The vanity of happiness

71a1yApXr5L._SX466_But God wants me to be happy, doesn’t He“? I have heard people declare this many times, in the form of a question of course, even though their minds are already made up. Mantras like “YOLO” were popular at one time. “If it feels good, do it” was another popular saying for a time. If you do not know, YOLO means “you only live once” which implies, have fun at all costs because you only get one time around. Each older generation declares that the younger generations are selfish, unlike themselves, when they were younger. I want to look at a passage of Scripture that speaks of people about 3,000 years ago. According to our modern way of thinking, the people 3,000 years ago should have been much less selfish than we are today because each generation claims that the next generation is much more selfish. Let’s take a practical look at the people of Israel, almost 3,000 years ago. Continue reading

Beware of Gossip

636699511480249780-636615629448888954-GettyImages-690656936I heard a message the other day, preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. It really touched my heart and I decided to translate it here in written form. The word that is translated into English as gossip, in the New Testament, is the Greek word “psithurismos“. It is derived from the verb “to whisper“. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is “ragan“. In some English translations, it is translated as “whisperer“. It’s roots go back to the grumbling and murmuring that the children of Israel did when they were wandering in the wilderness. It means to talk bad about someone, especially when they are not there to defend themselves or the accusations that you make. It causes another person to form a negative opinion about the person you talk about. This is something that is appealing to our sin nature. Little children do this without being taught what it is or how to do it. It’s in us from birth. Continue reading

Complicated King Ahab

023-jehoshaphat-ahabI finished off the last article with a cliffhanger. Elijah confronted the sins of wicked King Ahab and there was a showdown between the false prophets and God’s prophet, Elijah. Elijah had the wicked, false prophets put to death for their actions. Then, he was sent to pursue King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel. That is how the story ended. King Ahab and Jezebel must pay for their deeds. They rebelled against God and murdered the prophets of the Lord. They led the people in idolatry. The rest of this story unfolds in I Kings 20-22. These are some fascinating chapters in the Word of God. Continue reading

Elijah Confronts Sin

cph_30240958230Once again, I am sitting to write out my lesson for this coming Sunday. At Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are walking through the entire Bible over a three year period. Last week, we covered the lesson on Elijah and the widow woman from I Kings 17. Jesus actually uses this woman’s faith as an example of what genuine faith looks like. She heard the Word of the Lord and she chose to trust the Word of the Lord, even when it meant putting her life and future on the line.

Elijah is a man of faith. He has a very difficult task ahead of him. He was called by God to take a very difficult message to the leadership of Israel. He publicly rebukes King Ahab for his wicked ways and then he prays according to the Word of God. As a result of that prayer, it does not rain in Israel for three and a half years. There is a severe famine in the land and everyone is suffering. The widow from the previous chapter was suffering because of this event. King Ahab is enraged and his wife actually begins putting to death the prophets of the Lord. One of King Ahab’s own servants, a man who fears the Lord, hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two different caves so that they could not be put to death. He also provided food and water for them. King Ahab does not know about this. Elijah has survived the persecution but he is on the run. Things are bad in Israel physically, politically, spiritually etc. This is where our story picks up in I Kings 18. Continue reading

Time, Talents, and The Kingdom

T2I am preparing to preach this Sunday at Southern Calvert Baptist Church. I am going to preach on the parable of the talents. Our main passage is Luke 19:11-26 and I will also use Matthew 25:14-30 to add some details to the story.

There are two major gifts (talents) that the Lord has given to every single human being. Those two gifts are the gift of life and the gift of time to live life. The Bible teaches us that we can use time one of two ways. We can spend our time wisely or we can spend our time unwisely. Time is a commodity that we spend daily. We receive it as a gift and then we choose how we use it. In the parable of the talents, Jesus wants to teach us how to use our time wisely until the moment when He establishes His earthly kingdom. Continue reading

Solomon’s Prayer

110_05_0134_BiblePaintingsAt Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are continuing to walk through the Bible, book by book, over a three year period. We are covering I Kings 8 this week. This is when King Solomon dedicates the Temple to the Lord. His prayer is a beautiful prayer and that is what we are going to study this week. As we observe this prayer, I want us to keep in mind the outline of the Lord’s Prayer. One version of the Lord’s Prayer is found in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 6.

9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

Continue reading

Influenced by God to influence others

David-and-Saul-in-CaveKing Saul and future King David are a study in contrasts. Both of these men are born to the same nation, during the same period in history, influenced by the same culture etc. yet, they could not be more different in their paths in life. One of these men trusted in himself while the other trusted in the Lord. This trust manifests itself in all kinds of different ways. The prophet Jeremiah uses a great illustration to explain the differences between people who trust in themselves vs. people who trust in the Lord. Continue reading

Christ’s Resurrection and Commissioning

maxresdefaultI have been teaching through the Gospel of Mark with a group of men and it has been amazing to see the ministry of Jesus Christ, especially how relevant it is today. This is the final lesson in a 3 part series on the Gospel of Mark. I began teaching it back in the Fall of 2018. We are currently in the Summer of 2019. It is the shortest Gospel in the New Testament but, it is powerful and full of amazing information that stirs up life transformation. If you have not been following along through the entire study, the following 16 articles will be very helpful in helping you catch up. Continue reading

Learn to Respect the Lord

dagon-cae-ante-el-arca-de-jehovaLast week during our Connect Groups, we took a look at how Samuel was taught to hear and answer God’s high calling. The same is true for us today. God has the same high calling and we need to learn to hear it and respond. This week, we are going to continue to look at the ministry of Samuel. We discovered, last week, that Samuel spends the rest of his life taking the Word of the Lord to His people. That does not mean that the people always followed the advice that Samuel gave to them. Like all of us, the children of Israel battled with their sin nature on a daily basis. One of the biggest battles that the Lord warns us of is our battle with idolatry. Anything, even positive things, noble things can be turned into idols. Continue reading

Christ’s Crucifixion Prophesied

ArtBook__057_057__TheCrucifixion____I am teaching through the book of Mark and we have arrived at the crucifixion of Christ. We are going to look at Psalm 22, a psalm written 1,000 years before Christ, and about 500 years before the act of crucifixion was known in the Middle East. In other words, the psalmist is written about a torturous device that he knew nothing about. Continue reading