Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 28, 2011

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die"  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a

When you think about death and dying there are two things that cause you to fear - the certainty of dying and the uncertainty of dying.

Even in a death-denying culture like ours, everyone knows that no one gets out alive. Every person has a date with death. You have been to enough funerals, driven past enough cemeteries, heard enough news reports and read enough obituaries to know death is inescapable.

You spend considerable time and thought preparing for the eventuality of your death while at the same time, doing everything in your power to preserve your life.

God hard-wired us to life forever. Dying was not a part of His perfect plan for your life. So, death frightens you and the certainty of death can haunt you.

And then there is the uncertainty about death that is a bit scary. You know you will die someday but have no idea how or when.

When you board a plane it may flash through your mind, "This could be the time." You get the cancer diagnosis and you wonder, "is this it? Will I survive this or is it my time?"

There is a website on the net that claims it can determine your date of death. That should remove some uncertainty and remove some fear. According to my date to die is: Wednesday, December 17, 2036. So, if you are planning to buy me a Christmas gift that year you can save your money.

Based on this prediction I have some 811, 733,020 seconds left to live. You are on the clock, too!

It is natural to fear death because, death was not meant to be natural. God created us and designed us to live forever but because of sin, death became a reality. BUT, to be terrorized by the thought of dying or obsessed with that fear is not a healthy or helpful thing.

Knowing you are going to die but not knowing how or when can be a fearful thing for you. Don't let the fear of death steal away your zest for living. There is a way to be free from the fear of death. That is what we will be studying this week as we continue our "FEARLESS" series.

In the meantime, let the certainty of death inspire your to prepare for life - now and or eternity. Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Make it count! Live until you die - and then live forever!

March 27, 2011

What do you think of when I mention the name, “King David?”

How about the Apostle Peter?

These two men, highly honored by God and revered by believers through the centuries, were both guilty of being major disappointments to God!

Have you ever disappointed God?

Have you ever feared that you have gone too far or crossed the line of forgiveness?

"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man."  Matthew 9:1-8

FRIENDS, Vv. 1-2a

What is the best thing a friend ever did for you?

What is the best thing you ever did for a friend?

Here is a guy who had some GREAT friends! (READ VERSES 1-2)

Do you have friends like that?

Will you be a friend like that?

Jesus IS a Friend like that!

Having friends like these will certainly help you move beyond your fear of disappointing God……….

We need to be a church like that……


A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: "TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE."

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: "TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE."

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?"

The other friend replied: "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."


God has written His forgiveness in stone!

“Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

“He who believes in Him is not condemned.” John 3:18

“We are delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” Colossians 1:13

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” I John 5:13

“If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” I John 3:20

“If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:9

Let me ask you this, “Did God give up on Peter when Peter denied Him?”

So, how many would say that Peter found forgiveness?

How many of you think that David found forgiveness for his despicable sins?

How Forgiveness Works – Psalm 51




Booker T Washington once told a story about his young life. Every morning, he and other slaves in a plantation were awakened by the crow of a rooster...this noise always reminded Washington and the others to get out of bed and leave for the cotton fields. Soon enough, the rooster became a symbol of their back-breaking labour in slavery.

Soon after, Abraham Lincoln pronounced freedom for slaves. The first morning after the Emancipation Proclamation, the rooster crowed as usual but this time, Booker T and his mother chased it around the yard with an axe and this loud alarm clock was ate for lunch. Their first act of freedom was to silence what reminded them of slavery.


FAITH, Vv. 7-8

After Jesus forgave his sins, He then told the man to get up and go. Why didn’t He just heal him in the first place?

1) To mess up the Jew’s theology?

2) To increase his faith?

3) Was the sin the cause of the sickness?

4) Which is most important – salvation or healing?

A pastor friend recently told the true story of one of his church members, an attorney, who after meditating on several scriptures, decided to cancel the debts of all his clients that had owed him money for more than 6 months. He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its biblical basis and sent 17 debt canceling letters via certified mail.

One by one, the letters began to return, unsigned and undelivered. Perhaps a couple people had moved away though not likely. 16 of the 17 letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes fearing that this attorney was suing them for their debts.

How profound! We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open the letter that explains that.

David Yarborough tells the story from one of Max Lucado’s books of a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century was quite wealthy but also quite frugal. The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.

Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. "I’m wondering if you can explain something to me," he said. "Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?"

"Certainly," she answered. "Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off."

God’s forgiveness and grace is available for you – BUT YOU MUST USE IT! YOU MUST GET UP AND GO!


God has given you unlimited and unfailing grace to make sure you can always find forgiveness when you feel you have disappointed God.

If you have lost faith, He has given you have faithful friends!

If you are fearful, He has given you have fearless friends!

If you are faithless and friendless and fearful, you still have a forgiving God!

You are surrounded by friends and a forgiving God is here. Will you tear through your fear and come before Jesus this morning?