Pastor's Corner

September 2016

September 25, 2016

1 Peter 4:10: "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

What does it mean to be a good steward? I think that many would immediately think of money. This is true, and the problems that America has in our day and time is that we are not good stewards of our money, especially the government. I am afraid for the future for this country and that we are almost twenty trillion dollars in debt. The chickens; I am afraid are about to come home to roost. If this does happen many of our day don’t have the spiritual fortitude or the spiritual discernment to endure such a crisis.

The Bible tell us that when we do it God’s way; "For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you. (Deut. 15:6) I believe this verse; and think America and our leaders need to take a long look in the mirror because this is not us. We owe Billions of dollars to countries that hate us.

Now the same is true for you and I and our personal income. If we put the Lord first in every area of our life we will be one who lends and not borrows. There are also other ways to be a good steward and one of those areas is in the area of time.

Unlike money, time comes to all of us in equal amounts. In fact, everyone has all the time there is - twenty-four hours a day. But what an astonishing variety in our use of that time and the results of our choices. To a large extent this is due to wide differences in our talents, energy and opportunities. But in the last analysis, how we use our time depends on our goals. We make hours count for what we think is important. This is why the Lord has lead us to preach a series on “Living on Purpose”.

In some of the parables, Jesus portrays life as a stewardship. He tells stories of stewards who are good or bad according to the way they manage their individual assets. Jesus says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48) Paul writes, "It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (I Corinthians 4:2) And Peter instructs, "As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (I Peter 4:10)

Does it take discipline? Yes it does, but the Lord knows that you and I can’t do it by ourselves so He sent us a parakletos,(Greek) one who comes along side to aid and comfort and to strengthen. To think that Living Power of the most High now resides in me and He has to come to strengthen me, to empower me, to enlighten me and I could go on and on.

The Battle that you and I face is, "Are we going to allow Him to fight those battles, to take our messy unorganized life and to clean it up?" Are we going to get out of His way and allow Christ to live in us through the power of the Holy Spirit and to take control? My prayer for you is that you will tell Him to move in and take over.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, the pastor who Jesus Loves.

 



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September 18, 2016

Ceasing: I Thess. 5:17 Pray without ceasing

I Thessalonians 5:17 is one of the shortest verses in the Bible. The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35: "Jesus wept."

Pray without ceasing means to continue to pray until you see the manifestation of what you are praying for. Pray until you receive what you are asking for. The Amplified Bible says of I Thessalonians 5:17 Be unceasing in prayer, (praying perseveringly).

Now the question that I get from so many is I know that I need to pray and I need to preserver in that prayer, I know that, but what about when the answer is delayed, how do I pray then?

Here is what I would tell you as you pray and ask things from our Father. Number one the target is the will of God because when you are praying, and you ask and its God will, then get ready because your about to get a boat load of blessing. How do I do that you ask? Jesus told us in Matthew 7:7-8 to do three things to ask, to seek and to knock. I have always believed that these were not three options, but rather the progression of finding the will of God. When you and I preserver in prayer we start with a wide range of asking. As we continue to battle we narrow it down to seeking and as we continue to battle we narrow it down to knocking and we say I will take what is behind door number one. Why; because the Holy Spirit has lead you to that door which you now have a confirmation from the Holy Spirit, that this is the will of God.

So do I keep on saying the same things and asking over and over again for God to grant the prayer? My answer is yes and no, yes you keep on praying but no you don’t keep on asking because you have already asked and according to I John 5:14 and 15 and John 16:24 He has heard you. When Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock He goes on to say “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him. (Matt.7:9-11)

Here’s the point, if your child ask you to go get ice-cream and you said ok let’s go. Now the Ice-cream parlor is some distance away so it will take some time. On the way there your child continues to plead and beg and cry for you to take him to the ice-cream parlor. I think that I would, well I probably shouldn’t tell you what I would do! I think this is the same way as we pray, we treat our Heavenly Father.

Listen, once you have prayed in faith and asked the Lord to answer whatever particular need you may have, you then begin to switch from asking to thanking and praising Him for what He is about to do. So I ask; and I ask in prayer, because I believe that He is God and then I begin to offer praise and thanksgiving for what He is about to do until I see the manifestation of that Prayer.

Remember that Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So I find my voice in a scripture, and that scripture becomes my anchor I hold on to, until I see that prayer answered. This is exactly what Rom. 4:17 says “calls those things which do not exist as though they did”. That’s what you do by faith believing that God has heard you and then I begin to thank Him and praise Him for the answer to that prayer. For He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, the pastor whom Jesus loves.



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September 11, 2016

1 Corinthians 5:12: "For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?"

It used to be that if you watched a football game chances are you would see someone in the stands hold up a sign with John 3:16 on it. John 3:16 was the most popular verse we were told in the Bible. But in this culture it has been replaced with Judge not, that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1).

I hear this all the time. I hear it from Christians and I hear it from unbelievers also. Now for the unbeliever I believe this makes them comfortable in this pluralistic culture, that says everyone is going to heaven, or who are atheistic in their belief system. Now for many Christians this gives them an out that they have no responsibility for brothers and sisters in Christ. I am not for sure that the very reason many don’t share their faith with others is this very thing.

When Jesus said “Judge Not” He was not saying to us that believers should not be discerning or should never point out sin. Jesus was not implying that disciples should never make personal or relational decisions, and sometimes even judgments, but they should beware that this does not become habitual. I think Jesus was also telling us that we, for the most part, don’t know the motivation of people and I think this is where the child of God gets themselves into trouble, when they begin not to talk about the action but why a person did something in a negative way.

The Apostle Paul addresses this in I Corinthians 5. There he tells us that we are not to judge the people of the world who don’t know our Lord. Why, because unbelievers act like unbelievers because they have never been converted and become new creatures in Christ. Paul tells us also in I Cor. 5:9-10 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. Paul is saying we are to have fellowship with unbelievers as long as we keep in mind we are there to win them for Christ. We are on a mission. We are not to judge them but to love them.

Paul goes on in verse 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person. Did you notice who he did tell us not to have fellowship with, a brother or sister who claims to know our Lord but is walking in sin openly and will not repent. You and I do have a responsibility to go to them and to say, “why are you acting this way” and that is not judging that is trying to be loving and kind. The Bible admonishes us to do this. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

With the unbeliever we have a responsibility to share our faith when the right time comes but not be condescending and to share out of love. The unbeliever is to see us loving them before we ever mention the Lord. They are to see Jesus in us.

The brother or sister in Christ if they have come to the place in their life that we see them heading down a road that is contrary to what the Bible teaches, then we have a responsibility to go to them in love and to restore them in the spirit of gentleness.

Are we to be condemning and condescending? No, for we always must remember how we have come to the Lord through His Grace and His Mercy.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, the pastor of the congregation that Jesus loves



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September 4, 2016

Matthew 9:36: "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."

I sometimes find myself getting frustrated with those who seem to go which every way the wind blows. I see those who have made one bad decision after bad decision, and are ready to make another bad decision. I see people whose lives are just a mess and I see people who are stern and proud and will not give in to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to surrender.

As I observe these people with my eyes my flesh wants to tell them why don’t you just straighten up and do the right thing. But when I look through the eyes of Jesus I can’t but have compassion on them. That’s what our Lord did and I believe that He has called us to do the very same thing.

I am sure that day when Jesus saw the multitudes, He saw the selfish, and the self-centered. He saw those who had no wisdom in the decisions that they had made. He saw the proud and the obstinate but yet the Bible says He was moved with compassion.

How we are like the disciples when one day they were being pushed and shoved by the crowds trying to get to Jesus. All of a sudden Jesus stopped and said someone touched Him. The disciples said “of course someone touched you, everyone is touching us, we have been pushed and shoved all day long. Jesus said “no someone touched me” and out from the crowd came a lady that had an issue of blood for twelve years. Oh that we would not get so caught up in life that we don’t see those who are trying to touch the Lord but don’t know how.

We need compassion but we also need understanding. I have someone in the church who calls me Dad and my wife mother. Now some would say that is irritating but what others don’t understand is where he is coming from. He lost his mother and father at an early age. I don’t mind.

I once heard of a man who was getting on an airplane and thought to himself that he would either get some work done or just rest for it was a long flight. He settled in his seat only to realize that the passenger next to him was this mother with two rambunctious small children. Not only did the man not get any work done let alone any rest but these two kids were climbing all over him even at the continued request of their mother to stop. One had a sucker that the mother had given him hoping this would settle him down but to no avail. The little boy climbed up on the lap of the man took his sucker and smacked it on his newly pressed business suit.

When it was all over the women continually apologized to the gentleman, but he decided to look at the whole situation not through his eyes but through the eyes of His Lord. He actually helped the lady and the two little boys from the plane and to get their luggage. When it was over he had to laugh because he realized that God has a sense of humor.

Who has the Lord blessed you with lately to irritate the fire out of you? The key is not to see who they really are through your eyes but to look at them and the situation through our Lords eyes.

- Pastor Lee Cruse, the pastor who Jesus loves but needs to have his eyes adjusted too.



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