"The Mary And Martha Story"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27, September 21, 2008

Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Lets look into this a bit.

Martha is not faulted for her service. Many feel a secret sympathy for Martha. I mean, Martha welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her home. Martha gave the invitation of hospitality knowing full well it would mean work.

Being hospitable is hard work. But she seemed ok with it.

Let’s be honest, if not for the Martha's of this world, not much would get done. Interestingly this story comes right after the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Now why would that be? Wasn’t Martha being a neighbor to Jesus and the Disciples? Jesus doesn’t fault Martha for her service. I believe what he does pick up on is her attitude.

The “Resentful Good Samaritan”.
Good service with a bad spirit is bad service.
Jesus finds a problem with the spirit of her service.

That Martha was irritated is an understatement. Her outburst ruins the party for her, for Mary, and for their special company.

Martha was like many type “A” personalities; she may have thought, “Someone’s got to do it and well, I’ll do it if there is no one else. It has to be done - one way or the other.”Martha must have been shocked when Jesus cut across her huffing and puffing and corrected her attitude.

Jesus said, Mary had chosen the better part. Think about that.

It seems ministry to our spirit must precede ministry to others. In effect he said to Martha - Don’t just do something - sit there! Learn from me, let me serve your soul.Service motivated and energized by God’s Spirit and done with the right attitude will last and bring glory to God.

I believe there are times when God says, "Don't just do something, sit there." There are times God wants us to be quiet, to be still and seek Him.

Am I seeing this right? You don’t tell people just to sit there!

Most churches have enough pew sitters, some having sat for years. Most organizations struggle to get people to volunteer.

Rather than telling people to sit there they are running around trying to find people to fill the gaps. Sometimes the methods they use manipulate us through guilt.

Service because of guilt causes burn out and all too often, bitterness.
We are a family, a new community that is meant to model in our life the purposes of God.

This is meant to be a healthy incubator for people to grow in Christ and die to God’s glory. So there are times when we have to say to each other —“Don’t just Do something - Sit there!” Refresh. Renew. Receive.God must do something in us before we do something for Him.

Take the example of Nehemiah. He was involved in the most radical and successful building project Israel had ever seen. For 90 years they had tried to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and had failed. Then along came Nehemiah and in 90 days, walking in God’s will, they had the job virtually completed.But what is often missed in the account of Nehemiah is before he was engaged in exhausting activity he sat still. He prayed and sought the Lord. First, he allowed God to do something in him. While he was waiting he developed a plan and was ready for action.
Often we tend to develop a plan, then ask God to bless it and head off on our merry way. To this Jesus says, “Don’t just do something - sit there.” Seek Me, think it through, plan carefully and consider the options.Let the Lord do something in you before you do something for Him. Then you’ll maintain your vision and your passion for the task. You’ll have the fortitude and stick ability to see it through.
You will have the conviction that this is God’s will and although there may be obstacles, you’ll see it through.

Some years ago a young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. "That depends," replied the foreman. "Let's see you fell this tree." The young man stepped forward and skilfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, "Start Monday!" Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, "You can pick up your pay cheque on the way out today." Startled, he replied, "I thought you paid on Friday." "Normally we do," answered the foreman, "but we're letting you go today because you've fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you've dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday." "But I'm a hard worker," the young man objected. "I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!"

The foreman, sensing the boy's integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, "Have you been sharpening your axe?"

The young man replied, "I've been working too hard to take the time."

How often do we work harder and harder spiritually only to find we are less and less fruitful.

It time to hear the words, “Don’t just do something. Sit there and let the Lord minister to you.”

Sharpen your axe. Sharpen yourself spiritually; rekindle that edge, renew your strength.
Please note, there is certainly a time and place for diving in with both feet, for taking on whatever task is in front of us.

We continue to appreciate firefighters who storm headlong into buildings, rescue workers who dive into raging waters, trained military who without thinking about it, answer the call.

Many of us have a voice in our heads screaming at us, "Don't just stand there, do something." But we who care about caring for others can lose more than ourselves in “our doing”, we can lose the ability to give ourselves away for the necessary long haul, for a world of pain and need beyond today’s headlines.

Friends when the rescue workers go home, when the funeral flowers fade, when the get well-visits get missed in the third round of chemo, some of us will still be called to be there.

The daily grind of caring takes its toll. If you find yourself pulling away from the needs of people. If you shut off the TV news, if you let the answering machine pick up phone calls from a friend, let me suggest that you find some stillness, even solitude.

"Don't just do something, stand there."
Pause to listen and pause to feel. Pause to pray and take stock of yourself and your resources. Do only what really needs doing.

In our much doing, we lose perspective, lose our energy, and more importantly, lose our creativity and sense of humor.

We thus begin to carry the world on our shoulders and soon become overwhelmed or disillusioned. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We after being renewed spiritually can again enter our world to “do it right”.

"Unchurched Dick and Jane"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27 September 14, 2008

Unchurched Dick and Jane are like most other Canadians. Fighting traffic, paying rent or mortgages, desperately trying to scratch out a living in today’s uncertain economy. They are "nice" people but probably haven’t been to a church for a few years, except to attend weddings and funerals. They are the basically unchurched.

As Christians, we are expected, sometime, somehow, somewhere, to share our faith with people like Dick and Jane.

Truth be told if Jesus lives inside us, we have little choice.
The apostle Paul shows us to be part of God’s plan. II Corinthians 5:17-19

God has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Committed: - to give in trust or charge, consign, to entrust

God has reconciled the world in Christ, but the task of proclaiming that reconciliation goes to us!
Paul gives our spiritual job description: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. II Corinthians 5:20

God makes His appeal to this hurting world through us, in our circle of influence ….. a humbling assignment!

Although the skeptic may blow off your doctrine or argue your theology, they cannot honestly ignore your life story. You walking out your new life in Christ is a powerful undeniable message! There is great power in personal testimony!

The atheist may stop his ears to the words of a preacher or the pleadings of an evangelist, but they are somehow attracted to the human-interest story of how you found peace within.
What do you think about “Friendship Evangelism,” what I mean by that is, forming close friendships with non-Christians.

Do you know what they accused Jesus of? They accused Him of being a friend of sinners. I think that we ought to have friendships with sinners. How else are we going to win them to Christ?

The greatest soil for Evangelism is friendship.

Jesus came healing, meeting people at their deepest point of need with mercy and love. He built relationships. I mean, standing on a corner screaming at a bunch of strangers isn't nearly as effective as a friendship. The good-news according to you, is one of the best ways to reach the lost.

Friendship evangelism works long after the hit and run evangelists have come and gone. blows in, blows up, blows out! We are best able to influence those closest to us, mainly because we have more credibility than with complete strangers.

Share about your heart transplant. Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you.. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Share your life enthusiastically, passionately and consistently.

The results are not up to you, but the presentation sure is!

You may not win everyone you share with over to the Lord’s side, and that is ok. Consider, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One responded, one didn’t. Usually, it is a bad personal experience that turns unchurched Dick and Jane off of Christianity. An abusive minister, legalism or worse yet conflict with someone in the church.

Here is where your personal example comes into play. Most people you share your faith with will listen to the gospel according to you. You don’t even need to know how to read or write to be an effective ambassador for Christ.

Your credentials are: how you live your Christian life as employees, neighbors and family members.

Real-life events can bring great witness opportunities.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. I Peter 3:15

The best evangelism is intimate, up-close, one-on-one and face to face!

Perhaps Mary, the receptionist, will tearfully confide to you that her husband is leaving her for another woman. Or maybe, your neighbor Ted, leaning over the fence, breaks the news that his father has cancer.

These are real issues of life. They are opportunities to reflect Jesus.
WWJHMD? (What would Jesus have me do)

Verbalize your feelings
Communicate heart-to-heart as well as head-to-head
Tell them you’ll pray for them and be sure to do so

In some situations, it may be appropriate to pray then and there, asking God for wisdom, healing, strength, faith or peace.

You may want to share a favorite verse. You may share a personal experience but be careful not to “one-up” them.

As much as possible use THE WORD. You look it up and get them to read it. God’s Word can calm people. Sometimes that’s all that people in crisis need.

· Be Discerning. (Personal Space) Go only as deep as the person allows. Unchurched people are not really expecting you to be a theologian. Tell in your own words what God has done.

· Be Christ-like. Be the kind of person people can respect and confide in. Be known for going the extra mile at work and elsewhere. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistently open, honest and concerned.

· Be Bold. Don’t be afraid to tell people: you’ll be praying for them. Offer to pray with them right then and there.

· Be Real. Don’t pretend to know what they are going through or feeling. Above all, don’t treat people like some project - be their friend, get involved in their life.

· Follow up. This shows you really are interested. A card or a gift is a concrete way of letting people know you care. Our world is starving for spiritual connection. With God’s help we can be ambassadors of healing.

John 4:6-30 Jesus meets with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He talks of living water, the woman asks, Sir, give me this water. The woman then leaves her water pot, runs into the city, inviting people to come, meet the Christ... And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”

John 4:39-42 When the Samaritans came to him, they asked if he would stay with them: and he stayed two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of your words: for we’ve heard him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

“A Thousand Words Worth”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 25 September 7, 2008

Did you know that there are 591 pictures taken every second? That's 51.1 million every day. We take 3 billion photographs just during the Christmas holiday season. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, that’d be a big book. We do all this to help our memory. We need things to strengthen or jar our memory.
The Bible makes an interesting statement in Proverbs 10:7 (NIV) "The memory of the Righteous will be a blessing!"
If you store good things in your mind, that's going to be a great blessing to you. II Timothy 2:8 "Remember Jesus Christ..."
Never forget what Jesus did for you on the cross. Keep Jesus fresh in the photo album of your mind.
At one time in London, there was a Christian restaurant owner named Emil Mettler, (a close friend of Albert Schweitzer). Mettler would never allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal in his restaurant. One day he opened his cash register and a British Secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail. What was it doing there? Mettler explained, "I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation and of what I owe Him in return."
We need to do every thing we can to remember Jesus. So today we celebrate communion.
I Corinthians 11:24-26 (NIV) it says: And when He had given thanks he broke it and said: 'This is my body, which is for you, do this in Remembrance of Me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim (REMEMBER) the Lord's death until he comes.
I pray this service will be a turning point in your life.. like the nail in the cash register. As you enter in today think on Jesus.
Think on what Jesus did for you, stir up your memory. Stir the depths of your heart. "This do in remembrance of me"
If you can lets kneel together as we thank God for the blessing of the bread and the cup.
Today we have the advantage of reading about what took place on Calvary. We can picture in our mind's eye how it must have been. Yet, we have a disadvantage...we weren’t there!
Had we been there, I think the impact on our minds would’ve been even greater. I wish we had a picture of that.
We need to pray that God will paint a picture on our minds of what actually did happen, perhaps then we’d respond to that.
"You hold in your hand the symbols of the body and the blood of our Savoir. He spent those two things for us.
The first symbol is the symbol of His body which is the bread. Jesus is the Bread of life.
Jesus told His disciples, Take and eat. This is My body which is broken for you.'
In this same manner, He took the cup. The cup contains the pure juice of the grape.
Jesus said to His disciples, Drink ye all of it.

Dr. Thomas Welch (1825-1903) was the communion steward of the Methodist church in Vineland, New Jersey. The son of a Methodist minister, he himself studied to be a minister.

However, due to voice problems, Welch decided to become a medical doctor and later a dentist. At the time, unfermented wine (grape juice) was not available year round for use in communion.
(From history we know that unfermented wine was widely used and preserved in ancient times. William Patton in his classic book, Bible Wines and the Laws of Fermentation (c.1870), documents four methods of preserving grape juice in The Bible times. Apparently, these methods had fallen into disuse.)

In 1869, Dr. Welch began to experiment in his kitchen with concord grape juice, using the pasteurization techniques developed by Louis Pasteur just four years earlier. He soon perfected a process for preserving grape juice and began marketing it with the label Dr. Welch‟s Unfermented Wine.

He produced it with the thought of providing churches with an alternative to alcoholic wine, never envisioning a beverage for the general public. His son, Dr. Charles Welch, envisioned greater things and bought the business in 1873. Charles said that the company was born, out of a passion to serve God by helping His church to give communion as the fruit of the vine instead of the cup of devils.

In 1893, the grape juice business really took off when samples were given out at the Chicago World‟s Fair and the name was changed to “Welch’s Grape Juice.”

Today, Welch’s is a $650 million a year business. Welch’s Grape Juice made worldwide headlines in 1913 when Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, gave a formal state dinner honoring the retiring British ambassador. He served Welch’s Grape Juice instead of fermented wine. Bryan was a dedicated Christian who once ran for U.S. President.

Worldwide headlines were made again in 1914 when Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, forbade the use of alcoholic beverages aboard navy ships and substituted Welch’s Grape Juice in their place. Thomas B. Welch proved the truth that, I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me Philippians 4:13
His son, Charles, demonstrated the Truth, where there is no vision, the people perish Proverbs 29:13.

The next time you see “since 1869” on the Welch’s Grape Juice label you can remember this service… and now you know the rest of the story!

“A Point To Prove”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 24 August 31, 2008

I hope to prove to you that God over answers prayer!

According to Romans 8:37 .. we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

According to I Peter 1:8 we can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

According to II Peter 1:4 .. we are given exceeding great and precious promises: ....

According to I Timothy 1:14 the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

According to Ephesians 3:20 ... He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…

According to John 10:10 life and that more abundantly.

According to Judges 10:9-33 we are given power to subdue the enemy of our soul!

God has so much more for you then the victory in one battle... He wants you to subdue your enemy so you will have the total victory! He makes you more than conqueror!

Not only forgiven, but revived! Think for a moment.... God has done that for you!

You asked God for a clean heart... He gave you a new one! He gave you a heart that hungers after Him, a heart that thirsts after Jesus! He gave you eyes to see and ears to hear ...

You asked for forgiveness - He not only forgave He wiped out the record! He put a hatred for sin in you, and flooded your soul with hope and confidence in Jesus!

You asked for peace - Jesus became your morning dew. He refreshes your soul daily.

You are not dead or dying - you are alive and growing in Him! He waters your soul with His word...

You only asked to be saved, and God poured it on in abundant measure!

Our God is a generous God!

David said of the Lord in Psalms 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him [is] plenteous redemption.

God delights in being plenteous and He loves to over-flow with blessings! Even when we go astray at times..

Isaiah 55:7 .. return to the LORD, and he’ll have mercy, return to God, for he will abundantly pardon.

I believe I’ve proven that our God is not a stingy God!

Yet, we so often act as if we have to with great agonizing pull things from Him!

Yet, Matthew 7:11 says, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,... yet so many pray ... “Just heal, just deliver!”... The word “Just” limits God!

Not only is God able to answer prayer, He wants to do for us exceedingly above all we can even imagine!

He wants to answer us way beyond our punny requests!

He wants to answer according to His infinite riches in glory!

I Corinthians 2:9-10 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.....

II Peter 1:4 We are given exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature

I Timothy 6:17... trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy;

God virtually begs us to ask for great things!

May we ask of the Lord things that are worthy of His wealth and His ability to give! Is any request to big or too small for our God?

Could it be that we embarrass God with our puny requests?

Malachi 3:10 prove me now says the LORD if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive
Some how we have come to think it spiritual not to ask Him for anything yet, Jesus invites us to ask.

Luke 11:9 Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; knock and it shall be opened Some never ask God for anything afraid to test a faith they may not have!

I wonder if God doesn’t ask questions like…

How long before you stand on My word?

Why are you so afraid to trust Me?

When will you learn that I’m the great I AM?

When will you believe that I have all that you will ever need?

Pray, believing that He delights to answer you in His own way and time...
trust Him for your financial situation,
trust Him for those unsaved loved ones.. trust Him for that healing!

I remind you that If you abide in Jesus and His words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done.

May you stretch the tent pegs of your faith and ask big!

Be blessed

“Just As I Am”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 23 August 17, 2008

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

In the early to mid seventies many people came to the altar to pray or to receive Jesus for the first time. It was a season that has often been referred to as “The Jesus Movement”.

Throughout this wonderful time it was the words of one song in particular that accompanied sinners as they responded to the altar call. It was a hymn that has touched literally thousands of us. The hymn was “Just as I Am”. It was written by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871

As we look at the first verse of “Just As I Am” there are 4 words I’d like you to think about. The first word is, ACCEPTANCE (“Just as I am, without one plea”)

I think one of the reasons this hymn has had such a powerful impact is that it expresses a common human longing. That being the desire to be accepted – to be accepted “just as we are, warts and all.” Who among us hasn’t felt that longing?

We often make desperate attempts, consciously or unconsciously” to make ourselves acceptable.

All God really wants and all we really need is to come before the Lord “just as we are.” Because when we really get right down to it, it is the only way we can come before God – “as I am, without one plea”.

Coming before Him with no plea other than being a desperate sinner in need of His grace.

“Just as I am, without one plea” That first line of our hymn strikes at one of our core longings – the good news is that God accepts us as we are and we need come before God with no plea accept that we are all desperate sinners in need of grace.

The second word for consideration is, ATONEMENT (“But that Thy blood was shed for me”)

Christians should know that we don’t have to do something to be acceptable to the Lord.

Something has already been done.
And as the writer of Hebrews says it was a “once of all” atonement (9:12).

Not like under the old covenant where animal sacrifices were made constantly; it was a new covenant that brought “eternal redemption” with “his own blood.”

This is the good news of the Gospel!

Christ “offered Himself without blemish to God” (v.14), so now we can come into the presence of God “just as we are,” with all of our blemishes.
For when God looks at us, all he sees is the blood of his Son who gave his life for you and for me.

We have no other plea, “but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

We’ve been accepted and we’ve been atoned for once for all time. And because Christ has given his life for us to redeem us, he offers us an invitation, which leads to our third word which is…APPEAL (“And that Thou bidst me come to Thee”)

I heard a story of a minister who worked on the streets of a major city sharing the gospel with hookers, trying to get them to stop turning tricks. Her words to them weren’t scolding or judgmental. She didn’t walk up to these women and say, “How dare you do this to your body!”

No, what she did was approach them with grace, got to know them and then asked, “Don’t you think you were made for more than this?”

When I think back to November 28th, 1972 it seems that is exactly what Jesus said to me.

I believe if you listen carefully you will hear Jesus say to you, “Don’t you think you were made for more than this?”

I remember a young man coming to the altar after one of my services. As he walked that centre isle towards the saving power of Christ, being encouraged by the Holy Ghost with words like, “Its all good son, come as you are.” This young man was responding to the simple invitation to come to him.

It was awesome, but as he walked slowly down the isle, Sister Sandpaper noticed the package of cigs in his back pocket. She figured he had to quit smoking before coming to Jesus.

I am so grateful that Jesus isn’t related to her. Jesus welcomes us, we can come just as we are, with all our sins, all of our shortcomings, and with all defenses down. Even with a pack of cigs in our back pocket!

Why? Because the blood of Christ was shed for us! Jesus kindly and gracious appeals to us, “Come to me.”

The great preacher Samuel Shoemaker once offered the appeal of Christ in a Palm Sunday sermon with these words: “Not to the gates of Jerusalem alone does Jesus ride today, but to the gates of our hearts. There he waits knocking, knocking. His knuckles must be raw by now. The gentle rap has been so long smothered by contemporary rivals that some of us can barely hear it. But he goes on standing there.”

Can you hear him today?

If so, join with me in the final word from the hymn, APPROACH

(“O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”)

Hebrews 9:14, (The Message) We have been freed from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” We’ve been set free.

Now before I close you need to know that today’s hymn was written by a bed ridden invalid who felt useless to do anything except express her feelings of devotion to God. Yet Charlotte’s simply worded text has influenced more people for Christ than any other hymn or sermon ever written.

As a young person in Brighton England Miss Elliott was known as “carefree Charlotte”. She was a popular portrait artist and writer of humorous verse. At the age of 30 however, a serious ailment made her an invalid for life. She became listless and depressed. A Swiss evangelist visiting her noticed her spiritual distress and exclaimed, “Charlotte you must come just as you are - a sinner - to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Immediately placing her complete trust in Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for her, Charlotte experienced inner peace and joy in spite of her physical affliction until her death at the age of 82.

Charlotte wrote approximately 150 hymns, she is considered to be one of the finest of all English hymn writers.

“God sees, God guards, God guides me”, she said. “His grace surrounds me His voice continually bids me to be happy and holy in His service—just where I am.”

And the question I leave you with today is…will you approach now, will you come to the Lamb of God and live all out for him?
Will you give God thanks for His acceptance of you just as you are?

As you respond in simple faith to Him you will find “all that you need” not only for our personal salvation but also for the particular place of service that He has for you.

“Jesus Only”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 22 August 10, 2008

It is a privilege to speak to you my friends in the name of Him who has called us His friends if we do the things which He commands us.
I've found a Friend, O such a Friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, And thus He bound me to Him."
There are many things about which I am too ignorant to speak wisely and, I hope, too wise to speak ignorantly but I can speak of Jesus with freedom. I'd rather know a few things for certain than be sure of a lot of things that ain't so! In a day when men are chasing after a thousand things that "ain't so" I rejoice in "Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever."
I have found in Christ a life that is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.
In Him I find, PARDON. "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." I owed a debt I could not pay, he paid a debt he did not owe! Jesus, with His blood at Calvary, wrote, "your sins be forgiven you." All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow."
Because Christ means Pardon, He also means PEACE to me. Through Him I have peace with God, and as I make my requests known to God with thanksgiving, the peace of God which passes all understanding — and as someone once said, all misunderstanding too! — garrisons my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
This world has no peace: "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." We are all so crazy these days that it has been reported that monkeys have been known to go insane watching people on the outside of their cages!
Someone has spelled modern life in three words, "Hurry, Worry, Bury." The world has insomnia of the soul.
"My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives."
Then Christ gives me a purpose: "To live is Christ."
A philosopher once said, "One reason why some folks never get anywhere is because they weren't going anywhere in the first place." But Christ gives us a purpose, and that purpose is just Himself. To know Christ and to make Him known.
Christ also means POWER, the power to see the purpose through. "All power is given unto me," He said, and Paul declares, "I can do all things through Christ." Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our sustenance, He is "the power of God." His power is made real to us by the Holy Spirit, not that we may brag about it but that we may be His witnesses.
And then He means PLENTY, spiritual abundance. "All things are yours," says Paul to the Christian. Again he speaks of "having nothing, yet possessing all things."
It is the Christian's paradox. He doesn't have to get rich, he is rich, for "the Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him" Romans 10:12
Most of us appreciate but do not appropriate what we have in Christ. We carry checks on the bank of heaven and never cash them at the window of prayer. We are Bible window-shoppers: we stroll up and down through the show-windows of God's Word and never possess what we perceive.
God, who spared not His Son, shall with Him also freely give us all things.
Finally, Christ gives me an eternal PROSPECT. "Where I am, there ye may be also."
Someone has said, with reference to the life to come, that in the Old Testament they were willing to go but wanting to stay, while in the New they were wanting to go but willing to stay.
Jesus had made the difference. And what a difference it makes to be with Christ!
A mother whose little son had died, told her little daughter, "Your brother has gone to be with Jesus." Later, in conversation with a friend, she spoke of having lost her little boy. The daughter spoke up and said, "But, mother, you said he was with Jesus. How can he be lost if you know where he is!"
Truly, the Christian can say of his departed loved ones in Christ: "Death can hide but not divide; Thou art but on Christ's other side. Thou art with Christ and Christ with me; In Christ united still are we."
These are some things Christ means to me.
All I need is found in Him. He is Alpha and Omega and all the letters between.
He is the same yesterday, the historic Christ; the same today, the indwelling Christ; the same tomorrow, the coming Christ.
I am of Paul's persuasion: persuaded that nothing can separate me from God's love in Christ; persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed against that day; and, knowing the terror of the Lord, constrained by the love of Christ, I would persuade men.
The church of God may have many faults and failings but I would rather take Bible believing Christians at their worst than this world at its best. I thank God for the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.

Out of all this I have come to a fixed conclusion: the issue is simply Jesus Christ. Spurgeon said: "In the days of Paul the sum and substance of theology was Jesus Christ. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit has made a change in me. In my earlier years I may have sought after this experience or that, but now I can say, “Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord."
I’m embarrassed to think that I have at times made a Santa Claus of the Lord, seeking only His gifts! Happy are we when we seek the Giver rather than the gift.

My message therefore is simply Jesus Christ. He is enough.

There is only one safe and sure center of Christian experience, doctrine and testimony and that is Jesus Christ. Stand at any other point, no matter how good, and you will become lopsided. Stand with Him and you keep your balance, for by Him all things consist.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 21 July 27, 2008

FREEDOM! Many see Christian freedom as freedom from sin, death, law, and the need to earn God’s favor by works.

However, Christian freedom is not just freedom “from” it is also freedom “for”, freedom for doing what’s right and honoring to God.

When we were still caught in sin, we weren’t able to please God, no matter how hard we tried. But now, in Christ, we are free to do what God desires, even what His law dictates.

Yet, we do this, not in order to earn God’s favor, rather in a response to the favor already given in Christ.

Here’s the good news of your freedom in a nutshell: You are now free to do the right thing.

You are free to live your life for God. You are now free to live the best possible life there is.

In Christ you have freedom from and freedom for.

Paul is quite specific in Galatians about what our Christian freedom is for.

Galatians 5:13-14 For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Did you catch that?

Don’t use your freedom for your sinful nature (“the flesh” in Greek). Rather use it “to serve one another in love.”

The English misses the shocking irony of the Greek, which literally reads, “You were called to freedom . . . .
So use your freedom by becoming slaves to each other in love.”

Paul says that we should use our freedom in Christ to choose to act as if we were slaves to each other.

We’re not just talking about casual and convenient serving here, but committed and consistent and self-sacrificial servant-hood – exactly the sort of thing we see in Christ himself.

The last supper; What a picture we have here - Jesus kneeling as a slave / washing the dirt from feet of sinful men, who were utterly indifferent to His impending death!

The basin was there, the towel was there.. But they were obscured by the arguement about who would be the greatest... no one was about to move and wash someone else’s feet.

Yet in spite of what awaited our Lord, He still revealed clearly His personal love for the twelve. Jesus selflessly humbled Himself to meet the needs of others.

Paul calls us to mutual servanthood, not a one-way street of slavery and domination. If I am committed to serving you sacrificially, and you are committed to serving me in the same way, then there’s no danger of abuse or domination.

Moreover, we are to serve as slaves to one another “through love.” Love not only enables me to serve you and you to serve me, but it controls the nature of our servanthood.

We have been set free, not only to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to live as servants of Christ in and for the world.

Christ has set us free so that we might give our lives away in his service, loving one another and reaching out to love our neighbors, no matter where they might live.

It is the nature of love to be selfless!

I Corinthians 13:5 seeks not her own... The greatest virtue of love is its humility, for it is the humility of love that proves it and makes it visible.

The desire to be noticed kills love, humility and service.

Jesus was teaching His disciples: They needed to begin to operate on the basis of humility. If the Lord of Glory was willing to gird Himself with a towel, take upon himself the form of a servant, act like a slave and wash the dirty feet of sinful disciples it was a reasonable that the disciples should be willing to wash each others feet.

Many believe that in John 13 Jesus was instituteing an ordinance for the church. Some churches practice foot washing in a ritual similar to baptism and Communion.

I have no problem with that, but I don’t believe that is what is being taught here.

Jesus says I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

The word “as” is a translation of the Greek word kathos which means “according as”.

If Jesus was establishing footwashing as a pattern of ritual to be practiced in the church, He would have used the Greek word “ho”, which means “that which”. He would have been saying “I have given you an example that you should do that which I have done to you.”

But He was not saying “Do the same thing I have done.” He was saying “Behave in the same manner as I have behaved.”

In other words the example we are to follow is not the foot washing, it is the humility.

The lesson of John 13 is a pratical humility that should govern every area of life.

The result of that kind of humility is always loving service - doing the menial and humbling tasls for the glory of the Lord.

This utterly destroys most of the popular ideas of modern-day spirituality. Some seem to think that the nearer you get to God the further you must be from people, not so!

Actual proximity to God is to serve some-one else.

Jesus willingly served - we should be the same!
Do you want to be blessed fulfilled and happy? Develop a servants heart!

Matthew 20:26-27 whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Instead of grabbing for the crown - take the towel

Philippians 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The more we do this, the more our neighbors will see Christ in us and be drawn to him.

Before I conclude this message, I must mention that we do not have to try to earn God’s favor by doing the right things and avoiding the wrong ones.

His favor – which we call grace – has already been given to us in Christ.

“Our Threefold Commission”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 20 July 20, 2008

I love to read the story of Jesus’ appearances during the 40 days after His resurrection. Think of being one of those whom He appeared to!

Interesting that He only appeared to believers. Why didn't He go to Herod or Pilate and say, “Look! I'm back!” However, that isn’t like Him. He made Himself known only to His own, and if others are to hear about Him today, you and I must tell them.

Jesus died and rose again! It is true, He really did it! They buried Him dead and He came back alive! It is the greatest news flash in history, but I wonder if we Christians have gotten used to it?

When is the last time you said or heard someone say, “tell me the story one more time”? Did you know that we are actually commissioned (a threefold commission) by God to tell the “good-news”?

To the women at the sepulcher the angel said,
1. “Go tell his disciples”. Mark 16:7

The disciples were bewildered. Jesus had died; their dreams had faded; their hopes had vanished. They didn't know what to think. Some had gone back to their old ways. They were trying to live on the memory of a dead Christ. Were they any more bewildered than the church today?

Many Christians are confused, so taken up with their own problems they cannot help others. Others are so busy chasing after experiences. Growth is seen as numbers rather than maturity and much of what we see is merely swapping members, moving corpses from one morgue to another. It has been said, some freeze and some fry!

But we have a message for bewildered church:
“Go tell His disciples that He is going on before you!”
The message is simply Christ is risen!
We need a new experience of the living Christ.

Think about the appearance of Jesus to Mary in the garden.
First there is MISERY: “Woman, why do you weep?” Mary didn't know where to find her Lord. So many people are out of touch with the Lord today. However, praise God for her persistent “seeking”. When she recognized Him, she called Him MASTER. That’s the cure for the MISERY - seek the Lord and acknowledge Him as Master.

MISSION: “Go to your brothers and sisters and say…” When we really see the Master, He commissions us. Listen to the result, Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord,

Is He really in our buildings? He is if He is in us! And if He is in us let us never be content with leaving our gathering together as if we been to a funeral - instead may we as the disciples were when they saw Jesus, “be glad”. Jesus Christ - victorious conqueror!

We have a second commission:
“Go tell his disciples AND PETER.”


Peter was a backslider and the Lord singled him out as though he were marked “special”. Jesus wished to restore Peter. Unfortunately, many congregations miss the fact that Jesus can fire up the lost with new love and zeal.

What a field day for the gossips who heard about Peter denying the Lord! Can't you imagine them whispering, “Have you heard the low down about Simon Peter?” Ever wonder why they call it the “Low” down?

If you are backsliden, the Lord is looking for you, not to put you “down” but to pick you up. When Peter heard that Jesus was looking for him he ran to meet him. Jesus only had one question for him, “do you love me?” Not, “Aren't you ashamed of yourself?” He only asked, “Do you love me?”

The issue is Christ. “Do you love ME?” Backslider, you have an appointment with Jesus and the sooner you two get together, the better.

Our third commission: to go into all the world and make disciples.
And that message is Christ. He is the Center: “All power is given to me; Lo, I am with you always.” When Jesus spoke with Peter, He was the Center: “Do you love ME?” But there was also the circumference: “Feed my sheep.” In geometry we use a compass. One prong is stationary, fixed. With the other we scribe our circle.

Folks, Christ is the fixed Center, the same yesterday, today and forever. From that Center we make the sweep of the whole world as our circumference. Once we admit to loving Jesus, He sends us out to feed His Sheep. “We've a story to tell to the nations”.

Our story is not centered about “a way of life” “our church” or even “Christianity”, it must be centered around Jesus.

All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Jesus makes His callings against the background of His resources. He is the center that is why He says, “Come to me” Matthew 11:27-28

The Great Commission is all of this put together; “All things are mine: Come, Believe, Go.” That is the full Christian experience.

We are to let our light shine and that light is Christ. It is a glow, not a glare, and we do not shine it, we let it shine. “Go tell the disciples; go tell Peter; go tell the world.” Tell them about Jesus, dead, risen, and alive forevermore!

Before you start thinking of how hard this is consider the fact that, the disciples did not have any special advantage over us!

It wasn’t any easier for them to believe the miracles than it is for us. True, they were eyewitnesses, but being an eyewitness to an extraordinary event doesn’t make it any easier to believe.

There are always those ‘helpful’ people with their ‘logical’ explanations. So if you have a problem believing in the Lord’s resurrection, take heart because even some of the disciples had a problem with it.

But Jesus didn’t care about their doubts! He gave the Great Commission to every one of them, even the doubters. The doubting disciples were loyal and obedient, and that is all that really mattered.

So that means that our doubts don’t matter to Him either.

Even if your not a Bible whiz and you couldn’t preach your way out of a paper bag, the Great Commission still applies to you.

You don’t have to have it all figured out before you start your career as a Christian, simply trust and obey the Lord Jesus.
As Paul said, “we know in part”. We will always have loose ends, difficult scriptures we don’t understand, and we’ll even have issues we don’t or can’t agree on.

It might help us to understand that Faith and Knowledge are two different things. Faith makes us into obedient servants (Pleases God) but knowledge only makes us trivia experts (Puffs us up).

It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Hold your questions to the end. Right now your primary task is loyalty and obedience.”

Go ye therefore…… Before you imagine having to leave Osoyoos to do this understand that “Go” could mean next door or across the street. But make no mistake about it “Go” is an action word.

Mark 5:18-20 And when Jesus got to the boat, the man who had been possessed with the devil asked Jesus to take him with him.

However, Jesus said, no, GO home to your friends and tell them about the great things the Lord has done for you. Tell them how the Lord had compassion on you. And he WENT, and began to testify about the great things Jesus had done for him: and all the people marveled.

Commission: an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts: charge: authority to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another: a task or matter entrusted to one as an agent for another


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 19 July 13, 2008

The television series “24” features an agent (played by Kiefer Sutherland) from the Los Angeles Counter-Terrorist Unit. The series is comprised of twenty-four one-hour episodes, all in real time, together making up the events of an entire day. The series is really intense and well-written. The language isn’t too bad and there isn’t too much gore or hard-to-watch scenes in the first season.This particular clip is in the very first episode in the first season of “24”. The clip itself is a little over a minute and a half, so it’s pretty quick. It features Jack Bauer talking to one of his colleagues, Agent Nina Myers. Jack is trying to get information on possible terrorist activity, and he has been forced to detain and interrogate his own superior. He knows that he can go to jail for what he is doing, but he knows that what he is doing is right. Nina is pleading with Jack to just “look the other way” so that Jack won’t have to leave his family alone by going to jail.

JACK: (on phone) Richard, it’s Jack. Call me back. It’s important.
NINA: (NINA enters) I thought you wanted to get your life back together.
Make things right with your family. You think this is helping? JACK: He’s got information that I need. NINA: What information? Never mind. You can’t tell me, fine. But, Jack, if Tony doesn’t find anything, you could end up in jail. JACK: Probably. NINA: Then what are you doing? Jack. Answer me. JACK: Nina, you can look the other way once and it’s no big deal. Except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time and pretty soon that’s all you’re doing is compromising because that’s how you think things are done. You know those guys I blew the whistle on? You think they were the bad guys? ‘Cause they weren’t. They weren’t bad guys. They were just like you and me… except they compromised once. NINA: I’ll see how Tony’s coming along. JACK: Thank you.

According to Jack Bauer, only compromising once was what separated him from the men he had sent to prison. It wasn’t the great crimes they had committed that made them different from Jack, it was the little compromise in the beginning.
I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

If we allow ourselves to compromise in even the smallest ways, it makes it easier to compromise again later. Remember that every step we take is a step on a certain path. Either we take a step on a path of compromise that ultimately ends up where you do not want to be, or you take a step on the path of doing what’s right, which gives you power to do what’s right in the future. God has given us power to stay true. We read in Philippians 3, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

As long as we understand where we are going and who we are serving, we have already taken the first step on the right path.

It’s time to begin living our lives without compromise.

In 1848, Dr. John Geddie was the first Presbyterian missionary to be established on the Aneityum Island, in the South Pacific. His work of 24 years was instrumental in the building of the 1000 seat stone church for the 3500 islanders. On the tablet erected to his memory these words are inscribed: “When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians. When he left, in 1872, there were no heathens.” No compromise.

In Daniel 1:8-9; 3:16-18, we see Daniel, his friends and thousands of his fellow country citizens being deported to the heathen land of Babylon. Then the King commanded that these captives be educated in every way, including literature and language. Once educated “they’d be stationed in the king’s court”.
Daniel 1:4

The king changed their Hebrew names. Daniel’s new Babylonian name became Beltshazar, however the king soon learned that you can change a person’s name but you can’t change a person’s soul.

From the very start, Daniel refused to compromise. Daniel knowing that some of the food had been previously offered to idols, refused to accept his daily rations.

Daniel had company in this. His three close friends were Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. They also stood firm in their belief not to defile their bodies with the food offered to idols.

God honored and blessed their backbone.

We each must continually be working on our belief foundation so that our faith backbone for Christ becomes stronger. We may never find ourselves in the same situations as Daniel and the others - like in a lions den or a fiery furnace. We face our own places where we will be tempted to compromise.

The result of Daniel standing firm on his standards was that he prospered and grew stronger. God blessed Daniel for his stand.

Now, King Nebuchadnezzar was an arrogant and egocentric ruler. An idol was built depicting him. Everyone in the kingdom was to bow down and worship it.

Refusing to bow to this golden image meant being thrown into the middle of a fiery furnace. Daniel 3:6

Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow. Their blatant disregard of the king’s decree sent the king into such a rage that he called for them to be brought to him immediately.

When they were brought before him, he offered them a second chance, to bow down and worship the idol. However, these three did not compromise.
I believe Daniel’s lack of compromise encouraged these three young men to stand.

They did not even shrink from the prospect of a swift and horrible death in the terrible furnace. They were certain that their God was able to save them from perishing.

Their unwillingness to compromise (3:18) is a great testimony of faith in God’s power. No longer just Daniel’s God, but now firmly their Almighty God will see them through.

They are absolutely convinced that God can and will deliver them from the king’s intent of death. It seems they also know this deliverance could take different forms.

God could deliver them from or through the fire. Yet, even if He didn’t physically save them - they still refused to compromise.

They make no effort to tell God how their deliverance should come about. They simply trusted that God’s sovereign purpose would be served.

Their faith and trust did not faltered. They stood up alone, against a nation, with such calm assurance that God would deliver them - one way or another.

This must of infuriated the king, because he has the three bound and thrown into the blazing fire. Now this fire was so hot - seven times hotter than normal. So hot that it killed the guards who were tossing in our three friends. That is when the king saw them in the furnace - no longer bound with rope - but walking in the middle of the fire and not hurt. Plus, he saw a fourth among them. Nebuchadnezzar said the fourth appeared as “son of God.”

We have heard this before, at the foot of the Cross, from the Centurion. The Centurion had seen and heard what had taken place on the cross. He then praised God and said, “Certainly this man was the Son of God.”

Through their pagan eyes, the Centurion and King Nebuchadnezzar saw what looked like a son of God. And they were right!

You and I have the reality of knowing that it was the Son of God who saved the three from the fiery furnace and the same Son who died on the cross to save you and I.

Look at the ripple affect....
Daniel 3:28-30 “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”

Daniel’s non-compromising faith was so evident and real, that the impact his belief had on these three was truly life producing.

What kind of impact can our non-compromising faith have on our families, our neighbors or our community?
Pray that we may have backbone and be found faithful in every circumstance.

May our belief in God, through Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have personal impact on us, as well as impact our friends, relatives, and close associates.

May those who come behind us find that we were faithful.

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 18 June 29, 2008

Part 15 “How To Pray About Your Problems”

James 5:13-20

James had a reputation for being a man of prayer. His nickname was James, the Camel Knees, because he had such big knots on his knees from spending hours and hours in prayer. What a privilege, being able to talk to God.

James says there are three specific times when we really need to pray.

1. When I am hurting emotionally
Verse 13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.”
The word in Greek literally means “to suffer misfortune, to be in distress” to be under stress, under tension. Internal distress caused by external circumstances.

Psalm 18:4 “In my distress I call unto the Lord.”

James says, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”

I want people who come to our church to say, “Their joy is contagious”. I think it ought to be fun to go to church. “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”

2. When I'm hurting physically
Verse 14-15 “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he’ll be forgiven.”

The word “sick” in Greek, literally means “without strength”. He's talking about a serious illness here.

The Scripture teaches that there are three different kinds of sickness.

First there is the sickness for death.
I John 5:16 and John 11:4

Second there is a sickness for discipline.
I Corinthians 11:28-32

The third kind is sickness for the glory of God. This is a sickness that God has allowed in your life because He wants to heal you of it and let it be a testimony to the world. In John 11:4 Jesus said, “This is a sickness for the glory of God.”

There are several different lines of thoughts regarding healing.

Jesus never manipulated people and never used them for show. He always cared about their needs more than He did about making an impression on the crowds. He healed people quietly.

Name It - Claim It
They say that it is always God's will for everybody to be healed. All you need to do is claim your healing and God will heal. If you're not healed you lack faith. This can lead to a lot of guilt. “Maybe I just didn't believe enough.”

But what about “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” or I Peter 5:19 “Those who suffer according to the will of God.” It seems sometimes suffering is the will of God.

The gifts of healing were only for New Testament times. But Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
These are those who say it's all in your mind. You are ill because you think you're ill. Just deny it and you'll be OK.

I think James would be a Realist. When you are sick, call the elders of the church. James says call the spiritual leaders of your church to pray for you. “Call for the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil.”

Oil is a symbol of the Holy spirit. “...in the name of the Lord.” God is the healer, not any person.

The results: “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

Here at the Gathering Place we try to do what the Bible says.

We have been called on to anoint with oil and pray for healing; mostly in private. In private people know they are loved, not used or put on display in any way.

The prayer may be in private but the testimony goes public!

When I'm hurting spiritually
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

Jesus taught that a lot of sickness we bring upon ourselves. If I don't take care of my body, eat right, sleep right, exercise right, then all kinds of ailments can come my way.
If I worry, fret, or get anxious I could get an ulcer.

Doctors say it's not so much what you eat but what's eating you. Resentment can take its toll in your life.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

When the spiritual is out of kilter it
affects your emotions.
When your emotions are out of kilter it affects your body.

Why isn't everybody healed? I don't know.

It is always in God's power to heal, but it is not always in God's purpose to heal.

“Confess to each other” Does that mean I get up and confess to the whole church?

Only confess as widely as it involves other people.

· If I've got a private sin, just between me and the Lord, then I ought to just confess it to the Lord.

· If it's a personal sin, between me and you, then I need to come to you.

· If it's a public sin, then I need to apologize to the whole church.

The Bible says, “By this shall all men know that you're my disciples, that you love each other.” That's what counts!
James uses Elijah as an illustration. “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it wouldn't rain and it didn't rain on the land for three and a half years. He prayed again and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.”

In I Kings 19 it is after the big god contest on Mt. Carmel and Elijah runs to the other side of the desert and goes through a fit of depression and prays, “God, kill me.”

Elijah demonstrated fear, resentment, guilt, anger, loneliness and worry. Now you know why it says, “Elijah was a man just like us.”

We have anger, fear, resentment, worry and loneliness. The lesson of Elijah's life is you don't have to be perfect to pray. It says he prayed seven times. He was persistent. He wouldn’t give up.

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things through prayer.

I want to review four conditions for praying effectively that James mentions in his book.

1. I must ask
The more specific your prayers are the greater you're going to be blessed in the answer. James 4:2 “You do not have because you do not ask.” Be specific.

2. Have the right motive
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

3. Live a Clean life
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Righteousness is your standing before God when you became a believer. It has nothing to do with your perfection.

4. Ask in faith
Expect an answer. James 1:6 “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.”

When you come to God, believe that He wants to answer your prayer. Trust Him…..I want our church to be a miracle.

I want it only to be explained by the fact that…..God did it.

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 17 June 22, 2008
Part 14 “Developing Patience”

James 5:7-12

I think I am a fairly patient person except when I'm hungry. Then I lose my character. Have you noticed that the more expensive the restaurant the longer you wait? There are actually five different waits when you go to a restaurant. You wait to get a seat, then you wait to get the menu, then you wait to order, then you wait to get the food back, then you wait for the bill. And they have the audacity to call the server the waiter!

Today we're going to look at what James has to say on “Developing Patience”. James uses the word “patience” or “perseverance” six times. He uses three different illustrations to teach us when, why and how to be patient.


James isn't saying we have to be patient all the time but there are three special times when you need that extra dose of patience.

1. When circumstances are uncontrollable
Have you figured out that a lot of life is beyond your control? James uses a farmer to illustrate when circumstances are uncontrollable in verse 7. “Be patient then brothers, until the Lord comes. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is.”

Don't go into farming unless you've got patience. The farmer has no control over weather, rain, heat or the economy. Just look to the mid-west USA right now.

Even when we know a situation is beyond our control, we still try to control it. How do we do that? By worrying.

2. When people are unchangeable
“As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” What was the duty of prophets? To help people change, bringing them back to God, to be different in their behavior. People resist change, and if you try to get them to change they resist you!

Successful parents, who have patience or a long fuse, don't get overheated.

3. When problems are unexplainable
The classic example he gives is in verse 11, “You have heard of Job's perseverance…..” Job played in the Super Bowl of suffering. He won the championship. He was the wealthiest man that ever lived. He had everything going for him. In a two-day period, everything fell part. He went bankrupt, his children were murdered, he got an incurable, deadly disease that was very painful.

You think you've got problems or had a rough day!

He lost his family, his friends, his finances. He was suffering materially, physically, socially…in every kind of way.

One day his wife comes to him and says, “Curse God and die!” Now that's supportive! God allowed the devil to take away everything in his life except a nagging wife. Job had absolutely no idea why it was happening.

For 37 chapters in the book of Job, God doesn't even talk to him. There was no apparent reason for his misfortune. Job certainly had the right to say, “Why me?”

A lot of things in life just don't make sense. Maybe we'll never understand on this side of heaven. Job certainly didn't understand, yet through it all, Job maintained his faith.

When circumstances are uncontrollable,
when people are unchangeable and
when problems are unexplainable
you really need patience.

1. Because God is in control
“Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.” verse 8. Three times in this passage, James says, “The Lord's coming is near. Jesus is coming back. That is the ultimate proof that God is in control. Nothing can stop it. The Bible talks more about Jesus' second coming - when He comes back to judge the world - than it does about His first coming.”

God is in control of history - “His story”. He's got it all planned out, everything is on schedule, nothing is late. It's all moving towards a climax.

God's purpose for your life is greater
than any problem you're facing right now.

The Phillips translation puts it this way, “resting your hearts on the ultimate certainty”. Though a situation may be out of my control, no circumstance is out of God's control. He is never taken by surprise. You may be experiencing a delay right now, but I assure you, God is never late, His timing is perfect.
2. God rewards patience
In verse 11a it says, “Blessed are those who have persevered.” The second half of Job's life was more blessed than the first half. God doubled everything he had. It pays to be patient.

Matthew 5:13-14 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

When people put you down, when they criticize you, be patient, because there's going to be a reward in heaven.

It is our natural tendency - one of the strongest desires in life - that when you're hurt, you want to get even. You want to retaliate, to take matters into your own hands. When you get criticized, you want to criticize back. If you get insulted, you want to insult back. This may well be a natural thing but it’s the opposite of patience.

3. Because God is working things out
It’s often behind the scenes, things we may never see. Verse 11b says, “You’ve heard of Job's perseverance, and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

God was working all the time while Job wondered what was going on. A delay doesn’t mean a denial. If you've been praying for something and you haven't gotten it, you may think God doesn't want to give it to you. We have to learn the difference between “no” and “not yet”.

Our problem is that we are in a hurry and God isn't!

In advance, thank God because He's working things out. He gives the illustration of the farmer. When the farmer plants the seed, he's waiting for that seed. While he's waiting, God is working behind the scenes to cause that plant to sprout. He's creating the conditions so at the right time, in the right way there will be a harvest.

The farmer waits, God works.

Philippians 2:13 “God is at work within you.”

Romans 8:28 “We know that in all things, God is working.”

What are you supposed to do while you wait?
Look at James’ three illustrations and do what they did while you're waiting on God.

1. Wait expectantly
Expect a harvest. What does a farmer do while he's waiting on God? Sit and watch reruns on television all day? While he's waiting on the harvest, the farmer is preparing for a harvest.

Your preparation shows your expectation.

We get ready for the answer in advance.
Psalm 130:5 “I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised.”

What are you waiting for from God? Maybe to heal a long-term illness or transform your marriage. Or a reversal in your financial problems or for God to reach your teenagers.

Do you really expect Him to do that? The Bible says, “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”

If you do expect God to do it eventually, prove it! How can you prove that you're expecting God to do something? Simple.

What are you doing to get ready for it? If the answer came today, would you be ready? Remember, your preparation reveals your expectation.

A lot of times when I'm waiting on God, He's really waiting on me. He was ready to give the answer a long time ago, but I wasn't ready to receive it.

Sometimes He's saying, “Grow up! I want to bless your life but you can't handle the blessing yet. Get some spiritual muscle in your life and I'll bless you beyond what you can imagine.” Waiting is a time to get ready. Isaiah 49:23 says, “The Lord says ... No one who waits for my help will be disappointed.”

2. Wait quietly
James points out the fact that we have a tendency to run off at the mouth when things aren't going our way and things aren't under our control. James warns us of two things to avoid.

“Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.”
Why does he talk about grumbling right in the middle of patience?

It's hard to be quiet when you're frustrated. You want to grumble, mumble, moan and complain. James says, “Don’t grumble”. The New English Bible says, “Don’t blame your troubles on one another.”

I heard of a lady who griped at her husband all the time. Constantly. Finally the guy died and she put on his tombstone, “Rest in Peace”. Then they went and read the will. He willed $5 to his wife and everything else to his secretary. She went back and changed the tombstone to “Till we meet again”.

Verse 12 says “Above all, my brothers, don't swear.”

Does waiting ever tempt you to swear? Sometimes
when I get frustrated I feel like cussing. What happens when you get uptight? When you're frustrated and things aren't going your way and things are beyond your control? How do you normally respond? Typically, we take it out on those closest to us. We unload on our spouses or our children, and it's not even their fault. But we're frustrated and impatient. We displace our anger and focus it on those we love the most. James says don't do that.

Habakuk 2:3 says, “These things won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”

Do you have a dream, a goal in life, a vision that God's given you? God says it will be right on target, at the right time, in the right way.

3. Wait confidently
Job never lost his confidence in all that he did. When the outlook is bad, you look up. Micah 7:7 says, “I will wait confidently for God.” How do you do that? You have hope.

Holding On…..Praying Expectantly

When you've got a problem that's unexplainable, a person who is unchangeable, a circumstance that is uncontrollable then wait confidently. God is working. How do you wait confidently? Sit still. Don't get nervous or anxious. Psalms 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.”

Do you have uncontrollable circumstances in your life?

Maybe you've had a financial reversal that was beyond your control. Maybe you have a long term illness. Maybe you've got an unchangeable person in your life.

It's frustrating when you tell your kids something to do over and over and they don't do it. It's frustrating when you want to make your marriage work and you're willing to change but your partner

Remember, nothing is beyond God’s power and His purpose for your life is greater than the problem you are experiencing right now. God will reward your patience, if not in this life, in the next. God is actively working behind the scenes for a wonderful purpose in your life. God bless your expectancy.

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 16 June 15, 2008

Part 13 “Managing Your Money”

James 5:1-6 As we continue in our series through James, we'll be looking at chapter 5, the first six verses. Many people wrongly believe that the Bible teaches that it's wrong to be wealthy. They think that the Bible says that “Money is the root of all evil”. It actually says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” God is not opposed to wealth, in fact, many of the people in the Bible were extremely wealthy.

Abraham was probably a millionaire in our terms. Job was the wealthiest man of his time. David and Solomon were both the wealthiest men of their time. We know that Barnabas made a lot of money because he was able to give it to the church. Joseph of Arimathea, the man who gave Jesus his tomb, was extremely wealthy. So God is not opposed to wealth, simply for being wealthy. But God is very much opposed to the misuse and abuse of wealth. He wants us to use our wealth wisely, no matter how much or how little we have.

James here gives a rebuke - probably one of the most negative passages in the entire New Testament. This passage is a healthy warning to us to make sure that no matter how much money we have, we use it wisely.

We're going to look at the wrong and the right uses of wealth. Everyone in this room is wealthy according to world standards. If you own a car, you're wealthy. If you have more than one change of clothes, you're wealthy. If you own a home, you're in the top 5% of the world. By world standards, by the very fact that we live in North America, we're wealthy. God has blessed us and we need to be grateful for what we have.

James mentions four common abuses of wealth. Let's look first at the wrong uses of wealth and how to avoid them and then we'll look at the right uses of wealth.

1. Accumulation of Wealth
James says in verse 3, “Don't hoard it”. “You have hoarded wealth in the last days.” God says that money is not to be stockpiled, collected in piles just for the sake of having it. God wants His money in circulation. He's not talking about savings, there's a legitimate place for savings. God encourages us to save money.

People can become so afraid of losing money, they won't spend it. In New Testament times, if you had money you would show it by having a lot of food, clothes and precious metals and jewels. James speaks about these three types of wealth in verses 2-3: “Your wealth has rotted, moths have eaten your clothes and your gold and silver are corroded.” Everything you've gotten, the food has
spoiled, the moths have eaten your clothes, and the gold and silver is rusting and corroding. The point he's making here that whatever you accumulate, deteriorates. God doesn't want us to get wealth just for the sake of getting wealth, He wants us to put it in circulation.

He says your clothes get moth-eaten. Which clothes get moth-eaten? The ones you wear all the time or the ones you keep stockpiled in the back of your closet? Your food has gone rotten. Which food goes rotten? The food you eat everyday? No, it’s the stuff in the back of the refrigerator that's been there for three months. We create new life forms in our refrigerator!

Wealth is to be used not hoarded. Last week we talked about the man in Luke 12 who was very successful and his crop had a great harvest. He said, “I know what I'll do. I'll just go build bigger barns.” He didn't think about giving any of it away. He didn't think about keeping any of it in circulation. It was a selfish use of wealth. He said, “I'm going to hoard it”. James says the wrong use of wealth, number one when it comes to accumulation, don't hoard it.

2. Appropriation of Wealth
God is not only concerned with what we've got but also how we got it. “Don steal it”. Don't use dishonest means to rip people off. There are a lot of different ways to make dishonest money. One way is to simply not pay your debts. “The wages you have failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you.” Verse 4

Don't be dishonest. If I charge too much, if I sell a used car to you and don't tell you about major repairs, if I cheat on taxes, if I waste time and I'm being paid for it, that is wrong.

3. Allocation of Money
The way we spend our money is very important. James blasts these guys for how they spent their money in verse 5 “You’ve lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.” In the allocation of money, don't waste it. We're tempted to spend it selfishly on ourselves. The more money you make the easier it is to waste it. We tend to say things like, “I'm worth it, I can afford it, so why not?” Just because I can afford something doesn't mean I ought to buy it.

James says don't waste it. “You have fattened yourself for the slaughter.” Verse 5

4. Application of Wealth
He's talking about how we use it's influence. He says, don't abuse it. Wealth gives us much more than simply buying ability. Money has a lot more power than simply buying power. When you have money, it gives you influence, authority. We listen to people who make money more than people who are poor. Why do they get away with things that we don't get away with? Verse 6 “You have condemned and ruined innocent men, and they are powerless to stop you.” Even today, a lot of people use money to manipulate others.

So, how are we to manage our money.
1. The Right Accumulation
Proverbs 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”
Proverbs 30:24 “Consider the ant how it stores up in the winter.”

Why do we save so little? I think it's because we live for today. We're the Now Generation. I want it now whether I can afford it or not. I'll buy it on credit.

Jesus told a number of parables. Over half deal with money. He talked more about money than he did about heaven or hell. He talks about investment, how the wise man invested his money and the unwise man didn't.

In order to develop the habit of saving, you've got to do some things. First, you need to learn to live on a margin. That means live on less than you make. John D. Rockefeller said many times, “Save 10%, tithe 10%, live on 80%.”

What is the purpose of saving? Here's where the Bible differs from the world's thinking in a major way. The world thinks you save money for security. If I could just accumulate a big enough bank account, I would be financially secure. The problem is, there is no such thing as absolute security. No matter how much money you've got, you could lose it instantly.

In order to have security, you've got to put your security in something that cannot be taken away from you. Everything that I have in life can be taken away from me: my family, my money, my reputation, everything. There is only one thing that cannot be taken away from me and that's my relationship to Jesus Christ.

Paul said in Philippians 4:19 “My God shall supply all your needs.” That's security! That's the way to be prepared for financial reverses to find security in the Lord.

Why do we save? (for stewardship reasons)
Three reasons for saving:
i) It prevents us from impulse buying. We don't spend money on foolish impulses. If we're not saving it, the tendency is to spend it as soon as you get it.

You'll see things you want and buy it and you really don't need it. Proverbs 21:20 says “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” He does it hastily too. You've got to save it so you don't use it on foolish impulses.

ii) Saving allows us to be able to help other
people when they have a need.

iii) Saving gets your money working for you rather than you working for your money. That's the principle of investment. When you're saving your money, it's being invested wisely.

2. The Right Appropriation
Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth from gambling quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows.”

What is gambling? A get-rich-quick scheme. In the book of Proverbs, at least six or seven times, scripture teaches us to not get involved in rich quick schemes. Easy come, easy go. You make it quick, you'll lose it quick.

Proverbs 14:23
“Hard work brings a profit; mere talk leads to poverty.”
Proverbs 14:23
“Work brings profit, talk brings poverty.”
Proverbs 11:16
“A lazy man will never have money but an aggressive man will get rich.”
Proverbs 12:27
“If you're lazy you'll never get what you're after. But if you work hard, you can get a fortune.”

How much money can I make?
Scripture says you can make as much money as you can in your life as long as you meet these 4 qualifications.
1. As long as it doesn't hurt your own health
Some people literally work themselves to death. Scripture teaches that health must always take priority over wealth.

Proverbs 23:4 “Do not wear yourselves out to get rich. Have the wisdom to show restraint.”

There are so many people that are working themselves to death trying to afford things they really don't need.
2. As long as it doesn't hurt your family
How many homes have fallen apart because kids are being ignored while parents are too busy making money to buy things for the kids? I've learned that what my kids wanted was my time more than anything I could afford to buy for them. We can get so busy making a living that we can forget to make a life.

3. As long as it doesn't hurt other people
Proverbs 21:20 “A fortune can be made from cheating but there's a curse that goes with it.” We're going to reap what we sow.
Proverbs 16:8 “It's better to have a little, honestly earned, than a large income dishonestly gained.”

4. As long as I keep my spiritual life on the same level
III John 2 “Beloved I wish that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.”
God wants us to be in balance.

If you're going to set financial goals you need to set spiritual goals too.

3. The Right Allocation
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as sure as haste leads to poverty.” It is easier to get into debt than to get out of debt. Buy now, pay later. Only 162 easy payments. I've never had an easy payment.

Our problem is not that we don't make enough, but rather that we don't spend it wisely. The more your income goes up it seems your expenses go up.

How do you spell relief? B-U-D-G-E-T. What is a budget? Planned spending. Telling your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went.

4. The Right Application
Proverbs 11:24-25 “It is possible to give away and become richer. It's also possible to hold on too tightly and loose everything. Yes the generous man shall be rich. By watering others, he waters himself.”

This principle is taught over and over again in Scripture. Give and it will be given unto you. Just like seeds, the more we sow the more we reap. There are more promises in the Bible related to giving than any other subject. No matter how wealthy I've become, I'm not financially free until I've learned to give. In order to live abundantly, I've got to give abundantly.

I Corinthians 16:2 “On every Sunday, put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for the offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you to earn.”

In Deuteronomy 14:23 we see that the purpose of tithing is simply to teach us to put God first in our life. God doesn't need our money. He's wealthy. But He wants us.

I believe the Scripture teaches that God wants us to be financially free. If your finances are in a mess right now, God promised over and over again to care for us who will place our financial burden in His care and follow His principles. These principles are all through Scripture. If we try to live without the principles of this book we're going to get into trouble - in our time, money, relationships, health, any area of life. Unmanaged finances simply mean misplaced priorities.

The starting point for financial freedom is to make Jesus Christ the manager of your life.
Make Him the manager of not just your money, but of your time, home and past.
And most important, make Him number one in your life.

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 15 June 1, 2008

Part 12 “How To Face The Future”

We're going to look at James 4:13-17 today and see what James has to say about How to Face Your Future. We all want to know what's going to happen next. It's amazing how people try all kinds of different things to try to forecast the future: tea leaves, fortune cookies, astrology, palm reading. We attend conferences and seminars on planning and goal setting.

James in this passage talks about how to face the future. He says there are three mistakes that are commonly made that we should be aware of.

He illustrates the first mistake with a typical conversation between a couple of businessmen. In verse 13 we drop into their conversation. “Now listen you who say, Today or Tomorrow. We will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” What's wrong with this?

People make plans every day. These are just a couple of entrepreneurs, go-getters. There is detail in the business plan; they have it all planned out. When…..today or tomorrow. Where…..this or that city. How long…..we'll spend a year there. What…..we'll carry on business. Why…..make money. What's wrong with this? The Bible doesn't condemn making a legitimate profit. The Bible talks a lot about planning too. What's wrong here?

James says the first common mistake we make is…..
There's not a single mention of God in this entire business plan. He knew what he wanted, he knew how to get there, but he didn't check it out with God first. The Bible talks about planning. “No man goes out and builds a house without first considering how much it's going to cost.” And the book of Proverbs says over and over again that if I don't plan I'm a fool. So James is not talking about what this guy did, it was what he forgot to do! It's great to have dreams and goals - as long as you include God!

All business is God's business if you're a believer. Don't plan without God.

What’s the solution? 1. Include God in your goal setting.
Verse 15 “Instead, you ought to say, If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.”

Right in the middle of the word LIFE is the word IF. Life really is pretty if-fy.
I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, you don't either.
Christians for hundreds of years used to write the initials D.V. at the end of their letters. They'd sign their name and then write D.V. This stood for the Latin phrase “Deo Valente” meaning “Lord willing”. James says that ought to be our response to life. It's OK to plan but include God.

Proverbs 16:1 “We may make our plans, but God has the last word.”
Proverbs 16:9 “We should make plans - counting on God to direct us.”

Stop praying, “God bless what I'm doing”.
Instead pray, “God, help me to do what
You're blessing.”

God is doing a lot of fantastic things in the world. I just want to be in on them. Help me to do what You're blessing. I don't want my plans, I want Your plans in my life.

The second mistake is…..
Taking it for granted, assuming I'm going to live forever. I've got the rest of my life.

Verses 14-16 “Why you don't even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”

There are a couple reasons we shouldn't presume about the future.

First, Life is unpredictable! “You don't even know”. None of us know what's going to happen tonight, much less next year. You can't count on tomorrow. We shouldn't let this frighten us, nor should we worry about it. Let it cause you to trust God more. Let it cause you to be more dependent on God.

Secondly, Life is brief! “You are a mist". “Mist” in Greek is “atmos” where we get “atmosphere”. Your life is like fog; it rolls in, in the morning but it burns off by noon. Who knows how long we're going to live? None of us do.

How does the Bible describe your life? It uses phrases like a leaf, grass, shadow, cloud, puff of smoke, vapor. I don't know how long I'm going to live. Life is short. It goes so fast from hot wheels to wheelchairs.

Don't take tomorrow for granted. Isaiah 56:12 “Come, each one cries, ...Let us drink our fill! And tomorrow will be like today, or even better!”

Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

We love to announce our plans, to make our goals and declare them. God says it's great to have goals, but check in with Me first.

What's the solution? 2. Live one day at a time, that's how God says to face the future.

Matthew 6:34 “So don't be anxious about tomorrow - God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.”

The future could be overwhelming but fortunately it comes in bite-size pieces, a 24-hour segment at a time. Plan for the future but, but live now.

Life is what happens to us while we're planning something else.

Today is the Good Old Days you're going to talk about in 15 years. Enjoy now. Make the most of now.

The present time, that's all I have. That's all I have to give to this world, not next hour or next month but right now.

“I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” That's what counts. David said in Psalm 35:15 “Lord, my days are in your hands.”
Include God in your planning and make the most of today.

A third common mistake is…..
“Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it sins” verse 17. James is talking about procrastination. “I'm intending to do it.” Ever met somebody who is always “aiming to do it.”

We love to put off. James says that's a trap. How do you define sin? We think of evil activities: murder, adultery, cheating and stealing. Those are sins of commission. But there's another kind of sin - sins of omission. “To him who knows to do good and doesn't do it, it's sin.”

I can do nothing and still sin, because there are things I ought to be doing. Christianity is far more than simply avoiding evil. If all that the Christian life was, was a bunch of “don'ts” - don't do this, don't do that, then everybody who is dead would qualify as a Christian, because they don't do anything.

God says you don't have any guarantee of tomorrow, none at all. The solution is “do it now”.

Proverbs 3:27-28 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, `Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow' - when you now have it with you.”

If somebody comes to you and asks you a favor, don't say “tomorrow - later”. Don't procrastinate. If you can do it now, do it now.

You can do one of three things with your life: spend it, waste it or invest it. The best use of life is to invest it on something that is going to outlast it. Where I spend my time now may determine where I’ll spend eternity.

Invest your life in things that will last - make it count.
It doesn't matter how long you live if you're not doing anything with your life.

Am I making my life count or frittering it away on non-essentials, things that aren't going to count. God says, “Make your life count - do it now!”

Jesus told a story about talents. The master gave one talent to one man, five to another and ten to another. He left and came back years later. Two guys had doubled their money. The third man had taken his gold, buried it in the ground and did nothing with it. The master said, “At least you could have put it in a passbook account and got interest on it!” He said, “You wicked servant!” Why? What had he done? Nothing. Doing nothing with your life is bad. Make your life count.

Jesus told a story that illustrates what James is teaching in this passage of Scripture. He tells the story about a man who is very successful in life but he made a very foolish decision. He made the same mistakes that James talks about - all three mistakes. He planned without God. He presumed about tomorrow. He put off doing good.

Luke 12:16 “Jesus told them a parable, the ground of a certain rich man produced good crop [literally, abundant crop] and he thought to himself “What shall I do. I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store all my grain and my goods and I will say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink, be merry,” but God said to him ‘You fool. This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get all that you have prepared for yourself.”

This guy has ‘I’ problems - all he can see is himself. Doing ‘my’ thing for ‘me’. God says, “How dumb!” You don't know how long you're going to live.
Don't get morbid about it. Don't worry about it. The fact is, none of us have any certainty how long we're going to be here. Just consider that in your planning and do three things:
1. Plan with God
2. Don't presume on tomorrow
3. Don’t put off doing good.

You're not here by accident. You weren't made and created just to breathe and take up space, get up in the morning, go to work, come home and watch TV, go to bed, retire and die. There is more to life.
It starts when you give your life to Jesus. He becomes the manager of your life and He will direct you. Start by getting in tune with the Lord and establishing that relationship with Him.

If you only had a week left, how would you spend it? What would you do with your husband, wife, children? God says, live each day and each week as if it were your last. ….Ed Brouwer, D.V.