Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Jon!

Happy Birthday Jon!!!!  I hope you have a wonderful day full of happiness, joy and unexpected blessings! Thanks for being my best buddy!!!!!  May all your dreams come true!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Alpha Session 4: How Can I Be Sure of My Faith?

When someone becomes a Christian, he comes a brand new person inside.  He is not the same anymore.  A new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5:17 

What does it mean to be a Christian?

     Is it just being a nice person?  Is it being born in a Christian home?  Is it going to church?

     Being a Christian means having a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

     Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  1  John 5:13

    Also see:  Ephesians 3:12

What has God done so I can be sure of my faith?

1.  The promises of God.  B-I-B-L-E (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)

      Faith comes from listening to this Good News--- the Good News about Christ.  Romans 10:17

      The good news is that our faith is based on facts not on feelings.  (Feelings are not reliable).

A.  Jesus promises to come into our lives.

      "Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me."  Revelation 3:20

B.  Jesus promises to be with us always.

      "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  Matthew 28:20

C.  Jesus promises to give His followers eternal life.
      I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;  no one can snatch them out of My hand.  John 10:28

      No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9

       Take Away Point #1

       Salvation is not a feeling, but a faith in God!  The more you trust God, the more you find He is faithful

2.  The finished work of Jesus.

      For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6:23

       See also:  Luke 23:40  John 19:30

 A.  God loves us and died to prove it!

       For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal ife.  John 3:16

B.  Jesus took our sins upon Himself.

     See:  Romans 3:23

     Take Away Point #2

      Whenever anything begings to disintegrate your life with Jesus, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. 

      When I am weak, Christ makes me strong.  2 Corinthians 12;10

3.  The promise/presence of the Holy Spirit.

A.  The Holy Spirit transforms us from within,

      The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:  sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:19-21

     Take Away Point #3

      Bad company does not make good character.  1 Corinthians 15:33

      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23

B.  The Holy Spirit brings a deep, personal conviction that we are God's children.

      For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father."  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Romans 8:15-16

    When you doubt your faith, call on the Holy Spirit. 

     Take Away Point #4

     Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up!

How do we respond to this gift?

A.  By faith.

      This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Romans 3:22

B.  By trust.

      Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Alpha Session 3: Why Did Jesus Die?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

God Loves  You!

1. What's our problem?  Sin!

      All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23
      Galatians 3:22:  The whole world is a prisoner of sin.

What are the consequences of our sin?  There are 4:

A.  The pollution of sin
       What comes out of a man is what makes him "unclean."  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.  Mark 7:20-23

B.  The power of sin. 

       Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, eveyone who sins is a slave to sin."  John 8:34

C.  The penalty of sin.

       For the wages of sin is death.  Romans 6:23

        Why is there a penalty?  Because God refuses to compromise the spiritual integrity of Heaven.

D.  The partition of sin.

        Surely the arm of hte Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear to dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.  Isaiah 59:1-2

2.  What is God's solution for our sin?

       You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibily dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:6-8

God's answer is love!

A.  The self- substitution of God.

      Christ, the sinless, became sin so that we, the sinners, could be counted sinless.

       God made Him who had no sin to be sin fo rus, so that in HIm we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

        See also:  Romans 9:22 and 1 John 4:10

B.  The agony of the cross!

      Jesus cried out in a loud voice...."My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"  Mark 15:34

3.  What did the cross achieve?

A.  The cross achieved forgiveness: our sins are forgiven as if they never existed.

       Take Away Point #1
        Jesus Christ paid the debt He didn't owe to cancel the debt we couldn't pay!!!

B.  The cross achieved freedom:  The addictive power of sin has been broken. 
       It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Galatians 5:1

       Take Away Point #2

        The cross reveals God's heart for the lost.

C.  The cross achieved cleansing:  The cross takes away the pollution of sin. 

       But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one anohter, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1:7

D.  The cross achieved reconciliation/restoration:  Jesus' death brings us back into a relationship with God!

        All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:18

        Take Away Point#3

         Jesus took my place on the cross to give me a place in Heaven.

         "I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."  John 5:24

Monday, September 17, 2012

Small Update

Just a quick note to let you all know that my orientation went great and that training is going all right!!!!God willing, sometime this week, I will be able to send you Jon and you Zach a more detailed e-mail!!!!

Be blessed!!!!!

And please send me all your prayer requests!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Stories of Faith 2---My Grandfather Rollie

One person I look forward to being reunited with in Heaven is my Grandfather Rollie.  He was my Dad's Dad and the husband to one of my favorite family members ever---my Grandmother Hazel.  Grandpa Rollie got saved and baptized in a Baptist church with my Grandma Hazel in 1939.  Grandpa Rollie had Parkinson's Disease.  He had snow white hair and was always either in his bed or in his wheel chair. I was close to him in my own way---even though I couldn't understand a single word he said due to the Parkinson's disease.  He enjoyed my Grandma's cooking! He especially loved her corn beef hash!  I remember helping to feed him once! 
Family members including my Grandmother Hazel told me that Grandpa Rollie really loved me!  He was always kind to me, Crystal, and my Mom.  There were times back when i was a ch ild when my Mom needed to borrow their car to get ust o school, and when Grandma Hazel would ask Grandpa Rollie permission he would always say "Yes."  One of funniest things my Grandpa let me do to him was putting Purple moose in his hair!  He was sitting out on the front porch by Grandma!  I think I was 8 or 9 when I did that!  It looked hilarious! 

He also enjoyed riding his wheelchair up and down the front porch! I remember watching him push himself up and down the porch like he was in a race!

There is one story that my family has told me about my Grandfather that has really touched me---that I will treasure the most!  When I was having my grand mal seizure at thea ge of 7, Parkinson's Disease was just getting to my Grandfather.  My Grandfather would have a hard time walking.  So while I was laid out on the couch of Grandma and Grandpa's couch waiting for Aunt Sharon and Uncle Allen to take me to the hospital, Grandpa Rollie got on his hands and knees and crawled to where I was just to hold my hand!  Talk about love!!!!!  This story never ceases to touch me in some way!  Can you imagine loving someone so much that if you couldn't walk, you would crawl on your hands and knees to just be by them and hold their hand?  I can't begin to fathom what it is like to have Parkinson's Disease.  It's one thing to see someone have it but another to actually go through it!  I am so thankful that I had a Grandfather who loved me so much that he would do that for me!  These are the types of things taht testifies to someone being saved and having the love of Christ in them!

Even though I could never understand anything that my Grandpa "said", but looking back I can understand his love for me crystal clear!

My Grandfather Rollie died in August of 1987 when I was 10 years old from Parkinson's Disease!  Talk about a blow to me at that time to have him die. But I do know where he is at---he is in Heaven waiting for me!  I look forward to the day when the rapture happens or death, which ever comes first, where we can be reunited, and when I can have my very first conversation with him--where I will actually get to understand what he is saying! 

I can only hope that I can be the type of Dad and Grandpa (if the Lord tarries) that has such a deep love for his children and grandchildren as my Grandpa Rollie did!  I can only hope and pray!

Do you have a parent, a grand parent, a family member or even a friend that has such a deep love that he would crawl on his hand and knees just to hold your hand?

Alpha Session 2- Who Is Jesus?

Here is Session 2 Outline of Alpha entitled:

Who Is Jesus?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galations 5:1

Did Jesus exist?

A. Non-Christian sources support His existence.
      * Roman Historians---Tacitus and Suetonius.
      * Jewish Historian--- Josephus

B.  Evidence in the New Testament supports His existence.

Who was Jesus?

A.  He was fully HUMAN.  (John 4:6, Matthew 4:2).
B.  He had human EMOTIONS.  (Mark 11:15-17, Mark 10:21, John 11:32-36)
C.  He had human EXPERIENCES.  (Mark 1:13, Mark 6:3)

What did Jesus say about Himself? (How do we know that Jesus is God? [jerry's note])

A. Through His Teachings.
     Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

     Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12

    Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies."  John 11:25

Jerry's notes: Another scripture to look up is Matthew 11:28.  Also, Jesus pointed to Himself when he pointed to God.

B.  Through His Indirect claims:

     When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in Heavenly glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  Matthew 25:31-32

Jerry's Note:  Jesus can forgive sins.

Take Away Point #1:

A life without Jesus is a hopeless end.  But a life with Jesus is endless hope!

C. Through His Direct claims:

     1.  He claimed to be the Messiah.
      The high priest asked Him, "Are you  the Christ, The Son of the Blessed One?"  "I am," said Jesus.  " And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven."  Mark 14:61-62

     2.  He claimed to be God the Son.      "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was bron, I am!". John 8:58
       Jerry's note: "I am" is the way God refers to Himself in the Old Testament.

     3. He claimed to be God.
      "I and the Father are one."  Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?"  "We are not stoning you for any of these, " replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."  John 10:30-33

What evidence is there to support what Jesus said?

A. His teachings.

     For the Word of God is living and active.  Hebrews 4:12

     Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

B. His miracles.

     Take Away Point # 2:

     It was not the miracles that made His work so impressive.  It was His love, especially for the unlovely .

C. His character.

     Jerry's notes: Jesus' character has impressed millions of peole (nonbelievers and believers alike). Jesus said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".  Jesus forgave them even on the cross!

D.  His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

     Jerry's notes:  Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament.  Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament Prophecies.  Some say that J esus could have read the Word of God and decide to fulfill all the prophesies Himself without being the Messiah.  Btu this isn't possible, because there were some prophesies that was out of Christ's control.  such as: the place of His birth, His death, and His place of burial.

E.  His Resurrection.

     Jerry's notes: Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are prophecies about Jesus' death and resurrection. 

What is the Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?

A.  His absence from the tomb.

     False Theories:

      * Jesus did not die?

One of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  John 19.34

       Jerry's notes:  The  Bible proves that Jesus was dead.  Also John 19:34 tells that there was a separation of clot and serum (sudden flow of blood and water). These are medical terms and this can only happen when a person is dead.).

     * The disciples stole His body?

     "Take a guard," Pilate answered.  "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how."  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting  the guard.   Matthew 27:65-66

     Jerry's notes:  Would you die for a lie?  The disciples wouldn't.  Most of the disciples were put to death for their belief in Jesus and the resurrection.  The disciples would not have died for Jesus if the resurrection was a lie and if they had stolen the body. 

     *  The authorities stole His body?

     Jerry's notes: The authorities didn't have Jesus' body.  Otherwise they would have showed the people Jesus' body once they had started maknig claims of the resurrections.  The authorities would have said: " Jesus didn't rise from the dead.  And here is His body to prove it.".  However, the authorities did NOT do this!  Proving that the authorities didn't have Jesus'  body. 

B.  His appearance to the disciples.

     Jerry's note: The appearance of the disciples was documented by the Bible and by Jewish historian: Josephus.

C.  His immediate effect on society/the world.

      Jerry's notes:   The world went into a division of time:  B.C. = "before Christ" and A.D. = "Anto Domini"- In the years of our Lord.  The church also began to grow.

D.  The undeniable experience of Christians through the ages.

      Take Away Point #3:

       No one is so good that they can save themselves.

       No one is so bad that God cannot save them.

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stories of Faith---My Testimony 1

Hey! How is everyone?  Hope everyone is going okay!  If you have kids, I hope you are surviving the 1st week of school!  God has inspired me to share my testimony with you in what I call "Stories of Faith".  I am 35 years old. God willing, I will be 36 in January.  Since I have been born, I have lived a lot of life, been through a lot of hard times, had a lot of God-moments, and of course, have had good times as well!  I hope and pray that God will use these "Stories of Faith" to bless you!  And I hope God uses these stories to inspire you to do the same thing--share your own unique story as well! 

So let's get started!

As you know, my name is Jerry.  I was born on January 13th 1977 in Mobile, AL.   If life was a college, my major would be survival.  And I started taking survival classes as soon as I was born!  On January 13th, my Mom (whose name was Patsy) was rushed to the hospital to give birth to me.  The only problem was...I didn't want to be born! Ironically, for someone like me who doesn't know how to swim, I was enjoying swimming around in my mother's womb.  I enjoyed it so much, I didn't want to come out and be born!  This was BAD.  Because this cause my Mom's blood pressure to go high.  It got so  bad, the doctor's asked my Dad (Jerry Sr.) who he wanted them to save.  Of course, he chose both of us, if possible.  So as I was swimming around, as soon as my head got to the birth canal, the doctor grabbed my head with a pair of tongs. 

As soon as I was born, I started having seizures and almost died.  My Mom almost died as well.  I was quite the sick child.  If you were to see my new born baby pictures, it looked like I went thru hell!  I was bald, skinny, and had a red stain on what I was wearing---the red being the seizure medicine I had on. 

This started years of taking seizure medicine (Dilantin and Phenonbabotol (sp?), going to doctor's appointments, taking blood, etc... My Aunt Sharon and Uncle Allen was so faithful in taking me to all my doctor's appointments and even taking me to the hospital when I needed to. My Mom wasn't really good at driving in busy city streets such as Mobile---the reason for my Aunt and Uncle taking me to all those appointments.

January 13th, 1977 wasn't the only date I almost died.  When I was 7 years old (in 1984), I had a Grand Mal Seizure which is the most severe kind of seizure a person can have.  I almost died from that one.  In fact, according to family members, I was in a coma for 45 minutes. When I woke up, according to Uncle Allen, one of the first words that came out of my mouth, is that I asked for a cheeseburger!  Also, back th en, the hospital did some type of MRI or brain scan..not sure which.  But according to my family members, I had a scar on my brain.  When they did the scan when I was 7 years old, the scar had disappeared!  Praise God! 

When I was 8 years old, 1985, I had another Grand Mal seizure in which I almost died!  Thank Jesus I didn't!  Five years later, in late June of 1990, when I was 13 years old, I went to another doctor's appointment at ap lace called "Crippled Children's Clinic".  Dr. Schalub asked the basic same questions.  When he foudn out that it has been 5 years since I had a seizure, he decided to take me off my seizure medication.  He told me and Aunt Sharon and Uncle Allen that I could quit my medicine on July 3, 1990.  

The first few days being off my medicine was a little strange since I felt a slight pressure in my head.  But that soon left!

It has been 22 years since I have been off my seizure medication, and I haven't had any seizures!  It has been a total of 27 years (since I was 8 years old) that I haven't had any seizures at all! 

Uncle Allen back then once told me that I just "grew out of the seizures".  However, i don't agree!  I believe wit all my heart, soul, and mind that God healed me of my seizures and has kept me alive for a purpose!  I may not always know what that purpose is, but I know God will reveal it in bits and pieces in His own perfect timing! 

Thank you Jesus for healing me of seizures!  I pray that the way I live my life in gratitude is a sweet aroma!