Title - Life Expectancy - 9/3/10 Written By Derek Smith
What is your life expectancy? Not in years, but in works. The book of James 2:20 says that "...Faith without works is dead." Now, I don't want to take this out of context, but James is implying that we are not called to just sit around relying on our faith to carry us. As Christians we are all called to do more.
Our true Life Expectancy is not measured in years, or based on our lifestyle; it is simply what God expects us to do with our life. Figuring out what he expects from you as an individual, is between God, you, and the Pastor. This is a question I have struggled with my entire life, and I am sure the same could be said for many others.
Most of the time when we ask "Why am I here?" we are afraid of what the answer might be. I like how Pastor Josh always uses the "I might be called to do missions in Africa" line. The truth is, if The Lord does call you to Africa, your life will be miserable until you submit to His will. God has gifted me with the ability to write (among other things) and lately I have started to believe that He wants me to use that gift for His good. That is why I am here. I am sure that is not the only reason I am here, and we must be open to the fact that for some people, God's good and perfect will can change from time to time.
A while back I was working really hard to find another job, and it seemed that every single door was closing right in my face. When I was at a moment of defeat, my wife said to me "You need to stop worrying about why you can not find a job, and start making sure that everything you do is to honor God". It wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear at the time, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
No matter what God has called us to do, we need to do it with honor and glory to Him. Even if you don't yet know the calling He has placed on your life, do everything as if it were. As long as we are faithful, and are pursuing God's face and honoring Him with our works, He will NEVER fail us.
Title - Prepare For Battle - 5/18/10 Written By Derek Smith
In my own life I have had many struggles and temptations. Most of you who know me, know that pornography has been one of the major vises in my adult life. Regardless of what we go through or struggle with, God has given us everything we need to overcome it, and the help is closer than you might think.
One of the most eye-opening things I have ever heard a pastor say, was when Pastor Josh said to me "How can you expect to go into battle, without your Sword?" He was referring to God's Word. The Bible is our dialogue for life as Christians. It is quite literally our daily bread and water. And most importantly, it is the weapon The Lord has provided us with to defeat the enemy. I know so many people who suffer from dealing with their sins alone. We are NOT alone people! Jesus is with us always. If you are not reading your bible however, then you are going into battle ill prepared.
Every time the enemy invades your thoughts, you have the ability and backing of God, to defeat him; but if you do not have your Sword (Gods Word) it is much more difficult to emerge victorious. Make no mistake brothers and sisters, there is a real enemy who seeks you out, and his wish for you is death. The Lord is your shepherd, and He will lead you through the Valley of Death untouched, as long as you stay close to Him and take heed to His word.
Father, I pray that we all are filled with the desire to know you more. I pray that we all are drawn to your word like never before. May we find peace, comfort, and victory over the enemy, within the pages of your precious words. I pray that we prepare ourselves for battle, as the enemy grows more hostile toward Your people; may we stand together as one army, and one body of Christ, to defeat him. And may we be cautious to show Your love to those who do not know it. Amen.
Pastor Josh has delivered God's word explosively thus far in The Vow series. Sunday night at the 6 p.m. service he made a few profound, true statements that I would like to elaborate on a little more.
The first thing is the work that must go into a relationship. For you single people, now is the time to be laying a solid foundation that someone will want to stand on with you. If your own path is not well established with The Lord, nor will your relationships be. For those of us who are married, Pastor Josh gave us two vows to follow, #1: God is number one and my spouse is number two. #2: I will pursue my spouse always. I have heard people say that when you get married you have got it made. That statement is only true when both people are seeking God's face and each other. Veronica and I realized early on that a God centered marriage was vital. We have faced enormous mountains in our 10 years together, and those mountains were only moved because Jesus is at the center of it all.
Here is a question for anyone who has ever been married, engaged, or in a serious relationship: Were/are you in love? Before you answer let's find out what true love is and who it comes from. John 3:16 is an exquisite vision of true love, "God loved the world so much, that He gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life." (NCV) Abraham loved God so much that he was willing to sacrifice his only son as he was commanded. (Genesis 22:1-19) Who in your life do you love enough to give up your only child for? It is clear to me that God is the Creator and Author of true love. So before you can answer the question of whether or not you are/were in love you first have to ask "Do I know Jesus?" You can not give what you do not have! Being that Christ is love, you must receive Him first; only then can you share that love with others.
Married people, seek The Fathers face, and love your spouse as Christ has loved you. For the single people, it is my prayer that you will remember that The Father knows what we do not know. While praying one day, God asked me to go to a church that I had never been to before. Instead of watching the Daytona 500, I went to the church; and that was the day I met my wife. If you are looking for "The One" then you had better get on board with God, and his plan for your life, otherwise you will only find one, then another, and then another.
"Imagine" - 2/10/10 Written By Derek Smith
Imagine a child born a redeemer; His attributes Carpenter, King and Healer. Imagine a Father with no sin; only His love again and again. Imagine a man, His life short and His mission quick; His blood poured out, as His Crown of Thorns pricked. Imagine a Savior, His heart desires to find the lost, their iniquities He will diminish; His life paid your cost, His final words “It is finished!”
After God began to speak these words to me, I prayed for guidance on His message. Then The Lord led me to Luke chapter 15, which confirms that Jesus came to find the lost. He came and lived a very transparent life, and showed his true colors wherever he went. He performed many of the duties that were expected of most men during that time, but Jesus did one thing that no man could do; He fulfilled His destiny by sacrificing Himself to forgive the sins of all.
I don’t know where you are today or what your story is, but Jesus does. He knows your pain, anger, and struggles. He knows about your finances, hardships and hate. Your tears and troubles are not overlooked by Him. When you are weak and cannot walk, He carries you. When you stumble, His hand pulls you up. He seeks you out, though you turn your back on Him; and when you bow before Him, confessing that He is Jesus the Son of God, His mercy and love are upon you graciously, and your sins are forgiven.
Lord, I pray for the lost today. I pray that they will hear their Fathers voice and come running. May your light guide our paths, so that we do not stumble and let our eyes be fixed on you so that we do not stray. May your words find ears that hear and hearts that hurt, and let your love be shown to those not seeking it. By your holy name Jesus, Amen.