FORGIVENESS

Reading and reflecting on these passages as I prepare for this Sunday.  Maybe you should do the same.

Matthew 26:28   for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:31  He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 10:43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 9:5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

MY TRUE IDENTITY

When we make a decision to believe and receive Christ as Lord and Savior, we become a brand new person.  Christ is in us and we are in Christ.

Colossians 1:27 NLT says:  For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 Ph says: For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation.

A great article on what it means to be in Christ can be found at: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-stupendous-reality-of-being-in-christ-jesus

When we put our faith & trust in Christ; believing and receiving Him, we become a child of God with all the benefits of being in His forever family. Our true identity is found in who we are in Christ and in what God says about us in His Word.

In fact, God sees me and you as VALUED.  Value is usually determined by who owns something and what someone is willing to pay for it.  Several years ago someone paid $130K for a 52 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card because they valued it that much.

When it comes to how much God VALUES you, think about this:

“You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him…”     1 Corinthians 7:23 TLB

If ownership and price equal value, remember God paid for you with the life of His own Son so you could become a part of His family forever.  God says you’re infinitely valuable to Me.

You have a position (or standing) with God because you are “in Christ”.  He lives in and through you.  As a result of our POSITION IN CHRIST…

WE ARE ACCEPTED:  John 1:12, John 15:15, Romans 5:1, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Ephesians 1:1 & 2:18, Colossians 1:14

WE ARE SECURE:  Romans 8:1-2 & 8:39, Philippians 1:6 & 3:20, 2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 4:16, 1 John 5:11-13 & 5:18

WE ARE SIGNIFICANT:  2 Corinthians 5:18 & 6:1, Philippians 4:13, John 15:1-5 & 5:16, Ephesians  2:10 & 3:12, Matthew 5:13-14

WE ARE FORGIVEN:  I’ll deal with this topic next Sunday, June 25.

Here are a couple of other resources that may help you if you want to understand your identity and position in Christ more clearly.

The book: Lifetime Guarantee by Bill Gillham

The book: Who I Am In Christ by Neil T. Anderson

https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/core-christian-beliefs/the-believers-position-in-christ.html

If you missed the message:  OUR IDENTITY CRISIS on June 11, or OUR TRUE IDENTITY on June 18, you might want to go to gf.church and watch them on the Sermon Podcast under the Media Tab/Sermon Podcast.

God bless you,

BJ

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

POSITION & IDENTITY

Here are some of the notes and passages from today’s message on My Position & Identity in Christ.

If you are not a follower of Christ, God wants you to know He loves you in spite of anything you’ve done, His Son Jesus died so you could be forgiven of any wrong and have a relationship with Him, and God wants you to know Him and the life He offers you.

If you are a Christian – or become a Christian – the following is true of you.

AW Tozer – Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a deformed and twisted concept of God.

GOD TOLD MOSES: ‘…”I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious. I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love.’” Exodus 34:6 NIrV

David the Great King of Israel wrote: But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.   Psalm 86:15 NLT

John – an eyewitness of the resurrection of Christ wrote: “…anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NLT

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.   Proverbs 4:23 GNT

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.   And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

“For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ…”   2 Corinthians 5:17-18a Ph

Read Romans Chapters 5-8

When You Trust Christ as Savior and Lord – you’re freed from the penalty of sin

Because You’re Now In Christ – you’re freed from the power of sin

When You Join Christ in Heaven – you’ll be free from the presence of sin

“…Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God’s glory.”   Colossians 1:27 CEV

“Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above…not on things that are on the earth…For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:2-3 Amp  

“…you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he had promised.” Ephesians 1:13 NCV

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13 NASB

I’ll add more information to this in a few days…Bless you,

Pastor BJ

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY GRACE FELLOWSHIP

14 years ago a group of people who had met and prayed for some time were convinced that God wanted them to start a different kind of church in Wise County.  And on Sunday, June 8, 2003, Grace Fellowship Church met for the first time in the cafetorium of Bridgeport High School.

One of the first people I met when I came to help lead Grace as Pastor was Rosie Vaught.   Rosie rarely missed a service and was always faithful to pray for me, our church and our community.  She passed away just shy of her 100th birthday and we had a number of great visits over the years.  One thing she told me that was so encouraging was that she prayed for a church like Grace to be started in Wise County for over 50 years.

We’ve seen over 1600 people make a decision to trust and follow Jesus Christ during these 14 years and continue to see lives changed today.  I’m so excited to be a part of a church that is committed to leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  I’m also humbled and blessed to have the privilege of serving God with such a wonderful church family in a great community.

It’s also been fun to see some amazing students who grew up in Grace Fellowship since Kindergarten graduating from High School this year!

HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY Grace Fellowship.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blessing of Harmony

We all know when there’s harmony in our homes, businesses, family, communities, teams, churches, etc – it’s a blessing.  A lack of harmony impacts everyone.  David, the great king of Israel, wrote in Psalm 133:

How wonderful and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
    that was poured over Aaron’s head,
    that ran down his beard
    and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
    that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there theLord has pronounced his blessing,
    even life everlasting.

The word in verse 1 for harmony is also translated “unity”.  When we are unified, in spite of our differences, around a common cause – it’s wonderful, pleasant and good.   For those of us who follow Christ, it should be a priority.  Read John 17, Philippians 2:1-18, 1 Corinthians 1:1-17, Galatians 5:13-26.

In Allen Ross’ commentary on this passage he says the oil of verse 2 represents the precious nature of unity that’s focused on the worship of God.  When there was unity among the worshippers in Jerusalem (in spite of their differences), that unity impacted the nation of Israel.  In other words, the unity/harmony of the leadership impacts the whole.

And David also compared the unity/harmony in verse 1 with the dew that covered the mountains.  That dew was heavy and symbolized something refreshing and invigorating.  Again, when the leadership was harmonious in worship & purpose of following the one true God, it refreshed and invigorated the entire nation.

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1

Think about the application of this today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blessings – Happiness – Peace

Reading in Psalm 128 this morning, I was reminded of some general and timeless principles.  None of these contradict the truth in scripture that we will all go through tough times (we will experience as Jesus did – sufferings & trials).  But the principles still remain the same; that in spite of what we face in life we can experience blessing, happiness and peace.

Read Psalm 128 and check out a few of the blessings.   “To bless” also means to be happy or to have the quality of happiness in your life.  “Respect” means to have a positive fear, reverence and awe of the mighty God we can know and serve.  Verse 2 talks about being blessed in your work.  Verse 3 talks about the impact your “respect and obedience” of the Lord has on your wife and children.  Verse 4 is a reminder of the promises of this passage.   Read and reflect upon Psalm 128…

Psalm 128 NCV

1Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey him.
You will enjoy what you work for,
    and you will be blessed with good things.
Your wife will give you many children,
    like a vine that produces much fruit.
Your children will bring you much good,
    like olive branches that produce many olives.
This is how the man who respects theLord
    will be blessed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Marriage Principles

I’m about to perform what’s probably going to be my last wedding; my nephew and his finance are getting married this weekend.  It’s been a joy to be a part of all my children’s weddings, and of my nieces and nephews weddings.  As I was reflecting on this, I read Psalm 127 this morning.

Psalm 127:1 says:  “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…”

I see so many couples trying to build their marriage or relationship on the wrong things and foundation.  Jesus taught about building on the right foundation in Matthew 7:24-27.

So if I had only three principles to share with someone who is married or getting married they would be:

  1.  Build your life individually, and your relationship together, on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His truth.  Apply His truth to your lives daily.  If you don’t know Jesus personally, what are the obstacles or questions you have that keep you from trusting and following Him?  Find someone who can help you work through those questions or obstacles!
  2. Husbands love your wives and wives respect your husbands.  (Ephesians 5:21-33)  You both need to love and respect each other.
  3. Quit trying to change each other.   Years ago I asked a man and woman who had a great marriage what their advice would be to any young couple getting married.  This couple had  been married over 50 years.  Without hesitation, the man basically said – quit trying to change each other, instead allow the Lord to change you.  And his wife said to make Christ the center of your life and home.

Yes, there are other things I’d say to couples who are married or thinking about getting married, but these three are the ones that immediately came to mind this morning.

Have a blessed day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Fold Blessing At Tommy Tamale

 

I received a four-fold blessing at Tommy Tamale; a restaurant in Grapevine, Texas.  Janet and I went to Tommy Tamale for the first time a couple weeks ago and went back again Friday.

Blessing 1 – We met the owner Tommy during our first visit, and he recognized us when we went back yesterday.   However, the greatest blessing was that before we left, he prayed for God’s blessing and favor on us.

Blessing 2 – While eating there yesterday, we ran into a young lady whose life was changed by Jesus at Grace Fellowship years ago and who lives in the metroplex now.  I baptized her, and she’s still living for Christ; plus – she’s related to Tommy!

Blessing 3 – Tommy gave me a recently released book called UNSHACKLED: From Ruin To Redemption by Gene McGuire.   I’ve only read the first five chapters, but didn’t want to put it down.  I’m pretty sure I’ll finish it this week!

Blessing 4 – I ordered the 4 tamale plate & it was amazing!

I’m not getting a kickback for this, I just got a blessed and wanted to be a blessing.  So if you’re in Grapevine in the future and want a good meal at a reasonable price with a great owner – check out Tommy Tamale!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Decider or Disciple

Decider or Disciple: which one best describes your life right now?

I’m reading through the Psalms right now, and am in Psalm 119 today. Here’s a thought from my time alone with God this morning.

As I reflected on Psalm 119:9-16 this morning, I recalled a portion of Richard Stearns book, Unfinished: Filling The Hole In Our Gospel, where he talked about the difference between a disciple and a decider.   He writes that Scot McKnight says: “Most of evangelism today focuses on getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples.”

Richard Stearns went on to say: “Disciples try to plan their entire lives around Jesus’ teaching and commands. Deciders have their own plans for their lives and invite Jesus to bless them.”

My Life Objective is not only to be a disciple, but to make disciples (fully devoted followers of  Jesus Christ).  However, there are times I act more like a decider than a disciple.  I agree with Richard Stearns that disciples try to plan their lives around Jesus’ teachings and commands.   One of the frustrations I see in the lives of people who have chosen to follow Christ is this struggle between asking Jesus to bless their plans instead of making a decision to experience the blessing of being obedient to Jesus’ plans as outlined in His Word.

I spent some time evaluating my own life in light of Psalm 119:9-16 this morning and invite you to do the same.  This short passage has a lot to say about how we live our lives.

Psalm 119:9-16 NIV

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Here is Psalm 119:9-16 in the Message paraphrase:

How can a young person live a clean life?  By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;  don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Hears – Do I ?

I love the Lord,for he heard my voice;  he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  Psalm 116:1-2 NIV

I read Psalm 116 this morning and the first two verses really caught my attention.  I know God hears when I call to Him; when I pray.  The Psalmist also praises God because He is compassionate, gracious, righteous; He saves, satisfies and is our source of security.

I know all those things and have experienced them, and I’m so grateful that God “turns his ear to me” and hears my voice and my cry for help.  I’m grateful He bends down (like a father would with a child) to give me His full attention when I call to Him.

What I desire is that I learn to more consistently “turn my ear” to Him; to hear His voice as He speaks to my heart.  I know He speaks to me through His written Word, but I also want to be in tune with His Spirit as He speaks to me throughout the day; to give Him my full attention.

Simple thought: I know He turns His ear to me and listens; I want to turn my ear to Him and listen attentively.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment