A birth of something new

Acts 2.

One of the most important events in the history of the world happened and is recorded here. The birth of something brand new. The birth of an entirely new concept, the church.

“36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

I have an old truck. I like to imagine back To when it was new. It was a bold new design. The series of trucks were called Task Force Trucks. I like everything about them. Well, almost everything about them. Inside the cab behind the seat is this large metal container. It looks like it would hold about 17 gallons. It does. It holds 17 gallons of gasoline. There is 17 gallons of gasoline riding around with me right behind my seat.

What does the gas tank of my truck have to do with the birth of the church? It’s the power source. When they designed my truck it’s like they mocked up this beautiful shapely form, every curve and corner a total stroke of design genius and then realized after finalizing the design that they forgot a fuel tank and so then they looked around, found a space and crammed it in. God had a lan from the beginning of time, how he would power his new creation, this new thing called church.

17 “‘In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

18 Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

Hundreds of years before it happened God described how he would power a new thing that he would build. He would power it by his Holy Spirit. It’s different than the way things were. It’s a new design and new source of power.

Jesus told the disciples that they would be empowered. Empowered to be witnesses of this new thing.

A New covenant, new wine into a new wine skin. Something different. Something new.

It’s been 2 thousand years of this new thing. To some it has lost its luster. To some it is powerless.

To me it is the frame work of my life. The church has not always gotten it right. It does not always get it right. But the church is a group of sinners following a savior. I must not look to them, I must look to Jesus. I have however joined them as we follow Jesus together.

Love letter

Luke 25

There is no Luke 25.

What we have instead is the book of Acts which was Luke’s second writing to a man named Theophilus. The name Theophilus means love of God.

It is the last place we will see red lettering until we get to

The book of The Revelation of John. Not all bibles have red letters. Some times the publishers put the words of Jesus in red letters so that the stand out. The book of Acts is the story of what Jesus’ followers did after Jesus ascended into heaven.

The last words Jesus spoke to his followers are:

“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Jesus ascended into heaven to accomplish 2 things: 1) intercede for us his followers and 2) send his Holy Spirit down upon his followers to empower them, power them to be witnesses of what Jesus can do in a human heart.

I don’t believe Jesus wants to change the world. I believe he wants to change a human heart. The heart is where we decide to do good or to do evil. Without Jesus working in us our propensity is to do evil.

I have given my heart to him. He is the boss of me. I don’t always obey… But when I do? Good things happen. When I don’t? Sometimes nothing happens and sometimes I see right away the consequences of going against the better plan that God has for me. I’m thinking of my burn scars right now. I knew it was the wrong thing to do to play with fire but I did it anyway. Not all rebellion carries with it the horrible consequences of my burns. And even my burns have brought good things into my life ( wife and family)

Rambling a bit.

Jesus loves us. He left, but sent his Holy Spirit to comfort and empower us to tell our story of how HE Can change a heart, change a life, change the world.

Jesus is alive!

Luke 24

Jesus is alive.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.”

Jesus is alive. He died for all our sins but he rose from the dead 3 days later just as he had said he would. Back in chapter 18 of Luke Jesus predicted his death and resurrection.

“31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”’

After raising from the dead he ascended into heaven. He went back into heaven for two very important reasons. The first is so he could send his Holy Spirit to us, the second is so that he can be interceding for us.

Hear is what Paul says about it in Romans 8:

“31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of perfection. The good news is we have a savior who died to pay for our sins. Not only that but he came back to life and will live forever and his main job is to intercede for us in heaven.

When I mess up Jesus says to God, ” I died for that sin, it’s covered”. He can do the same for all of us if we will accept his gift of forgiveness.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me. For forgiving all my sins. I accept your offer today to be my savior and the one who will be the boss of me because you love me.

Draped in black

Luke 23

“38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” 43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus’ Death

23:44-49pp — Mt 27:45-56; Mk 15:33-41; Jn 19:29-30

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

Good Friday service. I was 17. I was in church but was the furthest from God that I could get. There was a cross erected at the front of the church. It wasn’t normally there. It was made from rough lumber. At the end of the service the ladies of the church draped the cross with a black veil. I couldn’t stop staring at it. Jesus was dead. I had lived my life being told about this man. The healer, the miracle worker, the one who cleansed lepers and gave sight to the blind, who forgave and protected prostitutes and tax collectors. He was dead. What did it mean?

What does it mean? The perfect man was killed. Why? What does it mean?

It means God hasn’t forgotten us.

It means God loves us.

It means that we can be forgiven.

He took my place.

He took our place.

He took all of our sin upon himself and paid the price for it with his death on the cross. Now he offers us forgiveness. For free. For reals. For keeps.

Will you accept his gift of forgiveness today?

I did.

What have we done?

I heard two things today seemingly unrelated.

From a sermon about Gods grace. Hitler killed over 6 million Jews.

From a windows 10 advertisement. Kids born today might cure cancer.

This made me think about What else might a kid born today solve.

Then I thought of another mass murder statistic that I can’t get out of my head. Americans have killed 9 times as many humans as Hitler did. Since 1974 Americans have aborted over 55 million babies. Legally. Safely. Sanely. Im not exaggerating or making it up.

Now the question that haunts me….what would a child that didn’t get to be born today have solved?



Just the numbers.

What have we done?

Here is a phone number for a counseling service for those who need help: 888-456-4673 and their website http://hopeafterabortion.com/

Mr Zerba? I need help

I never actually said those words.

Growing up my mom was very anti-pride and anti-competition. The only thing we could compete and be proud of was our humility.

But seriously I was in the 5th grade before I knew that anyone was watching or caring about my school performance. It was when mom was signing me up for classes in Milton-Freewater Oregon. I don’t remember the question but I think the lady asked if I should be in regular math or advanced math. My mom said “oh Peter has always been at the top of his class” or something like that.

I was? I had been? News to me.

So I was put in the more advanced class. My life would be different now if I had said three words anytime during attending Mr Zerba’s class. The only thing I knew how to do was sign my name and sometimes I didn’t even get that right. 3 words could have saved me.

Recently our public utilities district has been installing a new high voltage line and watching them work on it has taught me a valuable spiritual lesson. The lesson is one that David the shepherd learned. He knew the 3-words that I didn’t say. The lesson was this; giants don’t look as big once they are on the ground. The way I learned this is backwards from how he learned it. I saw the poles on the ground and thought they looked small, then they raised them. Wow! Giants! David saw his giant standing, 9’6″ tall and said the three words. I – need -help.

“1 Samuel 17:23-26 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Later that same day…”1 Samuel 17:38-40 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”

I am inserting or reading between the lines here but I believe that while David was kneeled down picking up the 5 smooth stones, he said the 3 words, “I need help”.

We return to the story, “1 Samuel 17 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.”

Whether we know it or not, We all need help. We have a condition called sin. We don’t have to be a career criminal to be bad enough to separate us from God. We just have to be absolutely and completely sinless to be in his presence . The company I work sells high purity chemicals. They are pure down to parts per billion. A grain of impurity in a 6000 gallon tank ruins the whole 6000 gallon batch. God needs us purer than that. Let’s say we do the impossible and a live a day without sinning. But what about all the other days and other sins? Once a sin is committed what are we to do? How do we purify ourselves? We-need-help. God has made a way for us in sending us his one and only son Jesus.

“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 person, though for a good person someone might possibly 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

Don’t be like me. Be like David. Say the 3 words. Not to Mr Zerba but the God who created everything and everyone. He loves us and is waiting to run to our aid.

God, I need help. I need You to forgive me. Jesus said he has paid for my sins. Jesus said, it is finished. I need help. Forgive me.

Even If I deny him

The meal was over. Jesus knew what was next. Did he heave a heavy sigh before he said these words?

“Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. ”

Was Jesus face stern and angry when he looked at his friend Peter and told him the truth about his bravado? I don’t think so. Why? Because that’s what I would do. Thank God Jesus isn’t just like me.

Jesus is like me in that he is human but he is not like me In That he is also God, his heart is pure, he loves purely and completely.

Mary says my face speaks volumes. My expressions tell what my heart is feeling even if my mouth is saying something different. Jesus’ heart loved his disciples, even the one who would deny even knowing him 3 times in the next several hours.

The truth: “Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Jesus came to the earth to suffer and die the death that we deserve, that this Peter deserves. He did it because he loves me, he loves us. Even if we’ve denied him.

If you are estranged from God right now, Repent, turn around, 180 degrees and come back to the God who loves you enough to die for you. And then live your life with and for the God who has defeated death by rising from the dead.

If you already know Him and have been restored then can you share your story with one person today?