A God Who Goes Before Us

A God Who Goes BeforeIn addition to pastoring, I work for Ford Motor Company. I tell people I work for Ford, but I labor for the Lord. This company has been around for nearly 120 years now. Recently my plant celebrated its 50th anniversary of being in operation having opened its doors in October 1968. Curiously enough, I was hired in October of 1996 and celebrated 22 years with Ford. I say “curiously enough” because as I joined my coworkers in celebrating our plant’s milestone, something powerful dawned on me.

I walked along the wall and observed them breaking ground in October 1966. I was intrigued by the large excavators, hundreds of construction workers, and new walls being poured. I really got emotional in that moment because I realized that even before I was born (1969) and before I was hired (1996), God was preparing a place for me to work and have a career. Sure, thousands of others have worked here, but I had a profound notion that God somehow prepared it just for me. Selfish you may say? Not hardly. God has a way of blessing many people in many ways at different times, but who could have known a little boy was going to be born and that he would work at a Ford plant 20 miles away from where I was born and nearly 50 miles from where I grew up?

Then, I was thinking of the house I now live in which was built in 1989. I graduated from high school in 1988. How could I have known that a family would be building a house 50 miles away for me to one day buy nearly 30 years later and where I would watch all four of my grandchildren take their first steps?

The same with the church I grew up in; the church my wife grew up in; the church I now pastor. All buildings that would have significance in my life. Buildings I did not build, yet had life-changing and long-reaching effects in my life.

I want to encourage someone today that your life is not left to chance. There is a loving and benevolent heavenly Father above who has meticulously prepared a life for you if you’re willing to walk in it. He did this with the children of Israel as He stated in Deuteronomy…

“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ESV)

So, as you lay your head down at night, or walk through the doors of your place of employment or worship, pause to give thanks and reflect upon the fact that your life is not an accident and that God has gone before you to ensure you have everything you need in your future to be a success and carry out the beautiful plans He’s tailor-made for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

“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

An Audience of ONE

AudienceofONEThere is an incredibly understated theme all throughout biblical history that I’ve recently uncovered. It’s gone virtually unnoticed because we live in a culture that believes if we are not popular, loved, or accepted by everyone, we’re not popular, loved, and accepted by anyone.

We underestimate the impact our influence can have even on a small scale. With celebrities, performers, and athletes drawing crowds of thousands, and having social media followers in the millions, we undervalue the importance of small-scale interactions; the up-close and personal, one-on-one encounters we have almost all of the time. We can tend to feel if we can’t do it on a grand-scale, it’s simply not worth doing.

I’m so glad God never felt this way about us! While we were yet sinners, Christ loved us and gave His life for us. When we had nothing to offer in return, Christ chose the route of making the first move toward our redemption. But, before He died for the world, take note of the interactions Christ had during His earthly ministry.

  • Just Jesus and a woman at the well
  • Just Jesus and a woman caught in adultery, after the crowd scatters
  • Just Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of night
  • Just Jesus and a little girl healed as they were already mourning her death
  • Just Jesus and Peter walking on the water
  • Just Jesus and Zacchaeus
  • He even faced down Satan one-on-one in the wilderness
  • Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Christ for the Gardner

This theme is not unique to Jesus’ day. God chose to have these encounters with individuals from the dawn of time:

  • Adam in the cool of the day
  • Enoch walked with God, but God took Him because Enoch pleased God
  • Noah, all by his lonesome found grace in the eyes of the Lord
  • Abraham, called out of the family idol-making business to become the Father of Many Nations
  • Jacob wrestling his “Angel” all night long became the father of the Israelite Nation.
  • Moses met God one-on-one at the burning bush

This theme is important because many of these seemingly small inconsequential interactions resulted in transformational and pivotal moments in people’s lives. I call these encounters, An Audience of ONE.

No large crowds. No big venues. Just a one-on-one, up-close and personal, intimate Audience of ONE that would go on to have a huge ripple effect!

  • Mary had an audience of one with the Angel Gabriel and went on to become the Mother of Christ!
  • Zechariah had an audience of one with the Angel and he and Elizabeth became the elderly parents of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said there was none greater!
  • Peter’s conversation with Jesus after His resurrection, later resulted in Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost that saved thousands in one day!
  • Saul on his way to kill Christians was blinded and sent to Damascus where he had an audience of one with Ananias that resulted in Saul becoming Paul, the greatest missionary of the Bible!

It’s my sincerest belief friends that Jesus still desires these one-on-one intimate conversations with His followers. I believe He still invites us to have an Audience of ONE with Him on a daily basis. Without these small interactions, this Audience of ONE, how can we ever expect to have the monumental impact our predecessors did? It’s just not possible.

Before David ever strummed a calming note on his harp for a tormented King Saul, David had an Audience of ONE with God while tending his father’s sheep.

Before David slew the giant in front of thousands in the Valley of Elah, David had an Audience of ONE with a lion and another with a bear!

Today, do not underestimate the impact your Audience of ONE can have with God. It’s like to become the most transformational moment of your entire life and could potentially have an impact upon you, your family, and those you lead, for generations to come.

“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

Settling Too Soon

Settling2And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. 23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. 24Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth. Numbers 32:22 – 24

The closer Israel got to The Promised Land, the more appealing the land looked, in fact Reuben and Gad decided they had found their place and wanted to settle before reaching their promised destination.

This infuriated Moses and the Lord. To settle too soon would mean the Israelites would be shorthanded in the last legs of their journey toward promise. Moses went as far as to say, “be sure, your sin will find you out!” Eventually Reuben and Gad agreed to continue to support their brethren in the conquest of Canaan.

God has great things in store for His people, but we must shake the urge to settle too soon. If we’re content with carnal, temporal, or earthly pleasures, and decide to forego God’s Eternal Promise, it is akin to sin, as Moses said, “be sure, it will find you out”. It will manifest in your lack of commitment, your earthly appetites and affections, your pursuits of wealth, worldly acclaim, and social acceptance.

Love not this world and all it affords – Jesus said He went away to prepare a place for you, and the greatest reward of all, won’t be the streets of gold, the walls of jasper, and the pearly gates, it is being in the presence of the Master for Eternity!

“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

Protect the Source

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. Deut. 22:6-7

Why would God even bother to include such a seemingly trivial commandment in the law that Moses was to deliver to the people? Because, protecting Mama means protecting the source of new life – the birth, protection, and continuation of the species.

In God’s wisdom, protection of the source of life is paramount. There will be casualties, and there will hard decisions to be made, but ultimately we are commanded to protect the source…the source of life. Destroying the source means the elimination of a generation, the elimination of a species, and possible extinction. We MUST protect the source.

Because this isn’t just about me getting what I need in my life time, this is about the continuation of the species…

  • There must be future Christians
  • There must be future Sunday School Teachers
  • Worship Leaders
  • Musicians
  • Preachers and Teachers

By protecting the source, we ensure the procreation and the propagation of another generation…THIS MUST OUTLIVE US!

God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” That is our duty – we must give birth to another generation of believers, another generation of life givers, another generation of truth!

“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 Lamb's Progression of Power

Throughout scripture the lamb has seen a progression of power becoming a central figure in the cleansing, redemption, and even protection of God’s people. Consider the following passages…

Lamb for a Man

Genesis 4:4 “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering…”

Lamb for a Family

Exodus 12:21 “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.”

Lamb for a Nation

Exodus 49:21  And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 42This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.”

Lamb for the World

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

I Peter 1:18 – 20 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”

The Lamb is no longer a meek and timid creature which silently succumbs to an innocent death – rather Christ is as Revelation 5:11 reveals, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”

NOTE: A short word about the above remarks – This topic was derived from my Pastor, Stephen Trachsel, Sr. If some or all of this has been preached elsewhere I make no claims as to being the originator. If after reading this you know its true source please comment and I will ensure the author gets the proper credit.  Lastly, this post does exceed my 200 word limitation, the exception being it does so with scripture rather than my own words.

“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

Mountaintop Experiences – Moses' Right-hand Man Joshua

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Exodus 33:11

With the seeming weight of the world on his shoulders, Moses made a plea for God to show him who would one day take the helm of the Israelite nation. But, standing in the shadows was a young man who had accompanied Moses up the mount, and when everyone was commanded to remain in their tents as Moses entered the tabernacle, tenacious Joshua “departed not.”

There are two angles; Moses’ and Joshua’s. Moses the visionary concerned with future leadership and Joshua capturing the vision of his leader calling him Moses’ servant and minister. While fulfilling the role of a servant or minister, we become privy to moments those who choose to remain on the peripheral seldom see.

Before Joshua defeated Jericho, before he commanded the sun to stand still, before triumphantly leading Israel to the Promised Land, he humbled himself and became Moses’ servant remaining in the background so discretely and humbly, it never even occurred to Moses’ when considering who his successor would be. A good servant doesn’t draw attention to himself; his focus is the mission for which he’s called. Joshua’s private service to Moses his mentor, led to public victories and accomplishments, not for his glory, but for the glory of God, and for the advancement of an entire nation.

Part of the Mountaintop Experiences Serminute Series

“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

Mountaintop Experiences – Must Be Present to Win

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. Exodus 24:12

This may sound counterintuitive if you’re looking for motivation to “do” something for God, but there are times God doesn’t want us do anything…just “be there.” One of the most difficult things for us to master is the art standing still and letting God be God; yielding full control to Him – we must decrease in order for God to increase! This is not an excuse to sit around and do nothing; rather it’s an admonishment to know when to wait on the Lord!

God called Moses up to the mount, not “do” or “give,” something, but to receive. In order to receive we must be present with no pretense. God wanted to “give” Moses the commandments so he could in turn “teach” or “give” the Israelites the benefit of God’s covenant and commandments.

In our busy fast-paced world, our challenge is simply to “be there.” We’re bombarded with phone calls, voicemail, email, and texts, which often distract us from being “present” in very important situations, not the least of which are times when our family, or more importantly, God is trying to get our attention! Like the old adage says when it comes to drawings…you must be present to win!

Part of the Mountaintop Experiences Serminute Series

“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