Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

UNCONDITIONAL

                                  
 
 
Unconditional

September 5, 2015


Isaiah 53:1-5 NKJV

                                                             


“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
 
Prices are not something people readily pay anymore. There is a price for everything. Generally speaking, the lower the price...the more you can lower the expectation connected to that item. Many people get married thinking that love will carry them. Essentially that is a true statement. Realistically, love is taxed to the maximum and stretched past its confines of comfort to truly make the accurate statement that it is love working. It not only takes love, but the willingness to allow love to take you to perimeters your flesh won’t even consider.

The kind of love that God had for us was that He sent a son with a like kind of love. It was a love that loved past insult and injury. We are talking about a love that puts itself last. This love is willing to experience rejection, ridicule, disdain, every kind of heartbreak and continue loving. This is a love that continues on when the one you thought could never be turned away looks the other way while every imaginable agony overtakes you. This is the love that Jesus has for us. 

Man has the less than unique ability to say one thing while totally intending to do another. His word for the most part is as worthless as a handful of sand. Once we meet Jesus, we gain a change of personality that will net for us the ability to don the persona and heart of the one who loves us past our faults. He is our sole hope...our one redeemer...our connection to true love. He is the one who’s life speaks into our hearts and teaches us the meaning of “Unconditional”.

Unconditional Love

 

I John 4:9-10 NKJV

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
 

A little further down in verse 19 of 1John, scripture confirms to us that the only reason we can love Him is that he first loved us. The ability to love is like the ability to walk or the ability to see. It becomes a part of who we are. It is ingrained into our lives to the point where we become dependent upon that ability. Imagine, if you will, being able to see for fifty years and all of a sudden losing that sense. Your very ability to navigate the simplest of tasks would literally become next to impossible. How about living for sixty years able to get out of bed, take care of everything to get ready...walk to the car...drive yourself to work...and then walk into that workplace, take on a busy day then bring yourself home again? Then consider losing that ability in one split second in an accident or illness. It would do worse than paralyze your legs...it would paralyze your heart and mind. 

Our God given ability to love is much like our motor skills. It requires usage...stretching...exercising...focusing...honing our hearts until we learn to love past the normal set points of humanity. The God love we aspire to is a love that moves past our approval or disapproval. It does not have a book of rules and regs for proper application. It loves unconditionally. Our journey as parents is one such preparation that God places in our lives to grow us in our capacity to love past our physical feelings. When Jesus went to the cross, he was in a state of total abandonment. No one was there to pay his fines...no one was there to suffer for him. No one took any blame. All of that went upon his back, and he did it all for love.
 

 

The Control Factor
 

 

Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV

““Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
 
This life is an obstacle course that is all about control. It is about what controls you. What can turn your head; what can make you or break you. It is about what moves us and what stops us. Are we following the Holy Spirit? Or are we pandering the flesh?  Is the Word of truth in control of our lives? Or is the lust of the flesh running things?

In Matthew 6, Jesus presents a discourse where he uses the word “worry” five times in the span of 10 verses. Worry is something that plagues us all. You may say that you do not worry, but many people tell themselves that only so that do not worry about the fact that they worry. Worry is the manifestation of the pressures and the plagues of this life that control us. Jesus is plain to tell us in these verses how well God takes care of the animals of his creation. He elaborates upon how vegetation is even cared for handsomely in his perfect government. When we trust the imperfect government...we worry. When the perfect government is running things in our lives, we are able to see things from a higher plane and we allow God the control he needs to rule and reign in our lives with his perfect peace that passes all understanding.




You can admire beauty but will you love past the scars?

 

Mark 2:13-17 NKJV

“Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.””

Many people have difficulty in their walk with God simply because they cannot handle the adversity that it creates in their life. Until you apprehend the mentality that without God you have nothing, this will be a recurring theme. Jesus spoke emphatically about leaving the 99 and going after the one. Many times the reason you have to go after the one is because the one is the outcast...the misfit.

So long as the church continues to pacify this elitist persona, not much will change in the realms of seeing the Glory of God.  Remember that signs and wonders are not for the assembly of the religious, but to first the unbeliever. You will find an incredible amount of unbelievers and apostates in the ranks of the winebibbers, tax collectors, prostitutes, and just plain sinners. The ugly spirit of the Pharisee will never permit their fineries to be soiled by the common clay of humanity. But the heart of God is to reach into the places where hope is a distant flame. Jesus read the life of the woman at the well like a penny novel which changed her life forever. The Roman guard saw his daughter healed. Under the thatched roof of a poor lame man, healing came to his house. The unclean woman risked her very life to just touch the hem of the garment of the one who could heal her. The man at the beautiful gate was forever delivered of his ugly problem.

We must love past the scars that the beauty of Jesus can shine through the least of these...if we do not, we labor in vain.

 

BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS THAT WAY

   Because THIS life is THAT way


 

 

 

 

1Jo 2:14-17 NKJV

 

“14  I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. 15  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

 

 

The Journey of faith is a war. It is a war of what you see and what you know. It is a war of flesh versus spirit. It is a war of good over evil. I have found that every day of my life presents a new opportunity to face an aspect of myself that I continually challenge to follow God rather than follow my instincts or my intellect.  The choice to follow God is indeed just that...it is a choice. Many in the world today place God in the same box they also place their problems when in fact, God is the answer to their problems.

 

Your faith can never be lumped in with the inconveniences of life, but instead, must be among the first responders when facing the hurdles of our day to day existence. There is a peace in knowing that there is someone bigger than you in every situation you face. There is a comfort in having a God who is a holy God whose heart is ever toward you and never against you.

 

You see when I was a kid, there were places called gas stations and they sold fuel for your car, soft drinks for your thirst, a clean restroom for your convenience and maps. These gas stations had maps...free....wonderful...maps.  And these free gas station maps could get you from New York to L.A. They could navigate you through the streets of a big city or help you find the world’s biggest ball of string in Cawker City, Kansas. Jesus is our free map. But so many will not stop to receive his navigation. They just drive on fueled by pride and famished by the heat of this life. We need God’s direction...we need Jesus...Because THIS life...is THAT way.

 

 

 

Hold on to the cross till the cross has hold of you
 

I Corinthians 1:18-21 NKJV


“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
 
If you ever owned a “rabbit’s foot”, then you are a victim of superstition. It’s funny how some things in this life are considered innocent superstition and other things are considered compulsive behavior. We live in a time when the single icon of hope is becoming unfashionable. The cross of Christ is our hope and our salvation.  You can no more call the cross a religious relic than you can call a lifeboat nautical decoration.

I don’t know about you...but I consider the cross my lifeboat. I will hold on until it has hold of me. Until I feel the arms of God wrap around me in a calming embrace, I will hold on to the knowledge that Jesus died and rose again, for me.

 

Don't stop believing no matter what your head tells you.

 

Romans 8:5-8 NKJV

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
 Most of the things that have gotten me into trouble in this life have come straight out of my head. You see the head contains the intellect. The head retains the knowledge. Lies do not start in your heart...they emanate from your head.  A lie is the mechanism that goes into action trying to cover something the heart knows was wrong. Fortunately, God wired these two entities together and if you listen closely, their interplay can be quite entertaining.

The carnal mind is the first thing that says “give up the ship”. The carnal mind is the culprit when hopelessness sets in. The carnal mind is the thing that tells you to quit. It goes to work convincing your heart that all is lost.  In Mark 5 (35) amidst the news that a ruler from the synagogue was there to seek Jesus for his daughter who had died....Jesus remarked “Only Believe.” He went on to the ruler’s house and raised the young girl from the very grip of death. That wasn’t done with the head, but with the power of faith.


Faith is the substance of things hoped for

Reality is the shrapnel of its own aftermath.

 

Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV

 



“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

 

We have so much faith in the tangible...the concrete. I recently had an epiphany. (I hate that word) I realized that you can only announce something “new” one time. After that people get really irritated with you. Imagine someone who comes to you and says, Let’s go have lunch! I know a great little place...we can take my new car! The second time you invade their airspace about your “new” car, they will wince. The third or fourth time...they may throw something at you...either physically or verbally. Something is only new ONCE. That holds true for everything in all of creation except for God’s mercy...it is NEW every morning.

The things brought about by faith are the things in this life that count. Faith produces substance. The things produced by this world can be destroyed, ended by natural causes. We just crossed the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina yesterday.  I’m kind of sick of hearing about it, honestly. There’s nothing new there. However, we were here on the ground within hours after it came through. I learned a new level of destruction. The whole place looked like a nuclear bomb went off. As we would drive the streets and highways on either side, there were continuous ten foot piles of the debris of people’s lives mixed with fallen pine trees and mangled building materials. You would see children’s toys and loved pieces of furniture and housewares. There would be dad’s comfy recliner and mom’s decorations from the kitchen. You would see the most intimate artifacts of a family shoved to the side of the road waiting for a dump truck to haul it away.

When you trust in the toys of this life, the clock to its end is ticking. When your heart is set on faith, there is a continual source of miracles waiting to happen. Whenever God brings me something new...it is not its own reward. It is simply the reminder that my God has something on the way even newer.  Don’t give up. Never say never...trust in God. Don’t count on this life...because THIS life...is THAT way. 

THE TRULY RELEVANT CHURCH

THE TRULY RELEVANT CHURCH

                                August 16, 2015


Matthew 16:15-19

 

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.””
Matthew 16:15-19 NKJV

“Who do you say that I am?” It’s the question that should spark a fire in all of us who call upon the name of the Lord. For it is that divine revelation that drives us to follow this Jesus. It compels us to seek His face, to long for His presence, to maintain us until the day when we finally meet him in Glory. It should be the answer to each time we experience doubt, every time we face insurmountable odds, every time we need an answer to a problem in life. We should feel comfortable enough with our identity in Christ to say to ourselves, “Who is this Jesus we serve...and our answer should be...He is the Christ...the SON of the LIVING GOD.

I just love pseudo psychological speak, especially among those of us who identify ourselves as Christians. So now we do not talk about our faith, instead, we “dialog” about “issues” within our “belief system.” And a bigger load of horse manure has never been spotted on land. You see, there is all of this talk about being relevant. There must be relevancy to the church or the church becomes irrelevant and therefore another word sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb and that word is “dysfunctional”. Jesus did not come to die for our sins to bring relevancy to the church, he came to bring hope to the Lost; healing to the sick; life to the dead.

If we are reading the verses here in Matthew 16 correctly, we are seeing Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords say that through divine revelation, God has brought about the appearance of the Son of Man upon the earth that he might establish a spiritual place where those who find him may also be near Him and have access to his power and life that we might flourish upon the earth and that no power in Hell can in any way affect the plans that have been set in motion in heaven. Today, I want to dialog about what is relevant according to the Word of God. Putting to rest the inane distractions social correctness helps us to focus upon what is truly important where God’s divine plan is concerned. So that we can put aside all of the foolishness and concentrate upon doing his work, we must wrap our affections around what is the truly relevant church.

 

Church is a place of Impartation ...spoken into

 

Romans 1:8-12

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Romans 1:8-12 NKJV
From the earliest biblical times, God has always shown himself as an equipper. God placed man in the garden, created an entire world around him, gave him company...everything he needed to flourish...and even gave him a set of rules by which he could live. God imparted to Moses, Moses imparted to Joshua. The prophets imparted to hearers. Jesus imparted to disciples, Disciples to the early church, Paul imparted to Timothy. The Bible is sixty six books of impartation. It is impartation of Wisdom, History, Instruction, and even prophecy.

If the church ceases to be a place of impartation, it also ceases to be. From full congregational meetings to small one on one encounters, the church is only the church when she is sharing life and hope and the message of salvation that Jesus imparts to us. Here in Romans 1, Paul wanted desperately to get to the people at the church at Rome that he might impart spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifting is a necessity of spiritual life, just as blood is a necessity to for physical life. A church without God’s spirit is called a club. Many people belong to health clubs here in this town. They are a great place to work out...they fulfill a sociological need in our community, but they do not reach into the soul of man and change the things that linger in places we cannot treat with diet and exercise.

The church must be a place of impartation. It must be a storehouse of God’s spirit where we can draw from each other, the life that comes when we pray for one another. It must be the funnel where worship brings encouragement and power into our spirit man that we might be empowered to spread the Gospel as God intended. The relevant church does not simply deliver a packaged product. It breathes. It imparts. It does Just as Jesus did when he breathed upon the disciples and said, “receive ye the Holy Ghost”.



Implementation ...used of the Lord

 

Mark 10:42-45


“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
Mark 10:42-45 NKJV

When I think of how it all started, the term “thronging crowd” comes to mind. I think of how there was a need on hillside and Jesus showed up. People were hungry and there was no food. Jesus did not go into fundraising mode. He found a kid’s lunch...a happy meal. He turned it into a loaves and fishes miracle. He knew that many only endured the sermon because there was food, but Jesus also knew that he was being used of the Father to bring about a miracle that would ignite faith and hope all over the region. The relevant church is all about implementation. It is about being used of the Lord. It’s not about padded rocking chair stadium seats; it’s about getting out of those seats and seeing your life used for something outside the scope of serving yourself.

 

James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” I think that is about as relevant as it gets. At some point, the church decided to go from being an extrovert to becoming an introverted church. It became about getting people to come to us. Thus we entered the numbers game. The success or failure of a church became connected to the population of that group. Population then presents the need for facility and that places economic burden upon the church to maintain these facilities which trap the church in that introverted mindset. The church is not the building...the church is the faithful who gather inside that building. That church must be filled with those who are not there to be served...but to serve. Pastors have ceased being fathers and have become facilitators. Remember that the work of the fivefold ministry is to serve....to equip others for the work of the ministry. The truly relevant church is a place of implementation...a place where we are used of the Lord.




Implantation ...rooted

 

Hebrews 10:19-25


“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:19-25 NKJV

 

“Busy”...it’s a word that has become way overused in present day society. We have become so busy that we have cable and satellite television that offers hundreds of channels of diversion and distraction. And if that isn’t enough, we have palm sized contraptions that can offer us any type of entertainment we desire while we are busy waiting for appointments, or a table at a restaurant, or just “busy” at home. Honestly, no one is busy unless they elect to be. New national figures came out showing that the bulk of U.S. households attend church two or less times a month. Most cite their “busy” lives as the reason. It is interesting that these figures do not mesh with other statistics that show most people in the U.S. still eating 2 or more times a day on average. The popularity of Starbucks is another interesting piece of Data showing that at least 70% of the working national population finds their way to a Starbucks at least twice a month. We spend hours of busy time in drive up lines at fast food restaurants and even more hours in line waiting to check out at big box discount stores. Church gets bumped to last place as the choice to abort from one’s schedule as having no time to go.

The truly relevant church is a place of implantation. Just as a seed must bury itself in fertile soil to see growth, fruit, and seed to replicate...so must one find...must make the time...to be in the assembly of the faithful. Without it you will die. Just as a seed cannot grow into anything on the scorching surface of an interstate highway...neither can the human soul prosper in the continual assault of the world without Christian fellowship to nurture the gifts and callings within a person. Yet the so called relevant church touts itself as the revolving door environment where you come and go as you please without concern, directly flying in the face of what Paul the Apostle said in Hebrews 10 about forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. He even warned that we were to pay special attention to this deficit as we drew closer to the return of Jesus. This is not so we can all be at our desk in our class when the principal makes the rounds...but so that we do not become crushed and decimated by a world that is making itself plain as being a hater of God.  The truly relevant church is a place of implantation. A place where we root, and grow, and flourish, and replicate.

GOD'S TRANSFORMING POWER

          God’s Transforming Power

                                       August 9, 2015

 

 

“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."” (Zep 3:17 NKJV)

 

 

Of all of the things that God does in our life, his transformation is among the greatest. Everyone has their own experiences, but I personally have seen with my eyes murderers become humbled vessels in the hand of the Lord. I have seen drug addicts and alcoholics reformed. I have seen those who had given up on themselves lifted up and converted into powerhouses for God. t simply, there is no limitation to what God can do within the confines of a surrendered life.

He can take the most broken of things and transform them into something that does not even remotely resemble its former image. Our God is a transforming God. He is the God that made everything from nothing. He is the God who took a stutterer and changed him into a mighty leader. He turned water into wine...death into life...night into day....and he does it in the great and in the small.

I ask that for the next moments of your time, that you remove the blinders of this natural realm in which we live and peer into the eyes of the God who can change your situation. I ask that you allow Him to come in and examine and rummage through what we consider to be a junkyard filled with our failures and the assembled wreckage of our lifetime. I ask that you open your heart to God’s greatest role in your life....that of His transforming power.

                        

 

 

 

 

When your mind changes your results change...

Philippians 4:8 NKJV


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Romans 12:2 speaks to us of the renewing of our minds. There is nothing on this earth that poses such a deadly threat to our future as the human mindset. It can become fixed upon a place that can literally anchor us in sickness, in poverty, in negativity about who we are and how God sees us. The things we allow our minds to dwell upon are the things that we will become if we do not gain control of these rogue thoughts.

Ever heard of the old adage “getting up on the wrong side of the bed”? It is more than a wrong adage, it has a spiritual basis and it can literally affect an entire season of your life. It involves how we perceive our lives from the very early point in the day. Someone will say something and you immediately retort, “I’m having a bad day”. Now who in the world determined that? Did the department of bad days drop by and give you a citation for one bad day? Or was it a mindset that you locked in before seeking God to see what he had to say about it?

Our minds have dwelling points. We can begin to dwell on all of the negative things that our world has presented to our minds or we can go through our list of God’s “whatevers”...true, noble, just, pure, and so on. Have you noticed that the first one God’s word begins with there is “true”? That is not an accident. Satan’s plan to derail our minds early in the game is to begin by getting us to believe a lie. When we allow God’s transforming power to change our minds, the results just naturally follow His pattern of goodness.



When your heart changes your life changes...

Proverbs 23:6-7 NKJV


“Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.”
 
The heart of the believer is his operations epicenter. Your heart can jumpstart every other area of your life. This is why God touches the heart of an unbeliever to lead him to Christ rather than going after his mind. As we mentioned earlier, an unchanged mind can be a disaster on just the daily tasks we are faced with. Imagine if that thing controlled our eternal disposition. Here in proverbs we are directed toward the dangers of allowing our heart’s desires to be pointed toward earthly things. It uses the example of a miser, but this is honestly the world’s system. Watching the recent GOP debates on YouTube, it occurred to me that I was looking at 12 men who were all vying for the same job. While the words that came from their lips were noble and concerned and sincere, I wondered how many of them would be left were the moderator to tell them that the job was without salary, they would have to live in a 1200 square foot three bedroom two bath home...that there would be no jet, only airfare in coach. No security, no retirement, no glamor, no glory...only four years of hard closely examined work for which they were held 100 per cent accountable? I could see them dropping their stones and walking away one by one life the men ready to stone the woman at the well.

Lt. Colonel James Doolittle, One of the heroes of the World War II Pacific Theater, said “there’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer”. When your heart is right, your motives are right...when your motives are right your life changes. You become at peace with yourself. Greed drives this world. There is no peace in greed. There never will nor can there ever be. As you think in your heart....so are you. Your life is made up of the elements of the environment in which you immerse yourself. When God is given dominion over your heart, he changes motive; he redirects your passions. Greed may sit you down at his table and say “Eat and enjoy!” but his heart is not with you. He is only interested in what he can obtain from his baiting you to his table. A changed life requires a changed heart...and good news....God is in the heart changing business.


 

 

When your spirit changes your destiny changes...

Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV



“that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

The heart and the mind are connected to one more element; that being the spirit. God is deeply concerned with the condition and the origin of the spirit in which we live out our time here. Because of our free wills, God must be invited into our hearts...we must ask him to change the way we think, but His Holy Spirit is what changes our eternal destiny. Once we make the Holy Spirit ours, once we embrace him into our hearts and minds...once this transformation is complete by putting off the old man and renew our spirit’s by putting on the new man contained within the Holy Spirit, do we see a dimensional change in our future.

Attachment to this world seems to have become almost an obsession. Everything we do seems to be consumed with just making it day to day or becoming secure according to the world’s definition. Insurance companies tout words like security and safety. Banks talk about future and planning...but while good financial planning in this life is the responsible thing to do, how many of us consider the eternal ramifications of the footprint left on this earth by each of our lives. God’s destiny is eternal. It outlives our mortality. It gives us true purpose. It is the hope of not just the next generation, but every generation until Jesus returns and the fruits are harvested in eternity. When God changes our spirit...When His Holy Spirit takes control....there is nothing we cannot do.

 

 

                                                                                                        

And so begins August 2015

Monday Morning, August 3, 2015

This Past Sunday, our congregation at House of Joy had the honor and privilege to hear from our co-pastor and my amazing wife of 34 years, Leslie Bailey Roques. She preached a powerful word on communion and its indispensable relevance to our time here on earth and living for God with an understanding of the empowerment given us through that holiest of sacraments. I, with her kind permission, intend to post the notes to this blog so that all who are in our extended internet family might be blessed with the same awesome word that was shared here in our sanctuary at House of Joy.

In other news, this past weekend, Leslie and I had the difficult task of assisting some dear friends and members of our church in saying goodbye to their stillborn son. I prayed earnestly all week for something to say that would be of comfort, strength and solace to the family who gathered in our church Saturday night. One thing that I experience nearly every waking hour of my life (and even unknowingly as I sleep) is Jesus never fails. Though this life is fleeting and fickle, God never sleeps, nor doth he slumber. He has given us mercy and grace to live in this fragile life and make our way to the finish line and eternity with Him. I wanted to pass along to you the thoughts that he gave me for that special time.

 

God bless and love you!

 

Pastor Larry

 

 

     Say hello to say goodbye


“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 NKJV


No life without reason...we are all here as part of a master plan designed by the master. It is not ours to question the design of the Master, only to trust Him...to love Him...to lay our lives before Him...and know that the grand landscape of creation is His to have for His good pleasure. We are to trust, knowing that His life is the life that endures every trial, every pain, every challenge...and His amazing plan will be unfolded to us in due season.

No life without purpose...we learn from the life experience of everyone, no matter how long or short our earthly time. There is reason behind everything in God’s creation. It did not seem in the best of sense to us to send an only son for a world unaware of our need for Him. In the grand design, we would be in a desperate situation without the price that Jesus paid. From the greatest to the small...we all have an integral part in God’s plan.


No life without cost... Our lives are an investment. God plants a spark that ignites into a fire that affects everyone we encounter. Nothing ventured...nothing gained is more than simply a colloquial euphemism...it is our stake in the responsibility given us as children of God. It is one way His creation worships Him. Costless Christianity is becoming en vogue in these times. People who endure costs are sometimes seen as failing or faltering. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If we trust the picture of God’s Kingdom that he paints through each of us, we better understand that the costs in this life are simply rites of passage to what great things lay ahead. There is no great gain without great loss. Our scriptures prove this on every page. It is sometimes hard to accept costs, but they are a part of this life.


No life without Jesus ...we cope with this mortal life. We say hello only to say goodbye in the flesh realm. But God...But God paid the ultimate price that this life might only be the temporary portal, the greenroom that leads us to true life...to lasting life....to the life that has overcome the sting of death....the life that is only found in Jesus.

We all say hello in this life only to say goodbye. The only difference is time intervals. Some have ninety years, some 90 minutes...some only seconds. For all who are in Jesus, that goodbye leads to an eternal welcome into a heaven that knows no goodbyes...no pain...no sorrow. There is but one hello to those who enter into God's courts who are in Christ Jesus....

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