For many believers today, wether raised with-in the church, or having stumbled across the threshold years later, there is often a struggle to clearly see how God sees us?
We can open up the pages of scripture, to any of the 66 Biblical books, and our understanding of the text may well lead us to a false assumption of who we are in Christ.
Are we awaiting the rebuilding of a temple, so that our sacrifices can be atoned for?
Are we looking to keep the commandments, hoping that one day we have white-knuckled it enough, to be qualified for Gods love?
Or maybe you turned to Isaiah this morning? And God reminded us that “our righteous acts are like filthy rags”.
What you need to know today, is that we are not living in The Old Testament (so release the goat), in a time when God was making a covenant with Abram, presenting to Moses the ten commandments or calling into motion a Levitical priesthood, or having to rebuke a nation for pursuing other gods.
Today friend, for you and me, if our faith is in Jesus, God has fulfilled that covenant with Abraham, by bringing The Messiah, Jesus into the world. He also has made a way for us to be forgiven of all the commandments we have broken, by having Jesus live a perfect live, free of sin. We no longer have to depend upon an earthly priesthood, but a heavenly one, again, through Jesus Himself. And though He does still rebuke, and challenge, for those who have believed at the moment we did, we were lead to repentance, came to faith and were born-again, God placed upon our heart His seal.
For me, I personally saw this played out in the story of Jairus’s daughter. In Luke 8:40-56 we read about Jairus the synagogue ruler, a jew, coming to Jesus, in hopes that his daughter will be miraculously healed. Jesus had just calmed the storm, cast legion out of the demonized man, and lets not forget His reading of the Isaiah Scroll in Luke 4. Jairus would have been familiar with such events, and his coming to this peasant carpenter would of been a last resort for a man of such high public stature.
Falling at Jesus feet, and pleading his case, we begin our journey with Jesus and the crowd, making our way with Jairus, to yet another opportunity for Jesus to affirm His divinity, and reveal to all need to turn to Jesus for help.
Along the way, with every second passing causing all the more angst for Jairus, his daughter approaches deaths door, as their journey suddenly comes to a halt.
Jesus, who would go on to be crucified as “King of the Jews”, is stopped, literally in his tracks, as out from the shadows, “from behind” an unknown women enters the picture.
Who is she? Does she have a right to touch such a man, should she even be here in this crowd and how did she make it through the crowd, when even Jesus own mother and brothers could not?
As many questions as we may have about this verse, just as many could arise to the fact that Jesus actually stops, and asks “Who touched Me”? Going to on to say “somebody touched Me.”
The story unfolding is not just a story about an un-named woman, but is also the picture on an un-named people. You see it is no coincidence that 12 years ago, in Jairus’s home, his wife gave birth to life, love, hope, blessing, and a future at the arrival of his new born daughter. While at the same time, for this lady, also 12 years ago, she was giving birth to death, pain, fear, and a life of solitude, and blood shed.
We are told this woman had an “issue of blood”. Bleeding daily for 12 years, everywhere she goes, her garments stained, leaving a trail, and based on Leviticus 15:25-27 deeming her unclean. No one has touched her, held her, kissed her, affirmed her, instead having nothing to do with her.
Do you have an “issue of blood”? Do we have something that Jesus needs to speak into? Was mankind not born into this world in sin, taking on Adams nature, “appointed once to die and then judgement”?
This woman risked it all, being willing to push through the crowd, risking contaminating others, defiling them, while seeking the One she believed could heal her, make her whole, and making “all things new”.
We see that she receives her healing, and scurrys off, hoping no one would notice. Well not just anyone noticed, but the One in Whose image she was made, knowing every hair on her head, the day of her birth, the day of her sickness, and that this day she actually was healed, physically.
For Jesus is was not that He had been touched, as many were pushing against Him. In fact Peter, always quick to speak up reminds Him “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you”, and yes, please picture Peter looking to the other disciples, rolling his eyes.
But for Jesus, we can see clearly, that HIs intention was to bring level playing ground to mans understanding of Gods loved for us. Jairus’s arrival to the crowd surely drew attention, leading people to make way for this “synagogue ruler”, probably creating a murmur as to if Jairus had come to rebuke Jesus, correct Him or even possibly dismiss Him. As Jairus gets face to face with Jesus, and rightfully so, we see Jairus drop to his feet, upon his own terms, taking center stage and pleading with Jesus.
But Jesus, savior of the world, begins calling for this “someone” of a woman to step out into the open, publicaly before a crowd, her risking being condemned, judged and even attacked. She was unclean, out in the open, touching a man, and not just any man, but a Jewish rabbi. How does Jesus call her? To approach Him no longer “from behind”, but instead head on, as this time, she will no longer push her way through a crowd, but like Jairus, the crowd will part, she will stand face to face, for all to see, and also “falling at Jesus feet”.
We would think that with so much drama, as the tension of Jairus’s sick daughter hangs in the balance, and this outcast to society of a woman becomes center stage that Jesus would indeed give us plenty of verses to explain Himself.
But He doesn’t. And many of you reading this are looking for God to explain every part of your life to you. Everything they said, did, or what you yourself may well have done to create the bed you now lie in. Instead, what Jesus does, is He speaks to this lady with what is of upmost importance.
We see that she comes to Him “trembling”, with years of self deprecation, no human affirmation, and without any ground to stand on. You ever feel this way?
She is about to stand before God almighty wrapped in the flesh. The One Who knows not only her, but all of us, better than we ever will. In a world that is constantly trying to tell us who we are, and why we are, what would you expect perfect love to speak?
“Then he said to her, “Daughter,”
But how? Was she Jesus daughter? Is Dan Brown about to come out with a follow up to The Divinci Code? Truth be told most scholars believe this woman to have been older than Jesus. Older or not, the reality is simply this. There is nothing Jesus could have called her, greater than “Daughter”. There is nothing she needed to hear more than “Daughter”. She did not have a Jairus to go to Jesus for her. She did not have a husband to help her with her struggles. She had felt all alone, for 12 years, carrying her own struggles, suffering through the moments while wondering why.
In just one word, “Daughter”, she was affirmed. No longer unclean, but instead able to be held, hugged, touched, kissed, embraced, and possibly to go on and have a family of her own.
We also know that based on the word Jesus used “sozo”, that she was not just “healed”, but made whole. This was not just a physical healing, but a spiritual one.
We can only picture what may have happened as people embraced her, dancing and skipping, giving praises to God.
Suddenly out of nowhere we are reminded of the more fatal issue. One is which yes, Jairus daughter has been confirmed dead.
As this picture begins to unfold, we see Jesus do something shocking. He now points to Jairus, the synagogue ruler to “have faith”, surely pointing to the very “faith” he just witnessed this un-named woman express. Is it possible Jesus wanted a hidden nobody, to make her very real faith public for all to see, as Jesus invited true “faith” to be witnessed, in order that Jairus, again “the synagogue ruler”, could prove for himself, that he not only demonstrated faith in public, for all to hear about but actually in private, where it matters most?
As Jesus makes His way into Jairus’s home, he tells those who claim she is dead, that she is just “sleeping”, which is again, juxtapox to the prior encounter. He this time wants everyone gone, except for the mother, father, and His chosen three. Are we not seeing polar opposites in both stories here? Is this woman going to receive Gods favor, while a Jew of highest caliber will not?
Is it possible God is showing us His plan for the gentiles here, as after all, He did say that “our righteousness was as filthy rags”? Surely it is not happenstance, that this is the case of the woman’s condition.
If anyone is the center of this story pertaining to you and I, it is Jairus, who like us, is carrying the whole world on his shoulders. James 1:2-3 tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
I don’t see Jairus exercising this pure joy here, and nor do I imagine many of you would be as eager to do so. See, it is one thing to say we have “faith”, but it is another thing altogether for our “faith” to be exercised as we face “many trials”. As we read though, it is in these “many trials”, that our “faith” actually produces “persererance”.
As the story for Jairus come to an end, it is one that is about to produce. He is a jew, one who was given the law, knew the covenants, and lived as one pursuing the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Opening the Old Testament for Jairus, he would of felt right at home. Seeing his sin, knowing of the sacrifices and going through the motions of religion working and sweating to try and keep up with God.
Jairus however can no longer keep up, no one can. His rituals will not help him. As hard as he tries, sooner or later he will break another commandment, his flesh failing him requiring another sacrifice.
But his faith, like ours today, is all that is needed. We are told that “if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, then you will be saved.” Is this all? Should Jairus, just as this unknown woman before him, representing not only Israel, but the unknown peoples of the gentiles simply “believe” and “have faith”?
We know the answer, because if not, we ourselves are still awaiting the rebuilding of the temple, which was destroyed in 70AD. Where is God leading us in this text?
Well, if we had flipped through the pages of the Old Testament today, we would need only stop and consider, that before there were any commandments, covenants, rituals, offerings, sacrifices that Abraham simply “believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6).
It is on this principle, that the woman “believed”, upon this principle that Jairus is now believing, and on this principle that you and I, like Jairus daughter in this story, will be raised, embraced, hugged, and loved, looking into the eyes of our creator, affirming who we now are, and how God now sees us.
Did you know that once we have “believed”, been born-again, and trusted in Jesus, that are sins are forgiven, forgotten, and that when Gods looks at us, He sees Jesus?
“For our sake he made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)
You see, as we finish off reading the story of Jairus’s daughter, be aware that this is a picture of the resurrection, the one we see in Revelation 19, where all believers will be raised to life, will embrace their Savior, sitting down with Him for a meal.
Luke 8:54 But He took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
How amazing! That Jesus alone can heal us of our issue of blood. Our “filthy rags”! How amazing, that He calls you “daughter”, or me “son”?
How amazing that He wipes away our tears, takes us by the hand having washed our sin away?
To view the full sermon, click on the video below.]]>
Scripture: Matthew 28:20
August 2016 – CreationFest – Cornwall, England
Continuing along with the theme for the festival “Love and Truth in Action”, we look at how Jesus came boldly, to reach that which was lost, and likewise how we are called to continue living out The Great Co-Mission.]]>
Not being raised in the faith, we were married, pregnant, and soon divorced. We had wrote the book on how not to be married, and had no clue what the book (Bible) about how to be married actually said.
In 2004 I came to faith, and soon after Tracy followed. Within a few months we were re-married, and went on to have two more children.
The story of how God worked not only in our souls, but in our marriage has been shared all over the world in many formats from I Am Second, Billy Graham, and 700 Club videos, to interviews, articles, church services and outreaches.
I came to America to become a professional skateboarder, but today Pastor in Huntington Beach California also traveling as God wills.
The goal of this video is to invite you into the first five chapters of our book on marriage “Never Fails”, with the goal or establishing truth in your heart, home, and witness.
Because of our testimony, our coming to faith immediately led us to sharing with couples, searching the scriptures, and fighting for marriages. Often this took place over the phone, over coffee, or in the home.
Because we can’t connect with everyone in person, our hope is that this video would be a way to connect with you some of the truths we have found in Gods Word, and point you to the reality of Gods plan for marriage, as it is one of the ways He uses our lives to live out The Great Commission.
PRAY for those who would watch this, that they would hear GODS VOICE, and FOLLOW.]]>
To hear more, click below.
When I first saw the ads for the increase of men in Australia taking their own lives over struggles with their spouses it hit home.
I remember those long nights, thinking their was no purpose, no meaning. I mean what do men in those positions think they are looking forward to? A life of fighting with an ex spouse, separated, perhaps unable to see their kids, as she’s is out and about living it up, while the court has emptied your pockets, month after month.
Here is Ca this has become the norm.
I am not here to point to the women, as sadly there are many women, and even youth who are taking their lives, but my goal is to speak from my own experience.
This is all so important because the role of Dad in society, culture, and the home is the most important role for any man outside of being a husband.
The majority of prison inmates were raised without a father.
The majority of failed marriages stem from the children raised without a father.
Biblically with the man being the “head of the home”, meant to “cover his wife… washing her in the word” and “loving her as Christ loved the church”, the absence of Dad has a dramatic fact on all involved for the rest of their lives.
So God being the Author of truth, meaning Jesus is “The Word”, and also “The Way, The Truth and The Life”, we have to acknowledge that the very idea of suicide does not come from God, not is it something He intends for any of his creation.
As I read through the Bible in 2004 trying to disprove it, it flipped my world upside down.
Where the world tells us “life does not matter, you just evolved”, meaning we are again, just “road-kill”, God tell us “All things were created by Him, for Him”.
Reading these verses as a Dad who was suicidal, I was being told God had created me, gives me breath each day, and does have a plan for my life, though right now I am stuggling, while living in fallen world.
As I paced through more scripture, I saw the cursed world we live in, that we have good days, and bad, do get married, can get divorced, do have kids, will face hard times, but that ultimately God is the giver of life, and that we are immortal until He decides to take us off the earth, ultimately to meet our maker.
As I have traveled these past 13 years, sharing our story, Gods Word, and pointing to Jesus Life, The Cross, and His Rising from The Grave, I have encountered many many people who were suicidal, have lost people from suicide, or have suicidal friends.
Perhaps getting to spend one night with these people, sharing some prayers, connecting them with the local church and then moving on, what do I possibly share, what can I say, what could I say to you now if you are over it, have friends bullying you, lived a life you think no one will understand, face challenges you think no one else has faced or even are one of those men, wondering what in the world you will do?
Well rather than me adding any more words to this conversation, let me start with what God says about you. When Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus, he lays a foundation that every one of us should hold onto.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Sitting with a girl one night, having cut her arms to pieces, over living, I shared this verse. A teenager the same night, this verse. The next night a girl whose mother had assaulted her, only a few months later for her father to do the same thing. Why this verse?
Because children, all of us, made in “His Image” IMAGO DEI, we are Gods “workmanship”, and we have been created, are given breath, and called to live out our “good works” everyday, ones that “God prepared beforehand” that we should what? “Walk in them”!
See friends, we live our lives for ourselves, seeing only the result we have in mind, working within our limited understanding. I did not know back then, that God would save me as I got to the end of The Bible, save my ex wife sometime later, and lead us to get re-married.
I did not know that even as I am writing this, my son of almost 16 would walk by asking “wheres Mom”, to which I point to the bedroom, while my two other children, play outside in the garden, surely frustrating our neighbors as they skate the mini ramp.
You see had I believed the lie, thought I was just road kill, and decided I was god and the one who would take my own life into my hands then where would my wife be now? What about my son, let alone my 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son?
If I had not gotten re-married, if things had not have worked out, if what I was working towards would have been different than the plan God had, then could I still trust Him, as God, believing as I have now said many times, that it is He who allows every breath, every heart beat, every thought?
Your life matters, as you are “His Workmanship”, and every day that you wake up there is a purpose. He sent His Son to shed His Blood so we could be forgiven, be redeemed from the curse, and continue, now, once in Christ to live a life of pointing other to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It is one thing to think about how sad it is that many of these dads we spoke about are hurting to see their sons, and daughters, but please, consider, that God Himself, chose to send His own Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world, so that God Himself would get to spent an eternity with His sons and daughters through out the world.
You may feel alone right now, like no one understand, and that there is no answer, but this side of eternity, Jesus is the only answer we need.
While in England last month I shared with a guy who was on his way to end his life, only to stop into the local church in Bristol, and hear a message where I happened to talk about suicide.
On the same trip, our bus driver was a man who was once suicidal.
We became friends, he is planning on going to school to study to become a Pastor and just today he was messaging me while he is studying through Leviticus.
I’ll tell you that I was suicidal before I was in Christ, and even since becoming a believer, knowing the joy I have in Christ, and that Jesus loved me enough to die for me, I face my challenges. Though my soul and eternity are secured in Christ forever, my flesh is still weak, still fails me, still wants to do things my way. This is why we are called to “walk in The Spirit”, and “walk by faith, not by sight”.
If I consider my life based on the struggles I may walk through, then my eyes are not on Christ, not on the prize, not on sinners becoming saints and souls entering the Kingdom of God.
We were simply asked to share our story, and the basics of the first five chapters of our “Never Fails” marriage book. Love, the curse, covenant over contract and so forth. We answered some questions and then dug into Gods Word. As I have been around the world even the last month, it has been very evident that Christians are beginning to think things about marriage that are not Biblical. If you are married, recently or for a long time, struggling or considering seperation, God is a God of covenant and the One we should be walking with over all.