Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Peter’

Christians Change Mind Say, “There is no God!”

In Chrisian Life, Faith on September 4, 2014 at 7:58 am

newspaper

In an unheard of move from the Christian community, scores of believers turn against their object of worship and cry, “There is no God!”  Reports are coming in from every corner of the planet.  It seems that it defies age, geography, and denomination.  Playgrounds, classrooms, grocery stores, malls, businesses, and church offices are affected as each experiences this phenomenon.

What is happening?

  • Children are flocking to school with no regard to their fellow student.
  • Classrooms are populated with those filled with hate, anger, malice, and lust.
  • Stores and malls have aisles filled with people consumed with worry, anxiety, guilt, and shame.
  • Workplaces have those who gossip, steal, cheat, and more to gain an advantage.
  • Church personnel are backbiting with envy and jealousy.

 

What went wrong?

Thousands of years ago the words, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” were penned in what is now called Psalm 53:1 in the Christian Bible.  What does this mean?  We must trace, to the root, what would cause of person to make this claim.  While many I know would never actually speak the words “There is no God”, lives are overrun with attitudes and actions that do.  Seemingly insignificant, millions of followers of Christ do exactly what Peter did: deny Him.  As you read this you cry out as did those in Malachi’s time, “How did we ever deny?”

  • We deny Him access.
  • We deny Him authority.
  • We deny Him our abilities.
  • We deny Him our associations.
  • We deny Him our attitudes.
  • We deny Him our activities.
  • We deny Him our affluence.

Let us be careful that, while our mouths may not say the words, our lives will.  What is your life saying right now?

Dear God,

Right now I confess that I have denied you before others in one or more of these ways mentioned.  Cleanse me of this wrong and create a rightness of thought, action, and speech in my life now.  My faith is in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection.  May my following be sound and sure.

Amen.

Driving School Steps 1-5

In Chrisian Life on November 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

Clipart-PinewoodDerbyCar

Every year, the Royal Ambassadors (Boys 1st-6th Grade) in many churches engage in the pinewood derby.  The actual race is only a portion of the whole process of what I call “Driving School”.  It is my belief that if we are going to take a good chunk of class time there should be something of significance given to the boys.  Of course, the hands-on is important.  The ability to draw out the vision, sanding, and painting are good and useful things to know.  The following is something I have developed to give as  devotions to the boys after each part of the process.

1.  Block of Wood (Genesis 1-2) – This block of wood did not magically appear.  It came from a Pine tree that was created by the One True God.  His hands formed and shaped the tree that would produce this block of wood.  You did not magically appear.  You were created by God and incubated in your Mother for 9 months.  There is much promise in both items!

2.  Design (Jeremiah 1:5) – We start out in the Pinewood Derby by remembering what we are trying to accomplish.  Every boy needs to have a purpose for what they are doing.  Without a purpose in mind, boys will find a way to digress into chaos!  Some boys want to win the local, regional, or state races.  Some boys want a particular looking car without regard to winning.  Either way, each boy begins with a purpose in mind when designing the car.  You have a purpose.  God knew all about you before you were born.  He has a purpose, a reason, for which He designed you: Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Leaders, Athletes, Missionaries, Preachers, and more.  Every boy has a unique design given by God.

3.  Cut (Acts 2:37-41) – In order for the car to become all the child desires, the block must be shaped.  Just because, the design was drawn out on paper does not mean that block of wood will perform as it is right now.  The wood must go through the saw to cut away those parts not needed for the purpose designed.  Our lives cannot fulfill the design of God with all the sin.  Just like the pieces of wood that are cut off and thrown away.  We must have our sin removed too.  When we admit that we cannot do that on our own and trust in what Jesus already did through His life, death, and resurrection, we are turning our life over to God who will cut away all that is unnecessary through our faith and repentance.

4.  Sand and Weight (1 Peter 1:13-16) – Once the major shape is cut out, you will notice the design taking form.  However, it is not ready for racing yet.  The boys are excited to see their cars and are ready to throw wheels on and send them down the track.  Too often, we believe the same in our own lives.  There is more work to do before racing!  There are rough edges and ripples in the wood that need to be sanded smooth.  When a race can be lost by .001 seconds, the aerodynamics and weight are important.  These are details hard for young ones to understand.  The men who help them remind them of the importance of weight distribution and smoothness.  Our lives need a sense of sanding and distribution also.  We have rough edges the Spirit wishes to smooth down.  We are out of balance at times and need to have someone mature help us distribute our time, abilities, and money properly.

5.  Prime (Ephesians 4:30) – The raw wood, if left this way, can take on the impurities of the air that surrounds it.  In addition, if someone spills a liquid too close the wood will suck it up and cause problems with the car.  Major remodeling would need to take place.  The primer is a required base layer to seal the wood and prepare it for painting.  Your life, once you have place faith in Jesus, has been primed and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Once you have placed faith in Jesus you don’t have to keep going back.  If you don’t prime a car then the paint does not stick well.  Without the Holy Spirit, by faith in Jesus, the religion will not stick because there is no relationship with God.

Check back tomorrow for Steps 6-10.  Have a great day!!

 

Clogged Up

In Chrisian Life on May 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

Opening up the dishwasher to find that nothing is clean is frustrating.  I had noticed over the past few weeks that more and more things were not getting completely clean.  Then there was the other morning when I opened up and found nothing was clean.  What was going on?  I began to run diagnostics on the machine.  I knew water was coming in.  I knew that water was draining.  There was something wrong with the circulation pressure.  The wash arms were not spinning.  In fact, there was no water even coming through the center and upper arm.  I just knew the pump was shot!  I looked up pump prices and cried a little.  To replace the pump was half the cost of a new machine.  I listened again and heard a familiar sound.  I had heard this before with the pool pump and thought an impeller was broken.  After completely unhooking the machine I drug it out into the middle of the floor to get a better view of things.  I removed the entire pump assembly and began to investigate.  What I found next was both disturbing and disgusting.  It looked something like this:

clogged_screen  After much cleaning and rinsing, I was able to put it all back together, with the obvious extra screw, and turned it back on.  The swishing sound was almost melodic and brought back memories of when we purchased it new.  The next morning I opened up the washer to find everything absolutely clean and ready for use.

How often our lives get clogged up.  We can have spiritual flow going in and flow going out but there just isn’t any power.  Have you felt like that before?  You go to church, work at the food closet, help with homeless shelter, teach Bible class, help the poor, etc but there seems to be something missing.  We are tired.  We are cranky.  We expect to feel different.  Why is that not happening?

It very well could be that  your screens are all clogged.  We can fill our lives with spiritual music, phrases, life sayings, devotionals, and books but not have power to do that which we are called and designed to do.  We can even drain our lives through missions and ministries but not accomplish what we are designed to do.  Like a dishwasher, you were designed with a purpose.  The washer is supposed to wash the dishes.  Some might argue it is actually more like rinse and sanitize, but the point is that filling up with water and draining water is not the main purpose.  Your life is not designed by God to just be filled with spiritual stuff, whether sappy or solid.  Your life is not designed to just drain out onto the public sayings, clichés, etc.  Your life is designed with something else in mind.  Filling and draining are requirements of them main purpose.  What is my purpose on this Earth?  (No, that is not a plug for Rick Warren though he does  make a point and you can read that here.)

1.  Glorify God.  We are to live in such a way as to cause God to be treated more excellently than would normally be considered. (Isaiah 61:3)

2.  Live holy lives.  In other words we are to live up to the standard for which we have been made.  We are created in God’s image.  We are recreated at the moment of faith.  Now it is time to act in that capacity. (1 Peter 1:13-16)

3.  Make disciples.  We have the unique opportunity to spiritually produce.  As we follow Christ we are to bring others on this journey.

While some of this is external, much is internal.  You know whether you have power (water pressure) or not.  You can mask it with spiritual inflow and outflow but without the main purpose being accomplished all that will fail.  We need proper spiritual flow but sometimes our lives bet clogged up with the stresses and pains of this world.  For this reason Jesus said and I leave you with…

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things will be provided for you.
34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow,
because tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own

Forgive-Them-Nots

In Forgiveness on November 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm

 


Do you remember doing this?  If you’re a girl, you probably do. I don’t know of a single guy to ever do this, but I am sure someone did!  If you recall, pull each petal and chant either “He loves me” or “He loves me not” like some New Orleans French Quarter Fortune Teller.  The fate of the relationship rested on the last petal.  Does he love me or not?  I have often wanted to do this with forgiveness.  I have wanted to go pick a daisy and begin pulling its petals out saying either “Forgive them” or “Forgive them …. NOT!”  (That was so an 80’s reference!)  This concept of forgiveness has received a bad wrap over the years.  We have such quirky thoughts when it comes to forgiveness that we have become paralyzed with fear that if we forgive we have somehow publicly condoned whatever it was the person did to us.

I wonder if Peter had a daisy in his hand when he asked Jesus this?  I bet he did!

There is something inside of us that screams “Injustice!” when it comes to forgiveness.  Our anger, bitterness, and hurt cannot fathom forgiveness as an option.  Yet, Jesus tells us to put down our daisies and listen to this story.

What do we do about forgiveness?  Let’s begin with what forgiveness is not:

1.  Forgiveness is not saying the action was acceptable.  Often we believe that forgiveness means we are condoning an action or behavior.  Forgiveness does not mean we accept something wrong as right.

2.  Forgiveness does not erase all the pain.  Our pain is so deep at times that forgiveness seems unattainable.  How is forgiveness going to help me?  Forgiveness is not to be misunderstood as forgetfulness.  While forgiveness begins a healing process, it does not erase immediately.

3.  Forgiveness is not removing guilt.  If someone has harmed you, they are guilty of that wrong.  To forgive does not remove them of the guilt or potential consequences of their behavior.

Now let’s look at what forgiveness really is:

1.  Forgiveness is a choice.  It is not an emotion.  It is not a feeling.  Forgiveness is a choice of our  mind and will.

2. Forgiveness is a response to what Jesus has done for us.

3.  Forgiveness is being more concerned with the future than the past.  Forgiveness releases you from being controlled by an event or person.  As long as you harbor ill-will or anger it only hurts you.  How does holding on to that emotion hurt the person?  They go on living.  You go on dying.  Forgiveness releases the grip of death and allows you to be free to live.

I forgive not because it is easy.  I forgive because I have been forgiven.  God forgave me of my sin at the cross of Jesus.  I was released of my guilt at the moment of my faith.  I have been set free.  How incredulous would it be of me to hoard forgiveness?  That which cost God so much to give me must be paid forward to those who have harmed me. Forgiveness is hard.  It is exhausting.  It is releasing.  Forgiveness is holy.

I forgive because I was forgiven first.  I love because I was loved first.

Follow Me

In behavior, Church, Commitment, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Jesus, Missional, Missions, SBC on August 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

Follow Me.

Isn’t it amazing how we can take two simple words and complicate them to such a degree as we have in church life?  What does it mean to follow Jesus?  What must we do to be considered a follower of Jesus.  In short, follow Jesus.

That’s too easy!

Why do we think  Jesus wanted this to be difficult?  Why do we believe that Jesus wanted our focus to be on rules and religious order?  When Jesus walked along the shore He stopped and talked with a few young men.  He told them to, “Follow Me.”  These men were following their father.  They had been in the fishing business their entire life and had not considered any other life.  The financial structure of their home depended on this business.  By the way, isn’t a part of our job as men to support our family?  They were doing the task that was expected of them.

Follow Me.

How confusing it must have been for them to leave their father, leave their finances, and leave their families.  We discover later that Jesus stops by to heal Peter‘s mother-in-law.  So he is married.  Does he have children?  What kind of parent leaves their family to follow some guy who walks up and says, “Follow Me.”?  Who does that?  Did Zebedee have a few choice words to his boys, John and James, before they walked off the job?  Did he have concerns that were unwritten in the Gospels?  We will never know.  What we do know is that Jesus showed up and everything changed!  Everything they had known to that point was readjusted in the light of the presence of Jesus.  The structure of their day and life and livelihood would forever be altered.  How did Zebedee receive the boys at the festivals when they came home?  Did Peter’s children still love him or did the anger of an absent father affect them too much?

Jesus said two words.  The theologians have developed libraries of books trying to decipher exactly what those two words mean.  We establish rules and structures to further develop what Jesus meant as if what He said wasn’t complete.  Surely Jesus meant ____________ ?  You fill in the blank.  I have been taught for years what that blank is.  I have been teaching for years the answers to the blanks.  What exactly trips us up about “Follow Me”?

I think we are a lot like two fellows who approached Jesus in Matthew 8 wanting to follow Him.  To the first, Jesus simply brought to light that it would not be a life of leisure, comfort, or wealth.  The animals had better living quarters that Jesus did.  The followers should not expect anything better.  To the other, Jesus replied with a harsh sounding statement.  The man wanted to bury his father.  Jesus responds with let the dead bury the dead.  There is nothing you can do for the dead.  There is much to be done for the living.

Follow Me.

What drives us to develop complete dogmas about these two words?  Is it because they seem to easy?  Is it because we are challenged to the core when we hear them?  I believe it can be both depending on your personality.  For those who want complete structure and order in life following Jesus can be too easy and free feeling.  What is the schedule?  What will we do today?  What time will we leave, return, eat, sleep, and go to the  bathroom?  These are not always in concrete with Jesus.  For those who enjoy the pleasures of life and the toys of our culture, following Jesus is not convenient.  Just about the time you settle in, Jesus is leaving.  When you think it is time to go and you are standing at the door, he begins a new conversation.

We must remember that it has less to do with religious structure and church culture and more to do with Jesus.  We are not called to follow a theologian or popular writer.  We called to follow Jesus.  We are not called to follow a denominational guideline.  We are called to follow Jesus.  Would Jesus read scripture and talk with the Father?  Yes…read the Gospels.  Would Jesus attend church regularly?  Yes…read the Gospels.  Would Jesus want us to go out in ministry and evangelism?  Yes…read the Gospels.  Would Jesus want us to develop as humans who live in two cultures, here and Heaven?  Yes…read the Gospels.  Jesus modeled all of these things we do in church.  We must remember, though, that we behave in these ways FOR JESUS.

Are you following Jesus?

In a BOLD culture is Jesus too pastel?

In Jesus on April 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I helped a guy accept Jesus a while back and to the best of my knowledge he accepted Jesus. To the best of ability I tried to disciple him and help him to grow and develop. We met weekly. He attended church on Sunday mornings. He began to balk at a few things and then other, more important, things. He quit coming to church and became sporadic in our meetings. I asked him what was wrong and he replied that he had looked and longed for something vibrant and bold. Jesus and Christianity all seemed too pastel for him. We never really spoke again. He moved away without a forwarding address.

Is Jesus too pastel?

There were many who believed Jesus to be the Messiah. 12 followed Him wherever He went. He taught them and sent them out on mini-mission trips. Everything was fabulous, until Passover 36AD. On that Thursday the 12 and Jesus gathered together to have the passover meal together.  Jesus didn’t seem Himself.  He seemed to be sullen and somber. It looked like the weight of the world was on His shoulders. The group ate passover together. He spoke of betrayal and beatings.  He spoke of death. Peter tried to talk Him out it and to get Him to snap out of this funk He appeared to have.  He stopped them all and said it was time to go.  He left with 11, for 1 had already left to do his business.  Amid much dismay and discussion, they went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus wanted to pray.

  • When the guards came, they expected a coup.
  •  When taken before Pilate and Herod, they expected an eloquent speech that would have stemmed the tide and turned the crowd.
  •  When He was being whipped, they expected the chains to break and for Him to turn the whip on the soldiers.
  •  When He was being taken to the mountain, they waited for Jesus to do something.
  •  When He was hanging on the cross, they expected the skies to break and angels to drop down and fix the situation.
  •  When He died, so did their hope.

 Maybe Jesus was just too pastel. Maybe He was just a big old sissy. Maybe He wasn’t the Messiah after all.  With all of their hopes crucified and buried they walked away for a second time.

 How easy is it for us to walk that path? We want to believe. We might have even placed our faith in Jesus, but nothing is going like you feel it should.

  • Cancer still happens.
  • Babies still die.
  • Bones still break, hips and knees are replaced.
  • We still get sick.
  • We struggle with finances. We struggle with time.
  • Our marriages crumble and our kids are doing things we thought we taught them differently.
  • Divorce. Death. Depression. Guilt.

 Maybe Jesus is too pastel. Maybe Jesus just can’t get it done. Maybe this whole faith thing is just another scam like Phil and Oprah.

 Peter had betrayed Jesus. He had denied Jesus. He had walked away but when he heard the story of the women from the tomb, he could not believe it! If Jesus was alive, this changed everything. If Jesus was back, this changed everything. He ran out of the room, down the steps. He rushed through town wishing his legs moved faster and the people would get out of the way. He got to the tomb and found it to be just like the women said…EMPTY.

 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.” (Emphasis is mine)

Luke 24

How depressing! Have you ever gotten so worked up over something only to discover it to be less?  My wife and I had heard wonderful things about a certain restaurant. I mean, it had been worked up to be just shy of Heaven. We go. It is not so good. Depressing. If what you expect and what really happens are far apart, anger and depression settle in.

 Peter did not see Him. Where was Jesus?

Peter must have thought, “Wait. I betrayed Him. I denied Him. He doesn’t want to see me. Even if He was alive, it would never be the same.” Isn’t this just how WE think? We burn our trust with pornography, sexting, or an affair and it is over. We explode at a business because something was wrong, we can’t go back. We spill the stress out onto our children with mean words and hate speech….can’t get that back. We waste our years overworked, under paid, stressed, and sleep deprived only to sit at our child’s graduation, or wedding, and wonder where the years went. We can’t get those back.

The group meets again because there seems to be news. The group gathers to here Cleopas and Simon’s report of having walked with Jesus! Right in the middle of the story, in the upper secluded room, Jesus walks in!

He’s Alive!

 That’s BOLD! That’s VIBRANT!

 He steps in and speaks to them. He eats with them. He proves his bodily resurrection.

 That’s BOLD! That’s VIBRANT!

 He explains the scriptures. He challenges them to take the message they have heard and seen and spread it to all the nations. He promised the Holy Spirit. He left the message in their hands.

 That’s BOLD! That’s VIBRANT!

 Then he ascended!

That’s BOLD! That’s VIBRANT!

 He died. He lives. All of those who ran, who denied, who betrayed, He forgave. This means you. Jesus offers forgiveness to all those who will take it. Your life will change. Depending on how much you embrace this reality in your life will be a measure of whether Jesus is pastel or bold in your life.

 Be BOLD.

  • Begin a relationship with Jesus that is honest and intimate.
  • Obstacles to trust are the tools of the Devil. Put them in the shed.
  • Live your life according to the scriptures. Make every decision based on scripture.
  • Decide now that your priority system is God, Mate, Family, Work, Ministry

One overflows to the next. If your life is not working out like you expected, if you are starting to thinking this Jesus thing is just too pastel, then double-check your flowchart. One overflows to another. God fills your life, so your marriage works, so your family is healthy, so your work has less stress, and you have time to minister.

  1. If your marriage isn’t working check your time with God.
  2. If your family isn’t working, check your marriage, check your time with God.
  3. If your job is stressing you out and you hate life, check your family, check your mate, check God.
  4. If you just have no time to minister, you get the picture.

The reason your life seems to be colored with pastels is because that’s the crayon you chose.

 BE BOLD!!

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