Shane and Denise Jeter

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on June 11, 2018 – 10:30 am -

God’s Got Your Back

“And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.  And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, “What question ye with them?”

– Mark 9:14-16

 

A crowd comes looking for Jesus.  In that crowd, there are members of the religious leadership.  You know the story; these religious leaders are always looking for a way to trip Him up.  But this time, Jesus isn’t there, so they decide to go after His men. So, they begin to argue and fuss at the disciples.

 

But there’s something I want you to see in this passage that I believe will bless you.  It’s in verse sixteen. As Jesus, Peter, James and John come down from the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus doesn’t go up to His disciples and say, “Okay guys, what are you talking to the religious leadership about?”  No, Jesus goes to the religious leadership and says, “What are you debating, discussing, and arguing about with them?”

 

When I take in everything being said in this passage, verse sixteen tells me a blessed truth – Jesus has my back.  If I will stand for Him, He will fight for me!

 

Friends, unlike earthly kingdoms, that are defined by a group of people, politics or slogans, the Kingdom of God is defined by the nature of its King – Jesus.  The more we pray, meditate and imitate Him, the more Kingdom life will be lived through us. This is important because Mark’s gospel says, “The Kingdom of God has come.”  Meditate on the words has come, for a moment. This does not mean that we live our daily lives for self and someday when we get to heaven we’ll have a mansion on the hilltop.  What it does mean is that we don’t have to wait for the Kingdom of God to come – it’s already here. That’s what this section of Mark’s Gospel is all about, how to live in the Kingdom today! 

 

What does that have to do with the passage above?  Well, here’s the nugget of truth. When you live for Jesus and walk in the fullness of God, Jesus will fight for you.  When the enemy comes and tries to pull you down – He’s got your back!


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“Rooted” with Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on May 27, 2018 – 7:51 am -

Compassion Recognized

Mark 1:40-42

Today, a leper comes to Jesus.

With nowhere else to turn. No place else to go. This broken creation makes his way to the Master Artist.

Have you ever noticed that wherever you find Jesus, you usually find crowds of people? Except for those solitary times of prayer—there are always crowds of people—and usually at least twelve guys somewhere in the shadows.

Many times, we see hundreds. Sometimes there are even thousands. There’s just something about Jesus that seems to draw a crowd. Today would be no different. Jesus has been advancing the Kingdom. Matthew puts this event in chapter eight, right after the Sermon on the Mount. If that’s accurate then the crowd would have surrounded Jesus.

Do you see it?

Jesus is surrounded by the multitude.

Everyone seems to be captivated by His presence. That is, everybody except for the group of people toward the back. They’re whispering, pointing. What’s the distraction?  

You’re there. You’re part of the crowd. Go ahead. Turn around and see what’s happening.

Looking in the direction where one is pointing, you see him. He’s hobbling toward the crowd—toward you. You can’t help but notice hisunkempt hair, torn clothing, and covered face.

Gasp!

It’s a leper.

“Hey! What’s he doing here?”

“Someone lasso the trash and drag him back to where he belongs!” You notice those around you covering their noses, and you smell it, too—the odor of decaying flesh. The stench of rotting skin is unmistakable. Several begin to gag.  

But the leper continues. He’s not looking at the crowd.

He’s focused on an audience of One.

The people know if they breathe the same air, touch the same ground then they, too, will be defiled. So they back away.

But look! As the multitude parts . . . Jesus stands firmly in place, unwavering. Undaunted. Unafraid.

This leper continues toward Jesus with hishead cast down, ashamed of his condition andfearing for his life. Watching from a distance, you see him fall on his face before Jesus.

We listen as he begins to worship at His feet. We hear him as he begins to speak. Listen to his trembling voice. What’s he saying?

Compassion Requested

If You are willing, You can make me clean” (Mark 1:40).

Notice, he’s not saying, “If You’re able.” In fact, there’s no question of ability in that statement. He obviously believes that Jesus has the ability and the authority to restore his life.

In the context of this day, the people would have believed the following. He’s getting from God exactly what he deserved. This is payment—a penalty for his sin. God had removed His hand of mercy from this pitiful man’s life.

See, that’s how the people could justify their lack of compassion. If God didn’t love this man,why should they? But, the leper believes if Jesus is the Promised One—the One who acts on God’sbehalf—then He could, should He choose, extendHis hand of mercy. He could show compassion, and love, and restore his broken life.

Compassion’s Response

How would Jesus respond? Keep watching.

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion . . .” (Mark 1:41).  

Can we pause here for a moment? When we read that Jesus is “moved with compassion” we need to know that this is really strong language. “Moved with compassion” in the Greek language is splanchnizomai. It’s pronounced: Splangkh-nid’-zomahee. And it means: to be moved as to one’s bowels; to feel deep sympathy for; to be moved with compassion. The bowels were thought to be the hub of love and pity.

It’s referring to a deep inner emotion that’sgenerated from the seat of passions. It’s an arousal of emotion that results in response. This is coming from the place where anger is born, where frustration exists or indignation is found. But, it’s also the birthplace of tender affections such as love and care. Jesus is moved by a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow, so much so that it’saccompanied by the strong desire to alleviate suffering.

In other words, it broke His heart.

He saw the isolation. He recognized the hurt, the pain.

Jesus was moved by the leper’s condition.

This strong phrase (“moved with compassion”) is used almost exclusively in Scripture to describe what happens inside Jesus.At least eight times in the Gospels we run across this phrase. We see it four times in Matthew, three times in Mark, and twice in Luke. It’s referring to what’s going on inside of Him.

Please.

A leper comes to Jesus. Begging. Pleading: “If You are willing. . . .

What would Jesus do? With the Father’s heart pounding in His chest, He. . .

“. . . stretched out His hand and touched him,”

Jesus does the unthinkable.

And He does it without hesitation!

He reaches out and touches the unclean. Canyou see how far compassion is willing to go?

What others were afraid of, Jesus was not.

When all society was willing to throw this man away, Jesus would not.

When everyone else turned their backs, Jesus could not.

He touches the untouchable! He reaches down, takes the man by the face and lifts it so they’re looking eye to eye. When he looked into Jesus face he saw the Father’s heart and heard as He . . .

“. . . said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’” (Mark 1:41).

I want to.

I am willing.

Be clean.

Compassion’s Result

As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him,

and he was cleansed” (Mark 1:42).

Life is restored. Jesus didn’t receive what the man had when He touched him. The leper received what Jesus had. Real life. Restoration. The outcast is now part of community. His life is changed.

It was the Father’s tender heart pounding in His chest.

It moved Him.

It’s what He wanted to do.

It’s what He’s still doing.

Touching the unclean places of our lives.

Making whole what we’ve broken and tried to hide.

He places His holy hands onto our tear-stained faces—and lifts our eyes to meet His.

And He makes us whole.


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on May 20, 2018 – 7:13 am -

Chosen

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world (you),

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whosever (you, me, everyone, anyone)

believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The third grade is a wonderful time in a childs life. Its that time when little boys begin to notice little girls; when they begin to realize that theres something different about them . . . something wonderful. So, they begin to try to get their attention by pulling their hair and punching them in the arms. You know, to show them how special they are. Its how little boys express themselves.

It was certainly a memorable time in my life.

I was a student at Williams Avenue Elementary. And, as a little boy, I was now beginning to notice girls. Not thegirls my age. Instead, I had my eyes on a greater prize: Miss Parsons, the music teacher. She was smart. She was talented. She was kind. And, to top it off, she was beautiful. Childhood crush . . . she was my kind of woman!

Rhondas story was different. Because . . . well . . . Rhonda was different.

Rhonda lived around the block from me and was in my third grade class. She came from a home where life was anything but easy. Mom and Dad lived their liveswithout much regard for her. Or at least thats how it seemed. She was heavier than the rest of us and wasnt taught much about personal hygiene. She didnt have the nicest of clothes and often whatever she wore on Monday she would still be wearing on Friday. Needless to say, we noticed, and we let her know how different she was. Children can be cruel.

Life can be tough when youre different. Life was tough for Rhonda.

Not only did Miss Parsons notice, she cared.

We often had activities in music class that required a partner. Whether it was sharing an autoharp, dancing or singing a duet in our choir, the Melody Makers, wed have to partner off. Sometimes those partners were assigned, other times wed choose.

All the boys would line up against one wall and the girls on the other. From the first boy to the last partners would be chosen. That was a process that could be exhilarating. If you were in the front of the line you had the pick of the litter. It was a process that could be excruciating: If you were at the end of the line you were stuck with whomever wasn’t chosen. The process was humiliating. Rhonda was always that one not chosen.

Her body language began to tell the story. Wheneverit was time to partner off, shed take her place with the other girls. Shed stand at the end of the line with her shoulders slumped, head down realizing that she was going to hear Miss Parsons force the last boy to be her partner.

I cant imagine how that felt. Sure, there were plenty of times I wasnt first choice and I know at least once or twice I was chosen last. But, every time? I cant begin to understand what that would have done for ones self image at such a young age. Unwanted. Overlooked. Last choice. Rhonda.

I was helping Miss Parsons between classes oneschool day. (I always found a reason to be around Miss Parsons!) As I began to wrap things up so I could get tomy class she asked me to do her a favor. Of course! Id do anything she wanted me to do! Remember, I had my eye on her. But I wasnt ready for what she said next:

Next time we have a partner time in class, I want you to pick Rhonda to be your partner. Will you do that?

I couldnt believe my ears. Didnt she know what she was asking of me? Remember, this is the third grade. Little boys and girls are beginning to notice each other. If I partner with Rhonda that will be the end! How could such an ugly request come from such a beautiful mouth? No way, no thanks, Id never do that. I didnt really care for Miss Parsons anymore.

I turned to storm out of the room as she continued:

“But Billy, its what a Christian would do…

I knew she was right. She knew I knew. I came from a church going family. But, to be honest, I didnt care.

Time passed. I dont know how long. Eventually it was time. Today in music class we would have a partner activity. Miss Parsons lined all the girls up along the wall. Rhonda took her place at the end of the line, head down, shoulders slumped. Then, she lined the boys up along the opposite wall. And, for some reason, today was my lucky day. I was right in the front. I was first. Id have first choice.

I heard her voice: “Billy, pick your partner.

My heart was pounding as I looked up and down theline. I saw Lisa, Lori and Lana. I saw all the girls whom I wanted to choose as my partner and was trying to figureout whose day I was going to make.

Then, I saw Rhonda.

Head down, shoulders slumped and my heart beganto pound faster. So, I made my choice:

Rhonda.”

Do you know how special you are to Him?

I want you to remember this today . . .

God looked across time and spoke your name.

How will you responded?

You’ve been chosen.

 


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 29, 2018 – 4:59 am -

How Would You Answer?

Mark 2:8-14

“Why does He talk like this? Only God can forgive sins.”

That’s what they’re saying.

The scribes and Pharisees—the religious leadership of the day—are in an uproar because of the statement Jesus has made. Their egos have been bruised! Remember, the people are saying that Jesus teaches better than these scribes and Pharisees. He teaches as one having authority, like He actually knows what He’s talking about. So, these insecure, intimidated religious leaders are now looking for any reason to discredit Him. Now, in their hearts, they think they’ve got Him.

Have you noticed that we can’t get anything by Jesus? He’s the Knower of our hearts. We simply think something, and He knows. So, Jesus knows exactly what these guys are thinking!

Jesus knew their hearts, but He could see on their faces they disagreed with His statement. He knows where they are, but He refuses to leave them there. Have you realized this about Jesus? He knows exactly where we are. He meets us there. But, He refuses to leave us in that position. He’s constantly working on His masterpiece—restoring it to what He knows it can be.

He knows exactly what these people arethinking, what’s going on in their hearts, where they are, yet He refuses to leave them there! Listen as He speaks:

“Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’

or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?”

Mark 2:8-9

Let’s think about this question for a minute.

How would you answer?

Before you do . . . which would be easier for the paralytic? Remember, his body doesn’t work. There’s no strength in his legs, no developed muscle. He’s the unwelcome, unloved outcast. All eyes are on him.

How about the scribes? What would be easier for them to hear as they sit in judgment and condemnation?

What about the crowd?

What about you?

How would you respond?

Let’s note that everyone is not at the same place in the story. We all come from somewhere, each has a perspective dictated by his or hercircumstance, all have a point of view. It’s too easy for us to quickly jump to conclusions and make judgments.

So . . . how would you answer?


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 15, 2018 – 6:25 am -

Touching Jesus
Part Two

Last week we began a journey with some men that needed to get their friend to Jesus. Touching Jesus was all that mattered. So, let’s jump back into the story . . .

Whatever it Would Take

“And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd . . . ”
(Mark 2:4)

They start their journey. Gently—but firmly—they each take a corner of the mat that’s connected to wooden poles and lift. They begin to carry this man to the place where Jesus is. How far did they have to walk? Was it a few blocks or a few miles?
Obviously, the distance wasn’t a concern to them. The issue? Get to Jesus! Their arms become fatigued. Pain sears through their lower backs, and they’re realizing how difficult it is to carry a human across rocky paths,
up hills,
down dusty roads,
and through narrow streets.
Finally, they reach the home.
Now, their hearts sink.
They see the house. And they see the crowd spilling out the door and huddling around the windows. How will they ever get inside? They realize the nature of the crowd and the stature of a paralytic. They have to try.
Jesus was in the house!
​Touching Him is all that matters.
​They edge their way to the door.
​Desperation has now become personified.
​​It’s their heartbeat. It’s the sweat on their brows.
​​It’s the agony piercing through their strained muscles.
​They inch their way along the outside, but the crowd is ruthless. Someone screams, “Hey! We were here first.”
Another, “If we could move forward, we would! We can barely see and hear what’s going on. So, stop pushing.”
​They can’t get in.
​They don’t give up.
Desperation’s heartbeat only pulsates faster.
​Rocks inside their open-foot sandals have rubbed their feet raw.
​​Their palms, sweaty and burdened from the weight, slip on the poles holding the mat. The four men tighten their grip and clench their teeth in conjunction with the muscle spasms. They are burden bearers.
Jesus is in the house!
They will not give up.
​Desperation is alive.

“ . . . they uncovered the roof where He was . . . ” (Mark 2:4)
Unstoppable
​They exert the effort to carefully carry this man up the stairs toward the flat roof. Desperation pushes each one of the eight individual feet up each stair.
The mat hits the wall.
One of the four men trips.
​Regaining their balance, they continue up the stairs until finally reaching the roof. They’re actually on top of the house!
​Let’s watch as they lay this man down. No time is wasted. They immediately spring into action. They’re surveying the roof trying to find the exact location where Jesus is teaching. It wouldn’t do any good to lower him toward the back or middle of the house. They’ve already seen the crowd’s response. That won’t be good enough. They need to get to Jesus!
When they find where He is, their action continues as they begin to “unroof” the roof. With their bare hands they begin prying loose the tiles.
It’s hard work.
It’s painful work.
Nails are turned back.
Flesh is sliced as they uncover the roof.
But the price is worth the cost as they work to get this man, this burden to Jesus.

“So when they had broken through. . . .” (Mark 2:4)

​When the tiles are removed, the thatch that makes up the roof is exposed. They will not allow this barrier to stop them.
Jesus is in the house.
​Touching Him is all that matters.
​ Desperation.
On all fours—and with Navy Seal Team Six precision—they begin to remove the barrier. With bare hands they dig. And they dig. And they dig.
Can you imagine being on the inside of the house at this point? You’re captivated by Jesus presence. You’re hanging on every word. Then, you begin to hear scratching from the roof. Squirrels? Raccoons?
You try to ignore it when something suddenly hits your shoulder. You brush it away as another piece hits you on the head. What in the . . . All of a sudden, another piece hits the ground as light begins to shine down. Your attention is now focused upward as you watch dust particles in the light coming from a hole in the roof!
The roof is caving in. The crowd pushes back as you see four sets of hands tearing through the roof; four sets of hands digging through until they begin to lower a mat right to the feet of Jesus.

Target Reached

“ . . . they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:4)

​Hanging over the edge of the hole, they begin to carefully lower this man to Jesus’ feet.
​Jesus was in the house.
​Touching Him was all that mattered.
​When the crowd wouldn’t let them through the door,
​they uncovered the roof.
​They had to get to the Artist.
​What an incredible picture.
​What beautiful desperation.

Let’s Get Personal
​We have a lot to consider with this, don’t we? First of all, these four men give us a magnificent picture of genuine friendship. They also demonstrate their willingness to be burden bearers. And they display an intense desperation to have a legitimate encounter with Jesus.
​We also learn a lot from the paralyzed man’s situation. When it seemed impossible for him to get to Jesus, Jesus moved the right men into his life to bring him to the Great Physician.
​Can you relate?
​It’s about you.
​At times does it feel as though the distance between you and Jesus is just too far? The journey too difficult? The odds stacked against you are too high?
​That’s why sometimes we need a little help from friends.
​Real friends will move you closer to Jesus.
​Whatever it takes.

For more information on Billy Huddleston: HERE


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 8, 2018 – 9:15 am -

Touching Jesus
Part One

John Stallings penned the words,

“Touching Jesus is all that really matters,
then your life will never be the same.
There is only one way to touch Him,
just believe when you call on His name.”

​I hadn’t thought about that song for years. Until one night at a revival meeting in northeast Ohio that it flooded my memory.
It had been a good week. The crowds were good, services lively, and the Spirit of God was present. People had been responding, and lives had been changed. Masterpiece’s restored.
It was the last night of the meeting and a spontaneous testimony service erupted. It was beautiful. People stood to share what God had been doing in their lives. You could really sense a genuine atmosphere of praise.
​And then she stood. Her face was worn and tired. She stood with her shoulders slightly down. Her dress was very common. I’ll confess, I don’t remember her name . . . however, I’ll never forget what she said.
Her voice trembled as she spoke. She shared how difficult the past few years had been—especially the last year. I listened intently as she described how her husband of 60-plus years had lost his battle to Alzheimer’s Disease, her family had deserted her, and now she was facing sickness herself. Yet, she had a testimony.
She relayed to all in the sanctuary that night that God had been her constant and had proven to be true through it all. She continued her story and with a stronger, more determined voice concluded with this statement that has stuck with me:

“The last few years have been so very hard. However, I know this is true:
The promises that are before me are greater than the pain of my past!
You see, I have Jesus, and He’s all I need.”

​That’s when I realized that this woman had touched Jesus! And the memory of this song from my childhood replayed in my mind.

“Touching Jesus is all that really matters. . . . ”

​Can I confess to you there are so many times that I think of everything else but this? I come to a church service thinking about what I’m going to sing, what I’m going to preach, how the flow of the service will go, wondering who’s going to show up. . . . Consumed by so many things—everything but the most important: Touching Jesus.
I hope that statement’s not too shocking. I feel I can confess this because you’re likely the same way. I mean, we all live lives in a very real world. There are occupational issues, family concerns, and obligations that want to occupy our time and thoughts. If we’re not careful, these things will control us.
I need this reminder; perhaps you do, too. Touching Jesus is all that really matters. If we’ll touch Him, our lives will never be the same.

Another Broken Person

“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men” (Mark 2:3)

This story is one that has been filled with heartache and struggle. We’re not sure when it began, but obviously, it’s been going on for quite some time. Another smeared life turned upside on the Artist’s canvas. What has happened?
He’s a paralytic. In other words, his body doesn’t work. No movement in his arms. No strength in his legs. His limbs are dead; useless.
He’s broken.
We don’t know how he ended up like this. It could be that he was born this way. Maybe he was dropped on his head as a child. Or perhaps it was the result of a tragic accident later in life. How he arrived here is unknown. He’s just here: paralyzed, dependent, pathetic.
Jesus—the One who speaks authority over evil, chases sickness away, touches the untouchables—is across town.
Was there a stirring in the paralytic’s heart to get to Jesus? Were thoughts rushing through his mind of getting to where Christ was? Or, did his friends simply insist that he go? Perhaps he was embarrassed. After all, he can’t feed himself, bathe himself, or go for a walk. He could never get to where Jesus was. Not, on his own. What a pitiful state. Just lie there. It was his sentence. It was his life.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
We meet four men. They’re nameless men.
No titles or position. But they have huge hearts.
They define the word friendship.
When the paralytic couldn’t get to where Jesus was, they would take him. What this poor man could not do for himself, they would do for him.
Matt carriers. That’s who they are.
Burden bearers.
​The Greek word pheró (fer’-o) can be translated to bring, bear, carry, or carry a burden. That’s what his life had become—a burden. He was a burden not only to himself but to others as well.
If he were to eat, someone would have to feed him.
If he were bathed, someone had to wash him.
A burden. And the burden has become much too heavy. So, they go to the only place they know to go. They bear the burden across town.

Jesus Was in the House.
​Touching Jesus was all that mattered.
​So, they bring him to Jesus.
You see, if Jesus would touch a leper, certainly He can meet this need.
​If He could banish sickness, disease, and evil . . . then paralysis is no challenge.
​ They’re so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, they’re, willing to do anything to make it happen! Let’s highlight this. It’s an important fact!
​They are so desperate to get to Jesus, they’re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES.
​Do you know that God absolutely loves it when we’re desperate for Him? Oh, how that blesses Him! Flash forward to Luke 18:35-43. We see this same kind of desperation in the blind man beside the road. He’s so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, he starts shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
​He’s an outcast. Just like this paralytic.
​People consider him a freak. Just like this paralytic.
​He’s desperate for wholeness. Just like this paralytic.
​Jesus is so moved by the blind man’s desperation that in spite of all the other things vying for His attention, He stops in front of the blind man and heals him.
​Have you experienced this kind of desperation? Are you so spiritually desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus that you’re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to experience Him?
​We’ll pick up here next week . . . Until then, let’s live with this sort of desperation to touch Jesus in our lives. Not only for ourselves; but, for others as well.

For more information on BILLY Huddleston, visit billyhuddleston.com.


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What’s The Big Deal About Easter?

Written by scoopsnews on April 1, 2018 – 2:08 pm -

What’s the Big Deal About Easter?

This week, I want you to hear from my friend and coauthor Susie Shellenberger. Susie is passionate about Jesus, an author (she’s written over 55 books), a speaker, and an all-around great person.

For more information about my friend you can go here: SusieShellenberger.com

Now, let’s join her as she answers the question:

What’s the Big Deal About Easter?

It doesn’t get as much splash as other holidays, but it can hold its
own!

We need to give Easter a little help. Bless its heart. It just
doesn’t measure up to Christmas. Of course, how can you compete
with lighted trees surrounded by brightly wrapped gift packages?

If we surveyed everyone in North America, they’d probably
place Easter behind Halloween. While Easter gives us a few
chocolate bunnies, Halloween gives us entire sack loads of candy.
And for those who choose not to participate in the world’s custom of
trick-or- treating, churches open their parking lots, malls extend their
hours and people can still get all the candy they want without ever
having to mutter “Trick or treat.”

And Valentine’s day captures our hearts. It’s the time for
romance, and the opportunity to share love with friends and family members.
The day is filled with the smell of roses, boxes of chocolate
hearts, candy hearts, exquisite cards—all declaring love.
But Easter?
No tree. No parties. Not many decorations.
What do we get at Easter?
A sermon.
And sometimes even that’s a little flat!
A Little Help, Please
So maybe we should spruce Easter up a bit. If we could get
some really cool celebrities to get behind it, Easter might mean more.
It seems whenever we have a devastating tornado, tsunami or
earthquake that takes out a city, the celebrities rush to get involved
and make a difference.
So maybe we could get the celebrities to promote Easter on
television ads!

That would be a great start, but we’d still need a good
marketing plan. Maybe we bring the fashion industry into this. Put a
few models in some super cool T-shirts that boast “Easter Is Cool,”
“Vote Easter Best Holiday,” “Easter Is #1,” “Easter Rocks!”

Yes. If we can get the celebs, the athletes, the models and a
creative marketing plan, Easter might have a chance!

Wrong Plan

I’m glad it’s not up to us to make Easter popular. Easter was
never created to be popular.
Why?
Because it’s the message of the Cross.
And the Cross is an ugly message.
The Cross means death. And death doesn’t sell well.
You see, even if we could get the celebs to promote Easter . . .
if the celebs haven’t experienced and embraced the Cross the way
Christ did, what good would it do?
The truth is: God doesn’t need any celebs to take on Easter. He
doesn’t need help promoting it. He doesn’t even want help promoting
it. He doesn’t want people embracing Easter for the wrong reasons.
He wants true followers.
The God of color and rhythm and the Grand Canyon and
kangaroos and gravity and Niagara Falls and sound and lightening
and donkeys who talk and hyenas that laugh could have created an
amazing marketing strategy to promote Easter. But He’s not into
marketing. He doesn’t think strategy. He thinks love.

The Truth

The message of the Cross is an invitation to die. “Wanna follow
Me?” Jesus asks. “Then pick up your cross. We’re going over there.
It’s a hill called Golgotha. We’re going to die.”
How do you market this?
How can you make this sound glamorous?
You don’t. You can’t. If you try . . . you’ll miss the meaning.
But the truth behind Easter is dying with Jesus.
Why would anyone do that? They wouldn’t.
Unless—they’ve experienced first-hand the death of Jesus for
their own sins.
You see, once a sinner realizes that Jesus willingly picked up
the Cross and died in her place, she’s overcome with joy and love for
her Father. She wants to live for Him, obey Him, serve Him, follow
Him, die with Him.

A High Price Tag

Jesus told everyone to count the cost before deciding to follow
Him. (See Luke 14:25-30.) He reminds us that a contractor doesn’t
start to build a house without first counting the cost of all the
materials. If he doesn’t do this, he may only build half a house and
run out of money.
What does it cost to follow Jesus?
It costs a lot.
It costs everything.
You see, Jesus isn’t looking for half-hearted followers. He’s not
interested in being the next big fad. He doesn’t recruit with a polished
benefits package. That’s not the way He works. He’d rather have 12
sold-out disciples than an entire world that’s only talk.
So why would anyone want to follow Jesus?
Because of love.
No one loves like He does.
And forgiveness.
No one else has offered to pay for our sins.
And eternal life.
The only way to God (and to live forever in heaven) is through
Jesus (see John 10:10).
And peace. And purpose. And meaning. And joy. And real life!

They Don’t Compare

If you stack Jesus against all the other gods, none of them even
compare with Him! Think about it: In all other religions, you have to
work really hard to reach your god. You have to pray so many times a
day, or sacrifice so much, or travel thus far, or. …
All other religions show man reaching up to their god. ONLY
Christianity shows God reaching down to man! Wow. Read that
again, because it’s mega-powerful. ONLY Christianity shows God
reaching down to man!

Christianity is the only religion that offers free salvation. You
don’t have to earn it. You can’t pay for it. You’ll never be good
enough to deserve it. So God reaches down to YOU by sending His
only Son wrapped in human flesh to die an ugly death on the Cross
for YOUR sins.
That’s love!
And He invited you to participate.

Make This YOUR Easter
Many of you reading this have already accepted Christ as your
Savior. You’ve already asked Him to forgive your sins. (If you haven’t
done this, you can do it right now. You can tell Him you’re sorry for
disobeying Him, ask Him to forgive you and place your faith in Him.)
But many of you reading this right now really want to go deeper in
your relationship with Christ. We call this sanctification.
If you desire to give Christ your all, you can pray this prayer.
No, it’s not a bunch of magic words. You really have to mean it. And
God will know if it’s genuine.
Dear Jesus:
Thank You for forgiving my sins. I’m so grateful that You
died for me. I love being a Christian. But I want to go
deeper. I want to give You everything! So right now, I’m
choosing to die. I’m dying to my will, my dreams, my way,
“me first,” my future. I want You to be LORD of every area
in my life. I’m moving to the back seat; You’re now in the
driver’s seat. You’re in complete control. Please release
the power of Your Holy Spirit within me and enable me to
live a holy life pleasing to You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

New Plan

If you prayed that prayer and meant it, this Easter will become
something brand-new to you. More than a second-rate holiday, it will
be your love response to a God who’s crazy about you. He doesn’t
need a few celebs; He needs YOU.

YOU are His marketing plan.
YOU . . . simply loving one person at a time to Him.
YOU . . . dying to yourself and coming into new life through Him.
YOU . . . celebrating His resurrection from death.
YOU . . . living forever with Him.
This is Easter.


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“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on March 18, 2018 – 6:43 am -

What’s in Your Basket?
Mark 8:19-21

“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?
They said to him, “twelve” . . . So, He said to them,
“How is it you do not understand?””

They were there.
When the leper was completely restored.
When a lame man began to dance.
When a withered hand was straightened.
When a demoniac was set free from his chains.
When the storm was stilled.

They were there.
They had gone out and preached the Kingdom.
They experienced the power of the Kingdom.
They touched the sick and they were made well.
They saw broken minds were restored.

They were there when five thousand people were fed with five loaves and two small fish. And, despite all the proof – they just didn’t seem to get it. With every new challenge, doubt seemed to arise.

Somehow, they just didn’t remember all He had done.

Are you facing new challenges this year?

If you said, “yes,” you’re in good company. Everyone will face something as the years go on. But the good news is, we don’t have to let those things defeat us. Let’s take a brief look at another example from the Gospel of Mark:

“And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided He among them all. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments, and of the fishes.” – Mark 6:41-43

The disciples had a physical basket that reminded them that God was able to do what needed to be done. But more than that, when the physical basket was gone they would always have a figurative basket of remembrance to carry them through the rest of their days. Whenever they began to face something that seemed impossible, they could look back on that day and remember how their Master was able to make the impossible, possible.
In the Word of God, we are told to remember His works. Not so we long for that former place, but to remind us that the character of God is unchanging. If today, you’re facing the storm, an uncertain future or a bad health report, here is the question I want to ask you – What’s in your basket?

Don’t rush to answer that question.

Carefully ponder it and write down the blessings of God on a sheet of paper because the answer to that question will give you confidence to believe that what He has done in the past, He will do again. The Word says that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” That means that what He has done, He is continuing to do right now and because He is moving in this moment, we can mark it down that bigger and better things are in store for the future!

I want to live my life remembering my basket!

Do you remember? How has God been good to you?

What’s in your basket?

 


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“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on March 11, 2018 – 3:06 am -

Have you ever wanted to quit?

I have.

Looking back on those times, I realize it’s always because my focus has been wrong. I’ve had my eyes on all the wrong things . . .

This week, I’d like to do something a little different. I want to share two short devotionals from Psalm 73. Asaph, the psalmist, is experiencing those feelings. He’s questioning. And, he finds the answer.

Maybe you’re in a difficult spot right now.
Maybe you’re wanting to quit.
Maybe you’re trying.

Read Psalm 73.
Spend some time with Asaph.
Be encouraged.
Refocus.

Made for Worship
Psalm 73:1-17

​Asaph was appointed by the king to be a worshipper (1 Chron. 6:39). This wasn’t a one-time appointment, rather it was a life-time calling (1 Chron. 16:37). And yet, even worshippers can lose heart. How do you follow when all you want to do is quit?
​Asaph’s psalm is filled with raw emotion. At first, it seems that he has lost focus and forgotten his purpose. Looking around at others has seemingly brought him to his lowest point and has caused him to question his purpose. It was a battle that almost got the best of him.
​The shift came when he made the decision not to dwell long in his questioning. Instead, he chose that he would get back to what he was called to be – a worshipper. He determined to, “enter the sanctuary of God” and his perspective changed. That decision set his focus on One who was greater than this world or anything it should offer.
​Our tendency is to become distracted. And, it’s natural to become discouraged. In those moments remember the decision that Asaph made: Don’t remain in that despair and decide to worship.
​There is no greater purpose!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His mercy and grace
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
Words by Helen H. Lemel


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“Rooted” with Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on March 4, 2018 – 1:22 pm -

God on Trial

“Have you considered my servant Job?”
Job 1:8

I’ve never really spent much time with Job.

Sure, over the years I’ve heard countless sermons about him and his trials: The trials of Job. These sermons have focused on his losses, his wife’s attitude, his friends, and his responses to the entire ordeal. It’s a painful story that has the ability to speak to us on deep, deep levels. But frankly, I’ve chosen to spend my bible study times in other places.

Lately, Job has been on my mind.

Not because of all the things he went through.
But, rather why he went through them.

Have you ever noticed that it all started because of a question that God asks? Think about that for a minute. . .

Satan does not have an omniscient point of view.
He doesn’t mention Job.
God does.

The question is pretty intriguing: “Have you considered my servant Job?”

I think the question reveals a reality that if we’re not careful we might read right past. It has changed my thinking and approach to this entire book. Too often I’ve focused on Satan in this story. But, I’m beginning to think I’ve had the wrong idea.

Have you (Satan) considered…

Why would God ask this question?
Obviously, He (God) had considered Job.

This is the starting point for the entire drama that unfolds in the book which bears his name. It all begins with God revealing His confidence in one man. So much confidence, in fact, that He invests His character in the character of this man.

So, as we enter into the drama that starts to unfold in Job 1, I think I need to adjust my thinking. I’ve always thought that Job was on trial. After all we refer to the book as the “trials” of Job. But. . .

Could it be that Job isn’t on trial here?
God is.

Satan has already failed at trying to ascend to the heights of God. So now, based upon a question that God Himself asks, he will try to bring God down to His level. If Job fails then obviously God didn’t know him like He claimed: God wouldn’t have an omniscient point of view.

The challenge is presented with a question God asks.

Intriguing it all starts here. . .

“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?”
Job 1:9

God brought him up.
He asked the question.
In that question He reveals the confidence He has in one man: A man named Job.

Job was no ordinary man. Well, he was ordinary in many ways:
He had normal feelings.
He dealt with the same emotions as anyone else.
He experienced the same longings, felt the same joy, was familiar with pain.

Yet, Job was no ordinary man. You see, he had been extraordinarily blessed:
He was the father of seven sons and three daughters.
Seven thousand sheep pastured his fields while three thousand camels roamed his hillside.
He was the owner of five hundred yoke of oxen. . .
. . . five hundred female donkeys. . .
. . . had a very large household. . .
The list could go on and on.
Extraordinarily blessed.

Job was the Donald Trump or, perhaps, the Bill Gates of his time. He had wealth beyond measure. Certainly, he was a man of means. So much so that Scripture says that Job was the greatest of all the people of the East. Pretty impressive. No ordinary man.

And, God brought him up.
He asked the question:
“Have you [Satan] considered my servant Job?”

Not only does He ask the question but in the asking He reveals the character of Job that results in the confidence He feels toward this man. Listen to the descriptors that He uses to describe Job:
Blameless and upright. . .
One who fears God. . .
[One who] shuns evil. . .
There’s none like him on earth.

Did you catch that? God said there’s none like Job. It’s an incredible statement about Job’s character.
It also makes a startling reality: Every other man, every other woman was not blameless or upright. That there were no others that truly feared or served God. In fact, the whole of humanity seems to be caught up in evil. The enemy was winning, he seemed to have their hearts. But, not Job.

So, God brought him up.
He asked the question:
“Have you [Satan] considered my servant Job?”

And, Satan had considered him.
He had been watching, waiting, wanting.
So, now he responds: “Doth Job fear God for nought?”

Did you catch it?
Could you hear the sarcasm in his voice?
Can’t you just feel the assertions of the accuser as he presents the charge?
Why wouldn’t he serve you?
Of course, he fears you. . .
You’ve blessed him beyond measure.
You’ve placed a hedge of protection around him and all he has.
He’s the wealthiest man in all the East. . .
Why wouldn’t he serve you?!?

BUT:

IF You removed Your hand of mercy. . .
IF he were to lose all that he had. . .
IF Your hedge of protection would be removed from his house. . .
He’d curse You to Your face!

What an accusation!

Read it again, slowly, and think about what he is saying.
Listen closely to what he asserts.

With his crooked, bony finger pointing in the face of God he snarls his lip and speaks:
IF You removed Your hand of mercy. . .
IF he were to lose all that he had. . .
IF Your hedge of protection would be removed from his house. . .
He’d curse You to Your face!

You can almost smell the stench of sulphur as he shrieks: “You’re not worthy of Job’s love, devotion. He only loves You because of what You do for him!”

It’s a dramatic scene that should cause me to examine my life. Why do I serve Him? Because of what He does? Because of what I get? Or, because of who He is?

Just a thought.
Now, back to the story:

God’s on trial.
He’s been charged.

The trial begins. . .


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