saying is that “if the Spirit of God lives in you, you will be controlled by the Spirit.” It’s a daily wrestling match for each of us. Sometimes we are good, and our halo shines brightly. Sometimes we fail and regret soils our halo. But…each new day we are given “new mercies” in order that we learn to live in the freedom that Christ bought for us on the cross.

Corrie ten Boom offered an insight into this marvelous truth: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.”

That is what it means to make room for the Holy Spirit to live within us. We are the glove. The Holy Spirit is the hand in the glove.

SO WHAT, Pastor Dave”?

POSITION, PRACTICE.POWER. PRESENCE.

Position — Do you know the freedom that you have in Christ?

Practice — What are your daily devotional practices like so that you are filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you in the 10% club?

Power — Glove or no glove? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify you each moment of each day? Is your glove empty, just sitting on the shelf? Or is your glove full of the living word of God, empowering your heart and soul and mind to make “holy” decisions that give you life and freedom?

In the fall of 1987 I started reading my bible daily. I read 5 psalms, and a chapter of Proverbs each day. Here I am 36 years later still reading 5 psalms and a chapter of Proverbs (plus a gospel and a ton of other theology) and there are days I look and think, “I’ve never noticed that before.” Why? Because God’s mercies are new for us each morning.

No condemnation. No separation. Remember that.

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave

 

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 8/18/2023

Seed of Faith – A Life In Christ  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Romans Chapter 8:

No condemnation — in Christ!

No separation – in Christ!

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and joy and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Praise God!

We will be working through some of the passages in which Paul teaches us that we have a new “LIFE IN CHRIST.”

Do you know that the words “IN CHRIST” are used 119 times just in Paul’s letters alone?

Paul wrote thirteen letters to the churches plus his letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.  “IN CHRIST” is a dominating theme for Paul. It is fitting that the apostle Paul, who received the revelation of the mystery of the union of Jew and Gentile into one body, should coin a phrase to describe those incorporated into one body. This body is, of course, the body of Christ, the church. Pentecost is the church universal’s birthday; the day the promised Holy Spirit fell upon those who believed in Jesus.

I have a handout with a few of the 119 times where Paul tells us what life is like in Christ. If you would like one —- email me at: pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com and I will email you back a copy!

I would like to spend the next few minutes on verse one of Chapter 8 of Romans—possibly one of the greatest chapters in all of the living word!  In the Greek verse one is only eight words.  But these eight words are powerful and give us a promise of the freedom we have in Christ. I’m going to go over the verse as it is in presented in the Greek lineup—not in the English.

No! — oude

The first word in the Greek is an adjective with an emphasis.  The word is “No.” This word is weak in the English translation. In our texts it is a simple negative, like most other negatives. In the Greek text “no” (oude) is strongly emphasized. First, it is not the simple negative “ou” but the compound and therefore the stronger negative “oude.” Second, it occurs at the beginning of the sentence, which intensifies the negation. This word “oude” can be translated, “not one, nothing, no one, none, or just plain no.” The strong emphasis could be translated with a double negative like “no, nothing — no, not one— no—none— no,  no one–or simply no no!”

It’s important to note that this word Oude (NO, NO!) describes the noun “condemnation” for anyone who is IN CHRIST. There is simply no, no, no, not one, nothing, none—no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! That’s great news.

Therefore!— ara

The second great word in this sentence is “therefore.” To what does it refer?  Does “therefore” bring us back to the arguments of the struggle with sin in chapters 7, chapter 5 or chapter 3 of Romans? NO,NO! Most scholars say that Paul’s “therefore” is all inclusive, pointing back to the entire argument of the epistle—all 7 chapters prior!  The Good News that Paul is telling us is this—- there is no, not one, nothing, none, no, no, no condemnation for us. What Paul is really saying is this, “You know everything else I’ve written in this letter—in the previous 7 chapters…well all of that was to come to this: THEREFORE…there’s NO CONDEMNATION if you believe in Jesus Christ.

Why?  Because God’s work done in Jesus Christ (through his life, death and resurrection) and through the the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost—this all leads us to this one thing: there is now “no condemnation” for any person who is “in Christ”.

Now!— vuv

“Now” is a time word, pointing to the change that has come about as the result of our believing in the work of justification that Jesus Christ made possible by his death. Before we believed IN CHRIST, we stood condemned by God. We were due to suffer the penalty of an eternal death for our sins, the “wages of sin” being “death”.  But once we believe in Christ…therefore, there is now no condemnation.

Now — not tomorrow.

Now — not next week.

Now — not next year.

Now — not when you get your life together.

Now — not when you do good works for your sins.

NOW — is translated with words like, “at this present time, now, at this very time, just now.”

I love that word!

This past week, I was captured by that word in 2 Corinthians 5:5 — “NOW it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

I truly believe that God wants us to live in the now and not the the tomorrows or yesterdays. Will Rogers once wrote these profound words about living in the “NOW.” This is what he said, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.(1)

I know that I have at times allowed yesterday’s mistakes, sins, and failures to hold me back. What we are learning today is that if we are “in Christ,” yesterday’s sins contain no condemnation for us. Zero. None.

So What?

Now is the time to receive the undeserved and unearned gift of grace that God has given to us through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into heaven —no, not one, none, nothing — no condemnation.

Condemnation — katakrima

This Greek word means that there has been a legal decision in a court case and the verdict is guilty. Did you hear that? “Guilty” was our status! If we were to read the opening chapters of Romans, we would see that we are to be condemned as sinners. We were condemned sinners, subject to the outpoured wrath of God. But suddenly Jesus entered our world and died for us, bearing the wrath of God in our place, and there is NOW “no condemnation” fort hose who are in Christ.  

This is such a groundbreaking chapter in the Bible. Chapter 8 starts with THERE IS NOW NOCONDEMNATION for those IN CHRIST JESUS…and ends with…THERE IS NOW NO SEPARATION from the LOVE OF GOD for those of us in Christ.

You see, what will happen when we each face the “Day of reckoning” is that we will have the greatest defender of all stand with us before the judge of all. No matter what the enemy says about us—the grace of God will cover us—if we are in Christ! Instead of a GUILTY verdict, our Lord and Savior will deliver to us a NOT GUILTY verdict—all because he paid the price of our sin on that cross at Calvary.

Oude ara vuv katakrima….

OUDE: No, nothing, no not one thing, no none, no no one, no, no, no….

ARA: Therefore…and not just chapter 7, 5 or 3…but the whole kicking kaboodle of the Bible and the fall of man has been covered by the blood of Jesus…

VUV: NOW….not yesterday, not when you were little, not in your teen years, not in your college years (OH BOY) no…not then…but NOW…just now…today, not yesterday…

KATAKRIMA: NOT GUILTY….

That’s not Greek to us anymore! How about in English? “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus. ”Romans 8:1

Let’s take a moment to pause and ponder the great grace of Jesus who pardons us…now might be a goodtime to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me”

I don’t know about you, but I want to run around right now and shout, “HEY! I am IN CHRIST, people! I AM LIVING IN CHRIST!”

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go plant that seed into your family, friends, strangers, etc. Who doesn’t need to hear the living word of Jesus Christ? Not GUILTY. Saved. Justified (Just as I’ve never sinned), forgiven.That big gavel in the judges hand is going to slam onto the desk and, if you are a believer, if Jesus Christ is your lord and Savior, you are going to hear over and over again, NOT GUILTY.

Your “SO WHAT?” homework for the week: How does this SEED OF FAITH make me feel? Give me 3 words that describe how you feel knowing there’s no condemnation for you? Here are my three: free, forgiven, unafraid.

“Father God, I believe. I believe Jesus is your only son who died for my sins. Forgive me. Set me free to live in Christ…today and tomorrow. Thank you that after a long and  surly court case—you have declared me NOT GUILTY and I am free from all condemnation. Help me to turn from my wicked way and to learn how to live the rest of my life in Christ. God, help me. Amen.”

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 8/5/2023

Seed of Faith – Holy Spirit Power  By Pastor Dave  

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17-21

 

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that each of us grows in the grace of Jesus Christ and that we get so full of this amazing grace that we go in the power of the Holy Spirit sowing SEEDS of faith in our world. God’s love and grace are transformational, so get out there in your world and sow those seeds of faith!

God wants us to know His Ways and desires for us to be empowered by His “Ruach” Holy Spirit to live Holy lives, bearing much fruit in Him. Have you ever thought that God wants us to live a holy life? Salvation. Sanctification. Glorification. Three powerful words and three powerful life transformations. Salvation—we believe Jesus is God’s only Son, who died for our sins, then rose triumphant on the 3rd day. Sanctification—from the moment we are “saved”, we grow further and further into sanctification; being made holy in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, we take our last breath and we arrive in heaven—glorified. Triumphant.

So let’s start with a first “so what?” Holy. Are you trying to live a holy life?

In Ezekiel, the prophet gave these words to the Jewish people. “And I will put My Ruach —Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”  (Ezekiel 36:27)

You might not know the name Angelo Dundee, but you have undoubtedly heard of Muhammad Ali, probably the most famous professional boxer of all time. For more than two decades, Angelo Dundee was in Muhammad Ali’s corner, literally. He was Ali’s cornerman! He is the one who made Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He also trained fifteen other world boxing champions. Angelo Dundee described his job as a cornerman this way: “When you’re working with a fighter, you’re a surgeon, an engineer, and a psychologist.”[i]

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have someone even better than a surgeon-engineer-psychologist in our corner we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third PERSON of the Trinity!

The disciples were told to “go and wait” for the promise gift that Jesus would give. One note that we should see is that the disciples were obedient, and they went and waited and waited and waited. They waited ten days and then whoosh the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty wind and tongues of fire filled the place and everyone who was in the room. In verse four we read these words from Dr Luke, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Luke 2:4)

The Greek word for “all” means “all.” All one hundred and twenty of those gathered were filled, which means in Greek to be “generously supplied or overflowing” with the Holy Spirit. After being generously filled, they then began to speak. The Greek word for speak is one of those present active verbs which means the act of speaking never stopped. The Holy Spirit filled them generously and repeatedly so that they could continue to speak over and over again.

Imagine with me that you have decided to go sailing. The problem is that you know next to nothing about sailing. So, you go to the store, and you purchase several books to find out what is involved. You carefully read them and then you talk to a veteran sailor who answers questions for you. The next day, you rent a sailboat. You examine it closely to make certain that everything needed for a successful sailing experience is present and in good working order. Then, you take your boat out onto the lake. Your excitement is at a fever pitch, though you’re also afraid. But you follow the instructions you have read, and the counsel received from the experienced sailor, and you launch your boat into the water. You carefully monitor each step and hoist the sail.[ii]

At that precise moment you learn a crucial lesson. You can study sailing. You might even be able to build a sailboat. You can seek from the wisest and most veteran of sailors. You can cast your boat onto the most beautiful of lakes under a bright and inviting sun. You can successfully hoist the sail. But—and this is a big “but”—only God can make the wind blow!

“You and I can study the Bible…. We can orchestrate a worship service according to biblical guidelines. We can do everything that lies in the power of a Christian man or woman. But only the Spirit can make the wind blow inside that service!

The power of the Holy Spirit was what enabled the disciples to continually speak about Jesus. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that put wind in the sails of the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. It was to power of the Holy Spirit that the birthed the church and on the day of Pentecost three thousand people were added.

So What?

At the closing of our reading in verses seventeen through twenty-one, we hear the quote from Joel that says that Holy Spirit will be poured on all people: Young men, old men, servants, men, and women, will prophesy. The Holy Spirit will show wonders in the heavens and signs below. But the promise is this: all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Greek word for “saved” means “to be rescued, delivered, healed, to keep safe, and unharmed.”

When I finally came to faith in Christ a verse from Romans eight forever changed my life. It was Romans 8:15-16 — “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you aslave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’schildren.” Romans 8:15-16

It was the Spirit of sonship that forever changed my life. What I heard was that God wanted to be my Father and I would be His son and he would be with me forever. Then verse sixteen said that it was His Spirit that would testify to my spirit that the presence of the Holy Spirit would never leave me. It was that promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit that forever changed my life. (January 1981)

Tesla. Chevy. Nissan. Porsche. Audi. VW. A dozen major carmakers are now building electric vehicles, and the market is expected to grow.

But there is a problem: The charging ports are all over the cars.

When you go to a gas station to fill up your gas-powered car, you can be pretty sure that you will pump gas into the tank from the side of the car, near the rear. But where do you put the charger into your electric car?

Could be the front. Or the back. Or one of the sides. Very confusing.

In Korea, the car-maker Hyundai recently embarked on a project of building public charging stations in Seoul, and they wanted to accommodate as many car brands as possible. According to Fast Company magazine, they tapped the consulting firm McKinsey to design a universal charger that would easily work with any electric car.

The result was the “Hyundai Hi-Charger,” and you will never guess what inspired its design. “Self-serve car washes,” says a partner at McKinsey. “They have the sprayer hanging down from the top and it kind of rotates around.”

Same with the Hyundai Hi-Charger. It has a beacon, featuring a glowing halo. The halo rotates and drops the charging cable in just the right spot, depending on the make and model of your electric car.[iii]

It is a universal charger.

The promise of Pentecost is that God is with us, always with us, and this is true for all Christians, not just those labeled Pentecostal or Charismatic. It echoes the promise made when Jesus was given the name Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matthew1:23). The Holy Spirit is our Universal Charger, hovering above us and within us. Bringing us the healing, help, wisdom, knowledge and guidance we need, in every time, place, and situation.

Let me ask you again? Except let me word it a little differently: How are you doing allowing the HOLY SPIRIT (the universal charger) to grow the HOLY in you?

If we could only get a glimpse! We’ve been saved and sealed with God’s very own holy spirit. Maybe it’s a good time to pray?

”Holy Spirit, I want my life to grow in holiness. God has promised never to leave me, never to forsake me. Today, maybe show me just one thing I can do, just one thing I can say, just one thing I can read that will feed my spirit and grow my roots deeper in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

I’m praying for you. I pray for you each day. Do you know why I went into ministry? My biggest hope is to watch lives be transformed by God’s grace, love, and power!

Hey, sow a seed of faith in you today. Then go save the world.

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 6.2.2023

Seed of Faith – Go and Wait By Pastor Dave  

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,
In verses four and five of the books of Acts, I was stopped in my study with the words “wait” and “promise.”  I know that there are many words in these verses that we could spend a lot of time on. We could talk about the command that Jesus gives. Why is it so hard to follow Jesus’ commands? We heard hurry and“ Go and Tell.” We heard “Go and Make.” Now we hear “Do Not Leave Jerusalem.” Is Jesus thinking clearly!?  Jerusalem is not a safe place. Does not Jesus remember what happened the last time they were all in Jerusalem? Wait! Wait in Jerusalem!

We can hardly wait for our phone to connect to the internet as the little circle goes round and round. A funny side note, I know a woman who was directed by the Holy Spirit to pick the word WAIT as her word of intention two years ago. She truly learned how to wait that year.
The Greek word that Dr. Luke uses for “wait” is “perimeno” and it is a present active verb that mean that the action is continuous– to “stay in one place and anticipate or expect” over and over and over again. Never stop waiting. Keep on waiting.

I think of Abraham and Sarah waiting almost 80 years to have a baby. I think of Daniel in the lion’s den waiting for God to rescue him in the morning. I think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego waiting in a fiery furnace. I think of Moses and the Israelites waiting and wandering in the wilderness for forty years. It was forty days that the Israelites waited when Goliath stood and challenged them and mocked God. Then David showed up with a sling shot and five smooth stones. Zechariah and Elizabeth waited for years for their baby, John the Baptist. How about the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethsaida? He waited for 38 years to be healed. Martha and Mary waited for Jesus to show up but then their brother died. Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus showed up and what does he do? Resurrection time! Those are just some of the stories of the people in the bible who are waiting.

Are you waiting on Jesus? You, my friend, are in great company.

Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the promise. The promise was the Holy Spirit. The person and the power of the Holy Spirit. In next week’s SEED OF FAITH we will spend some more time talking about the Holy Spirit—just wait!
But rest assured. When Jesus promises something — it will come to be fulfilled. It would be good to hold onto some of the promises in the Bible. One of the best promises we have been given is that we will have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Remember the ending of Matthew. Jesus gave the Great Commission and said — “Remember I will be with you always even to the end of the age.”

So What?

We can all be witnesses. Can I Get A Witness!?
Here is your SO WHAT PASTOR DAVE homework for the week: As you wait, pray. Yep. When you go the grocery store and are waiting in line, stop, look around and pray for the people you see. Do the same at the gas station, at the doctor’s, everywhere you go—and as you are forced to GO AND WAIT…why not try praying for the places we go and people we see? I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me the people’s heart as I pray. We never know how our prayers will affect another heart. Let me give you an example: 31 years ago our eldest daughter graduated from High School. We threw a big party for her and invited everyone we knew! A young girlfriend of our daughter’s came to the party but decided she was to shy to come in. She dropped off her gift and left. My wife is a terrific communicator and she sensed that this young girl needed prayer. She prayed for her, asked our daughter who she was, and then Jac sent her a card thanking her for coming to the party and leaving a gift. Inside her card my wife enclosed a magnet—a GOD loves you magnet.
You are going to have to read next week’s SEED OF FAITH in order to understand how important it is in the kingdom of God for us to learn to wait. Let’s put Habukkuk to memory: Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

We sang a song last week by the group CAIN called THE COMISSION. Somewhere in the song we sang, “I have the purpose…God has the plan.” May we always remember that. The song is not IN MY TIME…but IN HIS TIME. God will make all things beautiful IN HIS TIME.

Want to know what happened in 31 years time with this young lady?

WAIT.

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 5/16/2023

Seed of Faith – Just Show Up  By Pastor Dave  

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

After Easter worship, my wife and I jumped on a plane! That’s right, as soon as worship services and the egg hunt were completed, my wife and I flew to Texas in order to show up for five of our two grandsons’ baseball games for the week. What a joy and blessing it was to be there. Our younger grandson plays high school base ball and had two great games.  Of course, I could brag and show you videos and pictures. His older brother is a freshman in college. If you don’t know this, college sports are a whole other beast of athletism. Mason is a lefthanded pitcher. He is one pitcher on a team of 20 pitchers. Freshman usually have to pay their dues and that translates to: we sat in the stands and watched an all-day during double hitter and only saw our grandson warm up! We left Waco at 10 am, drove to Dallas, spent the day and returned home at 10 pm. It was a long, 12-hour day. Our grandson may not have gotten the chance to pitch in the game but the important thing is that we showed up. We cheered the team on (they won one, lost one.) We were able to watch our grandson snag balls during infield practice, and warm up in the dugout. After the first game, he was able to talk with us for a few minutes in the stands. He apologized for not playing and that we drove such along way for that. We told him, “Mason, just remember to show up. Life isn’t about showing up because you’re the star of the game. Life is just about showing up no matter what.”

When Jesus met Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in the garden by the empty tomb, He told them not to be afraid, but He actually told them more. Listen to Jesus’ words … Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:10

If you have read the Bible, you know that there are many resurrection appearances of Jesus that have been recorded. The New Testament indicates that there were at least ten appearances of the risen Lord, plus another appearance to Paul some years later. As we noted in our opening reading of the Gospel of John, Jesus appeared in the Upper room not once but twice. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appears to the disciples walking down the road to Emmaus after the resurrection.  In John we find Jesus appearing to the disciples on the seashore in Galilee and cooking fish tacos for their morning breakfast. We hear of Jesus forgiving Peter three times by asking Peter to love Him and feed His sheep. Did Jesus do that so that He and bff Pete were “even up” for the three times that Peter denied knowing Jesus? Maybe.  In eight of these appearance accounts, Christ gives an explicit commission, and in five of the eight he commands his followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Our reading in Matthew comes after breakfast by the sea. Some scholars suggest that the timing of Matthew’s account is some fifty to fifty-five days after the resurrection. We could spend some time trying to put all the pieces together chronologically, but I do not think that is what we are called to do.

In Matthew, Jesus gives some powerful action points that are necessary for His followers to follow in order to fulfill their supreme mission on earth–to reach the mountain peak of their calling, as it were. These action points I would like to address over the next few Seeds of Faith: show up, worship, obedience — go make, baptize, and teach.

Notice the ending of verse 10 and the action in verse 11.  The women were told to go and tell the disciples (hiding in the upper room) to go the Galilee for there they would see Jesus. You know what the disciples did? They went.  That is what verse eleven tells us. They showed up, they were available.

I wonder how often I have failed to show up. I try and listen to what God is trying to tell and ask of me through the Holy Spirit each moment of each day. Sometimes I miss the boat and the result is I miss the opportunity to see God at work in my life and in the lives of others.

While we were in Texas, my wife and I went to one of my favorite Christian book stores (Mardel) to walk around and browse the books and Christian art. We picked out only a few books this trip knowing that we only had so much room in our 48 pound suitcases! We were standing in the checkout line—which was long—and my wife started waving all the other people behind us to go ahead of us. They only had one or two items and we had 7 books and we were in no hurry. The lady just in front of my wife thanked us because she only had a small amount of time before she had to go pick up her kids and she had prayed that she’d get in and out in record time. You know my wife, they talked about kids and then my wife noticed the title of the two books this woman was buying, The books were by Lysa Terkeurst! She was buying Lysa’s newest book called, “You’ll Get Through This”. The woman saw my cross and asked if I was a pastor. Then she shared with us that she was going through a messy divorce. They had been married 35 years and he just left for another younger woman. By now she was crying. Jac asked her about the books she has read by Lysa. Turns out, she has read almost all of them—except, she missed GOOD  BOUNDARIES AND GOODBYES—the very study our SEED BOSSY women are studying this Spring! Jac was like, “NO! NO! You need to get this book before you get that book! This boundaries book is the precursor and foundation of that book! First, you need to know about boundaries and good byes!” You got it, I had already left the line and had gone to pick up the study guide and the book. Jac is leading the women’s study at the SEED. While I was gone, the woman told Jac, “OK. I will go home, go to work and make more money and come back and get that study in two weeks.” After the woman checked out, Jac asked her if she could wait just another moment for a blessing. You got it. THE SEED bought this woman the tools she needed to finish her mountain climbing for this season. Oh, how she cried. After we were done checking out our own 7 books, we went off to the side of the checkout aisle and prayed for this broken-hearted person. Jac wrote down an encouraging note in her book, showed her how to access the 6 videos online and left her cell phone number.

SO WHAT?

Point number one!  Show up — be available. As we were listening to the Christian radio in Waco, a caller shared that she had participated in the local PAY IT FORWARD TUESDAY last week. You know, you’re in the drive up line and someone pays for the car behind them? This person drove through the bistro and said, “ I want to pay for mine and for the car behind me.” The next Tuesday this woman showed up again and the bistro told her that the last time they paid it forward—20 cars!

What I’m trying to tell you is that you don’t always go out and say, “Here I am. Showing up!” Sometimes you simply are nothing but available. You’re there and ALL OF A SUDDENLY…there’s an opportunity to watch God work…and God may even be using you to do just that!

That’s what Jesus is commanding here. “Go tell the family of God to JUST SHOW UP. I’ll take care of the rest.”

See you Sunday!
God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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