Be The Difference — Lesson 7: Hate Your Sin (excerpt)

Maybe you have never given much, or any, thought to what it means to hate your sin or why. Let me give you five reasons why you must hate your sin. First, the simple answer is because God hates sin. We must learn to hate what God hates and love what God loves. God hates sin because it is the very opposite of His nature. The psalmist describes God’s hatred of sin this way: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You.” The Bible describes sin as putrefying sores, defiling filth, darkness and a scarlet stain. Also, some sins that are often winked at separate us from God just as much as the so-called “biggies.” “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sin always separates. God hates sin because He hates being separated from us. Second, sin tempts us to focus on worldly pleasure instead of God’s blessings. The psalmist says that those who have their sins forgiven can say, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” […]

Sermon: Our Rabbi’s Prayer Commission

This is a recent sermon I gave at Harvest Bible Chapel in West Olive, Michigan, called Our Rabbi’s Prayer Commission. In it I try to bring out some of the 1st century Jewish background and perspective behind the “Lord’s Prayer” while trying to provide a better understanding of how Yeshua’s (Jesus’) 1st century disciples “may” have understood his teaching.

E16–Did Jesus Claim To Be God? Part 2

In Episode 16, I continue exploring the question, “Did Jesus Claim To Be God?” In Episode 15 I explained that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and Son of God. This time I’ll look at his claim to be the Son of Man and what that meant. Also, I will look at some of Jesus’ teaching that implicitly make the case that his, in fact, God incarnate; God in human bodily form. I hope you will watch. Don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe. Bless you. Thank you for watching.  

Be The Difference — Lesson 6: Practice Repentance Daily (excerpt)

About one hundred fifty years ago, a man named Charlie Peace was arrested and convicted of murder. He was sentenced to die in Armley Jail in Leeds, England. On the morning of his scheduled execution, he slowly walked behind the prison chaplain on his way to the gallows, as the chaplain rather routinely and sleepily read some Bible verses. Charlie touched the chaplain and asked him what he was reading. “The Consolation of Religion,” was the reply. Charlie was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could the chaplain possibly believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase without any emotion whatsoever? Is a man human at all who believes in a literal hell, but can say without tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings?” All this was too much for Charlie to take. So, he preached to the chaplain. “Sir,” he said, […]

E15 — Did Jesus Claim To Be God? Part 1

Did Jesus claim to be God as Christianity teaches? I’m going to break this question down over two episodes. In part one we’re going to examine the following: 1st, did Jesus claim to be the Messiah? If he did, what did that mean? Peter declared, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” I’ll break down Jesus’ response to that? At his trial the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And what did Jesus answer? What did he mean by that and what are the implications? Has Christianity gotten all wrong for over 2,000 years? 2nd, did Jesus claim to be the Son of God? Or, did that title mean he was just a unique human being? Or did it mean something else entirely? In the parable that Jesus told in Mark 12 we learn what Jesus thought of Himself. Did he really understand that he was God’s only, beloved Son, or that he was just another prophet? Maybe the highest of all prophets? Was he God’s final messenger and the heir to the vineyard; to Israel itself? Does this parable really tell us that Jesus believed and taught that […]

Be The Difference — Lesson 4: Rely On God’s Power (excerpt)

In an article from “Spirit of Revival” magazine, from years ago, the author Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. stated four reasons why we don’t have a divine fire burning in our lives and churches today: Reason 1: Because we don’t think we need it. According to the author, we are content to live without it. We have lost sight of the fact that our greatest need is for God Himself. The author wrote, “We have sinned against God and He has withdrawn His manifest presence from us. But our eyes have grown accustomed to the darkness. We have gotten used to functioning in our own efforts… We have become blinded to our true spiritual condition and need. Like the Laodicean church, we think we are “rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” “As long as we think we are doing alright,” he continues, “we will never be motivated to cry out to God to send fire from heaven.” What fools we are to think that we can “do” church without the power of God, while we’re just busying ourselves playing church games. Reason 2: We really don’t want it. We only want the kind of fire “that will draw attention […]

E14 – Jesus’ Virgin Birth Part 3

The world has experienced unusual births many times. For example, the Fisher quintuplets were born in South Dakota in 1963. The Stanek sextuplets were born in Colorado in 1973. The Chuckwu octuplets were born in Texas in 1998. And the Gosselin sextuplets were born in Pennsylvania in 2004, born into a family that already had a set of twin girls who were 4 years old at the time. From 6 newborns then to 8 teenagers today living in the same house. Wow! But the only truly unique birth is still the birth of Jesus the Messiah. There has not been, nor will there ever be another birth like his. In Part 3, we’re going to look at another reason why Jesus’ virgin birth is so important: because it’s necessary for our redemption. Without Jesus’ virgin birth there is no possibility for salvation. What do I mean? Let’s see.

BE THE DIFFERENCE – Lesson 3: Set God Honoring Goals (excerpt)

It’s been said that of all the great tragedies that occur to men and women everywhere, the greatest tragedy of all is that of a wasted life. There’s a story I came across, which you may have heard, about a man that found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All of his life the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did whatever the other prairie chickens would do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and feathers no more than a few feet off the ground for a short distance. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly. Years passed, and the eagle grew old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird, far above in the cloudless sky, hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents. It soared with scarcely a flap of its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?” “That’s an eagle, the chief of the birds,” the […]

E13 Jesus’ Virgin Birth Part 2

The idea of a virgin birth to some people is, AT BEST, highly improbable. Why is the virgin birth, among all the miracles of the Bible, often the most difficult miracle to accept? Why is it more troubling than the thought of Jesus healing the sick, multiplying the loaves and fish, or raising the dead? Could it be that those miracles are not threatening? They benefit the people, so they’re even kind of inspiring. Maybe people see the suffering around them and wish they could do those miracles too? Wouldn’t that be nice? But when it comes to the virgin birth it seems that so many people are offended by the thought because, if it’s true, it has the potential to disrupt their plans, their preferences and their very lives? For many people, that would be a huge inconvenience. The reason it’s an inconvenience is because it’s also evidence of Jesus’ deity. In Part 2 of 3 we’re going to look at the second reason why the virgin birth is so important: it’s evidence of Jesus’ deity.

BE THE DIFFERENCE – Lesson 2: Live In God’s Presence (excerpt)

  The following is an excerpt from “Be The Difference” “We should fix ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with Him…we should feed our soul with a lofty conception of God and from that derive great joy in being his. We should put life in our faith. We should give ourselves utterly to God in pure abandonment, in temporal and spiritual matters alike, and find contentment in the doing of His will, whether he takes us through sufferings or consolations.” Brother Lawrence Whenever I read about men and women of faith there seems to be one constant that keeps them grounded. Even though they face incredible hardship, suffering and persecution at times, they remained true to their commitment to God. Elijah was like that. He was an ordinary man with human weaknesses, but who was firmly grounded in his faith. One of the qualities that enabled Elijah to be the difference in his world was living consistently in the presence of God.  Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except […]