What Happens After I Die?

Ecclesiastes 7:2, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting (it’s better to go to a funeral than a feast): for that is the end of all men (all of us are going to die) ; and the living will lay it to his heart (it’s good to think about when you die.)
 

“The day of death is better than the day of birth, funerals are better than feasts, and sorrow is better than laughter.” Why would Solomon say that? Because, at funerals, we are forced to think about life after death. It forces us to prepare for death. We are not really ready to live until we are ready to die. 

There is life after death. Life here on earth is preparation for eternity. We all desire to live forever and all of us know there is something more out there beyond this life. Jesus is more qualified to tell us about death than anyone, because he lived and died and came back from the dead. Jesus says “It’s either separation or celebration – Hell or heaven for all eternity.”


Read more...

Children, God’s Home Improvement Loan

Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are an heritage from the Lord.” Children are a blessing, not a burden. The psalm goes on to say, “The fruit of the womb is His reward. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full.” Not only are children a blessing, they are also a loan. We get them for about 20 years and then we have to release them. They are God’s home improvement loan.

My wife and I are blessed with four children. They are all teenagers now. Our goal is that when they leave our family, they are part of God’s family. We want them to know God personally and to do His will with their lives.  

If we are going to raise children with a heart for the Lord, there are some practical things we should do.

1. We should prioritize God in our family. 

Read more...

How Much Money is Enough?

Francis Bacon coined the phrase, “Money is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.”

There is nothing evil about money. Money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money, greed, that is the root of all evil. But so often, money becomes our master. It controls us and it brings out the worst in us.

Money is right up there with oxygen when it comes to the necessities of life. But we must make sure we manage it right. Did you know Jesus talked about money more than any other subject, even more than Heaven or Hell? He knew how important this subject is to our lives.

Read more...

Why Is Life Not Fair? Ecclesiastes 4

When we see injustice in the world around us, we are prone to ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why do the wicked seem to prosper?” “Why doesn’t God step in and do something?” The bottom line response is that we live in this sin cursed world. We are not to Heaven yet. Here, there will be injustice and life is never going to be fair.

In verse 1, Solomon brings up the subject of injustice, oppression, and mistreatment. “So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter. And on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.” This was going on frequently and there was no one to stand up for the oppressed.

Read more...

How Can I Deal with Life’s Ups and Downs? Ecclesiastes 3

I love roller coasters. My wife? Not so much. On our first year anniversary, we took a trip to Atlanta. I thought it would be fun to go to Six Flags. I wanted to ride all these thrill rides and then she would hold on tight to me and that would be even more fun. We got in line for a new ride, and she started getting psyched out. Then she told me she was not riding it. Somehow, I convinced her to go ahead and ride it, and I looked over at her just before the ride started and saw that she had tears in her eyes. I knew I had done the wrong thing.

Roller coasters are a lot like life. There are many ups and downs. There are screams of joy and screams of fear. Author Barbara Johnson writes about this in her book, “Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life.” Don’t you just love that title? There is a cartoon on the front of the book with a person with hair flying in all directions with a caption that reads, “I try to take just one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once.” I love that. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

Read more...

How Can I Be Happy? Ecclesiastes 2

Solomon had brains and bucks, but that couldn’t produce happiness. Ecclesiastes 2:17 says he “hated life.” How could someone with so much money, education, pleasure, and fame hate life? It was because he was leaving God out of it. God is the only source of true fulfillment in life.

In Chapter 2, we find Solomon’s delusions. These are the things he sought after to make him happy, but they could not. These things will never make one happy.

Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:1, 2 “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?”‬


Read more...

What is the Point of Life?  Ecclesiastes 1

In Chapter 1, Solomon concludes that from an earthly perspective, life is empty and futile.  It is like a vapor that is here one minute and then gone. He can’t make sense of life.  It bothers him that a person works hard their whole life and at the end, they don’t have anything to show for it.

When you leave God out of life, man has no purpose.  You live, you work hard, you die, and you are forgotten.  If this life is all there is, life is meaningless.  From this perspective, it is like man is on a treadmill, laboring, but not getting anywhere.  If you ask man why he works, he might say, “To get money.”  But why do you want money, “To buy food”. Why do you need food?  “To maintain strength.”  Why do you need to maintain strength, “To go back to work.”  He is right back where he began, an endless cycle of emptiness.


Read more...

Life’s Most Important Questions

Ecclesiastes 1 – Sermon 1 – “Life’s Most Important Questions”
Overview of the book:
In the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, the University of California and Georgia Tech were in a titanic battle. It was late in the second quarter. The first half was about to come to a close. Georgia Tech had the ball and was pressing hard on their own 33-yard line. A running back was carrying the ball for Georgia Tech, and he was hit and fumbled the ball.  A lineman from California picked up the fumble and started with the ball toward the goal line. He was running brilliantly toward the goal line. There’s only one thing wrong: he’s gotten confused, and he’s headed toward the wrong goal.  Roy Regals was his name, and he was headed toward the wrong goal,  his opponents were blocking for him, and his teammates were trying to tackle him.  He runs 67 yards toward the wrong goal.  Finally, he is stopped on the one-yard line, tackled by one of his own teammates.  Can you imagine the humiliation of this man as he was running with the ball toward the wrong goal? He just got confused. What he thought was his moment of glory was something that would put him in the annals of football history, never to be forgotten. Wrong Way Roy would be his nickname.

Read more...

Heaven

Heaven is the future home of the saved. The Bible tells us to set our affection on Heaven and not on things of the earth. When I found out I would be moving to Indianapolis to be the pastor at our church, I got on the internet and did research. I wanted to find out all I could about where I would be living. What do most people do there? What activities are available? What parks are around? What teams do most people cheer for? Since we are going to Heaven and we are going to spend eternity there, we should find out all we can about what it is going to be like.
 

When will we go to Heaven?

If we die before the Rapture, our spirit goes to be with the Lord, but our bodies will be in the grave. After the Rapture,


Read more...

Christian Citizenship

The best citizens any country should have should be Christians. God has left us here to have influence for Him. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We have dual citizenship. We are citizens of our country, but we are first and foremost, citizens of Heaven. Sometimes, we don’t know how to balance those two. It can get confusing. Here are some thoughts from studying Romans 13 about Christian citizenship.
 

Read more...

Living By Faith

The Christian life is a faith life. We are saved by faith, but we are also to live everyday by faith in order to please the Lord. Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Romans 1:17 says ‘The just shall live by faith.” The Bible teaches us to pray with faith, believing that God is able to answer our prayers. From salvation to Heaven, our journey is one of faith.
 
One of Satan’s fiercest fiery darts is doubt. He works feverishly to keep people from believing the Gospel, and even when they do, he continues to work to get us to doubt God’s goodness and power. He places doubts in our minds constantly that we must learn to reject.

Read more...

How to Face Criticism

Criticism is a part of leadership. If you ever plan to lead people in any way, expect criticism. The way to avoid criticism is to never change anything. Don’t be a change agent. Just drift through life and leave everything as it is and no one will criticize you.

But if you are going to do something that counts with your life, you will be criticized. How are you going to deal with criticism?

As we study Acts 23, we see Paul standing before the Sanhedrin facing criticism. Paul was able to stand up for the Lord because he had three things: a righteous life, a resurrected Lord, and a reassuring lift.  


Read more...

Drink More Water

I’m sure you have seen the advertisement slogan for Chik-fil-A restaurants “Eat More Chikin.” The same can be said about drinking more water. A lot of our health problems are because we don’t drink enough water. I know you are thinking, “Why should a Gospel preacher be concerned about health issues?” Well, in honesty, our health is a gift from God, and we are to be good stewards of that gift. We are to take care of our bodies, because we only have one life to serve the Lord with. How can we glorify God with our bodies if we are neglecting our personal health?
 
I have to admit that I don’t like drinking water. I drank soda for many years, and then I switched to Diet soda. I loved it and drank several cans a day. I am still working at cutting off all diet drinks, but I have started drinking more water.  

Read more...

Don’t Quit

There is a quality missing today in our culture of persistence and endurance.  We all just quit too easily.  We want everything to be easy.  We want convenience and comfort.  We long for instant gratification.  Our generation doesn’t know what it is to wait and to persist.  Galatians 6:9, Paul wrote, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not (if we don’t quit.)”
 
People quit church because they don’t like the music or decisions that are made by the leadership.  It seldom has anything to do with doctrinal differences.  Many are quitting on their marriage today, because it is hard work.  Many Christians quit witnessing to their lost loved ones because their initial response was not favorable.  

Read more...

Valleys

I have heard it said, “You are either in a valley, you have just come out of a valley, or you are getting ready to go into a valley.” When we speak of a valley, we are talking about a trial, a difficult time in life, a dark place. Job said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Life here on earth has many struggles. One day, when we get to Heaven, our experience with valleys will be over. However, until then, we will have to learn to make the best of our valleys.
 
There are many valleys mentioned in the Bible. There is the Valley of Siddim mentioned in Genesis 14:10. It was right outside of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was a very wicked and sinful city. This valley represents the valley of sin. Sin promises so much happiness, but it ends in sorrow. Many valleys in life we bring on ourselves because of our disobedience to God. Sometimes, we find ourselves in valleys due to the sin of others, but we have the Lord in these valleys to strengthen us.

Read more...

Turning the World “Right Side Up”

As I was preparing to preach from Acts 17 this past week, I came across verse 6 where Paul and Silas were accused by the envious Jews of “turning the world upside down.”  We see that as a commendation, but it was meant as a criticism.  And as I thought about that, I realized this was God’s purpose for me and for every true follower of Jesus Christ.  God put us on this earth, saved us, and has left us here to turn the world upside down for Him.

The reality is that the world is already upside down.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it threw the world into chaos.  So, when the apostles turned the world “upside down”, they were really turning it “right side up.”  And that is what God has called all of us to do today in our world.  We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  We are not just existing.  We are not just here to eat, drink, and be merry.  We are here to impact the world for Christ.

Read more...

Lukewarmness

In Revelation 3:15, 16, Jesus rebukes the church at Laodicea because it had become lukewarm. It was neither hot nor cold. What Jesus was referring to is the concept of having no emotion, no enthusiasm, and no energy for the things of God. The people there were just going through the motions. When they sang, it was halfhearted. When the preacher preached, no one reacted. They were bored and sat daydreaming while the Word was given. There was no passion, and it made Jesus sick. It made him want to vomit.

The church at Laodicean was a wealthy church. There were plenty of resources, and the people had fallen into the trap of trusting in money rather than God. Money can be a great servant, but it is a terrible master. Jesus warned his disciples, “You can’t serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) Love for material things can rob a church of its passion for God. (1 John 2:15, 16) Money can buy just about everything except salvation and a close relationship with Christ. This is what these people were missing.


Read more...

Prison Praise

In Acts 16:25, we have one of the most amazing and dramatic stories in the Bible. Paul has just started his 2nd missionary journey. He has been directed by the Spirit of God to go to Macedonia instead of Asia, which is where he set out for. There, he meets a businesswoman named Lydia, whose heart has been prepared by God to hear the Gospel. Lydia is saved, baptized, witnesses to her family, and opens her home up to house the first church in Philippi. Then, Paul and Silas encounter a demon possessed slave girl who follows them around the town interrupting their preaching and distracting people. So being annoyed at this, Paul casts the demon out of her. The demon had enabled her to predict people’s futures, so the men who owned her had now lost their source of income due to this exorcism. They brought Paul and Silas before the authorities and stirred the people up against them. Paul and Silas were beaten badly and then put into prison. What turned out to be a promising start in Philippi had turned bad quickly.

Typically, when bad things happen to us, the first thing we do is complain. There are really two types of people in the world – complainers and worshipers. Complainers complain no matter how good they have it, and worshipers worship no matter how bad they have it. Complainers decide to complain and worshipers decide to worship. It has nothing to do with circumstances. Paul and Silas were worshipers. They had every “human” reason to complain, but they focused on God’s goodness to them. They sang praises to God at midnight in the prison.

Read more...

Living in the Last Days

No man knows the day or hour when Christ is coming back to this earth to receive the church and take her to Heaven, but we understand that the time is ripe for the return of Christ and for the arrival of the Antichrist.  In 1 John 2:18-28, Christians are exhorted how to live in the last days.
 
First, we should be awake.  John states “It is the last time.” This bold statement reminds us of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:42, where He said “Watch therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord doth come.”  Jesus warned His disciples not to be lulled to sleep spiritually.  The church needs to wake up and be looking for and waiting with expectation for the return of Christ.  Each day, we should get up thinking to ourselves, “Jesus may come back today.”

Read more...