In the book of Luke chapter three, we will see the story of when John the Baptist was preaching and water baptizing people.
He was calling people to change and then be a blessing. He said in Luke 3:11 “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
Today most people only think of themselves. How about you?
Do you consider the needs of others and take action to be a support to them?
I read a book about a wealthy woman that came to church trying to look her best. She had just purchase very expensive boots. During the church service the Holy Spirit showed her that there were people all around her with basic needs. He eyes were opened and she felt a wave of compassion wash over her.
Before she left to walk out to her car in the pouring rain she took off her expensive boots and left them on the church altar as an offering.
She then went home and got a calculator out and added up everything in her closet. When she was done she cried. She said that many of the items in her closet still had the tags on them.
She decided to try and only wear 7 things for one month. During this time her eyes were opened to how blessed she was and the impact she could make by seeing others needs as God saw them.
“I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John knew his role. He lived a life that was honest and he made a great impact.
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
Jesus was baptized in water as an adult. Probably around 30 years of age.
Have you been water baptized?
At our church we do full immersion baptisms just like in the Bible. If you have never been baptized, I encourage you to take that step. It is a wondering way to follow the way of Jesus and publicly testify about your faith.
Last but not least. In Luke 3 there is a long list of the family tree of Jesus. Way down the line you get to Methuselah. He was Noah's (of Noah's Ark) grandfather.
When Methuselah was 187 years old, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.
This always stuck out to me. He lived longer than anyone ever recorded but it doesn't say he did much.
Let this challenge you to make the most of your days and be a blessing to both God and to people. You can have a ministry at any age and God will help equip you to love and encourage people who really need it.
Love, Pastor Max
In the book of Luke, chapter two, we read about the birth of Jesus and then the chapter wraps up with Jesus sitting in the temple with religious teachers who were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
(A census was conducted every 14 years for both military and tax purposes. Each Jewish male had to return to the city of his father's to record his name, occupation, property and family.)
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Interesting fact: Bethlehem means House of Bread. It was the ideal birthplace for Jesus to be born. Later Jesus would say, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again."
One of my favorite verses in Luke chapter 2 is found in a prophesy.
The Prophecy of Simeon.
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was upon him.
Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations.
In the book of John 12:8 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
In the book of Matthew Jesus gives a famous sermon called, Sermon on the mount. Here he tells the people how to live. In Matthew 5:5 Jesus says, God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God." Then in Matthew 5:14 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world."
Jesus is still the light of the world. He helps you and I who chose to learn from him to be people that work for peace. People that are a light to those in darkness.
As we continue through this 24 part series on the Gospel of Luke I think it will be helpful to think about what the writer in Hebrews chapter two had to say about Jesus.
Hebrews 2:16-18 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
Luke 2:52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
May we be inspired to live like Jesus.
Love, Pastor Max
Over the next 24 days I would like you to read one chapter each day in the book of Luke.
This book is the third Gospel in the New Testament of the Bible.
Luke was a doctor. He became an evangelist. He is also known for being an impressive historian.
As you search for peace in your own life, I trust that your journey through this book will enlighten you, to who brings peace, even in the midst of a storm.
Here are a few of my favorite parts of this first chapter:
Luke 1:13 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
This stands out to me because my research shows that Zechariah's wife was way beyond the age of being able to have a child.
Do you think Zechariah was praying for his wife to have a baby when she was in her fifties? Sixties? Seventies... That doesn't seam likely.
The angel said, "God heard your prayer."
What have you prayed for in the past?
Take a few moments and think about prayers you made even years ago. Could it be that the time just wasn't right for God to give you what you wanted. Maybe the time is now!
In God's perfect timing and in His faith building way, He blessed Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth with a son.
The other thing that made an impact on me as I read this chapter was in verse 38. Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
Can you say that about yourself? Try it and see how it feels. "I am the Lord's servant."
I responded in this way for 31 years.
If you know me, I have been a follower of Jesus for 33 years. In the beginning I wasn't mature enough or clear enough on who God is and who I was. That took time. That took effort. And that took faith.
When you live your life each day with the attitude and certainty that you are the Lord's servant. There is no limit on what God may do in and through you.
Join me on this exciting adventure as we go through these 24 days and these 24 chapters.
Love, Pastor Max
Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
Do you have a blueprint for your life?
Most people don't know what they are doing three days from now. God has a plan for your life and it is important that we work with God to get a clear vision. Once we have the plan, it's time to follow the details and set up systems to manage our time and energy the best way possible.
In this sermon I touch upon an incredible story found in the book of Acts. Jesus gave His disciples a blueprint to help people through sharing the good news.
Peter and John are on their way to a prayer meeting when they see someone with a need. A big need. Find out what happens by watching the video below.
The next 7 blog entries are about my system to being healthy and living a life that is organized.
Each day of the week there is a focus. If you need to get healthier than you are right now, give them a read through and see if there is something there for you to use for your own life.
Sunday - Rest. I aim to get 9 hours of sleep a night.
Monday - Exercise. Workout Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Tuesday - Nutrition. No eating till 11:30 a.m. and no eating after 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday - Education. Study for self improvement.
Thursday - Work. Manage my time and get my work done with excellence.
Friday - Adventure. Get outside and explore this beautiful planet.
Saturday - Leisure. Make time to relax and enjoy life.
Scroll down to Rest as that was the first entry in this series.
Leisure refers to the free time that we can spend our own way, not working but instead resting, relaxing and enjoying life.
Proverbs 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.
Listening to the Holy Spirits instruction for your day to day life should put things in order - eventually.
There are times in our life, especially when we are young, that we need to work overtime. We manage a lot of learning. All of us have to earn our keep and work our way to a position where money increases and free time also increases.
Leisure comes with hard work and planning. I did what Proverbs 16:20 said to do and worked my way into living a debt free life. I make my own schedule because I paid my dues and worked hard in building a good life for my family and for myself.
Wether you can plan to have 2 hours of leisure a week or two days of leisure, it will serve you well to plan for it.
Trust the Lord that you can make some time to relax.
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
As this proverbs says - A cheerful heart is good medicine. My renewal system has helped me to maintain a cheerful heart.
Getting more than enough sleep, good exercise, healthy nutrition, keeping my mind sharp with continues education, working smarter, going on adventures and planning out some time for leisure is a recipe for a cheerful heart.
Live an organized life and watch the stress fade away.
Matthew 6:25-27 Do not worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Hang around a young person and it is likely that you will see that they worry about a lot of things and have a difficult time because they dwell on the things they worry about. Hang around an older person and it is likely that you will see that they do not worry about things and can manage their thoughts better.
So why wait till you are old! Learn from Jesus and be get it together.
Lean on scriptures like this when you find yourself worrying about stuff. Do not let the cares of everyday life rob you of the blessing of some leisure time.
Use a calendar or daily planner and book yourself some leisure time. Plan for it so that when something or someone attempts to take your time you can protect it.
At the end of your leisure time take a moment and thank God for the life He has given you. Ask Him to help you to manage it well.
Love, Pastor Max
Friday I have a focus on adventure.
The logo I created for the Renewal system was inspired by my love for adventure and the great outdoors.
When was the last time you went for a hike and tuned out of "the noise," and tuned in to nature? It makes a world of difference in the way you feel.
Climbing a mountain and getting to the summit is a great feeling. Some of the best adventures I have been on are with friends and family, navigating our way to spectacular views.
Jesus said in the gospel of John 10:10 My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
There is something so satisfying, so valuable, to exploring this beautiful planet. Don't miss out. We all have people that we can minister to and help. The needs never stop. I learned from Jesus that He would lead his disciples away from the crowds from time to time. They would rest and they would pray. Such a great example for us to follow.
Some people in ministry get burned out. The time I spend on my adventures may be one of the biggest reasons I feel so good. Strong in faith and stable in my emotions.
Where I live most people are busy. Their schedules are filled day and night seven days a week. No time for adventure.
Yet all around our area there trails that lead to peaceful rivers, ponds and fields. Beautiful quiet areas where the wildlife and the wild flowers thrive.
I try to get out there every day for at least 30 minutes. I have been doing this since my outdoor challenge back in 2020.
Here is a photo I took of Maddox on his Kayak late one night in October of 2020.
We went Kayaking on the Charles River on a night when the moon, and mars were visible.
This is a good time to recap what Renewal is about.
Rest. I aim to get 9 hours of sleep a night.
Exercise. Workout Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Nutrition. No eating till 11:30 a.m. and no eating after 7:30 p.m.
Education. Study for self improvement.
Work. Manage my time and get my work done with excellence.
Adventure. Get outside and explore this beautiful planet.
Leisure. Make time to relax and enjoy life.
When I get good rest, I have more energy to do adventures. My workouts become more motivating because I know I will have more strength and endurance for future adventures I am dreaming about. I'm inspired to eat well so I am healthy for more adventures.
A great tip. Download the app All Trails and look what is around you. I bet you won't have to travel far in order to find some beautiful places.
A great place to pray is in the woods, in the mountains and on the water.
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Plan your next adventure today.
Love, Pastor Max
Adventure to me is
Thursday is the day I focus on my work.
Do not get stuck in a cycle of just going through the motions. Take a look at what you do for work and make improvements.
Make a list of what you need to do in order to finish the week strong.
1. Are their people that you need to communicate to. Call back. Email?
2. Clean your work space.
3. Renew your commitment to doing things with excellence.
4. Prepare for next week.
In the book Lead The Field (I have read it 4 times.) Earl Nightingale teaches about the power of making a list and making sure you do the important things.
I often work late on Thursday to get things done. It feels good to wake up on Friday and know that all those loose ends are wrapped up.
Take pride in your work. Find ways to serve people better and solve more problems.
If you are not happy with your job, look for a way to serve God in the things you do.
Colossians 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
I've had plenty of jobs I didn't like. I imagine you have too. Serving God while I mop a floor that no one is going to thank me for is a wonderful way to look at a task.
I am not looking for people to appreciate me or even pay me. I do what is needed and what is right.
During these times I pray, think about a story in the Bible, listen to a sermon, or crank up some good worship music.
When I am done with a task I feel good. There is a deep satisfaction that comes from a job well done and complete.
Proverbs 11:25 The lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work
I have watched people over the years and the happiest are those that work and do it with a good attitude.
Work Smarter, Work Harder.
Love, Pastor Max
Education should be a life long practice.
2nd Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
Wether you are in school or done with school, there is an opportunity to prepare yourself and equip yourself for the things you are doing now and the things you will do in the future.
Wednesday is my day to give extra attention to educating myself. Reading the Bible and studying what I read has changed my life.
I can testify that the Apostle Paul is 100% correct when it comes to what he said to young Timothy.
Decide on a system that will help you educate yourself.
Here are a few things that I do:
1. I read the Bible, one book at a time, in small bite size pieces. For example. I will read a story in the Bible or a paragraph and ask a few questions.
What is going on here?
How does this apply to my life?
What am I going to do differently now that I have studied this?
2. I use a highlighter and colored pens when I study the Bible. This helps me to know what spoke to me. I come back to it often and let the teaching develop further.
3. Think about the concept of discernment.
Discernment is defined as the ability to judge well.
There are false beliefs and false teachers and it is up to you to be careful not to get into trouble. Find good Bible teachers that do not take things out of context with the hidden aim to manipulate you.
Be careful who you listen to.
Here is a helpful scripture for you when thinking about your life.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.
Each of us will benefit by looking at our life and our actions and asking ourselves if we are producing these things or if we need to work on improving them.
May each of us do the continuing education to help equip us and prepare us to be more loving.
Love, Pastor Max
Sticking to a healthy system of eating mostly plants and not too much was the scientific reason I lost so much weight.
John 4:13-14 “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
When Jesus spoke these words I thought about them and asked myself, "why am I always hungry?"
The conclusion I came to was that even though I had received the life changing message of the Good News from the teachings of Jesus, I still had a bad relationship with food. I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to help me with this.
I began to see food as medicine and other food as poison. I saw that excess body weight was hurting just about every area of my life.
Vegetables and healthy proteins became more appealing to me.
I was had a new passion to learn how to cook.
Studying nutrition and cooking skill has become a healthy hobby.
I put myself on a rotation diet. Here is what it looks like.
Monday - Plants (I usually eat them raw.)
Tuesday - Plants
Wednesday - Beef & plants
Thursday - Chicken & plants
Friday - White fish (Halibut) & plants
Saturday - Salmon & plants
Sunday - No rules on Sunday but I still keep the calorie count in mind.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I also rotate what plants I eat so nothing is repeated. This gives me a large variety of nutrients.
Most people eat the same things each day. When was the last time you had a Beet? or a Kiwi?
Next time you go to the grocery story scan over all of the plants and ask yourself, are their nutrients in these plants that will help me to healthy and fight off disease?
Getting your essential nutrients from food is much better than hoping your vitamins are doing something.
I use the app My Fitness Pal to determine what I am getting out of my food. It also gives me a budget of how many calories I have to eat. Simple, scientific and informative.
I can eat 1,583 calories a day.
I stop eating by 7:30 at night.
No more late dinners or snacking at night.
Because my sleep has improved, I don't desire sugar as much.
Do I go to bed hungry some nights? Yes, but I never wake up hungry. So was I really in need of food or was I just desiring more. Pray and maybe God will help you to be self controlled and full of peace before bed instead of being full of ice cream and potato chips. (Spoken in love.)
Your body is one of your greatest responsibilities. Study how to take care of it.
I do this on Tuesdays.
Love, Pastor Max