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Tue, Aug 11.20

  Beaver Creek Christian Church : A nondenominational fellowship of believers in Ashe County, West Jefferson, NC Minister's Minute: Minister's Blog - Posted Every Tuesday - Friday

 

31 Ways To Let Your Light Shine!

5. Be the Answer To Someone's Prayer Today - James 5:13-18

5. Be the Answer to Someone’s prayer today.

James 5:13-18 - "...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective..."

I was going through FB yesterday looking at all the post before I had my morning prayer time with my Lord. I notice so many people with prayer request and I started jotting them down. Before long I had a lengthy list. The prayer list at church is always lengthy too. There is so much need out there.

I believe that one way that we can shine like stars is to pray for people who have needs. Sometimes the need is so great that only our powerful, compassionate God can bring an answer. But there are other times when I see needs that are rather simple... and something stirs inside me.

Sometimes when I am praying I get the urge to do something more. Perhaps that is God's Spirit stirring in me the desire to be an answer to prayer. After all, James tells us that we should put our faith in action rather than just saying "I'll be praying for you"(James 2:14-27).

Being an answer to prayer is a powerful way to shine the light. It might be as simple as writing an encouragement note to someone who is depressed or stopping by someone who is sick and shut-in. Other times it may cost a little more like giving some money or buying some groceries. Sometimes it may take a little work like fixing someone's porch steps or mowing their lawn. Sometimes the answer to someone's prayer takes coordinated effort with other Christians or the Church.

Most people who are suffering just want to know that someone is listening and cares. God maybe stirring in you to be the answer to someone's prayer today.

May God bless you today as you seek to be the answer to someone's prayer.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord In Heaven; You are my provider, protector, healer, comforter, and savior. You have done so much for me. Help me to be the answer to someone’s prayer today. Help me to see the needs around me and to be a blessing so that your light will shine through me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Jan 7, 17/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

31 Ways To Let Your Light Shine!

4. Praise God - Ph 2:14-16; Ps 40:1-3

4. Praise the Lord. Authentically praise the name of the Lord when given the opportunity. Instead of moaning about life praise God for what he has done and is doing in your life. Ps 40:1-3

Philippians 2:14-16 -Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

Have you ever stopped to count how many times a day you say something negative. I notice that especially when my wife and I go window shopping. She will usually say something like, "Is that table setting just lovely?" I will then throw in my two cents worth, "I really don't like all that flowery stuff on it." If I'm really in the wrong place in my thinking I might throw in a "HA" before I say anything and then tell her how much I really don't like it.

Don't get me wrong, It's okay to have an opinion. But sometimes an opinion boldly stated can cause hurt feelings and division. This is not way to shine the light of Christ. When we were first married, my sister told me that she didn't like to be around us. "One minute you are arguing and the next you are lovey-dovey." My sister could have used the shining light of Jesus instead of the roller-coaster ride of two highly-opinionated people.

Unfortunately I see a lot of this among Christians. There are a lot of people who like to tell their opinions very loudly especially if they had no part in it. WE complain about the temperature of the sanctuary, the color of the carpet, the way someone did something, how the offering is being spent, or even what the preacher said or did THIS TIME. The problem is that people outside the church or visiting the church hear this instead of seeing the shining light of Jesus.

At the children's home where I used to work we had a way to stop complaints. if someone continued to talk negative about someone or something we would say, "Now tell us five things good things." This is a good way to train your mouth not to run off before your brain is in gear! Think before you speak.

Another good ways to learn to say positive things is to think of all the things God has done for you. I love what David said in Psalms 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

He put a new song in my mouth of praise to our God! Let's sing it out and let our light shine for Jesus today. May God bless you as you shine the light and speak beautiful things today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God Almighty; You are worthy of all my praise. Forgive me when I don't watch what comes out of my mouth. Help me to speak words of praise to you and gentle words of compassion to others. Fill my mouth with worthy stuff and nudge me when I've said enough. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Jan 7, 17/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

31 Ways To Let Your Light Shine!

3. Don't try harder... Plug into the Word of God - Isaiah 60:20

3. Don’t try to shine harder… plug into the source of light… God. Daily immerse yourself in the Word of the God. -Is 60:20

Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.-Is 60:20

We can all remember our teacher at school telling us that we just need to apply ourselves. Mom would tell us to try harder. Dad would add, "Don't try...do!" Our coach would tell us to get our head in the game and practice harder...go, go, go. Our boss would tell us that we really needed to want it and then it would happen.

But in our walk with the Lord I think we try that same thing and we fail miserably every time. You can not succeed just by trying harder. The Apostle Paul tells about trying harder in Romans 7 and he compares the experience to a wretched, battle-weary, soldier fighting in his own head. It's a battle we can't win. "Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" (Ro 7:24)

Shining bright in 2017 is not just a New Years Resolution. Resolutions often fail because people try hard but aren't willing to make the necessary long-term lifestyle changes to make it happen.

The answer for Christians is before you try to shine you have to "plug in" to the source of power. Yes, just like the old lamp sitting by my bed. It has to be plugged into the outlet before it will give light for me to read by.

Christians need to plug into the Word of God. We need to plug into God as the source of power to shine. We need to plug into Jesus to shine his light. We need to plug into the Holy Spirit so he can help us shine everyday in every way. We need to plug into God's word and pray if we are going to shine.

That is one of the reasons that I am encouraging our congregation to read through the Bible this year. Daily Bible reading helps you to plug into the real source of light so that we can reflect his glory and not just a work of our own hands.

May God bless you today as you plug into the source of power and shine bright for him.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God, Your are an ever-present source of light into my life. I want to shine for you. Thank you for the tools I need to shine. Thank you for the Word and the Spirit. Help me to continue to reflect your light in all that I do. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Jan 7, 17/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

31 Ways To Let Your Light Shine!

2. Reflect His Light - Jn 1:4-5

2. Remember that it is not our light that is showing but his. -Jn 1:4-5

'In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." -John 1:4-5 (NIV).

I recently had the opportunity to visit a church with a huge choir. The music was good but there was one person who through animated gestures and singing above the rest drew attention to herself. For me it was a distraction from the harmony of the rest of the choir and it took the spotlight off the message they were trying to present and put it on her.

Sometimes we can be the same ways. "Look at all the things I do for the church," or "without me this church would collapse!" I have heard people say things that both distract from the unity and harmony of the body of Christ and the Good News message of Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-5 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus..."

As shining stars we are not trying to outshine the light of others. We are a mere reflection of the light of Jesus. Like the moon reflecting the suns light, we reflect Jesus so that others don't see our light but see Jesus shining through our lives.

Before you do anything examine yourself and make sure your motives are pure. You want to shine the light of Jesus because the light of Jesus came into your life and changed you. So let your light shine so that others glorify God.

May God bless you this day as you reflect the light of Jesus and shine for Him.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord of Light; I praise you for your light. You shine your light into my life. You give me the light to see the right path. Help me to reflect the light so that others can see the way to go. I praise you, Oh Father! Thank you for the light of the world, JESUS. It is in his name that I pray. AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Jan 7, 17/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

31 Ways To Let Your Light Shine!

1. Pray and Trust - 2 Corinthians 4:6

1. Pray and ask God how you can let your light shine. Trust that God will lead you in his ways. -2 Co 4:6

"For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ" -2 Co 4:6

Every Christian should know the Jesus said "You are the light of the world... let your light so shine before men that they will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." After all, most of us have sang "This little light of mine" at one time or another.

But how do you let your light shine? This month we will be looking at some practical ways to let your light shine. But this is not about you... It's about God. It's about what he has done in you. It's about Jesus who loves and gives grace.

So the first step...as in just about everything... is to pray. Pray that God will shine in you, through you, and over you. Pray that your life will not be a distraction the light. Pray that God will give you the courage to shine in all situations.

And then trust God to do something wonderful in your life. He already has in Jesus Christ. Now trust him to use your life as a beacon to bring others to him.

You are either a star shining bright for him or you are a black hole. A black hole is a star that has refused to shine. It collapses on it's own gravity and becomes so dense that it's gravity begins to suck in everything around it... including the light of other stars. Don't be a black hole!

May God bless you today as you ask him to help you shine with the light and love of Jesus in your heart.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father God; You are light and glory! You are magnificent, beyond description, awesome, and wondrous. Fill me with your light and let me shine. Help me to be the man you want me to be. In the name of Jesus, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Jan 7, 17/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

31. Resurrection and the Life - John 11:25

31. Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

Jesus was talking to Martha on the occasion of her brother's death. In fact, Lazarus had been buried for 3 days. Martha had the faith that Jesus could have healed her brother if only he had gotten there sooner. Jesus reminds her that he holds the keys to life.Her reply is an undeniable statement of faith: “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

As wonderful as the resurrection of Lazarus was I believe that it was a confirmation of what had been said between Jesus, Martha, and Mary. The action of raising Lazarus was an illustration that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Jesus would again illustrate this with his own death and resurrection. Yes, Jesus alone holds the keys to life. And that key will open up eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.

I cannot think of a better way to wrap-up these 31 Names of Jesus. Oh, there are at least a dozen or more names that I have not used in this study. I choose the ones that would help define this baby who was born in Bethlehem and whom I eagerly await his return.

I would like you to open the lock to resurrection and life today. The key is Jesus. Believe in your heart that he is "Messiah, the Son of God." Pray for forgiveness and invite Jesus into your life. Find a minister who will baptize you and who can guide you. Join a church that will help hold you accountable and encourage you in your continued relationship with Jesus. Stand firm in your faith and follow him in obedience to His word.

I praise God for Jesus, the resurrection and the life. May God bless you today and in the coming year as you seek to follow Him.

PRAYER THOUGHT: O Holy God Above; I praise you for righteousness and your love. I thank you for giving me the key to resurrection and life. I praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ. I ask today that you help me live for you. I pray as we enter this new year that you will guide me and help me be the man you have called me to be. In Jesus' precious name I pray, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 31, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

30. Savior - Luke 2:11; 2 Timothy 1:9-10

30. Savior – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:9-10

SAVED! Oh what a word. What a feeling. At just the right moment he saved us from destruction.

It reminds me of the old silent films where the beautiful woman is tied to the railroad tracks or some other horrible gruesome way to die. The villain laughs and twist his mustache. He tricked her into signing the deed and with her death he gets her property and all she owns. The hero, in his white hat, jumps off his white stead and saves the lady at the last minute. The villain mutters, "Rats, Foiled again!" I don't have to imagine the gratitude that the lady has for her hero. She gives him a big kiss and thanks him.

The villain is Satan. His railroad tracks are temptation and sin. The train is death... Hell. We are the victim but not an innocent victim for we have willingly sinned... we signed the deed with our desires and selfishness. Jesus is the hero in the white hat who swoops in to save us.

Jesus came to save us from our sins. His very name, Jesus, literally means "salvation". He saves us and calls us to a holy life of purpose... his purpose.

I praise God for my Hero, my Savior, Jesus Christ. May God bless you as you express your gratitude today to this hero for your salvation.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord of All; I praise you for my hero, Jesus, Christ. I know that my sins have signed the deed to my destruction. But you have sent your Son, Jesus, to die for me. OH WHAT A FEELING! I AM SAVED! I want to show my gratitude to you. Help me to life for you each day. In the name of Jesus I pray, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 30, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

29. The Word - John 1:1

29. The Word – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

I used to know this guy who was a stoner before meeting Jesus. Every time I would say something to him he would nod his head and say, "word." For me it was a bit annoying until he explained to me that it was kind of like saying, AMEN, or I agree. I was okay with it after that but I don't believe I am ready to end my prayers by saying "word".

Jesus is Logos, the WORD. This is a very beautiful way of describing our Lord, Jesus Christ. When you think about it you will find rich meaning to his name. "WORD!"

In Greek philosophy, the logos is "a lifeless and impersonal abstract philosophical concept that is a necessary postulate for the cause of order and purpose in the universe." Although the apostle John was not a Greek philosopher his description of Jesus as the WORD made the Logos personal with the power of unity, coherence, and purpose. In other words, if you really want purpose and meaning in your life than you need to look to the WORD, Jesus Christ. "WORD!"

In the beginning we see that God spoke everything into existence; "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." John 1 says that the WORD was with God in the beginning and that all things were created through him and by him. I love to picture Jesus as the WORD that God spoke to create all things. "Jesus" and there was the heavens and the earth. "Jesus" and their was animals. 'WORD!"

In Hebrews it says that the WORD, is living and active and able to judge our heart's intent. We all agree that this is referring to the scriptures. But it also brings greater depth when we add Jesus' name to this verse: "For JESUS is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, JESUS penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; JESUS judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (He 4:12)." "WORD!"

By looking to Jesus as WORD, John makes several statements about his nature. Never has so few verse given such deep doctrine:

1. Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)

2. Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth (“the Word was with God”)

3. Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)

4. Jesus is Creator (“All things were made through him”)

5. Jesus is the Giver of Life (“In him was life”)

6. Jesus became human to live among us (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”)

"WORD!"

My friend said that "word" means "I agree". In 1 John 5, the apostle John says that the Father, Spirit, and Son all agree to the testimony: "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." "WORD!"

AMEN means "let it be so" or "I agree". This is how we end our prayers so when you really think of it, "WORD" may not be such an inappropriate way to end our prayers. After all, we pray in the name or authority of Jesus and Jesus' name is WORD. "WORD!"

I praise God for the WORD, Jesus Christ. May you be richly blessed by the WORD today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father; Thank you for the WORD, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the life that he brings to me. I praise you for having my salvation worked out long before I was even born. Help me to live by the WORD. Help me to grow in the WORD. Help me to be the man you want me to be. In Jesus' name, AMEN! (WORD!)

-Loren Lung

Dec 29, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

28. True Vine - John 15:1

28. True Vine - "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

My wife, Wendy jokes that she has a brown thumb because every plant she brings home suffers and turns brown. Yet she seems to keep bringing those poor things home to torture. Must be some therapy or something from all the grief I give her.

I have learned a lot about plants over the years even though I too am not very good with them. Plants take more than light and water to make them grow. They need good nourishment from the nutrients in the soil and air.

Every person needs good spiritual nourishment to grow too. God's word are the source that spiritual nourishment. Jesus is the vine that brings that nourishment from the word to us. We are branches that need to recieve His Word to grow. Those who do will grow but those who do not will whither on the vine.

God, the vine master, comes to check on the plant. He wants to make sure that it produces good fruit in accordance with His Word. When it doesn't produce fruit or it starts to wither he must cut off that branch to make room for new growth.

That is why I am concerned to see so many Christians take so little interest in Sunday School, Bible Study, or Growth Groups. I am concerned that there seems to be little interest in growing in the word with fellow believers. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." And Hebrew 10:25 tells not to stop meeting together but to encourage each other to grow and be strong. It is very important for us to meet and study together so that we don't wither on the vine.

Our church is also trying to encourage this by reading through the Bible in 2017. At Beaver Creek Christian Church we will be using Michael Coley's reading plan which you can download a copy at http://www.Bible-Reading.com. But you can use any plan that you would like. The Bible Project has a really good Bible reading plan that includes videos to help you have a deeper understanding of what you are reading (https://thebibleproject.com). There are tons of programs out there for reading through the Bible in a year. Join us as we read through the Word of God in 2017!

I praise God for the vine, Jesus Christ, who bring nourishment from the Word of God, so that I can grow in spirit and truth. May God bless you today as you grow in Him too.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God; I praise you for helping me grow through study and application of your word. I thank you for fellow believers who help me to be accountable. I ask that you feed me with your word and help me to be the kind of branch that produces fruit... 100 fold. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 28, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

27. The Door - John 10:9

27.. The Door – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

Jesus is the door or the "sheep-gate". Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks would often make a pen for the sheep out of shrubs or stones. The shepherd would use his own body to block the opening. He was the sheep-gate or door that would keep the sheep in the safety of the pen and keep out the wild animals who would harm the sheep.

Jesus is the doorway for us to enter to the Father. He keeps out those who are cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars (Re 21:8). He allows those who have their name written in the Book of Life to enter in.

I praise God for Jesus, the door to eternal life. May God bless you as you enter into his fold.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord Almighty, Thank you for Jesus the door to eternal life. I praise you for my Good Shepherd. Please help me to live for you each day. Help me not to get dragged down by all the problems of life but to remember the hope that I have. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 27, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

26. Wonderful Counselor... - Isaiah 9:6

26. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is. 9:6

Technically, we will be dealing with 4 names of Jesus today instead of just one. The promise of Isaiah 9 is that a special ruler shall come form the line of Judah. This King would be different from the any that the world had ever seen.

He is the wonderful counselor. His teachings, his parables, his knowledge, his authority, and his ability to speak to anyone with empathy and compassion caused wonder and amazement. Jesus amazed the priest and Levites because he knew so much and spoke with authority at just twelve years old. As an adult, people were often awed by his teachings and how he spoke with authority. People recognized that he was not like the Pharisees and Priest because he spoke with authority and concern. Jesus can relate to all your problem and situations.

He is the Mighty God. I often get into weird discussions with people about the differences between Jesus and God. Some people just want to catalogue him and put him in a box. A man chastised me one day for praying to Jesus. He said that we HAD to pray to God and do it in Jesus' name. But Jesus is God... God is Jesus. Jesus himself said, "I and the Father are one." He carries with him all the authority and power of God. Jesus is "God in a bod," man. Don't try to wrap your mind around it... just accept it.

He is the Everlasting Father. Jesus is The Beginning and The End. He is the First and the Last. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is eternal in nature...always was and always will be. You can ignore him, deny him, ridicule and maline him but he will not go away. You, my friends, will die and your body will slowly return to the dust you were created from but Jesus will still be here. If you want to invest in something that last then invest your soul in Jesus Christ!

He is the Prince of Peace. There were times when the King would send his son as an ambassador or secretary of state to work out peace with those who were defeated. It was the ultimate sign of trust. If you receive the son than you will enjoy the king's peace. But if you reject him or try to attack the prince than you have sealed your doom. Jesus has brokered our peace. He has made peace between God and man. All you have to do is accept his terms and receive the Prince of Peace.

I praise God for this wonderful promise fulfilled in Jesus. May you be blessed today as you enjoy the eternal peace and power of God wrapped up in the flesh of a man.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God, I praise you for your promise of Jesus; my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and my Prince of Peace. I want Jesus to rule in my heart so that I may treat others with wonderful words of life, compassion, peace, and truth. Help me to be the man you would have me to be today. Keep my mind focused on you and not on me. It is by the sacrifice and authority of Jesus in whose name I wear that I can come to you. So in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 26, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

25. Son of the Most High - Luke 1:32

25. Son of the Most High – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32

There were lots of kings who claimed to be deity or sons of deity. It was a way of maintaining a god-like, absolute control over the people. After all, who would question the decisions of a god?

This was not so in Israel or Judah. God was their king long before the people rebelled and put Saul on the throne. They weren't even supposed to have a king let alone someone who would claim to be God. No king would even dare to risk the anger of the Almighty God by claiming to be him or his son. There were some pretty bad kings over the years but God's prophets, the high priest, and the people kept them from this great blasphemy.

The reason they did not have a king was because God himself was supposed to be their king. He was to protect, provide, guide, and rule his people. When Israel drank their fill of the wickedness of earthly kings God promised that he would send his Son to rule on the throne in righteousness and justice.

So when the wisemen went looking for the one born "King of the Jews" they naturally went to Herod's palace. They saw the star...the star that indicated that a king was born. They wanted to worship the one who truly was God and King.

I praise the Lord for the Son of the Most High who reigns in my heart this Christmas. May God bless you as you experience the joy and excitement of this day. MERRY CHRISTMAS, My Friends. May God rule in your hearts too.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear King of My Life; I praise you for sending your Son to build his kingdom on earth and in my heart. Help me to let him rule my life. So often I want to sit on the throne and control my life. You rule with righteousness and holiness where as I rule with selfishness and sin. Help me to submit to your will and your way. I submit to your rule in Jesus' name. AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 25, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

24. Prophet - Mark 6:4

24. Prophet – “And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4

I once asked the children in my Children's Worship what they thought a prophet might be. Lots of hands went up. One of the boys thought a prophet was like a character Star Wars. Another though a prophet was someone who made money (profit?). Another thought he was a bald guy (Elisha?). But no one really knew what is a prophet.

I sometimes wonder if even the many adults really know. We often look at a prophet as one who foretells future events. But as a friend of mine recently said, "There is more forth telling of a prophet then there is foretelling."

A prophet is first and foremost a man with a message from God. Some of these men are willing to go and take the message. Isaiah, once purified, said, "Here am I, Lord. Send me."

But there were also those like Jonah who didn't want to go. Jonah decided to go the other way and he ended up fish food...sort of. And who really would blame them? Prophets were often rejected, beaten, dishonored, imprisoned, ridiculed, and put to death. It wasn't glamorous to be a prophet.

A prophet sometimes told what the future would hold. He would bring a message to the people that sometimes would tell of an impending event in the immediate future but also had an ultimate outcome or a promise of delivery in the distant future. But mostly he simply shared the word of God.

Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that Jesus was also a prophet. It always amazes me how many times he told his followers his plans. He told them that he was going to die and be raised again. But they either dismissed this, spiritualized it, or just didn't get it. But Jesus literally meant that he was going to die for our sins and be raised in victory over sin and the grave.

In Luke 4:14-30, Jesus is reading the scriptures in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth. He reads Isaiah 61:1,2 which is like a job description of the Messiah/prophet. Then he tells them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your sight."

1. Jesus was anointed or sent by God

2. Jesus proclaimed good new to the poor

3. Jesus proclaimed freedom to prisoners of sin

4. Jesus gave sight to the blind... but he also gave spiritual sight to those who were blinded by sin

5. Jesus set free those oppressed

6. Jesus proclaimed the day of the Lord... his coming kingdom

But they said, "Hey, we know this guy. He's one of us." So they reject him... even try to kill him. And people are still rejecting this prophet today.

Jesus proclaimed the message of God faithfully. He also foretold the immediate and future events coming. But more than that this prophet also fulfilled 355 prophesies of the Old Testament that all had to do with the Messiah to come. And as a faithful prophet he stands today at the right hand of the throne of God.

I praise God for My forth telling Prophet, Jesus Christ. May you be blessed today as this prophet is revealed to you.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God, I know who holds my future because of Jesus Christ. I praise you for revealing that to me in your word. I praise you for the beautiful promise of eternal life. Forgive me of the times that I have doubted or failed you. Lift me up so that I may plainly see what is written for me in your word. Thank you for Jesus, my prophet, my priest, my king! In his precious name I pray, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 24, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

23. The Way- John 14:6

23. The Way – “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

I remember someone trying to give me directions when I first came to the mountains of North Carolina. After receiving the lengthy instruction I muttered under my breath that there must be an easier way to get there. "This is the only way to get there, preacher," they said, "You should be familiar with narrow roads."

Sometimes people think that Christians are narrow minded. "All roads lead to enlightenment," a man once told me when I was trying to share my testimony. He had all his bases covered. He had a alcove in his living room with a Madonna, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, a Menorah, and other things I did not recognize. He was burning stick incense. I also noted the 10 commandments mounted on his door frame. He allowed his daughter to come to my youth group but only to get a "Christian perspective".

I maybe narrow-minded but it is because my Savior says that he is The Way. He also says that he is the only ways. "No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus also said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Mt 7:13-14)."

I find it interesting that people say they want the truth but when the truth reveals himself to them they reject him. The apostle John puts it this way: "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:9-13)"

I praise God for Jesus, The Way, who has made me a child of God the Father. May God bless you today as you find The Way in your life.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father; I praise you because I truly can call you father because of Jesus. He is The Way. He has given me the directions I need to be with you in Heaven. He is the way to have peace in this life. He is the way to have victory over sin and death. He is the way to abundant living. He is the way I want to go. Thank you for The Way. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 23, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

22. Rock - 1 Corinthians 10:4

22. Rock – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Co 10:4

Back when I was a youth minister at Garden Park Church of Christ in Toledo, Ohio I had the joy of leading the elementary age children during worship service. One of the favorite songs the kids would sing was "Jesus is the Rock" and He rolls my blues away; Bop shoo bop, A bop shoo bop. What joy they had on their faces.

Throughout the Bible God is depicted as a rock. He is large stone rock like what you see up on Grandfather Mountain. He has stood the test of time. He is trustworthy and true. He is solid and sturdy. He will not be moved.

A large rock is a good place to be when the wind is blowing and the rain is falling. A rock is a good defense when your enemies are hurling arrows at you. A rock is a great place to be when the floods of life come and try to wash you away. A rock is a good place to just sit down when you are hurt, sad, or lonely.

Many people have found refuge at the Rock over the years. Moses said, "He (God) is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just..."(De 32:4). David said, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior..."(2 Sa 22:2-3). Elijah found peace in the Rock of Ages when he fled from Jezabel (1 Ki 19). And even today, people are finding refuge in the Rock.

The birth of Jesus is the incarnation of the Rock. God built a fortress, a sanctuary, a refuge right here for us. Romans 9 tells us that this Rock would be a stumbling block for some people who think they have God all figured out. 1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that Jesus was the Rock that the Hebrews drank from in the wilderness.

Peter said that this Rock would bring scandal and the downfall of many. Jesus told Peter that "on this rock (petra not retros) I will build my church." The rock, the foundation, the cornerstone of the church is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, Savior and Lord.

Isn't nice to know that when the enemies attack there is a refuge in Jesus. Isn't it comforting to know that when you are troubled or blue you can find comfort in Jesus. Isn't it nice to know when the storms of life rage you can find peace in Jesus. Jesus is the ROCK that rolls our blues away!

I praise God for Jesus, my Rock, my refuge, my strength. May God bless you today as you plant your feet firmly on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father in Heaven, You are my Rock and my salvation. In you I will stand firm. I thank you for being my comfort and protection. I thank you for the peace in my life that comes from knowing you. I thank you for Jesus Christ, my rock and foundation. I ask that you help me to stand firm and by the man you have called me to be. Help me to bring others in need to the Rock that gives life. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

-Loren Lung

Dec 22, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

21. Redeemer - Job 19:25; 1 Peter 1:18, 19

21. Redeemer – “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. -1 Peter 1:18, 19

My grandma Mildred used to collect S&H green stamps. These were stamps that you used to get when you went to the store to buy groceries. Depending on how much you spent you would get stamps with the dollar amount printed on them. Then came the ucky part- You would lick them and put them in books, ugh, I can still taste that glue! When you saved enough books you could trade them in at a redemption center for valuable stuff like toasters, lamps, and more. These places were called redemption centers because you would "redeem" or exchange the stamps for something of value.

The word " redeem" means to buy back, repurchase, or exchange. Often times the money or item used to redeem something or someone is called "ransom".

Our sins have made us captive. There is nothing that we can do to free ourselves. We are doomed to a life of bondage and death. Jesus is our redeemer because he loves us and exchanged his life for ours. He not only paid the ransom but he IS the ransom. He redeemed us from a life of sin and gave us real life... life abundant and free...and the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. And that, my friends, is glorious!

But let us not forget that our ransom cost God dearly. He gave his one and only Son to redeem us. Jesus bore all our sins on the cross. And He rose victoriously from the grave breaking the chains and bondage of sin forever for those who would accept him as their Lord, Savior, Redeemer.

You can get a living example of the love that God has for us and the idea of redemption by reading the book of Hosea in the Bible. Hosea was told to marry a prostitute named Gomer. He loved her. But she cheated on him, went back into prostitution, and was sold by her pimps into slavery when she was no longer bringing them customers. Homer went to the slave market to buy back or redeem his wife. God painted this picture for the northern kingdom of Israel to highlight their unfaithfulness and show his redemption. It also gives us a big picture of our sinfulness and his redemption through Jesus.

I praise God for his Son, Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and Friend! May God bless you today as you cherish the gift of freedom that his blood purchased for you.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Loving Father; You are holy. You are perfect. I praise you for redeeming me from sin and bondage through the blood of Jesus Christ your Son. Help me to live a life that is worthy of the great price you have paid for me. Thank you for paying that ransom. I praise you in the name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ, my redeemer, AMEN!

Dec 21, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

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