Archive for August, 2013

Sermon 2 Going Through The Motions

Going Out Of Business Sale

Principle: God is more interested “BEING” as He Is in Doing.

Promise: “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, Home-owner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit-but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

Mathew 7:24-25

The Message

Principle Scripture: Malachi 1:10-11

(10) “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my alter! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.

(11) My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.

I believe what Malachi is saying to Israel is, That the Lord is not pleased with them, He will not accept their offerings because what they bring is less than their best. What God expects is from their first-fruits and the unblemished. Because they bring animals that are crippled, lame, and blind, that it would be better for them to shut the temple doors so that they couldn’t light useless fires on His alter. Then in verse 11 Malachi continues with this declaration. Although you are defiling Gods alter, from the rising to the setting of the sun, among the nations of the earth, incense and pure offerings are being brought to Yahweh in His name and among the nations His name is being made great. It’s important to remember that Malachi is speaking this to Israel for the Lord.

Have you ever been part of or considered what might be the motivating factor that would be the ultimate cause of the closing of a church’s doors?

Here’s what Displeased God: the priests, their performance and their piety.

Here lies Gods Dismay: the very things that bothered God.  Unbelief

Idolatry- anything you put before God

Forms of Godliness- just going through the motions, religiousness, 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Israel’s response to Gods Dismay- how have we done it?

Remedy to Gods Dismay- True Repentance, go back to doing things Gods way, for God

Gods Disapproval: My activity does not guarantee Gods approval.

The average person today is much like the people in Malachi’s day, unaware that there is a problem with their spiritual life. What will it take to convince people that God is not ok with mediocrity? Is your house built on solid rock? Have you worked these words into your life, so that when a storm comes nothing will move your house, because it was fixed to the rock? Jesus Christ is that Rock, Gods Word is not just here to improve our standard of living, His Word is the Truth that our lives are built on. In James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

We will close with this; Proverbs 9:10-12.  (10) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (11) For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. (12) If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

Seek Christ for who He is, not for what you can get, because He is all you need.

For anyone interested in listening to this sermon series you can follow this link and click on media.

Fellowshipforney.org

© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012 and 2013

In this age of technology have we lost our communication skills?

Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still... and know that I am God"

We Can All Just Get Along

Communication is the key

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Principle: “If you want God to value what you give to Him, then you must value what you give to God.”

Promise: “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, home-owner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved the house. It was fixed to the rock.”

Mathew 7:24-25

The Message

Principle Scripture: Malachi 1:7-9

7) “You place defiled food on my alter. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. (8) When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty. (9) “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi, whose name means “my messenger” is the prophet of God speaking to the priests and people of God condemning the sacrifices being offered to God therefore defiling Gods alter. This is where the priests would accept animals to be offered as sacrifices to God for the forgiveness for sins committed by the people and also where the priest obtained their meat. Where the problem lies is that animals that were offered for sacrifice, there could be nothing wrong with them. However in this time animals were being brought that were crippled, blind and/or diseased which is disobedient to Gods law, thereby defiling the Lord’s table making it contemptible. Malachi even tells them to try and offer the same sacrifices to their governor and see how pleased he will be. Malachi even tells them to implore God with these sacrifices offered by their hands and see if He will be gracious and accept their sacrifices. All what Malachi is telling is a call to repentance and for them to stop offering to God less than He deserves. It’s actually a call to obedience.

This is the first in a new series coming from the pastor of the church I am a member of on the book of Malachi. Let me tell you how excited we are to here Gods Truth preached and how convicting it is as well. What I find myself examining is, when God presents His truth to me coming from His Word am I accountable to make the necessary changes in my life that come from His Truth!? What God has done for us today is that He alone provided the last perfect sacrifice, therefore ending the need for animal sacrifices atoning the sins committed by His people. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection was the final sacrifice. In the gospel of John 19:30 Jesus stated before He gave up His Spirit said it is finished.

Now that Jesus is the final sacrifice, how does this all apply to me. Well what it says to me is it’s a call for self-examination. We don’t offer animal sacrifices for the atonement for forgiveness of sins committed, but we do make offerings to God in the form of worship. These offering are our love to God, our service to God, our giving in the form of tithes and giving to support the local church growth, discipleship, children’s and student ministries and missionaries. There are many different forms of sacrificial worship. The call is the principle; “If you want God to value what you give to Him, then you must value what you give to God.”  The question that I find asking myself is, what is my heart, what are my motives, am I being selfless, am I offering to God less than He deserves? Am I offering to God less than He offered me? God gave me His son on the cross, His very best, What’s my very best? Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Psalm 119:9-12

9) How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (10) I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. (11) I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (12) Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.

© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012 and 2013

PSALM 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

A couple of years ago at Christmas, a close friend gave me a nice ink pen with matching case and on both this Scripture was in scribed. This was of course before I had my own computer, so all the writing that I was doing was on paper with this very pen. Oddly enough, I never once considered what it really meant. Even more oddly, although I’ve read it in the Bible, I can’t remember stopping (even once) to meditate on this verse asking God what He is saying.

As I watch my family in their day to day activities especially my wife and older daughter, they have to be doing something all the time. Even when we are trying to relax out of town or out by the pool, they are uncomfortable being still. And truthfully most of my friends and people I’ve been acquainted with are similar. I actually believe most people are driven and I know it’s not just for the sake of keeping busy. We have to work, provide for the family, maintain the house, business has to happens and tasks have to be completed. There’s purpose in what we do.

Well then there’s me, chuckling at myself as I am writing. I am disable and I have a lot of time. I have no problem stopping when it’s time to stop, or being still. I also have no problem when a task needs to be completed chipping in to help in any way I can. Matter of fact, today I decide to take a nap, well the only part of me that wouldn’t stop and be still is my mind. I have OCDT, you know Obsessive Compulsive Distorted Thoughts and my mind or thoughts are racing as if in a Nascar race. Just going and going. So I just started to talk to God and this Scripture came to my mind. The sad part is I just laid there, tossed and turned but thankfully my spirit wasn’t playing along. So next step was to get up and read and see what Gods Word has to say about being still.

Gods voice breaks through in a climax as He addresses the nations, because of the works of God on the behalf of His people, God will be exalted through out the earth in every nation. This is proven to be supremely true of Gods saving act in the birth, life, death and resurrection of His own son Jesus Christ. This all will be brought to a completion at the return of Christ.

I don’t know about any of you, but when I take the time to slow down long enough to get in to Gods Word and not just read it, it’s as if I am hearing personally from the God of our universe. Guys I get WOW’ED. I have to ask myself how can I not stand in complete AWE of God. This is the impact God and His Word the Bible has on me every time I study it. I’m going to close with this question I have to ask myself. If food is important for me to be able to live physically, how much more important is Gods Word, the Bread of Life needed to live this life and eternally with God? What’s it going to take for me to Be Still and Know That God Is God?  Take time to Know God through His Word …..

In Christ

Bart

© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012 and 2013

Poem: Brokenness to Wholeness.

ROMANS 1:1-6

(1)Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, (2) the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, (3) regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, (4) and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead; Jesus Christ our Lord. (5) Through him and for his name’s sake, we receive grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. (6) And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

WOW! What an introduction. I don’t know about anyone else thinks when they read these few Scripture verses, but as for me, every time I read this, this is what I think. And just let me start straight from the beginning that I don’t claim to be anything like the Apostle Paul. However I believe that I am called to belong to Jesus Christ, and also called to obedience that comes from faith In Him. I am also not going to attempt to correctly explain all these verses, but what I am going to do is tell you how I relate to them though.

Tonight after dinner I got a notification that a close friend posted some new pictures on the web, and being curious I scrolled down to check them out. They were beautiful pictures of their whole family and I know them all and love them with all my heart. But I started thinking of my own family and got kind of sad that my siblings and I had such a difficult up bringing. As I reminisced through my childhood till present day right here and now I started to recant the memories of how I tried to fit in through out life as I know it. Throughout school there were all the different sports programs, from baseball, to football, then in high school there was the rodeo club. If you look at me now rodeo, bull riding to be exact it would be hard to believe. Then there was the US Marine Corps, then Biker Clubs, both clean and sober and outlaw, the right relationship, friends, cars, Harley’s, employment, money. All this stuff and nothing worked to ease me into feeling like I was connected and belonged. There were times when I would even tried to find God.

Thankfully and by Gods grace I don’t have to live like that any more. Christ redeemed me, He gives the gift of salvation that comes through faith in Him and His forgiveness comes through confessing my sin and is never to be remembered. So that means for me that I no longer have to say the right things or know the right people, or do the right things or have the perfect stuff to fit in. I am no longer a SLAVE to all the things that I thought I had to do to belong and have what I thought was the good life. Today I belong to Jesus, yes that’s right I am a member of the family of God. WOW, instead of having to perform to try to fit in, I really belong. Today no matter the suffering, the problem or anything else can take me away from the love of God. Today I can truly say that I am living the good life and how it all started if you look back to verse 6 it says And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, what it took for me was I had to answer Christ’s call for my life.

You too can belong to Christ. If you are struggling for any reason in your life, if you’re trying different things to find fulfillment or even using all kinds of methods in life to complete you and you still end up unsatisfied there is HOPE. Christ is waiting for you to call out to Him. There is a call on your life to belong to Him. Your part is to answer to His call, don’t wait, there is no time like the present. Scripture says in Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth ” Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. That’s all you got to do, now you are a new creation and your journey starts by living your life for the Lord and how one learns to live for God is by reading the Bible. If you claim to be a follower of Christ and are struggling trying to fit in or belong? What I do is call out to Christ asking Him to reveal Himself to me in such a way that I can’t mistake or miss Him for anything. For the strength to know and believe that He is all I need to be fulfilled and give me the strength and courage to serve Him confidently in all that He has called me to. Then asking for strength no to give up and quit. There is one thing that I am coming to understand more and more and that is that this life with Christ is a process of not just Loving God, I am learning to Love Him MOST. Don’t give up on God for He will surely not give up on you. With Christ there is always HOPE.

© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012 and 2013

2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-9

(6)Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. (7) We live by faith, not by sight. (8) We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (9) So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

The other day my wife and I were having a conversation along the lines of these verses, the only thing was that we were not conscious of the passage. We were talking about how does a person know that God is leading them one way or another. In other words how can I be sure I’m following God or living within His will?

Not to long ago the lease on our home was coming to an end and Mary was wanting to be closer to some friends and her oldest daughter and grandson in east Texas. Not to mention we would be closer to her youngest daughters father and there would be less of a stain on all parties involved. The bonus for me was I would get more man time with our 5 year old grandson. To be honest our prayers consisted of asking God to provide a house that would meet our needs both financially and size. We wanted God to lead us to the right church. Please don’t get me wrong, we love God and we serve him the best we can do. But in a sense we weren’t so much look or asking God what would please Him or even if this move would please the Lord. Some times I think about this and tell myself what was I thinking, where was I putting God in all this. Thankfully we have a close relationship with our pastor and his wife, who are like mother and father to me. We went to dinner to break the news to them and almost immediately they were concerned that this decision was not right for many reasons. They petitioned God in prayer on our half and long story short , it was not the right decision..

Living by faith, not by sight, or some translations say walking by faith not by sight , this short passage to me means so much more I think than just putting your faith in God to supply your needs. I often lose sight that this body that I live in, that living here on earth is my temporary home. That by faith my home is with Jesus in heaven. Jesus when He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, He, Jesus did not leave us alone. He gave us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who lives in our hearts. He is our guide, that is as long as we allow Him to be. I think in verse 9 it says it all. Whether in our earthly body, or when we are in heaven with Christ we make it our goal to please God. You can look at it different ways I guess but I look at it like this, I am made by God for God and what I do here on earth should be pleasing to God and Glorify God. How do I do that? Well it’s called self examination, check my motives, just taking a look to see if how I’m living lines up with the word of God as best I can of course and the action is by faith, trust that what I do is pleasing to God. This all works for how I talk as well. All this living by faith, not by sight is sometimes a lot to wrap my mind around, so when I get confused or have questions I seek out a pastor or a Godly friend for help and ask for prayer. We are not alone, God will never leave us. It’s my prayer that you all are encouraged…I have to constantly remind myself, It’s not all about me, IT’S ALL ABOUT Christ. What ever blessings I get here on earth , they are to bless others and God. The work I do is for Him.

In Christ

Bart

© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012 and 2013