Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Believe In God

by Tim Howard

Everyone believes a multitude of things, but some beliefs like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are pure fantasy. While some believe in the fake, fraudulent and false, others believe in things that are real, genuine and true. I believe in miracles. I believe that our future has not yet been written; that we can make a difference in our world and I believe in God.

Your conviction about God is one of the most important beliefs because your true identity is only unveiled as you discover the truth about God. Since He created us in His image, we pursue a hopeless search for significance if we exclude Him from our quest.

The phrase “I Believe In God,” however, is one of the most meaningless statements a person can make today. Although public opinion polls tell us that 92% of Americans believe in God, the God of the Bible is not who they have in mind.

The Bible distinguishes between many ‘gods’ and the God of all gods. When you read the Bible you encounter a myriad of people who will not embrace and have no desire for the true God found in scripture. Time and again they are found to be in search of other gods. Why? Why won’t we embrace our creator and accept the truth about Him?

Maybe it’s because we want a god who will do what we want, when we want it and how we want it. Possibly we want a god who will tolerate our sin, ignore our behavior and allow no consequences. Could it be that we desire a god who will protect us from all the bad and provide us with only the good? When the true God doesn’t fulfill these desires we are off to find something that will.

When you make God into what you want him to be, you create an idol and serve another ‘god.’ You break the 2nd and 3rd commandments and do yourself harm. Psalms 96:5 says: …”all the gods of the peoples are idols but the Lord made the heavens.

Today’s generation often believes in a god of his or her own making. They have combined fragments of Christianity, Buddhism, New Age and any number of notions derived from personal experience and have come up with a god that bears little resemblance to the God of the Bible. Even many modern churchgoers derive their understanding of God as much from popular culture as from the Scriptures.

Here’s a major problem! No other god can rescue, deliver, heal, help or save you. Only Jesus who is the revelation of God to mankind can do these things. When we serve, worship, seek after or make some ‘god’ our first priority, things break down. The true God came and revealed Himself through Jesus in order to preach the good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, free people who are captive to addictions, find those who are lost and help those who are hurting. He and He alone is able to save.

We don’t live in a god-less nation. We live in a god filled nation! Many gods rule our land so be cautious when someone says “I Believe In God”. It may not mean what you think! I can’t speak for anyone else but as for my house, and me we believe in the God who is revealed in the Bible. Why don’t you check out one of the many church families in Kings County this weekend and hear the truth about God.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Live Your Story

by Andrew Cromwell

There is a fascinating conversation recorded in the Bible in the last chapter of John between Jesus and Peter. During this encounter, Jesus gives Peter a glimpse into the future. Jesus tells Peter he is going to be persecuted at the end of his life because of his faith. Upon hearing this, Peter was a little shocked. I think his mind began to race a bit and he probably struggled with the question, “Why me?”

Scripture says that he turned around to his fellow disciple, John, and asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” In other words, “Am I going to be the only one that is going to get mistreated because of following you? John will get his fair share too, right?”

I love Jesus’ response because it is so straightforward. He doesn’t mince words and He doesn’t sugarcoat. Basically he says, and I’m going to paraphrase here, “Peter, that’s none of your business, that is between John and I. The only thing you need to worry about is whether or not you are going to stay true to your convictions and follow me until the end.”

Jesus is telling Peter to live out his story. I think He would tell you and I the same thing today. He would tell us to live out the story that He has designed for us and not worry about anyone else’s.

As humans, we really struggle with that. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. We are always thinking about some other person’s life and asking why we are not more like them, why our life is so much harder than theirs or why God is using them in such wonderful ways when it seems we are forgotten.

But that is their story! That is between them and God. Jesus didn’t say to Peter, “You know, Pete, if you were just more like John....” And that is because Jesus is not interested in Peter being more like John. He is interested in Peter being who He needs to be in and through God’s power.

God is not interested in you being more like someone else. He doesn’t need you to be more like the person you idolize or less like the person you demonize. He needs you to be you, transformed into His image. He made you for a purpose. The Scripture says that you are His masterpiece!

So live your story and stop wondering about everyone else’s. Be thankful that you don’t have to feel like you are ahead or behind anyone else. God’s timeline is custom designed for you! After all, don’t you realize that the very person you compare yourself to is probably feeling the same way and comparing themselves to someone else?

This weekend the pastors in Kings County would love the opportunity to encourage you to live out your story to the fullest.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For

by Tim Howard

It was a joke and I laughed when I heard it! A couple in their mid-fifties was trying to rekindle a spark in their marriage when they were approached by a “Genie.” This strange character stated that he would give each of them one wish beginning with the woman. She, without hesitation recalled their honeymoon on the tropical island of Maui and said, “Please put us on that beautiful beach so we can walk together and renew our love.” Instantly the beauty of a tropical paradise surrounded them. The man, after looking around and seeing other women 20 years younger than himself, asked the Genie to make his wife 20 years younger than himself. In an instant, he was 75 years old! You may be laughing like me but don’t miss the moral. It is this: Be careful what you ask for! Sometimes your request produces something quite unexpected.

The Bible makes it very clear that we can ask God for anything. If, however, you are bold enough to make a request, you better be prepared for one of four answers.

1. If the request is wrong, God will say “No.” The apostle James in Chapter 4 tells us that it is possible to ask for things that might be detrimental to our development. Along with that fact, he also reveals that it is possible to ask for something with wrong motives. When this happens, be prepared for God to say “No.” With hindsight, I have discovered this to be a blessing rather than a curse. God has spared me from many disasters by not fulfilling my desires, because what I want isn’t always what’s best for me.

2. If the timing is wrong, God will say, “Slow.” Little children want everything “Now” and my grandson is no exception. He doesn’t understand the phrase, “delayed gratification” and can’t comprehend the word “later.” Hopefully he will learn, because timing is extremely important in the journey called life. Many people miss out on a lot of things and get buried in problems because they will not choose to exercise patience and self-control.

3. If you are not yet ready to receive the request, God will say “Grow.” Sometimes, God wants to throw us the ball but we don’t have our heads in the game. We are distracted by many pleasures at the expense of pursuing our purpose. God graciously waits for us and speaks the truth in love so we will grow up in all aspects.

4. Last of all, when the timing is right, you are right and the request is right, God says, “Yes, Let’s Go”. I personally believe this is God’s favorite answer. He wants to say YES!

God ALWAYS answers prayer! It may not be the answer you want but it’s an answer you can accept if you know this truth: God doesn’t always give you what you want but He always gives you what you need. God loves you enough to say no, slow or grow even though it may produce some pain. Jesus wants to help you! He says: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell Me what you need, and thank God for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. If God approached you and said He would answer one prayer, what would your request be?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Out of Line

by Andrew Cromwell

Most everyone has heard of the story of David and Bathsheba even if they don’t know the details. It is one of the more intriguing stories in the Old Testament because it has all the classic elements that make stories so engaging — adultery, murder, deception and more.

To grossly oversimplify, King David committed adultery with the wife of one of his lieutenants, and when she became pregnant he had him killed to cover it up. After the death of the lieutenant, David then married Bathsheba, but the son they had conceived died in childbirth.

Honestly, there is nothing incredibly surprising about this story. It has been told and retold many times in many different ways. Almost certainly a version of the story was shown just this week on one of the soap operas on daytime television. It is one of the great tragedies of human nature and only the names are changed but there are few innocents.

And it can happen to you if you get out of line.

You may not commit adultery and you may not kill anyone, but that same nature is inside of us that was inside of David. But there is a way to protect yourself against it. The clue is found in Second Samuel chapter eleven verse one, right at the beginning of the story.

It says, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war...but David remained in Jerusalem.” The problem was the David wasn’t where he should have been. Instead of being on the front lines with his army, he chose to enjoy the trappings of his success by staying safely within his palace walls. Instead of doing the thing that made him successful, he was relaxing by the pool. He was out of line.

In can happen to any of us! Whenever we attain a measure of success in our lives—in a relationship, at work, in our marriage, at school—we can make the mistake of stopping too long to enjoy the view. It is always wonderful to celebrate success, but when we stop and build a monument and begin to believe that we have “earned” the right to stay in the palace....that’s when we are headed for trouble.

We all have a part to play in this world. God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. When we stay connected to our purpose and walk in line with what Father God has designed us to do, then we are actually protected from certain temptations. It is not that we are never tempted, everyone is. But when we are in step with God, then it is much more difficult for the Enemy to draw a bead on us.

So the question is, “Where are you out of line?” Where are you putting yourself in danger? Where have you stopped doing the things that you know you should be doing, but you have talked yourself out of doing them? Don’t delay too long, or else you will pay!

This weekend, the pastors in Kings County would love to help you keep “in line” with Father God. Why don’t you bring your family to church this weekend?