Undercover Sinner

UCSinnerThe world we live in has created a generation of people who always have their defenses up. For our generation it’s become a survival mechanism. We have identity thieves, terrorists, human trafficking, and very real demonic forces that are out to destroy us and our family. And that enemy will use any means necessary to bring us down.

But, when it comes to our Heavenly Father defenses are both not needed and a complete waste. First because He sees us for who we really are, and second, there is no hiding anything from God…PERIOD! Our attempts to hide, mask, or shield ourselves is an insult to the One who created us and knows us inside out.

Like armchair quarterbacks, we sit back with a critical eye on the likes of Adam and Eve, Achan, Ananias and Sapphira, and even King David, and think how naive they must have been to think they could conceal their sin from God.

Yes, they were all feeble attempts at covering up their sin, but really in addition to hiding for fear of punishment, weren’t they responding out of shame as well?

Adam and Eve’s eyes had been opened by the fruit they wrongfully ate and they tried to cover up with fig leaves they haphazardly sewed together to hide the shame of their nakedness.

Certainly, God was angered by their sin, but His first question was, “Who told you, you were naked?” Then, God asked about the fruit. God bemoans the loss of openness before He does the actual sin of eating the fruit.

Why? Because God wants openness, honesty, and purity when it comes to His relationship with you.

No pretense. No shame. No guilt. No fear.

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Does any of this sound like God wants us to shy away from His Holy Presence? In fact, when do we need God the most? When we have sinned and fallen short; When we have messed up; when we are feeling suffocated by shame.

Satan knows, just like he did back in the Garden, if he can create a wedge or a wall between us and God, our relationship with God is vulnerable and will severely suffer.

The WORST thing we can do when we sin is try to hide it, cover it up, and allow it to be a constant source of guilt and shame for us and inhibit the flow of God’s Love in our lives.

Pure and simple – God wants a relationship with His Children and has traveled galaxies to make that a reality in our lives.

In fact, God has given us all an opportunity to be open and honest with Him.

1 John 1:8 – 10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

God has no tolerance for people that try to cover up their sin. He takes it very seriously because it is sin that separates us from Divine Communion with Him.

Friend, sin is a disease that destroys the most valuable commodity we have in eternity, our soul. It will destroy the greatest relationship we could ever have here or in eternity, our relationship with our Creator. Sin destroys relationships both with each other, and with God.

The biggest source of hatred for God against sin isn’t the fact that we’ve sinned, it’s what we do when we do sin, and what sin does to us when it tightens its grip. 

God’s strolling through your life even now looking for Divine Communion with you. Will He find you? Or, will you be hiding in shame, tucked behind the tree, haphazardly wrapped up in fig leaves, cowering in shame because you’re naked, alone, and afraid?

Yes, God’s angry with the sin, but not for the reason you think He is. He’s angered by your loss of innocence; your loss of openness, honesty, and purity. He’s angered that sin has robbed you of the greatest relationship you’ll ever know – His relationship with you.

Today, ask yourself the question, are things as open as they used to be between you and God, or have fig leaves and fruit trees stood in the way of God have complete access to your heart, and you having complete access to His Love, Grace, and Mercy?

  • Don’t try and cover up your sin.
  • Don’t try and avoid what you’ve done.
  • Don’t try and defend what you’ve done.
  • Don’t simply be ashamed of what you’ve done.
  • Don’t live a life of guilt and separation from the One who loves you the most.

Take it all to God today. Enter boldly before His throne.

  • Confess
  • Repent
  • Release
  • Accept forgiveness
  • Never do it again!

Move toward the open and loving arms of a merciful and compassion Savior.

“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

The Storm Chasers

ChasersStorm Chasers…racers into the wind,
The fearful seek shelter, the Chasers dive right in.

Tornado, typhoon, hurricane, their courage and bravery unfettered.
Torrential rains, blustery winds, they’re undaunted by the weather.

Their quest for danger cannot be swayed, for them it’s a burning desire.
They’re on a mission to chase each storm, the floods, the rain, and fire.

They know as they brave the elements, there’s a sister or brother in need,
To build our faith, and quell our fears is a Storm Chaser’s trusted creed.

The Chasers know each storm differs, and no one suffers the same,
These storm-hungry souls find solace in the power of Jesus Name.

As you board up your windows, and bar your doors, seeking refuge, safety and warmth,
There are a quiet few courageous Chasers who have weathered life’s calamitous storms.

Chasers do not cower in self-pity, or recoil in the dark of the night,
Their gaze is fixed, their minds made up, no thought to tuck tail and take flight!

Pelted by rain, sideways at times, a Chaser is bound to get drenched,
Tenacity says, “Dig in deeper,” as their teeth and their fists remain clinched.

They’ve seen many vessels capsize in the Seas of Despair and Doubt,
Ever faithful, ever mighty, the Lord always brings them out.

Excess cargo is abandoned, so much is lost, their sails tattered from gale force gusts,
They’ve found a place to drop anchor, solid in the bedrock of God’s Word they trust.

For the Chasers the thrill of the storm matters not to them in the end,
But in getting a personal audience with the Maker of the Wind.

Let this be a call to all those who are safe and content in the comfort of their sleepy harbors,
Storm Chasers are rare, but if you dare, you’ll see the Light of God’s Love, even in your darkest hours.

Storm Chasers know trust is a must, without it they’re at the whim of the weather,
We’re reaching out to you, right now my friend, because we know we’re stronger together. ~ RD Mangold

“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

Book Review: The Life Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin

LGLAn all-new feature of “Serminutes” will be occasional book reviews that I feel stand out and should be strongly considered by those who follow this blog. I am not compensated by the publisher for my reviews and I assure my readers that I will do my best to provide honest and objective feedback. Thanks for reading. 

The Life Giving Leader

A Life Giving Book for Life Giving Leaders and Their Teams

DISCLAIMER: As an avid reader and follower of leadership books, I enrolled in an opportunity to be given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. I assure you the following review will provide you with an objective synopsis of what you can expect to find in this title. I was so inspired and challenged by this book that I ordered a hard-copy for my personal leadership library. And, I will be sharing this book with leaders I have the opportunity to serve with across the globe.

Tyler Reagin packs this book with practical, insightful and immediately replicable leadership concepts for you, your team, and those you influence.

While I’ve never attended a Catalyst Conference, I have reaped great benefits from the resources they provide, but this book by Tyler Reagin ranks among one of the most insightful outflows from this organization. Tyler has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s most progressive leaders, Christian and otherwise, and he’s embracing and embodying the best of the best. Therein lies the strength of this book, they’re not just intangible concepts, these have been lived out by Tyler and his team at Catalyst. The powerful principles he shares come from a place of sincerity and transparency, but they are applicable to mainstream leadership too, meaning you do not have to be a Christian to realize how essential integrity is to leadership. Your team knows the difference. They will know when you’re operating from a place of sincerity or selfishness, and that mindset flows throughout your leadership style. Tyler reveals that as leaders we have the privilege and responsibility of establishing a culture of trust, transparency, and time.

A couple of standout concepts from this book are the practical aspects of leadership in which most books fall short. Tyler is not afraid to tell his readers leadership requires sweat, hard-work, and being willing to be the example to those you inspire. Face it, before we lead we must inspire. Tyler gives you the secrets to inspiring those whom you lead.

The other incredibly difficult but powerful pill to swallow in this book that will transform your leadership is what Tyler calls doing a “360” where you allow those who love you, and those whom you trust to expose for you your potential blind spots. This is next level leadership stuff that many leaders will balk at because the thrust of this concept requires you to listen to honest and transparent feedback about how people perceive you and your leadership. We make too many assumptions about how people perceive and receive our direction as a leader. This is a revolutionary concept and enables those who embrace it to truly, as Reagin describes, to lead from their “truest selves.”

This book reveals many more ground-breaking truths. Get your highlighter ready, get your mind ready, and most importantly your heart ready to learn what it takes to truly become a life giving leader.

If you’re interested in this book you can find it on Tyler Reagin’s Website https://www.tylerreagin.com/lifegivingleader or on Amazon

For more information about Tyler Reagin visit his website https://www.tylerreagin.com/

“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

Caged by an Open Door

CagedWe have a white Maltese-Bichon mix dog aptly named Casper. I say aptly named because while he’s white, and named after a ghost, he’s afraid of his own shadow. Whether this was brought on as a result of his early puppy-hood, prior to us owning him, or something just inherent to his demeanor, we’ll never really know. He refuses to give us a straight answer 😉

He suffers from a slight case of separation anxiety, for those who do not know what that is, it can be described as a state of anxiousness that your pet suffers during your absence. They can exhibit OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) behaviors like pacing back and forth around the door, barking incessantly, or they can go into a destructive tirade. I am not a dog expert by any stretch, but we know when a dog starts to tear stuff up when you’re gone that it is safer for him and your furniture if he’s safely and comfortably crated while we’re gone. There are some dog-lovers who will fault us for this, but it is a decision we didn’t take lightly. In fact, we occasionally leave him uncrated when we’re gone for short periods of time only to be reminded when we return why we decided to crate him.

He’s grown quite familiar with our routine. As of this post, Casper is 13 years old. We’ve had him since 2005. Back in 2012, he did something that blew our minds. Every Sunday we go through a ritual just before leaving for church. We’d tell him to go to his cage. He usually lets out an obligatory “huff” and goes straightaway. But, on occasion, he can tell when we’re about to leave for church and he will automatically head to his cage.

On this particular Sunday, we were in a hurry and must have forgotten to lock him up in his cage. When we returned home from church, we found him in his cage, barking and yelping like he always does when we get home, waiting for us to open his cage. When I reached down to unlatch it, I realized it had never been latched to begin with. He sat in his unlocked cage the entire time we were at church. We chuckled at his oversight, but something very profound dawned on me.

How many of us are caged by something that God never intended for us to be caged by? Have we grown used to the feeling of being trapped? Have we settled for that feeling of seclusion and isolation, when in fact, God has already set us free, we were just unwilling to step into the freedom that was already purchased for us at Calvary by Christ’s crucifixion?

We may laugh at silly Casper for remaining locked up when he could have been frolicking around the house wreaking havoc, but how many of us are content to remain caged up when just beyond that open door awaits our promise, our purpose, our potential?

What’s got you caged today? Fear, past failures, critics, insecurity, doubt, etc.? Christ has set you free my friend. Stop living captive to these debilitating figments of your imagination. Stop believing the toxic lies of the devil that’s telling you not to even try.

Come on, reach out, give it a shove, God’s already unlatched your door. Now step out into the future that He’s already prepared for you. Stop being caged by an open door!

Revelation 3:8, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

“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

Reference vs. Reverence

RefVSREv

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote one of the most pivotal documents in all of American History, if not human history. The Declaration of Independence is viewed by many as almost a sacred mandate upon all humanity. Even as I read the words Jefferson penned in 1776, I still get goose-bumps, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What you may not realize however is that Jefferson created another not-so inspirational document called the “Jefferson Bible.” In this unofficial bible, Jefferson edited the Holy Bible, specifically the New Testament, to remove the parts of Christ’s Life that he felt were not necessary, namely the miracles of Christ. He literally went through and physically cut those portions of scripture he disagreed with, and kept others like the teachings of Christ for reference purposes only.

Entitled, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” was completed in 1820 by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine. (Wikipedia citations [2][3][4][5])

For obvious reasons this has disturbing implications, to say the least, but sometimes one letter and its placement can make all of the difference in a word. The words “Reference” and “Reverence” are great examples of this principle. As it turns out, one letter, an F or a V has the potential to be an effective barometer in our walk with Christ.

Our lives can be lived in “reference” to Christ i.e. His teachings, His principles, His ideas, His values, and incredible insight. Much of the world has a “reference only” view of Christ’s earthly life and teachings. While admirable and even inspirational, this narrow view lacks a vital component. A view of the Life of Christ as merely a good reference for living our lives places a dangerous distinction between the characteristics of Christ versus the character of Christ.

To extrapolate Christ’s teachings from His Life, without allowing for His Divine Presence to enable, equip, and empower us, sets us up for some unrealistic expectations because much of what Christ taught ran counter to the culture of His day and even ours. In other words, His teachings were not popular, and to exercise His teachings without His empowering Spirit, can set us up for discouragement. Christ did not just teach, He embodied His teachings which provided His followers with not just instruction, but demonstration of how those teachings should be lived out.

John states it this way in the his account of Christ’s words, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (15:4-5)

While a life lived in “reverence” to Christ does so as a way of elevating Christ’s teaching in our lives to a place of Holy Reverence and Honor. A perspective of reverence enables and empowers us to embody the life-giving teachings, principles, and most importantly, commandments of Christ. We live our lives as a way of allowing Christ’s true character and nature to shine through us.

From a cold dark prison cell in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these very famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

How could Paul write such things facing such dire circumstances? Paul knew that it was only “through Christ” which gives us strength, and in another place, the all-sufficient grace to face unthinkable trials, tests, and even power to live up to the self-sacrificing, counter-intuitive and counter-cultural teachings of Christ.

With a mere reference view, we have the option of taking or leaving things as the world does. But, maintaining a reverence for both Christ and His teaching, it will provide us a holy compulsion drawing us into a relationship with the originator of the principles, teachings, and ultimately commandments of Christ.

“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