Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DON'T RUN


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

DON'T RUN

(1 Kings 19:3) And when he (Elijah) saw that, he arose and ran for his life...

Have you ever heard of the "fight or flight" response? It was popularized by Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon. He stated that when we experience excessive stress—whether from worry within or conditions without—a bodily reaction is triggered, called the "fight or flight" response. He proposed this response actually corresponds to an area of our brain called the hypothalamus, which—when stimulated—brings about chemical releases that prepare the body for running or fighting.

When our fight or flight system is activated, we tend to look at everything around us as a possible threat to our survival. Our fears bypass our rational mind and put us into "attack" mode. Everything in our world becomes a possible threat to our survival. We are on the lookout for any possible danger. We tend to even overreact to the slightest comment. Fears become exaggerated and our thinking becomes skewed. We see everything through the lens of imminent danger.

Elijah was afflicted with this "fight or flight" response. Elijah faced off with wicked king Ahab in the "true God" contest. The Lord showed His power and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal were slain. Ahab went home and told his wife Jezebel who then issued a death threat against Elijah. What did Elijah do? He fled into the wilderness! You might ask why he could do such a thing but remember it was "fight or flight" and he choose to bolt.

It's easy to want to run when the going gets tough. We get tired of our reality and want to create a new one that is happier and pain free. But remember we are to face our problems head on with Jesus and not run when we feel like it. If we flee then we'll just have to come back to face the music someday. Why not deal with it now? It takes maturity to stick it out but remember Jesus who carried His cross for us all the way to Calvary. (Heb 12:2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Remember the armor of God in Ephesians 6? All the armor was frontal. If you ran you were not covered and would be an instant target from behind. We are to flee sexual immorality, idolatry, and youthful lusts but never the will of God for our lives. (1 Cor 6:18, 10:14; 2 Tim 2:22). Wherever God has placed you that's where you want to stay. (Eccl 10:4)...Do not leave your post... And remember you don't leave something. You go to something. It's always too early to quit! Run to Jesus instead and receive the assurance you need to stay in the fight!

(Pro 18:10) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

Louie

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SHOULD CHRISTIANS DRINK ALCOHOL?



SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

SHOULD CHRISTIANS DRINK ALCOHOL?

(Eph 5:18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

One summer I was the guest speaker at a Bible conference in Holland. Afterward some from the group offered me a beer out of their hospitality. Now there isn't anyone thirstier than a preacher after a service. Something cold on a warm evening would of been very satisfying to say the least. But I looked at these Dutch believers and graciously declined. They took their beer and went away while I stood there with the Sahara desert blowing through my pipes.

Why did I refuse? There are a few reasons. One is, there is alcohol in my family background. My grandfather died of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol. And my father was an alcoholic until he got saved at forty-three (never took a drink since). Why test the family DNA? (Mat 4:7) The other reason is I wanted to be a good witness to the fellow American Christians I was traveling with. I didn't want to stumble them. (1 Cor 8:13) Third is, I knew I was a leader and leaders must abide by a higher standard as they will receive a stricter judgment from the Lord (Jms 3:1).

But there is another motive. I want the Lord to be the lifter of my head (Psa 3:3). I can trust in Him to give me that lift I need instead of alcohol. And if I need refreshment I have that provided by the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19). His Spirit refreshes me and renews me. I don't need the "spirits" from a bottle.

Do you remember when the Spirit fell on the believers on the Day of Pentecost? Some accused them of being filled with new wine. Do you recall Peter's response? (Acts 2:14-17) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 FOR THESE ARE NOT DRUNK, AS YOU SUPPOSE, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh... You see, there is a high in Christ that the world just doesn't understand. And there's no hangover! Just a sweet afterglow that abides as you go on your way.

I have some Christian friends that have beer in their refrigerator, wine in their cabinets for Italian dishes, or order a Margarita when they are out at a Mexican restaurant. They tell me the Bible doesn't say a Christian cannot drink. Only that they shouldn't get drunk. They argue for moderation over abstention. Technically that is true but I like to come back at them with a story of the Christian man who had a routine. Every week he would mow the lawn and then drink a cold brew while he sat down to relax and observe his fresh mown grass. But then one day it hit him. Would he be able to say no to this liberty? He tested himself the next week and found he indeed could say no. He never has had a beer since. He changed his mantra from "free to drink" to "free not to." How free are you?

Louie


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Saturday, August 14, 2010

BAPTISM AT HUNTINGTON BEACH


(2 Cor 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PALMS OR PSALMS?



SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
PALMS OR PSALMS?

Well I guess it's time to deal with the dark side because the occult has darkened the door next to our church. That is...a palm reader business just opened their doors. Is this just innocent fun? You know, just the next level after a fortune cookie? Well let's first define some terms:

- Palmistry: Telling fortunes by lines on the palm of the hand.

- Tarot cards: A system of fortune-telling using a special pack of cards of pictures and symbols.

- Astrology: The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies and their supposed influence on human affairs.

- Numerology - The mystical relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things.

- I Ching: An ancient Chinese system of divination, based on a book of Taoist philosophy and expressed in various hexagrams chosen and interpreted to answer questions and give advice.

- Feng Shui: A Chinese system that studies people's relationships to their environment in order to achieve maximum harmony with the spiritual forces believed to influence all places.

So what's wrong with it all? It taps into the dark side for advice and to tell your fortune. But God knows our future and we must trust Him for it to unfold and live in the now. (Jer 29:11; Heb 11:1) Listen to this serious admonition from the Lord to His people Israel: (Deu 18:10-12) There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. And how about this? (Exo 22:18) “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

Remember how king Saul fell away from the Lord and wanted to know the future? He tried to seek the Lord but God would not speak to him because of his rebellion and unrepentant heart. So he then sought out a witch at En Dor. (1 Sam 28) This is what the Bible says of this deed: (1 Chr 10:13) So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.

So what about a fortune cookie? The fortunes inside are usually so trite compared to the what Psalm 37:37 says: Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. I've got an idea. Let's read the Psalms, not palms!

Louie



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Monday, August 9, 2010

HARVEST CRUSADE 2010

Last night we met in the CCNorco parking lot and carpooled to Harvest Crusade at Anaheim Stadium! What a great time we had sitting together and watching the Holy Spirit move and bringing many to salvation in Christ!
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John 16:8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
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Tim is our coffee man. Morning, noon, or night he has the Christian "crack" going on!
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Before picture of the field before the invitation to receive Christ.
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After picture of people coming forward to accept the Lord!

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

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Now let's pray for the follow up that each responder will carry that cross for Jesus!

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

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Remember the Harvest Crusdae is still going on...through you and me!

John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ANCHOR OF THE SOUL


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

ANCHOR OF THE SOUL

(Heb 6:19) This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast...

We live in stormy and chaotic times. And what a boat needs in the stormy times is a good anchor so it won't drift into danger. We all feel the tug of the world as it lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). So what will keep you and I in these tempestuous and uncertain times? It's going to be Jesus! He is the anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast!

Paul was in a ship bound for Rome when a strong Mediterranean wind whipped up and threatened the vessel. They let her go until they sighted land and quickly let down the anchors before they hit land. Then they prayed! (Acts 27:29) Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. That's what we need to do in stormy times. We need to cast our hope on the Lord and trust that He will keep us. Like the sailors in Paul's day we need to pray for day to come. The Lord knows when the storm will subside and the clouds will clear and we'll see daylight.

It is so easy to let our ship loose in the storm instead of anchoring into the Lord. There is a lot of temptation out there and when the going gets tough we seem to just give up instead of tethering to the Lord. Disaster awaits us though when we give up and pull up anchor (Acts 27:39-41) When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. {40} And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. {41} But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

Is it possible to have Jesus as your anchor but still suffer shipwreck? The answer is yes, but you have to remember sometimes the Lord allows the stormy times and things to crash in. Remember, though, that the anchor is still with you inside the boat! It's Jesus! He never jumps ship. Consider these verses: (2 Cor 11:25) ...three times I (Paul) was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep. (Mat 8:24) And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He (Jesus) was asleep. (Isa 43:2) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you... Some don't trust in the Lord and fall away during the tough times to their detriment. (1 Tim 1:19) having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.

The Bible says wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of our times. (Isa 33:6) That means we must keep in the Word every day so we can navigate through the rough seas of life. I'm glad Jesus is the Captain of my salvation (Heb 2:10) and the anchor of my soul!

Louie

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