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Jesus

23 Oct

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:23-24

This is my God whose love is perfect. This is who wants relationship and fellowship with me. This is who I have the privilege of serving and who allows me to boldly approach Him even after all He has already done. This is the God who forgives my past, present, and future sins by nailing them to the cross and allowing me to be a child of God.

This is my God.

This is the one true God.

This is Jesus.

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14 Jan

“I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any.”
― A.W. Tozer

As Many

26 Sep

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 28:18-20

Jesus for as many people for possible and as many people as possible for Jesus!

I am excited to share with whoever is out there that God is dong amazing things with The Anthem! We are six months in to the plant and just announced last night that we are going to two services on October 30th!!! The Lord has been blessing this ministry so much and we are all so grateful! We are even having our second baptism on the 3rd of October.I have a favor to ask of y’all. Could you pray for revival in the Phoenix metro area? Please pray that the body of Christ would be zealous to proclaim the name of Jesus and His gospel!

The Lord is moving! Let’s pick up our crosses and run after Him. We must pray and takes steps of faith that are so bold that unless we are relying on the Lord, we will fail.

And if you are in the Phoenix area please stop by!

http://theanthem.org/asmany

Fear vs. Faith

21 Aug

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD you God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

What does this scripture mean to you? I don’t mean on a superficial, surface level. Dig deep. What does this mean to you? What sticks out about it?

Do you see the command?

Do you see the promise?

Do you see both and weigh them equally?

As Christians, we are given certain promises to live by and to take comfort in. However, many of us read promises like this one and only pick out the promise, not the command. It’s the same with scripture like Romans 8:28. If you ask most Christians, “What is Romans 8:28?”, do you know what the response generally is? “All things work together for good.”…Do you know what the actual answer is? “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” This, like Joshua 1:9 is a promise with a command attached. All things work for our good if we love God, seek God, and obey God. When we seek Him and we follow the will He has for each of our lives, that’s when all things work together for the good. This promise is not easy to swallow, but for me personally, I feel Joshua 1:9 challenges me to my core, to the very depth of my nature, which I figure is probably the point.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged…”

Ok, here is where it hurts.Firstly, every time I find myself reading this, I think of some way that I have doubted God. Either now or previously, it doesn’t matter, but one or more instances of spiritual insecurity jump into my mind. “Have I not commanded you?” Yes Lord, you have. You have commanded me to share my faith, do step out of my comfort zone and to live for you, no matter the cost. You have commanded me to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. You have commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. These commands are what you ask of me, and you ask me to do them with strength and courage, without terror or discouragement. I mean what have I to lose on this Earth? To live is Christ and to die is gain so what am I afraid of?

I feel that in this season of life, this is a lesson God wants me to not only learn, but it is a mountain that He wants me to conquer. And I may have just realized a way to start winning this battle of fear vs. faith.

It is a part of human nature to be afraid, especially when speaking with others. In the world today, more people are scared of public speaking than of death.Does it make sense? No. But no one said humanity, or life for that matter, should make any sense. It doesn’t make sense for the Almighty God of this universe to humble himself into human flesh, die on a cross, and rise from the dead because He loves us with a love that transcends all understanding. It doesn’t make sense for Him to love anyone on this Earth, especially me, knowing before I was born, the things I would do and the sins I would commit. But in the end, these things, all though they don’t really make sense, are the reality in which we live.

Anyway…while reading over this verse again today, which has been tugging at my heart for a while, I realized something in the text which I am not sure that I noticed before. It says “…for the LORD…” The LORD is different from the Lord. When it says LORD, it means the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHWH, which no one knows the actual pronunciation for, most of us say Yahweh. This LORD is referred to in Exodus 34:6b-7a! “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.”

He has compassion for me and for you.Compassion and grace. The compassion that it took so that grace could come down to a sinful Earth and for God to die on a cross to make atonement for our sin. That is compassion beyond anything that I could ever comprehend. He is slow to anger…which in other words means that He is patient beyond comprehension. So when we mess up and truly repent for our sins, He still loves us because He knows us and is patient with us. He is abounding in love and faithfulness. He is filled to the brim with love for His children. He will never leave nor forsake us. And to wrap this up “maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.” I know of examples of this in my own life, but lets draw some Biblical examples. The children of Israel are God’s chosen people. He has maintained this love forever. They rebelled and sinned when they worshiped the golden calf while Moses received the Ten Commandments, but the Lord forgave them. Did they have to deal with the consequences of their sin? Yes, but He never stopped loving them. This is the God that we serve. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He heals the broken, saves the lost, and loves the unloveable. We were saved by this God.

So next time I want to bite my tongue because I am scared of what people may think of me, I will think of who I serve and why. I will remember that I break a commandment of the most high God when I doubt His sovereign hand. I will remember that I am not of this world and that the Lord is with me and that He PROMISED to always be with me. What can man do to me? And I will speak the gospel to people with no shame and no fear because, He died for me and it’s my turn to live for Him. As Caleb so eloquently put it…Give me my mountain!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 27:1

Sunday May 22nd 2011…Because Yes, There Will Be One!

20 May

There is a false doctrine sweeping through America that the world will be raptured on Saturday May the 21st. I would like to say that the Lord will return and rapture the church. The promise of His return is absolute and it will happen, but it will NOT happen this Saturday May 21st. Why do I say this? I say this because in the BIBLE it says that the Lord will come as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Jesus would not even reveal  the exact day when asked by His disciples, in fact only the Father has that knowledge (Matthew 24:36). So I have no idea why people waste their time searching for the answer. We are to be ready always for when He does come (Matthew 24:42). There has obviously been no peace treaty between Israel and the Arab nations. Nor has it been broken. The temple has not been rebuilt, there is no universal currency, and not everyone has been told the gospel. These and other prophecies have not been fulfilled. So all of the people who have done all these calculations and predictions and have been jumping to conclusions are not people who should NOT be listened to. So before you put your faith in the words of a person who obviously doesn’t trust in the word of God, why don’t you read the Bible and see for yourself that there is no prediction that will be accurate. By faith we eagerly wait.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”

Psalm 118:8

Psalm 118:8 is the central verse in the Bible for a reason. We as humans are impatient and when people come up with ridiculous conclusions we are drawn to their ideas because we want an answer that we are just not going to get. By the way, the guy that made this prediction also thought the Rapture was going to happen in 1994. And yet people still fall for this madness! How?! It’s pretty obvious this man does not know so please stop listening to him. The Father knows and that should be enough for Christians to trust in.

So…I look forward to waking up Sunday morning, on May 22nd, knowing that it is a day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it and know that there are still people on this Earth that need to hear the good news of Jesus and I will share it until He really does return.

When Blood And Water Hit The Ground: The Redeeming Act of Christ

24 Apr

Today is Resurrection Sunday. A day more commonly known as Easter Sunday. This is a day that has been overrun by gifts, chocolate bunnies, and unnaturally colored eggs. Don’t get me wrong, as a child I loved dying eggs (I still do actually), getting an Easter basket full of toys and candy I didn’t need, and running around trying to find the eggs that the “Easter bunny” had hidden. But like I said at the beginning, this day is meant to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

One of the best known and most recited scriptures is of course John 3:16, but most of the time, we really don’t break this down or truly grasp the intensity and importance of this scripture. But this is not the only scripture regarding Christ that we skim over and have hardened our hearts toward. The God who created the heavens and the Earth and holds this vast universe in His hand gave His perfect son to redeem the retched and clothe us with robes of righteousness.

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8.

So most people understand the basics of crucifixion but just in case you missed a few points, lets review. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians (not the Romans) between 300 and 400 B.C. (not B.C.E.) This is accepted by most historians and scientists alike as the most painful type of death possible. The word excruciating was invented because there was no word fitting the type of pain that a crucified person would experience. This death was reserved for the vilest criminals and was possibly one of the most degrading experiences any man could experience. Jesus was nailed, most likely through the wrists, to the patibulum (the horizontal part of the cross) while on the ground.  The nails would have been about seven to nine inches long and would have made impact with His median nerves and caused severe pain in both of His arms. Once lifted on the cross where His full weight was placed on His nailed wrists, His shoulders and elbows would have dislocated and a minimum of six inches were added to each arm in length.

His legs would have been bent at about a ninety-degree angle and nails were driven into His feet. The nails would have severed His dorsal pedal arteries causing excruciating pain. While breathing Jesus would have to push up from His nailed feet to exhale because of the intense distress put on His diaphragm.  This difficulty caused carbon dioxide to build up in the lungs and slowly suffocated Him. The lack of oxygen also caused the tissues and capillaries in Jesus’ body to leak (hence the “blood and water pouring out” in John 19:34) and for His heart to beat faster. These variables usually lead to cardiac arrest.

Now try to visualize all of this and remember all of the events that had occurred earlier that day. Christ was under so much stress, feeling the burden of all our sin on His shoulders that He had been sweating blood, a condition called hematidrosis, in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). He was then ridiculed by the Jews, His own people, and beaten. He was beaten with whips and the cat of nine tails, which were straps of leather imbedded with shards of metal, glass, and pottery shards. These tools were created specifically to rip the flesh off of the victim. He had a crown of thorns shoved onto His head and had to carry the beam of the cross that He would die on. The soldiers cast lots for His clothes and placed a sign that said “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” and was transcribed in four different languages so that all could read it.

This was a public scorn and shameful death and what was the response of Christ?

“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. “Humbled Himself unto the cross” is one of the biggest understatements in history. Jesus Christ never forsook the multitude that scorned Him but was forsaken in our place by His Father. Jesus willed His death and He chose the time and the means. He chose to endure the most painful death imaginable to atone for the sin of the world and to give us the gift of everlasting life. By the way, this gift is totally free, no strings attached, we just get to love, live for, and serve a gracious God who loves us unconditionally.

But the end of the story is not on the cross; it is Resurrection Sunday after all. The empty tomb of Jesus Christ is why we celebrate and is why we are free when we accept the gift of salvation. The temporary tomb that held Jesus was blocked off by a boulder, which would have weighed approximately two tons. No man could push that alone, nor could a group of men sneak past the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb and role a two-ton stone out of a dug out crevice without getting caught. The Lord rose on the third day as He said He would and is reigning still. But not only is He reigning; He stands in between us and God, constantly interceding for us! (Rom.8: 34)

Oh and for all of you guys out there that say Jesus is only relevant in the New Testament, I challenge you to go look at Psalm 22. This Psalm gives the most detailed description of crucifixion in the Bible and was written about seven hundred years before crucifixion was even invented. It also prophecies the insults Jesus received, that His clothes would have lots cast for them, and that the people crucifying Him would taunt Him, telling Him to call upon the Lord who would save Him if He were truly the Christ. The word of the Lord is fluid, it is consistent, and it is the breathed word of God. Christ is real, He bled and suffered and died for us and rose on the third day because He wants to spend eternity with us. We just have to say yes. He always gets the short end of the stick and we get gifts beyond anything that we could ever deserve. We do not have to suffer this death that we deserve because He did. Christ was forsaken so that we would never have to be.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the Earth (Rev. 13:8)

Jesus Christ is love, He is beauty, and He is risen.

So next time you read John 3:16 remember what He went through. And also remember that the Lord keeps the promises He makes. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says that the Lord has plans for us to have a prosperous future and that is we seek Him with all of our hearts we will find Him. In Jeremiah 33:3 He says that if we call on Him He will tell us the unsearchable things that we don’t know.  Follow where He lead because if He if for us, them who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31) Let us pick up our crosses and run after the Lord with all we have and love Him even after we take our last breath, after all, that’s what He has done for us!!!

The Anthem Church

31 Mar

If any of you readers out there live in the Tempe / Phoenix area I have good news!

Some close friends of mine are opening a church on Mill Ave. and 7th at the Madcap Theater! The first service will be held this Sunday, April 3rd at 6pm! So if you are in the area go check it out! It will have exceptional worship and a good sound doctrinal teaching!!!

“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” Matt. 28:19

JESUS for as many people as possible. And as many people as possible for JESUS!

The Word

22 Feb

When you open up the word of God, what do you find?

There is such beauty in the promise of our Lord!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”

—Jeremiah 29:11-13—

 

What Do You Do?

17 Feb

What do you do when you are faced with a huge crossroads, a crossroad that will change everything?

What do you do when you can’t distinguish what the Lord is telling you from your selfish emotions and motives?

Are you being called or is it something you want?

Lord, please bless us with clarity of Your plan for us. Lead us in the way we are to go. We are confident that You are perfect in Your timing and steadfast in love. Please do not let us stumble in matters of the world but lead us on Your path. You are a huge God, a God whose greatness is unmatchable! Keep us steady in Your ways.

Glory

3 Feb

The Lord is steadfast in His provision and love. How could we ever question His ways?

“Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Not only does He love us and sent His son to be beaten, torn, and crucified when we were still sinners. But He has not stopped at our redemption; No, He even blesses us with peace, joy, love, and even material possessions on Earth. He also gives us our talents; Talents that we are to use for His glory! How blessed are we that He chooses us to serve Him and uses us to further His kingdom and spread His gospel!

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ Jeremiah 29:11-13

This promise is so beautiful. He loves us enough to save us. But He also has a plan for every single person on this Earth! He knows us by name and wants us to prosper in His glory. When Christ died for us the veil was torn which means that our separation from the Father was destroyed! Jesus stands between the Lord and our sin and we are given the freedom to have loving and intimate fellowship with Him. How great is our powerful and glorious God!