Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 16, 2018

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edifications. Romans 14:17-19

“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 3:13

What do volleyball, tennis and ping pong have in common with FredWes?

A good serve is hard to beat! And the FredWes family has a chance to serve well this Sunday at our Thanksgiving Dinner!

I am never more proud of you than when I watch you serve others!
In preparation for Sunday or for any other time you serve, here are three reminders for how to serve well!
Serve with excellence!
The event will be  well planned, well organized! Do your best to make sure it is well executed. Not only will that reflect well on you but more importantly it will reflect well on God and communicate to those you serve that they are worthy of our best.

Serve with empathy!
When you serve do it humbly and be careful to them in the way you like to be served. Honor them and identify with them. 

If the person you are serving is needy or underprivileged, treat him like royalty. Be very attentive to their needs and listen carefully to what they say. For people who are used to being looked down on or overlooked altogether, this is HUGELY important.

Resist the need to make them think you are important and instead, make them feel important by the way you serve them!

Serve with enthusiasm

Enthusiasm literally means "in God" from the Greek root words "en theos"!

God is in you when you serve His people so....ACT LIKE IT!

Enthusiasm has a positive energy about it, so serve with some energy and some excitement!

Enthusiasm emotes a sense of joy in serving. So serve joyfully!

If you are truly serving "en theos" - God in you - then you will serve others first! Don't you dare sit down to eat until you have served others with excellence, with empathy and with enthusiasm!

Pray that the seeds of kindness we will sow this Sunday at FCS will result in people feeling loved and honored and ultimately will result in conversions for the Kingdom!

May God be well served by FredWes this Sunday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 15, 2018

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for your selves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21

In an increasingly dark and dangerous world, we are looking for a safe place – not just to hide our stuff, but a safe place for ourselves and those we love.

Jesus gives some comforting insights on Heaven in these several short verses.

Heaven is a sure place! V. 20 – “in heaven”

You might occasionally have doubts about the existence of Heaven and wonder if it is just the product of wishful thinking. How can I be sure there really is a Heaven?

Because of Jesus’ Preaching

Jesus preached and talked about Heaven. Like in these verses, for example. Nearly 120 times He referred to Heaven.

Because of Jesus’ Promise

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3

According to this promise, Jesus is there right now getting Heaven ready for you. He is preparing a place just for you!

Heaven is for SURE! It is more real than this world you live in – of sight and sound and touch – because this world will pass away but Heaven is forever!

Heaven is a secure place! – V. 20 – “where moth and rust do not destroy”

There are not disaster drills in Heaven! No armies or police, or FBI either. There is no need!

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. ”He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making   new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. ”He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8

That sounds like a safe secure place to me!

Then John the Revelator goes on to describe the walls around this city that are 200 feet thick and 1,400 miles high.

Talk about a gated community! Those sound like some secure walls to me!


Heaven is a special place! – “WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS…..”

We have already seen some ways Heaven is special. But it gets more special as we add treasures up there!

Heaven is special because of the special things we already have there:

My name is written there, my God is there, my Jesus is there, my citizenship is there, my hope is there, my reward is there, my friends and loved ones are there and I keep adding more treasures!

It is true you can’t take it with you but you can send it ahead!

Heaven is a SURE place! It is a SECURE place! And it is a SPECIAL place that gets more special as we put our treasures there! I believe that! You believe that! 

"Imagine stepping onto a shore and finding it's Heaven.
Imagine taking hold of a hand and finding it's God's hand.
Imagine breathing new air and finding it's celestial.
Imagine feeling invigorated and finding its immortality.
Imagine passing from storms and tempest to an unknown calm.
Imagine waking up and finding it's home."

Jesus is preparing Heaven for you!

Heaven is for people who are prepared!

Are you preparing for Heaven?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

One Man's Poverty Is Another Man's Prosperity

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.' “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’  “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 25:14-30

In Hollywood there is an exclusive school attended by children of movie stars, producers, and directors. Asked to write a composition on the subject of poverty, one little girl started her literary piece: "Once there was a poor little girl. Her father was poor, her mother was poor, her nanny was poor, her chauffeur was poor, her butler was poor. In fact, everybody in her mansion was very, very poor.

It is safe to say that young lady is not really in touch with poverty. Most of us would be glad to sign on to her version of being poor.

Those of us this morning are no doubt more in touch poverty than this young lady seemed to be. However, it illustrates that one man’s poverty is another man’s prosperity. Even the poorest Americans would be considered wealthy by most of the world. The poverty level in the USA is around $23,500 for a family of four. Compare that to the average income $7,000 worldwide – and that is the average not the poverty level.

Suffice it to say, while we are wealthy compared to the rest of the world, we are not as wealthy as we would like to be. The American dream is characterized by one word, “MORE!”

As Christians, people who live under the blessing of God, shouldn’t we expect to be wealthier than those who don’t believe? Should we conclude that prosperous Christians are more spiritual than those in poverty? Some would say so.

Then there are other Christians who flatly reject that notion and say the Bible teaches Christians should reject materialism and live a simple life by faith.

Which is it more Biblical, prosperity or poverty?

When I am uncertain and have questions about Biblical truth, I retreat to something I know is true and start figuring it out from there. So, as the diagram illustrates – poverty is on one end of the issue and prosperity is the other extreme – I have placed what I know about stewardship in the middle and will work from there.


Over the next four posts I will share four big stewardship principles that will help you decide for yourself about the poverty vs. prosperity debate.

The first big principle is Sovereignty - "To one he gave five bags of golf, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability." V. 15

In yesterday's devotional I talked about the issue of fairness. Fairness is a big issue in our culture today. It has been awarded moral status by the politically correct crowd who have taken it upon themselves to make everything fair for everyone at the expense of excellence.

It seems the biggest casualties of fairness are achievement and accomplishment which is precisely why this master wasn't concerned about being fair. Instead, he gave the gifts to the right guys in the proper amounts to maximize his gains.

Like this master, God is more interested in fruitfulness than He is in fairness. And in His Omniscience and Sovereignty knows who He can trust to bear the most fruit.

Please don't get caught up in the fairness of God but rather focus your concern on bearing fruit for the Master. How can you be fruitful today?

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 13, 2018

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey."  Matthew 25:14-15

Let's review this part of the story:

The master, before he left on a long trip called his servants to leave them in charge of his fortune. He divided it up in an uneven way giving one servant five bags, another servant two bags and a third servant one.

Frankly, that sounds sort of unfair. Now, granted when you have eight bags and three servants the math gets a little tricky. But fairness would dictate that he divide them three, three and two.

But he didn't. In this parable the master represents God, so does this mean God is unfair?

Fairness has become an important value in our culture. It was a big issue in the recent Presidential campaigns. The Democrats promise to make outcomes more fair while the Republicans promised to make opportunities more fair.

Think of how much money and man hours and energy and legislation is invested in the attempts to make our society a fairer place.

There are a number of great truths in this well-known parable and among them is that God isn't nearly as concerned about fairness as we are.

Brad, are you saying God is unfair? No, I am not. I am saying to God fairness isn't as important as it is to us. God is beyond fairness - He is just and He is righteous which means that when all is said and done He will make everything perfectly fair.

Lest you unfairly accuse God of being unfair, consider several facts in this story:

1) The master owned all the gold so it his right to do whatever he wants with it. It would be unfair of you to tell him what to do with his gold!

2) He owned the servants, too! It was their duty to serve him by doing what he told them to do. A master had all the rights and his servants had all the responsibility.

3) The master wanted to increase his wealth not just preserve it. Who doesn't want to increase his wealth? You do! I do!

Considering that and factoring how the story ended, this master could have had a greater increase had he given all the gold to the five-talent servant. Think about it. The one with five got five more and the one with two got two more and plus the one equalled 14 bags of gold. But if he had given all eight to the one servant and he doubled it that would have added up to 16!

So, in fact, his attempt to be fair with his servants may have cost him some profit.

Like the master in the parable God is not unfair but He is more concerned with fruitfulness than He is with fairness. You should be too!

I think it is fair to say that we would all be better off if we worried more about fruitfulness and less about fairness. Thus saith the parable!