Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. – Pastor Todd Blansit
Archives For James Dibben
This last weekend I decided it would be (difficult, cool, challenging) to memorize the entire “Sermon on the Mount”.
The “Sermon on the Mount” is the longest recorded teaching of Jesus. It is found in the book of Matthew and includes chapters 5, 6 and 7. I haven’t actively committed scripture to memory in years. I know it is something I need to be doing.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
I’ll be perfectly honest; I struggle with sin. I feel exactly like Paul when he said: “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” As I memorize these 111 verses of the very words of Christ I hope that they will help me live a life more honoring to God. When I shared my plan with my men’s Sunday school class several of them expressed their interest in joining me.
At the end of this post is a link to the PDF document I have put together for the men. It is the New King James Version of the “Sermon on the Mount” and covers Matthew 5, 6 and 7. I would encourage you to join us in this spiritual journey. You should print using a color printer. We are memorizing the words of Christ and seeing the red letters helps us remember this.
I told the guys on Sunday: “It’s worth a shot. If you fail and don’t get it all memorized you really haven’t failed at all. You have taken the time to actually commit to memory some of God’s Word. Failure is impossible.”
Sermon on the Mount (Right click to save to your computer)
If we say yes to the things of God our lives have more purpose. – Pastor Barry Young
Have you read the book of Job yet this year?
Okay, I realize that it has only been 2013 for a week. The book of Job is quickly becoming one of my favorite books in the bible. The story of Job seems to be a popular subject when our kids are complaining. I know my own mother certainly brought up his story any time I thought my life was getting too hard.
“Oh, you think your life is hard? Aren’t you glad God hasn’t let Satan kill everyone in your family? Aren’t you glad God hasn’t let Satan taken everything from you and stricken you with boils from head to toe?”
A couple of years ago I read the book of Job all the way through for the first time. In the past I had only read the first several chapters. Once Job looses everything the book starts to get a little boring. From chapter three till the end of chapter thirty-seven not a lot happens. Job and a few of his friends take turns lamenting how horrible life can be. In the past I have given up on the book.
A couple of years ago I finally finished the book and it has had a profound affect on my life. Since then I make sure to read through it each year. It’s chapter thirty-eight where it starts to get interesting. Chapter thirty-eight is where God decides to interrupt Jobs complaining.
I saw myself in Job’s life. I’ve certainly not had as much taken from me as Job had to experience. Still, just like you I have experienced loss in my life. Just like Job I have become discouraged and have found myself frustrated with the One who has the ultimate authority in the universe. Since God has supreme authority I often experience confusion on why He lets rotten things happen.
Chapters thirty-eight through forty-two remind us of our real place in the earth. Starting in chapter thirty-eight God steps up to the microphone and has a very stern conversation with Job. God chooses an interesting way to get his point across. He asks Job questions.
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
The next three chapters continue in much the same way. I can’t imagine hearing a single sentence from God. Job gets over eighteen hundred words from the very mouth of the creator of the universe. Job’s response is quick and humble. I’m not putting it all here. You need to go read it for yourself. It’s good stuff.
I now read the book of Job at least once a year to remind myself of several things.
1. There are plenty of people in this world who have lost a lot more than me.
2. I really have no place to stand in judgement of what God has or has not done.
3. God is forgiving. Instead of punishing Job and his friends for the rest of their lives He chose to forgive them, and bless them even more than He had in the beginning.
Brace yourself like a man and read the book of Job.
A blessed life isn’t about getting, but it is about giving like God. – Pastor Todd Blansit
God’s delay is not God’s denial. – Pastor Barry Young
When I say “Inconvenient Truth” what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most of us I’m sure it is Al Gore’s 2006 film about climate change. Regardless of what you believe about climate change you are aware of this movie because of the claims it made. For many people it challenged their current belief system. They were forced to either accept this new information as truth or decide to keep their old views.
Just as there are inconvenient truths in the physical world there are also inconvenient truths in the spiritual world. We all want to put God into our own little box. We want to believe what serves our own needs. We have all created a nice little comfortable world where God’s word can be manipulated to make us feel safe, relaxed and happy. Real discipleship includes standing in the bright and uncomfortable light of God’s truth regardless of what we want to believe.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
For the next nine weeks in the Men’s Sunday School Class at New Life Assembly we will stand in the light with several characters in the bible, and watch as each of them experience new truths that challenge their current belief system. Many of them will stay in the light of God’s truth and experience real change. Some will decide to return back into the darkness where they feel safe and miss out on life changing possibilities.
Will we decide to let the truth of God’s word change us forever, or will we decide to go back into the darkness where we feel safe?
I hope you will join us at 9:00 AM in Sunday School classroom WC104.
Yesterday my long time friend Scott Williams got baptized.
Scott’s humble words spoke volumes.
“Thirty years ago when I was ten I received Christ. Today I want to be baptized to show my family I want to be the man God has called me to be.”
Scott did this because he believes something special. He believes something many other people at New Life Assembly also believe.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
God has plans and He is up to something in the world!
Yesterday morning Pastor Todd Blansit shared how God has used New Life to reach our community. Over the last twelve months we have distributed over 180 thousand pounds of food with the help of Harvesters; 1300 people a month were fed. Over 200 people either received salvation or rededicated their lives. The Wednesday evening service attendance increased four fold with the addition of Pastor Barry Young. We opened our second campus in Concordia MO.
Pastor Todd challenged us yesterday to look to 2013 with anticipation. Not just anticipation of what God will be doing. No, he challenged us to look to where we can be a part of God’s plans.
God has invited each of us to play a part in His plans. God has a multi-generational plan to reconcile this world to Himself. All He asks is that each of us join in His plan.
Nothing can stop the plans of God!
The message my friend Scott sent everyone at church yesterday is a simple one: “Our own lives are just too small of a thing to spend all of our time on.” Both of Scott’s daughters have grown into amazing women, yet Scott still realizes that his work on this earth has not come to an end. He realizes that God is up to something in the world and he wants to be a part of what God is doing.
Many men would be tempted to put life in cruise control after their children are raised. Scott’s simple act of obedience speaks volumes to the rest of the men at New Life.
Scott, thank you for being a shining example to the rest of the men at New Life. God is up to something and you aren’t afraid to join in the journey.
The worst decisions are the ones we can only enjoy now. The decisions we can enjoy later are legacy decisions. – Pastor Barry Young
God doesn’t want you in guilt. He wants you in grace. – Pastor Barry Young