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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Song Series: Is God Pleased with Me (Good Good Father)

Is God Pleased with Me
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. - Colossians 2:8 

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone


Is God pleased with me? Yes, and there's nothing you can "do" to change that.

It is not what we do that merits God's favor 
but what Christ has done for us.

Q & A: 
  • What do you think it means to turn back to worthless elemental things?
  • Have you ever looked for answers outside of God's clear design for your life?
  • How can we guard against our tendency to turn back?
For further study: Proverbs 4:23, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Philippians 2:13

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Song Series: Good Good Father (part 2)

Good Good Father (part 2)
Who's are you?

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? - Galatians 4:9

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching for answers only You can provide
'cause You know just what we need before we say a word

When we forget Who’s sons and daughters we are, we slip back to the things that draw us away from Him (Gal. 4:9). When we seek first His kingdom and righteousness we live like Who's we are and draw near to Him (Matt. 6:33).

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone

God loves us not because of who we are, but in spite of it.

RECAP: His word says that He loved us "while we were His enemies" (Romans 5:8) and that when we are faithless He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). That's Who He is.

Who’s are you?

If you're not sure; let's talk!

Song Story: Good Good Father

Friday, March 25, 2016

Quiet Time: God Is Good (this Friday and Forever)...then why is there suffering?

The Hand of God, circa 1123
God is Good (this Friday and Forever)
...then why is there suffering?

Read: Romans 8

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. - Romans 8:18

My daughter was about seven years old when she asked, "Dad, God is good right?" I answered,  "Yes, Candice, God is so good that He's better than the best good thing you can think of." She then asked, "The devil is bad, right?" "Yes, Candice, the devil is really bad; he is worse than the most wicked thing you can think of." Then she asked, "God made the devil, right?" I was shocked; not expecting to answer such theologically deep questions before her teen years! I can't remember my answer; but, I still remember the conversation because it is representative of the question often asked today, "If God is good, why is there evil and suffering?"

Obviously, in a short blog like this, the logical points and counterpoints can't be hammered out, but there is a straight forward answer in scripture:
Suffering exists because sin exists. Sin affected the whole of creation. One day, Christ will return. On that day, everything will be made right (Revelation 11:15). Until that day, Christ followers, as well as, all of creation, suffer the corrupting influences of sin in this imperfect world.

If you are a Christ follower, you live rejoicing in this present age. Though you have not seen Jesus, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.." (1 Peter 1:8). REJOICE! This is the only hell you will ever know!

If we are not a Christ follower,  then, surely we are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it (Psalm 39:6). We should indeed mourn! This is the only heaven we will ever know. (Hebrews 9:27)

God created all things good. Sin corrupts good things. Bad things happen when good things are corrupted. God is always good and works all things together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

Do you love Him?

Don't focus on the suffering; do focus on the Savior.

Further Study Links:

If God created everything, doesn't it mean He created the devil?

Why does God permit suffering to continue?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Song Series: Shout to the LORD

Shout to the LORD

Read: Psalm 98

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. (Psalm 98:4)

My friends and I loved to play sandlot baseball as boys. Often times our games were cut short by Clemente's mother. Although several houses separated her from the sandlot, her voice easily pierced the air with a call for her son to come home.  "CLE-MEN-TE! VEN ACA!" to which Clem would reply "YA VOY MOMIE" which pretty much meant "Clemente come here NOW"...and "I'm coming, Mom" If Clemente didn't come fast enough the seemingly impossible would happen. His mom's voice would get even louder and instead of answering her again, Clem would simply leave (in a hurry) and our game was abruptly over.

That's the idea we should have when thinking about "Shouting joyfully to the LORD". The Hebrew word is "ruwa" pronounced "roo-ah') it means to figuratively split the ears with sound. We're told basically to give a rousing ringing cry of joy and to use every instrument at our disposal as we do so. The psalmist wants people everywhere to join as one and rejoice in the Lord's final salvation of His people.

I love singing praises LOUDLY with God's people! But, Psalm 98 also makes me tremble. Look at (Psalm 98:9). He comes to judge the world in righteousness. Thinking of God as my Heavenly Father brings comfort, but, the thought of Him as the righteous Judge brings a since of impending doom. God cannot forgo His position as Judge any more than He can His Fatherhood. Yes, I shout joyfully with others who are saved by the blood of the Lamb and now call God Father. But, I also mourn bitterly, for there are many people in my life who have yet to place their trust in Christ alone for their salvation.

Won't you trust Him today?
  • God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. (John 3:16)
  • But, you and I are sinners and God is holy. (Romans 3:23)
  • We deserve eternal damnation because rejecting Jesus is an eternal decision (Romans 6:23)
  • But, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and can bring us before God(1 Peter 3:18)
  • Won't you trust Him today and ask Him to save you? (Romans 10:13)
Then we can all SHOUT joyfully to our LORD  together for the joy of your salvation this Sunday!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Song Series: We Believe

We Believe
...but sometimes we doubt

Read: John 20:24-29

Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." - John 20:29

...but sometimes we doubt. 

I've been working on the song "We Believe" by the Newsboys that speaks so well to what we, as Christ followers do in deed believe. It a refreshing modern hymn that couldn't have come along at a better time.

You see, from time to time I run across people from my past. Often the first thing they ask, is "Where are you leading worship Brother Doug?"   Naturally, in return I ask, "And, what church are you attending?" Many times the answer is some variation of, "Well, we're kind of between churches." Now, you know what I'm going to ask next: "Why?" The answers vary, but for the most part they all boil down to one thing; doubt. We doubt God's sovereignty and presence; plain and simple.

Christ's crucifixion caused Thomas to doubt his initial faith in Jesus as Savior.Thomas did what many of us do when we struggle. He withdrew and reassessed the situation (John 20:24). But, Tom was open about his doubt (John 20:25) and never stopped hanging out with the guys who still believed. Interestingly, had he stayed away from the other disciples, Thomas may have never experienced the resurrected Christ. Tom maintained his fellowship when he could’ve just walked away and that's when Jesus showed up (John 20:27).

It's okay to doubt and struggle with God's presence and sovereignty. But don't stay there; and, by all means don't stay away from other Christ followers. Instead, be honest about your struggles, get with guys and gals who love Jesus. After all, Jesus is present, in their presence. (Matthew 18:20).

So, "What church are you attending Sunday?"  

Get in His presence and don't give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).

Here's a link to the song with lyrics:

 Link to story behind the song "We Believe"