Let’s Go Diving

 

 

I would like to mention before you begin reading the post that this is a sermon I am currently working on to share at my youth group. Therefore there will be instances where I say, “my sermon” or “I’m going to talk about…” Just know that I wrote it with speaking in mind. Anyways, I am beginning my post with a verse from the song “How He Loves.” While you read the lyrics, think about the words and meaning. Picture in your mind the wonderful love our Creator has for us.

“We are his portion and He is our prize. Drawn to Redemption by the grace in his eyes. If Grace is an Ocean we’re all sinking. And Heaven meets Earth like an unforeseen kiss. And my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way That he loves us.”

Now I am going to repeat the verse. But instead of using grace, I’m replacing it with love.

“We are his portion and He is our prize. Drawn to Redemption by the love in his eyes. If Love is an Ocean we’re all sinking. And Heaven meets Earth like an unforeseen kiss. And my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way That he loves us.”

And with that being said, the title of my sermon is “Let’s Go Diving.”

If Love is an Ocean we’re all sinking. This line states a simple fact. Which is that God’s love for us is vast, deep and unconditional.

You know I’ve always been fascinated with diving. There’s a sense of adventure and also danger to it. You are in uncharted territory where anything could happen. When you go diving you go into a whole nother world, one nothing like our own.

And in these ways, it’s the same with God’s love. Well actually, with God. The reason I say this is because God is love. 1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” When you read 1 Corinthians 13:4 -where it says Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast and later love never ends- Paul is describing God. God is everything that Paul says love is.

When you dive deeper and deeper into God and his love, like diving,you enter a new world,

You begin seeing things differently. You see the world through God’s perspective and not your own. It  also becomes an adventure and dangerous. Not dangerous in a bad way, but in a good way. A good way because God’s love will change your life, you will begin to love and be joyful and you will become a threat to the world and to the enemy.

Did you really think God was safe? Let me read you one of my favorite quotes. It comes from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Lucy and Mr. Beaver are talking about Aslan (who symbolizes God) and Lucy asks if Aslan is safe. To which Mr. Beaver says, “Safe? don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

God’s dangerous. He’s fierce, he’s a warrior, the King of Kings, the beginning and the End, an all consuming fire, anything but safe. But he’s good, he’s just and merciful to the ones he loves. And his love is dangerous, fierce and an all consuming fire.

A consuming fire that will set everything on fire, it will set your life on  fire and it will burn so bright and hot that it spreads to the next person and the next and the next, and pretty soon your whole school, the county, the state, the country, and the world will be ablaze for the love of God. That’s the kind of danger you’re in when you dive in to his love.

If you don’t believe me, look at Christianity. It exists because of God’s love. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus came to the Earth as an act of LOVE. He Died because HE LOVES US. And that love consumed the apostles, and they began to love and it spread. Now, 2,000 years later, Christianity has 2,100,000,000 adherents. But the Pew Research Center stated that Islam will Surpass Christianity in numbers in this century.

If Christianity grew because of love, God’s Love, why are we not growing as much? Why is a religion that only spreads hate and violence going to surpass Christianity? Why are people appalled with the church? And it’s simple, the church is only in knee high water.  It’s because the church has become lukewarm.

There was a point in time where Christians were deep within God’s love. There was a time where people were witnessing God’s love. There was a time where Westboro Baptists and other groups were nearly nonexistent.

But now, now most churches only care about numbers. How many people  can they entertain on Sunday, how can we become wealthy. The church as a whole has put God’s love on the back burner.  

It’s time to swim out to open ocean and dive into God’s love. It’s time that we show the world what a true Christian is like, It’s time to show them Jesus. We have to go diving. We have to take a chance and be consumed with the fire of God’s love.  That’s the only way the world will change. The world and America will not change and become better with Trump or with Clinton. If anything it will become worse with either of them. It can only become a better place and a safer place when we show the world God’s love.

It doesn’t matter if they are white, black, Hispanics, middle eastern, Asians, cops, thugs, gay, straight, Americans, North Koreans, or even ISIS. God’s love and grace is for everyone. And once we as the church realize that, things will become different.

Before I tell what showing God’s love is like, we must first understand why God’s love is so important. Love is the backbone of everything. God created the earth, the moon, and the stars out of love for his Son. He loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to die a painful death so that we don’t have too. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” He writes earlier in the chapter “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all his mysteries an making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump’ and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” You could be the so called “perfect christian” but if you don’t love, you’re NOTHING. I could preach the rest of my life, but if I do not love, I just wasted my breath. You HAVE to love.

If you are a follower of Christ there is no choice but to love. They say you can see a lot about a person’s character by their fruits. If you profess to be a Christian but you aren’t truly loving, people will see you as a hypocrite. See love is super important. Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are 1. Love God and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments encompasses the rest of the ten commandments. All the ten commandments say is to either love God, or Love your neighbor.

When you are IN LOVE (God) you will do everything the bible says to do. Everything Jesus says to do. Why? Well because it’s showing love. The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is not about being fair and kind as others as much as it’s about loving your neighbor as yourself and therefore showing God’s love. The whole Bible is pretty much about 4 things. God’s Grace, God’s Love, God’s Power, and God’s Holiness.

So  now what does showing God’s love look like? Here are a few examples.

  1. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” It’s loving and respecting your spouse or if you’re dating, your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s caring about their spiritual needs as much as the physical desires and needs.
  2. It’s setting an example for your peers at school to follow. It’s rising above conflict and not stooping down to other’s levels. It’s not using the same language they use and not laughing at jokes that you shouldn’t laugh at.
  3. It’s standing up for what’s holy, just, and right. It’s saying no to abortion and homosexuality. It’s saying “I will NOT divorce my spouse.” And to the dudes here, it’s Respecting women and standing up for them, it’s realizing that they are PRICELESS and deserve to be treated as such.
  4. It’s helping people in their times of need.

Showing God’s love is not that complex but yet, we are afraid to do it. Maybe it’s because we are afraid we will lose friends or become less popular. I struggle with that fear too. But wouldn’t it be worth it? Wouldn’t it be worth being hated for doing what’s right rather than sitting on the sidelines watching the world go to hell in a hand-basket? I mean there’s people who already want us dead because we call ourselves Christians. We might as well suck it up and love the very ones that hate us.

I’m diving in, are you?

Victory! Sweet Victory!

 

Our King was dead, but death could not hold him. He is alive today. Will anybody say Amen? Death lost it’s sting! Hell has no victory! The bondage of sin has been broken.

Jesus has set us free. He died for everyone, not just the super religious, but for the lowest of the lows. He died for the murderer, rapist, and thief. He died for YOU! No one is to far gone for Christ.

That’s the good news! You can be free today. You can be loved today. You can be forgiven today. If you don’t know Christ, let me tell you something. Jesus faced the wrath of God, his father, so you don’t have too. He died so you can live. If you accept him as your Lord and Savior- as your King- you can live. He will love you like no other. He will set you free from anything and everything. He will forgive you, even for the worst act you’ve done.

You can have victory today! God is the only god that would willingly die for his people. He is the only god that you don’t have to please. He knows your not perfect, he knows you’ll screw up, but he loves you anyway. God said, “I love these people. I don’t want to pour out my wrath on them. I’ll give them a chance. I’ll send my son, my only son, to die for them. I’ll pour my wrath out on HIM instead. And then, my son will rise again. My son will have the victory over death!”

When he died, he wrote the check paying the price for everyone, and when he rose again, the check went through. You don’t have to do anything to go to Heaven. In fact you can’t do anything. The only way to Heaven-actually the only way to God- is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Some people say that you make him your Lord, but you don’t. He IS Lord. All you do is surrender to him and submit yourself under his authority.

If you want to be loved, forgiven, and freed, pray this prayer:

“Father, I know that I have sinned against you. I deserve death, but you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for me. He died so I may live. Thank you Father for sending Jesus to die. But Jesus did not stay dead. He rose again and was victorious.  Now Father, I accept you as my Lord and Savior. I acknowledge you as my King. I repent from my sins and turn to you for guidance. I want a personal relationship with you God. Fill me Lord, with your Holy Spirit. Guide me and use me God. Thank you for loving me even when I was your enemy. I love you God.  In Jesus name, Amen.”

 

If you prayed this prayer for the first time or renewed your relationship with God, welcome to the family. There’s a party going on right now in Heaven for you right now.

 

Here’s what you should do now:

  1. Tell someone- Tell someone you trust like a family member or a close friend. You can email me @ j-randolph@hotmail.com or jjrandolph2000@gmail.com
  2. Find a church- Finding a church is very important. You will learn and grow closer to God in a church. It will also provide you with guidance and support.
  3. Get a Bible- There is no better way to get closer to God than through the God’s word!
  4. Ask questions- If you have a question, ask someone. Questions can lead to doubt if unanswered. But you can also grow in knowledge with the right answers.

 

 

 

If you have accepted Jesus or want to reach out to someone who doesn’t, share this post on Facebook or any other social media site. Everyone needs a chance to hear the Gospel. Thanks!

 

 

 

I’ll Go, Send Me!”

This weekend (Nov. 13-14) I went to a Youth Convention. Elevation Worship lead worship- if you haven’t heard them before you need to look them up right now- and Chad Veach spoke Friday night and Saturday Afternoon. Saturday morning the DYD, which is the District Youth Director of the Assemblies of God, spoke. His name is Douglas Witherup. Pastor Doug is an amazing guy. He’s a great leader and he takes time for the youth.

Well anyways, he spoke about Isaiah 6:8, which says “And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” I spoke up, “I’ll go send me!”” I’ll go, send me. Let me repeat that one more time. I’ll go, send me! Isaiah heard God asking “Who will represent me? Who will speak for me?” and Isaiah said, “Me, Let me do it.”

And God looked at him. In later verses he pretty much said, “Isaiah, let me tell you something. I wish this isn’t what will happen, I hope I’m wrong, but you will be hated. You will be rejected. The very people that you love will turn their backs on you. They won’t listen, but you still will press on. You will be alone out there, but you will continue.”

Pastor Doug asked us three questions. The first is, ‘Are you willing to be used by God?” In other words, are you willing to get dirty, are you willing to go to places that no one else will go? Are you willing to be His hands and feet?

The second question, which is the hardest question is, “Are you willing to be rejected?” If you are used by God you will be rejected. Are you ok with that? Are you willing to say yes to the cross, and no to the world?

The third question is, “Are you willing to say, ‘Here am I, send me?” Are you willing to answer the call? Are you willing to stand up when everyone else sits down?

And during the service, I had this ache in my spirit. It began during worship. And as Doug spoke, it just got more prominent. And then I heard God say to me, “Stop being afraid to speak about me! Use your voice. Stop being quite. You will lose friends, people won’t look at you the same. But Will you listen? You told me you would go, now I’m telling you to go!” And I told him yes. Yes I will go. Yes I will listen.

Finally, God showed me this image. And this image has been in my mind ever since March, after Fine Arts. It just kept popping up. And yesterday morning it just got super clear. The image was of me speaking in front of thousands. The stage looked like the stage at Youth Convention and I realized, that I don’t want to stay at one church. I want to go and speak all over the place. I want to speak at youth conventions and stuff like that.

In closing, let me just repeat Isaiah 6:8, “And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? I spoke up, “I’LL GO SEND ME!” I answered the call, will you?

In The Presence of The King

king

Kings are royal. They are majestic. Kings are awe inspiring. In the presence of a king you are made to bow down. You are to worship them. But there is one King that is the definition of royal. He is more majestic than any other king in the world. His very name is awe inspiring. In the presence of the King you bow down because you can’t stand. You worship the King because He is the only one worthy of praise.

In the presence of the King of kings there is tears of joy, there is laughter, dancing, and praise. In the presence of the King you are protected. You are in the Holy of hollies. There is no time for sadness, or pain.

In the presence of the King, there is victory. No other king can do what he does. No other king is worthy. In the presence of no other king can you find peace. Every other king fails. Every king falls and bows down to the feet of God.

In the presence of the King is where I long to be.

Barabbas, Who in the World Was He?

Reading the famous story of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion, you come across this man who is on death row. This man is named Barabbas. During the Holy Days (at this moment it was Passover) Pilot would allow the people of Israel chose one person to be set free. So he, Pilot, allowed them to choose either Jesus or Barabbas. Pilot believed that they would choose Jesus because he saw no fault in Jesus. I mean why would he? Jesus is the Son of God. Barabbas on the other hand was a terrorist, a murderer and was a leader of thieves.

To Pilot’s surprise (and probably Barabbas’) they chose Barabbas. They chose the murderer, the thief. They chose the one who deserved to die. The people called out “We want Barabbas! Crucify Jesus! Crucify him!” But Jesus understood. He stood there willingly. He saved Barabbas’ life. He basically said “Go live your life. I’ll take care of your punishment.” He knew very well that Barabbas left without any thought of what happened. He knew that Barabbas wouldn’t cry out to God and change his ways. He still gave up his own life for him! The cross Jesus died on was a cross meant for Barabbas.

But who was Barabbas? Are you confused? Let me rephrase the question. Who is Barabbas? I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. We are Barabbas. We were the ones standing beside Jesus, bound in chains. The people were calling out our names. They were calling out “We want Jeremiah!” “We want Randy! “We want Savannah!” and so on and so on. Jesus looked at us and said “Go on. You are free. I will pay the price for your crimes. Live you life.” I am the murderer that was meant to be on the cross. You are the thief who was meant to be punished.

But because Jesus loves us so much, he gave up his own freedom and took our place on that cross. The only person who never sinned his whole life died a sinner’s death. Jesus broke no laws, but yet he was killed as if he broke every law. And he did it all for me. All for you. Jesus even said “Father forgive them. For they do not know what they are doing.”

So now you know who Barabbas is.

Glimpse of Heaven

 

Skillet

Saturday night I went to Winter Jam. If you don’t know what Winter Jam is, it’s a big concert with multiple bands. This year Skillet, Jeremy Camp, and For King and Country were some of the artists. What I love about Winter Jam is the fact that Christians from every denomination goes and worships together. They don’t care what denomination the person sitting next to them belongs to. That’s what Heaven is going to be like.

Heaven is going to be one huge concert. It’s going to be loud and fun. The music is going to be like the music we have now. I’m sad to say this but it might not be singing old hymns. I mean why would it? We are going to worship the King of kings! It’s going to be amazing! The music is going to be like Skillet and Jeremy Camp. It’s going to be like For King and Country and Brit Nicole. If we’re going to be in Heaven for eternity, it would get pretty boring singing hymns all the time. But the CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) is fun, and energetic. It wouldn’t be that boring.

Winter Jam is a glimpse of Heaven because it brought Christians together. We worshiped God together.