“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
NO CONDEMNATION! Not based on our worthiness or goodness, but based on being “in Christ Jesus.” Jesus death fully paid for every sin, and when a person surrenders to Jesus through faith, they are placed in Christ and become a new creation! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17)
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18)
Are you in Christ by believing in him? Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ by believing what he said is true about you and rejecting the deceptions of the evil one, who only wants to discourage you and tear you down. Walk in the new life he has given you and reject guilt & condemnation!
Community Group Pastor
Last night as I was preparing for our worship service, I kept reading and memorizing Psalms, I usually do this just to prepare my heart and mind to speak God’s praises and get my natural language to be in the mindset and spirit of worship and praise. As I was reading and uttering some of the Psalms I said, in my mind “God is my Rock and my shield”…which as you know was written by King David many times.
The Holy Spirit, just then whispered something so powerful that had not dawned on me until he said it…He said, “David knew me as a small boy, every time he practiced his sling shot and picked up a rock, he knew me as His rock since then, when he faced Goliath, he picked up three smooth rocks… that’s why he always wrote, God- My ROCK and my shield” As we led worship today I mentioned that David called on the name of the Lord because knew who God was, he knew God was his Rock because God had delivered him many times through small rocks. How well do you know God today? I pray you would know him so that when you are able to call upon him, you can rest upon whom you are calling. He is able and mighty to save those who would call on his name in faith.
I was born with a sinful nature, a natural state of sin trapped in this mind, body and soul. We all were, thankfully the Blood of Jesus delivered me from this eternally and by God’s transforming power I get to be born again. That is PRAISE WORTHY right there.
The Bible tells us more though, not only have I been cleansed and have access to God the father, through Jesus, I get to live the life HE lived by HIS power. This is such great news. Think of it this way, if I played basketball, there wouldn’t be much to see because I am not all that good. What if Lebron James called you and said, “hey let’s play some basketball together”, you’d probably enjoy this but in reality the game wouldn’t be very competitive because he has abilities you simply don’t have. He’d be dunkin’ you me like crazy, stealing the ball, blowing right past you. What if he said “I’m gonna touch your heart and after that you can play the game like me”…”Huh?”….that be pretty sweet.
God’s word says we share in Jesus “Divine nature”, Jesus has made the way for us to live a full, godly life, let’s read it here: 2 Peter 1:4 ”And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
Not only did Jesus set us free, make us right with God, we get to also share in his power and divine nature to live godly life, this is great news because we are all flawed and weak but HE promises to be our strength, right now, in this moment and every moment. YOu don’t have to continue to walk and live in your old sinful nature, we get to share in HIS divine nature.
Today I was informed that a friend, who’s daughter only 4 years old, passed away after a long battle with Cancer. How do we respond to this as humans? How else but to simply cry with those who cry. Pray, offer love and assistance anyway we can. It is a very, very powerful reminder of our limited time on earth.
This hurts to any parent more than anyone, no parent ever wants to bury their child, yet God did. God knows because he watched his son get abused, beaten and murdered in cold blood, because he loved US more? Yup. Isn’t that a crazy thought, he loved you and me MORE, enough to allow his own son die in my place.
I rest in that love in times like this, I rest in the thought that God wanted to destroy death once and for all…by dying himself and resurrecting. I know and believe that this baby girl, is free right now, healed right now, laughing and holding on to Jesus hand.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
As we continue to read the Bible together as a church and community, a passage comes to mind that really makes something very clear but rarely understood.
What is the Bible all about?
The Bible for many believers is about them, they go about reading it looking for THEM in scripture, when in actuality scripture not about us at all, but entirely about JESUS. All of scripture points us to him, each recorded account teaches us something more about Jesus.
This is an important detail because if you are reading a scripture to discover something about yourself you might find something important, but even more important than that is discovering something new about our savior. Jesus shared this with us in John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” – In Other words, seek me for eternal life, without your heart seeking me, scripture is just knowledge from a book.
Jesus was talking with Bible scholars of his day, although HE was the living word, in the chapter we reference here they were memorizing God’s word, studying God’s word, they really knew God’s word but they were also idolizing the word of God instead of worshiping the God of the word.
God’s word is filled with encounters, events and truth…allow God to reveal who HE as you read it, is as we continue to learn more about GOD through scripture, be encouraged to know that as you seek HIM the text on the pages will JUMP out to you in fresh ways.
Check out the Rock Bible Reading Plan at http://www.sdrock.com/bible/
In the aftermath of Valentines week, a time when those that are single are reminded of how painfully single they are—which can be more that a little depressing. I thought it appropriate to share some thoughts about true love, especially since the culture communicates something entirely different than what the Bible does.
First, true love is comprised of three components: Romance, Emotional Intimacy, and Commitment. Romance is often referred to as “chemistry”; at it’s most basic level it is physical attraction. If a relationship only has this it is shallow and will fizzle out in time. Emotional Intimacy is about connection; this is when two people share what’s deep within their hearts with no walls, instead of pushing each other away they draw one another closer. If a marriage only has emotional intimacy the spouses become roommates, it can become a passionless relationship. Commitment is all about loyalty. Those involved in relationship with a high level of commitment are not looking for something better but are willing to stick through the tough times and make things work. Any relationship without all three components will eventually breakdown but a relationship with all three is considered “True Love”.
Now the question becomes, “How do you find True Love?” The answer is simple; before you can find your true love you must first find your First Love. The problem that plagues most relational paradigms is that people are looking for the right person, hoping to find wholeness in a relationship, thinking the answer to all their problems is found in Mr./Mrs. right. But the truth is that no one will ever complete you or make your life better. If anything, relationships don’t fix your problems, they expose them. If you want to find true love, you need to stop looking for the right person and start becoming the right person. If you are not the right person, when you find true love you will end up destroying it.
How do you become the right person? Return to your First Love. In the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to forget your First Love. In Revelation 2:2-5 Jesus says, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works”. It’s interesting, these people did all the right things, they looked good on the outside, but they had left their first love. The state of their heart did not match the appearance of their lives. Does yours?
What do you do when you realize that you have left your first love? Remember, Repent, and Return. Remember from where you have fallen—can you think of a time when you were more in love with Jesus and aware of His presence than you are today? If you can, remember what it was like. Next, Repent. Realize that if you are farther from God today than you were a few months ago or even a year ago, that is no okay—you need to repent! Finally, return to the first works. There are things you can do to nurture a deep and abiding love of God (e.g. prayer, meditation, solitude, study, etc.), begin engaging in those activities once again.
Don’t let your fire for God dwindle into smoldering ashes, stoke the flames and let your love for the Lord burn brightly. Remember, if you lose your First Love, you’ll never be able to find your true love.
Many of us have read the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. (Gen 22:2) God’s promise to Abraham and his wife, years of waiting and praying and the blessing that Isaac was. It didn’t take long for Isaac to become an idol for Abraham which is why God asked him to sacriice it, that’s another blog post but for now I’d like to direct your thoughts towards this idea: What is a fresh word? A fresh word from God?
I hear from God daily. Either in sitting still or through reading scripture. It’s a habit I began several years ago, you see as kid I wasn’t aware of Bible reading plans or ways to read the Bible so I would just pick the Bible up and read about someone’s family tree or some strange prophetic event that involved creatures and stuff. Every time I would try, I would get confused and just put the Bible back down. Until I started reading with an intentional plan or format. There are many to choose from that help you better understand the Bible as a whole.
You see hearing from God takes an intentional effort and a daily effort, it’s like any other relationship right? How often do you talk with you wife or husband? Your kids? A few times a day, a few times a week? A relationship with God is the same, it takes an intentional effort daily to know him, understand him, learn about him, learn his heart, hear his voice through the texts.
Abraham was given a word to sacrifice his son, he went about getting everything prepared and right before he struck the blow that would kill his son what happens…. he hears a voice saying “Don’t lay a hand on the boy” (Gen 22:12). What would have happened if Abraham was still operating under an old word from God? The difference bewteen Isaac living and dying was a fresh word from God. How do you get a fresh word?
Read God’s word daily. Reflect on it, ask him to prepare your heart for it every time you read and share with us what God is revealing to you here.
You can begin a plan here
Lead worship Pastor, Marc Millan
There is a passage of scripture that jumped out to me today. It’s found here:
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” Matthew 26:52-53
It’s simple to read past it. “those who use the sword” Jesus was ready to fully embrace God’s will, he was ready and although he had the power to avoid it, he chose not to, being our ultimate example of humility. Peter, was at the opposite side of this, he wasn’t ready to embrace God’s will, he wanted to force the outcome, so he drew out his sword and took a solid swipe at it.
Jesus, ready to embrace suffering and God’s will and Peter, ready to force his own will and avoid suffering.
Which one are you living right now? Is God allowing some suffering in your life? How are you responding to it?
What’s so remarkable is as you read the Epistles of Peter, you see a man, transformed, talking about suffering for the Lord, suffer well he teaches us, there is joy in suffering he encourages us to know. How does this happen? Peter eventually was filled with God’s Spirit. He had Jesus completely transform his life from the inside out and in doing so..viewed suffering in a beautiful, wonderful light.
If you are ever to be more like Christ, it’s through suffering, through nails, scars, bruises and ultimately death but in the end, what will be seen..is a transformed life, made in likeness of Christ. I pray that for you and me. Daily.
Marc Millan, Lead Worship Pastor
Read from Scripture Proverbs 8:1-36 (Wisdom seen completely in the person of Jesus.)
It has been wisely said that many people might have attained wisdom had they not assumed they already had it. One of the keys to becoming a wise individual is to hear the cry of wisdom. To be teachable is an absolute prerequisite to being made wise. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus said, “for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. It is not the one who sits back and thinks he knows it all, but the one who hungers and thirsts to be taught, to be instructed, to be guided by wisdom who will grow. Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? Proverbs 8:1. Here, wisdom cries out, “Simple ones, foolish ones, come to me.” It is the wise individual who excepts the invitation.
I want to take a look at God’s word to discover a few examples we can follow of wisdom being revealed. The Bible says King Solomon was given wisdom and knowledge because he asked God for it (2 Chronicles 1:8-12). King Solomon is the author of most of the book of Proverbs. God said of him in 1 Kings 3:12, “There has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” And in 1 Kings 4:29-34 he is called “wiser than all men and is said to have authored three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs. In the book of Proverbs it is written “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” Proverbs 9:10. King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, I believe wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and came to the conclusion, life on earth has no value when I live for myself and my needs. The whole duty of man is written in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.”
Let’s go to the book of Matthew in the New Testament and take a look at the wise men who came from the East. The Bible doesn’t describe these men in detail it just says they were wise men who came from the East following a star in the sky seeking to worship the new born King of the Jews. These wise men were Magi they were into Astrology, God used the stars to draw them to the son. They came super naturally led by a star in the sky.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2 “Wise men came to worship Jesus!”
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold. frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 “Wise Men fell down as they acknowledged and entered into the presence of Jesus, worshipping Him!”
Magi, astrologers, counselors, scientist, wise men of that time had been given knowledge of the Christ they came to worship Jesus, the KING of Kings the LORD of Lords they brought gifts in worship to Him. Gold for a Mighty King, frankincense for a Ministering Priest, myrrh for a Martyred Prophet. The wise men came to worship Jesus whom the Apostle Paul writes in the book of Colossians of the mystery of God in whom are hidden treasures. Colossians 2:2-3 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of the Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
On New Years Day January 1, 2013 the first day of this year the MOTR Ministry met a large group of the saints in the body of Christ on top of Mount Soledad. We arrived early before sunrise so that we could together rejoice as the Sun came up in the East revealing the beauty of God’s creation across the San Diego community a beautiful 360 degree view. The Shofar was blown and we acknowledged God’s sovereignty as the sun came up, giving to God our First Fruits in Prayer and Worship to His Holy name. We came seeking God’s super natural wisdom for the coming year in all areas of our lives, for the church body, schools, community and for this Nation. I believe God will answer our prayers and the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s wisdom to us as we draw closer to Him desiring a continuing love relationship with Him that is real and personal. Excepting and receiving the invitation, to come to Him, to following Him, to abide in Him and to obey his commandments.
Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus Christ the Son of God who came and lived as a man here on this earth the sinless spotless Lamb of God. Told us “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
1) This year my prayer for you is that you will ask God for super natural wisdom, knowledge and understanding just as King Solomon asked and received from God.
2) I pray your desire will be to be in communion and worship with God just as the wise men followed the star God revealed to them, found Jesus fell down and worshipped Him.
3)I pray you will show Jesus your love for Him by obeying his commandments as the Father and Son come and manifest themselves to you.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Ronnie Holderby
MOTR Men’s Pastor
If we were honest most Christians would not have the most positive view, or experience, with the idea of holiness. Many of us would use words like denial, sacrifice, punishment, striving, separation or goal to describe what we think of when we think of the path to holiness. But in reality, scripture gives us a very different picture of holiness. Take a look at Ephesians 1: 3-10 in the Message
3-6 Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-9 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making
God’s purpose is to restore creation – Ephesians teaches us that holiness and the love of God go together. God chose us to be the object of his love. Is that amazing or what? In that he has made us his children. The amazing thing is that he has made us whole and holy by his love. Ephesians goes on to say that “we are a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds.”
The truth is true holiness is something God has given us, and living a holy life is not only doable, it is desirable! Holiness is equal to absolute freedom in this life.
How do we live out the holiness God has given us? We live like Jesus lived through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hope of Christianity is to live the life Jesus modeled for us. Freedom, fulfillment, and joy in this life come when we live like Jesus did. Most of us know this is true because we have experienced the opposite and the pain which comes from living an unholy life. We know the weight of sin.
We have also tasted freedom from sin. What a relief to be free from sin and to pursue a deep and genuine holiness. To lie down the struggles of our youth and experience the joy of God’s Spirit at work in us.
Jesus did not live an easy life, he had many challenges and Satan tried every trick with him and none of it worked, the Pharisees, difficult people and circumstances, temptation (Luke 4). The Bible says that Jesus was a man and was tempted in every way we are tempted.
Our lives are not easy either. We have challenges and temptation; we feel the devil working against us at every turn. In the midst of all of these challenges holiness is our ticket. Holiness is the highway to experiencing all God has in store for us, protecting us from Satan’s schemes.
Many things in this life can get in the way of our pursuit of holiness and we must be aware of them. Here are two to consider.
1. Christian hypocrisy – Jesus spoke about the Pharisees in Matthew 23: 25-27 calling them “white washed tombs,” because they taught one thing and lived another. It’s not the letter of the law that is important, but the spirit of the law. The question is not what you are saying, but what are you doing?
2. The Great Commandment – Do you really love God and love people? What does it look like to love God? Scripture would challenge us to love God is to obey God. How about people? Are there people you don’t like and therefore choose not to love? It is embarrassingly common in the Church today for us to hate our brother or sister and justify it in our own hearts and mind.
These things should not be true of Christians. Let us examine our own hearts today and turn hard in the direction of holiness.
Holiness is a gift that God has given to his followers. When we live in his holiness it has power to transform us into the person’s God wants to use to accomplish his purpose and plan in the world. Holiness truly changes things, and it is a gift, reach out and receive it.