Monday, August 16, 2021
How would you like to be the Apostle Paul's friend where he says, "Man, I got nobody like this guy"?
Monday, August 16, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about joy in serving others. You know, a lot of times when we talk about joy we talked about what happens to us. I have joy because I got a raise, or something good came into my life, or I got a new car, a new house, a new set of clubs, etc. It's always about what we get. But I want to talk to you about the joy you can give others because of what they get from you. This comes from Philippians 2:19-22. When writing the letter of Philippians, Paul was in a house arrest in Rome, very likely about 60 A.D. He needed a friend and look at how he speaks so positively of his friend, Timothy. Speaking to the Christians at Philippi, Paul says, "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interest, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel."
How would you like to be the Apostle Paul's friend where he says, "Man, I got nobody like this guy"? Paul really trusts Timothy. He said, 'Timothy cares about me, and that brings joy into my life.' And then he says, 'Timothy cares about you and I know that brings joy in your life.' And the Apostle Paul said, 'It brings joy into my life when you help and serve other people.' You bring joy into their life, into the life of bystanders, like the Apostle Paul. And guess what? The text doesn't say it, but it's implied and it's evident in other scriptures, that when you bring joy into somebody else's life, you get joy back, because you get joy from seeing people joyful, and joy is a contagion. All I want to say is, if you're looking for joy in your life - there's no problem with having joy and getting something. You have to be careful not to get materialistic. There's no problem in getting joy from what God did for you. That's great, God did something for you! That's outstanding. But I'm telling you, there's another source of joy, which you're not going to see on a commercial for some new product. And that's this, you get joy in serving others. You know why? Because we're eternal. You're eternal, I'm eternal, God's eternal. Wen you help another eternal being somehow get closer to God, or deepen their faith, or come closer to crossing the line of faith, you've done something eternal. Nothing can bring more joy than the eternal.
When you get a great shirt, a week later you go, "I don't really like that shirt anymore." You buy something and really like it, but then month later you say, "I need a new set of clubs. These are better." You're never satisfied. When you build into the life of another human being and serve them, man, joy is contagious. Can you imagine that? Serving somebody and seeing a smile on her face, saying thank you. And other people going, Wow, that was cool. You're not doing it for the praise you get. You're doing it because it's right and God brings joy back into your life. I say this all the time and I mean it: The way to receive is by giving. Are you serving somebody today? Today can you serve somebody? Maybe it's somebody at work, maybe it's somebody at the grocery store, just a little compliment, a kind word. "God loves you." If you really want to do something amazing and bring joy to me, give them a Lakeshore invite card and invite them to our church, or to watch online. Serve people and you will have joy in your life. And guess what? One last thing - you know how you get joy? When you serve a lot of people, God sees. Then, you reap what you sow and people start doing things in your life to add value to your life and bring joy. It's like a contagion - the contagion of joy. But it all starts with serving people like Timothy did to Paul and the Christians at Philippi.
Father, I pray that all of us would have a servant attitude so that we can bring joy in other people's lives. These days are depressing. There's always bad news on COVID, there's always bad news on race, always bad news on the economy. Always means non-stop. It's always something, but God you don't ask us to live there, you ask us to live above the level of bad news. Live in joy. Give us a heart to serve more people in our everyday life so that will give them joy, and in return, we will get it ourselves, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, July 9, 2021
From the moment of conception, right through to birth, God knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that.
Friday, July 9, 2021
In verse 13, David writes this about God, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." The God of the universe, the one who knows you so well, so intimately, he is the one that created you. He created you bit by bit, cell by cell. From the moment of conception, right through to birth, he knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that. When you knit something, it is not a fast process. It requires concentration, it requires specific moves that are calculated to have a certain outcome. God knit you together very patiently in your mother's womb. He knows you that intimately, stitch by stitch. So, when you consider how you're made, when you think about the complexity of your body, the way it works, knowing that that God intimately spent time with us, putting us together, how could you not but worship Him? It is just such an incredible thought to me. When I think about the sanctity of life, this passage for me speaks so much about how important life is, and that God has purpose and a calling on our lives, as we'll see in a moment.
Continuing in verse 15, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." See, God knew you before you were born. While you were being made, he was right there in the womb with you. You were known by God before a single day of your life came to be. Life doesn't begin at birth, life begins at conception. You were known by God every single moment of your life throughout your life. They were written in his book. He is writing the story of your life.
Continuing in verse 17, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you." When you think about the way that God loves you, when you think about the depth of His love and the magnitude of His love, it is truly awesome. It's like counting grains of sand. It's impossible. If you've ever gone to the beach and tried to count grains of sand, you know it is impossible. That's how many thoughts God has about you. The way God thinks about you is unmatched by anybody else. It is precious, it is priceless, and it is infinite. Infinite are the thoughts of God towards you.
Let's pray. Father, thank you. Thank you that you have known us. You knew all the days that were to be ordained for us before one of them came to be. You knit us together, stitch by stitch, in our mother's womb. And you continue to desire to know us, to be with us, to go before us, and to be a part of our lives. We thank you for that. Father, thank you for the thoughts of love that you have towards us, and thank you that you, the God of the universe, would care enough to work in our lives. Father, that is an encouraging thought. It is a sobering thought. We love you for that, we worship you, and we give you thanks. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Hey everyone, until next time, don't just have a great day, but go and make a great day.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Are you an ambassador? What is an ambassador? It's someone who represents a person or entity to another person or entity. So for instance, in the United States of America, we have ambassadors to different nations; we have an ambassador to Italy, to Ireland, to France and to other nations.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Are you an ambassador? What is an ambassador? It's someone who represents a person or entity to another person or entity. So for instance, in the United States of America, we have ambassadors to different nations; we have an ambassador to Italy, to Ireland, to France and to other nations. What's the whole goal of the ambassador? To faithfully and accurately represent the nation that sends them before another nation, to make sure that our intentions are clear. Our desire ideally, is for a good relationship based on honesty and truth. The ambassador helps that communication flow between the nation they represent and the nation they're standing before to help them understand who they are, and to have a better relationship.
That's why I come back to my original question, are you an ambassador? So the question is ambassador for who? An ambassador to whom? Are you an ambassador for Jesus Christ? Are you an ambassador to other people? See, other people need to see Jesus Christ and you might be the only Jesus some people ever see, so you're called to be a great ambassador. Now, as I said, hopefully, you're an ambassador for a great nation. We're ambassadors, as Christians, for the living God who is perfect and holy, splendid and magnificent, amazing and wonderful. We get to be His ambassador.
What does that mean? That we represent Jesus Christ well. That we tell people about Jesus Christ, appropriately and at their level, when they're ready to hear it. It means we keep representing Christ well, so that ultimately, we can form a pact between God and the individual. It's called the covenant. It's called the New Testament. It's called the gospel, the good news message, that God wants to forgive people of their sin. Are you an ambassador for Jesus Christ? Do you live your life in such a way that you model and inspire grace and the good news of Jesus for others? Do you make it easy for people to want to become Christians because they admire the way you live? I know that sometimes there are people that don't agree with the way we live as Christians, but they do usually quietly, inside, respect us (and that's not the goal. The goal is only to respect us so that they respect and commit their life to Jesus Christ). But it all begins by being an ambassador.
It says this in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21: We are there for Christ's ambassadors as though God we're making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf be reconciled to God. God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God. Romans 10 says, how will people ever hear the good news unless somebody tells them? Are you telling them, Ambassador? It's the best way to live. Being an ambassador for Jesus Christ is a tremendous honor and there is no greater joy than being such an ambassador before others that they want to follow Jesus Christ too. Some of the greatest joys in my life have occurred that way.
As you know, I've done a few funerals here, and it's always such a joy when people have come to Christ and put their faith in Him here at Lakeshore Community Church. I do those funerals with the biggest smile I possibly can have on my face, because I know as sad as their loss is, it is nothing compared to their tremendous joy as they spend eternity with Jesus Christ. Nothing greater.
So let me pray. Father, I pray that you help all of us be an ambassador, and that we would do what this text says, that we would be an ambassador for others, as though we were making an appeal. "We implore you before Christ to be reconciled to God". That's what the text says. I pray God, that you will help us to be that ambassador who represents you well, so that people can be reconciled to you. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, February 19, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about giving yourself to God's work. A lot of people think serving God is optional, and that's unfortunate. What makes it really unfortunate is when people who follow Jesus Christ say, "working for God is optional."
Friday, February 19, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about giving yourself to God's work. A lot of people think serving God is optional, and that's unfortunate. What makes it really unfortunate is when people who follow Jesus Christ say, "working for God is optional." Now, nobody ever comes out and says that, but what people do is they basically don't work for God. They end up doing their own thing and they end up saying, "well, I go to church and that's work for God." There's some truth to that, but here's what I want to say: You should spend your life finding ways to work for God.
Why should you work for God? Well, He pays well. He has great rewards, a great benefits package. He's a kind boss. Doing His work is thrilling if you really love Him. I get that because of 1 Corinthians 15:58, the very last verse in the chapter, where the Apostle Paul says this: "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." What does that mean, "not in vain"? It means it's not useless. I already told you all the benefits, but here's what I want to say. Give yourself to the work of the Lord.
You might say, "Vince, what does that mean? What does that look like?"
1. Here's the first. Whenever you're at work, model your faith. When you're at home, if you're the parent, if you're the child, whatever you are, model your faith by playing your right part in the family.
2. Here's another one: serve God at church. It's amazing to me how Christians who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, year after year after year, do nothing to lift a finger to serve God in the church. I find that disturbing. This text says, always abound in the work of the Lord, always finding ways to do God's work. You can do God's work at home, at work in church, in so many different places, but He wants you to abound in it, not dip your toe in it. He wants you to get involved in His work. Whether that's working in the church or working with people who are not yet followers of Jesus Christ to help them, whatever it is. Get to work for God. Always be at work for God. Find your way. There's so many ways. God has a way for you.
Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. He's got a plan. You just have to do it. You may not know the plan. Just begin to do God's work wherever you are at, the best you can. And guess what? You'll be in God's plan. He'll work it out. He'll open doors for you. He'll create opportunities for you.
Are you abounding in the work of the Lord? He wants you to be because He loves you. He knows it's fulfilling to work for Him. Nothing in life is greater, and that's kind of why I got into the ministry full time from engineering. Working in ministry is so satisfying because I love working for God. It's not always easy, but it's always rewarding and it's always fulfilling. Are you abounding in the work of the Lord? You don't have to be a full-time pastor to do that. No, all you have to be is available. Availability is so important. God cares more about your availability than your ability. He'll give you the ability. You just make yourself available. I hope you'll find a way to abound in the work of the Lord today and every day of your life.
Let's pray. Father in heaven, thank you so much for the reminder, to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in your work and that is not in vain. Help all of us to find your work, to pursue it and to live it. Help us to get to work for you because you are a kind boss. You have great rewards stored for us and heaven when we do. Thank you so much, in Jesus' name. Amen. Hey, it's an absolute privilege to work for God. Are you at work for him? I hope so. Thanks and have a great day.