Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Judas In All Of Us…

We probably don’t want to admit it but we have many things in common with Judas.  We are prone to sin and, have no doubt been prompted to do so by our enemy Satan, in the same way Judas was (John 13:2). It seems that this prompting of the devil did not result in immediate action from Judas, instead he starts to think and consider the implications of his possible actions. Sin is a slippery slope, it is an uncontrollable force for our flesh to attempt to handle.  It is an impossible problem without Christ.  Judas attempted to handle this prompting without the help of Christ and it resulted in his betrayal of Christ.  Like Judas, we too are far too quick and lax when it comes to playing with sin, thinking that we can keep it in check. I love the fact that Jesus washes Judas feet in John 13 just before announcing that Judas will betray Him.  What a wonderful picture of the love of Christ for our lives as well.  Despite our shortcomings and our infatuation with sin, Jesus still loves us.  Verse one of John thirteen says that Jesus showed all the disciples including Judas the full extent of His love that night.  Praise God for His unending love!  I suppose there is a bit of Judas in all of us, but we can all be thankful that Christ’s love is supreme even when matched up with Judas…

Hard Sayings of The Bible…

One of the favorite resources I have here in my office is a book called “Hard Sayings of The Bible.” For those who have been following my blog for awhile or attending Cowboy Fellowship you know that I am a Big fan of keeping things simple.  After all that’s why I wrote The Absolute Basics of Christianity.  I believe it is important for all believers to have a good understandings of the basics of the Christian faith.  But what do you do when you come to a passage in the Bible that is hard to understand?  Something that is way beyond basic?  If you spend anytime at all in the Bible this is sure to happen at some point so here are a few pointers that have worked for me over the years. 1) Take some time to read the passage again, maybe even two more times for clarity. 2) Read the verses above and below the passage in question to ensure that you are reading the passage in its proper context. 3. Dive deep, using a bible software program or something free on the internet like biblegateway, or bible.org.  There are many sites now that let you look at the Greek, Hebrew, cross references, and commentaries for free.  If you have not done so already find a few and book mark them. 4. Go grab a resource like Hard Sayings of the Bible off the book shelf. With over 800 pages of explanations it is rare that the subject I am looking into is not found in this resource.  There are also many other great books like this on the market. Find one that works for you. 5. Call a friend or minister.  I […]

By |October 30th, 2011|Books|0 Comments

I Miss You!

“But when we were separated from you, brothers and sisters, for a short time (in presence, not in affection) we became all the more fervent in our great desire to see you in person.” (1Thessalonians 2:17 NET)  It is difficult to imagine the circumstances that surrounded the missionary journeys of Paul.  One of the aspects of his ministry that many frequently forget, is the endless goodbye’s he experienced along the way.  In the scripture above we can hear the heart beat of Paul as he speaks about his great desire to once again be united with his friends in Thessalonica. Recently I took off work for two weeks for a family vacation to New Mexico.  During that short retreat I found myself regularly thinking about my friends back home.  I truly missed the staff at our church, who I have come to regard as some of my closest friends.  I missed seeing so many others in our congregation that come in each week for various meetings, Bible studies, and the countless short visits that I am engaged in throughout the week and on Sunday mornings.  I am so thankful to be a part of the family of God.  There is really nothing like being involved in church.  Paul knew this, the believers in Thessalonica knew it, and modern day believers know it as well. I truly can’t wait to be reunited with the believers at Cowboy Fellowship this coming weekend.  Like Paul, I desire to see them again in person.  I pray that you feel the same way when it comes to your own church family! Church is important for many reasons, it is more than just a place to learn about God, it is […]

Fresh Meat…

 Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8 NIV I get so excited when someone gives their life to Christ.  Whenever that happens I always remember what it was like when I first committed my life to the Lord.  I was so excited, felt so good, and was so ready to take on the world.  Do you remember what it was like when you made that commitment?  As a member of the family of God we get excited when those we have been praying for, and witnessing to, come to know our Lord and Savior as their own.  But how does the devil feel about it?  It dawned on me the other day as I met with a new believer who had given their life to Christ the previous Sunday at our church, that our enemy is excited too.  Sure he is mad, frustrated, and angry over losing another small battle in this huge war against good and evil, but a new convert is fresh meat and another opportunity to kill, steal, and destroy another life. Over the past nine years our church (Cowboy Fellowship) has seen over 1,000 first time professions of faith made through our worship services and outreach events.  I have seen many of these men and women grow into strong, vibrant, healthy disciples.  I have also seem many run the race for a short time and then fall away.  Others seem to become distracted, discouraged, and disoriented within days of their conversion. The one thing every new believer I have personally dealt with has in common is immediate attacks from our enemy.  After all, they are fresh meat and the sooner […]

Old School Pastor Pete…

Were you there in 2003?  I was going through my sermon player the other day and started listening to some old sermons from as far back as 2003.  Wow it is amazing to see how much I have changed since then, and a great reminder that God does not need a great preacher to do a great work.  Download this old school sermon called 4 Reasons Why Everyone Is Not A Christian. If you know a lost person this sermon might encourage you. http://simplysermons.sermon.tv/da/2231439.mp3

Have you ever been here…

I don’t quote from the Message translation very often, but I really feel like it does a good job at capturing the emotion, struggle, and frustration Paul was feeling when he wrote these words.  I don’t know about you but I can really relate to Paul in the passage below.  Maybe you have been here, maybe you are here right now.  Praise God there is hope be sure you read the end… Romans 7:13–25 MESSAGE  13 I can already hear your next question: “Does that mean I can’t even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?” No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own. 14 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. 15 What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. 16 So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. 17 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! 18 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. […]

By |October 26th, 2011|Bible|0 Comments

Thomas Kempis

Here is a short history on Thomas Kempis.  He lived in a difficult time and was used by God in some unique ways… “We must imitate Christ’s life and his ways if we are to be truly enlightened and set free from the darkness of our own hearts. Let it be the most important thing we do.” Thomas Kempis Sir Thomas Moore, England’s famous lord chancellor under Henry VIII (and subject of the film A Man for All Seasons) said it was one of the three books everybody ought to own. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, read a chapter a day from it and regularly gave away copies as gifts. Methodist founder John Wesley said it was the best summary of the Christian life he had ever read. They were talking about Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, the devotional classic that has been translated into over 50 languages, in editions too numerous for scholars to keep track of (by 1779 there were already 1,800 editions). Little is known of Thomas himself, and he is known for little else—although this one contribution to history seems to be enough. Humility First Called the “calamitous century,” the fourteenth century into which Thomas Hemerken was born felt the shadow of the apocalypse. Constant wars and repeated bouts of the Black Plague drove population down. The Great Schism tore the church apart, seating one pope in Rome and another in Avignon. In rural areas, roving marauders knew no restraints, and peasant revolts kept urban centers reeling with confusion. Early on Thomas gave himself to a Dutch Augustinian monastery associated with a group called The Brethren of the Common Life. There he became the prior’s assistant, charged […]

By |October 25th, 2011|Bible|0 Comments

The Cross Displays our Condition

Here is an aspect we generally don’t often think about. Preachers don’t like to preach it because people don’t like to hear it. But we must see the condition of the world as the cross displays it. We don’t like to take responsibility for the cross. It was God, after all, who put His Son there, and we did not ask Him to do it. We all know that the cross was for us, but the hard part of it all is knowing that the cross happened because of us. God had no other choice but the cross. The condition of the world was so depraved that God had no other way to save it but by Jesus dying on the cross. It was the only way that He could restore His children to Himself. Most of us have heard Romans 3:23; pastors use it often in their sermons. I use it frequently in mine. This verse shows us the condition that the world was in, but many do not read further than the words, “For all have sinned…,” causing them to miss the full scope of God’s words. What follows is the heavy truth that we must all understand to fully comprehend the cross. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did […]

The Cross Displays Our Cure

The cross teaches us what the cure for the condition of the world is. Here is the problem that we have spiritually: we’ve got this medicine, this cure, this thing that fixes us and has no side effects, doesn’t cost us any money, but we don’t want to take our medicine. Yet we have no reason not to take this medicine. The condition of our world was so terrible that the only cure that would fix humanity was one that no father would ever want to provide without reason. The cure would not come without great pain. And it would shock all those who truly understand it. The cure was one of a kind and good for all time. The only cure that would work was Jesus on the cross. God sacrificed His Son so that we could be cured, so that we could experience freedom and eternal salvation. The cross gives us the perfect cure for our sin-packed lives. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24-25, “Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that, freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives (GW, emphasis mine). Right there, hanging on the cross, is the cure for our sin. Christ carried our sins on His back so that we could be free forever. But we don’t want to take our medicine. We say, “I’m not going to do it just because this preacher says I should or because Mom and Dad want me to. They’re not really living their lives anyway.” The biggest mistake we […]

The Cross Displays God’s Love

Every time I look at my wife, I see God’s love. I can sit by a river and feel the breeze touch my face and sense God’s love. I can feel it through His blessings in my life. Those of us with children can see God’s love in the miracle of life. We see it in the slow, soaking rain that we’ve been praying for. It’s in the rainbow after the storm. But if we cannot see God’s love on the cross, we have missed the essence of love. The cross purposely and completely displays our Creator’s love. Listen to how the Bible defines love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16, NIV, emphasis mine). Do we really want to know what love is? Then we should look to the cross, our teacher. Love is not about us. It is about sacrifice, giving everything we have for somebody else. What greater love could we ever know than God giving us His Son to die? He loved us enough that He wanted us to live. Love wanted to provide a way out of the horrible condition we were in. This brings a whole new reality to John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV, emphasis mine). Another translation says, “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life (GW). In this unloving world, it is […]

By |October 22nd, 2011|Cross|0 Comments
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