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Steve's Blog 10/16/2015

THE WALL



Have you ever run? I don't mean across the living room--but for miles? There's this obstacle all long distance runners know. It's called the wall. At a certain distance a runner who is fit and conditioned to run gets fatigued and feels like she has to stop. Every ounce of her is telling her she's exhausted, she's at her limit, she MUST STOP! But here's the crazy thing. If a runner pushes past the wall. If she keeps running she starts to feel better. She gets her "second wind" and she feels like nothing can stop her. She then can run much, much farther. However she has to push through that wall. It's both a physical and a mental wall, but mostly it's mental. She CAN do it if she REALLY wants to. All she has to do is not quit.


The Apostle Paul wrote:


24 - Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.


25 - Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.


26 - That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches.


27 - I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest. 1Co 9:24-27 GNB


I think that in spiritual life we hit walls. We are fatigued, exhausted. We hurt. Everything seems to be trying to get us to quit the race. But we can't. We mustn't. We have begun an amazing race. Heaven is the prize. We'll get a good rest there. Til then we must discipline ourselves, or as Paul said bring ourselves under complete control. We CAN finish this race. No - we WILL finish this race.


"...I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus." Php 1:6 GNB


See you at services this weekend,


Steve


You're Invited to spend December 2016 with Us!!!


Steve's Blog 8/11/2015

Pointers on Marriage

Before my trip to Georgia I had the honor of performing a re-marriage. This couple divorced some years ago. But they wanted to honor God and keep their vows. Their re-commitment to God resulted in restored love and a re-commitment to each other. So cool!

At the wedding a couple was there who recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. I congratulated them and then I asked them what their advice is for a long successful marriage. They mentioned 4 things. Here you go. The simple recipe for a successful marriage from those who have been there:

1. Forgiveness.
2. Put yourself in the other person's shoes.
3. Love the other more than you love yourself.
4. Humor

They may not have realized it but they stumbled upon Biblical principals. All 4 of these things are mentioned in the Bible in one form or another.

How was your week? Usually we consider it either a good week or a bad week. Join me in trying to realize that every week is a God week which is definitely a good week.

I'll see you this weekend,

Steve


Steve's Blog 08/02/2015

God is moving!

I've got some stories...keep sending them in.

Some of you have been giving me your stories--testimonies of how God is moving in your lives. We hear enough bad news throughout the day. I want to share good news. My hope is that enough of you will send me your experiences so that I can read one story per service about how God is working in our lives. Keep them short and let's give glory to God and encouragement to one another.

I'm quickly approaching the end of the Revelation study. I've asked for suggestions for my next series. Here are the ones at the top of my list: 1 Corinthians, Romans, Hebrews. What are your thoughts?

For suggestions for my next series and for your short testimonies feel free to either place them in the offering boxes or email them to our office at either Office@ShalomTucson.org or Office@Bookoflifecc.org

God bless you hard and I'll see you at service

Steve


Steve's Blog 7/24/2015

KVELL

Want to learn a yiddish word? The word is kvell. (Don't you just love how Yiddish and Hebrew put consonants together that we English speakers have a hard time pronouncing?!) If you want to hear how it's pronounced you can click on this link Kvell. So...I'll give you context and you see if you can figure out the definition:

Our Ambassador to the world for Jesus--Joe Burton sent me this picture. He said my son Joseph was teaching an autistic child how to dance. That made me kvell. In fact twice in the same week I kvelled! The other time was when I learned that another son of mine encouraged a non-believing grandparent to reach out and to God and trust Him. Think you have the definition yet?

To kvell is to be bursting with pride! One word carries all of that meaning. It's a good word (even though it's hard to pronounce).

Ever wonder if God kvells over you? Perhaps you are so focused on feeling like you let God down so often that you think He couldn't possibly be proud of you. But I know He kvells over his children. A man refused to join a gym because he is married and he knows women at the gym will be dressed immodestly. He chose not to go. God told Him it was inappropriate to lust after other women. So he inconveniences himself...time and again to be faithful to his wife and his God. God kvells.

Some women refuse to wear the latest fashion. They feel the style is inappropriate. They don't want to be immodest or cause a brother to stumble. So they avoid doing what they want to do for the benefit of others and to honor God. God kvells.

Believers carry food in their cars or spare change just so they can give it to the guy on the street corner begging. A little love in Jesus' name. God kvells. Honestly—I could go on all day like this. Yes we struggle. Yes we sin. But those of us who have made a commitment to follow Jesus will one day hear these words: “Well done. You are a good and faithful servant. Enter into the Lord's joy.” (Matt 25:23).

Hope you have an amazing weekend. I'll see you at services. Now go on out there and make God kvell!

Steve


Steve's Blog 7/10/2015

Look up. He's coming back!

Hope you are all doing well. I mentioned to you a couple of weeks ago that I might blog on the Supreme Court decision. I chose not to. I guess what I said Saturday and Sunday of that week during services will have to suffice. I just don't have the desire or the emotional energy to get into this topic again. We all know God's take on it and we all know the world's. A verse that has come to mind several times lately is:

4 - For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell...

5 - and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah...bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

6 - and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

7 - and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

8 - (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)--

9 - then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

10 - and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness... 2Pe 2:4-10 NKJV

The part that has been resonating with me lately is the part that says: “for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds.” That's us today. The world's actions are tormenting our righteous souls from day to day.

What I need to do though is focus on the part that says: “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” Lot was eventually delivered from the evil of Sodom. Later in this chapter Peter writes:

10 - But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish.

11 - Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God,

12 - as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon---the Day when the heavens will burn up and be destroyed, and the heavenly bodies will be melted by the heat.

13 - But we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.

14 - And so, my friends, as you wait for that Day, do your best to be pure and faultless in God's sight and to be at peace with him.

15 - Look on our Lord's patience as the opportunity he is giving you to be saved... 2Pe 3:10-15 GNB

I guess to some it up it says: “Hang in there. Look up. Jesus is coming back! Work...wait...watch.”

See you at services this weekend,

Steve


Steve's Blog 5/27/2015

When it goes right
A mature woman confronts the pastor

Had an interesting experience last weekend at Book of Life. A woman I respect tremendously brought me aside and said that she saw 50 shades of gray on my computer screen after my sermon. How hard that must have been for her! I'm so proud of her. I'm proud of her strength in speaking to me—it couldn't have been easy. She was tactful and kind. She behaved like a woman of God. She saw something off and humbly, respectfully and boldly inquired. I'm proud to call her friend. You can all breath easy. It was an advertisement on Apple TV which is the default screen on the computer we use to stream in the sanctuary. It was listed with many other titles they are promoting. No...it's not on our computer and no, I don't watch that stuff. Nevertheless I don't like secular advertisers who don't share our values getting any screen time in our church (accidentally or otherwise). Our Web and tech pastor Michael Robinson is working on a way to keep their screen from popping up on us again.

It's such a blessing to share a positive story of spiritual maturity, and accountability gone right.

Keep up the good work saints!

Pastor Steve


Steve's Blog 4/30/2015

Some sins are worse than others
It's common sense and it's Biblical

As Dennis Prager put it in a video we recently watched in the Man Cave, we intuitively know that murdering is worse than stealing a stapler. Yet for some odd reason Christians have been taught that all sin is the same. It's only the same in one respect. It's bad and separates us from God. But some things are certainly worse than others.

Jesus Himself said:
"...You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." Joh 19:11

There are greater sins. Though we don't want to be the "judge" of people who sin we are to acknowledge that wrong is wrong and worse wrong is worse wrong. I posted an article on my Facebook page about Bruce Jenner and the transgender movement. I followed it up with an article on the Supreme Court deciding if gay marriage must be the law of the land. BIG SIN.

When we point out sin we are often accused of being judgmental. I like how a Facebook friend and old High School acquaintance described the difference between judging and pointing out sin. Here's what he wrote:

"The problem with the judgement thing is this. God has already told us what sin is. Others can justify it or twist the Word of God but we as believers hate the sin but love the individual. The cop that gives a ticket to a speeder is telling him what he did wrong but the judge passes sentence on the individual. We are only handing out tickets showing the trespass but we are not the judge. God will have his say in the end... We are trying to help people get into heaven and the only way is through Jesus Christ our Lord and repentance!"

So...as we discuss homosexuality, gay marriage and transgender issues around the water cooler at work I want to encourage you to speak up. No need to be rude or confrontational but as believers we are the light of the world. We shouldn't shy from speaking the truth in love. Sin is sin...sure, but some sins are worse than others and our society is embracing them with reckless abandon. Speak up. Maybe we can make a difference. But even if we don't make a difference at least we didn't sit passively by and watch our nation abandon morality without so much as speaking up.

See you this weekend!

Steve


Steve Blog 4/10/15

Easter services....CHECK.

Passover Seder....CHECK.

Faithful, tired, recovering people...CHECK.

March of Remembrance....April 19th!

Our volunteers are working tirelessly (which of course means they are tired--but soldiering on anyway).

As things stand here's what to expect at the March!

National anthem of the USA - Susan Stokes Opera singer / Pastors wife.

Israel's National anthem Jewish Community Centers Hebrew Choir

Welcome each church by name.

Introduction of dignitaries present.

Pledge of allegiance Mayor Rothchild

Congresswoman Martha McSally

History of the March of Remembrance Phil Lauzon

Solo Kristine Marriotti - I am not alone.

The importance of never forgetting Steve Shermett

Candle lighting - Remembering the camps

Moment of silence Siren

Kaddish Michael LaPoff

Testimony of a survivor Jim Lieber

The March

Food trucks

Worship concert

It's gonna be a full evening. Don't forget to bring a chair, a hat and lots of water. The event will start at 3:00 PM.

For maps and additional data you can visit our March page:

Shalom for now and I'm looking forward to seeing you this weekend at services. Be there or be in prayer!

Steve


Steve's Blog 4/2/2015

Blessings that become a curse.


There are some awesome things in life. They are gifts from God. Food comes to mind as an example. However when we abuse these blessings or use them improperly they go from blessing to curse. Food is great. But too much of it or in the wrong amounts and we get obese, diabetes and heart disease. It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said about how evil sin is. Sin took the commandments of God (a blessing) and used it to hurt us. In a sense sin turned them into a curse:


Rom 7:11-13 (NKJV)  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.


One of the greatest gifts of God is sex. Sex is a good thing. It was created by God for people to enjoy. Yet when it's abused it is extremely dangerous and damaging. The evil prophet Balaam taught King Balak that ancient Israel could be ruined if He used inappropriate sex as his weapon. He did, and they were:


Rev 2:14  “...Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”


Sex is a blessing, but it can become a curse. In Leviticus 18 (the sex chapter) God says that one of the primary reasons He was judging and displacing the inhabitants of Canaan was sexual immorality:


Lev 18:25-27 (NKJV)


25  For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26  You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations...


27  (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),


It can fairly be said that abusing and misusing sex is a significant reason why the ancient near east was destroyed. Not only that but the abuse of sex is also seen in the New Testament as one of mankind's primary litmus tests for following or rejecting God:


Rom 1:26-29 (NKJV)


26  ...God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29  being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness...


From basically the beginning of civilization to the end people harm and ruin themselves by ignoring God's commandments regarding sexual activity. As God pours out His wrath on mankind during the great tribulation He has this to say: “...they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality...” Rev 9:21 (NKJV)  


Sex is great. We love it. But we must control it and not allow it to control us. We must exercise restraint in accordance with God's will, or like too much food will give us heart disease the improper use of sex will give us soul disease (not to mention STDs).


Today...even as I write this our society is going through a sexual revolution. The behaviors of Leviticus 18 that God warned us to avoid are being practiced in abandon. Sex is ruling us and sex is going to ruin us. Here are some of the things going on right now:


1) Homosexuality and gay marriage are becoming the law of the land. Not only is it acceptable but those who dare speak against it are running afoul of the law.


2) Porn used to be a dirty little secret in shaded stores and hidden magazines. Now it's on public television every day. Movies feature it. Books like 50 shades of Grey are top sellers. They are read by youth, senior citizens and everyone in between.


3) Transgender. The US government is requiring the military to accommodate transgender people. Government funds are being used to provide surgical procedures to help men look like women and women like men. Public toilets are being opened to choice. Men dressed as women can use the women's restroom.


4) Living together without marriage is common today. I know many people who call themselves followers of Messiah who do it too. Yet the Bible says: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Heb 13:4 (NIV)  


The sex drive is extremely powerful. It is one of the most powerful drives we humans have. Self control takes work. Honoring God takes conviction. Dishonoring God with our bodies will lead to our personal hurt. It will also lead to our nation's destruction if we do not change our ways. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We are repeating it. It's not too late...but it's looking pretty grim.

What can we do about it? A few things:


1) Follow God's commands yourself. Start by reading Leviticus 18 where inappropriate sexual behavior is outlined. Don't succumb to the temptations of the world. Just because things are becoming acceptable doesn't mean we have to accept them. Stay pure. Get married. Stay faithful to your spouse.


2) Don't accept the filth of books, TV and movies. Avoid those areas of entertainment that treat sex lightly or worse—perversely. Take sex seriously. It's no laughing matter. It's abuse is destroying families and our nation. Yet we laugh at the exploits of fornicators on sitcoms and the movies. Stop paying Hollywood to ruin you.


3) Speak up. Not sure how to or who to? What about your family and friends?. If they are stepping in the wrong direction say something. Be respectful, humble and gentle. Offer guidance by God's word—especially with those who claim to be believers.


4) Pray. Pray every day. Pray all the time. Our nation is going the way of Balaam. We are going the way of Sodom. We are driving our own train right into the judgement of the great tribulation—full throttle, laughing and watching dirty movies while we eat popcorn. Are you enjoying the ride? I think i'd rather just get off the train. See you at the station...



Steve's Blog 3/22/2015

Pardon our dust

Progress is messy

Pro 14:4 KJV - Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.


I don't know about you but I've been looking for that “pardon our dust” sign in our lobby for some time. So...why hasn't the bathroom remodel started? Our team has contacted several companies but has hit several brick walls (pun intended). Apparently most companies are scheduled out for at least 6 mos. One company flatly told us that if our project wasn't at least for 1 million dollars they wouldn't be interested. Apparently the economic downturn put a lot of the smaller construction companies out of business. We are still looking. We are getting bids, but it's a slow process.

 

It reminds me of us spiritually and personally. We are a work in progress too. Sometimes the job is slow and we barely see progress. Other times we are a flurry of spiritual activity and growth. Either way though we get a bit messy. It's at times like that that we need to ask one another to “Please pardon our dust.”

 

On a related note. Some wonderful things are happening with our two congregations. 

 

We have Easter with Book of Life on April 5th We are currently doing a mass mailer fund drive to invite as many people in our area as donations allow. 

 

We have our Community Passover Seder with Beth Sar Shalom on April 8th.

 

We have The March of Remembrance.   Look who else is talking about our Tuson March! Video Clip (It starts around the 5 minute mark)

 

Pastor Steve

 


Easter Invite Drive 3/12/15

Sunday's totals...


For those of you who missed it we are doing a fund drive for 3 weeks so we can direct-mail folks in our area and invite them to Book of Life's Easter services.  I announced it Sunday and folks stepped up.  Day 1 of the drive means we can send to 1750 homes!  We have two more weeks.  Hope you'll participate.  just  $10.00 will get 25 homes an Easter Invitation!  $100.00 will reach 300! Please consider how many you personally would like to finance and either bring your money in Sunday or use this handy link to donate online: http://bookoflifecc.org/cgi-bin/menu.pl?churchid=church455&page_id=4b (click over the flyer where it says "donate online") 


This Sunday I'm going to share some videos I took while in Jerusalem and tell you a bit about my trip.  Hope to see you there!


Pastor Steve


Steve's Blog 3/8/2015

The Rapture

 

 

This Weekend's Lesson

I'm back from Israel. I'm still struggling with jet-lag, but I'll be back in the saddle this weekend teaching from the book of Revelation. I'm going to dive into the rapture topic. I hope you'll join me on campus for services. Of course those of you who are out of town I look forward to giving you a shoutout online.

Next weekend my plan is to show you some videos I took while in Israel and to tell you a little bit about my trip. Remind me to tell you about the Rabbi who wanted to argue with me about Jesus right at the wailing wall!

For those who want to hear my discussion with two other ministers about end times and the rapture you can still see the Shepherd's heart t.v. episode here: The discussion starts around the 27 minute mark. I'm not sure how long this link will be up though. They update the programs regularly.

See you soon,

Steve
 

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 2/8/2015

Steve's Blog

 

 

50 Shades of Sin



You see—there is nothing grey about it.

Scriptures teach us: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Phil 4:8 It also says: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Messiah.” 2 Cor 10:5

Reading books and watching movies that tickle our imaginations with impure, abusive, domineering and lustful thoughts is not God's way of purity. Most people don't know this but the 10th commandment speaks of this too. Here is what it says:

"You shall not covet your neighbor's...wife, nor...anything that is your neighbor's." Exo 20:17 NKJV

Most people don't realize that “covet” is synonymous with lust. Lust is a strong desire for anything. It can be sexual in nature or not. It's simply an unbalanced and sinful desire for something. Strong's Hebrew Lexicon defines this word “covet” and uses the word “lust” as a synonym. Webster's original dictionary has the following as part of its definition of “lust.”

LUST

1. To desire eagerly; to long; with after.

2. To have carnal desire; to desire eagerly the gratification of carnal appetite.

Jesus also told his Disciples:

But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Mat 5:28 NKJV

I'm not reading 50 shades of grey. I won't see the movie either. I have read several reviews though so I could intelligently consider it. One of the secular reviews has this as the title for his review:

“It's all porn to me: One man's review of '50 Shades of Grey'”

I also read an excellent article by a Christian woman called: “I'm not reading 50 shades of grey.” 2 I strongly recommend you read it if this movie or book is not on your avoid list or if you want to help other believers see good reasons to abstain. (see footnote for web address)

I don't have the time or space to talk about the rape, abuse, and disrespect this movie has for women, let alone the perversion on the man's side. This is just garbage. I strongly recommend you avoid it like the plague. So, that's my less than humble opinion. What's yours?

1 http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/porn-man-review-50-shades-grey-blog-entry-1.1637884#bmb=1

2 http://purefreedom.org/im-not-reading-fifty-shades-of-grey/

Steve

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 2/1/2015

Steve's Blog

 

 

Shalom y'all:



Hope this note finds you having a fabulous week. Just wanted to say hi and let you know I'm looking forward to continuing our lessons through the book of Revelation this weekend.

For those of you who have never seen God's Learning Channel; here are a couple of links to a couple of the programs I shot when I was there last week:

God bless you hard!

Steve

http://www.glc.us.com/site/watch.php?program=23&video=6446

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mbeRGDTfwc

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 1/25/2015

Steve's Blog

 

 

Greetings from Texas!



I'm in Texas...but I'll be back for services this weekend. I didn't pack well for this trip. Who knew it would snow?! I doubt the snow will make me miss my flight...it's doubtful I'll not be home on Friday. I HAVE to be back for services Saturday morning because Dave from the 5th Street Deli is catering breakfast. I mean I have to be back because I want to see you and teach you from the book of Revelation :)

We finished recording our 13 episodes of Shepherd's Heart. I also recorded 2 hours of Light of the Southwest and a ½ hour of Update News. On Wednesday night I was the guest speaker at Iglesia Del Camino. The services there were in Spanish. However the pastor interpreted for me. It was a great experience.

Guess what? Our friend JG who logs into our services every Saturday and Sunday morning is now running the bookstore at GLC! It was great seeing her.

Ok...that's all for now. I'm tired. See you soon. I love you and God bless you.

Steve

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 1/18/2015

Steve's Blog

 

 

The Temple Mount:



So...Last week I taught you about the significance of the Temple in Judaism and the amazing political and potentially prophetic significance of the call by a Jordanian Muslim cleric for a house of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount. Well...this cleric was arrested. I guess even the suggestion of such a gesture of goodwill couldn't be tolerated. You can read the story here: Article

This weekend we'll take a look at what the Bible says about the future Temples. There will be at least 2.

See you soon,

Steve
 

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 1/11/2015

Steve's Blog

 

 

Bearing fruit and never stumbling part 8

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

How many of you made it through the Bible this past year? I know we started out strong...but how did you finish?

For those interested I'm making a new reading list available for 2015. It's not for the entire Bible though. It's a Jewish oriented reading the follows the traditional Torah portions as well as most of the rest of the Old Testament. This one however is Messianic and includes the Gospels. It'll be available on the table in the lobby for the next several weekends.

Due to some recent news I mentioned from the stage the last couple of weeks; this weekend and next we'll be taking a break from the Book of Revelation and looking at what the Bible says about the next Temple in Jerusalem.

-----------------------------------

This week's Bible Bite:

Before the holidays hit I had been blogging about how we can always be fruitful and never stumble: (II Pt. 1:5-8,10)

Peter wrote that if we have an increasing measure of 7 things we'll never be unproductive or stumble in our faith:

1. goodness
2. knowledge
3. self-control
4. perseverance
5. godliness
6. brotherly kindness
7. love

We've already looked at numbers 1-6 above. Today I'll end this mini-series by talking about #7, the most important one of these--love.

Rather than sharing my own thoughts on love though I'll just give you some of what the Apostle Paul wrote about it:

“Love is always patient; love is always kind; love is never envious or arrogant with pride. Nor is she conceited, and she is never rude; she never thinks just of herself or ever gets annoyed. She never is resentful; is never glad with sin; she's always glad to side with truth, and pleased that truth will win. She bears up under everything; believes the best in all; there is no limit to her hope, and never will she fall.
From 1Co 13 International Standard Version.

See you this weekend,

Steve
 

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 12/14/2014

Steve's Blog

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Some people are offended when they hear “Happy Holidays” and I understand.

For some “Happy Holidays” is a generic expression of compromise. Some folks don't want to offend anyone and have taken Christ out of Christmas. That is truly a shame. But when I say “Happy Holidays” I really mean it. We have Christmas, Hanukah and New Years at this time of year. “Happy Holidays” covers them all, and it's my wish that each and everyone one will be a huge blessing to you.

In fact not only do we greet people with “Happy Holidays” we also help people celebrate both Christmas and Hanukah. Not too many congregations do this. We have our annual Hanukah party on the 17th (doors open at 5:30), and our Christmas Eve candle light services at 6:30pm on the 24th. And now...on to my weekly(ish) blog called Bible Bites!

We've been looking at 2nd Peter and the advice The Apostle Peter gives on how we can always be fruitful and never stumble: (II Pt. 1:5-8,10)

Peter wrote that if we have an increasing measure of 7 things we'll never be unproductive or stumble in our faith:

1. goodness
2. knowledge
3. self-control
4. perseverance
5. godliness
6. brotherly kindness
7. love

We've already looked at the first 5 of these in previous blogs. So let's take a closer look at brotherly kindness:

The Greek word translated as brotherly kindness is Philadelphia. Philadelphia is one Greek word but it's composed of two words: Phileo which means love and delphos which means brother. That's why the city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love.

Loving one another is the primary thing in our faith. Just like Jesus said:

Mat 22:36-40 CEV
36 - "Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?"
37 - Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
38 - This is the first and most important commandment.
39 - The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, "Love others as much as you love yourself."
40 - All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments

There isn't much more to say. Paul felt the same when he said pretty much the same thing:

1Th 4:9-10 NIV
9 - Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
10 - And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.

So I'll close with Paul's words. “Do so...more and more.”

God bless and Happy Holidays!

Steve

Book of Life


Steve's Blog 11/30/2014

Ferguson Fail

 

 

Shalom y'all:

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to seeing you again this weekend as we continue through the book of Revelation. Scripture says that those who hear the words of Revelation are blessed. Bless your family by bringing them along this weekend for services.

I want to share a few thoughts about what I think are the failures concerning the whole Ferguson fiasco.

We heard about racism, we heard about mistreated minorities, we heard about the shooting of “an un-armed African American teenager.” I was sickened by the media constantly portraying Michael Brown with pictures of him when he was a sweet looking, innocent child. The Media had current pictures of him but chose not to use them. Why? Because he looked like the criminal, thug he was. The media didn't want to be biased. Since when is reporting the facts a bias?! In failing to do so they were biased. They were biased against the law and it's officers and biased for the criminal element.

The news should not have said over and over that “an unarmed African American teen ager was shot by a white police officer.” They should have said: “A felon who robbed a store, resisted arrest, attacked the law enforcement officer who tried to apprehend him was shot to death.” There was no need to mention either one's race. There was no need to use such emotive words over and over again like “teen-ager” or “unarmed” or “African American” or “white.” I believe that by intentionally portraying Michael Brown as a young, innocent, minority, unarmed teenager the media was complicit in egging on the mob.

In reality Michael Brown was a monster of a man. He was twice the size of the officer that tried to arrest him. He could have easily maimed or killed that officer with his bear hands. On the other hand he also could have simply submitted to arrest. Instead he attacked an armed police officer. Even after being shot and slightly wounded he attacked again. Who does that?! He should have had his hands up saying “don't shoot, don't shoot, I surrender.” He was foolish, aggressive and evil. He paid for it with his life.

This was a simple good vs. evil scenario, but there was a systemic failure to properly understand that and deal with it. Case in point: Why did the authorities plead for a calm, reasoned reaction over and over in anticipation of the Grand Jury verdict? You don't plead with good, law abiding citizens to not riot, loot and commit arson. Good citizens don't do those things--ever. On the other hand, why in the world would you plead with criminals, gang members and antisocial elements of Ferguson not to do those things? Did the authorities really think that the bad guys would say: “Oh come on guys, the Mayor asked nice. Let's not riot.” We should have heard this from the authorities instead: “To those who committed the arson, rioting and looting: We have pictures. You will be hunted down, arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. After the verdict is handed down those caught rioting, looting or committing arson will be shot on site.” Bet Ferguson wouldn't have burned the second time.

This wasn't about race. Race was the distraction. Race was the excuse evil men and women used to launch their organized assault on law abiding citizens. The only apologizing, and pandering that should have been done (and still needs to be done) is to the good citizens of Ferguson who were let down by the authorities. Governments primary, God given duty is to fight evil, enforce the law and promote a peaceful and organized society. They failed Ferguson. They failed us all.

Steve
 

Book of Life


Blog for 11/23/2014

Steve's Blog

 

 

Bearing fruit and never stumbling part 6

Welcome back to “Bible Bites!”

We've been looking at 2nd Peter and the advice The Apostle Peter gives on how we can always be fruitful and never stumble in our faith: (II Pt. 1:5-8,10)

Peter wrote that if we have an increasing measure of 7 things we'll never be unproductive or stumble in our faith:

We've already looked at #1 - 4: Now let's look at #5, Godliness:

In looking at how this Greek word is used in the New Testament I think the best way to understand it is “being like God.” This refers to being like God in His holiness and behavior.

Several years ago people were wearing bracelets, t-shirts and bumper stickers that said: WWJD. The WWJD stood for “What would Jesus do?” It's a good question to ask. The idea was this; before we respond to a difficult situation we should try and figure out how Jesus would respond to that situation and do the same ourselves. It's a great idea and I highly recommend it. It's a simple reminder about being Godly. However (there's always a “but” isn't there?) to properly answer that question you have to know two things: 1) The story of Jesus very well. 2) Your not Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah, King of Israel and the Son of God. Some of the things He did represented His official capacity and we should not mimic that. For example He whipped people in the Temple. I recommend you don't whip people :) He also knew people's hearts and intents and could judge based on those things. We can't do that. Our guide however should be His guide. The Word of God tells us how to treat people and so did He:

Mic 6:8 NIV - He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

See you this weekend,

Steve

PS - Wednesday night classes canceled the night before Thanksgiving

Book of Life


Blog 11/16/2014

GOD is LOVE!

 

 

What is Love?”

1Corinthians 13:1-13 Love in Action!

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Book of Life


Bearing fruit & never stumbling 5

JESUS IS GOD!

 

 

Welcome back to “Bible Bites!”

We've been looking at 2nd Peter and the advice he gives on how we can always be fruitful and never stumble in our faith: (II Pt. 1:5-8,10)

If you'll recall Peter wrote that if we have an increasing measure of 7 things we'll never be unproductive or stumble in our faith. Here are the 7:

1. goodness
2. knowledge
3. self-control
4. perseverance
5. godliness
6. brotherly kindness
7. love

We've already looked at #1 - #3: “goodness,” “knowledge, and “self-control.” Now let's turn to #4 – perseverance:

Here's what Thayer's definition is for the Greek word:

1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance

1a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

Strong's lexicon adds this:

cheerful (or hopeful) endurance...

What I find interesting about this word is that it ties to the concept of hope:

Rom 5:3-4 NIV - 3 - Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 - perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Rom 8:25 NIV - But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Rom 15:4 NIV - For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

So...next time I feel the pain—the pressure that necessitates endurance (perseverance), I'm gonna try and remember that it's good for me. It'll build my hope. “Hope” you'll join me in the effort. See you soon.
 

Pastor Steve Shermett


Bearing fruit & never stumbling 4

JESUS IS GOD!

 

 

JWelcome back to “Bible Bites!”

We've been looking at 2nd Peter and the advice he gives on how we can always be fruitful and never stumble in our faith: (II Pt. 1:5-8,10)

If you'll recall Peter wrote that if we have an increasing measure of 7 things we'll never be unproductive or stumble in our faith. Here are the 7:

1. goodness
2. knowledge
3. self-control
4. perseverance
5. godliness
6. brotherly kindness
7. love

We've already looked at #1 - “goodness,” and #2 - “knowledge.” Now let's turn to #3 – self control.

The Greek word only occurs 3x in the New Testament. Here are the other two verses:

Act 24:24-25 CEV - 24 - Several days later Felix and his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, went to the place where Paul was kept under guard. They sent for Paul and listened while he spoke to them about having faith in Christ Jesus. 25 - But Felix was frightened when Paul started talking to them about doing right, about self-control, and about the coming judgment. So he said to Paul, "That's enough for now. You may go. But when I have time I will send for you.

Gal 5:22-25 NIV22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 - gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 - Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 - Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Thayer Greek Definitions says it means this:

self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites)

So there you have it. The Apostle Peter tells us that if we grow in self-control (along with the other 6) we will be fruitful and never stumble. Paul informs us that the Holy Spirit partners with us in growing the fruit of self-control in our lives.

Let me close by suggesting you self assess. Look at the things in your life that require you to exercise self-control and do so—for your own benefit.

God bless you hard. I'll see you Sunday.
 

Pastor Steve Shermett


Gay Marriage

 

The frog is in the kettle—beware. Don't drink the Kook Aide.

The pressure is on and I can only imagine it will get worse. America is losing it's status as “the land of the free.” Even though several states passed laws to limit marriage to only a man and woman (to think we even had to worry about such a thing.) activist judges have ruled these laws unconstitutional. In short; a few liberal judges have forced gay marriage on all of us. It's a travesty, and a shame. Now that they have the momentum they are on the attack. An openly Lesbian mayor of Houston subpoenaed pastors to turn over their sermons to see what they might have said about her and the city's new policy that mandates restrooms accommodate both sexes. What insanity. What stupidity. What evil. They were threatened with jail if they failed to comply. Last I read the city backed down. In addition to this Fox news reports: “Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.”1

I don't know how to fight this politically. I do know that we need to stand up to it ideologically. We can not compromise our faith. Don't be pressured to accept the concept of gay marriage as Biblically acceptable. Homosexuality is a sin. Gay marriage is a mockery of God's holy institution of marriage.

Here's a sampling of what the Bible says about Homosexuality:

Lev 20:13 NIV - If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Rom 1:18-32 NIV

18 - The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

24 - Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

25 - They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

26 - Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.

27 - In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28 - Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Do I hate gay people? Not at all. I don't hate drunks, adulterers or thieves. But I won't be pressured into saying drunkenness, adultery or theft is ok. It's not. These are all sins that God condemns. Now these sins are being forced on our society. Those who challenge them are threatened with jail and fines. We may or may not be able to change the law, but we can speak out. We must speak out. We must take a stand for that which is right. For ourselves, for our children, for our future and for our God. Don't cave in. Don't drink the Kool Aide.

Steve


Simple recipe to a successful spiritual life part 2

 

Shalom y'all:

Last week in this blog I introduced you to a simple plan for spiritual success from 2nd Peter. Peter said if we do these things more and more we will always be fruitful and never fall.


5 -  ...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 -  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7 -  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 -  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (And verse 10): Therefore, my brothers, ...if you do these things, you will never fall, NIV


An increasing measure of these 7 things means we'll never be unproductive and we'll never fall:

  1. goodness

  2. knowledge

  3. self-control

  4. perseverance

  5. godliness

  6. brotherly kindness

  7. love

Let's take a closer look at the first attribute we are to posses and grow in.  It's “goodness.” Here is how two Greek lexicons explain the word.
 

Strong's lexicon:

  • manliness (valor), that is,excellence

  • praise

  • virtue

Thayer's lexicon:

1) a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action

1a) virtue, moral goodness

2) any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity

So it seems that “goodness” here refers to praiseworthy behavior and lifestyle. It's about the inner person and how that pours out through his/her life. It refers to a life of moral excellence, modesty and purity. Goodness refers to our own dignity and behavior before God and man.

How do we grow in modesty and purity? Perhaps being more thoughtful in how we dress? Perhaps it's also being more careful on what we watch on TV or at the movies as well as what we read.

May you grow more and more in goodness as you equip yourself to never be unfruitful or to spiritually fall.

God bless you hard this week,
 

Steve


Simple recipe to a successful spiritual life part 1

 

The simple recipe to a successful spiritual life:

"Do this and you will never stumble."

 Last week I taught you about bearing fruit from John chapter 15.  If you'll recall Jesus said: 

  • This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Joh 15:8 NIV

I shared with you the benefits of bearing fruit and thebehavior expected of those who bear fruit.  On Sunday morning before services while reading the Word for my devotions I stumbled upon a passage from 2 Peter that wrapped the lesson up in a nice bow.  Peter wrote two things about bearing fruit:  1) If we follow his simple advice we will always be fruitful.  2) If we work hard at it we will never stumble.  That to me is amazing.  There is a formula (and it's simple) on how to have a successful spiritual life.  I'm going to share the formula with you,  and over the next several weeks we'll look a little closer at the details.  Ok...here we go--the simple formula:

2Pe 1:5-8,10 NIV
5 -  ...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
6 -  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7 -  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
8 -  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


That's the first part of the formula.  An increasing measure of these 7 things added to our faith means we will never be "unproductive" in Messiah.  Unproductive is another way of saying unfruitful.  Here are the 7 again:

  1. goodness
  2. knowledge
  3. self-control
  4. perseverance
  5. godliness
  6. brotherly kindness
  7. love


Then Peter went on to write:
10 -  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,

 
Work hard at it; "be all the more eager," and "you will never fall."

The formula summarized is very simple.  Work hard at these 7 godly attributes and you will always be fruitful and you will never fall. 

I hope to look more closely at the 7 principles in upcoming weekly blogs. 

Steve
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BBQ with Beth Sar Shalom

And a worship experience opportunity...


The Jewish High Holidays are coming.  Our sister congregation Beth Sar Shalom has a full slate of services and activities.  Book of Life is invited to them all.  However two events overlap Wednesdaynight small groups:

1) Wed. night Sept 24th - Beth Sar will have a worship service for the Jewish New Year in the sanctuary at 6:30.  If you want to join us please speak with your small group leader.  Maybe the entire group would like to join us for the night.  It's up to your group for that night.

2) Wed. night October 8th we'll be having a BBQ.  Small groups will be canceled so we can all fellowship together for the festival of tabernacles.
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Steve's Blog 9/7/2014

JESUS IS GOD!

 

 

John's Gospel makes the point clearly:

Matthew seems to emphasize Jesus' Messianic identity, Luke His humanity.  John emphasizes Jesus' deity.  Today we will examine an argument Jesus had with some other Rabbis.  We'll examine His claims about Himself.  But is it important?  Does it really matter what we think of Him? 

John 17:3 says: "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Messiah Jesus, whom you have sent."  In chapter 8 Jesus said this to His Jewish disciples: 31 -  "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 -  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The truth sets us free.  But free from what?  Some asked the same question:

John 17:33 -  They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" 34 -  Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin...

Now we get to the crux of the matter.  Jesus came to set us free form our sin.  Only God could do that.  Jesus had to be God in order to do what needed to be done.  Who else can expiate sin?  Join me this weekend as we look more closely at Jesus' claim of being God.

Pastor Steve Shermett


What's Happening at Book of Life

Check out the following.

Pretty cool right?!

You can now listen to Steve's

programs on God's Learning

Channel anywhere in the world. 

(Click the image for details
on how to tune in to GLC.)
 

We've been reading through

the Bible together as a church.

Have you been with us? 

(Click the image above for

a link to the .pdf of the

reading schedule)


What's Happening at Book of Life

Check out the following.  Pretty cool right?!
You can now listen to Steve's programs on God's Learning Channel anywhere in the world. 
(Click the image for details on how to tune in to GLC.)

 

We've been reading through the Bible together as a church.  Have you been with us? 
(Click the image above for a link to the .pdf of the reading schedule)




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