Hope Through Suffering – Sermon Notes

Thank you for joining us again at Faith Matters.  We are happy that you are here today to listen in to what God has placed on my heart.  For those of you that caught the last message, my leg is healing up nicely praise God!  I keep looking up at that tree and each time think of how it could have ended much differently, but God’s protection prevailed.  Today I don’t have a lot of back drop to share with how my week has been, but what I am going to share today is straight from my heart, please do not judge or hold any ill will against me, I think it is a must for me to share the struggles that I have been going through for the last 100 days.

Let’s open up with prayer.  Dear Lord, I pray that what I am about to discuss hits home with those who need this message.  Your people are battling some of things that I am going to cover on a daily basis.  Lord, help each of us to learn how to become more patient, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Without You Lord we can’t do it, but with You ALL things are possible.  God I thank you for pricking my heart and nudging me to share my story.  I pray that it helps others who are struggling.  Lord continue to use me, keep me humble, and let my words bring forth truth and give justice to the word of God.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

I wanted to share today the definition of broken:

  1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
  2. (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing. (defeated, beaten, subdued)

Broken can mean a lot of different things to different people.  What I want to talk about today is not an easy subject for me.  For the past 100+ days my wife has been battling with a headache that will not leave.  She has been seeing what they call “starbursts” in her vision.  She has been very weak, her skin has been sensitive just to a regular touch, and her feet have begun to hurt such that she can’t stand in place without have to lift one foot to give the other foot relief.  Instantly at this point you might say, “well, have you taken her to the doctor?”  Doctor visit has been her new middle name.  I wish we could buy stock in the doctor office because we have been there so many times this year.

What should have just been a possible sinus infection turned into so much more.  We went to our primary doctor to try and figure out what was going on.  The normal medicine didn’t seem to kick what we thought was a cold or maybe a sinus headache.  The pain in her head just kept going on and on.  The doctor began to order up the many different blood tests, she did a x-ray of her lower back where there was pain.  Lower back came back with some deterioration, but nothing out of the norm for a woman of her age.  All the blood test came back negative.  The doctor then ordered up a MRI and sent us to a neurologist.

The neurologist reviewed the MRI and compared it to the previous MRI and said that he couldn’t see anything wrong.  For most people this would be exciting, but for my wife it was nerve racking because the doctors still couldn’t explain her pain.  The neurologist advised to do some physical therapy on the neck at least once a week.  The physical therapy hasn’t really helped at all and the pain still continued.  I mentioned to her, “let’s get your eyes checked and see if the prescription needs to be updated.”  She scheduled that to be done and got her new pair of glasses, but that hasn’t helped the headache.  It is almost like no matter what we do, nothing is helping.  Have you ever been at that point?

As I am describing all of this to you, my wife has posted a few blogs about what she is facing.  Many people have offered prayers and that has been wonderful to see.  Some people expect that their prayer should heal my wife and the reality is that only God can heal her.  Don’t take this the wrong way, but if it is God’s will for her to suffer in this season then it won’t matter who prayers for her.  I say that with a grain of salt.  I don’t want my wife to suffer any moment longer and I have tried whatever I can, but to no avail at this point.  I told my wife, “what if God needs you to suffer right now so that you can reach and help others who are suffering?  So that you can share your story and bring them hope?”

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul’s Visions and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If Paul was allowed to suffer then how can we expect that God wouldn’t allow anyone of us to suffer also?  You see in pain our emotions become weak, but in that same weakness, God can show His strength.  Let me say that one more time.  You see in pain our emotions become weak, but in that same weakness, God can show His strength.

I don’t wish any pain upon anyone, but at least we should know that God is with us.  God will not give us more than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Now this particular verse refers to temptation, but if we are weak, in pain, hurting, does our flesh not want to give up and fall to that temptation?  It is only in Christ that we can have the strength to not adhere to our flesh, but instead overcome the struggles.
Through all of this my wife has been a warrior.  She has not given up, she has battled and fought hard, but as this condition has set in, it has taken it’s toll on her.  The doctors have most recently come back and said that she has fibromyalgia.  For most of you, you probably are wondering what is that?  Don’t worry, I had to look up exactly what it was also.  As stated by the Mayo Clinic,

“Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.”

Even with that last statement being said, “there is no cure for fibromyalgia”, I serve a powerful God.  I know that if and when God wants to heal her from this He can do it.  I will continue to seek Him and pray for my wife.  This battle is just another chapter of the book the Lord is writing in my wife’s life.  I pray that God uses her testimony for help many others see that God is good and that God can still be found in the midst of this storm.

Now that I have tried to explain to the best of my ability what is going on with her life, I want to turn this story slightly.  Many times we hear about a story from the perspective of the person that is suffering from a disease, sickness, or illness, but we don’t always hear from their spouse.  This is not about me, look at what I am doing, or trying to get any glory, but instead open a door to a situation that many never see or hear about it.

When my wife tells me she is in pain, I am a guy and my built in instinct wants to fix her.  Guess what, I can’t!  I have tried and tried and tried some more, but I have still failed in trying to help heal my wife.  It hurts my heart to know that she is struggling.  Have you ever seen a wounded dove and another dove stays behind to help her?  That is me, I am here trying to help my wounded spouse recover, overcome, and get through the day to day tasks.  Each day it is becoming harder and harder to see my wife suffer.  I thought this was only a temporary headache; the longer it has gone on, the more concerned I have become.

Many times I have ask God why her?  My wife has done a 180 degree turn since I met her, she got saved, found a whole new meaning to life in Christ, started singing, released an album, serves in a small group, volunteers at numerous events, worked in nursery, serves in our youth group, Lord why her?  You see, this is the struggle that you never hear or see.  The spouse who wants to help, but the circumstances are much bigger than me.  Only God can do this, I can only pray and seek His face.

When my wife is sleeping in bed, I pray for her, I look at her and wish there was something more that I could do.  Many times she has thought I didn’t care about her symptoms, but really I couldn’t let her see me cry and breakdown.  If I am not strong for her then I feel like I am failing her.  I struggle with the fact that I am helpless.  In any other situation I could protect her, but from this illness, I can only watch from the sidelines.  Sure I do what I can around the house like cooking, cleaning, and laundry because she hasn’t had the energy, but is that really enough?  The next thing we wanted to do was adopt a child, we are currently at the final stages, and yet I am here thinking can we really handle another kid in this household?  Will God give me the strength to care for another?  I have plenty of love to give, but will I have the strength to carry my family plus another?  So many questions swirling around in my head, yet I know that God will carry me through.  I continue to pray and ask God for His direction.  I don’t want to step off His path, the plans that He has, but it can be so difficult.  This verse helps me get through:

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
You see when things get rough, when it looks like there is no way out, my option is to turn to God, to turn to Him in prayer.  Just ask the Lord to help.  The mind is a crazy thing, it can wander, it will tell you that you are not good enough, it will tell you that you can’t do this, it will tell you to give up, it will tell you to turn and run, but my God is not that way.  God brings me peace about this; God is the only thing that is keeping the joy in my life. I am looking at it from a whole different perspective and looking at Lord there has to be a reason and a purpose for this. Lord, there has to be somebody who has to hear her testimony, how she has battled this pain, how she has overcome it, how she has continued to look to You to get through.

This has nothing to do with me.  I am merely her support, I am merely here to help her when she gets down, I am merely here point her back to God when she thinks she can’t do it anymore.  But I am still just a human, I am still just a man and sometimes I can let doubt creep into my own life.  And I have to turn back and say alright Lord I need you to right my path, I need You to hold me up, I need you to give me everything that I need to get through today.

For those of you out there struggling, with so many different diseases and syndromes, lots of different things out there, I am not going to try and name them all.  There are so many different ones that people are battling from.  There is ones that I can’t even pronounce.  I saw someone the other day talking about this disease that they have and trying to encourage my wife and that they have been overcoming.  I have never even heard of the disease.  It can be scary, there are many things out there that the enemy will try to use to bring us down and keep us down.  You got to get back in the word, you have to read the scriptures.  The scriptures will bring you peace, the scriptures will give you strength, the scriptures will cause you to rise up and continue to stand tall, continue to stand upon the rock of the Lord.

I am going to close us out with prayer.   Heavenly Father I thank you, thank you for this opportunity to speak and really speak from my heart.  To expose the pain, trials, and suffering that I am going through in my own life Lord.  This was such a difficult message to write.  I have so much of my own pain and emotion that I have not let out and I have just been bottling it in and if I keep bottling it in then eventually I am just going to explode like a volcano.  Lord I pray for all of those out there that are suffering.  Whatever they are suffering from, I pray for them.  I pray for those who are trying to help them deal and cope to get through that suffering because they also need our prayers Lord, they also need Your strength.  Lord please be with us, be with us every day Lord and help keep us strong and help guide us Lord.  In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

I want to thank you for taking a moment to listen.  If you need to reach out to me you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic or on our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  I hope that things that we are posting are encouraging you.  One of the biggest things that we are trying to do is be real.  It is so easy to look at a preacher or a pastor or someone on TV and see all the good moments, you never see the bad stuff and think of wow they have such a perfect life.  There is no such thing as a perfect life; there is always something that we are going through as people, as humans, even as a Christian there is always a battle, there is always a struggle.  If you read through the Bible you will see it, it is never an easy road, there is always something going on, there is always a lesson that had to be learned.  There is always something that someone had to overcome.  Whatever you are going through, you are not alone, don’t give up, and keep pressing forward.  You found this message for some reason, and I hope that encourages you.  I hope the things that we are doing is not just so you can like it, RT it, or share it with someone else.  I hope it is encouraging, I hope it causes you to seek a deeper relationship with the Lord.  That is the real goal, purpose, everything to point people to Jesus, to point them to the truth.  Teach them how to go back, look at the scriptures, read it, absorb it, and use it to help build them up.  Well, before I start preaching again, let me just close it out.  Thank you for joining, have a blessed day.

This was my wife’s next blog post after listening to my podcast:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/15102187/posts/1416128489

Advertisements

God’s Protection – Sermon Notes

Welcome back to Faith Matters.  I am so glad that you are able to take some time to listen to this podcast.  In life there is never a dull moment and if there is then give that dull moment to God and He will spice it up for you.  This past Friday we had the opportunity to assist and serve at a Chonda Pierce show.  In case you don’t know who she is, Chonda does Christian comedy.  I had never heard her before, but she had me rolling.  In serving that night we met Natalie who just recently got engaged.  My wife and I were able to pour into her life by giving her books to read, things to look out for, and how to Fireproof her marriage.  I say all of this because I have noticed that the more work that I am doing for God’s kingdom, the more the enemy tries to come against me and my family.  I will explain further as we get into the message for today.

Heavenly Father I want to thank you for the protection that you have placed over me and my family.  Without that protection I know I would not be here today.  Lord, keep us well, keep us strong, use us to do Your will.  Today let the words that I speak bring comfort to the ears that hear.  May Your word work within our souls to bring about the peace that comforts us daily.  Thank you for loving us, in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Let’s start out with the definition of the word protection:

  1. a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury.

2. a legal or other formal measure intended to preserve civil liberties and rights.

When looking for verses about protection I found this passage in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

3 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

I love the part when it says he will establish you and guard you against the evil one.  Let’s be honest, the world we live in today is far from safe.  People are attacking and killing each other and not just for survival.  When I was a child and was afraid of the dark I always went to my parents to be comforted.  They would protect me.  God the Father does that very same thing even though I am much older now.  I run to Him for His protection helps to bring me peace.  I pray for the Lord to bring comfort and calm into my life.  Without God in my life I would surely fall apart from the weight of this world, but with Him I am able to stand my ground, stand firm, and lean on God’s promises.

Another verse that I love is:

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. 

The world we live in is not just flesh and blood, but also spirit.  As I mentioned earlier, I was doing things to further God’s kingdom and the very next door I felt like I was being retaliated against.  Let me set the scene so you can picture this with me.  My oldest son and I were in the backyard and we wanted to do some yardwork.  One of the things that we have recently been doing is trimming the trees to allow more light into the yard.  We planted a peach tree, an orange tree, an olive tree, and even an avocado tree.  God has given us all these plants for our harvest and to help provide from the land.  My son pointed out a branch on one of the oak trees that he said we should trim.  I looked at it and agreed that it would definitely help allow more sunlight in.

This oak tree is not just any oak tree, but it is probably about 100 years old and the branch we were going to trim was the closest we could reach at the bottom so not just a normal branch but more like a baby tree.  I pulled out the ladder which for those of you who are ladder people we have a little giant.  I opened it up and fully extended it to be able to reach the tree limb.  So at this time I decided to climb up the ladder so I could reach the limb.  Now I am about 12 feet up, on the ladder, hugging the tree while I begin to trim this limb.  I was almost done with the chainsaw cut and I could begin to hear the sound of the wood cracking from the weight.  I made sure my oldest was out of the way while I finished the last cut.

All of a sudden that tree limb came straight down where we wanted it.  As it hit the ground, it was so big, that it started to fall towards the ladder.  It landed on the ladder with a crash and at that same time I came a tumbling down out of the tree.  I landed flat on my back, somehow underneath the tree.  I heard my son call out to me, “dad are you okay?”  I looked around from under the tree and said “yes, I am good.”  I rolled out from under the tree and looked at my hand.  My left middle finger had lost the skin on it from being pulled out of the tree.  I had a few scraps on my arms and the worst thing that happened was I had a puncture wound from a branch (I think).  I was excited as I jumped up and decided I should get a band aid for my finger so I could finish cleaning up.  My wife on the other hand after finding out what happened said I needed to get stitches on my leg.  I told her, “this is only a flesh wound.”  I was a good husband and did listen to my wife after hearing her plea and went to the doctor.  The doctor said I didn’t need stitches, they cleaned out the wound and gave me antibiotics to help make sure I didn’t get an infection.

IMG_7415 IMG_7418

Left picture my finger missing skin (at ER) & right picture is puncture wound in my leg (next day).

So far today the puncture wound in my leg has been healing very nicely.  It was been about 8 days since the fall and I have a nice scab on my leg.  Now the more interesting part is that after landing flat on my back that I didn’t have any back pain, I didn’t hit my head, and I didn’t break any bones.  I asked my oldest son if he saw anything while I was in the tree and falling.  He said he didn’t see anything, but it did look like he was watching a movie.  I don’t ever remember closing my eyes when the tree started coming down, but I do remember just seeing black the whole time until I was on my back.  I didn’t black out, but yet I couldn’t see with my natural eyes.  I will leave it at that and just give God the glory for protecting me and keeping me safe.  My wife says I am not allowed to trim anymore trees, but I think the jury is still out on that one.

I saw this verse in the book of Psalms and found it to be very fitting.

Psalm 3:3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I remember lifting my head and seeing that all was okay.  Thank you Lord for your protection over me no matter what I am doing, You are there with me.

Next I am going to read just a short passage about Samson.

Judges 16:15-17

15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

For those of you who have seen pictures of me you have probably seen my long hair.  Well my youth pastor and I decided it would be really awesome to weave him cutting my hair into his message about Samson.  I grew out my hair (for about 3+ years)  to donate it and allowing my youth pastor to cut it just gives it more meaning.  I will add a short clip of that moment into the notes online for those that would like to see.  It was a moment that the teens in our youth group will probably never forget.  My youth pastor mentioned it just the other day and said “man, I think that will probably be the best illustration that I will get to do.”  We have to be willing to do what it takes to bring the word of God alive and to create lasting memories for the youth of today.

Now, just a few days later from my tree accident, 5 days to be more exact, I found myself in another situation that could have ended my life.  My oldest son had a Lacrosse game and we were heading back home after the game was over.  Everything was awesome during the game, my son’s team won; I met and connected with another Christian parent that I had never talked to before.  We started sharing all the things that God is doing.  But that drive home is one that I will never forget.  I had my family in the van; we were heading out of downtown towards the bridge that takes us home.  The light had turned green so I proceeded driving forward.  It was dark, about 8:45 pm and we were driving on the expressway which is a 2 lane highway, heading to the bridge.  Now both of these lanes are heading east bound and all of a sudden I see head lights coming at me.  There is someone in a truck driving right at me.  I immediately started blowing my horn; I slowed down, and was able to swerve around him.  I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw that they hit the car behind me.  I pulled over the van, put on my hazard lights, and started to run back towards the accident.  This whole time I was fearing the worst because this truck was going at least 50 mph in the wrong direction before impact.

When I reached the accident scene there was a guy by the truck who looked dazed and confused.  I told him to sit down and that he was just in an accident.  I went over to the other car which had all the air bags deployed and talked with the woman who was hit.  She said she was okay.  Praise God that there were no fatalities.  Another guy that was passing by helped me move the cars out of the travel lanes so that traffic could get by.  Meanwhile my wife was on the phone with 911, still in the van so not knowing exactly how bad it was.  I pulled out my phone, turned on the flashlight, and started flagging traffic around the accident until the emergency vehicles arrived.  This whole time I was as cool as ice.  My wife even asked me how come I was so calm.  I had the peace of God about me; I saw how God protected me and my family.  God made sure that our van was not touched by this person that I believe was driving under the influence.

When I finally got home that night I gave God praise again for saving us.  Our whole life could have been drastically changed in just a few seconds.  I used it as a learning tool for my teenage driver and that even though you are driving carefully, doesn’t mean that other people are paying attention as well.  In that split moment there was not enough time to pray, there was just enough time to think and react.  My wife prays over our van every time she gets in.  She was in a terrible accident when she was younger and survived.  Never take life for granted because in a moment it could be gone.

Earlier I mentioned how this world is not just about flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle that is raging on.  I have given you a glimpse of some of the things that I have been doing for the kingdom and how the enemy tried to lash out and attack.  Let me leave you with this verse:

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Dear Lord, thank you again for rescuing me.  Thank you for putting a shield about me and my family.  Lord, I pray that you will continue to use me and my family to spread the gospel.  Let no man stand between us and doing Your will.  Father, today I pray for those who are out there who have lost someone in a car crash.  Just because You saved me, doesn’t make me any better.  Lord, I pray for the pain that they have had to endure with losing someone they love.  Lord, please bring them comfort and peace.  Allow them to know that all things work out for the glory of God.  Father we love you, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thank you again for taking the time to listen to some of my testimony.  God is doing big things and I love watching Him unveil what He is doing next.  Most of the time I can’t wrap my head around what God is doing.  I just give Him praise and put my trust in Him because I know that He has my best interests in mind.  If you would like to reach out to me, you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic or on our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  I pray that you have been blessed and encouraged to know that God is your protector.  Stay in the word and remember to always pray.  God Bless.

 

 

True Worship – Sermon Notes

True Worship – Sermon Notes

Lets start off with the definition of worship:

the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”the worship of God”
synonyms: reverence, veneration, adoration, glorification, glory, exaltation;

Now when we talk about worship what comes to mind first?  For most people when they talk about worship they are talking about singing a song of worship unto the Lord in Church.  But the neat thing about worship is that it can take many different forms.  We can give God reverence in our tithes, in our speech, in our dress, in our attitudes, almost anything you can think of can be used as a form of worship and giving glory and exaltation to God.

Lets talk about speech as a form of worship first.  Are you using your mouth to give God praise, all the day long or are you using your mouth to speak evil like the rest of the world?  The scriptures talk about the tongue having the power of life and death.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

If your mouth is not speaking life then surely it must be speaking death.  Let not your words create more damage in a broken world, but instead use them to lift people up, speak life into the broken hearted.  Speak the word of God into the life of another person so that they can hear it, so that they can receive it, and so that their heart may be changed by the Lord.  There are plenty of people hurling words of hate, anger, and bitterness but if the people of God choose to remain behind their protected walls then who else will speak words of encouragement and grace?

Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Let us give worship to the Lord and in doing so bring healing by sharing God’s word.

Now when it comes to tithes I am sure you are wanting to ask “how can I worship the Lord with my giving?”  To be honest this one is rather simple.  The scriptures speak to giving with a grateful heart.

Deuteronomy 15:10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Can I be honest with you for a moment?  Giving with a joyful heart did not come easy.  Like any person that works hard for their money it is not easy to part with.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie and when you look at your finances after you have paid your bills then you become bitter and try to hold onto money with a closed fist.  This is why the Bible speaks to giving the first fruits.  If we give in an act of worship to the Lord the first 10% then we won’t have the worry at the end.  But like I just mentioned this was extremely difficult for me to do.  I have become faithful over the years in this area because I have seen how the more that I give, the more that the Lord has blessed me and provided.  I have seen this happen time and time again.  I have stopped trying to explain it and have chalked it up to a simple hashtag GodsMath.  In our world 2+2=4 but in when God gets a hold of something it is more like 2+2+God=8  I stopped doubting and just started believing.

What is your daily routine before you head out to Church? Do you start your day off with some Christian music at your house? Do you play some Christian music on your drive to Church? I am sure you are probably wondering why I am asking these questions. You see worship doesn’t just begin when the band starts up the music on Sunday morning, it begins when you wake up and roll out of bed. If you spent 30 minutes yelling at the kids to get dressed because you are running late for Church then how can you walk in and throw on a smile and start singing God’s praises? We don’t need fake Christians, we need people who are daily renewing their minds and coming to the foot of the cross for we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I struggle with this myself. Those are the days that I am pleading with the Lord to forgive me and bring peace back into my life. I pray that my lips are always bringing Him praise in all that I say. If we don’t give God praise then nature will.

You see as Jesus was coming down from the Mount of Olives this was His encounter

Luke 19:37-40 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Have you ever stopped to listen to nature after a rain storm when it is then a calm and quiet night. All of creation is making a joyful noise. What if they were crying out Holy, Holy, Holy is He! Don’t forsake the gift of speech that God has given you. Shout His name from the mountaintops.

I used to be afraid to let go in Church.  I would sing the songs every Sunday morning but it was more of just reading the words on the screen.  You see any person who knows how to read can read the words on the screen.  Being a man it is hard to show my emotions and feelings in front of others.  Trust me, men having feelings, but they have either been trained to hide them or they choose to ignore them because they don’t want their feelings to take over their thought process.  But God can change all that.  When you finally let God take control, your worship changes.  I remember a time singing praises in Church, my eyes closed because it didn’t matter who was watching, and my tears streaming down my face.  I had a wet shirt when I was done, but I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  I praise God for changing my heart and my feelings of being afraid to let go.

Let me leave you with this – a true worshipper is not afraid of who is watching…
Thank you Lord for giving us this opportunity to share about worship.  Lord teach us to open our hearts, Lord teach us to give You our first fruits whether it is with my lips in speaking of You or whether it is from our lips in praise.  Lord we need you each and every day of our lives.  Help us to be strong when we are weak.  Help us to seek out a deeper relationship in our worship.  Let our lives be a testimony of Your power.  Use our testimonies Father to speak to those who are around us.  In Jesus name, Amen.
 

 

Excuses Excuses – Sermon Notes

Is your excuse good enough?

Welcome back to Faith Matters, you won’t believe what happened to me the other day.  I was driving to work and the car started acting up.  I got downtown and then all of a sudden when the light turned green I stepped on the gas and the car wasn’t moving.  Talk about a little scary.  It had a delay before it started moving.  The engine started making some noise and I started praying.  I made it up to the 5th floor of the parking garage and left it there.  I took some time off of work so that I could take it into the dealership to get looked at.  When proceeding down the garage the engine light decided to come on and I was having a problem getting the car to respond properly when I hit the gas.  I pulled over and called for a tow truck.  The tow truck driver couldn’t find me even though I gave him the exact street and location.  Once he got the car in tow we drove to the dealership so they could take a look at it.  I needed a rental and the guy said they didn’t have any more rentals.  I was like okay no big deal; he had to drive me to another location to get me a car.  We get there and the car was dirty, he asked if I wanted it washed and I said no that is fine, I am an easy going person.  He then checked the gas and there was only 1/8th of a tank.  I told him I would need some gas because it is hard to bring back a rental with no gas.  He took it to the gas station and brought it back for me.  Finally, 3 hours after leaving work I was able to go home.  Most people would have lost their lid, but I stayed calm, listened to my Christian music, and read my Bible verses about patience.  Now what happened to me that night you will have to wait until the end of this podcast to hear about.

First, let us open up with prayer because in prayer we can be at peace with the Lord.  Heavenly Father I have had a long brutal day, but because of Your word and Your promises I can still be at peace.  Bad things can happen all around me, but I look to keep my eyes fixed on You during these storms so that I don’t fall into the ocean of despair.  Lord thank you for saving me today from what could have been miserable and turning it into something awesome.  Please help me as I share today some more of my personal testimony and how You have worked in my life.  Let my words touch the hearts of those who are listening.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

The other day I was having a conversation with one of my close friends Jimmy and something he said sparked my desire for this message.  Jimmy and I have been like two swords that constantly are sharpening each other for the glory of God.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

I don’t understand it, but countless times I have said something to Jimmy that has inspired his sermons and he has said something that has inspired my sermons.  I have learned to stop asking and just trust that God wants to use it in a big way.  At first I had that casual thought, maybe it was a coincidence, but it happened repeatedly and too many times to be a coincidence.  It was a God thing and no other way to explain it.

Jimmy was telling me that he wanted to do a podcast about worrying being a sin.  Which he just recently released so if you haven’t heard it please message me and I will send you a direct link.  If you are online reading the notes later then I will add it in for you.

And with that simple statement Jimmy caused me to think about what type of excuses that I have created to cover my own sin or to try and avoid what God has called me too.  I am not going to dig into Jimmy’s topic because I will let him bring that to light, but I do want to discuss excuses and how we let them creep in and take over our lives.

The definition of excuse as a verb is:

Attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.
release (someone) from a duty or requirement

The definition of excuse as a noun is:
a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.
a poor or inadequate example of.

How many times have you come up with an excuse to defend yourself or justify to God why you can’t do something?  I can tell you many times that I gave excuses to God because I didn’t want to do something.

Let’s flash back to my college years when the weekends were my down time.  Almost every single Sunday morning I told God that I was too tired to get up and go to church.  I wanted to sleep in and relax.  Do you want to know why I was so tired?  There was this awesome game that came out called 007 Goldeneye and me and my roommates would stay up to 2 or 3 in the morning playing 2 vs. 2.  We had such a great time, but in doing so I decided I had to cut God out of His time so that I could enjoy myself.

What about the many times that God called upon me to give more money for the missionary that was visiting our church?  How about the times that God told me to pay for someone else to attend a conference?  I never liked giving up my money and if I am being completely honest I was stingy and didn’t feel like I had too.  Now imagine, by me saying no and not providing like God wanted me too, I could have been holding back a blessing from someone else.  So instead of me being a part of a blessing, instead I became this empty vacuum.  I could have been excited and blessed to help someone else, but instead I was being greedy and only focused on me.

Now you may be in that same boat that I was, only concerned about me, how will I make it through, who is going to pay for me?  You see when we give a little, God can give more.  Since changing my attitude I have learned that the more I give the more God gives and it blows my mind.  I have seen it countless times over the past years and I had absolutely no way of explaining how it happened other than God is good.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

You may be asking yourself, well how does God do this?  That part I can’t explain, I always just say #GodsMath  You see God can do whatever He wants whether or not it makes sense to the human mind.  Trust that He will provide and take those negative excuses and discard them.  It is the excuses that are holding us back from seeing God’s blessing.
What other excuses have you personally given God to try and avoid answering God’s call?  Stop and take a moment to reflect on your life personally.  I challenge you to take that excuse that you have been giving God and make it a reality.  See what other plans that God has for you lined up.  You see how can God continue to give you new challenges if you haven’t conquered the first one?  How can God trust you to work through the storm if you are too afraid to step into the boat?  Make today the day that you change from saying no to saying yes Lord, use me!

At the beginning of the podcast I mentioned that something had happened to me that night when my car had to be taken in and I received the rental.  Later that evening after dinner I got a message from someone at the radio station in Green Bay Wisconsin telling me to tune into the station.  They were actually playing my wife’s song on the Q90FM in Green Bay.  I was speechless; humbled by the fact that God had opened that door.  You see I tried to open that door myself on several occasions and God kept the door closed.  But on the night of the worst day I have had in a while God came through and delivered a blessing for my family.

I share this story with you because I could have given up on Christian Music.  I could have given God yet another excuse and said it is too much work, I don’t have the time, God nothing is happening, but instead I stayed the course and continued to share the gospel even if the music didn’t go any farther than YouTube and iTunes.  I put all my faith and trust in God to lead me where He wanted me to go.

So today I beg you, no more excuses.  God could be waiting to bless you but yet waiting for you to answer His call.

Heavenly Father I thank you for the blessings that You provide.  I thank you for opening my eyes to Your ways and Your perfect timing.  I may want it now, but You alone Lord know when the perfect time is.  Lord, I pray for anyone listening that loves to provide excuses, I pray that You will rid their minds of these excuses and plant in them a willingness to see how You will change their lives for the better just by answering Your call.  Lord please continue to use me in any manner that You see fit.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thank you for tuning in to Faith Matters.  We greatly appreciate you taking the time to listen to our podcasts.  You can download them for free on our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  If there is a message that blessed you and you know someone else who needs it please feel free to share it.  If my testimonies, trials, and struggles can be a blessing to others then it has all been worth it.  If you would like to contact me, you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic  Have a blessed day in the Lord.

 

 

 

Walk With God – Sermon Notes

Welcome back to Faith Matters, today I am super excited to be recording this message because it hit me like a ton of bricks the other night.  I was spending time up and posting about God like I love to do while my wife is sleeping and then like a bright light I saw what God wanted me to share.  But, before I jump into that I just want to say how awesome our God is.  Just reviewing some data surrounding the @KNGMusic twitter account and saw that in one month, 243 tweets reached 1.59 million people.  That right there isn’t me that is God doing something awesome.  I am just a regular person that tries to be available and allow God to work in and through my life.

Now enough about that let us open in prayer.  Heavenly Father I just want to thank you for how awesome you are.  Sometimes this world is going too fast for us to see how many times you step in and bless us.  I want to thank you for the opportunity to share my testimonies with others and the unique things you ask me to say.  I pray that today you will give me just the right words to prick someone’s heart and let the Holy Spirit conviction lead them back to you.  Without you Lord we are just empty vessels looking for anything and everything to satisfy that emptiness.  Be with me Lord as I share the vision you gave me the other night.  Help me speak the right words so that they know it is of you Father.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

In preparing for this message I was hit with another tweet.  God never stops to amaze me.  Just recently posted this:

“God doesn’t have to give you a breath test to know that you are intoxicated with sin.  “Just one more time” made you unsafe.  Get right today!” – @KNGMusic

Wow, just wow.  God works in mysterious ways and when He wants to intervene I just incline my ear to listen.

Jumping back on track I wanted to entitle this message today “Walking With God.”  If I was to ask any Christian if they are right with God I am sure the typical response would be yes.  If I was to ask them if they are walking with God I am sure I would probably get the same type of response with another yes.  So let’s look at the definition of walking for a moment.

Definition of walk –

  1. move at a regular and fairly slow pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once.
  2. cause or enable (someone or something) to walk or move as though walking.

Now after reading that simple definition to you, walking with God actually doesn’t seem that difficult.  To me it almost sounds like just going through the motions.  Are you going through the motions right now with your walk with God?  I love to ask questions like this because I was there.  I was that person that was “walking” so to speak with God, but wasn’t paying attention to the lesson that He was trying to teach me.  I was too consumed with myself and everything that I wanted to do.  Almost like I was forced to walk with the Lord instead of having my own desire.

Want to know what caused me to wake up from dragging my feet to wanting to run with God?  It took me losing everything of this world that I cherished to realize how much I needed God and only Him.  I had to be “rebuilt” in a manner that was based upon God first and not what I wanted.  I was at a point that I could no longer try to hide from God, but instead turned to God for my support.  I needed Him now more than ever.

God came through for me.  He was there with me when nobody else could be.  He opened my eyes to the decisions that I needed to make for my family to overcome the loss.  Almost like when my fear kept rising, God would say to me look at me, don’t look away.  Just like when Jesus told Peter to walk on water.

Matthew 14:27-33

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[e] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter was doing fine until he took his eye off of Jesus and started to look around and became scared.  When we walk with Jesus we should always fixate our eyes upon Him.  This is crucial because if we are meandering down the path with Jesus and not keeping up then we will surely lose sight of Him.  When Jesus is not in our sight or vision then we feel the flesh rise up quickly against us.  How can we overcome our own fleshly desires without the help of the Lord?

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

If God knows our limitations then surely He will stop us before we get out of control right?  God has given each of us our own free will.  God will cause a check in our spirit when we are about to do something that we know we shouldn’t.  If we truly love God then we would choose not to sin against Him.

Let me share something I heard on the radio today that was spot on.  A mother said this to her daughter who was raised to love the Lord but was having an unhealthy relationship.  She said, “Do you love your SIN, more than you love your God?”  I feel this is pivotal for us as Christians to examine our walk.  If we continue to allow ourselves to sin then we are actually putting that sin above and before God.  We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us overcome and give us strength to rebuke the enemy.

Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

I implore you, please seek to walk with the Lord daily and continually.  Do not lend to haste and drag your feet for surely nothing good will come of it.  Ask the Lord to walk with you hand in hand, ask Him to take control of your life, ask Him to lead and guide you so that you may be at peace with Him.  Our Heavenly Father is a gentleman, He will not push His way into your life, but He will stand at the door and knock until you invite Him in so don’t delay another moment, ask Him into your life.

My second vision that I was given has to do my dad.  Have you ever gone to the store with your dad and he let you get something special since you were the only one with him at the time?  I quickly learned this about my dad, if I went with him then I could get something special whether it was a piece of candy, a snack, or even ice cream.  I also learned that when I stayed home and didn’t go with my dad then I got nothing.

Now taking that same thought process, if you don’t go with the Father then how will you receive the blessing?  If I keep telling God, nah that is okay I don’t really want to go out there today, can’t I just stay home?  God isn’t going to grab you by the ear kicking and screaming, He is going to quietly say okay because He has given you that free will.  But imagine what type of blessings that I could be missing out on because I chose to say no, I chose to stay home, I chose to linger back and do what I wanted because I thought it would be more interesting.

Now pause for a moment and think about a time that God asked you to step out of your comfort zone and your response may have been no God I don’t have the time for that today.  What type of blessing might you have missed out on?  Maybe the ability to bless someone else, maybe a financial blessing for being in the right place at the right time, maybe even the ability to share your faith with a lost soul.

You never know what God has planned, but if you always say no and stay home, then you will never find out.  Let me say that again.

You never know what God has planned, but if you always say no and stay home, then you will never find out.

Guys I know sometimes my messages may be difficult, they may point out a sore spot, they might even convict you, but please understand that as you are feeling these emotions, I am walking through the emotions with you.  99% of the time I am preaching to myself and by exposing my concerns I am helping God open my heart to what I need to do to overcome and draw closer to Him.

Let’s close in prayer.  Dear Heavenly Father I want to thank you for challenging me with this sermon.  I know that I am a sinner and have fallen short of the glory of God, but I also know that you sent Your Son Jesus to die on a cross for me and that through Him I can have eternal life.  Lord, keep me close to You as I continue to learn how to follow in Your footsteps.  If I stumble, please be there to help me back up.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thank you for joining us today with Faith Matters.  I pray that this word will challenge you to go deeper and don’t settle with just getting by.  God has bigger plans for us then we can even imagine.  Keep seeking Him and keep reading that Bible.  If you would like to reach out to me you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic and on our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  Have a blessed day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Did It Again – Sermon Notes

Welcome back again to Faith Matters.  It has been a while since I recorded a message, but don’t fear, God has still been using me in many other mighty ways.  That is actually why He has been tugging at my heart to record this message, but I have just let life get in the way.  But rest assure, that wait has now ended and I am here to share some of the amazing things that God has done in the past several months just to share how good He is.

Let’s open up with prayer.  Heavenly Father I want to thank you for keeping me and my family well through the storms, both physical and literally.  Thank you Lord for guiding my steps when challenges have come up and thank you for giving me the strength to carry on no matter what the challenges may be.  Today Lord, I pray that anyone who listens will be encouraged and know that You are listening to our prayers and You alone can answer them.  Keep using us Lord through this ministry and song to reach Your people, in Jesus name, Amen.

Today I want to discuss the “blessings” and the definition that I found.

God’s favor and protection
A praying asking for God’s favor and protection
Grace said before or after a meal

Naturally the blessing I want to share with you today is God’s favor and protection.  Recently in Florida we were hit with Hurricane Mathew.  My family and I didn’t stay.  I had feelings for several months prior that something big was coming and that something big definitely was Hurricane Matthew.  We saw the damage that it did in the Caribbean and we did not want to stay around to see if it would do the same thing in Florida.  Our house is only a few blocks from the river, but the forecasters were expecting the river to rise.  We are not in a flood zone even with a Cat 4, but didn’t want to take the chance of our house becoming an island among a raging river all around.

We left and ended up in Alabama for several days while we watched the news and waited out the storm.  When we came back home we found that there was no power in the house so we had to throw away all of the food in the refrigerator.  There were tree limbs all over the yard which we had to gather up and place out front for yard haul away which sat there for about 5 weeks.  One of my neighbors Oak Trees split and landed on the fence.  When we walked inside we found that our studio had been flooded.  This was the worst of the damage.  I began removing items from the room to see exactly how bad the damage was.  The items we had to discard were minimal however we were not sure exactly what caused the flood in the room.

We had ordered a new exterior door for that room which was supposed to be installed prior to the hurricane, but they didn’t have any dates available.  At first we thought the water came in from that door because the original home owners had installed the door backwards.  I started to pull up the base boards when I realized that the drywall was coming up with it.  This was rather disturbing because that means the drywall was wet as well and the water had been soaked up.  I peeled away a portion of the wall to look behind it and realized that the insulation was wet and moldy as well.  Talk about a double whammy.  Contacted the insurance company, filed a claim, they did an inspection, and came back saying it wouldn’t be covered because it was a “preexisting condition”.

Now to the common person, this would be the breaking point, but for me I just said God has to have a purpose for all of this.  Not to mention that our hurricane deductible was $4,000 and the damage could be repaired for cheaper if I did it myself.  So instead of being upset that they wouldn’t cover it, I got to work and started tearing apart the room piece by piece.  First we removed the drywall, then the old insulation which led us to find out why and how the water came in.  The previous owners had some dry rot on the exterior wall and instead of fixing it properly they only did the bare minimum to try and patch it up.  Long story short, we had to remove all of the exterior plywood and replace it.  Pretty much our room was down to the studs and you could see the outside from inside the house.  But despite all of this God still had a plan.

My wife kept asking me, “are you sure you know how to do this?”  Don’t tell her I said no, but God gives wisdom when and where wisdom is needed.  It took us about 2 months working pretty much only on weekends due to the time change and it being dark earlier.  We got everything replaced and restored much cheaper by doing it ourselves instead of going through the insurance company.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Now this was one of the first blessings because there was a structural issue with the house and we had no idea.  The water damage could have destroyed our recording equipment yet God kept all of that safe.  Yes it cost me money to fix everything, time from my weekends, and lots of sore muscles but God kept our house safe from all the massive water Oaks that we have around the house.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 
Many times since I started recording podcasts I have mentioned that God provides and blesses.  Even though we had to spend the money to get our house fixed, God came through with another blessing by giving my wife a bonus that she was not expecting.  But that wasn’t all; she also got a raise as well.  We both looked at each other and said, “wow God is so good.”  He came through to help show that even though this storm caused us extra work, turmoil, strife, God was still in control of it all.

How many blessings in a row would it take for you to realize that it was God and not just a coincidence?  1, 2, or maybe even 3?  The next thing that happened to us is I had a meeting with our HR department and was advised that they were doing an audit and realized that my position should have never been on salary, but should have always been paid on an hourly basis.  They proceeded to tell me that I needed to fill out a form for the past 2 years for any dates that I would have worked overtime.  Now imagine this, my job just said they are going to pay me extra because they owed me for the past 2 years.  How many times have you heard that happening?  I have never in my life heard of such a thing and all I could say is “thank you Lord.”  One thing after another God kept showing us that He was in control of our lives and that He would provide.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
But wait there is another thing.  Prior to Hurricane Matthew I may have mentioned that I had to remodel our bathroom because my wife put her elbow through the shower wall.  This was a project that I had been working on during the summer because the tile in the shower was not installed correctly.  Well God blessed me yet again by providing a great friend and my brother to come in and install the tiles for the shower.  It took all of us about 3 days to build a concrete wall and set the tiles.  My friend told me that normally he charges $4,800 to do that work but for me it was his way of blessing me and my family.  Praise God!

In the midst of many large and overwhelming storms for my family, God showed that He is always with us and He alone could calm the stormy seas.  I say all of this not to brag about myself, but instead to encourage you.  It is important for each of us to daily share our testimonies with others of how God is working in our lives.  What has God done for you?  Sometimes we don’t even realize how hard God is working in our lives because we are too busy running from place to place trying to meet the expectations that this world has set.  Take time this week to slow it down, examine where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.  God is calling each of us to do more with less so that He can get all the glory.

Let’s close in prayer.  Heavenly Father, thank you for working in my life.  Thank you for constantly knocking sense into me when I start to fall off the path that you have set before me.  I give You all the glory, honor, and praise for all of the marvelous things you have done.  Lord I pray for each person who has taken the time to either listen to this podcast or read it on the blog; Lord open their eyes to what You would have them do.  Teach them to be good listeners and doers of Your word.  Together the people of God can still make a difference in this dark world.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thank you for tuning in for Faith Matters.  I pray that is blessed you in some form.  Don’t let the troubles get you down; instead turn to Jesus in prayer.  God loves each of you and He wants to show you how much He cares.  If you would like to contact me you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic or via our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  Thank you and God Bless.

What Does Your Fruit Look Like? – Sermon Notes

 

Last time I had the opportunity to preach there was a hurricane on its way to Jacksonville.  Last week I was supposed to share this sermon and an even bigger hurricane decided to come start for us.  Coincidence?  I think not, God always has a plan for everything that is happening in our lives.  I hope that everyone finally has power again and didn’t suffer any major damage.  I would love to hear your stories after service.

 

Please bow your heads and close your eyes.  Lord we come before you to open our hearts to Your word.  Lord as this storm has passed we thank you for protecting us and keeping us safe.  We pray for those that don’t have shelter and are trying to survive on the streets of Jacksonville.  Jesus we need more of You and less of us.  Please be with us today as we learn more about You and Your ways, in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Have you ever had a message so powerful that you didn’t know how to deliver it?  The message that God has placed on my heart for today is that type of message.  But before we jump into that, let me tell you a short story about another man that many of you should already know.  That man is Paul Revere, he too had a message of great importance that needed to be said.

 

In 1775 – On the night of April 18th and 19th, Paul makes his famous Midnight Ride to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British are marching to arrest them. Along with William Dawes and other riders, he warns the countryside of the British march. He witnesses the “shot heard ’round the world” as fighting breaks out in Lexington.  Some say that Paul was shouting “the British are coming”, but others think he was shouting “the Red Coats” are coming.  Either way, he had the inside information that could save thousands of lives.

 

Now, can you think of anyone else who has such a powerful message that needs to be told to everyone in this world?

 

That person quite simply is YOU!

 

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

 

Who is the whole creation?  Does that mean go home and tell your dog?  Absolutely not, but that does mean tell your friends, tell your neighbors, even tell random people that you don’t know but God has placed in your path.

 

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

When I was originally writing this message I had tweeted this just the day before, “Imagine if everyone gave excuses about why they couldn’t spread the gospel and expected someone else to do it?  Sow seeds, don’t wait for others.”

 

1.     Definition of seed – a flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another such plant.

 

What is the purpose of a farmer? The Business Dictionary tells us that a farmer is an individual whose primary job function involves livestock and/or agriculture. A farmer takes all the necessary steps to ensure proper nourishment of the items that he raises and then sells the items to purchasers.

If nobody wants to be the farmer then who will grow the food?  How will we eat?  How will we stay alive?  Can you imagine a world where you had to grow and plant your own food?  Now that would be a tough place to live.

Genesis 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”

So with God doing this He knew we had to eat.
I love food,
I love to eat food,
I love to cook food,
I love to look at food.
Right now I wish there were cupcakes on my table instead of apples.

Lord, thank you for blessing us with food to feed and nourish our bodies.
Let me take this tangent now, if you guys don’t know how to cook then you need to start learning.  One day you will be living on your own and if you don’t learn today then you won’t know how to cook for yourself when the time comes.

Apple Demo

1 Corinthians 15:36-38 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

I want to zoom in on a key phrase from this Bible verse.  “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”  That apple seed has to die in its current shape and form in order for the roots to be released and the plant to emerge from the soil.

Can anyone think of another Bible verse where you have to die before the new can come?
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Let me leave you with this final thought.  Many will tell you that we should be producing fruit.  What happens when there is no more fruit?

If there is NO fruit then there can be NO seed.

If there is NO fruit then there can be NO seed.

Bow your heads and close your eyes.  Is there anyone in this room who is struggling to see fruit in their life please raise your hands?  Lord, right now I pray for these young people.  I know You want to do so much more with their lives and are only waiting for them to submit their lives to You.  I pray right now Lord that you work on their hearts, soften their hearts to receive Your love and guidance on how to live their own lives according to Your word.  Lord use each of them to be a beacon of light for the lost.  Help them to become great farmers that are not afraid to sow seed into the land because they know that You alone Lord have the power to decide which seeds die and which seeds grow.  Be with us each day as it comes, in the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Whose Approval Are You Seeking? – Sermon Notes

Live YouTube Version

Welcome back to the next edition of Faith Matters.  I have had several people ask me when is the next sermon coming and I had to tell them soon and very soon.  I was recently asked to preach for the youth at a Church and this message is a live recorded version from that service.  God has continued to bless me and my family, so don’t think for a moment that anything bad has happened.  Exactly the opposite, God has been using my wife and me in many new ways to reach even more people.  So far now sit back and listen to this message via soundcloud or watch the live recorded version on YouTube.  God Bless.

Welcome to Relentless Student Ministries.  I am glad that each of you came out here tonight.  I have been praying that the message tonight will touch your heart and leave you wanting to do more for the Kingdom of God.  But before I go any further let us open up with prayer.  Heavenly Father I thank you for each of these teenagers.  Lord I pray that you give me the perfect words to break down the walls in their lives, to break down the barriers surrounding their heart, to open their eyes to how much Your love Lord wants to pour out all over them.  Lord be with us today as we dig into the word and teach us how to be stronger and more loving like You.  In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

What does the word “Approved” or “Approval” mean to you?

Merriam Websters says the word approve means:

to believe that something or someone is good or acceptable
to officially accept (an idea, action, plan, etc.)
Psalms 49:5-20

5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had[c] named lands after themselves.

12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
(but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.

Did you catch verse number 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]

This is the fate of those who trust in themselves.  Are you trusting in yourself to get you through each and every day?  Are you relying on your friends to pick you up when you are down?

When I was a teenager going through High School I didn’t really fit into just one group.  Oh yeah if I haven’t mentioned this yet I went to the same High School as Pastor Chad.  I actually was there when his younger brother and sister were in school.  Such a small world that I knew Chad before he came to this Church yet God uprooted him and his family and placed him in my backyard.  God is always working and moving the puzzle pieces around, you just don’t always know what the end picture looks like.

 

Okay, so back to the everyday look of High School.  Normally you have your punk rockers, the country boys, the preppies, the gangsters, the jocks; well okay you get the point.  I didn’t fit into any one of those groups.  During lunch I would walk around to each of the groups say hello to the people I knew, make a joke and then walk to the next group.  I felt so out of place because I didn’t belong in any one particular group, yet I still wanted their approval.

Looking back at my past I would say that God gave me a gift that I didn’t even realize.  He gave me the ability to adapt to my surroundings in the moment, but not get caught up in acting like them.  Sometimes we try so hard to fit in that we will take it to the extremes to get others to like us.  For some of us we are willing to cut our hair, dye our hair, change our clothing styles, buy name brands, but in the end what are you really changing about the core you?

***Clothing Exercise***

I have brought some of my clothes for people to try on.  Now you may look cool like me, but are you really me?  Just because you look like me on the outside doesn’t mean that you can ever replicate me on the inside.

Why is this important?

You see we look to other people to get their approval when we should really be looking to God.  People look at the outer you that they can see with their eyes, but God looks at the inner you.  God looks at your heart.  Let me say that again, people look at the outer you that they can see with their eyes, but God looks at the inner you.  God looks at your heart.

Now ask yourself this, why are you trying so hard to impress others on the outside, but leaving the garbage on the inside?  Don’t you realize that old garbage starts to smell and leave a foul odor?

Ponder that for a moment.  Why do we try so hard to look good and well put together when we are falling apart on the inside?

Who can change the inside?  Who can change the pain that I am feeling?  Who can change the sorrows of my past?  Who can change my future?  It is not me.

Only Jesus can, say it with me, Jesus.

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
God isn’t checking on the outside appearance that we try to portray to those around us.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

I know right now you are asking yourself, Mr. Nick what are you trying to tell me?  I am plainly telling you this; you don’t have to be a somebody for God to love you.  God has created you to be you and no one else.  Stop trying to fit in to be accepted and realize that God has called you to be the salt in this world.

Let me give you another example of how God has shown me when I mess up.  Some of you know I have been on Twitter for about 3 years now.  When I first started Twitter all I was talking about was my wife’s music and trying to get people to listen to it.  I wanted “man’s approval” of what my wife has done.  As her husband of course I am proud of her, but whether this person or that person likes her music wasn’t really important in the big picture.

God convicted me of this.  I joined a group that would do Bible Studies weekly on Twitter by using a hashtag.  I quickly learned that I had to stop trying to promote my wife’s music and start promoting God.  I let the music become a stumbling block (an idol) as I seeked out the approval of others.

God opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t need the approval of others, but instead to live a life that is pleasing unto Him.  I stopped trying to share the music and instead started sharing God and what He has done in my life.  The number of people who started noticing my love for God started to grow.  First a few hundred and then a few thousand.  The exact number of people today following me doesn’t matter but the number that means the most to me is the number of people that I have shared Jesus with on a personal level.

A little over three years ago now I thought God was going to call me into the mission field to be a missionary.  I have since learned that God is using me as a missionary to reach people all over the world right here from Jacksonville Florida.  Social Media is an awesome way to reach people but if you are using it incorrectly then you are contributing to the downfall of your peers.

Let me share my biggest pet peeve when I read a profile. God first! Sexy B. DM me anytime, I love to talk and get to know you better.  How can someone say God first, but then the very next item be a contradiction of the word of God.  We are not “Sexy B’s” we are children of God.

**Stop trying to be the person you think people want you to be and start being the person that God has created you to be.

Another thing that I have noticed is people posting about God one moment but then sharing videos and vines of people fighting, smoking, and being cruel to each other.  Now do we really think this is what God wants from us?

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

In conclusion I say all of this to bring it back to the fact that God loves you.  Do not try to impress people because the same people you are trying to impress won’t be there when you need them, but God will.  If you want to seek out the approval of anyone seek out God’s approval in your life.  If you follow His word then He will light the path for your footsteps and then you will realize that God opens doors that no man could.

http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com

 

 

 

Just One More – Sermon Notes

 

Thank you for joining us again for another session of Faith Matters.  We had the privilege of taking a family vacation and spending time with family.  Now it is back to reality and getting things accomplished.  Summer time means vacation time for many families.  Everyone needs a vacation; some time away from the job and time to relax with the ones you love.  Today I am going to talk about a very difficult topic and I pray that you will give me grace when listening to it.

Before we go any further let us open in prayer.  Heavenly Father I thank you for allowing my family the ability to travel and spend time with our relatives.  During this time you opened my eyes to a topic that is very sensitive for almost every person in this world.  Lord, I pray for the right words, I pray for your guidance, I pray that You will give me the perfect words to explain what you have placed on my heart to convict those who need it and that they will receive it well and not be upset with the messenger.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Let’s start out with the definition of consume:

Eat, drink, or ingest (food or drink).

Synonyms: eat, devour, ingest, swallow, gobble up, wolf down, guzzle, feast on, snack on

So if you haven’t figured it out I am being bold and talking about one of the sins that I have to battle on a daily basis.  That sin has another name which you probably don’t hear very much which is called gluttony.

The definition of gluttony is:

Habitual greed or excess in eating.

Synonyms: greed, greediness, overeating,

By normal American standards most people would look at me and not think I am overweight, but I am.  The hardest thing to hear is your Doctor telling you that you are obese.  I looked at myself and said there is no way, but yet I haven’t been getting any smaller.  I try to do 3 + miles on my lunch breaks a couple of times a week, but that hasn’t really put a dent in it.  I have to start pushing myself harder to exercise more and push away from the table.

God has blessed me with the ability to cook good food and then I keep going back for that one more bite.  Did you know that saying “just one more” is the trap that gets us all to become stuck in our sin?  We tell ourselves that we will only do it “just one more time”, but then that turns into the next time and the next time.  It is only by the power of Jesus that we can break the cycle of sin and be able to have the strength to constantly say no more.

Proverbs 23:20-21 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

Will you ever walk into Church and hear the preacher talking about over eating?  Not likely, but I know for me it has become a sin.  I am not saying that overweight people are sinners, but I would say that we each have to examine our lives and ask if we are living them properly in all aspects of life to be glorifying God.  I will continue to pray and seek God’s wisdom as I continue my own personal battle to keep the weight off.  I know that it is possible for me to overcome and I have to stop indulging myself and start denying my flesh.

Another verse that keeps standing out to me is:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

God has given me this body and if I truly believe that Jesus is alive in me and that my body is His temple then I need to start putting more action into how I am living my life.  I don’t know if you guys do this, but I give myself excuses or special reasons why I deserve some ice cream.  I really have to examine everything I do as I continue to draw closer to the Lord.  Some battles like this one it is up to me to press in and ask for God’s strength to help me in this spiritual battle and defeat my fleshly desires.

A similar example of consuming too much and not exercising as a Christian can be found in Church on Sunday mornings.  For many years I sat in service every Sunday morning consuming the word of God, but the thing that I was lacking was the exercising of my Faith.  Because I didn’t exercise my Faith my soul was getting satisfied and contempt while others around me were starving because no one was sharing the word of God with them.

As a Christian it is up to us to exercise that Faith, burn off the excess and let the Holy Spirit not stop with us but instead continue to flow from us to others.  For far too many years this was a stumbling block for me and I never realized it.  I was too busy enjoying what I was receiving that I didn’t stop to examine if I was doing enough exercising.

Today I make it a point to share and talk about Jesus as much as I can.  I don’t want people to be excited about me or my name, but instead to find their own personal relationship with Jesus.  Yet again I didn’t understand what it was to have a relationship with Jesus until I started to exercise my Faith.  Once you have a relationship then you will never go back.  You completely understand what the scriptures are talking about when they say you have to die to yourself daily and pick up your cross.  The more of this world that I have blocked out of my life, the more distractions that I have removed, the more desires of my flesh that I have been able to avoid, the closer my walk with God has become.

There is no magic formula, no specific way to find your relationship; we each have our own unique walk to find the Lord.  Please take some time out today to examine all aspects of your life and let the conviction of the Holy Spirit point out the flaws that your natural eyes keep overlooking.

Heavenly Father I thank you for pointing out the areas of my life that need attention.  I pray that others who listen to this find their own areas of conviction whether it is sin like mine or maybe just exercising their faith.  Lord please help us to be stronger and remove all fear so that we can spread the good news of the gospel.  Like train us up like soldiers and prepare us for battle for the things of this world are not just physical, but also spiritual.  Jesus in your name I pray, Amen.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.  I am sorry if my message rubbed you the wrong way, but this is what God placed on my heart and a battle that I have to address in my life.  I felt that there might be others out there that need to be encouraged and that with Jesus the “one more time” option will be removed.  Don’t be discouraged, keep pressing forward.  God has a plan for your life just like He does for me.  Let each of your battles become a testimony of how God is working in your life.

If you would like to reach out to me, you can do so on Twitter @KNGMusic or via our website http://www.KNGMusicMinistry.com  Thank you for pausing to listen, I pray the upcoming week will be a blessing for you.  God bless.