The Conflict Within

 

I am posting this sermon I did as a school project. Please note this project has two first’s in it. It is the first time I have ever video recorded anything I have done and the first real sermon I preached. We all have this raging conflict within us.  It is the conflict of knowing what we are supposed to do and what we do anyway. The sermon is based on Romans 7:7-25, to view the sermon press the link for the Sermon Video below.  I would like to thank the guys in our praise band at FUMC Melbourne for suggesting this passage . Bless you all – TJ

Sermon Video – The Conflict Within

Coming Back Soon

I know it has been a while since the last update to the blog and for that I apologize. I have been very busy trying to finish up my last few classes at Grand Canyon University School of Theology. With only 2 1/2 classes to go I hope to be able to get back to the blog very soon. Please keep watching for new material it will be up soon. The goal will be to make this blog to be my full time ministry this summer. If you like what I am post please let me know. If there is anything you want me to blog about let me know that also and I will do my best to accommodate you.

For those of you interested I may bringing a study of Abraham online very soon.  This study will have video and be an eight week study. It will be on it own tab here at Invenibus.com

Until then may the blessing of our Lord Jesus fall abundantly on you.

Christ’s peace

Pastor TJ

Authentic Love – Romans 12:9-13

I was reading this morning about this, the thirteenth generation of the United States, and how you, Generation-X are a spiritual generation, which is tired of dogmatic religion. An institution that, in your eyes, fails to practice what it preaches. The institutional church is littered with Ministers, Pastors and Priests that are more concerned with preaching to the givers in the congregation rather than teaching the “way” to the generation that is missing. I am not here to bash these people, but to recognize your sense of values and perhaps needs. Although, I am at the end of the Boomer generation, I am very close to yours and I agree with your generational stance. I understand that I cannot just come out in this venue and ask you to trust me, I have to, and I am willing to, put as much time and effort as necessary into earning your intergenerational trust.

If you have read our “About” page you know why we started Invenibus blog. It is my goal and passion to reach your generation in a relevant way. I am not going to sit here and preach to you a religion, because that is not what I believe my research shows you are looking for. Therefore, as I have stated in the past I want to teach you in the manner that Jesus taught, which is a way of life, not a religion. My Goal is to be relevant in a way that inspires you to want to be in relationship in community with those that surround you. I have friends in your generation that have volunteered to help me make sure Invenibus.com stays relevant to your needs and compassions by critiquing my writings. Ensuring that I, in short, I practice what I preach or do what I say and say what I do!

This brings me to the lesson, which speaks directly to which I have been talking. It is based on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans Chapter 12 vss. 9-13 and continuing through verse 21 in the coming days.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).

Most people know how to be courteous to others, speaking kindly, avoiding hurt feelings and appearing to take a general interest in others. We may even pretend to show compassion towards others needs when noted. We can also become indignant to the injustices towards others. These are all good attributes to have, however, we are called to be real and genuine in our love for others and that goes far beyond being hypocritical or being polite. We must be genuine in our thoughts and actions.

Being Genuine in friendship or love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others in our community to become better people, to perhaps have a meal, to have someone to talk too. It means to step out and authentically share one’s self with someone that might have no one or nothing. Treat them as your sibling or better because not all of us treat our siblings nicely. This requires us to invest our time, personal involvement, and sometimes our money. However there are always things that can be done that need not involve money. You, as an individual, cannot express love to everyone in need. However, as a community, your generation can reach many in need of love friendship and caring.

It is important to recognize others, but not fall into honoring them with ulterior motives. As examples, we may honor our bosses so they will reward us, our employees so the work harder, the wealthy so they give to our cause. The effective way to honor people is through love. We honor people because they were created in the same image as we were. We are all related as brothers and sister through Christ, and have a unique contribution to the community. Does honoring each other in this way seem too difficult for your competitive nature? If you want to remain competitive then try to outdo others in showing honor! Put others first!

The hospitality the Jesus taught did not honor the host. It honored the people the host was teaching. The hospitality of Jesus focused on those around him. Their needs were to be met. At the Sermon on the Mount, the disciples wanted to send the people away to eat. Jesus being the good host he was, asked what they had to feed the crowed with? They had three fish and five loaves of bread. He blessed the food they had and fed five thousand. Now that is hospitality!

Do not say to yourself that you are only one person and you cannot make a difference. Say to yourself, whom, do I know that will work together to make a difference in the community? Start small, get others involved, grow in a community that shows the love you have for others in need. A loaf of bread is $1.29, peanut butter $4.00 and Jelly $2.00. So, for under $7.00 you and a friend can give 12 people a sandwich. Now that is hospitality and love in the community.

Please share your ideas/feedback in the form of a reply!

Romans 12:6-8 Cont…

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

In our last post I spoke briefly on Spiritual gifts, saying that we would go into these in the next post, so here we go. Through the Spirit, the Creator has given each of us gifts that we are to use to build not only His Church but also the community. In order to use these gifts we must be able to recognize and understand not only the gift but how to use these gifts. In these passages, Paul teaches us what some of these gifts are. We can recognize them through introspection and asking is this what I am to do. Paul says if your gift is to prophesy, then speak out with the faith the Creator has given you. If it is to teach, then teach well.

As stated, we are to utilize these gifts to help build community, for what is a community without teachers, doctors, leaders and people to encourage one another. We have to be able to recognize the gifts are just that, gifts from the Creator that come to us through the Spirit. Not everyone is given the same gifts; this would not make community possible. We could not have a community if everyone’s gift was leadership or teaching. Therefore, He blends these gifts within the people of community.

We should dedicate our gifts to the betterment of community rather than our personal success. This by no means says that our gifts should not be used in our vocation. For if we did not use them in work, we would not be effective at our job and thus be unsuccessful. What this means is that we should not use these gifts for selfish personal gain.

However you use your gifts, use them wholeheartedly; do not hold back from using them to fullest in serving the community. Our gifts differ in effectiveness and power; this is not to be alarming but to advise that some may be more effective than others. Our mission is to be faithful in using these gifts according to His wisdom and graciousness. We should want to serve others by utilizing what is yours by grace.

Looking at some of these gifts, try to imagine the kinds of people who would have each gift. You may realize someone you know has a gift and uses it, while you never recognized it as such. Let us first understand “Prophesying” in Scripture is not always predicting the future, it also means to preach the message contained within the bible.

Prophets are often bold and articulate. They are not concerned with individuals that heckle or try to make fun of them. They continue to present the message that God has given them. A Server, everyone in ministry is a server because we serve those within the community. They are faithful and loyal. Encouragers know how to motivate others. Teachers are clear thinkers. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show kindness are happy to give others their time.

It is highly unlikely that one person would have all of the spiritual gifts. However, they could have a couple, one of which will be their dominant gift. For example, an assertive prophet would not be a good counselor, a generous giver might fail as a leader. This list is a mere example of the spiritual gifts given by grace. However, when you hone in on your spiritual gift, ask yourself how can you use this gift to enhance the community in which you are part of.

Most of all be thankful your gifts are completely different from others. Let your strengths balance out their weaknesses and be grateful their abilities make up for your deficiencies. Together you can build a community that will be for the betterment of the kingdom.

Our challenge today is to reflect on what it is that you believe your spiritual gift is and write it down. There are many sites on the Internet that will help you determine your gift. If you are interested contact me through the reply button and I will asset you in the site that we recommend. Until then may you find peace in all that you do and utilize your gifts to the fullest. May you all find peace in community with Christ.

Romans 12:1-5 Personal Responsibility

We have been going through the lessons taught by Jesus from His Sermon on the Mount. The last posted was on “Revenge”. I believe that lesson provided a segue to move to Romans 12, teaching on what the Apostle Paul has to say about our Personal Responsibility, falling inline with our goal of teaching Christianity in relevance of Community. It is evident, Paul’s words are directed to all believers however, even non-believers can learn from Paul as well. This series of lessons will help each of us to better understand that it is okay to have a difference of opinion. These opinions no matter what they are should not be a knife that cuts the common thread of which community is based. Due to the length of this lesson, it will require us to be posted as a series. So, please keep checking back for continuing posts. Our challenge is to understand, although there are differences of opinion, it is imperative we be a community.

Some background – Paul is writing to the church in Rome encouraging or instruction the people of the Church how they are to behave. We are to be living sacrifices to Christ, obey the laws of the government, love our neighbor, and take special care of those who are week in faith. In this, we learn to live out our faith each day of our life.

12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12: 1-5).

In the Old Testament times, there were laws that were to be followed for a sacrifice. The preparation of the animal and what types of animals depended on what the sacrifice was being made for. Today or in the New Testament, there is no need for animal sacrifice because of the crucifixion of Christ. He was the last sacrifice because of His perfectness that needed to be made for the forgiveness of our sins. When Paul says we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice” he means we are to give up, or lay aside our daily desires. This allows us to put all of our energy and resources into trusting in Him who guide us.

The Creator has a good and pleasing plan for each one of us whom He calls His children. He wants us to be changed, no longer living out our lives in worldly abandon, but living within His will. This non-conforming aspect of life means that we do not conform to the ways of the world but to conform based on the renewal or changing we go through as His children. People ask how can we change. We change the moment when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we make this decision, recognizing we have been called to Him, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit as well as Spiritual Gifts (we will talk more about spiritual gifts in the next post). This, to some may be confusing because not everyone knows the Fruit of the Spirit, which is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. As we become closer in community with Jesus, these fruits become more evident within us. It is not an over night process, for some the fruit will take time to ripen. As transformed, people through the renewal of our minds we begin to think differently than perhaps those around us. The language we use the way we act, the way in which we treat people all begin to change. We should always remember, it is because the Creator only wants what is best for us, He made that perfect sacrifice on the cross. Whether you are a believer, follower of Jesus, or a non-believer it does one no good to follow the ways of the world. A non-believer can be a good person and treat other rightly, love their neighbor, now how to act in community. However, if they are not in relationship with Jesus like believers they will continue to fall short and there sins not be forgiven.

We should not think of ourselves to highly either. We all know someone that thinks very highly of him/her self and can see the affect this has on the people around them. This goes beyond having a healthy self-esteem and may even border on narcissism. In any case, we should want to feel good about our selves but we should not let it overtake our personality. We must make an accurate self-assessment of ourselves. Can this be done when we are immersed in the worldly culture? The simple answer is no. We need help with our evaluation of self; this help comes in the form of Jesus. We need to place our self-value understanding that our self-worth is based on Jesus. One could then ask why is my self-worth based on what Jesus thinks about me. Apart from Jesus in other words, without a relationship with Jesus, we are not capable of much by eternal standards, but in Him, we are valuable and capable of eternal standards. If we evaluate ourselves by worldly standards, of success and achievement we run the risk of thinking too much of ourselves. This can cause us to completely miss the value the Creator has put on us.

Paul uses the concept of the human body for his teaching of the way Christians are to live and work together. Just as our arms, legs, fingers and eye are different parts of the body, they continue to function as one body. So too is how Jesus taught about the Church, each of us as a member of the Church is but a part of the whole. How much greater work can be accomplished when we work together as the body of Christ.

Our challenge for today is to assess our self through the eyes of the Creator. Even non-believers can do this. Do not assess yourself with worldly affirmations but through those that you believe that Jesus would use. Ask yourself, am I being all I want to be or am I being all the Creator has planned for me? Do I want to change and become, not a better person but a forgiven person?

Please click on the reply link to provide any questions or comments.

Sermon on the Mount – Revenge

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (ESV Matthew 5:38-42).

What do you do when someone does something hurtful to you in some way? Does your pride and emotion take over wanting more than retribution wanting to get even, with revenge. When one acts out of revenge there are always consequences. First, he or she has put themselves on the same level as the people that caused the hurt. Second, after a while, one may realize that what he or she did is out of character or self perceived as wrong, one may receive another hurtful attempt, only this time it is emotionally self-inflicted.

God’s purpose for this law was an expression of mercy. It was given to the judges to make the punishment fit the crime, rather than as a guide for personal revenge. Parents, teachers, judges and others who work with people must make wise decisions in order for discipline to be effective. A punishment too harsh is unfair and one too lenient is powerless to teach.

When we view Christianity as a relational community, we may begin to better understand the teaching on revenge. When we are wronged, the first reaction should not be revenge, but to show good to those who have done harm to us. We should not get into keeping score because this can promote revenge. It becomes more important to do just the opposite of what the person has done to us. We are to forgive and love the other person.

Showing this mercy can be extremely hard for some and come readily to others. The next time something happens and you want to react, turn the situation around. If you had wronged someone, would you want him or her to seek revenge or would you want him or her to have mercy and forgive you? This is not easy to do. A reaction is just that, it comes without thought; it is physical and based on emotions, not a considered process. If we do not react and think about what has happened, we can then act with mercy, kindness and forgiveness.

 

Vows

Sermon on the Mount – Vows / False Oath

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Mt. 5:33-37).

I cannot think of how many times when I was growing up I heard the phrase, “I swear to God or I swear on the Holy Bible”. In fact it used to be when a person was in court and brought to the witness stand they were ask to give an oath on the Holy Bible. So, what is so wrong with doing this?

The Old Testament emphasized that God hated a false oath, the author of Zachariah wrote  “do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.” (Za.8: 17). False oath is when we make an oath or vow to God and do not keep it. It is much better one not make any vow or oath rather than to make one and not keep it. (Ecc.5: 5) The Pharisees devised a plan that would safe guard them by swearing to the earth or to Jerusalem. This was they could claim there was no oath because none had been giving in the name of God.

The emphasis in the Scripture above is on the importance of telling the truth. People were breaking vows and using sacred language in a casual and careless manner. Making vows and oaths is important as well because is builds trust and committed relationships between people. However, as we see in Ecc. 5:5 giving someone your word when you have no intention to keep it or swearing falsely in God’s name is condemned in the Bible.

Here are additional examples of where the bible illustrates the Lord condemns the practice of false oath. Exodus 20:7 reads “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain”. Swearing falsely is taking the Lord’s name in vein, Lev. 20:12 states, “You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord”. Numbers 20:1-2 says, “Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth”.

When Jesus taught about vows during the Sermon on the Mount, He understood how important they were in the Old Testament. Advising the His followers not to use them. I can remember being in a bank with my dad when he owned his own business (early seventies) he was approved for a loan to expand our building on a handshake and his word. What Jesus is teaching is that we should we should become reputable enough that people take us at our word with either a yes or no answer rather than I promise.

Our challenge is to always tell the truth, build yourself a character of integrity that is easily recognized. How, remove every little white lie, deliberate fib and untruth. This means no fish stories, if the fish was 12 oz. do not say it was 14oz.