May 29, 2006

His Love Makes Us Do It

For Christ's love compels us,
because we are convinced that one died for all,
and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14
BAND OF BROTHERS
Mike Peltz, Ross Beamon, Michael Dones (#1), Alonzo Hardy (front), Jose Rosado, Kurt Michaelson, Chris Johnson, Jonathan Moore

Ross Beamon (L) and Jose Rosado (R)
A time to gain and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away.
Eccleisiastes 3:6

Jonathan Moore (L) and Alonzo Hardy (R)

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord,

and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5

Jonathan Moore and Jose Rosado

Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1

Give us (the Mets) day by day our daily bread. Luke 11:3

Charles Reid III and Chris Johnson

Sons of Thunder, Mark 3:17

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2

May 23, 2006

Pitney Bowes and God

Pitney Bowes engineers the flow of communication,
God engineered the way of salvation.

Tonight, I played in a softball game against Pitney Bowes. During the game I was thinking how could I relate the message of the Gospel to these guys in such a way that would be simple to understand. Thankfully, through the Holy Spirit, it was revealed to me during the game. I would like to thank Mike Silva for teaching this at the School of Evangelism that I attended in April last month.

Pitney Bowes is known as a company that “Engineers the flow of communication.” The company provides a product, a postage machine, to process envelopes with a postage stamp on it to be successfully delivered to its intended recipient.

God is like Pitney Bowes where He has engineered the way of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). Sounds to me like God engineered a way for anyone to be delivered to God through Jesus Christ.

The bible says that a person is able to enter the Most Holiest Place (Heaven), by the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19) The blood of Jesus is like a stamp on our soul that has cleansed us from all sin in our life. His blood makes us a priority package to God that will be successfully delivered to Him at the end of our lives.

The bible says that God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:13-15). The bible mentions again that we have redemption through the blood of Christ, which forgives us from our sins, according to the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7).

The red ink on an envelope signifies that the postage has been paid to deliver the mail and the blood of Christ signifies to God that the debt of sin has been paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. No one can be successfully delivered to God, to enter heaven, without the stamp of Christ’s blood marking our debt of sin, paid in full. Every person on earth is like an envelope. Every envelope most often contains something inside of it for the recipient to receive. If we are like an envelope that is addressed to God, to go to Heaven one day, Jesus must be inside of us, the envelope, and the envelope must be stamped with His blood to successfully deliver us to God in Heaven.


If we were to try to send ourselves to heaven without the stamp of Christ's blood, God will look at each person, (the envelope) and say, "Return to sender. This has not been stamped properly in order for me to receive you into My Kingdom and inherit eternal life." Likewise, Jesus said, "On judgment day many will tell me, `Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, `I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized." (Matthew 7:22-23, NLT).

God desires that each person to choose to be with Him in Heaven (
John 17:24), but the responsibility to choose to be with God is ours and ours alone. No one can choose to send us to Heaven to be with God.

To God, every person on earth is a priority package and He wants you to be successfully delivered to Him. Do you want to make sure you are successfully delivered to Heaven and not returned as "undeliverable" because you do not have the stamp of Jesus’ blood to cover your sins?


If you do, then please click here to visit a website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to learn the steps you need to take to have peace with God. When you have done this, you will have been stamped by the blood of Jesus to be successfully delivered to God when your time to live eternally comes. If you have taken these steps toward having peace with God, I would love to hear from you. We'll play Pitney Bowes again on Tuesday June 27th at 6:00 p.m.

May 21, 2006

We are all witnesses

On Tuesday last week, I received an email from my brother that was preceded by an email from my father, with an attached photo of my grandfather.

My grandfather had died in 1993 and my grandmother had died in 2004 on the day before Easter. We grew up knowing our grandmother a bit more than our grandfather, though who could forget the photo of grandpa with us wearing his shorts, button down short sleeve shirt, black calf high socks and white shoes. We had spent many Saturday afternoons visiting Nana and had several memorable Christmas days at her apartment with the rest of our extended family. We had been fortunate to see Grandpa a few times, yet as few as they were they were still memorable and treasured times.

My brother described how the photo that was sent by my father, along with learning about Grandpa from his wife Polly, whom he was married to before he died, told a story of who he was that helped to fill in the missing parts of knowing about his life. My brother went on to make a very interesting point to say that each of us were witnesses to the life of Nana and Grandpa. Had either of them died when the grandchildren were too young to know either of them, their stories would have been told to us through photos, letters and personal accounts of events that occurred in their lives, so that we would know as much as we could about them. I realized that all of what my brother had written was true from a biblical perspective too.

Here are some examples:
  • Shepherds were witnesses to the birth of the Savior as it was announced to them from an angel of the Lord. (Luke 2:9-12)
  • John the Baptist witnessed the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in bodily form after he was baptized in the Jordan River where God acknowledged Him as His Son. (Luke 3:22)
  • The disciples were witnesses to many miracles where Jesus had fed thousands of people with only enough food for one or two people, He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, made the lame walk, and rose the dead to life.
  • The disciples were witnesses of Jesus calming a storm by His spoken word. (Mark 4:35-41)
  • The disciples were witnesses to Jesus walking on water during a severe storm on the sea. (Matthew 14:22-33)
  • Hundreds were witnesses to his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Hundreds more were witnesses to the release of Barabbas from Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus. (Luke 23:13-25)
  • The Romans soldiers were witnesses and accomplices to the severe scourging Jesus received. (Matthew 27:26)
  • The crucifixion of Jesus was witnessed by Jesus' mother Mary. (John 19:25-27)
  • Joseph of Arimathea witnessed Jesus' body as it was placed and sealed in the tomb that was for him. (John 19:38-42)
  • Mary Magdalene was the first to witness that Jesus had risen from the dead. (John 20:12-18)
  • The disciples were witnesses to the appearance of Jesus in a room in which He did not walk in to. (John 20:19-20)
  • Thomas, who had not seen Jesus in the room with the other disciples, doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. He did not need to put his fingers in his hands, nor his hand into his side because he had now witnessed the risen Lord, saying, "My Lord and My God!" (John 20:24-29)
  • Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, and two other disciples were witnesses to having breakfast with Jesus by the sea, which was the third time Jesus had appeared to them after He was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)
  • More than 500 people were witnesses to seeing Jesus at one specific time after He had risen from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
  • The disciples were witnesses to Jesus' instruction to be witnesses of Him in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
  • They witnessed His ascension into heaven before their very eyes. (Acts 1:9-11)

The photos of Nana and Grandpa are proof that they lived. Even greater proof are their children. An even greater proof are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Alfred (Mike) and Anne Michaelson. We are witnesses to their lives, a living testimony, to the lives of our parents.

Since God is our Father, a difficult question must be asked. Will God know that each one of us individually, have been a living testimony, a witness, of Jesus Christ in our lives to others? Just 17 accounts from the bible have been provided of witnesses to the life of Christ when all we needed was His birth, His death, and His resurrection. The witness of those three accounts alone are the burden of proof to the world, to each one of us individually when the day comes to give an account of our lives to God.

A witness for Jesus Christ is a person who willingly confesses to another the life of Christ in them, and God's desire for each person to come to the knowledge and understanding of who Jesus Christ is, God's witness of the forgiveness of sin, the salvation of our souls and the inheritance of eternal life, that is only found in Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world that He gave is only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son inot the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16-17)

"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:3

May 13, 2006

Unashamed

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans 1:16, NKJV.

I read this short message today in a book titled, Jesus Freaks by dc Talk (available at Christianbook.com). The book is a collection of some incredibly moving true stories of Christians who would not deny their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The story I read today impacted me greatly to remind me that Jesus' death was not in vain, but for the purpose of redeeming those from the judgment and wrath of God because of their sin. It is also a reminder to me that more people need to know the sacrifice God made to forgive them through the punishment of their sins through Jesus' death on the cross.

I asked myself this question last night that challenged my own commitment to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Am I willing to sacrifice my life for the Gospel? Not so much questioning would I die for Christ, I believe that I would, but more of, what am I willing to give up in my life to preach the Gospel as Jesus directed before He ascended to Heaven?

Here is the story....

Peter
Jerusalem, Israel
44 AD


The believers met secretly in homes, fearing public gatherings. Many had been harassed, persecuted, and arrested because they were followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

As they prepared for their Easter celebrations, word came that one of their leaders, James the brother of John, had been arrested and beheaded. The believers were overwhelmed at the swiftness of the execution. Even more alarming was the public acceptance of such brutality. There was no tolerance for this new sect that proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah.

Another church leader was taken into custody. To ensure that no one came to his rescue, two soldiers stood guard within his small cell, each bound to the prisoner at the wrist. Two additional guards were ordered to stand watch outside the cell. Instead of being immediately executed like the first, he was to be held in custody until after the Passover celebration, when he was to be executed publicly.

The believers gathered on behalf of their imprisoned leader and began to pray fervently, asking God to deliver him from such a fate. Word spread throughout the region, and within a matter of hours, thousands committed themselves to pray.

The night before his scheduled execution, the condemned man received a visitor. An angel of the Lord appeared and the apostle Peter was miraculously released from prison. The others were so surprised by his quick release, that when he knocked at their door, they would not let him in because they didn't believe it was him!

Soon after that Herod died and Peter remained in Jerusalem as a leader of the church for some time.

65 AD

From the early Christian historian Hegesippus, we learn that Peter eventually traveled to Rome to minister in his old age. Nero determined to have him executed, but the disciples there heard about it and urged Peter to flee. Though resistant at first, Peter eventually gave in, but as he approached the city gate, he saw Jesus walking in the other direction.

Peter fell to his knees and said, "Lord, where are You going?"

Jesus answered, "I've come back to be crucified again."

Peter took this to mean that it was his time to die just as Jesus had prophesied to him in John 21:19, so he returned to the city. Upon being captured and sentenced to be crucified, Peter announced that he was not worthy to be crucified in the same position as his Savior, and requested to die on the cross upside down. The Romans honored this request.

Peter knew that one day he would face death for following Jesus, because Jesus had told him he would. Yet Peter never flinched from the call to follow Him anywhere, and he urged all believers to do the same. Like Paul, Peter was delivered from death again and again until he had finished the course God had laid out for him. When it was finished, Jesus was there to welcome him home.

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