I love to watch hummingbirds. These little miracles of flight are always entertaining. As I sit and watch, I think about what it is that draws them to my feeder. The feeder is not especially pretty so that is not why they come. It is in a good location, it hangs next to a red rose bush. But I don’t think they come for the view. The contents of the feeder are very colorful, but that is not why they come either.
They don’t come to my feeder to entertain me, they come for sustenance. They don’t care that the water is colorful, they only want the nutrients that give them strength. Here is where they find the nutritional fuel to build a nest and raise families. When the baby birds begin to fly, the parents will bring them to the feeder, where they know they will find sustenance.
Let’s change the topic. Lately, it seems that more and more people are finding no need to go to church. The question is asked, “what can we do to draw more people in?” If we dress up the building will more people come? What about a new location with a better view, is that what people want? Maybe the pastor could preach more colorful sermons and entertain the people.
I believe that most people don’t care what the church looks like or where it is located. They don’t care if the sermons are colorful or entertaining. What people want, what people need is sustenance. A church that provides the Holy nutrients that are needed to live and raise a family will be a growing church.
Jesus said, I Am the Bread of life and if I Am lifted up I will draw all men to Me. People will flock to a church where the sermons and Sunday School lessons are spiritually nutritious. The hummingbirds need the sweet water found in my feeders and people need the Living Water that is Jesus Christ. When He is lifted up people will be drawn to Him.
A character from an eighties television show was known for this catch phrase, “ I love it when a plan comes together.” I believe he may have stolen that saying from the Apostle Paul. You see, Paul had a plan to preach the Gospel in Rome. However it was not really his plan, it was God’s plan. Paul made this trip to Rome, as a prisoner of Rome. On the way he was shipwrecked, he was snake bit and he was almost killed by Roman soldiers. However Paul never faltered because God had assured him that he would stand before Caesar. Paul was sure that his plans would come together, because he trusted in God’s plans.
Today this great country I love, is in turmoil. It is in turmoil because powerful people profit from this turmoil. It is also in turmoil because God’s people have become comfortable in their sins. In our comfort, Satan has lulled many to sleep. While God’s people are sleeping, the foundations of our nation are being destroyed. It almost seems hopeless. But God is in control. He has a plan. However, as we travel to the fulfillment of God’s plan, like Paul we may find that the journey is not pleasant. But pleasant or not we know that we can trust God, because His plans always come together.
It happens all the time. You have your life planned out. But then life happens. All of a sudden there are words in your vocabulary that you never wanted to speak. Words like miscarriage, bankruptcy, cancer, ALS, and Alzheimer’s. Words that destroy your plans. There are no words to counteract the heartache of those words. There is only the comfort of knowing that we have a God whose ways and thoughts are better than our ways and thoughts. He has a perfect plan for our lives. God says to us in Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Put your trust in God and you will find that His plan always comes together.
I believe that laughter of children is sweet music and the love of a child can put a song in your heart. I believe that the sweat from hard work feels good and the reward of working hard is a good feeling. I believe that reading the Bible while the sun comes up is the best way to start the day. A cup of coffee while talking to God will make the day good to the last drop. The Bible tells us in Romans 15:13 “ The God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus said whoever believes in Him will never die and I know this to be true. I also am convinced that whoever does not believe in Jesus has never lived. Belief is a powerful thing. It can imprint on your life unending hope and it can erase from your life debilitating fear. Belief in the Savior has caused crippled men to walk, blind men to see and dead men to live. I believe that God is good and greatly to be praised. I will praise God in all things, good and bad.
God has promised that with a little faith, we can prayerfully move mountains. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, your prayers can bring healing to the sick, salvation to the lost and hope to the hopeless. This is true for all of us who believe in the power of Jesus our Savior. Sometimes in our human frailties, we struggle to believe this. But if we cry out to Jesus, He will help us in our unbelief.
I believe that my sins are great but God’s forgiveness is greater. I believe that when I fall my Jesus will be there to pick me up. In my weakness, I often stumble but I have this certain assurance that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I know that I am righteous, but only because of the shed blood of Jesus. So for this reason I have firmly planted my feet on the Rock of my salvation. This salvation is found only in Jesus Christ the Son of God. HE is the One in whom I believe.
The old man sat in a corner of the church enjoying the worship service. He was the best preacher and teacher in the church, but he seldom spoke anymore. He was old and he was tired so he had passed the baton to another generation. But in recent months, he had begun to be concerned about the things being taught to the congregation. The pure Gospel of Jesus Christ was being changed to appeal to a larger audience. Many were teaching that Jesus was not a real person and that He was not the only way to the Father. The old man determined he must speak out. He would tolerate nothing, but the truth.
With strength in his legs and firmness in his voice which he had not felt in months, he stood and began to speak. This is how his message began “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” Yes, the old man was John the beloved, the one whom Jesus loved. He was the last of the generation that had eaten fish with Jesus. He had leaned against the breast of the Master. He had watched the Savior die and he saw Him live again. He, the one whom Jesus loved, would never let the Lover of his soul be marginalized by any teaching that was not the truth.
John stood as a wall that was intolerant of false teachers. He proclaimed that Jesus is alive and we can walk with Him and talk with Him. He taught that the Son of God was the only one who could stand for us as an advocate before the Father. John knew that the Holy Spirit bore witness to the Truth. He also knew that the Antichrist had evil spirits speaking through many false prophets. John’s writings teach us, if we are children of God we will be obedient to God. And if we are obedient to God, we will tolerate nothing but the truth about the Savior .
Jesus is the one who was from the beginning. With my ears I have heard His voice and with my eyes I have seen his love. His breath has breathed life into my soul and His touch has guided my steps. Like John, I have been heartbroken when man made doctrines have guided people into hell. Now while many preachers are arguing the finer points of Calvinism and Arminianism, I have determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Jesus Christ is the living Savior. This is truth. I challenge all who hear and read these words. Stand on the Word of God, accept only the truth and nothing but the truth.
He had been coming to this pool for thirty-eight years. He was crippled, unable to move without someone helping him. The legend said that the first one in the pool after the water moved would be healed. Multitudes of sick people surrounded him. Because of his disability, someone else always got there first when the water was stirred
One day Jesus showed up and asked the crippled man, “Do you want to be made well.” Now some people might consider this to be a dumb question. After all, wasn’t it evident that this crippled man was there hoping for a miracle? However, we don’t know the whole story. But Jesus did. Maybe, the Lord knew that all the man needed to do to overcome his infirmity was to get up, take up his bed and walk.
Jesus is asking us today, “Do you want to be made well?” For as long as I can remember I have heard Christians talk about the need for revival. I and other pastors have dreamed of a great spiritual awakening. Congregations all over the world are wondering how they can keep their sick churches from dying. Meanwhile, we go into our buildings, pull the doors closed behind us, and hope for a supernatural movement to stir the waters.
Christians, it is time to stop waiting for a high-powered evangelist to bring revival. Get up, walk into your neighborhoods, and turn the world upside down with the Gospel. Pastors let’s stop preaching our puny little self-help sermonettes. Boldly preach the Word of God no matter who it offends.
When the people in the pews can no longer ignore their sins, there will soon be a great awakening. Congregations, you need to stop worrying about your church. Jesus said: “I will build My Church”! Your job is to go into the world and make disciples.
Do we want to be made well? If we do, then we have got to get up and walk. The Kingdom of God is at hand. We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s stop waiting for someone else to stir the water and go make a big splash ourselves.