Saturday, March 15, 2014

Show Me Your Friends & I Will Show You Your Future

Today’s Bible readings are Numbers 22:21-23:30, Luke 1:57-80, Psalm 58:1-11, & Proverbs 11:12-13

Numbers 25:1-3
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.

I had a friend who use to tell me, “If you show me your friends I will show you your future.  I always wondered how true that statement really was until I started to see it in work.

I was very fortunate in the beginning of my walk with God. God surrounded me with God-loving & God-honoring people. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any old friends; I had plenty, but they were doing the things that I didn’t want to do anymore. I made a decision to only spend quality & quantities of time with people who had the kind of life that I desired to have. I never did question my friend’s statement about friends & our future. I thank God that I chose to follow his advice. I have seen many other people over the years try it the other way. It has NEVER worked.

Israel was no exception to this rule. God warned them about having too deep of relationships with these outsiders. It wasn’t that God didn’t want Israel to have friends, but rather, He knew where these relationships would end up taken His people. God knew that they were weak & still very impressionable. He was trying to protect them.

We see that they chose to go their own way for a season of pleasure but the result was devastating. It also proved that God was right & they were wrong. This is a lesson that I pray we all come to learn—God is always right. I have come to be alright with saying that & knowing that.

Growing up, there was this stage that I went through where I wanted to prove my parents wrong. I did exactly the opposite of what they asked of me because I wanted to show them that I knew better than them. I wanted to prove to them that I could do it if they would just let me. I have to admit, I was wrong. I created a lot of misery in my life that could have been avoided.

It was part of being a child. I wanted to be in charge of me. But I like what Paul said:

1 Corinthians 13:11

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

As I have matured & grown over the years, I have also come to realize the wisdom in many of the things that my parents taught me. Likewise, as I have grown as a Christian I have come to accept the wisdom in the things that God says also. I no longer feel the need to fight against this type of principals. I can trust in them. I can surrender to them.

I want to leave you with some very good “Heavenly Father” wisdom.

1.      Don’t make friends with an angry man lest you learn his ways & endanger your soul.

2.      Don’t build a relationship with someone of the opposite sex that doesn’t love Jesus more than they love you.

3.      What & who you unite yourself to will determine the direction you go in life.

4.      You can’t fly like an eagle if you hang around a bunch of turkeys.

5.      Relationships matter. Choose the right ones & invest in them.

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mission Impossible, Made Possible

Today's Bible readings are Numbers 21:1-22:20, Luke 1:26-56, Psalm 57:1-11, & Proverbs 11:9-11

Luke 1:35-37
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
This is one of the greatest miracles that surrounds the life of Christ. Of all the things done by God this is one of the greatest. We often talk about the resurrection, & we should because it is such a demonstration of God great power, yet this is equally as awesome when considered. The virgin birth is one of the most remarkable things that have ever happened. In fact, it has never happened again.

Everybody say this out loud to themselves: “Nothing is impossible with God.” I am sure that Mary thought she was out of her mind when the angel first told her these things. There had never been a virgin birth before. It made no sense, but it was a message coming from God through one of His angels. She chose to believe in God & His ability to do what He says He is going to do. She was blessed as a result.

Luke 1:45

45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

I know that there are things in all of your lives that may seem impossible right now. There may be:

1. Situations that seem to be unrepairable.

2. Mountains that seem to be immovable.

3. Sickness that is said to be incurable.

4. Relationships that appear to be unsalvageable.

5. Family members that act unsaveable.

6. Debt that seems unpayable.

7. Circumstances that feel unchangeable.

What you must do is, shout from deep within to what seems to be impossible & declare by faith that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!

The key phrase that has to be considered is the phrase, what seems to be.  Most of the stuff that seems to be impossible only seems that way because we have not yet factored in the “GOD POSSIBLITY”. That is why it seems impossible. Quite frankly, it is impossible UNTIL God is factored in. Remember, He is the One that makes EVERYTHING possible. The reason that it seems impossible is because He has not yet been considered or invited into the situation. He is truly the X-Factor.

37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

When God is invited into the situation 2 things happen:

1.      The power of the Holy Spirit comes on you.

2.      The power of the Most High overshadows you.

Think about that for a moment. The Holy Spirit is the miracle working Agent of the Trinity. When you invite God into your impossibility, the miracle working Agent of God comes on you. Impossible now has the missing link to what can be made possible.

Then the power of the Most High overshadows you. All of your fears, worries, etc… are overshadowed by the awesome presence & power of a God who can do anything. His power makes up the difference for our weakness. His ability fills in the gaps of our inabilities. The result, the impossible becomes probable. Listen to the words of this song:

God makes the impossible probable,
God makes what defies solutions solvable,
He makes what can't be done, doable,
Makes mountains movable,
God makes the impossible probable.

Take a deep breath. Release it. Now rest. Take a new look at what seems impossible, but this time factor in the GOD WHO MAKES ALL THINGS POSSIBLE. Let this strengthen your faith today.

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Today’s Bible readings are Numbers 19:1-20:29, Luke 1:1-25, Psalm 56:1-13, & Proverbs 11:8

Luke 1:1-4
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

There are many people who tend to be thinkers. They want to know something is real before they commit their lives to it. I believe that Luke was that kind of a guy. History tells us that he was a physician & historian. He heard many accounts of Jesus. He had heard stories of His life. Those stories caused him to be interested to find out more.

As he began to search for truth, he found Jesus. In his own account of things, he says that he had carefully investigated everything & what he goes on to write in this gospel is his conclusion. I love the fact that Jesus is who he found & the gospel is what he found.

Luke was really like a CSI agent. He investigated the stories. He made sure that things happened the way they were said to have happened. He searched things out. What were some of the things that he learned?

1.     Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost & power. He went about doing good & healing all who were oppressed of the devil.

Luke is also the one who is said to have written the book of Acts. He declares in Acts 10:38 the words that are my first point. The reason that he knew this & wrote these words was because he had met many people who had been healed by Jesus, this is not to mention the fact that he traveled with Paul.

Colossians 4:14

14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

This brings me to my second point.

2.      Luke saw the power of the resurrected Christ working in the apostles to perform many miracles.

 As he traveled with Paul he saw supernatural things occur. Luke saw people healed by the power of Christ. Luke saw people delivered by the same power. Luke saw people filled with the Holy Spirit & speak in other tongues. Luke saw people give their lives for the gospel that they came to believe in. These things became apparent to him as the workings of Christ.

The very works he saw convinced him that Jesus was who He claimed to be. The more he searched for the answers the more proof he found that Jesus truly was & is the Messiah. This is what lead him to share the gospel with others & eventually write this gospel.

3.      The empty tomb.

The third point is critical. All of our hope rests in this truth—THE TOMB IS EMPTY!!!  This is what must have sealed the deal for this logical physician. This was scientifically impossible. The only thing that it could mean is that all the claims that Jesus made were true. When you add these all together you come to only 4 logical conclusions:

1.      Jesus saves.

2.      Jesus heals.

3.      Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

4.      Jesus is coming soon.

There are many people today who are like Luke. They just want to know if it is all real. We have the tendencies to get irritated with these people because they often ask questions that we have a hard time answering. I bet Luke asked some questions that were hard for Paul to answer, but they sought truth out together, the believer alongside the unbeliever. It lead to the conversion of Luke & ultimately the writing of this gospel.

Maybe you are one of those people like Luke. You may be a skeptic. Maybe you know somebody who is like a Luke might have been. How do you win them for Christ? Where do you start?

1.      Get them to come to church.

Remember, it all started when Luke got around people who had their life changed by the power of Jesus. When people come to church it is hard for them to deny the fact that God changed the lives of the greatest majority of the people present. They have an opportunity to hear the testimonies of people firsthand, just like Luke. NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER, UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A TESTIMONY!

2.      Pray for them.

Never forget the power of the supernatural that is availed through prayer. James tell us that prayer makes tremendous power available. Pray for their needs to be met. Let them know you are praying for them. Share with them how God has met needs & worked miracles in the past. This brings me to my last point.

3.      Share the gospel with them REGULARLY.

It may take more than one time hearing the message before people commit to it. Luke heard many stories. Then he saw many signs with own eyes. Don’t get discouraged if it seems like you aren’t getting anywhere. Just like a CSI agent in the real world, it usually doesn’t look like they are going to solve the mystery & then it all comes together for them. As they gather the evidence IT leads them to the truth. Likewise, when people do this concerning Jesus they will find what their heart is looking for. Remember, Jesus is the TRUTH. He is all they will find if they are really searching for TRUTH.

Keep this in mind when you deal with family, children, grandchildren, etc… What many times looks like people rejecting us could just people gathering evidence so they can make a logical decision. Don’t push them away while they are looking for the evidence they need to solve the case.

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How To Avoid Being Swallowed Whole

Today’s Bible readings are Numbers 16:41-18:32, Mark 16:1-20, Psalm 55:1-23, & Proverbs 11:7

Numbers 16:43-46
43 Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, 44 and the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!” But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground.
46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the Lord. The Lord’s anger is blazing against them—the plague has already begun.”

This has got to be one of the most bizarre events in the bible. As I read this story I sense the fear of the Lord come upon me. God is truly a Holy & Awesome God. God took this personal when the people began to form a coup against Moses & Aaron. In fact, Moses was prophesying when he said, “It isn’t Aaron that you are rebelling against it. It is God you are rebelling against.”

So many people have no clue when it comes to submission to authority, especially GOD-APPOINTED authority. In this story we see that it brought destruction upon the people.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the church drama. There is always somebody who is unhappy. There will always be a few who think they can do everything better than the way it is being done. There are some who think that their calling is to be a critic toward everybody else’s. The problem is that they are often influencers. They use their influence to gather as many to their side as possible. I want to give you a word of caution—AVOID FRIENDSHIPS WITH SUCH PEOPLE.  There are several reasons why you should stay clear of people like this. I want to share a few with you in hopes that it will motivate you to guard your heart in this area.

1.      It will bring destruction into your life.

When the ground opened up & swallowed these few men, it also was going to swallow any that was near. Those who had chosen the side of the rebellious were going to share in the consequences of the rebellious. I’m sure that they never realized it would cost them so much, but it did.

2.      You will lose all joy; & quick.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. When we are in rebellion toward God, & His designated leaders, we are not in the Spirit but in the flesh. If we continue to sow to the flesh & it’s desires we will reap destruction.

Galatians 6:8

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

It is not God punishing us. It is the harvest of sowing in the wrong field. The sinful nature ALWAYS produces death. The Spirit ALWAYS produces life. The choice is ours.

3.      It sets you against God.

Remember, God takes it personal when we rebel against His leaders. It is really rebellion against Him.

Romans 13:2

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

So what is the answer? Simple, the answer is Jesus! Moses told Aaron to take some of the coals off the altar & carry it to purify the people. What a picture of what The Holy Spirit does in us. Jesus has poured out His Spirit on all flesh. He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit & fire. That fire that burns in us will purify us from all rebellion as we remain in the Vine.

I want to challenge you today to train your ear to listen to the Holy Spirit instead of the people who are loudest around you. The Spirit is in you. He is there to guide & direct your life. Following Him is the BEST way. If you listen to Him, He will steer you clear from those few who would try to pull you into negative attitudes & thinking.

Take the position of Moses & Aaron & pray for those who are in rebellion. God loves them & wants them to surrender. Cry out for them. Your prayers could be the thing that saves them & turns them around.

Pastor Richard Schlotter