MY STORY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Many of you know my story.  I made a commitment to Christ at the age of six when my father prayed and led me into a relationship with Christ.  At the age of nine I felt a genuine feeling that I would be in ministry as an adult.  At age twelve I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  At age nineteen my calling into ministry was confirmed by a fleece I had placed before the Lord and with immediacy God responded.  This Christian journey that I’ve been on has been interesting, rewarding and challenging.  Christianity is not for wimps.  But I would not want to do life any other way.
 
Now that’s my simplistic story, but let me remind you of another.  In John 9:1-11, 24-25, 35-38, we find the story of the healing of the blind man.  It shows us how our ordinary actions can lead to eternal impact.
 
As Jesus was walking along …” (v. 1).  He meets a blind man who has been blind from birth.  His disciples wondered of the sin that must have been committed to bring about this curse.  Jesus replied by stating that neither his parent’s sin or his was the cause of his malady.  But behind all of this was that this man who was walking in darkness would meet the One who is the Light of the world, (v. 6).  The blind man received his miracle and sight was restored.  Others wanted to know how his story changed?  They were asking essentially theological questions and the once blind man responded, “This I know, I was blind, and now I can see.”
 
The blind man didn’t have all the answers.  He just knew that Jesus had made a difference in his life.  This wonderful story reminds us that we don’t have to know everything or have all the answers, we just need to tell others what Christ has done for us. 
 
Here’s the deal.  If you are a follower of Christ … you have a story to tell.  When you tell that story in your everyday life, it can have an eternal impact.  Here’s what I want you to say …
 
“My testimony is a powerful tool that God can use to impact someone else’s life for eternity.”  
 
When you dissect the story of the blind man you find a number of results:       
       
(1)  His neighbors were surprised            
(2)  The Pharisees were angry.            
(3)  The Blind man worshipped Jesus            
(4)  Others were influenced for eternity.
 
Here’s something very interesting about your story.  Nobody can argue with it.  It’s your story.  Your friends and family will be interested in your story.  And most importantly God will use it every time.  1 Timothy 1:16 tells us, “But that is why God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst of sinners.  Then others can realize that they too can believe in Him too and receive eternal life.”

~ Pastor Greg


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MY INVITATION CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Wow!  We are just two weeks away from our Celebration of the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I just want to remind you how important you are.  Simple actions on your part can make an eternal difference in someone’s life.  Just by giving an invitation to someone to come to church with you can have eternal impact.
 
We give invitations all the time.  We do e-vites, sometimes, electronically.  We send friend invites on Facebook.  Sometimes they don’t accept them … but that’s another story.  We also have times in our life when we send out bigger invitations:  Graduation invitations or wedding invitations.
 
Here’s an actual wedding invitation (blooper):  “On Saturday the 14th we request the honor of your presents.”  Did you catch it?  Not presence, PRESENTS!  We knew all the time that’s what it was all about.  (LOL)
 
Look, invitations matter.  We live in a culture where people expect invitations; they receive invitations, all the time!
 
In John chapter 1, verses 40-49 we find two invitations that has had eternal significance.  In verse 41, Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah which is the Christ.’    And then there is Philip who responded to Christ’s invitation to follow Him and he immediately looks for his friend Nathaniel and exclaims, ‘We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about.  His name is Jesus … come and see for yourself.’
 
As a result of Andrew’s invitation Simon, who would come to be known to us as Peter had his life turned inside out and he turned the world upside down and became the leader of the early church.  Nathaniel also becomes a follower of Christ as a result of an invitation.
 
Your invitation can make an eternal difference!  If Philip did not invite Nathaniel he probably never would have become a follower of Jesus. 
 
Here’s what I know:  Jesus changes lives.  He changed mine.  2 Timothy 1:10 states “Jesus broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.”   
 
Jesus wants you to influence people around you towards Him.  Have you ever asked yourself?   “Why am I here?”  You are where you are because God wants to use you there.  Paul tells us in Colossians, “Live wisely among those who are not yet Christians, making the most of every opportunity”  (4:5).  Let’s bring others to Jesus.  Let’s rock the house on Easter Sunday.  “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:23, NIV).  Who are you inviting?  It can change their life!  It can change their eternity!

~ Pastor Greg

 


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Love Has Won

Through Jesus, God has obtained victory in the earth.  The dominion the devil had over humanity was crushed by the cross of Jesus Christ.  Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”  Jesus has triumphed over everything that stood between us and a life lived in relationship with God.   One of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture, Romans 8, tells us, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).  We’ve been given victory over the enemy and all his schemes.  But even though we have obtained victory in Jesus, the devil still works to lead you and me back into our former ways.  Even though Jesus has defeated the enemy, we still must live out that victory every day and help others around us do the same.  Even though love has won, we still must fight for the victory in others.   We need each other to experience the freedom available to us in Christ. Scripture admonishes us to engage in confession, community, worship, and spiritual battle together.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” James 5:13-16 says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  We must engage with one another and fight for a life lived victoriously in Christ together.  The Bible is clear that sanctification is a process worked out, and it’s a process meant to be worked out together.   We must call out the greatness in each other.  If you see a brother or sister struggling with temptation, fight for them through prayer.  Speak life into them.  Encourage them in who God has made them to be.  Stand with them through whatever circumstances and consequences come their way.  See them through the fight until they experience victory over the power of sin and darkness in their life.  Open up to those around you and ask for their help in your own life!  You don’t have to fight spiritual battles alone.  There are people around you who will fight for victory in your own life.  We are His great Church!

  ~ Pastor Greg Morris


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Wait With Certainty

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! ~ Psalm 27:14   We wait a year for a birthday or an anniversary.  We wait nine months for babies to be born.  We wait days to attend a sporting event.  We wait minutes for a taxi to arrive.  In all that waiting, we rarely wait anxiously because we are usually confident in the outcome.  The baby will be born, the game will begin on time, the taxi will arrive, the celebration will be held.  The Certainty of outcome can make the difference in how we wait.   The Prophet Isaiah gives us a wonderful promise for waiting:   ”But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”   ~ Isa. 40:31   Paul the Apostle tells us “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” ~ Romans 8:25   In life, sometimes we are anxious about the future because we aren’t certain of what it holds.  And we too often wait anxiously; our heart grows weak with uncertainty and fear. But God knows the future; indeed, His knowledge is unlimited. We may not know the future, but we know who does.  Therefore, we have every reason to wait with courage, certainty, and confidence. God promises to give courage and strength to those who wait upon Him.   Isaiah 30:18 reminds us, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”    Are you looking to the future, unsure of what it holds?  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him.  And He shall direct your paths”  ~(Proverbs 3:5-6).  Receive from Him His strength for your heart as you wait upon Him today!
~ Pastor Greg

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Complaining Is a Sin!

In Ephesians 4:29, the apostle Paul instructs us not to use any foul or polluting language.  At one time, I didn’t realize that this included complaining, but I have since learned that murmuring and complaining pollute our lives.   We pollute our lives by complaining about almost anything anymore.  Nothing is ever right.  Nothing ever suits us.  The Israelites were a people group who were known for their negativity.  They constantly complained about their condition.   People of our western civilization have so much at their fingertips compared to the rest of the world.  And yet we are the most depressed culture in all of the world.  We live in a spirit of complaint.    Plain and simple, complaining is a sin!  It causes many people a great deal of problems in their lives and destroys the joy of anyone listening.    We need to ask ourselves, how quick are we to become impatient and begin to complain when stuck in traffic or while waiting in checkout lanes in grocery stores or department stores?  How quick are we to spot and point out all the faults of our friends or family members?  Do we complain about our job when we should be thanking God that we have one?   That leads me to the solution.  The best antidote for complaining is thanksgiving.  Truly thankful people do not complain. They are too busy being grateful for all the good things they have that they have no time to notice the things they could complain about.  We are blessed!    The Bible says that we are to enter God’s courts with praise and thanksgiving, (Psalm 100:4).    You and I need to make it a daily goal to live a life of thanksgiving.  Why not start a thanksgiving journal?  Everyday, write down at least three things that you are grateful for.    Three things I am thankful for today:
  1. Thankful for my loving, adoring and faithful wife.
  2. Thankful for the privilege to follow God’s lead and Pastor the wonderful people of the Parkway Church.
  3. Thankful for God’s constant care and watchful eye. He is never absent.
  Let’s be as positive and grateful as possible.  Let’s remove ourselves from chronic complainers to charismatic Christians.

~ Pastor Greg


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Fear Not

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year; everything and everyone is decked out!  There are parties to attend, joyful music on the radio, food and gifts galore. Unfortunately, there is another side to the holidays.   For many, Christmas can be a time of deep loneliness and stress and fear.  Maybe you’ve lost someone.  Maybe you are going through a divorce.  Maybe you are worried about how you’re going to keep the lights on, let alone put presents under the tree.  The pressure to keep up with society’s version of the holidays can be overwhelming, triggering anxiety, depression and fear.   However, these feelings are not unique to our current culture.  Worry and fear have been lurking in the shadows since the very first Christmas.  The characters in the Christmas story had everything to be afraid of.  Joseph was afraid. Mary was fearful.  The shepherds, and the wise men lived in a scary world filled with uncertainty.  God knew this and sent his messenger, the angel Gabriel, to deliver the news of a Savior.  Each time Gabriel brought the message, he started with this phrase, “Do not be afraid.”   Why?  What can we take away from this?
  • First, I’m certain angels are terrifying or they could be. I’ve never seen an angel.  And I’m not sure how I would respond if I did.  But I’m sure it would bring some sense of dread.
  • Second, even in the most frightening of circumstances, God has a plan.
  Herein lies the power of Christmas.  Jesus, born in a manger, in the middle of the desert, under the rule of a tyrant, was the hope of all humankind.  This is what we celebrate.  No matter what is going on in our lives or in the world around us, Jesus is our hope.  We can overcome fear.  The message is clear in all of the uncertainties around us!  Jesus is here.  “God with us.”   “God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”  These were the words to Timothy, Paul’s young protégé.  That’s one of your Christmas gifts!  Receive it!  Open it.  Live in it!
 
 
~ Pastor Greg

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