More than a Happy New Year

Imagine a rope 100 feet long. Grasp one end of the rope. Tightly wrap half-inch tape around the end. You now hold a half-inch section of rope bound by tape and a ninety-nine feet, eleven-and-a-half-inches of untapped rope. The half-inch of rope can represent your life span. The remainder of the 100 feet of rope represents eternity.

What am I willing to risk in this short life in order to make an eternal impact?

Am I willing to risk my life to follow Jesus? Perhaps that question is too generic.

Am I willing to risk my retirement account to follow Jesus? Now that’s getting personal!

Am I willing to miss seeing my grandkids grow-up in order to follow Jesus? Now that would be really tough with three five-year-olds and a two-year-old living nearby who are the cutest I know!

Am I willing to give up a day-off, a vacation, a quiet evening at home, a house, or my favorite chair in order to follow Jesus?

A man named Paul risked everything to follow Jesus. Opponents imprisoned him, lashed him 39 times on five occasions, beat him with rods three times, and stoned him once until presumed dead. He experienced shipwreck, great hunger, and hypothermia. (1 Corinthians 11)

Plus he felt the constant pressure of nurturing multiple churches. But he kept going even though he knew execution awaited him. He said …

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Acts 20:24 ESV

Your life will soon end! How will your half-inch of rope be evaluated? Sometimes we seem to live as if the one with the most toys wins. We know that’s a lie, but we do it anyway.

Three questions to ask as we evaluate for the New Year 2017:
  1. What is of real value to me in what I have left of this half-inch of rope?
  2. What specific ministry am I equipped for and will do that impacts eternity for the Lord Jesus?
  3. In all I do will I testify to the gospel of the grace of God?

May your New Year be “More than Happy!” Instead of a “Happy New Year,” may you have a truly “Meaningful New Year!” Start with memorizing Acts 20:24.

Our Father, give us perspective on what’s really important in life and eternity. We commit to live out of Acts 20:24 this new year.

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Go to BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media” for Sunday sermons. Please worship with us Sunday at 9am.

Heroes

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!
  • Look! Up in the sky!
  • It’s a bird!
  • It’s a plane!
  • It’s Superman!”

Who was your hero as a child? I was not overly attached to a superhero as a child, but if I had to name one, I would say Superman. He was that strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. He was the defender of law and order, champion of equal rights, and courageous fighter against hate and prejudice. He was disguised as mild-mannered Clark Kent, reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper who fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice.

The name Gabriel means ‘God’s Hero.’ Gabriel is God’s special messenger angel. On several occasions in the Bible, Gabriel is sent to earth to give important announcements.

Gabriel told the virgin Mary,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.”

Luke 1:35 ESV

‘God’s Hero’ announced the miraculous conception and coming birth of Jesus to Mary. What an amazing announcement! The implications of this statement are mind-boggling! The Messiah is coming! He is God Himself! He will come as a baby!

Like Gabriel, those who announce Jesus in the world today are God’s heroes too! God assigns this job to every follower of Jesus. In many places in the world today proclaimers of Jesus are tortured, killed, imprisoned, fired, separated from family, ridiculed, and beaten.

Over and over again in Scripture God commands us to tell others that salvation is in Jesus alone. The New Testament plainly states that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior, and the Redeemer for all mankind.

Jesus is my hero today! And my earthbound heroes are those followers of Jesus whose names we will not know until we get to heaven. They risk their lives, families, jobs, and freedoms to obey God!

This Christmas be a hero and announce the coming of Jesus! Do like the shepherds did after seeing the Christ child in Bethlehem who . . .

“returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

Luke 1:20

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Please worship with us Christmas Eve at 5 pm and Christmas Day at 10 am. Go to BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media” for more Fresh Bread or listen to Sunday sermons.

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Be a Hero!

Lost in the Shuffle

Christmas is a party, specifically, a birthday party! Why celebrate? What is the reason to celebrate the birth of a child born centuries ago?

At Jesus’ birth, the angel announced, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10) Here’s three good reasons to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

It is personal: “I bring YOU.” God sent Jesus to earth for YOU! The most quoted verse in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). The “world” is not just a planet He created, but YOU who live here. It is very personal when someone comes in person to see you instead of making a phone call or sending an email.

It is pleasing: “Good news of great joy.” Television news is usually sad, bad, or mad, but this news makes us GLAD! What great news this is: We who were once alienated from God are forgiven and restored to right relationship with Him. We who were destined to bust hell open are now on our way to heaven forever. The word gospel means good news and the gospel story is all about Jesus and his salvation.

It is powerful: “For all the people.” This news has the potential to change everyone’s life and eternity! There is no power shortage. The message of Jesus is the power of God for all who believe. The power of sin is great, just look around at all the injustice, fighting, cruelty and dishonesty. But the sin that cannot be controlled by any human device, is conquered by this baby born that first Christmas.

The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  The supernatural incarnation of this God-man in Mary’s womb and His birth nine months later is worth remembering and celebrating!

I can’t imagine having a birthday party for my grandchild and forgetting the child exists in the middle of all the ice cream, cake, gift wrap, and family. This year, don’t let the real meaning of Christmas get lost in the shuffle of all the tradition, food, travel, and shopping.

Father, thank-you for Jesus whom you sent to save us. We celebrate His arrival and welcome Him into our lives as Lord!