Show and Tell

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“Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest…” Luke 5:13-14

Does anybody remember “Show and Tell” growing up? I remember our teacher would tell us to bring something special to bring to class to show and tell. Well, I wasn’t allowed to bring my dog or my brother, so I would bring a rookie baseball, football, or basketball card…or even this one time, I brought a mini football helmet that I had in my room that I loved. The class didn’t think it was as cool as I did, but nevertheless, it was cool!

I find it fascinating that Jesus tells the man who He healed from leprosy, “Don’t tell…go show!” Doesn’t this blow anyone else’s mind, too? What about our words? Are we to use our words still? How can we preach the Gospel without speaking? Did Jesus even want this person to share the Gospel? YES! Absolutely! In everything we do, should be showing Jesus, Him crucified, and the Gospel!

You see, in today’s society, words are fading things now. You tell someone something, but it might not be completely true, or it might be completely false…same thing, right? Well, now, you can’t tell anyone anything about Jesus. Scripture is fulfilled when Paul said, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I think what Jesus might be trying to get across to the man who had leprosy, and even to us today, is that our words do have power in them, but we have even greater power in our actions! That man who had leprosy, I can imagine, was probably jumping for joy, because he no longer had an illness. He was healed by Jesus Himself! On the way to the priest, the man was probably showing everyone what had happened to him. Then when he gets to the priest, imagine this, he gets to him and shows him what Jesus did…instead of telling him what Jesus did.

I am not telling you to keep quiet and not tell people about what Jesus did on the Cross for you, but today, what I am challenging us to do is to SHOW what Jesus did and is doing! If they don’t believe, don’t worry. One day, every eye will see, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord! One day, when Jesus calls us Home to glory, everything we have lived and worked for, and everything Jesus did in His life – being beaten, taken to the Cross, and killed for your sin, will be proven even more. Just wait. It’s coming. Are you ready? Show people the greatest Miracle that ever walked on Earth. Show people the joy, hope, grace, and salvation of YOUR life. Let’s go, show, and tell!

Just Do It

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“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” – Leviticus 20:7-8

It was in 1988 when Nike came out with the “Just Do It” slogan in a business meeting. The “Just Do It” campaign allowed Nike to further increase its share of the North American domestic sport-shoe business from 18% to 43%, (from $877 million to $9.2 billion in worldwide sales) from 1988 to 1998. Just those words alone brought a complete 360 for Nike Inc. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

It is one thing to hear a commandment, but it’s another thing to actually live that commandment out. When I first gave my heart to the Lord when I was 13 years old, I thought it was awesome to just sit and read (still do), but back then, I never got the concept that not only do you need to hear the Word, but you also need to live it out.

Why live it out, you ask? Not only is the Word of God the guide to your life, the Word of God also has power….power to change your mindset and lifestyle! God cares for you and I so much that He gave His only Son to die for our sin and give us the opportunity to come boldly to the throne of GRACE! 

Just like Nike coming out with the “Just Do It” slogan, we too must sometimes just say…”Just Do It!” And just like the sales of Nikes going up, our lives will be more blessed, and our families will be more blessed when we live out what God says!

I want you to ask an elderly saint, maybe a parent, grandparent, school teacher, Sunday School teacher, Pastor, Student Pastor, or an elderly layperson in your church about times where God has blessed them because they simply followed what God’s Word said and what God spoke to them to do.

God told Joshua to go around a city seven times and on the seventh time to scream. Think about how crazy they looked! But, the results of their obedience was spectacular! Today, let us not only hear the Word of God, but also, LIVE it out in our lives! Stand still, be obedient to the Lord, and see the salvation of God!

Blessings!

Seasoned With Fire

SeasonedWithFireBlog“For everyone will be seasoned with fire…” – Mark 9:49

Some of the best times I have with family is when we all get together for a big cookout for a holiday or family get together. I truly cherish those times. Growing up, getting together with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, was a regular routine. We would cook burgers and hotdogs, and on special occasions, my grandmother would cook my favorite…pork tenderloin!

The funny thing about our get togethers, though, was the fact that my grandpa and dad would never let anyone touch the grill besides them, because they knew if they did it, it would get done and get done right! But, while they cooked the burgers and hotdogs, they would stand over the fire and watch carefully the items being cooked, because if left there too long, it would get burnt and be no good…and go to waste. If taken off the grill too early, the meat wouldn’t be cooked to its full potential. I think you are starting to get the picture…

You see, there are times in our lives to where we go through a purification process through fire that sets us up for our future. God places fires (trials, tribulations, valleys, etc.) in our lives, not to push up back, but to expedite us FORWARD!

God puts you on a grill to be put through fire…and if so many people blame God and think that the fires in their lives are meant to bring them down, but can I remind you today that He is faithful and stands over the fire that you are going through and carefully watches over you! Do not think for one second that you can go through the fire alone, because if you do, you will be left in the fire for too long and burn up. Do not pull yourself out of the fire too quick, because that fire in your life is meant to take you to a new level in your life…a new taste…a new season!

God is seasoning me and you! He is giving us a new taste! God is the best chef in town! You can trust that whatever He does, is for your good and gain! Keep your head up, pray, seek His face, read His Word, get in contact with the Rock of your Salvation and see that He is good, and faithful!

The Battle In Between

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“I beseech you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2

It was once said by Beth Moore that studies have shown that your mind is capable of memorizing the entire Bible. I for one have a tough time remembering what I did the week before, yet, there is something about Scripture that when you memorize, pray, and meditate, something begins to happen in your life.

The biggest battlefield for Christians today is in their own minds. Why is the mind so desirable for the enemy to have? If it wasn’t, then Paul would have said “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” in Romans 12:1-2 and also, “take every thought captive” in 2 Corinthians 10:5.

I believe that when the enemy takes your mind, he will also get your entire being. Thoughts of, “well, I’m not good enough”, or “it’ll never happen”, or “I’m a mistake.” You are what you believe! 

If God said you are a masterpiece, then maybe you should believe Him since He is, after all, the Creator of all the Universe. The father in Mark 9:24 brought his son to Jesus and said, “I believe, but help my unbelief!” There are times in our lives when we lose that belief and our faith needs some encouragement. That doesn’t mean you are a bad believer. It just means that you are normal! Every pastor, every staff person, and every human on this Earth has unbelief, but the thing with us, is that you must believe it if God said it.

God spoke things into existence and man believed it and saw the goodness of God, but today, we have more unbelief because our situations and circumstances are “bigger” than we are. That is true, yes! BUT, need I remind you of David slaying the Giant called Goliath with just a man purse and a few smooth stones. Goliath mocks God and David rises up within himself, puts away the doubt his own family has against him, puts away the doubt he even has about himself and says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that defiles the armies of the living God?” in 1 Samuel 17:26….then David proceeds to look Goliath in the face and says, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” in 1 Samuel 17:45-46. 

You see, it’s not the size of your giant you need to be afraid of. It’s the size of your God you need to fear! There is no match for you and a small stone with God on your side! If He be for you, who can be against you?

Looking Beyond

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“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

In the movie “Patch Adams”, which is based on a true story, Patch began his doctorate duties at an insane hospital. There, he would meet patients who would “help treat his problems”. In one scene, a crazy, older man approached him and asked “how many fingers do you see?” Patch answered “4” which was incorrect. In a later scene, Patch enters the older man’s room and asks what the answer the his question was. Here, we begin our topic…

Looking beyond the problem

The older man looked at Patch, and told him to “look beyond the fingers”. And when Patch did as he said, he saw 8…not 4. The older man responded with, “You’ve got to learn to look beyond. Don’t focus on the problem. Hmm…

Why is it so hard for us to not focus on the problems? If you’re anything like me, you worry about it constantly. I’ve had people tell me in the past before that I don’t have enough faith in my prayers when I pray. Brother and sister, I have prayed and begged with God about something for hours upon hours. I asked God to heal my son before he even went into surgery to where he didn’t have to have the surgery, but God had other plans. He healed my son in a way that I didn’t see. 

Just like David, we too have a Goliath always before us taunting us, calling us names, cursing our God, and planning death threats over our lives, but may I encourage you today that no devil in hell is a match for a small you and your big God! 

Maybe you are going through something to what seems impossible for you, but today, there is a God on your side that is fighting and working things behind the scenes for your good. “That’s great, Stewart, but how can that apply to my life? What personal life application can I have to what you are saying?” 

Walk in it. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be added to it. Worrying is just a part of being a human, but having faith is a part of being a follower of Jesus. I don’t think the Disciples had it all together either, so you don’t have to act like you do! Be open. Be consistent in your walk with God. Make Him a part of your every day conversations…thoughts…actions. 

Today, don’t focus on the problem. Focus on the God behind your problem! If your God is for you, who can be against you? One of the greatest feelings you will ever have is to know that your God is for you!

An Imperfect Man Used By A Perfect God

“The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” – Psalm 51:17

 

Is anyone perfect among you? Do you feel like you have to live a perfect life? Do you beat yourself over the head over and over? If so, I pray that you would gain something from the Holy Spirit as you read this. 

Maybe, as humans, we feel the need to be perfect. We have to look a certain way…act a certain way…present ourselves in public as sophisticated people. Do I think that’s a bad thing? Absolutely not…unless it begins to control you and everything around you…then, it becomes a problem. 

I was 13 years old and felt the call of God on my life to be a preacher. Growing up, I wanted to drive a truck for my parent’s trucking company, then as I got older, I had a thing for sports. I breathed, ate, talked about constantly, dreamed about…sports. I remembered every statistic that a player had. I remembered their jersey number, shoes they wore, school they went to, etc. And I loved every minute of it. Then, it was at a Disciple Now I went to with my youth group where I felt the Lord drawing me back to Him. Was I living a terrible life? No. Was I a bad kid? I don’t think so. But one thing I do know is that I wasn’t committed to Christ. I was one of the most selfish kids and only cared about myself. I never smoked, drank, partied, I waited until I was married, yet, I was far from Christ. 

The more I walk through life, the more I see how much God uses imperfect people…like me. Reader, may I encourage you that you do not have to be perfect to follow Christ. If that were the case, then no one would be able to call themselves a “follower”. Christ has called us to lay hands on the sick, pray for those who are hurting, mourn with those who mourn, be joyful with those who are joyful. 

Imperfection is one of God’s biggest tools in life. God can turn a man named Gideon, who no one respected because we was physically short, into a mighty man of valor. God can turn a man named Peter, who denied Jesus three times, into a revivalist who led 2,000+ people to Christ in one sitting. And God can turn a boy named Stewart, who was broken, lost, and unstable, into whatsoever He desires. 

I believe we are imperfect people, who are saved by a perfect God, on the way to a perfect life! You give me an imperfect man who is hungry for God to do something spectacular in his family, and watch and see what God does for him. You give me an imperfect man who isn’t afraid to hit his knees when he doesn’t have enough money to support his family, and watch God work a miracle for him. I would take a person who is a humble and knows they are imperfect, than someone who gets on stage and thinks they are perfect. 

God has a niche for using imperfect people, so be encouraged today. God has a plan and you are a part of it. God used a man named Joseph, who had everything possibly go wrong for him, but what the devil meant for evil, God meant it for good. Man and woman of God, trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding! His plan is perfect, His burden is light, and His love is eternal! 

Instructions For Tomorrow

“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” – Proverbs 13:1

 

Since the beginning of time, there was something special about a father-son, grandfather-grandson, mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter relationship. There is something magical that happens that I believe stops time and scares the living daylights out of the devil, because he knows that if he can stop a relationship in which God has ordained, then he will stop the church from being the church.

Since Tuesday, we have been snowed in in Chattanooga for my mother-in-law’s surgery, but in that time, I have had the chance to catch up on some reading, listen to some Ray H. Hughes sermons on YouTube, and focus on some much time with my wife and soon-to-be son. It’s been a great week, but ready to be home!

Sitting down with Pawpaw (Lindsey’s grandfather) the other day in our hotel room, I simply asked him, “Pawpaw, what is the secret to life?” And Pawpaw responds with, “Two things: Obey the Lord and keep pride out of your life.”  In a way, what he said was complex, to me, it’s so simple that he made it seem so easy. Allow me to explain…

1) Obey the Lord

For Matthew 28:20 tells us, “teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Is it really that hard? Do we not know that at the end of obedience unto the Lord comes life, blessing, and purpose? I don’t think it’s so much of having the “well, I want to do what I want to do attitude”. Obedience to God is more than just saying you will do this or that. Obedience is an outward expression to God proving your love for Him by simply doing what He says to do. Any time I hear the word “disobedience”, I immediately think of Jonah running from the call that God had for him at Nineveh. What came after his disobedience? Discord with fellow friends, guilt, being swallowed by a whale? I mean, what can be worse than being eaten by a man eating fish? Come on now! I know people that run from God, because they simply don’t want to give up the other side of their life. I also know people that don’t want to obey the Lord, because they don’t know how to. Obedience is so vital to us, because we were born with commandments birthed inside of us that need to be fulfilled. We were all birthed with passions and prophecies that I believe God ordained just for a single individual to fulfill. Obedience is the way to life!

2) Keep pride out of your life

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride cometh before the fall (destruction).” Pride….hmm….something we all don’t like to talk about. There are a million definitions to the word “pride” but to me, pride is thinking you know everything when you don’t…always thinking you’re better than this person or that person…pride is feeling satisfaction from your OWN achievements. If pride comes before the fall, don’t you think we should all keep pride out of our lives in order to stand? There is something powerful about Solomon pointing out “pride” of all things that comes before destruction. To every building, there has to be some kind of support by pillars or beams, but pride is the very thing in our lives that takes down the strength to stand up in life. Please do yourself a favor and go read John 13 and read about Jesus’ humility or go to John 19 and read about Jesus’ ultimate humility on the cross. I pray that everyone reading this would always learn to learn. I am preaching to myself here, too. My father-in-law always tells me, “Once you quit learning, you will die.” We, as Christians, must always be taken to school! Pride, kill it before it kills you!

So, I leave you with two things today, man and woman of God: Obey what the Lord commands you to do and kill pride before it kills you. Younger generation, just because you’re a younger version of the older generation doesn’t mean you know more than they do. Don’t be a punkish generation who denies the lessons of those who have walked the walk before you. Sit down with them, spend time with them, and listen to their stories of how they used to do things back in the day. Timothy needed a Paul before he could go into his purpose in life. You need a Paul to speak into your life. Obedience and humility…let’s do this!