Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘hope’

4 Works of God’s Grace

In Gospel Living on April 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

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In 1936-37 The Golden Gate Bridge was being built.  Lives were being lost due to the nature of the bridge.  As with any bridge building project, it was assumed 1 death per $1 Million spent.  The Bridge should have lost 35 workers.  However, when it came time to build the roadway the engineers installed a net.  This saved the lives of 19 men.

When God sent Jesus He provided us a net of grace that we did not deserve.  God’s grace works in 4 ways.

God’s grace forgives at the cross of Jesus.  The death of Jesus was the requirement.  The sacrificial law required a perfect lamb be killed.  The blood that was spilled would cover the sins of many.  When Jesus died he represented the lamb whose blood covered the sins for all humanity for all time.

God’s grace furnishes life at the empty tomb.  Had Jesus died without resurrection He would be no different than any other god man or prophet.  When God breathed life back into Jesus His grace gave us life again.  We are not only forgiven but we have a new life and a life to come!

God’s grace fashions hope out of despair.  When you think life is over, God’s grace ushers in hope!  When you have nothing left but despair, God’s grace floods your moment with hope.  This hope is not just about Heaven to come someday in the future.  This grace-filled hope is for your right now!  Hope for your depression, breakups, breakdowns, fights, families, and jobs.  God’s grace give hope today!

God’s grace fixes the sting of death.  We, who have placed faith in the completed work of Jesus as sufficient for our needs, no longer have to fear death.  We have assurance of Heaven.  We have assurance of healing in the life to come.  No one likes the process of dying.  We fear it.  But we can hold our head high because of God’s grace that fixes the sting of death itself.

This grace is for you.  Enjoy!

7 Types of Restoration

In Life and Culture on January 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm

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Like fresh fallen snow before a step is made so is today and the next 364.  2015 begins now and you have a brand new chance.  Last year may have been perfect for you and cannot get any better.  For the rest of us, every new year brings the opportunity to forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead.  The pain, regret, sorrow, grief, shame, dismissal, brokenness can all be put away.  I know for most of us there is something we would like some help to enhance.  God wants, and will by your faith choice, to restore 6, no 7, things in your life this year.

The other day I let you in on some sermon prep of mine as I shared how God can give a New You for the New Year. There is more.  Which one of these is your greatest need as we start the new year?

1.  Joy
2.  Productivity
3.  Hope
4.  Confidence
5.  Future
6.  Victory
7.  Eternity

Which one do you need the most?  Maybe you need several.  Here’s what you do.  Go to the Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your local hardware store and get a stake.  Get a sharpie marker and write the one(s) you need and “Isaiah 54”.  Every day take your stake and God’s Word and pray…

“God restore ______ to me.  I give you my head to learn more about You and Your Word.  I give you my heart to love deeper.  I give you my hands to serve greater.  Possess me.  God, restore me.”

Nanu Nanu

In Chrisian Life, Life and Culture on August 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

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Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams died on Monday, a suspected suicide. He was 63.

The Marin County coroner said in a statement that the death was suspected “to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”

“Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has battled severe depression of late,” said the comedian’s spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

His wife, Susan Schneider, added: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

HOPE

I am not a connoisseur of great art, but from time to time a painting or picture will really speak a clear, strong message. Some time ago a picture of an old burned-out mountain shack was on display.  All that remained was the chimney…the charred debris of what had been that family’s sole possession. In front of this destroyed home stood an old grandfather-looking man dressed only in his underclothes with a small boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. It was evident that the child was crying. Beneath the picture were the words which the artist felt the old man was speaking to the boy. They were simple words, yet they presented a profound theology and philosophy of life. Those words were, “Hush child, God ain’t dead!”

That vivid picture of that burned-out mountain shack, the old man, the weeping child, and those words “God ain’t dead” returns to my mind. Instead of it being a reminder of the despair of life, it has come to be a reminder of hope! I need reminders that there is hope in this world. In the midst of all of life’s troubles and failures, I need mental pictures to remind me that all is not lost as long as God is alive and in control of His world.

The lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

God’s Presence

The compassion and mercy of God both provide a hope.  He does not deliver these through FedEx.  He delivers them personally.  We have a hope of receiving more than we deserve.  God gave Moses a chance to see His glory.  God guided, fed, fought for, and filled the tabernacle during the Israelite time of wandering.  God’s presence will bring hope to your difficult time.

God’s Patience

The Bible says that He is slow to anger and has unfailing love. According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.

The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship God?”

The old traveler replied, “I worship fire only and reverence no other god.”

When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out of his tent into the cold night air.

When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, “I forced him out because he did not worship you.”

God answered, “I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?”

 God’s Pause

God will not always accuse or remain angry.  Like the soldiers of WWI who paused for Christmas to celebrate playing soccer, trading goods, and sharing a meal, there will be a time of pause.  Though the war continued, Christians have a hope that when God calls a pause it is because the war is over.  Christ has won and we can be in eternal peace because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

 Do You Need Hope?

A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing–we’re behind.”

“Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.”

“Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”

Hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

Child Pornography and the Church: A Response

In Church, Life and Culture on February 5, 2014 at 10:58 am

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As a father and a pastor, my heart is broken with, and for, Seward Road Baptist Church. Charges related to child pornography were filed earlier this week against a children’s Sunday School teacher according to this News 9 report.  We, as parents, entrust our children to the church and her workers for spiritual instruction and guidance.  It is unfortunate when something like this happens.  People live double, hidden, lives every day.  In this instance it severely affects others and the church.

Some might casually argue that it will only affect that church.  First, because of media outlets today everyone will know about this.  Parents will start asking leadership in other places about policies and procedures in place in their local environment.  Second, Satan will use this to whatever degree he can. Dangling fear and mistrust in front of 20- and 30-somethings is like offering candy to a child and expecting a no.  Third, Family means everything to them.  Our churches are a critical component to healthy families and must take all precautions possible in this area.  The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is offering a seminar on preventing abuse.  I highly recommend attending one of these this month if you live in the area.

We must be safe.  Churches have not always been on the cutting edge in this area.  We must do better for our babies and for our Savior.  There are several background services available.  This is a cost, but what is that compared to the possible problems?  Anyone working with kids under 18 should be required to have this check done.  Anyone that has something discovered needs to be addressed.  Anyone who has a history in this needs to be dismissed from working with minors.  Having them sign a covenant of where they can and cannot be in the building.  This provides accountability with them and for parents.  Doing this will seem intrusive, but we must take a long-view approach in this area.

We must be hopeful.  Churches have not always been on the cutting edge here either.  We certainly offer hope in Jesus Christ.  However, we do not always offer hope in difficult moments.  When someone is sick, we pray and are filled with hope-speak.  When someone fails morally, we tend to run.  It is in these moments that hope is needed.  The one who is discovered with a past is still a child of God.  They can still serve God.  We must creative in that provision. Let us provide hope in hopeless times.  Let us look toward a better future because of our safety precautions.  Let us make these decisions from a stance of hope not despair.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.  1 John 2: 15-17

Jesus Christ died to remove our sin guilt before God.  When someone makes poor choices in this particular area, repentance leads to forgiveness.  However, the consequences stick with you.   When Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk, He intended for the guy to carry the memory with him as a tool to spur him forward in life.  The consequences we face that result from our sin stick with us.  While we as the church are to honor hope and grace, to remove the consequences could be life threatening.  Growth does not come without discipline.  As long we are propelling people forward in their life we have a firmer grasp on grace.  Give grace.  Reveal God.

Finding Jesus This Mother’s Day

In Mothers Day on May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am


Mom’s rule.  It is no secret.  It doesn’t matter how much Dad has done in the preparation, Mom gets the credit!!

If we took time to check we would find many gifts given to us by our Moms.  I know some have wonderful relationships and others not so much.  However, God has provided us with our Moms for a reason.  I believe it can help us see Jesus.  I do not mean in the way they discipline us but in other ways.  There were times I thought I might see Jesus before I was done with adolescence but made it through those years.

In reading Isaiah, it came to mind the wonderful things of the Messiah spoken of in chapter 61.  As I read them I thought about how our Moms paint a picture for us to see Jesus.  Finding Jesus this Mother’s day is a challenge I present to you.  The similarities between Jesus and Mom help us to understand the nature of Jesus.  This knowledge is given to that we might glorify Him more.

Hope – Mom gives us hope.  When we are down and everyone is kicking us she raises us up and tells us it will get better.  When it seems that the world has come to an end she reminds us of better days ahead.  When we feel we having absolutely nothing to give she helps us see what we do have.  She proclaims the favor our mind needs to hear.

Help – Mom binds our wounds and bandages our scrapes.  Mom kisses our boo-boos.  She frees us from the emotional entrapment of adolescence.  She helps us to see that life doesn’t end in Junior High but actually in High School.  Seriously, Mom helps us to feel good about ourselves when we feel awful.  Mom helps us to heal when our hearts are broken and our emotions are strung out.  Mom is there when the leg breaks, the heart aches, and the world is crashing.

Comfort – Mom gives us soft hands, warm hugs, and full lives.  Where would we be without Mom?  Poorly dressed and with  malnutrition!  She provides for those who mourn.

Crowns – for some she literally crowns them with paper crowns, for others she simply helps them with perspective.  Mom makes us feel like we are kings and queens, even if for only a day.

As we glorify Mom this week let us remember that these things she does for us have already been done by God in Jesus Christ.  He gives hope and help, comfort and crowns.  God, in Jesus, has set us free and allows us to flourish to our greatest potential.  All of which has been done so that we would be called righteous and glorify God.  May we cause God, by our lives, to be seen more splendidly.  May our lives cause others to treat God more excellently than would normally be considered.

May we help others find Jesus this Mother’s Day!

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,and the day of our God’s vengeance;to comfort all who mourn,
3 to provide for those who mourn in •Zion;to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,planted by the Lord to glorify Him.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Is Hope Dead?

In Decisions, Family, Grief, Trust on April 17, 2013 at 8:50 am

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Is hope a simple-minded myth?

In just a 24 hour period I experienced an earthquake, read the news about the Boston bombings, talked with someone whose parent is dying and discovered another marriage crumbling.  How do we cope?  How do we handle the stress?  To whom do we turn?  Too often we turn to the couch of a physician, the doctor’s office for pills, the bed of another, or the bottle to ease the pain.  Why wouldn’t we?  Someone planted bombs in a marathon to maim and destroy the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.  The one who has nurtured you your whole life lies in a bed waiting, and possibly planning, on dying.  The marriage that outwardly seems to be so wonderful is rotting from within.  It is no wonder that we pop pills and drink ourselves to that uncaring oblivion.  We must find a way to ease this pain we feel.  We are determined to replace pain with pleasure, hurt with happiness.

Why hope?  It seems to do no good.

I would expect many to feel this way who have never tasted the goodness of God or have been hurt by those who represent God.  Trust and hope are tied together in a neat little package that some wish were separated.  How can I hope for something where there is no trust?  How can I hope the bombings and killings will stop without trust in the government’s ability to handle or control this situation?  How can I hope for healing when I cannot trust that God will do what I want?  How can there be hope in a marriage where trust left years ago?  Hope is fleeting.  Hope is failing.  Hope is futile and for the simple-minded.  We realists live above this unnecessary emotion right?  Logic wins in that world, but love loses.

We hope because it raises our vision from today to tomorrow.  We hope because the pain of the past is replaced with a promise of a preferred future.  We hope because down deep we still know that God is bigger than us.  God has our best interests in mind even though our feelings claim fault.  We hope because that is all we have.  Hope brings warmth.  Hope brings vision.  Hope raises the spirit.  Though all else seems to fail, believe there is hope.

Believe.  Hope.  Pray.  Live.

1 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish: 2 I called to the Lord in my distress,and He answered me. (Jonah 2)

 

Hope of a Resurrection

In Church, Direction, Leadership on November 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hope defined is to “want or expect something: to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely”.  Yesterday I shared about the Phoenix as it rose to life out of the ashes.  Many of our churches are declining or dead.  Many church leaders have lost hope in the established church creating a mass exit like a fire in a mall at Christmas.

But I still hold out hope for the established church.  Jesus shared strong words to the church at Sardis who had a good reputation but poor reality.  Though they thought they were alive, Jesus said they were dead.  All of the church’s man-made programs can never bring life, any more than a circus can resurrect a corpse.
When sin is confessed and church members get right with God and with each other, then the Spirit infuses new life—revival! If not?
Christ also controls the seven stars, the messengers of the churches (Rev. 1:20), referring most likely to the pastors. Sometimes God moves pastors. Sometimes God moves people. Sometimes God does both. Sometimes God does neither. The common thread through this is that God is sovereign. Sardis is dead because they have rebelled against the move of God. Churches are dead today because they refuse to follow God or move with God.  We have taken a God-born organism and superimposed man-made structure, man-made policy, and man-made leadership decisions, and congregational voting. These things are not biblical. A reason churches are diminished, dying, decaying, or dead is because we have exchanged the immortal for the mortal, the eternal for the temporal, God for man.

The impression is that the assembly in Sardis was not aggressive in its witness to the city. There was no persecution because there was no invasion of the enemy’s territory. No friction usually means no motion! The unsaved in Sardis saw the church as a respectable group of people who were neither dangerous nor desirable. They were decent people with a dying witness and a decaying ministry.

I said I hope and I do.  I have hope because Jesus is still head of the Church.

“Write to the angel of the church in Sardis: The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive but you are dead.”

I will explain this is more detail tomorrow.

The Phoenix Church

In Church, Jesus, Missional on November 12, 2012 at 7:55 am

The phoenix is an Egyptian mythological bird of red, gold and purple plumage, colors of the rising sun. The phoenix, symbolizing rebirth and resurrection, died in the fire of the funeral pyre, but arose from the ashes.  Given so much talk these days of declining and dying churches, here and there, in addition to Ed Stetzer’s blog, dead church is becoming more of a reality than any want to admit.  The church is to be filled with life, light, hope, strength, and the Holy Spirit which brings all of these to bear.   How could that which provides a pathway to life be dead?  How can that be?

Here is a description of the church:

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

How could any body of people with this reality be dead?  As Dr. Vance Havner used to put it, spiritual ministries have four stages: man, movement, machine, and monument.  When the church moves into the monument stage, she is declining into death.  In this stage the church is simply looking back at the monuments of glory from years gone by.  The way things used to be: attendance, money, and more.  Like the glorious phoenix dying on the funeral pyre the church is setting itself on fire through a series of rebellions as well as masterful deceptions by the enemy as articulated by Thom Ranier.

Is there any hope?  Many would say no citing that the traditional church has become too old in a world that prefers new.  The established church has become this beastly burden of bureaucracy that cannot move like an overweight, out of shape, boxer entering the ring.  The rate of change is such that the established church cannot keep up.  For some, it is easier to build new than remodel.  I beg to differ and will share my thoughts tomorrow.

There is still hope.

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