#1. Learn to Be Present.
I was at the gym and a friend asked me what I was doing that weekend. I answered and tried to act positive but this close friend knew me well enough to see my facial expressions said, "I am dreading this weekends event!" Her advice to me was "Be Present." Wherever you are, practice being present.
Since that day I have approached things in this way at home, at work and at those not so fun events. Everything is better when I have this attitude.
Hebrews 10:24 – 25 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and
good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
There is a new phobia. Do you have it? It's called talking on the phone!
People don't meet face to face as much as they use to. My advice is use social media and texting as a tool, but don't neglect meeting up with your close friends. Be present when you are with them. Be a great listener. Show them how much you care by asking about their life and don't cut them off mid sentence.
#2. Open Up.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
You don't need 523 friends, but I think people do well when they have a few friends that they love and trust.
Make time to pray. Be present while praying and ask God to help you to be a good friend, a good citizen. Ask Him not for what you need today, but what you can contribute.
One more thing - People need you. Be the change you want to see in the world. Not everyone has a close friend. Wherever you are and wherever you go, be present and be friendly.
Love, Pastor Max
“This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.
What the world needs now could be for you to have a Paradigm Shift. A change in the basic assumptions. change in a certain thought-pattern.
Elisha teaches us that God has the answers and sometimes the answer is to use a little salt. Salt has been used for thousands of years to add flavor, disinfect, preserve, eat through, melt our icy roads and much more.
Jesus give you a compliment in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth."
What does Jesus mean by this? Ever thought about it? Here are a few things I can think of that will help us to be helpful in our world.
#1. Salt Arrests. It can restrain things and keep them from rotting. You can be salt in someones life and help them from continuing in their addiction, depression, anger etc. People need someone to come into their situation sometimes with the love and power of Jesus to be strong enough and compassionate to help them get out of trouble.
#2. Salt Is Useless Unless It Leaves The Container. The average american consumes 15 pounds of salt a year. We love salt. (Thats to much by the way) . Share a little of your faith at the right time and you will be welcomed by your friends and family. Most people are desperate for someone to care. Allow God to shake you up and shake you out.
#3. A Little Bit Can Go A Long Way. Top Chef is one of DD and I's favorite shows. Amazing chefs from around the country compete on a high level each week and at the end of the season there is only one Top Chef.
People often win and lose when it comes to seasoning. They will work for hours creating an amazing dish and we have heard over and over, "It just missed the mark, it needed a little salt."
Don't be the person that never shuts up about your beliefs. That person drives people away. Be sensitive to the Spirit and see where He wants you to share just enough of your faith with someone.
#4. Salt Make You Thirsty. Keep this in mind. Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth." Your life should be lived in an honest way that makes others thirsty for more of what you have inside of you. There are 9 things the Bible calls the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 - 23 The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Pray that God would help you to exhibit these 9 things in your life. Without God I think it would be impossible. But with God, all things are possible.
#5. Salt Is So Tough It Can Eat Through Metal. If you or someone your know has a situation that seams as tough as metal remember salt can eat through it just like it did to my sisters Subaru Brat. (What year was that car?) Tougher situation sometimes take longer to conquer but trust God and never give up. Shift the way you think.
It’s Time for A Paradigm Shift In Your Life.
Replace the former way of thinking with a different way - a biblical way of thinking. We are here to help - Love, Pastor Max
We have a responsibility to be slow to speak and quick to listen when our culture is the opposite. Do you agree? People talk to much and don't listen near enough. Make a change today to become a great listener. Your friends and family will notice and benefit from this.
Verse 3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the potter’s wheel.
Verse 4 He was using his hands to make a pot from clay, but something went wrong with it. So he used that clay to make another pot the way he wanted it to be.
#2. God Gives Us Another Chance.
Allow His hands, His word, His spirit to re-shape you. Make you better. Heal your anger. Comfort you. Inspire you to live the life you were supposed to live.
#3. Allow The Potter To Refine You.
Matthew 3:11 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
When the potter is done with the clay pot it is put into the fire to be refined. This process gives it the strength it will need for the job ahead. Ask the Holy Spirit to baptize you. This is a teaching for another day but it does't have to be as complicated as we often make it. Ask God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It's a free gift. Continue to seek Him and when He feels the time is right He will grant your request. Trust Him through the process.
Last but not least - John 14:1 Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.
How do you get to know God and the heart of God better? Jesus is the answer. God sent Jesus to live as a man among us on earth for a time to teach us more about God. So get to know Jesus through the Gospels in the Bible. 4 accounts of His life. Through that you will get to know God better than ever.
The video above is a short power packed 20 minutes. I hope you are blessed by it. Let's all make time to go down to the potters house - Church this Sunday and place ourselves in God's hands.
Love, Pastor Max
Jesus said "If you fast…" Hold up! That is not what He said. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus said, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.
#1. Jesus spoke to a large group of people and knew they practice a lifestyle of fasting. This is backed up in Luke 18:12 "I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income."
Lets keep going - But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
#2. There is a reward in it from God. Throughout time people have fasted as individuals and in groups for all kinds of reasons. But the center of those reasons was to grow closer to God.
I asked Nam Shin Park what his thoughts were on fasting. He told me - The Bible teaches individual fasting such as Jesus' case (Luke 4), Daniel's case (Daniel 10:3),
Esther's case (Esther 4:16), Paul's case (Acts 9:9), and Moses' case (Deuteronomy 9:9).
Also the Bible teaches corporate or public fasting such as the Mosaic law on the day of atonement
(Leviticus 23:27), and national emergency of Judah (Joel 2:15). King Jehoshaphat called the nation to fast, when Judah was invaded (2 Chronicles 20:1-4). The entire city of Nineveh including the animals fasted when they heard the message of judgment from Jonah (Jonah 3:5-8). Ezra asked the exiles fast and pray for safety while traveling on the bandit-infested road (Ezra 8:21-23). (Thank you Nam Shin for helping us to see many examples throughout the scriptures.)
#3. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I watched a documentary that was very uplifting with that very title - "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead." Doesn't sound uplifting does it? An Australian man had a disease that was very rare and tormented him. He did a juice fast for 60 days and well, you gotta see the movie to find out the amazing results. But, think about this, many people are spiritually fat. They have it easy and in excess. We want to feel good and have whatever we feel like having all the time.
Many don't have knowledge of the real God. Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge." That result is an unhealthy and sometimes delusional understanding of God. So how do you know God. From experience the best way is to get a good study bible and read the whole thing. I read 197 words a minute. So it takes me about 67 hours to read the whole Bible.
I bet you read faster than me. Want to know how fast you read? Take this test http://www.freereadingtest.com
Nearly dead. I mean nearly spiritually dead. Jesus said that He would send His followers the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and counselor. I am known as a very encouraging and uplifting preacher but I have to be honest with you. It saddens me that to many Christians are nearly dead in their relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The world has a lot to offer that is tasty and satisfying, but is a distraction from the things of God. God wants to be first in our lives, not second.
And now for the good news :) Here are a few ways you can take a step in ruling over your flesh and growing closer to God.
1. Give up food for 1 day. (Please us wisdom and ask your doctor if you have any medical conditions)
2. Don't eat after sundown for 3 days.
3. Do a juice fast. (this means mostly fresh vegetable juice and only a little fruit juice.)
4. Give up TV, Social Media for a time, Something that seams to have control over you and use that time to pray and ready God's Word.
5. Financial Fast. Only spend money on the essentials. Food, shelter, transportation for a week. Get control of those urges that leave you with empty pockets.
6. Take a few days to rest and do a 3 day fast. When I fast for 3 days I don't drive or work much. Be smart and plan it out.
If you have any questions please reach out to me. I want us all to grow stronger in our self control and know God better.
Add Comment Better Together in 201401/05/2014
Happy New Year. Today is the first Sunday of 2014. Lets make a decision right now that we are going to move forward this year. Forgiving whoever we need to and breaking bad habits that have only held us back from God's best.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
Don't hide out and not let anyone know what you are going through this year. Church is a place where we can meet people that have Compassion. I need people like this in my life and so do you. I was praying while driving a few weeks ago and pulled over because I felt the Holy Spirit put 3 words on my heart. Compassion. Love & Peace. Whatever I do in 2014 is to be under the influence of those 3 words.
What you give out, you get back. If your attitude is full of compassion, love, & peace. People will eventually return that to you. In Hebrews 10:24 it says, "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together. Don't blow off church this year. You have so much to gain from going and people need you.
So we are wise if we make time and think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. It takes faith and action.
From the beginning God saw that it is not good for us to be alone. Genesis 2:18 says, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper who is just right." Jesus didn't travel through His life a loner. He choose not a few people to walk with but Twelve! One more to prove my point. Jesus said, For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. ~Matthew 18:20.
So lets commit to working together. Open up to people. Include others into your life. Make the call, Send the invite. And live a life full of compassion, love & peace. Better Together 2014 and on.
Love, Pastor Max.
In the last sermon I taught about strength.
This is part 2. Strength to Strengthen.
Today is snowed in Massachusetts. Thank you to those that were able to help make things run smooth. For those that couldn't come, here is the sermon. Be strengthened.
“Commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” - Deuteronomy 3:28
#1. Pass It On.
Moses was an amazing man. But there came a time where he had to pass on the responsibility to Joshua.
One of the greatest parts of life is passing something on to someone else. Parents all know the feeling when your kid can do something because you took the time to teach them. All of us can find someone to help mentor. Are you mentoring anyone? If so great! Decide to do an excellent job. If not then maybe you could start. If you need a mentor don't be ashamed to reach out and ask someone. We all need mentors. I have a few.
#2. Bring the Good News.
We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. - Acts 14:14
People were worshiping the Apostle Paul. Happened then, happens today. Don't let anyone worship you. We do our best as mentors but peoples faith should be in God, not us. Learn the Good News. The stories of the love and strength that comes from Jesus and share that with them on a regular basis. You may be a mentor to someone for a season but their relationship with God is eternal. So nurture that.
3. Remind Those You Strengthen That Jesus Has The Answers.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. - Colossians 1:15-16
There are a lot of self help books and you could read 50 of them and gain a lot of wisdom. But their are thousands of books about the wisdom Jesus has. So start by turning to the four gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the beginning of the New Testament and learn from the master Himself.
There are many things that I don't have the right answer for. But Jesus does. Why do you think people build big beautiful buildings all over called churches? One reason is to help people to connect with the One who has the answers.
By reminding people in your life that you are trying to strengthen that it is Jesus that has the answers you are helping them again to put their faith in Him, not you.
So What to get those in your life for Christmas? Maybe someone needs you your time. You, you can be a gift to someone who needs a friend or a mentor.
My hope for all of us is that we will end 2013 strong and begin 2014 even stronger. So here are 3 things to think about to help you find true strength. This Sermon was preached on December 8th 2013 at Elevation Chapel.
#1. Weakness = Strength.
What? That doesn't make sense. Does it? For most of my life I tried to do everything in my life on my own strength. The older I get, the wiser I get. At least I hope so.
The Apostle Paul said, "For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2nd Corinthians 12:10
How could one of the strongest and most influential humans ever to walk the earth talk about weakness. Paul was no weakling in peoples eyes. Read about his life in the book of acts starting in chapter 9 all the way through chapter 28.
He felt strongest when he didn't allow his own way of thinking and feeling to rule his actions. He wanted the love and compassion of God to be His driving force.
#2. Trust is an essential element of Strength.
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. -Isaiah 40:30
When someone is in a crisis. Someone who feels overwhelmed. Their blood pressure goes up, they can't sleep. Worry rules their time and thoughts. But when they realize that God knows them and care for them and they put their trust in Him, things change. Physically, mentally and spiritually.
#3. We need each other.
Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. -1st. Samuel 23:16
Who was stronger, David or Jonathan? If you read the whole story (True story by the way. For all of my Jewish friends, I encourage you to read the stories of David. It will help you to value your Jewish roots even more.)
Well the answer to who was stronger is David. He was incredible! But even David, the future king of Israel needed to be strengthened by his friend. So encourage your friends as you feel led. They might be in a tough situation that you don't know about and could really use a call or visit from you.
A mother invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn’t know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the mother answered. The little girl bowed her head and with sincerity in her voice said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"
This past Sunday I preached a sermon titled Hospitality.
The Jesus way of of Hospitality is when you value being present,
more than you value being perfect. (Read the story of Mary and Martha in the book of Luke, chapter 10, starting if verse 38)
In the early church people had to meet in each others houses out of necessity. They felt safer in homes and their trust for one another was essential for the times and challenges they were facing. The home is known as the first place. Where you work is the second place.
When Starbucks was just starting out, their idea was to become peoples third place. A meeting place where people felt comfortable. And it worked. When I ask someone if they want to meet to talk, Starbucks is a natural go to for us. But you can only get so deep and be so trusting in a public space. I think that one of the reasons the early church thrived was that they met in living rooms. Just look at the name - "Living Room."
Another meeting place that is popular today is online. Facebook, texting, emails, etc. Now I think all of these things are great tools and use them all. But my hope for all of us is that we spend more time talking to people by looking into their eyes, instead of just looking into a screen and communicating through our computers and smart phones.
Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
People should feel better about themselves, after they leave your living room. Ask them the right questions about their life - and then listen. Show them you care by really listening to them. Everyone wants to be heard and to be loved.
Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:16
This Thanksgiving and beyond I hope you practice a life style of hospitality. You will find that it's easier than you thought and rewarding beyond your dreams. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Love, Pastor Max