Go. Get. Bring. Build.

Matt 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matt 6:33 -But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Haggai 1:7 - Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.

These three verses tell us something every believer should do.  It tells us that we cant serve two masters, that we should seek first the Kingdom of God, and that we should go, get, bring and build. 

I’ve seen the benefits of intense focus. The intensity that comes from concentrating on one thing for an extended period of time produces great results.  In Haggai, the Israelites had returned from Babylonian captivity. Previously in the Bible, they had helped Nehemiah rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, and Ezra had started the rebuilding of the tabernacle.  

The time period of Haggai’s first prophesy is September 520BC. 

In 538BC, Nehemiah convinced King Cyrus to allow the people to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city.  Of the 100s of thousands that went to Babylon, about 50,000 returned.  They were the remnant of God’s people. By 536BC, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem had started, then after 2 years, the people did not have the fortitude nor the foresight to see it through to the end. It was a big job, and took a lot of time. So, when Haggai starts writing, the temple re-building had been neglected for 14 years. 

The reasons for neglect were vast, and to some the reasons for neglect (excuses) may have seemed legitimate.  

  1. The time was not right. The time is not yet come to rebuild the temple. Now remember, Haggai is not speaking to a people who are in bondage, but have been set free from bondage and have come home on mission. The work started with great fanfare - I mean they were excited to get started, and then after they realized the work in rebuilding the tabernacle and the sacrifice it would take they backed off.  Why was the time not right?
    1. They wanted to remodel their own houses. The chose to build paneled/luxurious houses while God’s house was in ruin.
    2. They wanted to establish their lives. 
    3. They practiced sowing and reaping with no success. (Haggai 1:6) - They planted a lot of seed, expecting a big harvest, but were only reaping little. They harvested grapes expecting 50 gallons of wine, but only getting 20 gallons  (Haggai 2:16).  They had “too much month at the end of the money.” 
    4. You earn wages, but the money burns a hole in your pocket. 
    5. They put clothes on, but were still cold. (Haggai 1:6) 

The time just never seemed to be right, and even with our most noble intentions we can neglect really important things in our lives. Intentions that would be seen as good:  I'm remodeling my house for my family, I am growing a crop to feed my family, I am earning a wage to provide for my family. Even with the most noblest of intentions, our efforts can be futile if not prioritized with proper perspective.  

We, who have been born again, who say we are no longer under the captivity of satan’s schemes. We, who have been delivered from all types of bondage. We, who fit perfectly the description of the Apostle Paul, “such we some of you…” The such part of that verse is pretty telling. 1 Cor 6:9 (NLT) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

That’s a pretty strong list of things to be set free from, and some of us were delivered from just those things.  But, being made free is the start of your work, not the result of your work. You can’t save yourself, but when you are saved, you can work for your Savior. 

2. The house was in ruin. Chasing other priorities left the house of God in ruin, and it left the people of God lacking.  Let me say this very practically here - Let’s respect and build God’s house. Let’s don't allow it be in ruin.  In the text, it seems that the people forgot about God’s house and focused on their own homes.  I know it sounds counterintuitive to say you should give your time (show up at church and get involved), your talent (you have been given gifts and talents to be used to bring God glory) and your treasure (bring your tithe and offering first to the house of God), and you should consider that time and talent and treasure bring God glory.  When you do this, when you prioritize, you don't lack.  When you serve your own purpose and build your own kingdom, you find yourself lacking.  I know men today who have good careers and good jobs, but when they removed God out of the equation of their lives, they have nearly lost it all in spite of having a good career.  When you seek first the Kingdom - God always provides for his people. 

3. God uses you! People are the avenue that God takes to further his message, his passion and his kingdom. He has always reached through the annuls of time to the present and used a man or woman to further his purpose.  Could God have miraculously rebuilt the tabernacle by speaking to the lumber and the stone and the gold to come together? Perhaps He could have. However, God gave man dominion over the earth and commanded man to work, and be fruitful and multiply, and now it is man’s responsibility to bring the glory of God to the earth. God uses you.  He uses your time.  He uses your talents.  He uses your treasure.  God uses you.  He has given you the ability or dominion to learn, to do, and to make, and that learning and doing and making should be put to good use to bring Him glory. 

4. GO. GET. BRING. BUILD. God told the Israelites through Haggai to “Go to the mountains and get cedar and bring it and build my house.” This means - spend some sweat equity on the house of God. Pray for it? Yes. Give to it? Yes. Serve in it? Yes. But go, get, bring and build. Go, Get, Bring, and Build. Go to prayer, get a praise, bring it with you on Sunday, build an atmosphere of worship.  Go to work, get a paycheck, bring tithe and offering, and build the house.  Go to school, get a degree and career, and bring God glory through it, as you build the community.  Go, get, bring, and build!!!  

One example in the Old Testament shows the priests judging the blessings of God on the people by what they brought. They were not forced to give, but by what they normally brought to the house of God. Notice this excerpt from the story of King Hezekiah re-establishing Israel’s loyalty to God: 

 2 Chron 31:5 As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 6 And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the Lord their God they laid in heaps. 7 In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. 8 And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. 9 Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10 And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, “Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.” 11 Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. 

The measure of the blessing was revealed in what was brought as a tithe, and first fruit to God.  This people had a Go-Get-Bring-Build mentality. 

5. Consider my ways.  Is what I am doing working and could it be better? Is my life prioritized in such a way that demonstrates the God is first in everything I do? Am I constantly losing what I put so much effort in to keep? Am I like Israel, expecting 50 gallons of wine, and only getting 20? Is church something I do in crisis, or is Jesus an integrated part of my daily life? 

6. Be encouraged and stirred by the Spirit.

Haggai 1:13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the Lord.” 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

7. God will be with you. When you put God first, he is with you. Everything belongs to him anyway - Haggai 2:8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Therefore, we can trust that God is with us, as we GO, as we GET, as we BRING, and as we BUILD. 

8. Finally, when you put God first, God will bless you.

Haggai 2:15 And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord— 16 since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’

God blesses those who put Him first. I think I’ll put him first.  I think I’m gonna Go, Get, Bring and Build! 

Go. Get. Bring. Build. 

 

- Pastor Brandon

The Mandate for Believers!

It's easy to get lost in translation when it comes to living the Christian life.  I know and admit, there is a call to holiness that springs from being made righteous in Christ and thereby becoming the righteousness of God.  In our efforts to be like Jesus, and as the Apostle Paul says, to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God while not be conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind. And of course, this renewal is impossible without the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.  In all of our striving to be like Christ, let's not forget His commandment and commission to believers. It's commonly called the Great Commission.  

Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I amwith you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen."

1. Jesus has all power.  The believer must rest in the fact that Jesus has all power to help you walk the Christian walk, and to do what God has called you to do. John said, "Greater is he that is in me than he that is the world."  Christ in you, Paul said, is the hope of glory.  Rest in this: your God is not a weak god. Jesus has ALL POWER in heaven and Earth.

2. Go. Jesus hasn't saved us, then left us to do nothing with our lives.  He has saved us and called us to go.  Go into your workplace.  Go into your school. Go to your family. Go to your neighbors. Go to your friends. Go to the broken. Go to the hurting. Go to the addict and the desolate.   GO! God has called us to go! Who is around you today that you need to go to?

3. Make Disciples. This is the crux of the call of the Christian.  Make disciples.  This means that Jesus is the hope of the world, and without Jesus people are going to hell. Without his saving power in and through their lives, we are all damned. Has our view shifted away from the saving power of Jesus, who is the only one who can save us from our sins and make us right before God. Lord, help us make discipled. Convict us till we do! 

4. Baptize them.  Don't let your faith remain secret. Go public, and wash away your sins in the name of the Lord.  We identify with Christ in baptism.  We are, as the Apostle Paul says, "buried with Him in baptism, in the likeness of His death."  (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12) In the book of Acts, the disciples who followed Jesus' mandate in the Great Commission, baptized believers.  When a person believed and repented they were baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2, 8, 10)  If you have believed in the Lord Jesus and repented of your sins, you need to be baptized! (Acts 2:38)

5. Teach them. Living for the Lord, making disciples isn't just about the number of people that get saved. (Though this is extremely important.)  It is also about learning to walk the Christian walk.  This is where being taught to follow Christ comes in.  We find Jesus' teaching in the Gospels, and we see the Apostles demonstrating what it means to live the Christian live in the Epistles (Romans - Jude). To be repetitious, remember Romans 12:2 - don't be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind! 

6. Jesus is with us. In this whole journey, from the moment you first believe, till the moment you die, God is with us.  He is with us, not in a bodily form as Jesus was in the Bible; rather, he is with us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  John 14:26, " But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."  God is with us. 

Have you sought the power of Jesus in your life today?  Believe on Him and repent of your sins!  

Have you obeyed the Great Commission today?  

My prayer is that you are stirred to obey the Gospel, and to share the Gospel.  

In Christ, 

Pastor B

 

 

God's Grace and Self-Control

Titus 2:11-14  "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly livesin this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

Paul's epistle to Titus is interesting. A repeating theme and word throughout the epistle is self-control, and the importance of living a self-controlled life.  Paul even credits the grace (Titus 2:12-14) of God, something we all need a little more of, for giving us the ability to say yes to self-control. Self-control is a life lived fully reliant on the Holy Spirit and resting in God's grace day after day.

 I know, we don't like to talk about self-control because it is counter-culture - we are a free and enlightened people, especially in America - so we think.....

The 17th Century philosopher Rene Decartes coined the phrase "I think therefore I am." From this idea, society's began to search within themselves for sacredness, and we stopped searching outside of ourselves for the sacred.  As one writer, Cal Newport said, "From Decartes' skepticism came the radical belief that the individual seeking certainty trumped a God or king bestowing truth." While the following Enlightenment period of history freed many from oppression it also made many in the West more shallow because they sought sacredness within, instead of looking to God without. 

Our search for God doesn't come from our own being - and to use a Decartes word, God is not innate - but the search for Him is. So, in our self control, let us search outside of our own goodness for God. 

This is encouraging: immediately when we begin to search for God, He makes himself known to us. No matter where you are at this moment in life - hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit as He leads you. Perhaps you will battle within yourself, and that's okay. The Apostle Paul did too in Romans 7, and even lamented, "when I want to do good, I can't," and then he asked, "who can deliver my from this body of death?"

Here is how we accept self-control empowered by the Holy Spirit: we realize that self-control is only possible through God's Grace.

1. The Grace of God offers salvation to all. This means God's grace is available to you and me today, in this moment right now. God's grace is sufficient and able. The Grace of God is the goodness and favor of God that leads me to salvation. Depend on His Grace to keep you today.

2. The Grace of God helps us say "no" to what we need to say no to, and "yes" to what we need to say yes. Say no to ungodliness and worldly passions - or, say no to addiction, to sin, to jealousy, to anything that separates me from God and isolates me from relationships. Say yes to self control, to upright and godly living.  This wonderful grace of God helps me say yes to the things I need to say yes to, and it is found in self-control.

3. The Grace of God helps us keep our eyes on Jesus.  It is God's grace that empowers me to keep my eyes on Jesus. I cannot do anything without Him and His Grace. This Grace of God empowers me to live with the expectation of Jesus Christ - and that's what I will do.

In conclusion - fully rely on God's grace today.  There is nothing you are facing in this moment that the Grace of God cannot give you strength to overcome. The Grace of God is available to all, it empowers all, and it expects goodness from all.  

2 Corinthians 13:14 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

Much Love, In God's Grace, 

Pastor Brandon

 

Never Done It That Way

John 16:24(NLT) -  "You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy."

Have you known anyone to do something different than the way you would do it? I mean, their way works, but it's not your way. And, inevitably you try their way and it is way better than what you were doing?

Jesus had a similar situation. 

Jesus looked at his 12 disciples in one of his last talks with them in John 16 and said, "you haven't done this before." Something strangely new would be on the horizon for the disciples, and they'd have to deal with it.  

A new way of doing things always challenges the norm of complacency, the routine of mediocrity, and the comfort of tradition.  Up until this point the disciples had been with Jesus and new him personally, but very soon, they would have to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and direct them. (Acts 2, 3, 8, 10). They had never done it that way before.  The norm was Jesus walking with disciples into a town and people who were sick and bound would come to Jesus and he would heal and deliver them.  Now, this would change. 

The new way they would do it: 

They would do it in the name of Jesus: They would pray to the Father, in Jesus' name. Jesus himself had already told them that he came in his Father's name (John 5:43, 10:25), only now the disciples would understand that access to God came in the name of Jesus. 

If we glance through the book of Acts and the Epistles, I'd say the name of Jesus worked! 

If you've never prayed and called on the name of Jesus, today is a good day. I know, you may say "Brandon, my way is just fine..." I promise you, if you will surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, it is a better way. 

You've never done it that way before.... but give it a chance! Call on His Name!

Much Love, 

Pastor Brandon Cox