Monthly Archives: August, 2017

Sharables Lesson 13 – Devotion 5

Sharables Lesson 13 – Strongest Ever
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

I have a friend who is debating on being a professional golf long drive competitor.  His job would be to hit a golf ball as far as he can.  He would travel all over the country and possibly into other parts of the world.  His swing speed is about 150 mph and he can drive the ball over 400 yards. He is always breaking golf shafts and collapsing golf club heads.  Fortunately, he has several sponsors.  He has hundreds of clubs.  Companies want him to use their brand.  The goal is to find the strongest material, while yet light, in the world. Presently, there is a magnesium alloy.  Companies are constantly looking for the best.  We have gone from Steel to Titanium to Tungsten.  It is a constant search.  Strength is impressive. 

Revelation 1:8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”  Jesus is the Almighty.  He is all-powerful.  Nothing is beyond His reach or impossible for Him.  He always has been and always will be.  What He starts, He finishes.

Isaiah 9:6 describes baby Jesus and His characteristics, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  It is interesting that Isaiah combines Jesus being “mighty” and still be peaceful.  It is power under control.  It is power with a purpose.

When life gets us done and we feel like we are being defeated, we need to praise God through Psalm 24:8, Who is this King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!”  He is the undisputed champion of the world.  He will go into battle with us and for us.  He wins!

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15).  He is both the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

I remember the silly argument between two elementary boys as they push each other, “My dad can beat up your dad.”  “No, he cannot.  My dad is bigger than your dad.”  Eventually, they both run off to find their dads and prove their case.  Fortunately, both parents just stayed home.  However, our Dad is the strongest ever.  He is the Almighty.

Nahum 1:3 paints a beautiful picture, The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.  His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”  Picture Him standing on the clouds.  He is majestic.  He is the Almighty.

No challenge is too big for Him.  No relationship is too broken for Him.  No addiction is too consuming for Him.  At the same time, no request is too small for Him.

He is the Lord Almighty.

Sharables Lesson 13 – Devotion 4

Sharables Lesson 13 – Pray for our Children
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

We need to pray for our children.  This next generation has it tough.  It seems each generation is getting more and more desensitized.  What use to seem unthinkable is now landing somewhere between acceptable and expected.  Unfortunately, we tend to compare ourselves with the world.  If we are more conservative than others, we are godly.  This is not godliness, at best it is morality.

I have heard people counsel, “Do not worry about your child, they will come back.”  They then go on to use the Prodigal or Lost Son as an illustration.  That parable tells us that “if” they come back they will be welcomed by the Father.”  It does not guarantee they will come back.

We can not avoid the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9, And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’  And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”  Fruit trees are expected to bear fruit.  I know that does not sound too profound, but it is important to accept this concept.  If they do not fulfill their purpose, then they are not needed.  Would God cause someone to get sick to get their attention or even allow them to die since they are not producing?  Is this found anywhere else in Scripture?

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 is a passage we read just about every time we participate in the Lord’s Supper.  It says, Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.   For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.   That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.   But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.   But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”  People were directly or inadvertently mocking the Lord’s Supper.  They missed the meaning.  As a result, some were weak, ill, or even died.

I am not trying to put a dark cloud over your day.  My goal is for us to pray.  As we pray, we should examine our own lives.  Are we active in the work of the Lord?  Are we growing in the Lord?  Is it clear we are a follower of Jesus?  Then we should pray for our children.  I daily pray that my kids will notice how active God is around them and give Him credit.

We need to pray for our children.

Sharables Lesson 13 – Devotion 3

Sharables Lesson 13 – Do Not Just Look Busy
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

When I graduated from high school, my dad encouraged me to go door-to-door asking for a job.  I was raised in an area by Detroit that had a lot of factories which supplied The Big 3.  No one was hiring.  First, I walked a mile in each direction going to each office asking if they had anything open.  Next, I drove a mile away, parked my car, and started the adventure again.  On Friday, I walked into an office and asked if they were hiring.  I said I would work any hours, doing anything.  The secretary paused as the man behind her started to speak.  He was an older gentleman but was filthy.  He said, “I can use some fresh muscle.  Fill out this application.”  He then walked out.  The secretary smiled, handed me an application, and said they were not hiring, but he was the owner.  I filled everything out except what I expected to get paid.  He came back in the room with another man who was covered in grease.  He looked at the application and noticed I did not fill in that one section.  He asked why I did not fill it in and I admitted that I did not know what minimum wage was.  He informed me that I would not receive minimum wage.  I said, “That is okay, I just need a job.”  He laughed and offered me about $2.00 an hour more.  He asked when I could start.  I said, “Tomorrow.”  He smiled and told me to enjoy the weekend and show up Monday morning at 6:30 am.  I was shocked and asked how I should dress as I did not even know what I was going to do.  He said, “See that man?  Dress like that; you just took his job.”  It was an awkward moment.

The job went great.  I ground the edges off of metal pieces to make them smooth for the welders.  Within a few weeks my section went from being two weeks behind to two weeks ahead.  One day Art, the owner, approached me.  He said he had been watching me and was very pleased with my performance, but had a suggestion.  He said that when I worked on the grinder, I often crossed my legs.  It looked like I was not working hard, but he knew I was.  So, he taught me how “to look busy.”  As he walked away, I thanked him and thought to myself, “Did the owner just show me how to look busy?”

Luke 12:42-48 gives the parable of a manager who makes a surprise visit on his servants, “And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.’”

We all want to know what people are doing when we are gone.  When we go out on date night with our spouse, we wonder what the babysitter is doing with and for our child.  As the children get older and we leave for an overnight adventure, we wonder if they are safe and if they decided to have “a few” friends over.  Will the house be trashed?  Will I have to apologize to my neighbors?  We worry at work that, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

Should we do a surprise visit?

Jesus will.  He is coming again.  Are we ready?

The passage concludes with, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”  We know the truth.  We are expected to step up.  We do not need just to make sure we are ready; we need to help others.  We need to warn them.  Do not just look busy.

It is a life and death situation – forever.

Sharables Lesson 13 – Devotion 2

Sharables Lesson 13 – Punxsutawney Phil
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“Red skies at night, sailors delight; red skies in the morning, sailors take warning.”  We have always looked for signs or indicators.  If you are a sailor or just hoping to fish, you might want to look up.  The skies can give a clue.

I remember my neighbor mentioning how it was going to be a rough winter.  He was an old farm boy who said, “Look how fat the squirrels are.  There are acorns everywhere.  Watch the squirrels; they are stocking up.”

We look for winter to come and to leave.  My family celebrates Groundhog’s Day.  Every year on February 2nd we buy gifts, have a special dinner, and even have cake.  By the way, our son was born on February 2nd.  However, there are those in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania who do take it seriously by dressing in black tie, with the top hat, waiting to see what “Phil” will do.

If we question Phil’s instincts, then we can wait for early March, “Enter like a lion, leave like a lamb.”  We look for a sign of something to come.

Jesus used nature in His parable reminding us to see the signs of something to come.  Luke 21:29-33 says, And he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.   Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’”  Jesus refers to trees and how they respond to the different seasons.  We see trees and plants start budding in the Spring.  Later we appreciate “the color change” as we drive by seeing trees that have changed from a green to bring orange, yellow, and even vibrant red.  Then the trees “die” and lose all their leaves only to start the cycle again in the Spring.  It gives a beautiful picture of death and resurrection, but Jesus uses it to warn us to be ready for some tough times coming.  The times will get ugly, real ugly and then Jesus will return.

In commenting on Jesus’ return, A.W. Tozer said, “If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.”

Waiting for the Lord’s return should not make us arrogant or vengeful.  Some in the world think Christians are happy that unbelievers are going to Hell.  I have heard some say that Christians thin they are better than everyone else because they are going to heaven.  This is so sad.  Tozer’s quote spoke of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.  That should be our lot in life.

How will you show Jesus to others today?

Sharables Lesson 13 – Devotion 1

Sharables Lesson 13 – “Are You Ready?”
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”   (Mark 13:28-32)

Jesus is coming again!  That is encouraging, but can also be a little scary.  Well, maybe it is very scary.  Many will be unprepared, empty handed, and without excuse.  There is a poem entitled, “Are You Ready?”  The author is unknown.  Although he mixes the Return of Christ with the Last Judgment,  I think this poem brings a nice change of pace and has a powerful message.

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house,
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care,
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not one ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap,
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!
The light of His face made me cover my head,
It was Jesus returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand,
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said “It’s not here” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late,
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear,
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call,
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

Are you ready?

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