2012

INTRODUCTION – We began last week a series on the topic of justice for a variety of reasons.
1. Because I’ve never had a course on it. Never read a whole book just on that subject. Never heard a sermon preached on it except for clips from some Martin Luther King sermons. And yet I keep coming across the words, “Just”, Justice and injustice in the scriptures as I read them day after day.

2. I am on a task force for the Statesmen’s group, which is an international group that Dennis Peacocke leads – – and our particular task force has been given the assignment to produce a biblical theology on the main topics in scripture that bear on city reaching or city transformation. And in our discussions in Dallas back in September I was given the assignment to produce some papers on the theme of justice in scripture since no city is going to be transformed unless justice is taken seriously and executed faithfully and courageously, and everyone in our group admitted along with me that they had never done justice to the subject of justice, and no one else seemed inclined to do justice to the subject of justice. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part II

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INTRODUCTION – Why a series (2 or 3 Sundays) on justice?

1. Because – like marriage – the concept of justice has been corrupted and twisted by those who claim to represent God, but in fact do not know Him. Some who speak of justice today do not claim to represent God, but do claim to have a corner on the truth regarding justice. One of the more recent local examples of this is the letter written to the editor of the Tribune a few months ago re: the Boy Scouts. One of the primary reasons letters and positions like this are allowed to be stated and proclaimed with little response or rebuttal is because the church, which is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth has not – by and large – taught on the topic of justice, and discipled its people to carry it out as a lifestyle. We need to band together and do our part to turn this around.

2. One of my assignments for the task force I became a member of in the conference in Dallas on City Transformation back in September was to present a biblical theology on the topic of justice (along with the unity of the church and a biblical theology of cities). I’ve already sent off the unity and cities papers. But I just started the justice ones this week, and so it seemed appropriate to share some of these truths with you. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part I –

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September 16, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Dr. Albert Mohler – the president of one of the largest graduate level theological schools in our nation; and surely one of the greatest scholars and thinkers of our time, wrote concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus is so absolutely fundamental and necessary to Biblical Christianity – and to the gospel – that its abandonment would mean the end of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. Jesus would be just one more Palestinian rebel; one more wisdom teacher with rag-tag disciples.”

There are many reputable and well documented books on the evidence of the bodily resurrection of Christ; so if you really want to go in depth – I’ll be glad to point you to one or more of those. But this morning – I want to briefly introduce you to the evidence from Matthew chps. 27 & 28 and then talk with you about the ramifications of it for those of us sitting in this room. Continue reading Jesus – Risen, Ruling & Recruiting! – Matthew 27:62-28:20

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September 9, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Today we continue our journey through the passion or suffering of Jesus Christ that started in ch. 26. I would like for you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 27; and we are going to start with vs. 33 first looking at Jesus’s refusal to drink the spiked wine.

I. vs. 33,34 Jesus’s refusal of the spiked wine
By this point, Jesus had experienced multiple interrogations/trials, beatings, and that unspeakable flesh tearing scourging, all without any meals or water breaks in between. He had lost lots of blood, especially after the 39 lashes; and had to be in terrible pain, extremely thirsty and hungry, though eating was probably the least of His concerns. This by the way is why they had to enlist Simon to carry His cross (vs. 32).
So when Jesus arrived to the place called Golgotha, they offered Him wine mixed with gall. The question is why? And what was the purpose of mixing the gall with the wine? Continue reading The Passion IV – Matthew 27:33-66

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August 26, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Length or extent of coverage given; and yet we tend to skip over it or speed read it. Never heard anyone say their favorite verse in the Bible was out of these chapters.
And yet we are clearly commanded in the N.T. to “Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Continue reading The Passion of Christ – Matthew 27:1-32

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August 21, 2012

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24

“It is not marriage that fails; it is people that fail. All that marriage does is to show people up.” Harry Emerson Fosdick – late Baptist pastor/preacher/author

Harry Emerson Fosdick in many ways is not a pastor I would seek to emulate, but even almost a century ago, he had enough insight to see that the God created, foundation laying institution of marriage has not failed. Rather many who have tried to carry it out by their own devices have failed. Marriage, unlike almost anything else I can think of, can quickly help us see how deficient we are in many departments, and how much we need God’s grace and strength and wisdom if we are to actually pull off His design and will for marriage with someone of the opposite sex.

Because marriage continues to be one of the great debates of our day, I wanted to refresh you on a few facts that all of us should be aware of and able to access. Continue reading Marriage in the U.S.A.

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Aug. 19, 2012
INTRODUCTION
Jesus’ Prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35
Prayer and slumber in the garden of Gethsemane – vs. 36-46
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – vs. 47-56
The High Priest tried before the High Priest – vs. 57-68
Peter’s Denials of Christ – vs. 69-75

I. Jesus’s prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35 four observations:
A. God often prepared Jesus for what was to come through the O.T. scriptures. Very likely that Jesus didn’t know this until He meditated on that scripture in Zechariah 13:7, and then the Father revealed to Him that all of His 12 disciples would flee when Jesus was arrested and tried. Continue reading Passion of Jesus III – Matthew 26:31-75

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8/15/12

I haven’t had much time to read about Wade Michael Page, the man who carried out the shooting rampage at the Sihk Temple in Wisconsin. But I do know that he was an active participant in the “hate music movement”, and fairly closely tied to the white supremacist movement. Hate particularly of non whites seems to have fueled his murderous actions, along with the growing rage he had about how non whites are taking over the world (in his opinion).

Much of the focus in the media of his actions were on the guns he used. Few seem to be focusing on the sinful passions that caused him to purchase and use the guns.

Anger and rage is an increasing problem in our society as hopelessness grows – primarily due to our stagnant economy, and our idolatrous obsession with our material comfort and pleasure.

Jesus Christ says that as the end and His return draws near, “…many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) Hate and rage are two sides of a coin. It will get easier and easier to get drawn into this awful sickness as things in our society continue to shake. Continue reading Healing Rage in America

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8/2/2012

In this last (July 22nd) Sunday’s Tribune editorial page, seven members of the “People of Faith for Justice” (one of whom is the pastor of the Methodist church in Morro Bay) wrote a letter to the editor appealing to all of us to deny support for the Boy Scouts because of their stand against allowing homosexual men to lead their chapters, and allowing openly gay boys to join their chapters or clubs. The letter is full of religious double speak. I submitted my letter of response below to the Tribune that afternoon, and so far it has not been published, which if they choose not to publish it, will be in keeping with how they normally choose to deal with my letters. (BTW – They never published it). Continue reading Support for Boy Scouts’ Courageous Stand

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July 24, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Last week we began our journey through chapters 26 & 27 of matthew which are focused on the suffering or the passion of Christ – culminating with His burial in the tomb of a man named Joseph. For various reasons the four gospel writers often did not all write about some of the things Jesus said and did, but when it comes to the Passion of Christ – – they all four wrote in great detail – – which tells us that we dare not make light of this crucial part of His life.

One cannot understand or know or follow Jesus Christ if he does not understand the significance of His suffering and death.

Latest 5 p’s from this passage: “Prudent pondering of the passion produces piety” Continue reading The Passion of Christ II – Matthew 26:17-35

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July 15, 2012

INTRODUCTION – J.C. Ryle’s introduction to chps. 26,27 p. 345

I. The Plot to Kill Jesus – vs. 1-5 (read it) all what words? (ch. 24,25)
how were they supposed to know?
A. This is the latest of a number of x’s Jesus sought to emotionally and theologically prepare His disciples for His suffering & death . Listen as I read them to you:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and there nights in the heart of the earth.”
12:38-40

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem , and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” 16:21 “but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 17:12 Continue reading The Passion of Jesus I – Matthew 26:1-16

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July 8, 2012
INTRODUCTION – As we jump into Matthew 25, which is the second chapter of a two chapter discussion about the end times, let’s first do a quick review of Matthew 24 – Jesus answers the questions of His disciples – so that they can be familiar with the events that will lead up to the end of the age and the return of our Lord; and so that they can live in a way that will enable them to avoid the deception that will be rife in the last days; and not be tainted by the lawlessness that will also be rife in the last days; and instead be fully engaged in His kingdom agenda in the nations until He returns or death knocks at our door.
Our emphasis as a fellowship in the whole realm of eschatology or the study of the last days or end times is Jesus’s emphasis: a general understanding of end time events; but focus on how to be found ready and prepared for His return.

The whole chapter of Matthew 25 is given to help us be found ready and pleasing in His sight when He returns. Continue reading Preparing for the Lord’s Return II – Matt. 25:1-46

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June 2012
INTRODUCTION – Ch. 24,25 are in response to a question of the disciples, as seen in vs. 3, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Two weeks ago we looked at the context of this question and the beginning of Jesus’s long almost two chapter answer to this question and to the question they should have asked, but didn’t because they like us by nature are more interested in knowledge than they are proper responses to that knowledge.

For the sake of review I want to read what we covered two weeks ago; and then I want to read our first section for today = vs. 15-22 that introduces the subject of the coming Great Tribulation. Continue reading The Great Tribulation & Return or Second Coming of Christ – Matthew 24:15-51

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June 16, 2012

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Since the original purpose of my very sporadic blog was to provide a resource for those who have God’s heart for their cities and want to see their cities thrive and prosper – I thought I would say a few words about the role of fathers in this effort. I’m one of those increasingly rare people in the U.S.A. who grew up with an intact engaged loving father, who 56 years later is still a positive force in my life, and who is still married to and in love with my mother after 66 years of marriage.

There is a growing (more in terms of influence, than numbers) movement led by radical homosexuals that is desperately trying to convince Americans that women can do just as good a job as men can in fathering or parenting children. They claim that children do not need a male father to grow up healthy and whole.
Well as one who has been fathered for 56 years; and who has fathered two children for 26 years & 21 years; and who has sought to encourage and help fathers over the last 30 or so years in my ministry in various places around the world; and who has for all those years stayed up on relevant writings and research about this issue… I want to share some reasons why this has to be one of the most foolish and foundation less claims in the history of our nation. Continue reading The Crucial Role of Fathers

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May 20, 2012

INTRODUCTION – In our ongoing series in the gospel of Matthew we jump into ch. 24 this morning, which along with ch. 25 forms a long two chapter discussion of how to prepare for Jesus’s return, and many of the things or events that will precede His coming. This is a challenging passage to tackle for those of us who have known the Lord for a while,….. because we cannot help but see it through the lens of whatever teachings we have been exposed to about the end times. I’m in that boat with many of you, so I trust we will all be humble and prayerful and teachable in these next weeks as we do our best to hear and heed what the Lord wants to say to us through these passages. Why don’t we start off now with a word of prayer.

Much of Matthew ch. 24 is Jesus’s response to the three questions His disciples ask Him about the end times. But because they didn’t ask the most important question re: the end times, Jesus goes on and answers that one as well. And that most important question is: How can I personally prepare for what is to come?! Or What should my response to all of this be? Or How should I live in light of all of this? Continue reading Preparing for Jesus’s Return – Matthew 24:1-14

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May 15, 2012

Quite the uproar last week re: our President’s confession of what we all already knew = he supports gay marriage. How in the world could one have watched all of his policies and appointments and practices over these last 3 + years and not have known that? The question is where do we as a nation go from here after the uproar dies down?

Those in liberal media outlets, liberal churches (most of which are very small and limited in influence), and in ultra liberal Hollywood tell us that our society is evolving, and soon we will all – or the overwhelming majority of Americans will get in line with full support of gay marriage.
This in spite of the fact that every single time (32 x’s to be exact) a state has been able to vote on whether marriage should be defined as and limited to a relationship between a man and a woman – – they have voted yes. The last state to do so was North Carolina where as usual the pro traditional marriage side was outspent two to one (some states have been outspent by far more than that), but N.C. still had a resounding majority vote for traditional marriage (62 to 38 %). And lest you write this off as just another southern traditional bigoted state, Obama carried North Carolina in the presidential election 3 + years ago. Continue reading Same Sex Marriage Realities

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May 6, 2012

INTRODUCTION – One of if not the most fiery passages or addresses by Jesus recorded in the Bible. Matthew 23:13-39
What is behind such passion and fiery language and riveting rebukes?

1. Because of the impact a shepherd (spiritual shepherd over people trying to connect with and please God) has on the sheep. These Pharisees and Scribes knew the law and the prophets like the back of their hand. There is no possible way they could not have seen the continual theme of God’s expectations for shepherds and His many rebukes to the shepherds in the Old Testament days.
(Jeremiah 10:21, 12:10, 23:1,2, 50:6; & Ezekiel 34:1-10)

One of the many things Jesus Christ came to correct was the rampant abuse of the sheep by the shepherds of His day. Jesus revealed Himself as the good Shepherd early in His ministry and He made it very clear that there were shepherds that saw themselves merely as hired hands – meaning they were just in it for the paycheck, and had no genuine concern much less willingness to sacrifice for the sheep. (John 10) Continue reading Why Jesus’s Harshest Rebukes Were Necessary – Matt. 23:13-39

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April 22, 2012
INTRODUCTION – As we continue our journey through the gospel of Matthew, we continue to discover how desperate our society’s need is for the kingdom of God to take root – if any real solutions are ever to come for all the problems we are facing.

Nothing ever gets accomplished; no problems ever get solved; no wrongs every get righted without leadership; and particularly without the kingdom style of leadership that Jesus Christ revealed to the world, both through His example and His teaching.

In the kingdom of God everyone is called to lead; though not everyone is called to a position of leadership. Continue reading Kingdom Leadership Principles – Matt. 23:1-12

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Easter Sunrise Service at the Rock in Morro Bay, CA April 8, 2012

This last Tuesday when I met with our noon men’s discipleship group, we wrestled with this question: Does the Bible support the contention that Jesus Christ – the Risen Head of the Church – intends to so powerfully work in and revive and purify His church before He returns – – that cities, states and even nations will be transformed by His power and grace? As you think about this question, please understand that I am not saying everyone will be saved; nor am I saying that there will no longer be rebellion against Christ. I am asking if there is any reason for us to believe biblically that the Holy Spirit might work so powerfully in our coastal region before He returns that everyone who lives and works here would at least know about it, whether they choose to participate in it or not? In other words, might we experience here before our Lord returns, what we read about in the book of Acts, and what we’ve read and heard about in reports of revivals and great awakenings that have happened at various times in human history? Continue reading Do it Again Lord

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April 1, 2012
INTRODUCTION – Jesus has been speaking alot about the kingdom, and specifically about the authority of the King in this new kingdom He came to establish. Much of His teaching in these last chapters has been in response to a growing resistance movement against the King of Kings and His new kingdom – led by the religious leaders of Jesus’s Day.

You see these leaders – the Pharisees and Scribes – had developed a religious system over time that had guaranteed for them a very comfortable lifestyle, and a level of control over the masses. And all of this was being challenged because the kingdom of God was based on truth and righteousness; whereas the religious system these men had built was based on deception and lies and man made rules and traditions.
One thing we know for sure about these guys – they wanted to do away with Jesus as soon as they possibly could pull it off. Getting Him to say some things that could incriminate Him would really help their cause – or so they thought. Continue reading Cutting to the Chase – Matthew 22:15-46

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March 25, 2012
INTRODUCTION – My purpose today is to do my best to help you better understand and appreciate God’s sovereign, aggressive, merciful role in our salvation, and how that fits with our human responsibility. My purpose is not to present both sides of the controversy between Calvinism and Arminianism. There is tons of material on the internet on this controversy. But I must warn you – some of it, if not much of it is in the wrong spirit, and seems to be tainted by the accuser of the brethren.

Last week we sought to understand and respond to the parable of the King’s Banquet or the Marriage Feast in Matthew 22:1-14. Jesus Christ says in the last verse of that passage, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Referring to the King who issued a legitimate invitation to all through His servants; but who then chose who truly belonged at His banquet, or the terms by which one can come and enjoy His banquet.

When we get to ch. 24 of Matthew -twice Jesus is going to refer to His disciples as “the elect”. Continue reading God’s sovereignty vs. Human responsibility in Salvation – Matt. 22:14f

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March 18, 2012
INTRODUCTION – There was not a contentious bone in Jesus Christ’s body. He did not enjoy conflict any more than anyone else in their right mind. But He never came to just teach nice moral lessons so we can all just get along.

The reality of two kingdoms. One we are born in and stuck in unless God Himself delivers us from it.
One He rules and He decides who enters it and who doesn’t. Continue reading Populating the Kingdom of God – Matthew 22:1-14

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February 26, 2012
INTRODUCTION – One of the great dangers in Jesus’s day and in ours is that it is possible to be playing the religious game, and even being looked up to by some, but our hearts are miles away from where they ought to be with the Living God on a day by day basis.

In today’s passage, we’re going to hopefully learn some valuable lessons from the sad example of the chief priests, elders and Pharisees – on how to avoid falling into this trap; and/or how to get out of it – if that is where we find ourselves. Continue reading Godly Sorrow – Matthew 21:23-46

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This letter – submitted on 2/13/12 in response to Joe Tarica’s Article of 2/12/12 in the Tribune has so far (2/19) not been published. My little editing team and I worked for hours to get it where we all felt good about it and it was not over 200 words. Joe’s article on the front page of the Sunday Local section was a classic bullying kind of article trying to convince traditional marriage folk that our cause is doomed and our motives are hate and fear based.

The battle some of us have been fighting for decades is a difficult battle, but certainly not a “losing one”. The fact that 63 million people in all 31 states that have voted on this issue have sided with traditional marriage doesn’t exactly spell defeat does it?

One of the many reasons why some of us in this nation have been defending traditional marriage is because of what the preponderance of social science reveals regarding the impact a female mother and a male father have on their children. Growing up in a home where both the mother and father are intact and working together results in a child’s best chance to live a healthy and prosperous and productive life. Therefore educators and pastors and therapists need to be able to pursue and encourage this model without being labeled “homophobic” or “fear mongering.”

Finally comparing one’s chosen behavior to another’s immutable characteristics such as being born as an African American is getting wearisome. People continue to leave or depart from their homosexual lifestyle. No African American that I am aware of has been able to depart from the ethnicity they were born in.

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February 19, 2012
INTRODUCTION – Our theme – “Patient Expectation”
This morning – Jesus’s expectations of us. Only when we clearly see and embrace those expectations, will our expectations be what they ought to be.

First expectation
I. The Triumphal Entry vs. 1- 11 Jesus expects us to know and receive Him as He is, not as we wish Him to be.
All four gospels give an account of this story, which is often referred to as the “Triumphal Entry”. Not that many stories are found in all four gospels; so this unusual entry by Jesus into Jerusalem is clearly important to God. Continue reading Jesus’s Expectations – Matthew 21:1- 22

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