POSTABLES COME TO WILDWOOD!

1 05 2017

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Life was meant to be lived within the realm of community. Connection doesn’t happen by just sharing space physically within a room. For relationships to be able to bloom and blossom, protective heart guards must be willing to fall, and souls must be engaged and the best of your time must be invested. In a day where our society is always expecting instant gratification and settling for a surface satisfaction that doesn’t dive very deep, I don’t believe that many know what they are missing when it comes to true fellowship.

 I have always treated people as if we have known each other forever. I know that can be quite overwhelming to those with reserved personalities but it is all I know. Family comes easy for me. I grew up within a home where my Parents had seven children of their own of which I am their oldest and then adopted thirty more children. So being surrounded by a crowd of siblings is second nature. As a matter of fact, I am not very good as a solo act. God called me to be a Pastor. Genuinely loving people was a gift the Lord gave to me. So I am honored and grateful when others return the favor. It makes me feel like the richest guy in town.

 As many of you know, I am a big Fan of the Hallmark Channel. I adore the Signed Sealed and Delivered Series on the Movies and Mystery Network. Martha Williamson who created Touched By An Angel is the creative genius here too. Those who follow the Program are affectionately known as The #POstables. It pays tribute to the four amazing characters who work in the Dead Letter Office of the Denver Branch as they reunite lost mail with the originally intended receivers. I have had Kristin Booth and Crystal Lowe, two of its biggest stars on my Radio Show. I have also gotten to know so many wonderful Fans on Twitter. We all tweet together as we watch the latest SSD Movie. It is like we are one big happy family.

 This past weekend, five #POstables from different parts of the country drove all the way to Wildwood to come and visit The Lighthouse Church and the 106.3 The Shore Radio Station. Terri and I were delighted and blessed to welcome with open arms Joy from Pennsylvania, Sandy from Virginia, Judy from Ohio, and Marybeth and Ann from Michigan. We met in our beloved New Jersey for a wonderful gathering where we made some lasting memories all together. Even though we had never met face to face before, it took no time at all for all of us to feel like we had been family forever. Faith, love and a common passion can do that when we are willing to step out of our comfort zones and give God room. The Ladies got their fill of Jersey Pizza, beautiful sunshine and the sweet love of Jesus. I interviewed each and every one for my Radio Show. You will want to be listening to hear the magic made in the studio. I love our Signed Sealed Delivered Family.

 Before the weekend was over, we were talking about our hopes and dreams that maybe we could put together a nation wide POstables Gathering with the cast of the show joining us. We could do it in Vancouver, Canada where they actually film the show or it could all come to Wildwood. My point is that none of this would have happened without random people reaching out to one another and taking a chance of going deeper than just the 140 characters in a tweet.

 If you would like to learn more about Signed Sealed Delivered, the #POstables, then let me suggest you start by reading the wonderful blog written by a talented young lady named Chandel Charles. It is called Alameda and Downing and it is always and only about all things Signed, Sealed, Delivered. She calls it her special project forwarded with much love to all the fellow #POstables. It is updated almost daily with news and the latest information about the show. Who knows? You might want too be part of the next #POstables gathering right here in your own back yard.

 In a cynical world that has become too paranoid and politically correct, God still has the real deals out there and it is still true that no man is an island and we all do best in a communal setting rather than hiding out in cozy cubicles. Use discernment but have faith. We are all living letters that are at our best when we are shared with one another. I pray many new and wonderful contacts in your days to come. I guarantee you that God will put his stamp of approval upon it all. It is now up to you to deliver the letter, the sooner the better!





WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING???

24 04 2017

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Has anybody ever taught you to do something that you always had an interest in but needed another’s expertise to make it happen? What kind of student were you? Did you learn best via reading books and being tested in a classroom setting or did your awakening happen better in the midst of just doing it with your mentor amidst the laboratory of everyday life? I may be preaching and teaching the congregation faithfully at the Lighthouse Church on Sundays, but I long to know if any of the lessons being taught are actually being caught as they are lived out the rest of the week.

Application is even more important that just dishing out information. I want the flock to be inspired but also fired up to live what they are being called by God to accomplish. To know and not do is never remaining true to the purpose of a human being created by God.

 I have come to know through the years and not always via the easiest of methods that if you ever want to learn how to go in the right direction; you best be sure that you have chosen the right leader to follow. I took my son Joel to Citi Field last weekend and while driving in Queens, New York, I was reminded of one of my favorite Dad and me stories. Dad was driving as we were leaving Shea Stadium after watching the Mets beat the Padres in an exciting doubleheader. Those of you who know me understand that I have always been geographically challenged so I was no good to my Father even back then and before you know it, we got lost. We tried to stop for directions, but the people we asked ended up arguing among each other about which way to go. It was quite hilarious. As we pulled away, my Dad noticed the car in front of us had a New Jersey License Plate so he figured that at the very least, he’d get us back to the Garden State. That is until we ended up in Connecticut. Who knew the Jersey car had relatives out of state. We eventually got home in the wee small hours of the morning. It reminded me that you can’t assume that just by following the guy or gal in front of you, you will end up in the place you want to go!   

 When it comes to faith and living the Christian life, it is not the issue of simply what you do, but far more it comes down to who and what you are. When someone becomes a Christian, older Believers tend to say, “Now that you’re a Christian you need to read the Bible and you need to pray and you need to go to church and you need to talk about Jesus to others.” That’s right and that’s true; but it is all still one step removed from the real issue because it is external and not internal enough. The New Testament actually teaches that now you’re a Christian and now that you know who you are- here is what God wants you to do, and these pages major on the inner heart and the inward graces. The worthy walk of a true disciple must begin with steps taken from the heart.

 Life is lived in 24 hour increments! This is the day the Lord has made and if we are going to obey him and rejoice in it, then we best check in with what he wants us to do. When was the last time you began your morning with a prayer like this, “Dear Lord, what do you want us to do today? Where do you want me to go? By walking in the steps of the Master, you not only end up doing what Jesus did; you also do it where Jesus did it just like he said you would do it and all along the way you are  learning to live life in total dependence upon God!

 Jesus could endure the negative circumstances. He could take all the stuff people had to dish out.

Jesus was totally in step with the Father and his step by step obedience would lead to humility which produced meekness, which produced patience, which produced holiness which produced love. I believe that this is the directives of discipleship. Following the Father in step with the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit leads to a fruitful field. And you know something? Let me just give you a little hint here, and it is when others see the footprints going to maturity, they are probably the most powerful testimony the church of Jesus Christ has. Maybe we don’t need more education; but more edification. Putting into training what we have already heard again and again and again and again!

 I’ll never forget Reinhold Niebuhr’s statement. He didn’t make too many good statements but he did make one that was interesting. He said, “The church was like Noah’s ark, if it weren’t for the storm outside you couldn’t stand the stink inside.” That’s a little strong and it’s an awful thing for somebody to have to say, but if the church just made it their priority to not just study Jesus but sincerely live with Jesus, then you know the world would sit up and take notice of us and our bringing others to Jesus would be happening more often than it is now.

 Mr. Stanley went to Africa in 1871 to find David Livingstone, he’d heard about him. He was infatuated with the man, he wanted to find him. He did find him, and it says in his little history that he spent several months in the company of David Livingstone, who by this time was an old man, and he said, “Livingstone never spoke to me about spiritual things.” Livingstone was busy doing what he was doing with Africans; Stanley was just hanging around observing.

 Throughout the months he watched the old man, and he said, Livingstone’s habits were beyond my comprehension and the thing that amazed me most was his patience. He could not understand, says his biographer that Livingstone really had such patience and sympathy. For the sake of Christ and his gospel David Livingstone was patient, untiring, eager and literally spending himself, in fact he spent himself for His Master’s cause. This is what Stanley wrote in his journal, “When I saw that unwearied patience, that unflagging zeal, those enlightened sons of Africa, I became a Christian at his side though he never spoke to me one word.”  

 Isn’t that great? Sometimes you won’t have to say nearly as much if you just began to not only step into church on Sundays but be ready to step out as the church following Jesus by His Spirit on Mondays and following! Discipleship is a lot like training to run the race! Following in the footsteps of Jesus takes a holy zeal and it gives the watching world a chance to see faith that is real!





I’VE GOT THE MUSIC IN ME!

19 04 2017

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What can I say? Some Preachers play golf; while I play the classic hits of all time. God created me in such the way that I have a jukebox in my soul. You say some words and I sing a song the sentence triggers in me. It doesn’t take much. Every little phrase can result in more tunes than you might be able to handle. And I am not afraid to sing at the top of my lungs anytime and anywhere. But I’d rather have my favorite songs playing full blast in my heart than entertain a scary and soundless silence that for me could only result in a blank and lifeless stare from empty eyes.

 Music is amoral. This means it is neither good nor bad intrinsically on its own. I hate labels. I remember when I first began my Faith journey; some well-meaning Believers wanted to ban me from listening to the radio ever again. That was the “devil’s music,” they said. For the record, the devil isn’t that creative. His specialty is sabotaging the good and perfect gifts that come down from our God above. Just like a knife can be used to either slice bread or stab somebody in the back; so music is an avenue where we can choose to use it for good or allow it to be hijacked so that we end up in a pit of slime.

 Is it ok for Christians to celebrate love? I hope so because I surely do. Is God the author of romance? You bet he is. Jesus is the Lord of the dance. He is the author of the symphony of our everyday existence. The Book of Job 38:7 tells us that the angels sang as God created this world into being. Do you like to work with the music on? It’s no accident. You are being like the God who made you! There is a rhythm to every move we make. We are called to march to the beat of the drummer whether it is via conventional means or our own syncopated high stepping. I do know that I can’t do this thing called life without the proper soundtrack. Singing in the rain shouldn’t be an option as I know it is a must to keep your sanity. Offer God a blank piece of sheet music and let him compose the melody that was always meant for you.

 Starting this week, there is a new format on your FM Dial. Its call letters are WJSE and its position is 106.3 The Shore. It will feature the classic hits of the sixties through the eighties.  Going to the Beach and listening to your transistor go hand in hand. Basking in the rays and jamming to the tunes of summer always triggers a bunch of cherished memories of days gone by. What are some of your all-time favorites? Wildwood needs a station like this because this is where so many of these magical moments happened in the first place. Where there is a treasured remembrance, there is a special song that seals the deal. Now we have a gathering place where you can share your requests and we can provide the time machine to make it yesterday once more; at least for a little while again.

 I love being the Pastor of the Lighthouse Church. Serving God and loving our people brings me an immense amount of joy. But as a Minister, I don’t believe I should be cooped up in an office when I can be out in the community touching as many lives as the Lord allows me to. I will be the Mid-Day Host on 106.3 The Shore Mondays through Fridays from 10am until 3 pm. I look forward to laugh with you, cry with you and sing together with you all along the way. My show is something the whole family can enjoy together. I see it as another avenue to share the love of God with one another. I won’t be preaching on this station. Preaching is not the only way to pastor. Sometimes the best way I can show you how much I care is to try to fill your day with songs handpicked from my heart to make a difference in your world. Because music means so much to me, you can be sure that I take such a task as the priority that it is. I hope we will be able to connect with one another quite often in the days ahead. Even if you never get to The Lighthouse Church, through the medium of radio, I can come to you.

 I also host a daily inspirational show called My Lighthouse with Pastor Rudy that is heard on Praise FM 88.1 and 89.9 at 3PM daily and 7AM on Sunday and it is broadcast on Lift FM 97.9 7PM daily and Noon on Sundays. But one show is not more spiritual than another. Because I long to do whatever I do with all my heart, each program I host is my offering to God with the hope that he will bless you much because of what you hear.       

 So give me a call this week and let me play your favorite classic record. Let’s make it a regular date. Let’s help each other do more than just make it through another day grinding and grumbling but let’s sneak even a dance in here and there. You turn the radio on and let me do what I do best! I’ve got the music in me, but I am not content to let it stay locked up there. You shouldn’t be either! 

 





THE SIGNS OF EASTER!

10 04 2017

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It’s Easter week! Let me ask you some questions to ponder this Holiday week. Are you going to settle for a basket filled with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps and an array of assorted jelly beans? Are you going to seek to find a treasure worth a little more than just multicolored eggs hidden in the yard? Do you desire a menu that is lots healthier than sharing a baked ham with family and friends, whom you may or may not be getting along with? Are you content to just adorn your outside body with a new suit, a sassy hat, and designer shoes while your heart remains naked and in rags? It’s Passion Week! Jesus modeled for us that without an internal purpose, we will be stuck in an external place that might very well forfeit an eternal presence with the God who created you to be with him.

What signs are you seeking this Resurrection Week? Do you know the marks that matter? Have you been clued in to ignore the motions of the crowd so that you can concentrate and obey the coach? I have loved baseball, played baseball, watched baseball and taught baseball for many years. One of the first things I go over with players so that we can all be on the same page is teaching the signs. People watching in the stands may see me going through series of physical gyrations; but if they don’t know what the signs stand for, they are clueless! The other team knows that we, as a team, have signals, but if they don’t know the specific indicator, they too, are in the dark about what I am communicating in the light, with my players. But my players, by having a personal relationship with me, should be able to translate what I am saying to them without using words. I gave them signs so that they don’t settle for a single, delight in just a double, or triumph by hitting a triple. Hit all the baseballs you want; but if my team never comes home—then winning becomes a hopeless pipe dream. Religion might get you to first base. Your good works might afford you a trip to second base. Maybe some outer effort could win you some time on third base. But, without knowing the signs of heaven, you are not coming home!

Please don’t give up on coming home this Easter! First is nice, second is OK, and third is a little better. But there is no place like home! Our Coach, the Lord Jesus, wants you to know the signs. Jesus isn’t just a good teacher, or a positive example. He did what He did on Good Friday and Easter Sunday so we could come home! He slugged the devil and death by knocking it out of the park for you and me! Players must fix their eyes on the manager’s hands. People must not ignore the Savior’s palms! What do you see when you look at the signs of our Savior? Nail scars are there to make you aware that He provided the power to get us off the bases! Some people look at Jesus, but miss the obvious! When He holds us His hands to us, palms up, it proves we are loved and we are wanted and we are able to score—to go home!

Good Friday Jesus held out his arms outstretched on the Cross to show us the width of His compassion and mercy. Easter Sunday was runs-batted-in day! He delivered us from dying on the field. He made the way for us to get back in the dug-out with Him to stay. When I see the signs on the hands and feet of Jesus, I see the scars He received for me. I see the distance He went to make you and I victorious! I see new life and a new identity.

What are you seeing in the signs this Easter? If you have nowhere else to worship this weekend, come by the Lighthouse Church so that you can learn the signs to get you home!
The Lighthouse has a Good Friday Service this Friday at 7PM. Easter Sunday Services are at 7AM, 9AM, and 10:45 AM. If you show up, the signs look real good that you’ll be looking up in no time this spring time for all time!





MOOKIE WILSON AND YOU!

3 04 2017

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First, I need to say Happy Birthday to my son Nicholas Paul who would have been 22 years old today. He was born on a quiet April 5, 1995 morning in Omaha, Nebraska. We would never leave the hospital with him alive. He graduated to Heaven right in my arms as I sang him a lullaby. Needless to say, I have no idea why it all happened as it did,  but the 90 minutes that this little boy spent with his Mommy and Daddy made a forever mark upon their hearts! We spent a lifetime in an hour and a half. We press on and have learned to do so with the grace and promises of God and a constant ache that never seems to totally go away. I share this with you to offer affirmation to those of you Parents who have holes in their souls because of the death of a child. There is no way to ever measure the lasting impact, but on Nicholas’ Birthday, I am grateful that I will see him again and his little life was not for naught. Like his name literally means, he was our “Little Victory!” I hope you know how much we miss you Nicholas and today we pray that you enjoy this day to the utmost! I hope the Lord lets you pitch both games of your Birthday Doubleheader!

 Baseball Season started this past Sunday. As many of you know, Pastor Rudy is a huge Mets Fan and loves the game that he has played and then coached for 50 plus years. This coming Saturday Morning we have a special treat coming to The Lighthouse Church. We are hosting a Men’s Resurrection Breakfast for Men of all ages and it begins at 9AM. Our special Guest Speaker is the one and only Mookie Wilson. Mookie is a true Baseball Legend as he was at bat in one of the biggest plate appearances in Mets World Series History. Down to two strikes and practically losing the Series several times, Mookie kept the ‘at bat’ alive long enough for a wild pitch to tie the game and then a certain slow roller that he hit up the first base line that went through the legs of a player named Bill Buckner to win the game! Mookie was a catalyst for those Mets Teams of the 80’s. They won many a game with their brilliant pitching, their powerful hitting and the speed of one Mookie Wilson.

 In his Book, “Mookie: Life, Baseball and the 86 Mets,” he writes, “Growing up in rural South Carolina in the 1960s, I took to heart the lessons of my Father, who was a diligent sharecropper that believed in the abiding power of faith—and he taught me the game that would change my life.”

When Mookie was called up to the Major Leagues in 1980, the Mets were a terrible team and a perennial cellar-dweller clearly overshadowed by the crosstown Yankees. But inspired by Mookie’s legendary hustle, the times they would be changing at Shea Stadium and soon these upcoming Mets that included the likes of Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Wally Backman, and Mookie, they would become the toast of New York. And even when some of the others off-field antics were less than admirable, Mookie always stayed above the fray.

In 1986, the Mets were a juggernaut, winning 108 games during the regular season and edging the Houston Astros for the National League pennant following a grueling 16-inning Game Six classic. In the World Series against Boston, in an epic at-bat that led to the Buckner error, Mookie would ignite a fire under the Mets, helping to force a Game Seven. New York would win to become World Champions. In an era when role models in sports were hard to come by, some tarnished by their own hubris and greed, Mookie Wilson remained the exception: a man of humility and honor when it really mattered the most.

Last year at the Resurrection Breakfast, over 500 Men of all ages gathered at The Lighthouse to hear Darryl Strawberry tell his story. This year it’s your chance to see and hear Mookie in person. He will sign autographs, take pictures and be with us until Noon. Come on Grandfathers, Dads and Sons, when was the last time you all did something together? This weekend you can make a memory that will last forever! The only cost is $5 a ticket for the Breakfast and everything else is free!

 Did you know that Mookie Wilson once appeared on Sesame Street? Did you know that Mookie Wilson played in the 1977 College World Series as a member of the South Carolina Gamecocks?

Did you know that Mookie Wilson’s Step Son Preston Wilson also played Major League Baseball and was in the trade that brought Mike Piazza to the Mets? Did you know that Mookie has worked as a truck driver and hauled freight on an 18-wheeler in many an off-season? Did you know that Mookie’s real name is William? Today, Mookie is a Roving Instructor with the New York Mets still teaching the game he loves so much and he is also an Ordained Minister working with people of all ages helping them to come to faith, find hope and seek answers in the midst of this crazy world. Maybe Mookie can play a key role in helping you come to grip with your life’s meaning and purpose. I pray that he can because you actually made your way to see and meet him this Saturday.

 MOOKIE WILSON MEN’S RESURRECTION BREAKFAST- SATURDAY APRIL 8TH– 9AM- $5 FOR BREAKFAST- CALL 609-465-6690 FOR MORE INFORMATION. tlccma.org

     





PERRY MASON- BEN MATLOCK- JESUS- THE HOLY SPIRIT!

27 03 2017

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I love a good Lawyer Television Show. I have seen every episode of Perry Mason. I have witnessed all of Ben Matlock’s charm and wit in the courtroom. I cherish the movie, “12 Angry Men,” filmed in one room where we witness a Jury deliberate over whether a young man is innocent or guilty. If it wasn’t for the character played by Henry Fonda getting those guys to examine the testimony carefully, that Kid wouldn’t have had a chance. I even get a kick out of observing the sass and no-nonsense approach of Judge Judy every now and then. Needless to say, if you have ever been in trouble with the law, you better have a good Lawyer!

When we think of Jesus spending his last evening with the disciples; we normally think of the iconic Last Supper in that upper room where they celebrated the Passover together. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you will read many details about the dinner itself but in the Gospel of John, well he never mentions the breaking of a crumb of bread or the drinking of any wine. As a matter of fact, John never mentions a meal at all. Yet if you want the important details of that historic Thursday Night, our Boy John gives us more information than anyone else about what really happened with Jesus and the gang that night. John provides us with what has been theologically referred to as “Jesus’ Farewell Discourse.”

Here are some of the quotes of our Lord and Savior Jesus preserved for us by the Holy Spirit acting through John as a stenographer on the case. In John 14:16-20, we read, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Just a short moment later, John adds in Chapter 14 and verses 25-27 the following words, “25 All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is attempting to give his Followers some remarkable facts. He is talking about going away so that God’s Spirit can come to the disciples and fill them up to empower them in a way that will turn the world upside down and right side up. “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come; but if I go, I will send him to you” (JOHN 16:7). So who is this person that Jesus calls our “another Advocate?”

It is not an accident that this name for the Holy Spirit is different in nearly every translation. The King James Version calls him “Comforter,” while other translations render it “Helper” or “Counselor.” Pastor Tim Keller tells us that whenever you find this many translations disagreeing like this, it’s usually because the original word’s meaning is too nuanced and rich to convey via a single English word. A “comforter” can make you think of mere hand-holding, while a “counselor” has us picturing a therapist with his patient. A “helper” might make you think of the Spirit of God being nothing more than our divine gopher to fetch all the things we will need to get by. This may be one of the reasons why the term Advocate, a legal word, sometimes used for an attorney who represents you in court brings out the clearest aspects of this Greek word, “paraklete.” “Paraklete” is a noun, the verb form being “parakaleo.” “Kaleo” means to call or direct someone. “Para” means to come alongside, the prefix appearing often with the same meaning in English, as in paralegal or paramedic. It means to come alongside in order to support. To “come alongside” means to be sympathetic, to be in a relationship, to stand in someone’s shoes.

So the Holy Spirit may be our ‘counselor at law,” or put in another way, “our defense attorney”. Your defense attorney definitely should be on and at your side if you are going to come out a winner in the courtroom of life. But you need more than just a good Buddy to hold your hand or cheer you on.  Your Advocate may actually have some pretty hard and challenging things to say to you, but they are all for your own good and for you to have any shot at experiencing a hope and a fruitful future.

What did Jesus do for us on the cross? I can almost hear you say, “That’s easy. He died for our sins and that means we can be forgiven.” And that would be part of it but not the whole scope of the lengths that the Lord goes for us so we can live fully and freely in the identity of being children of God.  Unfortunately, God is holy and there is a bar of justice that demands perfection. None of us ever even come close to passing any test of becoming morally perfect! Deep down in our soul, we know that this bar of justice is there just as the Bible tells us it is. And we know we are in no condition to proclaim ourselves “Not Guilty,” and to do so keeping a straight face! So we cry out to God for somebody to rescue us and redeem us from an eternal imprisonment!

What does a legal advocate do for you? If you are accused of a crime and you go to court, what is your defense attorney to you? There is a sense in which, in court, your defense attorney is you. As the theologian Charles Hodge once said, “In court you disappear into your advocate. If you stammer but your lawyer is eloquent, what do you look like in court? Eloquent! If you are ignorant but your lawyer is brilliant, what do you look like in court? Brilliant! In some cases, you may not even be required to speak or have to appear in court. Your attorney appears in your place, as your substitute. So what do you look like in court? You look like whatever your advocate looks like. If your advocate wins, you win. If your advocate loses, you lose. In short, you’re lost in your advocate! You are in your advocate.

Now we see the power of what John says to us in 1 JOHN 2:1, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” We stand guilty before the bar of justice and the Lord doesn’t give us a good example that we could never follow or just some kind words as we go to the execution! The Holy Spirit makes clear to us the law and tells us how we’ve broken it over and over again. But here is where the Bible takes the metaphor far enough to bring us home. If we are accused in court, we don’t just need an “Atticus Finch.” We have killed the mockingbird and the guilt is on our heads.

But the Holy Spirit is not resorting to tugging on the heartstrings of the jury or the judge, or to try to delay the verdict due to loopholes and legal technicalities. Our lawyer doesn’t need spin or emotional manipulation— but a real case. And that is just what Jesus has. What is his case? John goes on to tell us in 1 JOHN 2:2 “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” When Jesus goes before the Father, he is not actually asking for mercy or pity. Jesus says with integrity and conviction, “This is the law, and the law demands my client’s acquittal.” You want to make a case that is not based on how the court feels at the time but is open and shut according to the law. And Jesus has one! Jesus Christ can say, in effect, “Father, my people have sinned, and the law demands that the wages of sin be death. But I have paid for those sins. See, here is my blood, the token of my death! On the cross I have paid the penalty for these sins completely. Jesus has an infallible case. This is why John could say that when Christians confess their sins they are forgiven because the justice of God now demands it! If Jesus is your Advocate, the law of God is now completely for you. It’s on your side of the scale. When you put your faith in Jesus, when you say from the heart, “Father, accept me because of what Jesus did,” then Jesus’ work on the cross is transferred to your account.

When God looks at you, if you are a Christian, he sees you “in Christ.” In yourself, alone on your side of the scale, you are a sinner; but in him you are perfect, just, beautiful and totally righteous.  You’re lost in your Advocate.





LORD, PLEASE SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!

20 03 2017

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How does God choose a man or woman to use for his glory? People are often way too easily impressed and swayed by qualities that while valuable to the human race are just not that important to God. Men and women tend to be drawn to those that are physically attractive. Studies show that Teachers spend much more quality time helping the better looking students in their education. It is the bold and beautiful that makes the covers of magazines. It is the charismatic speaker that can actually get away with fudging on the facts as long as he or she is heavy on the charm. God does not particularly champion the external traits of popularity, humor, academic intelligence, being an extrovert, and so on like the masses do. If an individual is so full of themselves you can best be sure that there would be no room for God to move through that person. So the Lord will always choose the meek and humble spirit over the proud and haughty selfie king. Crowds are notorious for choosing the wrong people with the wrong qualities for all the wrong reasons! What is in down here is out up there where the Lord’s will reigns supreme.

 Whose words are you more influenced by, the Lord’s or your own? Would you still choose to obey God even if you weren’t too crazy about the agenda? Are you settling for short text type prayers rather than entering fully into a conversation with the Lord because you don’t feel comfortable in not being able to control the dialogue? Are you only offering Heaven a much edited, fully filtered view of who you really are on earth? Can you honestly let it all hang out or do you guard the image you portray for your public in much the same way a bodyguard would conceal the celebrity that hired him? How has God saved you from yourself or are you living life vicariously through your social media devices? Selfies anyone?

 In the midst of a society and rule that desires to push God out of the picture completely, leaving the Lord unworshiped, and blatantly ignored; is God absent? When evil appears to be running rampant and injustice is just another word for anything goes, has God abandoned the big cities for some peace and quiet and alone time in the Bahamas?  People who have chosen to be selfish need to understand that they will only someday reap what they have sewn. If a person thinks that he or she can pull a fast one on the Almighty, they better slow down quickly! If you keep pushing for a world where God is only cosmetic window dressing, don’t be shocked when the Lord gives you what you have been asking for. If a nation chooses to plant thorn bushes over olive trees and grape vines then they must not be surprised when they harvest a whole lot of hell. 

 Where is God when all this bad stuff is happening? How can a good Father allow such lousy results? Who are Believers supposed to trust when life proves to be so unfair? I hear these questions all the time. Just because God might seem silent doesn’t mean that God is absent! Just because you can’t see the Lord doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have his eyes focused upon you.

 When I was at Philadelphia College of Bible, I was one of four Seniors who were chosen to preach a message before the whole student body in a Chapel Service. I was beyond excited and very nervous. I had so hoped that my Dad would be able to come down and be there to hear me give this message. Having so many siblings didn’t make that a sure bet. As I stood up to bring the sermon that morning, I looked out in the crowd but could not find my Father anywhere. Right away discouragement began to speak lies to my brain. I immediately hushed that nonsense and I proceeded to passionately exegete the text of Ephesians 3:14-21. I was flying high by the end of my message; and was even more shocked when I walked down from the stage to find that my Dad had been there the whole time. Just because I couldn’t see him didn’t negate the fact that he could see me! The same is true with God. Emmanuel means “God with us” and there is never a time when he has abandoned us like an old car on a deserted highway. Heaven’s silence doesn’t equal to an earthly solo act. The same Lord who began a good work in us will bring it to a victorious finish if we only faithfully continue to trust and obey.    

 I hate waiting; but if I don’t choose to be still and if I selfishly proceed to take matters into my own hands, disaster is soon on the horizon. Three days, three years, three centuries doesn’t cancel out a promise that God has made us. He is the ultimate promise keeper and it is always too soon to resort to taking the steering wheel away from the God who will come through just like he said he would. We all must learn patience and trust.

 We may have sunk to new record depths of disobedience to the Lord and we may not even consider admitting our sorrow; but that doesn’t prevent God from being right there with the rescue process ready to kick in. Sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves. God’s people, ultimately, need a Savior who will rescue us from ourselves, from the failings and ambitions of our own hearts, and from the divisions and strife that we cause among us. Aren’t you glad that God knows all about us and isn’t surprised by our bad behavior and terrible manners? Maybe today the prayer we all need to pray is something like this, “Dear Lord, I ask for your way in my life and keep me out of the way from allowing it to happen! Please save me from my own stubborn self.”