Sermons Archives: April 2019

Miracles Big and Small

Posted on Apr 26, 2019 | Download

For forty years I was a non-believer.  I believed in a higher being, but not a divine one.  I did not believe in God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. I was not raised in a Christian household.  My father explained Jesus to me as a radical hippie with a people pleasing personality who became a legend after His death.   So what happened decades later to change my mind? My sister was visiting from out of town.  She is one of the most avid believers in Christ that I have ever known.  I was loosely discussing religion with her, mostly placating her with occasional nods and yeses. When we went to bed that night, I did not have Christ on my mind.  I’m sure I was busy with thoughts of my own comfort and gratification; however, during the night I became one of the luckiest people on Earth.   Jesus came to me in a vision. It was not a dream. I was petrified. I knew I was not worthy of His presence. I was not worthy of Him; I was not worthy of anything.   I hid from Him. I was scared that He would find me, and I would have to answer for my past sins and disbelief. As I was hiding, Jesus calmly approached.  I watched His sandals getting closer and closer until they stopped directly in front of me.  He bent down and looked into my eyes. A sense of love and peace overtook me. I was no longer scared.  I j wanted to please this Holy Man standing in front of me. He is everything. He is peace and love. Jesus held out His hand and said, “ It’s okay.  Follow me.” I started to come out when He told me I must remove my shoes.  At first, I didn’t understand what He meant. Then it dawned on me. It wasn’t my shoes that were the issue.  It was symbolic for coming to Jesus humbly. We must go unburdened and just as we are. Hiding any part of ourselves is not acceptable.  We must go as openly and humbly as possible. I have never faltered in my belief of Jesus and our Father, God, since then.  I have been blessed with continued visions. Some are easy to explain, some are not, but my love and devotion have never slipped.   My message to anyone who will listen is to go with Christ.  Go as you are. He loves you. No matter how much you may have disappointed yourself, you have not disappointed Jesus unless you refuse to go with Him.  That’s not to say He is irritated with you. Not at all, but He is saddened when one of His children chooses to turn away from Him. Before I became a Christian, I prided myself on my logical background and my conviction that Jesus and God were symbols of humanities needs.  They were not thriving, dynamic rulers on high. I was a fool. Please don’t be one, too. Why I'm Telling My Story Have you ever been approached in Wal-Mart by someone unusual--a real talker--who keeps you trapped in the aisle for what seems like an eternity?  It’s uncomfortable. You want to continue along your way. That happened to me yesterday. I was reaching for a can of green beans when a random shopper turned to me and began talking about how poorly stocked the shelves were.  I nodded politely, expecting him to lose interest and go away. He didn’t. He continued talking, and it wasn’t long until he began telling me that he was a Christian.  A strange feeling came over me. This random man was not talking to another random person in Wal-Mart.  He was talking to me.  He went on and on about Jesus and what He wanted from his people.  I knew I was hearing something fantastic. So I just listened.  I couldn’t get enough. The man explained how Jesus loves us; how He is there for us when we mess up; how He knows our hearts better than we do and understands that we will falter.  Rick, the Wal-Mart guy, talked about how Christ doesn’t like it when his children become entangled in meaningless rituals. Jesus wants to have a free-flowing relationship with us. Rick warned, do not become a slave to ritual. The man told me that I, and every Christ follower, have a purpose on this Earth.  We are here to testify to anyone who will listen. We are given gifts by the Holy Spirit.  We must use those gifts and spread the word of Jesus. Rick said that Jesus performs miracles every day.  It’s just up to us to acknowledge those miracles trust Him. He also said God is building an army of believers--an army to go out and testify to the world about His love.  Rick told me several times that Jesus is very much alive and moving upon this earth. We just have to open ourselves up to this and acknowledge and follow Him. The meeting wasn’t random. It was a divine appointment. Jesus sent a messenger from Heaven to me in the form of a guy at Wal-Mart.  I could have chosen to ignore Rick. I’m glad I didn’t. Jesus works His miracles in so many different ways. Let’s be open to them. Let’s accept His gifts.  Let’s follow Him.  

How To Think Like An Overcomer

Posted on Apr 11, 2019 | Download

As an M.D., I’m always reading articles, medical and otherwise, in search of help for my patients. And as a Christian, I strive to find the ultimate truth--God’s truth--in these articles. Recently I’ve been reading about the abundance mindset and the scarcity mindset. Our attitude towards scarcity and abundance in our lives greatly influences our quality of life. The abundance mindset is an optimistic outlook. The word “abundance” means "fullness, plenty." It’s the kind of perspective that led Paul to say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” (Phil. 4:13). The scarcity mindset is a pessimistic outlook. Anxiety, lack of self-control, and even addictive tendencies can stem from the scarcity mindset. Often people with a scarcity mentality have a tough time sharing recognition, credit, power or profit—no matter who else contributed to the success. In a word, people with the abundance mindset are “resilient.” Those with the scarcity mindset, on the other hand, often give up easily. The difference between people with abundance mindsets and those with scarcity mindsets comes down to how they respond to pain and difficulty. Here are nine marks of a resilient person. 1. Resilient people learn to cope with stress and adversity. Resilience comes from exposing the lies you’re believing, and choosing to believe in yourself and something bigger than yourself. It means remembering that God is bigger than all our problems, stress, and adversity. 2. Resilient people own their short-comings. They’re willing to be honest about why they failed and take the time to think about what didn’t work. For Christians, this comes from being “transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (Rom. 12:1). 3. Resilient people remind themselves that most of what they’re facing is temporary. They look back to times when they overcame setbacks in the past to gain courage and perspective to overcome again. We can do this by remembering that God is the one who fights our battles. Remember, “Greater is he who is in me, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). 4. Resilient people see their fears as opportunities. They choose to face, rather than avoid, their fears. They look ahead to the person they will be when they overcome, even in the worst of times. They know that God is greater than anything we face. 5. Resilient people pick themselves us as many times as it takes. Benjamin Lee Vince says it this way: “The Christian life consists of falling down, getting up, falling down and getting up again.” 6. Resilient people find ways to care for others, even in the toughest of times. Because life has taught them that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35). 7. Resilient people maintain strong and supportive relationships. If you’re not in a healthy community, now is the time. It’s vital, not only for your spiritual health, but also for your mental health. That’s why Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” 8. Resilient people search for meaning in their trouble. When we look to God, we remember that there is always purpose in pain. Everything you go through is given meaning through the lens of eternity. Look to His Word.   “What do I do if I have a scarcity mindset?” Is it possible to develop an abundance mindset? Yes! Here are four ways to do that. 1. Be happy for others. Recognize that someone else’s success does not diminish your value. The Bible says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice…So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” I Cor. 12:26 2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Keep your eyes on Christ. Stay focused on the end goal, which is Jesus. The Apostle Paul referred to life as a race in 2 Timothy chapter four because he knew the eternal prize he was living for. 3. Search for opportunities to be generous. I’m not just talking about money. You can be generous with your time, money, and resources. I recently heard someone say, “giving time gives you more time.’ Spending time helping others can actually increase how much time you think you have for yourself. You can also be generous with how you treat people. If you feel like others don’t respect you, give respect first. If you're not receiving compassion from others, find opportunities to show compassion first. Romans 12:17 says, “Do not repay evil for evil, but repay evil with good.” 4. Keep a gratitude journal. The scarcity mindset often looks like fear and anxiety about the future. Fight the lie of scarcity by remembering how God has come through for you in the past. A great way to do this is to keep a journal that lists all the wonderful things God has done in your life. Remember the words of Jesus: “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?” (Mt.7:11).