Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Do you have to believe the whole Bible?

Q:  Do You Have To Believe The Whole Bible?
A:  Your chest feels as if an elephant is dancing on it. You're gasping for air. Sweat is glistening on your face. You are in the emergency room of a hospital. Nurses are hooking wires all over your chest. Another nurse is searching for a vein to start an I.V. Another nurse is putting a small pill under your tongue. After looking at the monitor and the EKG tape, the doctor informs you that you are having a heart attack. It's a frightening scene. Other tests prove that there is a blockage in your heart. The doctor tells you what has happened to your heart and then proceeds to explain what needs to be done to repair your heart so that you can continue to live.
Are you going to believe everything he says? Or are you going to pick and choose what you want to believe and disregard the rest, which could cost you your life? Your life depends on believing everything the doctor tells you.
There are people who believe the whole of the Bible. There are people who don't believe anything in the Bible. But how can a person believe just some of the Bible? How does a person pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true and what parts are not true? How can a person believe that Jesus died on the cross to take the sins of the world away and yet not believe that Jesus rose from the dead? How can a person believe that Jesus did miracles, but that Jonah could not have spent three days in the belly of a great fish?
What is true and what is not true? The Bible is God's Word. Not believing some of the Bible will lead to doubting all the Bible. The Bible is not a collection of human ideas and thoughts. The Bible is God's Word, given word for word by the Holy Spirit to human writers. If any part of the Bible is merely human thoughts, and not God's Word, then all of God's Word can't be trusted. If it is God's Word, then all of it is true and is to be believed.
We believe the entire Bible is God's Word and it is true. Our belief is not founded on shaky ground. First, there is more evidence for the documents of the Bible than for any other ancient book. Second, all the writers of the New Testament wrote within the first century of Christ's birth. They all knew Jesus. Third, even historical facts cited by the writers have been proven to be true. Fourth, God promised that the writers would tell the truth. The Holy Spirit guided them so that they did just that.
We believe all of the Bible because in it God tells us that he loves us sinful human beings so very much that he sent His Son Jesus to live, suffer, die and rise for us so that we could be with him in heaven. That is why God tells us that his words "are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
God's Word is all true. You can trust every word of it from beginning to end.(

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Still Time To Sign Up For St. Mark Fall Activities!

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps."
(Proverbs 16:9)

This is a lesson that I've been learning my whole life.  There are still times I get frustrated when life doesn't go my way.  Can you relate?  Here's what I've learned.  God is good.  God is wise.  God is powerful.  God is my Friend.  God is my Savior.  He tells me, "Use your head and heart to plan your days, weeks and years.  Do your best to glorify me each day in what you do.  However, remember that in my loving wisdom, I establish your steps.  I am the One who makes all things work for your good.  Trust me."  So the next time you get frustrated because your way didn't work out, just remember the One who loves you has a better plan.  Trust Him.

Trusting God's plan and purpose for us, here are a couple of upcoming events with which we invite you to get involved: 

There are still seats available at this Excellent Marriage Seminar in which you will be given tools for an excellent marriage!  You have until October 21, 2014 to sign up.  The cost is $50/couple, cost includes lunch!  Go HERE for information and to sign up.

We need your help!  We have seven different projects that we are using to serve people with the love of Jesus this Fall!  Go to the Welcome Center or the PIC and sign up for one or more service projects coming up.  You also can sign up for four of them online HERE.  Sign up by Tuesday, October 21st!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Something that really matters Acts 16:26-34

God wired us with an internal desire for more. The satisfaction for this desire is only found in Him. This is why I'm devoted to something that really matters - God and finding out his desire for my life. With this in mind I'm reading the Bible. Join me at the beginning of each month I'll post a portion of what I'm studying. With the Lord's blessing we will continue to uncover what really matters -- God's will for our lives.

I'm using a real simple system to focus in on the text. I'll read and listen to the text and ask what God might be leading me to Be thankful for, Confess, Ask, or Do. I'll journal out what's on my heart and mind. I invite you to do the same.

Our Bible reading continues… (Acts 16:26-34, NIV84)

“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.”
            We last left Paul abandoned in a dark, dank jail cell, bloodied from the unjust wounds of the days selfless and godly acts on behalf of a poor servant girl. Paul and Silas had the right to be angry let alone furious but they sat singing praises to their God. Amazing! But it gets even better. God sends a violent earthquake. The jail is open and justice is served. God hears their prayers and rescues his people. But God was not telling them to run out of there as fast as they could. God had something even more important for Paul to do. This middle class worker, the jailer, had in this moment an opportunity of a life time and Paul was there to be part of it. Roman soldiers were duty bound and if any of their prisoners escaped on their watch they would receive the punishment of that prisoner, or worse. After near suicide, the jailer looks to Paul for salvation from what we can’t be entirely sure but Paul makes the most of this moment and directs the jailer to believe in Jesus. This short sentence no doubt unpacked that evening to not only the jailer but his whole family. They were filled with joy because he had come to believe in God. The beating that Paul and Silas received, the false imprisonment was worth it. The pains and trials we go through in order to share our faith are always worth it. Trust God our Savior. He brings good for his people.
And so the church in the city of Philippi is started with some unlikely founders: a rich business woman – Lydia, a former slave girl (I’m assuming that she continued to follow Jesus after the demon was driven from her), and a middle class jailer. If God can start a church with this ragtag team I wonder what he can do with us?

This text leads me to:

Be thankful for...
Lord you are always working to bring more people into your family. It is truly a highlight of a lifetime to be used by you to impact someone’s eternity.  
There are too many times I would like to have it easy in this world instead of doing the hard work and living through the hard situations that are part of your will for our life, that bring us closer. Forgive me for my impatience.
Give me the words to speak as boldly as Paul, that in the moment, one more family might be brought to faith in you.
Lord give me the eyes to see each person I interact with as a special treasure that you were willing to die and rise for. Help me share the same kind of mercy you first showed to me.
Those are my thoughts. Please read through the text one more time and let me know if you notice anything else.