Friday, October 31, 2014

After you try in your strength, let Jesus work

I want to function at my maximum potential, and fulfill my dreams, and be in the middle of God's will for my life.

Does this sound like you?

After you do everything you know to be successful, and yet you know there is more to accomplish, try launching out into the deep waters for the more.  Yes, right where you just worked overtime on the more, and did not get the more.

Listen to what Peter, the wise and experienced fisherman, who worked all night, said to Jesus, after Jesus told him to go back out and fish some more for what you did not catch last night: 
Luke 5:5:
5 Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets."

Christian's go back and revisit what you did in good faith, and with sound reasoning, and with proven and tested methods, but did not get all you expected.  This time go back with deeper connection to Jesus.  Go back with deeper faith in Jesus, and most of all, go back upon the command of Jesus (one night too soon, will get you nothing despite hard work).
Go back when Jesus says you are really ready, and go back with the power and blessings of Jesus upon what you are doing.

Take the human stress and struggle out of your efforts, and let Jesus add to your sincere efforts, divine power, His favor, and His perfect timing.

What can you expect?  
Look at Luke 5:6-7.

How should you respond?  
Look at Luke 5:8-10.

What should you do next?  
Look at Luke 5:10-11.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stop making excuses and produce

John the Baptist was a bold and fearless brother.  John's handling of the Pharasees, Sadducees, and even Herod, the king, was bold, insightful and provides a simple message for us today.
When the religious leaders came out to get baptized by John, look at what John said to them in Luke 2:8:

 "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

Christians, since we claim to identify with the message of Christ today, let us simply bear fruits (live our lives) that reflect the Christian life.

People should not wonder about our motives or who we are.  People should not walk away with more questions than answers when they see our lives.  Nor should people see us as big hypocrites as John saw the religious leaders of his day.

Take a hard look at your life right now and choose to bear fruits in keeping with the Christian life.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Monday, October 27, 2014

What is God doing to build your faith?

When God clearly speaks and we doubt, God will proceed to build our faith.

Look at what happened to a righteous Priest in Isreal around the miraculous birth and ministry of his son, John the Baptist in Luke 1:20:

 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."

What has God promised you that you are finding hard to believe?  What are you going through right now as a faith builder.

Christians, despite what you can or cannot see in your life, God is faithful.
Rest assured that God will always do just what he promised.

Our challenge today is to simple "have faith in God."
Faith is believing that God's promise, God's Word, is enough evidence to support our complete trust in Him (you can review passages like Heb. 11:1-6 and Mark 11:22).

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Faith builders for today and the future

As you see the hand of Jesus at work around you, what are you learning.  Do you remember the miracles done in your life?  Is your faith in God growing as a result of you seeing Jesus specifically works on your behalf?
This is what was said about the disciples of Jesus during their training with Jesus in Mark 6:52:

"for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened."

Remember the disciples just worked many miracles among the people, and they just saw Jesus take 5 loaves and 2 fish and feed over 5,000 people.  Then in Mark 5:45-51, they panicked in the boat when storm started, they thought Jesus was a ghost when He walked on the sea, and they were amazed that Jesus spoke and calmed the sea, as if they forgot when He calmed the sea in Mark 4:39-41.  

The disciples of Jesus turned out to be mighty men of God.  But along the way, they had to be reminded to draw upon their past experience with Jesus.

Praise Him for what He has already done as a faith builder for what you can expect from Him today and in the future.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just Touch Jesus

The Mark 5 Account of the woman who touched Jesus for healing describes much of or current reality.

Mark 5:25:  A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,
26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—

Notice her extreme efforts to get relief, and the abuse she endured at the hands of people who seemed to take advantage of her while in he state of desperation.
Twelve years is a long time to suffer.

What is nice to see is the woman's turn around.  Once this desperate woman heard about Jesus, she did not wait around to see if what she heard was true.  Against all odds, and with the social outcast label attached to her, and with great faith, this woman immediately focused on touching Jesus with the belief that if she just touched the hem of His garment (hoping He would not even notice), she would be made well.

She did it!  She touched Jesus in faith and was healed.  She was also pointed out, and commended by Jesus because of her great faith in Jesus.

Look at what Jesus said to her in Mark 5:34:
And He said to her,"Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

Today, Jesus will say the same words of comfort to us.  Stop spinning your wheels and touch Jesus in faith and get relief!  Get peace and healing from Jesus.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In the Face of Difficulty, How Do You Pray?

When faced with arrest, injustice in the criminal justice system, cruelty and harsh beatings, insults, conviction, and being sentenced to death, how did Jesus pray?

We often ask, "what would Jesus do"?
The real question is, are we willing to do what Jesus did?

We see how Jesus prayed in the face of difficulty in Matt. 26:36-45.  After Jesus went to one of His favorite praying spots, look at what He prayed in Matt. 26:39:
39 Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Jesus prayed for God's will to be done in His life.  Do you trust God's will for your life?  Do you trust God to have your best interest at heart?  Or are you caught up in what human teachers are saying against what Jesus did in the garden in prayer?  Do you think that Jesus would model something inferior?

Make no mistake about the matter.  When God commands us in Phil. 2:5, to take upon ourselves the mind of Christ, that also includes His prayer life.

Instead of trying to get our own way, let us try God's will for our lives.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Most Important Thing in the World

Jesus answerd a much debated question throughout human history.

What is the most important thing in the world?

In Mark 12:28-30, Jesus answers this question by taking us back to what God said in Deut. 6.  Look at what Jesus said in Mark 12:28-30:

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;

What is the most important thing in the world for you right now?

Anything other than your love relationship with God, must be immediately changed to your live relationship with God.

Christians, on this day make loving God in everything you do your top priority, and watch God balance your world.  You can double check with what Jesus said in Matt. 6:33 (put the things of God first, and reap the promise of God providing everything you need).

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Search and Rescue

Are you a part of the Lord's search and rescue team?

Look at Matt. 18:12-13:

 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?
13 "If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.

Perhaps you know a fellow brother or sister in Christ, who is out of church and drifting away from The Lord.
Why sit around and watch them self-destruct?  Go after them with the love of Jesus Christ.  Be diligent and text, call, visit, or whatever it takes to listen to their heart and encourage them to return back to The Lord.  When they return to church, sit with them.  Call them during the week to reassure them that they made a good choice to return back to The Lord.  Encourage them to get in Bible Study and get into service for The Lord.  Yes, walk with them until they regain their strength.
Then as you go after another person, guess what you will have?  You will have the person you just helped helping Someone else.
We can get a lot of drifting Christians restored if we will simply take time to care.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Monday, October 13, 2014

What Do you Believe about Jesus?

In Matt 16:15, Jesus ask His disciples a defining question: "But who do you say that I am?"

Peter answered the question correctly and Jesus told Him that the Father revealed the answer to Him (Matt. 16:17).

What did Peter say?  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).

Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah (God's suffering servant in Isaiah 55), the Son of the Living God, Who came to the earth through the Virgin Mary, and died for the sins of the world on the cross, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended back to heaven, is our advocate, and is coming back for His Church to establish the eternal state in the new heaven and the new earth for all who believe?

Is Jesus the Ruler over your heart and do you love Him as evidenced by your obedience to Him (John 14:21)?

Christians, we must refuse the watered down view of Jesus coming from the  world (the system headed up by Satan and operated by demons and evil people to rebell against God) and hold on tight to the Biblical view of our Lord.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Progress, Defeat, deliverance

In Matt. 14:15-21, Peter and the disciples witnessed Jesus work the miracle of feeding over 5,000 people.  Then they found themselves in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus appeared in the midst of the storm.
Peter having been commanded by Jesus to come to Him, stepped out on faith and walked on the water toward Jesus (all the disciples knew Jesus could calm the storm based on Matt. 8:23-27).
With total confidence in Jesus, Peter walked on water (people criticize Peter in this story, but Peter did something the rest if us have never experienced.  Peter walked on water).

As Peter made progress in the storm by walking toward Jesus, the existing storm distracted Peter and he became afraid.  Fear is a killer of faith and progress and sends us sinking in defeat.  Peter started to sink in defeat, but to Peter's credit, he knew to call on Jesus for his deliverance (see Matt. 14:22-33 for full account).

Our journey through the storms in life are similar to Peter's story.  We start off full of faith with our eyes on Jesus, and we make good progress.  As the storm rages on, as storms in life rage on, and on, and on, we look at our circumstances in fear, and fear kills our faith.  Hence, we start sinking into defeat.
When you see fear and defeat trying to take you down, cry out to Jesus before you are destroyed and get delivered.
Jesus will immediately respond to you while the storm is still raging and stabalize you.  In His own time, Jesus will calm the storm.  
Jesus does not need to calm the storm before He helps us, He simply needs to hear us cry out to Him for help.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Where is Your Heart?

In Matt. 13:18-23, Jesus described four different responses to God's Word.  Each response describes a heart condition that obviously results in a certain lifestyle.

1.  A heart where God's Word goes in one ear and out the other.  This is a person who has no intentions of obeying God's Word.  They might even attend church, but ignore what God clearly says to them.

2.  A heart full of emotion but no substance.  This person will jump up and volunteer quick, this person will make a commitment in the heat of emotion, and will cry as they claim a new change in their life.  But just as soon as they hit a bump in the road, they quit.  They stop attending church and drop out of accountability groups, and will not return calls.  They are shallow and easily discouraged.

3.  A heart that is divided and easily distracted away from God.  This person hears God's Word, and initially responds well, but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches chock the Word and they get off track.
Work and accumulating stuff becomes the priority for this person.  This person will get up with only 15 minutes left in worshipping God to make an extra $15.00 dollars.

4.  A heart sold out to God and His Word.  This person hears God's Word and they understand with a mind to obey.  The evidence is their fruitfulness.  Jesus describes this person as doing good works based on their understanding of God's Word.  This person loves God through obedience to God's Word.

Question: Where are you today?

Be honest before God and pursue a life of obedience before God so that you are fruitful before God, and a source of blessing to someone each day (Gal. 6:10).

A life of obedience to God's Word makes our departure time easier because when our time comes to leave this life and be with our Lord, we will hear those famous words: "well done you good and faithful servant."

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Give the Invitation

What should Christians do in the face of increasing intolerance and hostility in America?

It seems like a representative in the NFL was intolerant toward Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, by making him turn his "Know Jesus, Know Peace," tee shirt inside out for an interview regarding his dislocated ankle in September 2014.

What we need to do as Christians is continue to invite people, who are clearly tired and burdened down, to come to Jesus and get rest for their souls.

We cannot let people, and systems, and organizations, intimidate us from inviting people to enjoy soul satisfaction and rest.
Since we are a peaceful people (Col. 3:15), we do not return hostility for hostility, but we pray and ask God for another opportunity.

Each time I review "The Great Invitation," given by Jesus, in Matt. 11:28-30, I am emboldened and encouraged to invite non-Christians to enjoy rest for their souls.

28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light"  (Matt. 11:28-30).

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Not a Popularity Contest

Christianity is liberating because of all that God does inside of us to change us on the outside (II Cor. 5:17--21; Eph 2:10).  Moreover, we get great joy in helping others and bringing good to a very mean and cruel society (Gal. 6:10) because our reward comes from God.

With all the good we do as Christians, we serve in a very hostile world.  Christians in America are beginning to feel what the persecuted church in Africa has felt for hundreds of years.  Christians in Asia, and Russia, the Arab Nations, and even in Germany, have also felt the persecution of evil men.

The reality is that Jesus told us we would not win a popularity contest because of our connection to Him.

On this beautiful Lords day when the gospel is preached more than any other day all around the world, I submit this sobering, yet instructional word from our Risen Savior:

16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
17 "But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;
18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19 "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.
20 "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sweet Sleep

Getting enough sleep is critical for good health.
When you get into bed for sleep, do you truly rest or do you lay there, or do you toss and turn?  Do you spend half the night worrying about things you have no control over?   

In Prov. 3:13, God said how blessed is the man who finds wisdom and gains understanding.  In Prov. 3:21, we are told to keep sound wisdom.  In the same Prov. 3 context, God describes numerous blessing for using His wisdom in our daily lives.
One of those many blessings is sweet sleep.  Look at Prov. 3:23:
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Read about how to get God's wisdom in Prov. 2:1-6, and pursue wisdom like the most precious treasure you can imagine.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy(MZO)