Monday, September 6, 2021
If the world is in fact falling apart (it is), and if the world is going to continue to fall apart (it will), what are we supposed to do? Just be miserable?
Monday, September 6, 2021
If you are a Christian, meaning you put your faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, you have an option. That's this, to remember your ultimate citizenship. See, as a Christian, your ultimate citizenship is not as an American, I'm extremely proud to be an American. There's no other country I would rather live in and I'm extremely proud of my American citizenship. If you're from another country watching this, then you should be very proud of your nation. That is, unless it's a totally corrupt nation and you're watching this underground. But I am even more proud of the fact that as a Christian, I am a citizen of heaven. My citizenship is in heaven. That's how you cope with all that's happening in our world. If our citizenship was just in the world, the world will collapse, and it will all end. But our citizenship is in somewhere eternal. It's in heaven.
Our citizenship is in heaven because a savior will come from there. Lord Jesus Christ, verse 21, "who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly body, so that will be like Him in His glorious body." I'll cover that verse 21, in just a moment, but all I want to say is this: Paul says, if you focus on the world you're going to be depressed, you're going to be morally bankrupt. But if you're a Christian, you need to focus on heaven. One day, we'll be in heaven. One day, all the wrongs will be made right. One day, there'll be no more tears, no more pain. One day, all our sin will be taken away in the presence of the Sin-Taker-Awayer, Jesus Christ. That's why he's called our Savior. He saves us from sin.
I don't know what's got you down about this world doesn't take much five minutes of the news, we'll do it. But I'm telling you right now, your citizenship in heaven ought to remind you that Earth is not your home. You're just passing through, as the old Negro spiritual sang. So, I hope you'll be focused on citizenship in heaven, and I hope you'll know Jesus Christ because that will give you the confidence that you'll be there. Father, thanks for citizenship in heaven. We do pray "on earth as it is in heaven," but we know that's not going to be fully answered until you come back. So help us to remember when times are tough and our life is really really hard, we find joy in our citizenship in heaven one day. It's promised and you'll never take it away. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about faith in a can. That's right, faith in a can. Not a jar, not a bottle, but faith in a can.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about faith in a can. That's right, faith in a can. Not a jar, not a bottle, but faith in a can. At Lakeshore, we believe that God's Word, the Bible, is the source of all truth. We encourage you to read it, study it, rely on it, and apply it to your life so that it guides you into a victorious Christian life. I've been reading this book called Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. In this book, Neil Anderson says, "The Christian has far greater potential for success in life through the power of believing the truth of the Bible." He's not talking about the kind of success that's like being at the top, climbing the corporate ladder, or amassing wealth. He's not talking about that kind of success. He's talking about a victorious Christian life, navigating with God the difficulties, the temptations, the worries, the fears, or whatever else life throws at us. It's the world, our flesh, and the devil that throw these things at us. So, when we successfully navigate these things, remaining obedient to God, that is a victorious life. That is the success that Neil Anderson is talking about.
- Why should I say I can't when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)?
- Why should I worry about my needs when I know that God will take care of all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)?
- Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)?
- Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1) and that I will display strength and take action because I know God (Daniel 11:32)?
- Why should I allow Satan control over my life when he that is in me, the Holy Spirit of God, is greater than he that is in the world, Satan (1 John 4:4).
- Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that there is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is (2 Corinthians 3:17)?
Here's the bottom line, the point I want you to take home. Jesus Christ wants you to live a faith-filled victorious life, overcoming the challenges and temptations that the world, the flesh and the devil throw at us. We are told how to do this in the Bible. And so the question is this, do you have the faith to believe it? The object of our Christian faith is Jesus Christ, our goal is to get to know him more and more every day, increasing that measure of faith. When we look at what His Word says, what he can do through us, and for us, I take great encouragement in that. I hope you will do the same. And I hope that you will apply these truths to your life.
Let's pray. Father, thank you because your word is our promise. Lord, I pray right now that as every person reading this goes back and studies these truths, that they would apply them to their lives, and that they would be more and more obedient to you, victorious over the things that the world, the flesh, and the devil throw at us. Help us to let our lives be an offering to you, Father, in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, Septemeber 1, 2021
Imagine if I was to ask you, "What is your relationship with God like? What do you know about God? How is God working in your life?" If I asked you those questions, your responses will tell me a lot about how much faith you have.
Wednesday, Septemeber 1, 2021
This week, we've been talking about faith. Yesterday, we asked a question, "What is the object of your faith?" Today, I want to ask you, "Do you know the object of your faith?" And so I want to talk to you about the struggles that people have with faith. What I have found in in my almost 20 years of being a pastor is that when people struggle with their faith in God, it is more times than not tied to a lack of knowledge of who God is and his ways. Read that again: struggles in faith more times than not are tied to a lack of knowledge of who God is and his ways.
Romans 10:17 tells us this, "Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." The key to increasing your faith in God is to be in his word every day. By hearing the message, by reading it in our Bibles. The more you read the Bible, the more you will get to know God and his ways. If you are struggling to have more faith in God, then I want to encourage you to spend more time with him reading your Bible. But you may say, "Well, Frank, I already read the Bible." I want to encourage you, don't just read it, study it. Maybe you already study the Bible. Make sure that you're praying, speaking to God. You know, prayer doesn't have to be in some high and lofty English. It is just common, everyday language. It's having a conversation with God. Praying is also listening to God, spending time in quiet, just listening and letting God speak to you. Is it an audible voice? I've never heard it as an audible voice, but deep down inside in your heart, you sense the leading of God in your life. If you want to go even deeper in your faith, try fasting. Fasting is a great way to grow deeper in your faith and your connection and closeness to God. These are all spiritual disciplines to draw us closer to God to help us know Him and to know his ways better. The result will be an increase in our faith. When we know God more, we will trust him more, and we will trust his word in our lives in an increasing measure.
Let's pray. Father, thank you that you have given us the opportunity to know you through your word, the Bible. May we study it, may we apply it to our lives. As King David said, may we hide it in our hearts to know you more and more. Thank you that we can reach out to you in prayer. Thank you that we can sit in quiet and let you speak to us. Thank you that you've given us fasting to draw us closer and make us more and more dependent upon you, increasing our faith. Thank you, Father. For this we ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Monday, August 30, 2021
Whether we consider ourselves religious or not, the truth is, we all live by faith to some degree. Even atheists, yes, even atheists live by faith.
Monday, August 30, 2021
I want to ask you a question. What is the object of your faith? Whether we consider ourselves religious or not, the truth is, we all live by faith to some degree. Even atheists, yes, even atheists live by faith. You don't believe me? Think about a chair. How many times do people sit in a chair, trusting that it's going to support their weight without even considering to check the structural soundness of the chair before they sit down on it? The simple task of sitting in a chair occurs millions and millions of times a day without people giving a second thought to the soundness of that chair. That takes faith. But what if the object of your faith proves to be unreliable? It probably wouldn't take very long for you to find a new chair if you sat in it and it broke, being unreliable. You would look for another chair right away to sit down and that would be able to support your weight.
In fact, when we lose faith in something, I want you to consider that the problem is not your ability to believe, but the object of your faith. One of the most widely trusted and reliable objects of faith by the world's population is our solar system. We set our watches to it, we plan our calendars around it. Each month, and each year is based on our solar system. If the Earth's orbit was to shift by just a few small degrees, the world would be in utter chaos and anarchy. We trust and rely on the solar system. In fact, it's incredible how much we trust and rely on the rotation of our planet around the sun. But as Christians, our ultimate faith object is not the S-U-N, it is the S-O-N, Jesus Christ. He is the one who created our solar system and the entire universe and the author of our faith.
Hebrews 13:8 tells us this, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever." He never changes. He is immutable, and that's what makes him so trustworthy. Numbers 23:19 says this, "God is not human, that he should lie, he's not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfilled?" The point that Moses is trying to make is that people will let us down, they will be inconsistent, they will lie, they will not be true to their word, they will not follow through and produce what they said they would, but God will always be faithful. Even God's word is completely trustworthy and reliable. Isaiah 40:8 says this, "The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." The point is that things come and go, they sprout up, they die off quickly. But the one thing that is steady, the one thing that is trustworthy, reliable, and lasts the test of time is the word of God, our Bibles.
So what is the object of your faith? Is it Jesus Christ and His Word? Is it Jesus, the most reliable, trustworthy, and never-changing object of faith? Or are you putting your faith and trust in something less? Let's pray. Father, thank you that your Word tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the most reliable and trustworthy object of faith. And I and I use that term object loosely, Father. Jesus is way more than an object. He is worthy of all our praise and there is none like him. Father, we thank you for that, and we ask that we can learn to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ more and more every day. We ask this in his name, amen.
Friday, June 25, 2021
Today, I want to give you a third reason why I believe in the Bible, and that's this...
Friday, June 25, 2021
2 Peter 1:20-21
This week we have been looking at reasons why I believe the Bible. Today, I will give you the third and final reason. There are many, many, many, many reasons to believe the Bible, but I'm giving you three significant ones from two very significant passages. On June 21 and June 23rd I said the first two reasons I believe in the Bible are because it is God's inspired word to us, and because the Bible equips us for every good work. Those reasons came from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It is one of the most important passages in the Bible about the value of the Bible. We talked about how everything the Bible asks us to do is good and our nation was built on Judeo-Christian values. So many things that people have done culturally, nationally, governmentally, individually, and church-wise, have been good because they follow the direction of the Bible.
So, "no prophecy ever had its origin in the will of men, but men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." In other words, the Holy Spirit inspired men to write what they wrote. not in a mechanical dictation sense where they went into a trance, but in a sense that God put it on their heart to write these things, and he and they did, and God superintended it. In fact, this is called the doctrine of inerrancy. The Bible is without err in the original manuscripts, but here's what I want to say. You could say, "Yeah sure, the Bible is inerrant because that's what the Bible claims. That's a circular argument: the Bible's without err. How do you know that? Because the Bible says so." But here's what I want to say. Notice how it says all the prophets were inspired by God to write the same thing. How many of you could get 40 people together in a room and say, "Let's write a story about God," and they would all write the same thing? You know, the Bible has about 40 different authors. So how many of you would like to do it with 40 different authors over a period of approximately 1500 years? The first books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - were written by Moses in about 1400 BC. The last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, was written around 95 or 96. AD. That's 1500 years! 40 different authors over 1500 years on multiple continents with multiple backgrounds: fishermen, fig pickers, doctors, lawyers, scholars, everyday people, etc. And yet, what comes out of it is one message. The Bible has no contradictions in it. It may seem to have some, but there's explainable reasons for the very, very precious few that seem to contradict. It's seamless. So, it proves to us that it is God's word. This could never happen if man tried to do it on his own.
That's why I believe the Bible. I hope not only that you'll have confidence in the Bible for yourself, but that you will have confidence in the Bible to tell others that the Bible is God's inspired word, is useful for good works, and is without err because of all the proof of all the authors and all the time and the one unified message as a result. I hope that inspires you to share your faith and have confidence in the Bible. Father, thank you for this truth. Help us not only believe this about the Bible, but actually read the Bible and be inspired to live it out every day. I ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
This week, I'm talking about why I believe the Bible.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This week, I'm talking about why I believe the Bible. On June 21st, I said the first reason why I believe the Bible is because it is inspired by God. It is breathed by God and is literally God's word. We saw that in 2 Timothy 3:16. Today, I'm going to give you the second reason why I believe the Bible, which is that it equips us for every good work. Look at what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
First, Paul says it's useful for those four things, which are basically life manual things, and then it goes on in verse 17, which is where I want to focus: "...so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." In other words, the Bible is not just a source of information, or a source of inspiration, it's a source of application. This verse is saying that everything that the Bible says is good, and everything the Bible asks us to do is a good work. The second reason I believe in the Bible is because it is good.
You say, 'Oh, that's very subjective, Vince, "The Bible is good."' Well, let me tell you how the Bible has helped so many different people in our nation. Do you know that the whole judicial system is based on biblical principles? The law talked about how to judge, and we have Lady Justice with the scale and the blindfold. We have the 10 commandments. Our Judeo-Christian value system for law was based on the Bible, what is good, what is bad. The morality of the Bible has affected virtually every culture on Earth. The truth of the Bible helps people know what to do. The people that have lived out the Bible have never had history point back and say, "What you did was wrong." Never. Have Christians done wrong things? Yes, but it wasn't sanctioned by the Bible. So it doesn't say that everything a Christian does is right, what it says is whenever a Christian does what the Bible says, then they do good works.
Finally, on a personal level, when you live out the Bible, nobody says,"My goodness, what a horrible life." No, it's good. So many people try so many different things, and it doesn't work, but the people who finally get their life, right how do they get it right? They come to the Bible. It's what happened to me on November of 1983. For 22 years I lived a self-ruled life, trying to figure out everything on my own, doing made up good work. You know what good works were to me? Whatever was convenient, that was good. Whatever I was doing, that was good. Everything else was wrong. If I didn't do it, but you did it, and I didn't like, it was wrong. It was very subjective. The Bible is absolute, clear, concrete. When we do what it says, we do good works. We see it in nations and countries. We see it in groups. We see it in cultures, we see it in our own individual lives. The Bible is the source of good works. Somebody asks why I believe the Bible? It's because everything in the Bible is good. Everything that God tells an individual to do in the Bible is good. Everything God tells the church to do is good. We have seen this for 2000 years. That's why so many cities in our nation were founded by Christians. So many hospitals were founded by Christians. That's why you still see house Methodist Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, Baptist Hospital. Why? Because Christians did good works. History is loaded with people who lived out the Bible in good works. That's another reason why I believe the Bible, and I hope because you live it out you realize all the good things it inspires you to do when you live it out.
Father, thank you for your Word. It helps us know good from wrong. And because it is the source of good, we can believe in it. I thank you for this truth in Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, June 21, 2021
Why do you believe in the Bible? Why do you believe the Bible is worth living for? Do you have an answer for that?
Monday, June 21, 2021
2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible is the basis for everything we do at Lakeshore. It's the basis for all our services, all our groups, all our studies, all our events. It's the basis for Life Lifters. The Bible is the basis for everything we believe as a Christian. It's the basis for everything we do as a Christian, it's the basis for truth that every Christian lives for. But here's the question: why do you believe in the Bible? Why do you believe the Bible is worth living for? Do you have an answer for that? If somebody says, "Hey, man, I don't believe the Bible. Why would anybody believe the Bible?" What would you say?
I want to spend a few Life Lifters explaining why I believe the Bible. I'm going to give you three helpful reasons to believe the Bible. Here is the first. I believe the Bible is true, I put all my faith in the Bible because it is God's inspired word. The Bible is inspired by God. I get that from a very important passage, 2 Timothy 3:16. It says, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." So, the beginning of the text says all scripture, not some scripture, most scripture, or just Jesus' words (the words that are in red), but every word of scripture is, as the NIV translates it, "God-breathed." That's a literal translation. Some translations say inspired. And the Greek word for "God breathed" literally is Theos-pneuma. Theos meaning God, and pneuma, where we get our word pneumatic from. If you have a door with a wind cartridge, also called a pneumatic cartridge, the door doesn't just slam shut, the air in the cartridge helps it close gently. Pneuma is almost like breathed or spirited, and is also the word for the Holy Spirit. The Hagios Pneuma, or Holy Spirit. So what he's saying is that God breathed the scriptures. All scriptures are God-breathed. They're they're literally God's word.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for this precious book called The Bible. We trust in it because it is your word. You have breathed it to us, you inspired it for us. It is profitable for every good work. Help us to have confidence in it and share our belief in it to others in a way that they will believe too. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Today, I'm going to talk about a very big topic in a very small amount of time. It's the idea of, "how do I know God?" The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes. I want to focus in on one specific area from Psalm 119. I think there are seven principles that we can draw from this, and you can dig into this a little bit more on your own time. We are in Psalm 119:9-16. We don't know who wrote this song, but whoever wrote it knew God. It says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."
Now, there's a lot there. We're going to quickly draw seven principles and answer the question, "How can I know God?" First thing is Keeping the Word. He says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." In other words, by keeping the word of God, keeping the teachings of the Scriptures, holding on to them. The second thing he says is, "I will seek you with all of my heart, do not let me stray from your commands." Seek God, go after him. You search out for him, you go with everything that you are. He says, "I seek you with all of my heart." That means with all of my mind, with all of my understanding, I'm going to pursue you, God. Then he says, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." So the third thing is this, Hide the Word. Now, that's a strange way to say it, but think of it this way: treasure it. When you have something that you deeply love and treasure, maybe it's a family heirloom, or maybe it's something that is significant or valuable, you hide it away. You keep it separate to keep it safe, and to keep it preserved. That's what he's saying. Hide the word, treasure the word of God, keep it in a safe place. Then he says, "Praise be to you, O Lord, teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth." So, the fourth thing is to Proclaim. When he says recount, we think of remembering, but the word actually here means to proclaim with my lips. I will shout, I will proclaim all of the laws that come from God's mouth. Proclaim the truth. That's the fourth thing.
The fifth thing is this, he says, "I rejoice in following your statutes, as one rejoices in great riches." The fifth is Rejoice in How Just God Is. "I rejoice in following your statutes," or following your instructions and your laws, "as one rejoices in great riches." So, rejoice in how just God truly is. The sixth thing is this, "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways." This is Meditate on God's Call for You, specifically. He says "precepts and ways," meaning his instruction. Meditate on it. Think about it. When you're going throughout the day, it's not just about opening the Bible and seeing a couple words, it's meditating on it, thinking through what that means. He says to meditate on the precepts, the instructions, the path that God is setting you on. The seventh thing is this, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Delight in His Word, find the joy and satisfaction in His Word to us.
So, let me answer that question that I started with. How do we truly know God? It's by knowing his word, and let me just recap the seven things. I know God by keeping his word, by seeking God with all that I am, by hiding his word in my heart and treasuring it, and by proclaiming the truth. I had a pastor friend tell me if you really want to understand something, you teach it. Proclaim it, proclaim the truth. Number five, rejoice in how just God is. Number six, meditate on how God calls us and what He has called us for. Seven, delight in His Word with joy and satisfaction. I don't know where you are today. I don't know what you're wrestling with. I don't know what your day looks like or what you're walking into. But know this, that God is with you. And God is for you. The way that you can be sure of that, the way that you can truly know him, is by the seven things that we talked about today.
Let me pray for you. Father, again, thank you so much for the Bible. Thank you so much for how you speak to us through it. I pray that we would remember these seven steps on how we can truly know you, so that there's no question, no hesitation. For that person who's watching or listening right now and they're just not sure, let them be encouraged. Lord, let them open that book and let them walk through those steps to understand, truly, who you are. We thank you for how you've clearly revealed yourself to us through your word. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Jesus knew this. Jesus, who created us and our eyes, who designed the eye, he knew this. And he used our eyes as an illustration to help us understand the importance of remaining devoted to God. So, in Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" You see, the Greek word that is translated into English as "healthy" can also mean perfect, complete, wholeness, or singular. So, the eye that is singularly focused is a metaphor for being fully devoted to God. And when we focus our eyes on that which is good, that which is pure and holy, on those things that are pleasing to God, then our entire body, Jesus tells us, will be radiant, and filled with light. Our eyes, which is which is the lamp of the body, will lead us to follow God with full devotion. Then, we won't have to worry about material items, and the things that the world tries to entice us with and to draw us away from God with. So, focus on that which is good is the message that Jesus is telling us. Be devoted to God.
But, then he contrasts this by saying this, "But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great that darkness!" And that last statement, "how great is that darkness," is not a question. It's an emphatic statement that Jesus is saying. You see, the word unhealthy in verse 23 can also mean imperfect, evil, or morally corrupt. This is a metaphor for following after all of the trappings and material items that the world has to offer. So, Jesus is telling us that if we focus our eye on what the world has to offer, that which is evil or corrupt, that our entire body will be filled with darkness. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound good to me. And when our body is full of darkness, we will have no light to guide us, and we will wander and remain lost and hopeless in such great darkness. So we have a choice. We can we can only focus on one thing. So what will we choose to focus on? Will we focus our eye on God and remain devoted to him? Or will we let it wander? And will we allow it to focus on the things of this world? Will you focus on God and the eternal things that please him? Or will you focus on the world and the temporal counterfeit pleasures that this world has to offer?
Maybe you're struggling to focus on that which is good and remain devoted to God. I want to encourage you, then, today to go a little bit deeper. Take your Bibles and read Philippians 4:8. Then, flip over to Romans 12:1-2. I hope that these verses will give you some encouragement, some insight, and ways to stay focused on God today. I hope you guys found this challenging and encouraging at the same time, and I want to encourage you right now: don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
How do you know when you have true faith? How do you distinguish true faith from false faith?
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
James 2:14, 17