Neighbor? Turkey? Stuffing?

Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the lord your God with all your heart, mind, body and soul, only then can we begin to love our neighbor, which He said was the 2nd greatest commandment.

So look around, is that what we see in the world or our churches? I’m not talking about good people no, they’re everywhere. We’re talking about a love that emanates from the inside out, and on the outside we are as “thanks-giving” as Christ was from the cross. How did we get off track, or as Richard Sterns said, ‘The Hole in the Gospel.’

Listen, Jesus paid it all, so we could have eternal life; he didn’t pay it all, so that we could have more stuff.  As a matter of fact, He said, we would be persecuted, on the count of Him. And, talked more about the constitution of money than any other subject. How different America might look if instead of buying that 2nd or 3rd house, car, etc. We might give it to somebody in need. Wow! What a concept?  

Identifying are neighbor is our responsibility. Question: ‘Are they as comfortable as us!’ To love our neighbor has to be understood with all your heart... God’s love! That’s a supernatural love!  Should I, feel guilty for crafting my trade and exercising good financial judgment? No! The answer is no!

The question is, “When is all my stuff enough?” Or is that “stuff” the “stuffing” that stands in our way of understanding what it means to love My neighbor? Jesus said, ‘it would be difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ Crazy, that’s the example Jesus left us when He paid for us a new life. Again, Jesus said the greatest are the ones who serve the most! However, the Hollywood mind-set is, like Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way.”

It’s time to ask, ‘who gave us our wealth?’ For what reason? For our own personal happiness? Wouldn’t we then look like the world? Our world is watching! Jesus said, ‘By your love for one another they will know you are my disciples.’ Think about, “Thanksgivings’ blessings” as Jesus did, we’re more than stuff or stuffing to Him. As the old hymn goes, ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe…’

Hey, ‘pass the gravy’!

Pastor James  - Hillside Community Worship

Unchained Gospel

Combat Manual - Remembering

The Apostle Paul starts his last life letter in a prison dungeon. II Tim vs. 8

‘Remember Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!

It’s not a slogan or a prepared statement it’s a declaration labor of love... it is a miracle based on love for others... Is there anything ever more powerful? More daunting or more courageous, or more terrifying...?

‘Remember,’ Timothy... when you feel overwhelmed, stuck or chained to a problem, Jesus defeated death! To ‘remember: is intentional, ‘memory recall...’  

Do you remember when the ‘Big mac,’ first appeared? Crushing the competition, their slogan was ‘ingredients,’ they made it a song, and rewarded those who remembered, in less than 2 seconds, a free one!

Paul tells Timothy, ‘Christ risen,’ is the strongest force in all eternity... Remember...

The power of the cross to overcome...

·         How Jesus rose from the ashes of death...

·         Broke the chains of sin ...

·         Endured the scars on his body

·         Carried the cross to victory

·         Leads us to Salvation...

Jesus instigated change thru personal sacrifice...

‘Therefore,’ Jesus will unchain every piercing of pain, challenge or problem. 

Paul says in, Timothy vs. 10 ‘Therefore I endure everything for the... elect, they too may obtain salvation... in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.’ he says, ‘I am chained like a criminal, but the gospel is not chained...  ‘Remember Jesus Risen’

‘I will always be with you...’

·         Teach His words

·         Comfort His people

·         Help overcome  

·         To forgive... encourage and build up  

Because, wearing the bondage chains of serving others – sets them free...  Remember it’s our gospel: Not just a t-shirt, or a fish stuck on the back of our cars, but a chained commitment to a vision – ‘so everyone can hear the gospel...’

Christianity is most successful when we are serving...

Pastor James Stark, Hillside Community Worship


Soldier Up your Faith

starts with ‘Ownership’ II Tim 1:1

Remember the car commercial where the guy takes ownership and runs up and licks the door handle, before the people can reach it?

Or Toy Story I, of Woody’s conversation with Buzz and the rest of the toys, he says, ‘we wouldn’t even be here, together if it weren’t for Andy, (Picking up his foot) who’s on the bottom of your foot?’

In his last letter Paul hoped to meet Timothy in Ephesus. But, tough times had fallen and Paul was arrested for his faith... Timothy was also experiencing growing pains in Ephesus...

Vs. 1 Encourages Timothy; ‘an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus...’

Paul says, I am owned, I am called, sent (Apostle) and I have a promise; eternal (Belief in the gospel) life in Jesus to share...

Ownership - causes us to act out for what owns us – we see it in athletes for their teams... or selling products they endorse, movie stars and famous people contracted by different company’s...

Have you ever noticed how quickly, a star athlete or famous movie star comes under attack the endorsing company - drops them and steps away from the now targeted scape goat?

Jesus talked about the heart of an owner vs. the hired hand.

They both look the same until the trouble starts, and the wolves come looking for mutton... the hired hand takes off, runs away and flees! But the owner lays down his life. He knows them personally, loves them and cares for them. In turn they know his voice – there is a mutual trust, he provides protection – and they follow!

Paul says, ‘fan into flame the ‘ownership’ gift of God...’ Show it, tell it and live it people need to know your owner, Jesus...

So, who’s on the bottom of your foot? 

Pastor James Stark, Hillside Community Worship

Stake a Perimeter

Galatians 5:19-21; 24

Who like’s Buffet’s? I do, except I eat until I can’t move...

I’ve eaten desserts and entrée’s galore, I’m fully sick... but, ‘oh have you tried this, it’s so good.’ And back I go... limping, belching, aching...  Paul warns the Galatians, ‘... (If) we belong to Jesus we must crucify the flesh... in its desires and passions.’ That means allowing God’s Spirit to control our Spirit... Gal 5:25 - He’s not saying don’t be passionate, just don’t be passionate or desire the wrong things or worldly things... 5:19-21

‘Crucify’ means: destroy, but can also mean to stake a perimeter...

Flesh desires food, but our flesh says, ‘all you can eat’ at once... like a license to sin, it doesn’t hurt anybody else, I paid for it, it makes me feel good, ‘just do it,’ right?  Look at what it does to our bodies, from the inside-out... sin is like that... it looks good, tastes great.  But, the consequences of a life of sin – is bloated - without Christ. Romans 6:23 says, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Stake a 3-point perimeter of:

1.       Passionate Prayer:

·         Sets the goal

·         Where you want to be with God

·         Breaks down barriers; Launches hope

·         Asks for Jesus intervention

·         Lift’s others up

2.       Exuberant Confession

·         Identifies fleshly desires  - seeks forgiveness

·         Puts the target on sin

·         Restores our mind to righteousness 

3.       Bold Repentance

·         Unpacks dirty laundry

·         Destroys eternal results of sin

·         We get a Clean slate

When sin breaks the perimeter it needs to be destroyed... before leaving a mark... Gal 6:17 says, ‘I bare on my body the brand marks of Jesus...’ ‘You were called to freedom... Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.’ Gal 5:13

The question is, ‘are we branded with the Jesus brand or the other guy’s?’

Pastor James Stark - Hillside Community Church