Saturday, February 22, 2014

Flowers Quickly Fading

Today’s Bible readings are Leviticus 13:1-59, Mark 6:1-29, Psalm 39:1-13, & Proverbs 10:10

Psalm 39:4-5

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Has there ever been a time when you knew there was something about your life that you needed to change? There may have been a drinking habit that was getting out of control. There may have been a relationship that was going too far. There may have been a habit that was hurting you. There might ever have been an attitude toward somebody that was bringing hurt into your lives & theirs.

I’m sure that the answer to one of these questions is yes for most people. Maybe there is a different issue that is in your mind right now as you are reading this. The details may vary but the core of it is the same—we know that certain things have the potential to destroy us but we continue to do them

Take smoking for instance, putting aside the argument of is it sin or not, we know that it is destructive on the body. It kills people, destroys our bodies, & leads to all different types of disease. Most people who smoke know that they should stop smoking. I remember when I use to smoke. I would always say that I would quit someday, but then kept right on smoking. I hear people say things like this on a regular basis.
1.      I will quit when I get ready to quit.
2.      I will change that tomorrow.
3.      I will forgive that person, just not right now.
4.      I will change my attitude when I feel like it.
5.      When I get a little older I won’t party so much.
6.      Next year will be different.
7.      I will stop complaining when things finally get better.
8.      I will get serious about serving God when I get older.
9.      I will commit to a church once life slows down.
10.   I’m not done having fun yet.

The list could go on for miles. We all are masters at making excuses. But I really believe that the days of making excuses have to stop. That is what this Psalm of David is all about.

Psalm 39:4-5

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Let me ask you a question:  “What if tomorrow never comes?” What if you never get the chance to change later? What if you never get to say what you wanted to say to that person?

James 4:13-14

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

It is important for us to understand that we each have a specific amount of time that we will be here on this earth. We will have a specific amount of encounters with the people that God has placed in our lives. There is a definite purpose for which we have all been created for. We will not live forever in this life. It is going to be a short time. We must make the most of it for God’s glory.

I am 36 years old. These last 10 years have seemed like only a day. That means that tomorrow I will be 46. My point is that life is brief. We are but a vapor in the wind. Some people are blinded. They fail to see life passing by them. They waste the best years of their lives chasing after things that don’t matter. The spin their wheels to get what they think they need only to find out that it wasn’t what they thought it would be. Then their life is over.

WAKE UP!!! It is time to snap out of it! Life is going to pass you by while you are sleeping. You don’t have forever to do the things that God has created you to do. In just a few short days the close of this dispensation is going to come. What will you do then???
Here are 3 things that you must remember:

1.      You were created to fulfill a Divine purpose (Jer. 29:11)

2.      Your life on this earth is going to end quicker than you think. (Ps. 39:4-5)

3.      When it does, you will have to give an account of what you did with your life. (2 Cor. 5:10)

Here is what we need to do next:

1.      Ask God to teach you to number your days.

2.      Pray until you discover your purpose. YOU HAVE ONE!!!

3.      Get busy doing what God created you to do.

4.      Live for His glory because He is the One who justifies & rewards.


Pastor Richard Schlotter

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bring Them In, Don't Push Them Away

Today’s Bible readings are Leviticus11:1-12:8, Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 38:1-22, & Proverbs 10:8-9


Mark 5:26-29
26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

This is coming at a time in the ministry of Jesus where He is growing in popularity. He has worked many miracles at this point. People are starting to hear & talk about what He has done & who He has done it for. Hope is rising in the hearts of all who have felt out casted and abandoned.

Instead of flocking to the Pharisees & trying to win their approval, Jesus seemed to be chastising them for their grievous hypocrisy. They were the very people who had out casted these hurting & broken people from religion & from God. Now Jesus seemed to be reaching out to them in compassion, where the Pharisees had been looking at them with condemnation. This gave hope & anticipation to the broken & hurting.

As Jesus entered this particular city, a woman who had heard about how He had been ministering to broken people saw Him walking down the street. She had been out casted by the religious leaders of the day. She was also forbidden, by the same leaders, to have relationships with people because she was “unclean”.

The scripture tells us that she had spent all of her wealth on doctor visits but only got worse. Not only was her condition getting worse, but now she was in poverty. What a sad story. Why do you think that she had to spend all of her wealth of physicians? Many time preachers preach that it was because she trusted in man instead of in God. They make it a faith thing, or I should say a lack of faith thing.

I don’t know if that is the wrong explanation, but I think that it may have been that the religious people made her feel like God & religion was not an option for her. They so condemned her because of her condition that she believed in her heart that God wouldn’t want an unclean woman like her. So she started to resort to all of the alternative measures. This left her with more emptiness & confusion. I question if it was a faith thing at all, or if it was just that religion made her feel like she couldn’t be part of their club because of her issue, leaving her know option but to search for help elsewhere?

This happens in our churches every week. People come in the doors with issues different than the woman with the issue of blood, but similar.

1.      Young, unmarried pregnant women

2.      Drug/alcohol addicted individuals

3.      People living in sexual sin

4.      Sex offenders

5.      Convicted felons

6.      Poor people

7.      People with mental illness

This is just to mention a few. These people have been out casted by society at many levels. They come to church in a hope that they can find release & freedom for the chains that they are bound by. Often, when they get final get the nerve to come, the once again feel shunned & condemned. This leaves them feeling unwanted by God & His church. They leave & share with others the experience they had; usually with other hurting & broken people because birds of a feather flock together; this gives the thought to the other broken people that church is not an option for them because of their issues. Hence, we become known as a group of judgmental hypocrites.

Do you think that is what Jesus wants? Do you really believe that Jesus wants us to judge & condemn others? Do you really think that it is ok to send this kind of message to the ones that Jesus came to save?

Matthew 9:11-13

11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Luke 19:10

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

On the contrary, notice Jesus’ response to this courageous woman:

Mark 5:32-34

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

1.      He accepted her as a daughter—not treat her as a failure.
2.      He showed love & worth to her—not disgust & condemnation.
3.      He complimented & encouraged her—not judged & whispered about her.
4.      He blessed her—not cursed her.
5.      He set her free—not sending her away more bound.

This is what we are to model in our own lives & in our churches. This is what it is to be the hands & feet of Jesus. We see how he dealt with hurting people. This is a huge shift from what is common in most churches. It was a huge shift in Jesus’ day also. But it was a shift that was needed & it is a shift that is needed today.

·        Let’s pray together & ask God to help us love people like Jesus.

·        Let’s make sure that we are not guilty of the same sin the Pharisees were guilty of in their day.

·        Let’s not make people feel like God & church is not an option for them.

·        Let’s not make it so hard that nobody can get saved.

·        Let’s not shut the kingdom of God to those who need it most.


You have the love of Christ in you. It was poured into you by the Holy Spirit. I declare that it is time for that love to flow. It is time for that love to touch & reach the hurting & broken of our day. It is time for all those who are touched by your life to be set free & experience peace. I declare this in Jesus name!!!


Pastor Richard Schlotter

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How It Works

Today’s Bible readings are Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalm 37:30-40, & Proverbs 10:6-7

Mark 4:26-29
26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
Jesus wants us to know how the kingdom works & operates. The main reason for this is because it is much different than the way the kingdoms of the earth operate.
1.      The kingdoms of the earth lord over one another; not so in the kingdom of God. (Matthew 20:24-28)
2.      The kingdoms of the earth teach to be logical & be sensible; not so in the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:15)
3.      The kingdoms of the earth teach that more is better; not so in the kingdom of God. (Matthew 10:38-39)
4.      The kingdoms of the earth teach that is alright to think evil as long as you don’t do evil; not so in the kingdom of God. (Matthew 5:21-48)

In this parable, Jesus begins to teach about the kingdom. This is a very important lesson for us to understand. It helps us to see how things work. Understanding how things work can help us to have patience while we wait, in faith, for God’s will to be accomplished.

The first thing to see from this parable is:
1.      “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.

God is always at work, just like a farmer is always at work. A good farmer never just sits around & does nothing. To people who aren’t farmers it may appear that way, but it just is not true. A good farmer, a successful farmer, is constantly thinking & strategizing on how to do & be better. They understand that their livelihood depends on them having seed in the ground. They don’t let anything stop them from putting seed out.

Sometimes, a farmer will scatter seed in places that others have never scattered seed before. There is much preparation that goes into place before any fruit is harvested. A farmer sees the potential harvest & keeps that in mind. They are not deterred by obstacles. They find ways to remove the obstacles, the whole time, keeping the potential harvest in mind. They will work the land, getting it ready to take the seed. They clear the land so that nothing can rob the seed of the life in the soil. Then they sow seed.

This brings us to the next thing to consider:
2.      27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.

This is the part that is difficult for us to walk through. We like to believe that every seed is like popcorn & all you have to do is throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes & then you have a harvest. IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK THAT WAY!!! There is a germination period for seeds. Some is different than others. It is the same in the kingdom.

Some things take time. They aren’t going to happen over-night. I’m not saying that God can’t do it over-night, I’m just saying that it doesn’t happen that way every single time. We must be ok with that. This is where faith comes in. We trust in the seed.

As long as the seed is good, it will grow, it will produce, & there will be a harvest. This is the law of sowing & reaping. Nothing can change this. God spoke this into law during the days of Noah:

Genesis 8:22

22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Whether you see it or not, during the tough times & the good times, when you feel it & when you don’t; GOD IS AT WORK & HIS SEED IS GROWING!!!

1.      There is seed in your children.

2.      There is seed with your spouse

3.      That unsaved family has seed in their heart.

4.      That financial mountain in front of you—there is seed in the ground.

5.      The broken heart that you are experiencing—there is seed in you!


Isaiah 55:10-11

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

What a picture of how the kingdom works. God’s Word stays on the soil that it falls upon. It is great seed that cannot fail!

Remember that God is faithful. His seed is perfect & powerful. There is a process. Let’s look at the process:

First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Notice what I have highlighted:

1.      FIRST

2.      THEN

3.      FINALLY


This begins to show us that there is a process that is in place when it comes to seed & harvest. This is how it is in the kingdom. This is a kingdom teaching. It is to show us how things work in the kingdom.

I hope that this encourages you to be patient & trust in the Lord. Every prayer that you have prayed is seed. Every sacrifice you have made is a seed. Every dollar you have given to missions is a seed. Every tear you have cried is a seed. Every scripture you have spoken in faith over your situation is a seed. Every time you shared the gospel is a seed. There is an anointing upon that seed. DON’T WALK AWAY FROM IT!!! IT WILL PRODUCE!!!

Pastor Richard Schlotter