Sunday, October 21, 2007

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Welcome to the ICCS Blog page. Please visit us each week for a new sermon. We will be finishing our study of the Book of Acts before to long and get set up for some Christmas messages! Can you blieve that! Christmas already! Stay connected and seek Him, just as the Wise Men from old did. When they found Him, they gave Him gifts and spoke of His Birth to all who would listen. Maybe, we can learn something from these Guys From The East.

John 10:9-10. (New International Version)
9. I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

IN LIFE—LOTS OF LIES SPOKEN TO US: TV, politics, labels, books, and family members.
IN LIFE—LOTS OF THINGS ARE TAKEN FROM US: Taxes, health, life, dark hair, -- hair.
IN LIFE—LOTS OF THINGS ARE DESTROYED: future, marriages, relationships, and trust.
The list goes long and even longer for some people.

Back in 1964, the world was bright! The Beatles came out with “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Manfred Mann sang “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.” The #1 song that year was Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly.”

From 1996-present, we experienced a number of shooting in our schools that has killed numerous students, teachers, and staff. Jonesboro, Arkansas, Columbine, Colorado, Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota and Amish private school in Penn have all been the sites of teenage killings. Even as early as last week, a 14-year-old boy had an arsenal of weapons at his home and seemingly the intent to use them on his school.

We read of mothers killing their children—some saying that God told them to do it. Fathers who kill the family and then put the gun in their own mouth and is found all over the living room.

Bankers who defraud their clients. Politicians who embezzles a great amount of public money. Teachers who have sexual relations with middle school children. Well, I rest my case. Horror all over the place and all this is happening in the USA. Our money says “In God We Trust” but our society acts just the opposite. Do we agree that the evil one is lying to the world and the world follows his lies!

And our churches are having a hard time of things. About 3,000 churches each month close their doors for one reason or another.

We live in a world that has pain and fear. Anxiety and depression are ramped. We worry all the time over things that we have no control over. We take pills to sleep. We take pills to stay awake. Pills so we can eat better and pills to stop us from eating! We are indeed mixed up people! In themselves-not bad!

Yet, here we are reading these verses today and we can see the author of the problem. We have a few ways to respond to these verses. We can read them and forget them. We can read them and say that it does not apply to us today. We can read them and say that it is speaking of a system that is out of date. Or we can read these verses today and KNOW that it is for us today and want to deal with the reality of HOW we live in light of that truth.


I live in Japan. Have been living there for over 28 years. I have seen a lot of changes. At one time, it seemed to me to be like a “Leave it to Beaver” world! Clean, simple, honest, whole-some. There was the dirty side to the culture but it was hidden, out of sight of most casual visitors. Since that time, much has changed. The economic bubble burst. Work for lifetime became a concept of the past. I became more aware of the emptiness of people’s lives. Saw more evidence of a culture that was in trouble. Void of values. Cold. Emotionally detached from suffering. Lonely. Callus. Fearful. In a word, empty.

The outsiders see a people group that has it together. I spoke with a young adult just last week who told me that while in College, they studied Japanese business and education and found them wonderful. They were the real answer to the World at large. The workers were at peace within the system and all was well in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Truth be known? NOT! Suicide is one of the highest ways of dealing with any sort of problem. Back before Jesus came, the advice of the so-called councilor would be: “You say your wife ran off with a Roman gladiator? Your son was sold into slavery? Your property to the north was overrun by the Hords of the East? Is that what’s getting you down? Here is some hemlock! Drink it and be done with your problems.” No word of hope at all!

Jesus came with His message of Grace, Love and Forgiveness and the world took notice! It was not only fresh, it was with POWER! Mark 1:27 “‘The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.’”

The fact is they were used to hearing the teachers speak of what other teachers had said. The message had no real power behind it because it lacked God’s Spirit! With Jesus, there was Power to back up His Word. Listen again: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Let’s go back to the verse before this and see just what He was saying. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”
Have we been listening to this same thief?

You bet we have been! He has stolen our joy! He has stolen our peace! He has stolen our vision. Our future. Our desire to serve Him! The thief (Satan) has been successful to some extent. We are depressed with no real reason. His words have made it hard to sleep because we become focused on the problem rather than on how the Lord’s Hand could move it. He had stolen our vision to see His face—always looking for His Hand to provide and not the Face of God for WHO HE IS!

We have allowed the thief to steal from us all the time. Our self-worth. Our desire to be passionate with the Lord. Stolen our quite time and allowed us to be content with good things rather than the Best. He has stolen our image of being born into the family of God.

If someone stole your car or your wife or kidnapped your child, you would be driven to get some help or at least make a complaint with the Police. You would not be satisfied with only the memory of the lost child and return home without the desire for their return. You would want the child back—fully unharmed.

But when the thief steals our joy, we fill our lives with worry and add to the thieft.
We realize that Jesus does not steal from us. He restores us.

Ps 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The evil one also kills. He has killed our joy, our relationships, our sense of worth.

On one side, the family of the World and it’s lord, Satan, who deals with lies, threats, and murder while on the other side, the Family of Faith and the Lord of Creation Who deals with Truth, Life and Forgiveness. The Devil’s role in this world is to kill and steal and destroy while the role of our Lord Jesus is to give life.

John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy… “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”


1 Cor. 2:9. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” --

Adopted from I, Francis by C Carretto
You alone are Holy, Lord God, Worker of Wonders.
You are Mighty.
You are Great.
You are the Most High.
You are Supreme, our Holy Father,
You are King of Heaven and Earth.
You, Lord God, Three and One,
You are our every Good.
You, Lord God, all Good, our highest Good~
You are Lord God Living and True.
You are Charity and Love.
You are Wisdom.
You are Humility.
You are Patience.
You are Security.
You are Peace.
You are My Joy and Gladness.
You are Justice and Self-control.
You are Riches altogether Sufficient.
You are Beauty.
You are Meekness.
You are our Protector.
You are our Strength.
You are our Refreshment.
You are our Hope.
You are our Faith.
You are our most profound Kindness.
You are our Eternal Life,
You are Great and Excellent Lord,
You are All-Powerful God,
You are Unstoppable God!
You are Merciful Savior!
You are my God…
and You are my Friend.
Jesus said…“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The evil one also comes to destroy. Look around us and see the toll sin has on our world. Whole regions of the world have been destroyed because of greed, corruption, and lack of self-control.

Since the Fall of Man, mankind has been on the receiving end of all sorts of destructive events and warnings. The Lord knows what we need. In 2 Peter 1: 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

But Jesus comes to give us life and to experience that life to the fullest according to His Grace and Mercy. All with the cuts and pain and the dirt of living yet with the Hope of Glory. He will return for us so we need to remain faithful to Him. To press on.

We need to celebrate His Faithfulness. We need to come to Him and give Him thanks for His great Grace that saves us.