A Simple Christ for a Complicated World

Simple ChristDespite how intricate, beautiful, and complex His Creation is, Jesus had a profound way of keeping things simple. The religious people, the Pharisees and Sadducees, had built an empire around making religion so complicated, and being devout so above everyone, that Jesus had to come to simplify it all!

But, don’t underestimate Christ’s simplicity, it was actually understated genius for Him to come amongst His own creation and fly below the radar.

From His simple birth in a manger, to His profession as a carpenter, Jesus kept it simple. Isn’t that just like us though. We complicate everything. We try to force things. We try to muddy things up. We don’t mean to. But, if we can, we want to blend our version of Jesus, with the version of Jesus in the bible. We have an image of Him, but I wonder how closely that image of Jesus would resemble true image, the simplified version.

The moment we get our hands on something is the moment we make it harder than what it has to be. This holds true for how we handle crisis, trouble, or general strife in our life.

Job, along with his comforters over complicated what was happening to him. They spent nearly 35 chapters explaining one or two chapters of dialogue between God and Satan.

The Israelites took forty years to make a 2-week long journey.

The woman with the issue of blood spent 12 years and her entire life’s savings trying to fix her condition before concluding, all she needed to do was touch the hem of his garment.

The man who had suffered 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda when all he would have needed was faith and Jesus could heal him!

Jesus marveled at people who simplified their faith in Him. The Centurion told him to just, “Say the word. You don’t even need to come to my house!”

The list goes on and on throughout the bible at how we complicate things!

In Closing

Jesus didn’t come to make things harder – He came to make them simpler for humanity. According to many rabbis, the original Talmud, or Jewish Law records 613 commands!

Jesus states in Matthew 22:35-40, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus simplifies everything for us! So, why do we make things so difficult? We think we’re making things easier, but in reality, we’re working so hard at avoiding work, we’re creating more work and complexity for our lives.

How about you? Have you complicated what you’re going through by trying to take the long way?

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

From the Lab to Life

LabLifeWe may talk a good game. We may be able to trash-talk with the best of ’em. We may even be able for a brief time talk so much smack we believe it ourselves. But, there’s coming a day when God is going to filter all of the fluff in our lives and demand that we put up, or shut up!

In Christ’s teaching about that great day in which we will appear before His Judgment Seat, He makes a distinction between those who SAY and those who DO.

Matthew 7:21 – 22, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (BOLD added for emphasis)

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Jesus went on to say we will be known by the fruit, or evidence, we produce. Did you get that? We will not be measured by our professions or confessions, we will be measured by the completion of the mission!

Let’s face it, too often our churches can resemble a laboratory. We run experiments in controlled environments. We measure, we scrutinize; we theorize and hypothesize! We sanitize, and organize. We’re dead-set on our protocols, policies and procedures. We’re never quite ready to pull the trigger on the findings of our experiments or theories. We’re just content to remain, much like lab rats in their cages, trapped in the lab.

God never intended for us to remain in the lab never to step out into real life where things can get messy and unpredictable. Jesus specialized in the messy didn’t He? Sinners, lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes…oh my!

If studying is your thing, research will reveal churches that are growing are the ones that go from the lab to real life. They’re shedding their proverbial lab coats and throwing out their clipboards. They’ve quit crunching the numbers and they’ve stepped into a new realm of power and demonstration. A new world of influence and impact.

Everyday churches are closing their doors and pastors are moving on to other jobs and vocations because their church was too content running experiments in the safety of a sanitized environment rather than getting out there, doing something meaningful and impactful, with real-life examples of people’s lives being transformed by the renewing, life-giving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can’t grow a church in a petri-dish folks! As gross as this sounds, we can’t artificially inseminate this world with the Gospel!

  • It’s time for some real reproductive power!
  • Some real fruit-bearing power!
  • Some real Holy Ghost power!

It’s time we shed the lab coats, safety goggles, and clipboards, roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done!

We need to move beyond the hypothetical and theoretical to the practical and powerful! One of the most frustrating feelings in my current role as a quality coordinator at my company is whenever there’s an audit, those in charge of preparing for it seem casual and so distracted. There’s no sense of urgency! Dare I say, the church can be just as apathetic at times about her role in these Last Days!

One day soon we’re all going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. One day we’re going to be put in the very precarious situation where we too will be judged on the deeds done in our body.

Will we be those who “say” we did this in your name Lord with no fruit, or proof, to substantiate our case? Or, will we be numbered among those who actually had the boldness, the courage, the urgency to step out of the lab and make a real difference in our generation!

My closing questions for you:

• Do you see yourself as a person of action or a person who is content to allow others to do what needs to be done?
• Do you do more planning than executing?
• Maybe you’re already sharing Christ with this world, so is there an undeveloped talent God has given you, an unanswered calling on your life, an unsung song inside you, an unwritten book you’ve put off for awhile?
• What one or two things will you begin to do right away, perhaps even today, that will set you up to begin to bring forth fruit in these undeveloped areas of your life?

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Our “Soul” Purpose

SoulPurposeThink about the number of people you know and interact with on a daily basis. Think about the sheer number of people in the cars as you sit in traffic. Think about that there are literally over 7 billion people on the planet and that number is growing every second. I believe by the Holy Ghost, that these are more than just flesh and blood people, these are souls. We can tend to use that term “souls” loosely, but it has a profoundly powerful impact if allow the weight of what’s at stake to sink in.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The 17th Century Puritan Preacher, Thomas Watson said of this verse, “Every man carries a treasure about with him—a divine soul. And that this jewel should not be undervalued, our Savior here sets a price upon it. He lays the soul in balance with the whole world and, being put in the scales—the soul weighs heaviest.”

Some would argue the soul is of inestimable value, I would say that argument is flawed to some degree. The soul does have an estimable value and Jesus paid that price with His Blood. The God of Heaven robed Himself in flesh and suffered unthinkable pain and torture to ransom our sin-sick souls. And, because He paid that price, we have the promise of eternal life, as do all those who are washed in that Blood through baptism in His Name, and filled with His Holy Spirit.

So, before you’re too quick to lash out at that person in the parking lot for “stealing” your parking spot, or sarcastically dismiss the tirade of a disgruntled clerk, remember they’re more than just a person, beneath that thin veneer of flesh is a soul that will spend somewhere in eternity. You could be the only one standing between their decision to live for God or allow Satan to rule the day. Have compassion for them. Be an agent for healing rather than conflict. When you handle something of value, are you careless with it? Do you toss it around, mistreat it, or abuse it? Of course not! Souls are a treasure of great price.

Jesus views our soul as a treasure, as does the devil. The difference is, Jesus was willing to pay the price for that treasure. In his Gospel, John records the words of Christ in chapter 10, verse 10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Praise be to God that He thought we were worth saving and redeeming. So much so, He left the splendor of Heaven to prove there’s more to us all than meets the eye – we have a soul. Remember, people matter deeply to God as does their soul, and they should matter deeply to us as well.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Mansion Depot

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Now days if we want to build something, anything, or at least try, we immediately head to our local home improvement store; Lowe’s, Home Depot, or my new favorite, Menard’s. But if you’re building an eternal mansion, where does one go to purchase the building supplies needed for such a monumental task?

Jesus said He went away to prepare a place for us (John 14). Even as you read this, preparations for your anticipated arrival are being made. Every attention to detail is feverishly being paid. What are the materials, the building supplies, the nails, brick, mortar, and accouterments needed for the preparation of such a magnificent “mansion?”

I submit, what if the substance of our mansions consisted of the prayers we’ve prayed, the tears we’ve cried, the burdens we’ve carried, and the lives we’ve touched? What if the royalty and splendor of our mansions were proportional to the amount of our humility, generosity, charity, and love in this present life?

If God used a rough-hewn cross, rusty nails, and a crumpled mess of thorns as the building supplies of our great salvation, how great a mansion He must be preparing for us using the seemingly menial things of this life? Paul stated in Romans 8:18, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

What if the royalty and splendor of our mansions were proportional to our amount of humility, generosity, charity, and love in this present life?

And in 1 Corinthians 1:27 – 30, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

And, Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 6:19 – 21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

What of your mansion? Are you providing our Master Builder, The Great Framer of the Universe, with the adequate supplies needed to finish your mansion, or have you chosen rather to lay up for yourself treasures here, that will fade, rust, and wither?

Love and prayers for your mansion on the other side to be greater than you could ever have imagined, because our God is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all we could ask or think! Pastor Rodger Mangold

Photo credit goes to “Yours Truly.” We visited Buckingham Palace in September of 2005. Not too shabby a cottage if I do say so myself. As elegant and beautiful as that and Windsor Castle are, it will pale in comparison to the place God has prepared for those that love Him, and provide Him with suitable building materials!

A Savior Between Two "Thieves"

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. Matthew 27:38

The account of Christ’s crucifixion never gives the identities of the two thieves or malefactors, but it dawned on me, the position of Christ between them has significance on several levels. It brings to mind an Old Testament showdown of Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal.

In I Kings 18:21 Elijah issues a challenge to Israel, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

It occurred to me, people who have yet to be fully convinced of Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary find themselves in a similar quandary, almost persuaded (Acts 26:28) allowing their opinions to become the thieves of their salvation, with our Dear Savior hanging in the middle!

The two thieves surrounding Christ may not have had names in the Gospels, but in today’s message they do. For some they could be…

  • Pride and Arrogance
  • Greed and Power
  • Complacency and Apathy

Friend, how long will YOU stall in your valley of decision (Joel 3:14) to live for Christ? Will you continue to allow thieves to distract and rob you of choosing the blessed Savior hanging between them?

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

"The Kingdom of Heaven" Brought to You by Jesus

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Matthew 10:7

When Jesus Christ showed up, He quite literally brought the Kingdom of Heaven to mankind. Blinded eyes were open. Deaf ears unstopped. Handicapped made to walk. The dead brought back to life. Though taking place in the physical first, after the infilling of the Holy Spirit He would also open the spiritually blinded eyes, deaf ears, create a new walk, and give us life eternal! Indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven was attainable!

The Sadducees and Pharisees thought they had the Kingdom of Heaven on lockdown with their rules and regulations, fines, tariffs, and penalties, but Jesus said, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

Jesus came to pay the dearest of all prices – He gave His life to redeem you and me. Making the Kingdom of Heaven achievable! Friend, if you’re looking for love, hope, and purpose in your life, the Kingdom of Heaven is closer than you think…it’s at hand. Christ came to bring us life and that life more abundantly. Hope in this life and in the life to come, saying He went away to prepare a place for YOU!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Leaving Behind a Treasured Legacy

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

Part of any good treasure includes wealth that will outlive you and be passed to your future generations. The scripture teaches us in Proverbs 13:22 – A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.

Investing in God’s treasure for you, brings with it benefits that are not only good for you, but good for generations to come. Not only is this true, but the opposite it true. If you don’t invest yourself in the Kingdom of God, you’re selling yourself short and generations to come.

If you compromise now on your treasure, where will that leave your children? Where will that leave your children’s children. The greatest legacy I could ever leave behind is not the Mangold Name or Mangold fortune, but rather name of Jesus Christ. Future Christians that are going to mine for as much treasure as they can find in God’s Word!

You want to leave your children something…LEAVE THEM TRUTH!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold