Heartburn!

heartburn

By Pastor Jeff,

One day as two followers of Jesus were traveling to Emmaus Jesus joined up with them, Luke 24:17-24, “And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.”

It may seem humorous that the very person that these two were talking about is right with them Luke 24:27-32, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” 

Heartburn is not something that we find pleasant and we usually have to learn to change our diet or take antacids to avoid it. This heartburn is different however and many of us have heard a message or read a passage that affected our hearts. We may not of been able to put a finger on what was being spoken but it caused us to wonder at its meaning. When many of us heard the gospel message for the first time we could of had our hearts pricked but not understanding it’s source we rejected it.

There is a rule in marketing that says that the hearer of the product you are desiring to purchase or take action on need to receive that message seven times, it is called “The Rule of 7”. When it comes to the salvation message of Jesus Christ we too many times needed to hear or see that message several times and by different people or ways. Each time we may feel that pull at our hearts, but are not sure how to answer it because of past religious teaching, don’t want to pay the cost yet, or pride!

Thank God that one day like these two gentleman our eyes were opened, we understood the message, and accepted it. I want you to notice that the story didn’t end there, Luke 24:33-35 “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” Once our eyes are opened to truth we then have a responsibility to share it, Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”

picture care of: jskogerboe.com

Advertisements

Christian’s and Suicide

suicide

By Pastor Jeff,

Will a Christian that commits suicide go to heaven? That is a question that is in much dispute and I must say that I will not come to a definitive answer in this blog, but I will share some thoughts and let you come to your own conclusion. The reason I can’t make that definitive answer is that I’m not God and I do not claim to have answers to every question that man seeks answers to. However like the Apostles Paul did occasionally I will deliver my opinion on the matter.

In our bible we can recall six suicides mentioned,  Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4–6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). If we want to add Samson to this equation we find seven! Everyone is tragic in its own right and everyone, even Judas was done under extreme moments of depression, fear, and despair.

I have the last few years and more heavily this past year have studied Mental Health and especially how it is handled by the Church. I found that my past thoughts on the subject were severely lacking and judgmental. I can easily blame those that have in the past blamed any mental health issue on a lack of faith, seeking attention, or worse declaring those affected as being demon possessed. But this belief is just a cop out that I had to come to terms with as a christian first, a brother in the Lord, and then a pastor.

I have found out that his area is very complicated not only in the world but also in the church, I need to admit that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know all of the questions but I’m searching with an honest heart. In looking at the word of God with this new perspective I have found that though our God is awesome, He chooses many times people that are very flawed to do His work. The prophet Elijah is one that jumps out at me, in 1 Kings 18 we find Elijah part of a great conquest on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal. When we look at chapter 19 we find this same prophet fleeing under the death threat from Jezebel, verse 4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Sounds to me that Elijah was severely depressed to the point of wishing to die.

The problem we have as Christians that the bible declares in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” Could we not say that suicide is in violation of this commandment? After all you are taking death which is appointed by God into your own hands. I in recently years have seen extreme suffering by non Christians and Christians alike not only physically but emotionally. I in no way will defend someone that takes his or hers own life but I will and cannot stand in judgment of them either. Jesus Christ is the one who has the keys, Revelations 1:17-18, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” It is “He” that will open the books, Revelations 20:11-12, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

In most cases of suicide, no one is there at the time of the passing of the person, only God knows what the state of mind that person was in nor the conversation they may have had with our Lord at the moment or time prior to them passing. Listen I don’t have the power to put anyone in nor take anyone out of heaven. That’s God business, I preach the gospel, do my best to love everyone, and keep studying the scriptures to have a reason of my hope. I take comfort in these words found in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let God be God!

picture care of: sites.stedwards.edu

Radically Saved

radical

By Pastor Jeff

One of the definitions for the word “Radical” is, characterized by independence of or departure from tradition; innovative or unorthodox:“the daring, avant-garde spirit of the music was too radical for the conservative audience”

Tradition is important, 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Mans’ tradition is not, Mark 7:9, “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” 

Jesus Christ came to not destroy the law but fulfill it according to Matthew 7:17. He did radically change the view that the so called spiritual leaders were teaching and requiring the everyday believer in God to follow. His words were powerful, John 7:45-46, “Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.” His actions showed His ability, John 3:1-2, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

The words of Jesus had authority, He spoke against the religious bondage that mankind had been chained to, He was unorthodox, He healed on the Sabbath, He spoke of things that no man could know, heavenly things, and His words angered the religious.

The same thing is happening today. We have so many people who will declare that they are Christians but have been chained to the traditions of men. In the face of trials or the possibility of suffering for Christs sake they melt into denial that would make Peter’s denial look petty. They wear t-shirts, jewelry, have bumper stickers, and even tattoo’s declaring their love of God. They however have no root and will show no real signs of repentance, holiness, or LOVE in there lives.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Radically saved Christians have one purpose and it’s not following a bunch of rules laid out by Creeds, bylaws, television evangelist, authors or government. Matthew 22:36-39, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” 

Lets be unorthodox, independent from man’s traditions, daring to swim against the current, Radically Saved!

picture care of: whatchristianswanttoknow.com

Great Faith!

Great-Faith

By Pastor Jeff,

Several times in our bible we find accounts were Jesus was approached or approached someone and declared that they had more than the average faith, they had “Great Faith”. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-34, and a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Interestingly none of these were of the Jewish faith which makes the statement of Jesus even more profound.

We can look at many others such as Noah, Ruth, Joseph, Phillip, Paul and others and see that they exhibited much faith but these three are pointed out as having “Great Faith”. The bible tells us that we all are given faith, Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” 

As we look at the Gifts of the Spirit we can see one of the action gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”Verse 9 again,To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”

As I ponder on the “Gift of Faith” and “Great Faith” my first reaction is that I have never functioned in this area. But recently as I reflected on this I now believe that I have received a faith that I would not ordinarily have. Before Jesus Christ I believe a supernatural faith. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at three months of age that crushed me to the core. It was pretty much a death sentence though the doctors would not give us any percentage on her chances. She had surgery to remove a tennis size tumor then several months of chemo. But I want to concentrate on the night of her surgery I had come home that night and as I laid in bed I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and a supernatural feeling assurance came on me that in spite of what we were seeing and hearing it was going to be okay!

Just recently I had a similar experience as my daughter once again has been diagnosed with a cancer called Sarcoma Synovial which is inoperable and according to the medical field fatal. Of course this crushed my family and I and despite an astounding number people praying was not going to well. I couldn’t help but plead to God for healing and many people told me she would receive that healing. At the onset I had declare “We walk by Faith not by Sight” But I will be honest, doubt was overwhelming me and found myself very sorrowful and sad. I didn’t believe my words as I declared Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”That all changed recently as I can’t pinpoint the exact time or how, I do know it was a Wednesday that that same assurance I had way back when had prayed that prayer at home came over me and by “Great Faith” in spite of what I hear or see will be healed once again to the Glory of Jesus Christ!

This is not a faith that I can say generated in me but it comes from my love of God and His love for me!

picture care of:http://eaglesinleadership.org

The Peace that Passes…

phil47

By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to post a blog and I must say its been a very busy past month. My wife, a few friends, and me took a well deserved vacation down to the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter for a Pastor/Leadership conference. I also took a three day training class in Green Bay WI for becoming a Chaplain for the Rock County Sheriffs Dept. which I consider a great privilege.

So as I write this I am also thinking on my Son, Jeffrey W. who our family lost unexpectedly exactly one year ago today. Last week was also the one year anniversary of a good friends death, Russ, as well, so you would think I would be relating about how awful I am feeling. Not So!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It has to be one of the worse events that any parent could ever endure in that he or she has to bury a child and I will not minimize the pain that comes from it. It’s been said that time heals all wounds but a situation like this will never heal completely nor would I want it to. Jeff was my son, I loved him and would gladly of traded my life for his.

I also have come to the point in my life that I desire to completely surrender to the will of God and the great part of that is that Jesus is there to help us in the rough times, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

At times I must admit I feel guilty that I do not feel that horrible ache in my stomach that I have had at the beginning of all this. It’s not that time has dulled the pain or that I did not love my son or my friend. It’s only by the love of God and His peace that I can face this tragedy head on. This brings me to the thought of those who go through tragedies like this without Christ in their lives; I really don’t know how you can. No wonder people head to the bottle, pills, or even commit suicide to run from the pain. I implore you to seek Jesus Christ and draw to Him as close as possible, for that is the only true way you can get peace during these times!

picture care of; Pinterest.com

Almost Midnight

midnight

By Pastor Jeff,

Eschatology, The study of “Endtimes” is one of my favorite subjects of the bible. With that I firmly believe we are living in the greatest decade ever as we are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes!

Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The rest of chapter 24 and 25 Jesus then gives answers to this question, such as vs. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”  We see what’s happening in Syria or the joint war games by Russia and China and we can see that this is true, how about vs. 11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” I don’t know about you but I can’t watch or listen to those who sell books, tapes, or anything promoting certain events such as the many “Blood Moons” and try to equate that to being the start of the tribulation period. The ultimate sign is found in Matthew 24:32-34, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” We know this happened May 14th, 1948 when Israel became a nation once again, so without a doubt we are living in the last generation. Interestingly the verse that follows says this, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” So we can’t proclaim a day, but we I believe proclaim a season and the season is here!

Revelation is one of my favorite books and chapter 13:16-18, talks of the “Mark of the Beast”, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Three Square Market, a company in Wisconsin has recently offered implants for its employees, at first for fun, but also convenience. I encourage you to look a the video found on YouTube with an interview with the CEO by NBC. No, I can’t be certain that this is the final product that fulfills this prophecy but I do believe this is a step to make us comfortable with this type of technology.

There is a wonderful day coming, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And Jesus tells us this in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

It’s Almost Midnight!

picture care of; youtube.com

To Die is Gain…

Phil121

By Pastor Jeff,

I probably should at the onset of this blog state that I’m not suicidal so don’t call the professionals to have me committed. (There are probably many other things that could have me committed I must add!)

Philippians 1:21-25, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;”

I don’t know if it’s a by product of getting older, or that this past year was not particularly a good year in that I lost a good friend and my oldest son, that this world is getting increasingly antagonistic to what we believe as a church, or just that this world has less of a hold on my life. But I find myself more in agreement to what Paul is stating here that death is not something that is feared as it once was and even is starting to have a certain attraction to it.

The more we understand the beauty of what heaven is going to be, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” It makes me desire to be there more, I know too many people that are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually to not desire relief for them and as Paul says being with Christ is so much better! It’s getting tougher and tougher to digest the daily news of political unrest not just in other countries but in our very own. You see the disrespect to authority in our schools, law enforcement, and even in the churches that makes you shake your head in disbelief.

Yes, I’m definitely ready for the return of Christ, my cry often is Revelations 22:21, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” I also know this that our world is lost without the message of Jesus Christ and until He returns or decides to take me Home, I will with all I possible can tell others of His love and sacrifice for us all and through that love, we can have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

picture care of; newlifenarrabri.wordpress.com