Friday, October 31, 2014

Who will be #1 in Heaven? Part 1

How would you like to be the greatest person in heaven? Before you blurt out "No!" (due to your great humility), let's find the answer in Scripture. It’s not wrong to want to be great—but it needs to be in the next life. Jesus told us how to be #1 in eternity, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:44-45).

If Jesus had told us how to great in this world—how to be a famous actor, a rock star, or a successful athlete—everyone would be scrambling to follow His instructions. But when He tells us the secret of being great forever, we don’t listen to His advice. We don’t care about what will happen in eternity because it seems too far away. But to those who wisely listen, the key to being promoted in the next life will be determined by how well we served in this life. Here are some qualifications for being a “servant of all.”

1. A servant of all has a heart of humility. Servanthood requires humility. Proud servants don’t exist in God’s kingdom. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). A humble person cannot be humiliated, no matter how undignified the job may be. Elisabeth Elliot said, “The best way to find out whether or not you really have a servant’s heart is to see what your reaction is when somebody treats you like one.”

2. A servant of all will cheerfully serve in every job. Being a servant of all doesn’t mean you have to quit your profession and take a minimum wage job. Some people serve in lowly positions but still have a proud heart, while others serve God in high positions with a humble servant’s heart. You can have a servant’s heart even if you are a CEO or President of the United States, but you will also cheerfully serve in menial tasks as well.

3. A servant of all always views God as the boss. The apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather from men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col. 3:23-24) If you are a servant of all, you will always do your work to please the Lord. God promises to reward you in the next life for your cheerful service.
To be continued…
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Listen to Song of the Month (with lyrics) "Sovereign Over Us"

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Real Story Behind Malchus's Ear

When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter overreacted and tried to fight off His attackers. “Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus” (John 18:10). Jesus picked up the ear and placed it back on Malchus’s head! (Luke 22:51). You probably know that, but do you see the story behind the story?

It was no accident that this happened to Malchus, who was “the high priest’s slave.” After He was arrested, Jesus stood on trial before Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year (Matt. 26:57). The Heavenly High Priest stood on trial before the earthly high priest, but Caiaphas didn’t recognize Him.

Although it is not recorded in Scripture, Malchus undoubtedly reported this incredible miracle to his boss, the high priest. Caiaphas had previously prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation (John 11:49-51) but now God was giving him another chance to repent. Would he believe Malchus's testimony and change his mind? Caiaphas chose to dismiss it, which sent Jesus to the cross.

On Judgment Day, the roles will be reversed. Caiaphas the earthly high priest will stand on trial before Jesus the Heavenly High Priest, and will give an account for his life. I’m sure that Malchus’s ear will come up in the conversation. Although we don’t know for sure if he ever repented, tradition tells us that Caiaphas later converted to Christianity. If that’s true, the miracle of the severed ear might have had something to do with it. And that’s how God can take mistakes like Peter’s over-reaction and use it for His purposes. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com


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10 Secrets to Life's Biggest Challenges is ON SALE for $1.00 at Christian Book Distributors.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why did Jesus say, "TRULY I say to you"?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus said, “TRULY I say to you”? (KJV says “Verily”). He always told the truth and He even called Himself “the Truth” (John 14:6), so why would He need to say “Truly I say to you”? He said it because He wanted the listeners to grasp the significance of the statement they were about to hear. To paraphrase Him: “What I am about to tell you might be hard to believe, but it really is true!” Although He repeated the phrase “Truly I say to you” many times, here are three hard-to-believe statements that Jesus said were true.  

1. A mountain can be cast into the sea by speaking to it. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him” (Mark 11:23). Jesus chose the most ridiculous example we could ever imagine to assure us that humanly impossible situations are possible with God.

2. A secret act of worship would be known around the world. (This would be done without the means of TV or the Internet.) After Mary poured costly perfume on Jesus’ head, He said, “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matt. 26:13). Although this seemed impossible to everyone who heard Him say it, what she did is recorded in the Scriptures that have gone all over the world.

3. An offering of two copper coins was worth more than all the other contributions combined. After a poor widow put her last two coins into the treasury box, Jesus said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury” (Mark 12:43). This shows that our sacrificial offerings can be huge gifts from God's point of view, even if they appear insignificant in man’s eyes.

Faith is thinking like God thinks. Jesus had to keep repeating the phrase “Truly I say to you” because God sees things very differently than we do. Our faith must not rest upon human reasoning but on what God has revealed as truth, which requires us to think outside the box. Do you need to make any adjustments about what you believe? www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  
www.makinglifecount.net (Over 200 printable Bible studies and sermons)

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Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Lessons from Cain, Balaam and Korah

Jude, who was the half-brother of Jesus, warned us about three ways that worship can be corrupted. He wrote, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (Jude 11).  

1. The Way of Cain (Worshiping apathetically)  Cain was the first religionist and didn’t understand how to worship God correctly. Cain went through the motions of worship but didn’t have true faith in God (Heb. 11:4). He didn’t live righteously like Abel but was evil in his behavior. First John 3:12 says, “…Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.” Cain represents the person who regularly attends church and goes through the motions of worship, but his heart isn’t right with God and lives an unholy life.

2. The Error of Balaam (Misusing authority for financial gain)  Balaam was a prophet who tried to use his prophetic gift for personal financial gain. He compromised his integrity because he “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15). Balaam was so despicable to God that he is mentioned in eight different books of the Bible (Numbers 22, Deut. 23:4-5, Josh. 24:9-10, Neh. 13:2, Mic. 6:5, 2 Pet. 2:15, Jude 1:11, Rev. 2:14). Balaam represents deceptive pastors, evangelists, and ministers who use their positions of authority to manipulate their congregations to gain personal wealth. God will expose their motives on the Day of Judgment.

3. The Rebellion of Korah (Usurping godly authority)  Korah led a rebellion against God’s leader Moses, who was the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). He wanted to overthrow Moses as leader because he refused to submit to godly authority (Numbers 16). Korah represents rebellious church members who try to overthrow godly pastors and force them out of the church. This is a very serious sin and will bring harsh punishment from God. 

Make sure that you stay away from these three traps and worship God in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  
www.makinglifecount.net (Over 200 printable Bible studies and sermons)

NEW SERMON--Jonah Part 4, “The Pity Party” by Kent Crockett 


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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Every Marriage Needs Four Things

A party was thrown in honor of a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. The husband wanted to honor his wife, who was hard of hearing. In the presence of all, he said, “My dear wife, after fifty years I’ve found you tried and true!” 
Everyone clapped but his wife looked bothered. She loudly asked, “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
He spoke louder, “After fifty years of being married I’ve found you tried and true!” 
The upset wife shouted back, “And after fifty years of marriage I’m tired of you, too!” Four things will keep you from getting tired of your spouse and will insure a happy marriage.

1. Commitment—holds your marriage together. A marriage is only as strong as the husband’s and wife’s commitment to the Lord. If your spouse is faithful to the Lord, he or she will also be faithful to you. A study on marriage revealed that the divorce rate for a married couple who attended church every week, regularly read the Bible, and prayed together at least once a day was 1 in 1,015.

2. Caring—keeps the love alive. If your marriage has lost its love, the Lord can resurrect it because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He will show you what to do because we are “taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9).

3. Compromise—minimizes your differences. Compromise doesn’t mean that you violate your integrity but that you negotiate your differences and come to an agreement. “Do not merely look out for your own interests but also for the interest of others” (Phil. 2:4). My wife and I used to argue about where to set the thermostat in the house. I like it 76 degrees and she wants it 72 degrees. We agreed to set the thermostat at 74 degrees. End of argument. If you are arguing about issues, figure out how to meet in the middle and quit fighting about it.

4. Communication—makes marriage run smoothly. Communication stops when yelling begins. If a husband and wife don’t enjoy talking to each other, they will drift apart and the marriage will slowly die. Learn to talk positively about what interests your spouse.  

It will take both spouses doing these four things to make your marriage work, but change usually starts with one spouse taking the initiative. You make the first move and let God deal with your spouse.
www.makinglifecount.net  (Over 200 printable Bible studies and sermons)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
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Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 
Contributions to Making Life Count Ministries are tax-deductible.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Marriage Repair Shop

It’s easy to get married, but staying married requires maintenance. Suppose your car engine starts running rough. Instead of taking it to the repair shop, you ignore the problem. You think, “Well, the car is still running, so I can wait a while before I fix it.” Then your transmission starts acting up, but you don’t fix it. The “check engine” light comes on, but you ignore it.

Later you notice a trail of black smoke following your car, but you don’t fix it. Then you notice that your engine is running hot. By now you realize it’s going to cost a lot of money to repair your vehicle. You say to yourself, “This old clunker has too many problems. I’ll just get rid of it and get a new one.” You think that your problems will be solved by getting another vehicle, never realizing the next car is going to need repairing too.

Maintaining a marriage is like maintaining a car. If we will fix the problems as they arise, it will keep running smoothly and we can enjoy the ride. But if we don’t make the needed repairs we might say, “This marriage has too many problems. I’ll just get rid of my old clunker and get me new one.” God wants us to take our marriages to the Marriage Repair Shop for proper maintenance. A marriage can’t be repaired until we first correct the three causes of marriage breakdowns.

Cause #1: A Selfish Spirit.  Selfishness is the source of 99% of marriage conflicts. Adrian Rogers said, “The best marriage in the world is two servants married to each other and the worst marriage in the world is two bosses married to each other. Every marriage requires two funerals and one wedding. The funerals are for the husband and wife to die to their selfishness.”

Cause #2: Unrealistic Expectations. We enter marriage with a picture in our minds of the perfect marriage. But after we get married, we soon discover that we didn’t marry a perfect picture but an imperfect person. After we make this discovery, we will either tear up the picture or we will tear up the person. And that’s why husbands and wives fight—they’re tearing up the person instead of tearing up the picture. The solution is to tear up the picture of a trouble-free marriage and deal with reality.   

Cause #3:  Different Upbringings. The husband and wife grew up in completely different nests. Each learns to do things differently and each are programmed to do react a certain way. The differences in the way we were raised can become a source of conflict. However, if we will choose the best ideas from both nests and learn from the mistakes that were made, we can build a better nest—and live happily ever after.

READ THIS SERMONJONAH part 3 “The God of Another Chance” by Kent Crockett

WATCH THIS MUSIC VIDEO“King of My Heart” by Love & the Outcome

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Everyone Has Problems

A man walked into a psychiatrist’s office with a fried egg on top of his head and a strip of bacon over each ear. The counselor asked, “What can I do for you?” The man replied, “I’ve got a problem with my brother.”

Pointing the finger at someone else is not the way to solve your problem.
Are you discouraged by a trial you’re going through? It will help to remember that everyone has to deal with problems. What I am dealing with may not be the same problem that you are facing, but everyone has challenges. Here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Most problems are fixable. Do what you can do to resolve the problem. Diagnose the situation, be willing to do whatever is necessary, and take the steps to fix it. If the situation is completely out of your hands, surrender it into God’s hands and trust Him for the strength to endure it.

2. Many problems are imaginary. We make life harder than it’s supposed to be by magnifying our problems through our imaginations. The problem isn’t our problem. The real problem is the way we think. This is why we must control our thoughts, keep the right perspective and look at the positive side of our circumstances. (see Philippians 4:4-8, 2 Cor. 10:5).

3. All problems are an opportunity. Trials are simply challenges to move us to a higher level of spiritual growth. When we overcome the problem, we are promoted to a higher position and a better place.

No matter what you are going through, trust the God who is bigger than your problem. He will show you what to do and will give you the strength to get through it. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net


Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry.
Contributions to Making Life Count Ministries are tax-deductible.