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Gregory A. Johnson: Christ follower, pastor, and author 
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Through the writing of the Palmist, Psalm 2 comes to a conclusion with a warning from the Holy Spirit:  “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:10-12 ESV)”
 
The Holy Spirit gives us three imperatives in this paragraph of Scripture, which if followed, will result in blessed living.  First of all, the Holy Spirit compels those of our day to be “wise” and to be “warned.”  Wisdom and warning come from God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  Christ followers must constantly be people of the Word and the Spirit to live for Jesus as the Word and the Spirit will come together and do a powerful work in our lives.  When either the Word or the Spirit is rejected, wisdom and warning is cast away and the result is destruction. 
 
The second imperative given by the Holy Spirit in these verses is to “serve the LORD.”  Salvation from the wrath of God that is to come is not complete by only accepting Jesus as your savior; you must make Jesus LORD of your life.  You must follow Him and commit your life to His lordship.  
 
The third imperative the Holy Spirit gives us is to “Kiss the Son” which implies intimacy in relationship.  Jesus came to earth rejecting religion and religionist, proclaiming and portraying relationship with God instead.  You see, it’s not about religion.  It’s not about manmade denominations.  It’s not about church membership.  It’s not about devoting all of your extra time to church activity.  It’s all about relationship with Jesus; kissing the Son; having an intimate relationship with Jesus.
 
Why does the Holy Spirit give us these three imperatives?  Because the wrath of God is coming on all those that do not love Him and have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those who will obey these imperatives are found in Jesus and there is wonderful news for them in the face of world destruction like has never been seen before.  That wonderful news is found in the last sentence of Psalm 2: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
 
Beloved, take refuge in Jesus, making Him your LORD and Savior, receiving the bountiful blessings found only in Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
 
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 12:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
God has lifted Jesus up to be the King of kings and has exalted Him to the holy hill of Zion!  Jesus came to earth as the sacrificial Lamb to be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of this world so that whoever believes in Him can be saved from the wrath of God and be given eternal life.  Coming into our world, humbling Himself to serve instead of rule, obeying the Heavenly Father in all aspects of His mission, resulted in the Father re-glorifying Him and placing Him back in His original state of glory.

Psalm 2 records God’s response to those in the world who rage and plot in vain against Him:  “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill (Psalms 2:4-6 ESV).”

Notice Jesus’ response:  “I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel"  (Psalms 2:7-9 ESV).”

As the result of His obedience to the Father, Jesus inherits the nations, and the earth will be His possession.   In the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), Satan promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would just worship him.  Jesus’ response to him was, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10 ESV).”

Offering Jesus the kingdoms of this world was not an idle offer made by Satan.  The world that we live in is truly Satan’s kingdom.  But for the Christ follower, God’s kingdom is currently in them and will be consummated upon Jesus’ return as He rules in total justice and righteousness.  God has made the nations Jesus’ inheritance and the ends of the earth His possession!  Satan’s offer to Jesus was temporary.  God’s offer was eternal.  Jesus declined the temporal for the eternal.

What will you do?  Satan constantly offers us temporary gratification in return to our disobedience to God and His Word.  God offers us eternal life.  Follow Jesus and chose the eternal over the temporal!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
Psalm 2 is both a prophetic and messianic psalm that points to Jesus and that which is to come.  The present condition of our world is described prophetically in the first three verses: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us (Psalms 2:1-3 ESV).”

Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30 ESV),” but, in our day, nations and rulers have decided that God’s yoke declared through Jesus, the Word that became flesh, is “bonds” and “cords” restraining them from fulfilling their fleshly desires birthed through selfish ambition.  Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God, has been denied by entire nations, their rulers and their religions.

Nations fight against God through rejecting His Anointed, Jesus Christ, His only begotten son.  Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him (John 14:6-7 ESV).”  If Jesus is rejected, God Himself is rejected; If Jesus is received, God Himself is received.

Receive Jesus today; receive God.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 01 July 2011
Set apart are two words that demand separation of their subject from the group that it occupies in order for it to be used for something specific.  When you set something apart, you separate it from multiples of the same or from distinctly different items, in order for it to be utilized for a specific purpose.  Throughout Scripture, from tabernacle utensils to entire nations, from donkeys to kings, from fishermen to doctors, God reveals that He sets apart for His purposes.  Jesus Christ came into our world and set apart His followers, and He continues to do so today.  Christ followers are set apart for His service and they realize it.

The Apostle Paul knew that he was set apart by Jesus as told in his words:  ”Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1 ESV).”  You can read about the beginnings of Paul’s setting apart in the book of Acts of the Bible, in chapter 9.

Beloved, please know that you also have been set apart for the good news of God.  You are no longer your own.  You were bought by God.  The purchase price was more precious than money.  The purchase price was the blood of Jesus Christ the son of God.  Now you are no longer your own doing your own thing in a world that grows increasing out of step with the good news of God.  No, you are called and set apart by God to live and to share the good news through your actions and words. 

A set apart life is such an exciting life to live.  Our life is not our own.  We are living for Jesus and Jesus is living within us.  We are in this world, but we are not a part of this world.  We have been separated and set apart from this world for the good news of God!  Praise the Lord for His good news!  Praise the Lord for buying us back from sin with His blood and setting us apart!  Praise the Lord for His goodness, His mercy and His grace!

Be set apart, Beloved.  Be set apart for Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 30 June 2011
The good news of God calls all people, regardless of race, to obedience that comes by faith.  Concerning Jesus, Paul says, ”through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:5-7 ESV) “

Sad to say today, people discriminate.  You find discrimination all around you.  It’s in the work place.  It’s in school.  It’s even in churches and denominations.  A big issue right now in America is immigration.  You may have very strong feelings on immigration.  Let me share a perspective with you that you may not have thought about.  America was founded as a Christian nation or a “good news of God” nation.    God has made it possible for people of all races to come to America to have opportunity to hear about God’s good news and to see it lived out by example.  They think they are coming for a better life.  God is bringing them and placing them next to you in the work place, in the school house, in the market place and in your neighborhood so that you can share the good news of God with them through your actions and through your words. 

May we never close down a door of opportunity that God has given us.  May we constantly be reminded by the Holy Spirit that there will be those from all nations around the throne of God, worshipping Him for all eternity.  It’s a dream that Martin Luther King had that has now become a reality to him around God’s throne.  Let’s pray and live as Jesus taught:  “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I have a dream for Loving God Fellowship.  In that dream, I see people from all nations sitting together and worshipping God together in cities across America and around the world.  Not a racially segmented fellowship of people that love God and others, but a united fellowship of people that love God and people regardless of race.  You can help make that dream become reality in your city and where you live.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
It’s all about Jesus.  The Old Testament points to Jesus.  The sacrifices, the feasts, the tabernacle, the furniture in the tabernacle, the placement of the furniture in the tabernacle; everything points to Jesus.  Studying the types of Christ in the Old Testament is fascinating and faith building as the student sees God’s wonderful plan of redemption foretold in such detail.

Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,  (Romans 1:2-4 ESV).”

This speaks of the humanity and the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He was both man and God; a concept that is hard for our feeble minds to understand, but a truth that we as believers receive by faith.  It took a man to stand in the gap for our sins, but the man had to be sinless.  God came into our world through Jesus Christ to be a sin sacrifice; a sinless offering for our sins.  Jesus was a descendant of David and was birthed through a virgin.  He was crucified as an innocent man.  He was resurrected the Son of God and being re-glorified, He was placed back at the right hand of the Father.

Beloved, the good news of God is that He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take care of our sin problem.  God wants to spend eternity with us, but sin separated us from God.  At the cross, Jesus took our punishment for sin, which is death, so that we can have eternal life.  We are God’s inheritance and He longs to spend eternity with us.  Isn’t that good news?  That’s the good news of God!       

Know that you are loved,
gaj  
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 June 2011
When Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (Romans 1:2 ESV),” he is referring to the Old Testament as the New Testament was currently being written with two thirds of it being written by Paul under the Holy Spirit’s unction.  Throughout the whole Old Testament, we are given the promise of the good news of God.  Everything in the Old Testament points to the good news of God, which is Jesus Christ.

Many people today have devalued the Old Testament since we are now living under the new covenant.  Beloved, never devalue the Old Testament; read it; study it; understand it.  It will strengthen your faith as you understand that God did not randomly react to our sinful condition.  No, God did not randomly react; He graciously had a plan of redemption in place.  The Old Testament points to and reveals God’s good news of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 10 June 2011
Beloved,

I prayed and asked the Lord to give me a word for you today and He laid Hebrews 1:3 on my heart to share with you.  In this verse of Scripture given to us in the midst of everything that comes our way; we are pointed to Jesus Christ.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3 ESV) 

Becky and I hear daily from people nearing the end of their rope, not knowing what to do, or where to turn.  Some are torn by broken relationships, painfully haunting, weighing constantly on frail emotions, leaving the one desiring better wondering why the other is so rejecting and seemingly disinterested in making mends and building back that which has been ripped away.  Some are hardly able to make it on limited or drying up finances, making paying rent, keeping the house, buying medicine, receiving adequate healthcare, putting food on the table all stressful happenings instead of normal living, leaving one wondering day to day if they will even survive the next day, week, or month.  From the mother who is one week from being homeless, to the husband whose wife has fallen in the arms of another, to the parent who is heartbroken with a rebellious child, we minister daily the only way we know how.  We spend our life pointing the hurting, suffering, and seemingly hopeless to Jesus.

Life is seldom easy, often messy, proving difficult on more occasion than not, but can be lived graciously and victoriously because of Jesus and what He has done for each of us.  God loves us so much, He sent Jesus into our world.  Jesus loves us so much; He willingly came, experiencing how we live in this world filled with pain, heartache, suffering and death.  He willingly gave his life, so that we can have life in Him, not only now, but for all eternity.

Beloved, whatever you are going through right now, rest assured that Jesus knows, He cares, and He is praying that your faith will not fail even though you may be going through the greatest sifting of your faith that you can recently remember.  You will come through this trial, the next, and every trial victoriously as you fix your eyes on Jesus who “upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

We thank God constantly for the faithful prayer and financial support that we receive for LGF.  It is allowing us to touch 12,609 people per day with the love and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Know that you are loved,

gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 03:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
The Bible was written by people inspired by God.

The words written are for our instruction.

God's Word is our GPS for life, and if followed, will get us to heaven.

Those who obey the words, receive God.

Those who do not obey the words, reject God.

Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. -- 1 Thessalonians 4:8 tniv

Beloved, it's important to get direction from this God given GPS on a daily basis.

Read the Word.

Study the Word.

Hide it in your heart.

Obey it.

Don't take the wrong turn on your journey from earth to glory.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:20 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, 29 April 2011
People have always been fascinated by the notion of living longer as they have searched for that ever mystifying fountain of youth.

People are living longer now than at any other time in modern history.

Longer life is credited to the advances in medical science and health education involving diet, and exercise.

I'm all for living longer and healthier so that we do not cut our mission off prematurely, but I also look forward to the day when I won't have to remember to take my medicine, watch what I eat, and force myself to exercise when I don't want to exercise.

God offers us eternal life.

God's Word is our GPS that gives us direction to eternal life.

Check out this nugget:

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. ~ 1 John 2:17, NIV

Live long my friend.

Do God's will.

Live forever!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 21 April 2011
With Good Friday and Easter Sunday of Holy Week this weekend, I invite you to listen to a message that God laid on my heart titled, "The Cross and the Empty Tomb".  This is probably one of the most important messages that I've been honored to deliver in more than 20 years of ministry.

My prayer is that this message will minister encouragement to you as you listen, and that if you feel led , you will use it to encourage others in your family and sphere of influence.

You can listen on your PC, laptop, or mobile devices including phones and tablets.

You can listen on your PC and laptop at http://lovinggodfellowship.org/bible_messages

You can listen on your mobile devices including phones and tablets at http://lovinggodfellowship.org/m-listen

May God surround you with His grace and peace in ever increasing measures.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Historians have proven that there was a historical Jesus that walked this earth teaching and doing good.

Often times, there are but two opinions of Jesus.

These two opinions separate major faiths around the world.

They have split nations.

They have split families.

They have split relationships.

They have split criminals.

In our work in jails, in prisons, to the homeless, within gangs and in transitional facilities, we have experienced this split firsthand as we have taken the good news of Jesus to the point of need.

Jesus experienced the same split of opinion at the cross.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43 ESV)

The one criminal was interested in Jesus only for an immediate fix to his problem saying, "Save yourself and us!"

In his mind, if Jesus was really the Christ, He would have to prove it through an act of selfishness that would have only saved three.

Jesus was all about saving, but He was not selfish, and He had no need to prove anything.

The other criminal had a different opinion of Jesus, realizing his own guilt and Jesus' innocence, desiring to be with Jesus, the Christ, in His Kingdom.

That criminal has been saved and is with Jesus today.

He had the right opinion of Jesus that led to salvation in the presence of Jesus for all eternity.

My opinion?

Jesus is the Christ. 

I'm nothing but a criminal who deserves punishment.

I long to be where Jesus is and choose to participate in His kingdom, which He is ruling over, both now and forever.

What's your opinion?

Know that you are loved,
gaj




Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:58 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 03 March 2011
My wife, Becky, is a pro at saving money on food and necessity purchases.

She amazes me.

She watches store ads, collects coupons from the newspaper and files them.

When the stores nearby have an item on sale in which she has a coupon, she goes into action.

Some stores double the coupon and she gets the item free.

Now, that's redemption!

Jesus came into our world and experienced the difficulties of our life.

He was homeless, having nowhere to lay His head at night.

He was rejected, despised, and ridiculed.

He suffered and was crucified.

He willingly gave His life so that we can have life with the Father now and for all eternity.

Now, that's real redemption!

He is the foundation of each of His followers.

He is the Rock, and those anchored to Him will not be moved, even in the fiercest of storms that life can bring.

He finds pleasure in each of His followers as they allow Him to shape their words and thoughts.

He is the Rock and the Redeemer!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. -- Psalm 19:14

Please Him beloved.

Please Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 28 February 2011
Who makes up the nation of God?

Every Christ follower, regardless of where they live.

They have denied self, taken up the cross and are following Him.

Being a part of God's nation is what makes them blessed, and not their race, health, gender or economic status.

They are God's inheritance.

Be blessed today as you follow Christ. 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12, New International Version

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 26 February 2011
The promise is for mental and physical strength to get through any difficulty.

God gives the promise.

Our part is to wait for Him to move in our difficulty.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -- Psalm 27:14

Beloved, wait....

Wait for the Lord....

Receive the strength that you need.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, 25 February 2011
I don't know about you, but I find myself having to intentionally work at listening more and speaking less, questioning myself "am I a slow learner, or just struggling with the human nature?"  I'm probably a slow learner if no one else, but me, has to work on these. 

Instead of being slow at learning, maybe the slowness can shift to my human tendency of getting angry.  In dealing with these and other inheritances of the human nature, I thank God for prayer, the Holy Spirit that dwells within, and God's grace.

...And of course, I thank God for His Word which guides us to proper behavior. 
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. ~ James 1:19, NLT
Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:35 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, 09 January 2011
Many years ago as a child in church camp, I was taught a song that I have never forgotten.  It goes like this:

Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had father Abraham
I am one
So are you
So let's just praise the Lord!

Many think today that God only blesses one nation.

In my country, America, you always hear people say "God Bless America."

Some believe that Jesus is returning for one physical nation.

Some believe that Jesus is returning for a physical piece of land in the middle east.

Check out what God promised Abraham:

Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. (Genesis 17:4-5 ESV)

According to the Bible, God is for all nations. 

God's heart is that none should parish, but that all have everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.

Color of skin does not matter to God.

Language does not matter to God.

Gender does not matter to God.

Economic status does not matter to God.

Physical location does not matter to God.

Jesus is not returning for one physical nation.

Jesus is not returning for a piece of land in the middle east.

Jesus is returning for His faithful followers who have denied self and taken up the cross.

Jesus' return is the consummation of His Kingdom here on earth that is already within His followers and He is ruling over it.

His Kingdom is full of love, grace and peace with race, gender, economic, and health equality for all.

His kingdom already consists of people from all nations.

So I say "Let's just praise the Lord!"

And I conclude by saying "God Bless the World!"

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:01 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Life is full of much uncertainty with no one knowing what today or tomorrow may bring.  Some say to live life to it's fullest with total disregard of following any path that is void of your own will.  Although temporary satisfaction may be the result of such a lifestyle, the end result may lead to a destiny that is far less than desirable for the self absorbed individual.

What about the one who trusts God and submits to the will of God?  Does that bring a certainty in life? Does one find satisfaction in the will of God?  A life of losing one's will for God's will does not provide certainty for day to day living nor does it always provide a temporary satisfaction, but the end result leads to a satisfaction and destiny that is far above anything we could obtain, achieve or imagine by following our own will.

Losing our will for God's will often leads us into uncertainty and if we are not careful it will lead us into a fear that will cause us to not reach the full potential of what God has for us to do.  Fear is not of God, and when it begins to show it's frightful head, we are in risk of missing the life that God is leading us into and we will miss it if we allow the fear of uncertainty to overcome us.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was hand picked by God to bring Jesus into our world.  Her submission to God's will for her life would bring much uncertainty, ridicule, and even pain to her.  When the revelation of God's will came to her, fear came with it.  The revelation was from God; the fear was not.  In the midst of oncoming fear, God gave her the reassurance she needed through His Word.  We can always count on Gods Word for the reassurance needed on our journey.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:30-33 ESV)

Through Mary, the Savior of the world was born and the kingdom of God was established on earth through Him.  His kingdom now is within Christ followers and Jesus is ruling over it.  As each Christ follower loses their will for the will of Christ, they will follow Him in total abandonment and Jesus' kingdom will be enlarged on earth as faithful followers stay busy continuing His point of need ministry until He returns with the consummation of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

I encourage you today to move forward in total abandonment to Jesus and His will for your life.  Take it a step at a time and always remember to keep your eyes fixed on Him.  He will take you on a wonderful journey and His kingdom will be enlarged in you and through you.  You will be satisfied!

Know that you are loved,
gaj

You can get your copy of my book The Characters of Christmas on Amazon.  Please be one of the first to read it and post a review for it on Amazon.

Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 12:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 12 December 2010
I just completed writing my first book and it is available on Amazon.  The title is "The Characters of Christmas: God at Work in our Lives".

In this simple and easy to read book, I attempt to take the characters of Christmas – Mary, Joseph, Herod and the Magi – and bring to the readers attention that nothing is impossible for God, God’s plan for us is best, God delivers us from evil and God is at work in our lives. I call these God themes. God themes are found throughout the Bible. Although the word “Christmas” is in the title of this book and I use the characters of Christmas throughout, these God themes are relative to us during any calendar season or any season of life.

My prayer is that the words written will encourage, strengthen and build faith in each reader. May God open the windows of heaven and pour out all of His spiritual blessings on each one as they read.

The book is only available as an e-book.  You can read it on your Kindle or you can read it on you Windows PC, Ipad, Iphone, Mac, Blackberry, Android or Windows 7 phone by downloading the FREE Kindle reading apps.  Click here to download the FREE Kindle reading apps.

Click here to get your copy of The Characters of Christmas.  Please be one of the first to read it and post a review for it on Amazon.



Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 02 November 2010
Christ followers can meet together for the purpose of encouraging each other:

at work

at school

at a backyard barbecue

in a neighborhood

in a home

in a church building

in a theater

in a school

in a business

on Facebook

on Twitter

on Internet church

...the list goes on and on.

The focus is not on where and how.  The focus is on meeting together as Christ followers for the purpose of encouragement.

How frequent?  Often.

How do we know this?

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:25, NLT

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
We live in difficult and often discouraging times.  Many today are holding on to hope in the midst of sickness, disease, hunger, unemployment, despair and depression just trying to make ends meet.  Beloved, keep holding on to hope and be encouraged in Christ today.  He is our Blessed Hope! 

I suspended the teachings in the Gospel of Mark over the last few weeks and instead made available Bible Messages that will build hope and faith in the midst if these very trying times.  I expect to continue with the study in Mark soon as our Lord permits and leads.  In the meantime, please listen to the Bible messages that we have made available in the last few weeks:
You can also listen to these messages on your mobile device at mobile.LovingGodFellowship.org.

I pray that these messages will strengthen and encourage while building faith in each listener.  After listening, please share them with friends and family. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj

P.S.  To be informed of new Bible Messages and Teachings by email as they are made available, please sign up for LGF Online at http://www.lovinggodfellowship.org/lgf_email.

To be informed by text message, text "LOVINGGOD" to 41411 from your mobile device.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 15 October 2010
Many in our day are falling for a different gospel.  We need to be careful to line up every thing that we see and hear in church and every thing that we read from Christian authors with the teachings and actions of Christ.  If it doesn't line up, it is a different gospel and we, as Christ followers, are to stay clear.

The apostle Paul sums it up best:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Beloved, be careful.  Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over again to be familiar with the teachings and actions of Christ.  Don't accept anything less or anything other no matter who is teaching, preaching, writing or doing it.  Be careful.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 14 October 2010
We stay strong and courageous because of God’s abiding presence.  God tells Joshua "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."    (Joshua 1:5 NIV)  God also tells Joshua "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)  

God is not telling Joshua that the journey is going to be easy.  No, it is going to be everything but easy.  Get your Bible out and read the book of Joshua and you will see how uneasy it was.  God didn’t say it would be easy, but God did say that no one would be able to stand against him so there is no need to be terrified or discouraged.

In the midst of huge obstacles, Joshua was able to overcome and not be terrified or discouraged because of God’s abiding presence.  God told Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went and that God would never leave him or forsake him.  Joshua found out in all situations that if God is with you, it doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is, you will prevail.

Beloved, what obstacles are you facing in your journey?  What seems to be insurmountable?   What’s taking your joy?  What’s taking your peace?  What do you lie awake thinking about?  Know this, that if God is with you, it doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is, you will prevail!  You will overcome!  When you look at that big obstacle, don’t be terrified and don’t be discouraged.  God is with you and you will prevail!

The moment that you decided to follow Jesus and accepted the work He did for you on the cross, the Holy Spirit set up residence in you.  He abides in you!  You are now a temple of God.  You house His Holy Spirit.  That is the abiding presence of God in you.

It’s all because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  He took our punishment.  He shielded us from the wrath of God.  He suffered, bled and died so that we could experience the abiding presence of God for now and for all eternity!  And now God has set up residence in us.  In earthen vessels that are nothing but jars of clay.  Everywhere we go, God goes with us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us!  He will get us through every obstacle on our journey from earth to Glory!

Praise God Beloved!  Don’t be terrified!  Don’t be discouraged!  God is with you and has given you His Word.  Talk about it!  Meditate on it!  Do it!  God will give you the strength and the courage to be successful on your journey from earth to Glory!  Nothing, absolutely nothing will prevail against you!  No obstacle will hinder you on your Journey!  God is taking you out of the wilderness and into His Promised Land.  Be strong and courageous!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
We stay strong and courageous by knowing and obeying God’s written Word.  God tells Joshua "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:7-8 NIV)

God’s instruction to Joshua was 1) Talk about the Word 2) Meditate on the Word 3) Do the Word.  God was telling Joshua to make God’s Word the authoritative guide for all beliefs and actions.

Beloved, we are to make the Bible the authoritative guide for all of our beliefs and our actions.  It is so vital, especially in the day that we are living.  The Word of God is the only absolute truth that we have to stand on.  As we talk about the Word of God, as we meditate on the Word of God and as we do the Word of God, we will obtain strength and courage for the journey ahead of us.  Whatever obstacles that we are confronted with, we will be able to overcome!  Nothing, absolutely nothing will conquer us on our journey from earth to glory!

Joshua is an Old Testament type of Christ.  Joshua points to Jesus.  The name Joshua means “the Lord saves” and the Greek form of the name Joshua is Jesus.  Jesus came to earth and showed us how to be strong and courageous on our journey.  He talked about the Word, He meditated on the Word and He did the Word.  He fulfilled everything that was written about Him in the prophetic books of the Bible.  From His virgin birth to His death on the cross to His resurrection; He did the Word.  He overcame every obstacle including an old rugged cross and a cold damp tomb.  

Hallelujah Beloved!  Talk about the Word of God.  Meditate on the Word of God.  Do the Word of God.  God will strengthen you.  God will give you courage.  God will take you out of the wilderness and place you in His Promised Land!  Glory Be to God!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
You may have just completed the worse week in your life; be strong and courageous.  You may be getting ready to go into the worse week in your life; be strong and courageous.  Your health may be failing; be strong and courageous.  Your finances may not be enough; be strong and courageous.

In the midst of a world that grows increasingly out of step with the Gospel, be strong and courageous.  In the midst of world terrorism, be strong and courageous.  In the midst of economic uncertainty, be strong and courageous.  In the midst of wars and rumors of wars, be strong and courageous.  In the midst of global warming and record setting numbers of natural disasters, be strong and courageous.  In the midst of a flu pandemic, be strong and courageous.

In Joshua Chapter 1 of God’s Word, God tells Joshua repeatedly to “be strong and courageous.”

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, "Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
(Joshua 1:1-9 ESV)
God is getting ready to take Joshua and the people of Israel on a journey out of the wilderness in which they had been wondering in for forty years and into the Promised Land.  It won’t be easy.  They would face a lot of obstacles on their journey that they would have to overcome, but God is telling them to be strong and courageous.

We likewise are on a journey.  On our journey, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  Jesus is taking us out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.  It’s a journey from earth to Glory.  We will face a lot of obstacles on our journey that we will have to overcome, but God encourages us to be strong and courageous.

In the midst of known and unknown obstacles in life, how do we stay strong and courageous?

I will attempt to answer that question in the next two blog posts.

Stayed tuned...

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Jesus said “For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14 ESV).” Through my years of ministry, study of Scripture and my personal experience with our Lord,  I am convinced that the difference between the “called” and the “chosen” is obedience. 

Many hear the call of Jesus to follow Him, but few are willing to deny self and follow Jesus.  They count the cost and it is too costly.  Levi counted the cost that day and he made the right choice.  Levi, like the fishermen earlier, decided to give up everything to follow Jesus.  But for Levi, there would be no turning back.  Levi, also named Matthew (Matthew 9:9), would later give us the Gospel of Matthew as another God inspired writing of the life and teachings of Jesus.

Many in our day confuse going to a church building and attending a service as following Christ and serving Him.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with attending church, but I fear we have missed the whole meaning of following Christ and I have dedicated the rest of my life to help people around the world understand what following Christ means so that they can count the cost and make the right decision as Levi did.  There are so many in our day who have fell for a different gospel that is not based on the life and teachings of Christ.  We must get back to following Christ and His teachings.  It’s an imperative from Him that we must obey to be among the “chosen.”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 24 September 2010
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
(Mark 2:6-12 ESV)

Jesus’ message of the Kingdom and demonstration of it was attracting large crowds of people, including the religionists of His day.  We can’t help but notice that the religionists had seats in the crowded house and did not give them up for those who were in obvious need, such as this paralytic.  Could this mimic our houses of worship today?  Are the needy being taken care of or are they being crowded out? 

May we in our day take note that Jesus treated all people equal. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 19 September 2010
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  (Mark 2:1-5 ESV)

In this paragraph of Scripture, we see four friends of a paralytic believe in health equality for all.  Their friend can’t walk and they desire that he can walk like they do.  This desire compels them to go out of their way to make sure this friend gets to Jesus because they see through Jesus’ actions health equality.  So they believe the message that Christ is preaching – the Kingdom is at hand, repent and believe.  In their actions, Jesus see’s faith, but His next words are rather starting as he looks at the man on the mat and says “your sins are forgiven”.  Jesus knows that the greatest need in this man’s life is the forgiveness of sins that follows repentance and belief.  Jesus takes care of this greatest need and as God Himself, He forgives sins.

Beloved, our greatest need in life is the forgiveness of sin and only God can do that in our life.  We can not do it, the church can not do it, denominations can not do it, church leadership can not do it and people can not do it.  Only God can forgive sins as we repent and believe in Christ and His message acknowledging that He is ruling over His Kingdom that we desire to be participants in.  1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)”

More to come tomorrow...  Your comments are encouraged!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 18 September 2010
Preaching Christ and His Kingdom builds faith in the listener.  The listener believes Christ and wants to participate in His Kingdom so they repent of their sins and Jesus is quick to forgive.

The word of God tells us this:  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:14-17 ESV)

Beloved, what takes precedence in your gatherings whether they take place in a church building, a home, a theater or other locations and technologies?  Evaluate your faith.  Is it growing?  Is your life changing as you live in repentance?  If so, I would venture to say that you are listening to the word of Christ and your faith is growing along with your participation in His Kingdom.  If not, I would venture to say that something other than the preaching of the word of Christ is taking precedence in the gatherings you attend.  Many in are day are falling for a different gospel.

More to come tomorrow...  Your comments are encouraged!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 17 September 2010
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
(Mark 2:1-5 ESV)

Mark is very explicit in pointing out that Jesus was there “preaching the word.”  Taking care of people’s needs was important, but preaching the word was priority in Jesus’ life and ministry.  The “word” that Jesus preached is defined in Mark 1:14-15 which reads “… Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (ESV)"

Needs being met attracted the crowds, but Jesus constantly brings attention back to the preaching of the Kingdom which is His priority.  Near the conclusion of chapter one Jesus tells His followers "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. (Mark 1:38 ESV)”

In the kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.  That message must take priority over all else in our day.  Taking care of the needs of people is vital and is to be the result of preaching Christ and His Kingdom which must be priority.  Actions must follow words. The result will be a realization of the Kingdom and participation in it.

More to come tomorrow...  Your comments are encouraged!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 16 September 2010
In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is ministering in Capernaum and He ministers at the synagogue, in Simon and Andrew’s home, and in the streets prior to taking His preaching ministry to the cities of the province of Galilee.  The second chapter begins with Jesus returning to Capernaum and beginning where He left off there – preaching.    

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
(Mark 2:1-5 ESV)

As chapter two begins, Jesus is back in Capernaum.  The “home” that He is preaching in is more than likely again the house of Simon and Andrew.  Much to the dislike of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and our day, Jesus shows by example that preaching and ministry is to go beyond the walls of a religious institution and the confines of a religious service.  He does not ignore the synagogue and its service, but He also is not bound to its functions or its leadership.  He was preaching in a house that was packed full of people all the way backing out the door.

More to come tomorrow...  Your comments are encouraged!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 September 2010
The church in Florida that is hosting a "burn the Quran day" on 9/11 may be Christian, but it is of my opinion that they are not following Christ. Christ taught His followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and to love our neighbor as we do our self (Matthew 22:37-40). Christ, from the cross, prayed for those who had violently nailed Him there and asked the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:32-34).

It would be naive for me not to think that there will be some who read what I just stated and say that I am being judgmental, but I am not judging this church and it's leadership. I am simply inspecting their fruit as Christ encouraged His followers to do (Matthew 7:15-23, John 15:1-6). So, is this good fruit of a church or is this bad fruit?

Quran burning will not portray the love of Christ to the world and is not how citizens of the Kingdom of God are to respond. It is acts such as these that fuel the hate of America in other parts of the world which lead to extremist activity spreading death and destruction. Acts such as these also stereotype the Christian church and makes it harder for the numerous Christ following churches to make a difference in their community through displaying the true nature of God's Kingdom which includes love and peace.

I pray that this church and it's leaders repent, change their plans and react to those of the Islam faith in love and peace, praying for them and showing the world that citizens of God's Kingdom live recognizing that their allegiance is first to the Kingdom of God, and after that, to their nation.

I am glad that American General Petraeus condemned this church's plan to burn qurans. I pray that Pastors across America will have the same courage and do the same in their churches so that their parishioners will understand that this type of action is not Christ following.

May God bless the world.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them." But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
(Mark 1:40-45 ESV)

What Jesus does in this paragraph of Scripture is startling to the people watching, but Jesus was not focused on the watching people.  He was not interested in attracting crowds and that was not why He did the miracles that He did.  He was focused on an individual who had lost his health, his dignity, his ability to earn income, his social status, his family and his friends.  Jesus responded with a touch and the words “I will; be clean”.  The crowds gasped when Jesus touched the leper, but the leper was filled with healing warmth that flooded His being as he was healed of leprosy and was made clean.  It was love that moved Jesus to act to make this man’s life better.  Jesus did not just feel sorry for him.  Jesus helped him.  Jesus responded with compassion – a love that compels one to act.

The first touch this man felt for probably many years was the touch of Jesus.  He would never be the same.  Why did Jesus touch him?  He did not have to do so.  In all of the recorded exorcisms, Jesus spoke a word and freed the individuals.  He never once laid a hand on a demoniac.  He would speak a word and the winds and waves would obey Him, so why did He touch this leper?  Maybe, he touched the leper to be our example; a pattern for us to follow.

Who are the social outcasts of our day?  Is it the diseased?  Is it those living in poverty?  Is it the homeless?  Is it the incarcerated?  Is it the shut-in?  Is it those living alternate lifestyles?  Is it those of a different race?  Is it those of a different faith?

Who are the social outcasts in your city?  Who in your city is financially and socially isolated?  Who is shut-in?  What would happen in your city if each person makes it a point every day to do an act of compassion, reaching out to touch one that is in need?  I believe more people would realize the Kingdom of God and want to be a part of it.

Beloved, we live in a day where there is an overabundance of armchair theologians and armchair politicians.  We don’t need any more of those.  What we need in our day are people who will follow Jesus and get their hands dirty in point of need ministry revealing that in the Kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all. 

Touch people beloved.  Touch people.  Be Jesus’ hand extended.   

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
While many non-profits have went under during this great economic recession, Becky and I are still committed to live by faith and obey what God has placed on our heart for Loving God Fellowship (LGF) while steering it through these difficult times.  Launching the LGF mobile site last week is testimony of this. 

I'm excited about taking LGF mobile because it allows us to potentially reach 3 more billion people with the Gospel of Christ in support of our point of need ministry model.  People will be able to listen to Christ Centric Bible Messages while they are on the go with their mobile devices.  Our potential on the Internet is 1 billion people, so this now raises our potential to 4 billion out of 6 billion people in the world.  I'm excited about this opportunity and feel that LGF needs to take full advantage of it.

Although our mobile site just has the basics now, more and better functionality will be provided as we go.  Please take a look at http://mobile.lovinggodfellowship.org .  If you like it, be sure and check the "like" button.
 
The next thing we need to add to LGF mobile is a signup for SMS texting.  To provide this functionality will cost $19 per 100 users that sign up to receive text messages such as Be Encouraged!  and notification of new Bible Messages on their mobile devices.   Would you consider a monthly donation? A donation of $19 per month will enable us to reach 100 people around the world through their mobile device.  If you desire to do more than that, each $19 will enable us to reach 100 people with the Gospel of Christ on their mobile devices.

Please know that all donations are an answer to prayer as we are not endowed by any group or denomination and we don't pass an offering plate in any church service.  LGF functions only on what is donated by loving Christ followers from around the world who believe in what LGF is all about.

Please click here to make a monthly donation today. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 06 August 2010
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Prayer is a powerful privilege given to us by God.  Prayer is the opportunity to communicate to Him all of our burdens and anxieties while receiving from Him strength, endurance and direction for the journey that He has in front of us.  Preaching and ministering at the point of need are important, but they will become powerless and ineffective without prayer.  Prayer must be a priority in every Christ follower.  In fact, if we don’t pray, we are not following Christ because He prayed and left us that example to follow. 

We can learn much from this paragraph of Scripture. 
  • We learn that although the needs of people are great, we can not neglect prayer to minister.
  • We learn that there are times that we must get alone in a quiet place to pray.
  • We learn that there is a time to pray and a time to work.
  • We learn that prayer is a place to refuel and refocus.
  • We learn that prayer is a place to receive direction and confirmation.
Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 05 August 2010
On the first Sabbath of Jesus’ earthly ministry recorded in the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus ministers all day and late into the night.  He performs an exorcism in the Synagogue (Mark 1:21-28), a healing in a house (Mark 1:29-31) and numerous healings and exorcisms in the streets of Capernaum (Mark 1:32-34).  He has to be physically tired, as although He is the Son of God, He is ministering on earth in a human body as the Son of Man.  As the Son of Man, Jesus gives us an example to follow.  As the Son of God He reveals His Kingdom to us in words and actions as He heads towards the cross to take God’s judgment of our sins upon Himself.  He has to be physically tired after such an eventful day so He gets off by Himself and prays.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:06 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Beloved, ministry is to take place at the point of need.  Ministry is not restricted to within the walls of a church building or the confines of a service.  The need is the call.  When we see a need, and we have the ability to meet that need, we are to minister as unto Jesus. 

Jesus said "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
(Matthew 25:31-40 ESV)”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:07 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, 30 July 2010
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
(Mark 1:32-34 ESV)

Notice in this paragraph of Scripture the advancement of the Kingdom being established through Jesus.  The Kingdom is always advanced through point of need ministry and we will see that throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry as we study the Gospels.  It started that Sabbath day in the synagogue with the deliverance of the man possessed by a demon (Mark 1:26) and spread to inside a house with the healing of a woman (Mark 1:31) and now Jesus takes it to the streets of the city of Capernaum as people are brought to Him there.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 25 July 2010
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

I don’t want to neglect a piece of this paragraph of Scripture that is very important and must be touched on.  Notice what Simon’s mother-in-law does after Jesus heals her of both her fever and whatever was causing it.  She get’s up out of the bed and immediately helps others. 

Beloved, Jesus helps us so that we can help others.  Live your life recognizing His hand on it and using it to always help others.  As you do, His kingdom will be revealed through your actions.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

At first glance of this passage of Scripture it would be easy to minimize this miracle by saying “it was only a fever.”  But, with closer inspection and with our own personal experiences, we know that something wrong in the body causes the fever.  A fever makes a person feel bad enough and keeps one in bed, but more importantly there is something going on in the body that is causing the fever.  In Jesus’ day, with limited medical knowledge, they treated a fever as a disease in itself and treated the fever instead of the cause.  Many would die as a result.

We are so blessed in our day.  Now we have medical science and medicine which are instruments of healing in our day, but the source of healing is always God.  Whether healing comes from an instant miracle or through a process aided by medical procedures and medicine, it is God that brings the healing.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:32 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 19 July 2010
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

Notice what Simon, Andrew, James and John does.  When they leave the synagogue with Jesus, their faith in Jesus and His kingdom that He was revealing was enlarged.  They go to Simon and Andrew’s house which must have just been a short distance from the synagogue as revealed through the words “and immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”  When they get there, Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever.  Upon the news of her illness these Christ followers had a heart to provide this lady the care she needed for her health and they tell Jesus about her fever.  Their faith had grown and they now knew to take their needs to Jesus. 

Beloved, we all have needs and we must take those needs to Jesus knowing that He cares for us and desires for us to place all of our cares and anxieties on Him.  Jesus desires to help us and as He does, His kingdom is revealed and faith always grows.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 18 July 2010
In Mark 1:23-28 Jesus is in the synagogue with Simon, Andrew, James and John who where fishermen that He had just called to follow Him.  These four who left everything to follow Jesus witnessed the power of Jesus’ Kingdom that He was revealing through His words and actions.  In these five verses, Satan’s kingdom is interrupted by Jesus’ Kingdom and the victory over evil is a glimpse of many victories to come in leading up to the ultimate victories at the cross and the empty tomb.  Can you imagine what these four new followers were thinking after witnessing this first victory over evil?  Perhaps a sense of confirmation was consuming them over the decision that they made to forsake all and follow Jesus.  Undoubtedly their faith was growing as they were hanging out with Jesus and experiencing His Kingdom firsthand.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
I was fortunate to be raised by Christ following parents who used their God given abilities to minister at the point of need and take care of felt needs just as Jesus did.  I grew up seeing them do without and give of their time, talent and treasure so that the needs of others would be taken care of.  I’m glad that they did not teach me to leave the needs of others in the sovereign hands of God.  I am glad that Jesus did not teach us to leave the needs of others in the sovereign hands of God.  I am glad that so many people get it and are continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus and not just merely attending a church service expecting God to take care of people.

Mom and Dad are now in their senior years of life and I will take care of them and their needs.  I will do it out of my love for them and in obedience to Scripture, just as they taught me by example.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Some Christians today feel as though we should leave the care of others in the hands of a sovereign God.  Some believe the care of others should be left up to the government, but yet they get upset at government if they raise taxes due to providing social programs.  What is the answer that Christ gives us?  What is the answer that Scripture gives us?  I’m often reminded of this Scripture found in James 2:14-18 that helps us with the answer:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV)” 

Beloved, if God reveals a need to us and if He has given us the ability to meet that need, it is His expectation that we do so.  We don’t have to pray about it.  The need is the call.  God takes care of the needs of people through us.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 12 July 2010
In Mark 1:16-20 we are told that Jesus and the freshly called fishermen were in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.  Scripture tells us that the people are astonished at His teaching.  His message was about the Kingdom that was being established in Him and was different than the teaching they were accustomed to and delivered by religionists who demanded obedience to manmade rules, regulations and traditions.  As Jesus teaches, there is a collision of good and evil which is manifested in a sudden interruption.

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
(Mark 1:23-28 ESV)

Jesus not only taught about the Kingdom of God, but demonstrates the kingdom of God through His actions that will be described throughout the Gospel of Mark.  Mark’s writing style is to get the reader to understand the meaning of events instead of giving details of the events he writes about.  As we read and study Mark, we should always be looking for the meaning of the events that take place and this event is no exception.

Jesus introduced to the world the kingdom of God, not only through His words, but through His actions.  With Jesus coming into our world, Satan’s kingdom was disturbed.  Satan’s kingdom realized who Jesus was and what authority He had as the Son of God even though the people did not.  In these five verses of Mark we see the two kingdoms collide, but it’s just the beginning.  Jesus will not only be victorious over demons, but also sickness, disease, hunger and death.  He will show through his actions that the Kingdom of God breaks through the powers of evil that seeks to destroy people.  His authority as the Son of God ensures His victory.  He walks the earth conquering the powers of evil and He dies on an old rugged cross.  On the third day He was resurrected and defeated death which is evil’s greatest weapon and people’s greatest enemy. 

At the cross, Satan was defeated, the power of sin was broken and God’s Kingdom became available to ALL people through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  Jesus accomplished His mission on earth and because of His obedience to Father, He was re-glorified and placed back at the right hand of Father (John 17:1-5).  Jesus is now ruling supreme over His Kingdom.  As we fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him and continue His point of need ministry, those around us will realize the wonderful kingdom that He places in each follower.  Why? - Because their felt needs will be met through Christ followers continuing His point of need ministry.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:57 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 10 July 2010
I received the following email that I feel led to share:

Just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying the study of Mark.  It is so convenient how you have set it up that the student can view the discussed scriptures right as you are teaching them.  How you did that is beyond me!  Also another plus to the study is that you can progress at the rate you want.  Some of the studies have been so good that I have listened to them several times and each time I gain benefit!

Each study in Mark is only 9-13 minutes long.  If you are not yet following along in Mark with us, please join us .   Please take a moment to invite your friends to join us also.  Each study can be listened to individually or in a group setting. You can even facilitate a LGF gathering right where you are at!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him.  And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.

Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus.  At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years.  Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though.  After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him.  After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day.  But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers.  As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.

The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria.  John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated.  It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56).  Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.

It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers.  They were following Jesus once again to Samaria.  He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.

Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus.  He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ.  Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power.  Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”.  Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked.  He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.

As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their hearts.  Their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others.  On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother preaching the word to the villages in Samaria.  As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they did preach the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25).   Jesus had brought more change to them.  They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 28 June 2010
THE SPECIAL CARE GIVEN TO THOSE AROUND THE THRONE OF GOD MAGNETIZES ME TO IT.
 
Notice the loving care they receive.  They continually stay in God’s presence.  "Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them."    (Revelation 7:15 NIV)  They will never again experience separation from the presence of God.

God protects them from pain and suffering.  "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat."    (Revelation 7:16 NIV)  This life is full of pain and suffering.  People around the world are in pain and suffering today.  The beloved will spend eternity in God’s presence where there will be no pain and suffering.

God wipes away their tears.  "For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."    (Revelation 7:17 NIV)  There will be no crying around the throne; just joy unspeakable and full of glory!

There is so much about God’s presence and spending time with Him for all eternity that I don’t understand or comprehend, but I know one thing – I want to be a part of the great multitude wearing white robes.  I want to be found in this beautiful picture painted for us in God’s Word.  Only now on this earth are we given opportunity to wash our robes.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:43 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, 27 June 2010
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."    (Revelation 7:14 NIV)  They have overcome the world.  While they were on earth, they washed their robes.  They accepted Jesus as their Savior.  They placed their faith in Jesus and accepted everything He did for them at the cross of Calvary.  They made Jesus their Lord; they fixed their eyes on Jesus and they followed Jesus.  In doing so, they overcame the world.

Beloved, we live in an evil and perverse world that increasingly grows out of step with God’s Word.  Only now on earth can we wash our robes in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Without the blood there is no cleansing.  Without cleansing, there is no redemption.  There is no salvation.  Wash your robes.  Daily go to the foot of the cross and wash your robes in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Daily go to the cross and crucify self. Crucify your fleshly nature at the foot of the cross.  As we decrease at the cross, Jesus increases in our life.  We make Jesus Lord; we deny ourselves and we take up our cross and follow Him.  And one day beloved, we will find ourselves around the throne full of joy and wearing spotless white robes!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 26 June 2010
The angels fall prostrate before God and begin to worship Him "saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!""    (Revelation 7:12 NIV)  These angels are not able to sing redemption’s song, but in all humility they praise and honor God.  They give their creator all glory!  They also are full of joy in bearing witness to the multitude of the redeemed shouting praise to God.

Here we see glorious angels who have never sinned praising God in all humility.  How much more should we who have sinned and been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ humble ourselves and worship Him?

Know that you are loved,
gaj

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 25 June 2010
Beloved, salvation is only by God and Jesus.  God desires to save us from sin, guilt, death and wrath.  As a person places their faith in Jesus, God saves them by His grace.  They are placed among the beloved and will be around the throne shouting God’s salvation!  They are full of joy because they know without God’s grace, they would not be there.

"And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."    (Revelation 7:10 NIV) 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The first 15 verses of the Gospel of Mark tells us about the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus and the message of Jesus, which is the same message for us in our day.  In verse 15, we hear Jesus say "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." After making His message simple and clear, He began to call those who would follow Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-20 ESV)

John the Baptist is in prison and Jesus could have decided to continue His ministry alone, but He chose not to do so.  His plan is to call people to follow Him.  He will train, empower and direct them to continue His point of need ministry.  He trains by example, He empowers by the Holy Spirit and He directs through His Word.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 19 June 2010
How does one repent?  Repentance is a change in the mind that results in a change in actions.  A person becomes aware of their sinfulness and it sickens them so much, they no longer want to live in that sinfulness.  God’s Word says “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT” 

We can not confuse being sickened by the consequences of sin with being sickened of sin itself.  Many are sorry for their sins because of the consequences they bring, but that sorrow does not lead to true repentance.  The sorrow that leads to repentance is a sickening of sin itself.  When we get to that point we will decide to run from it and run to Jesus.  He will save us.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Jesus was the greatest person that has ever walked this earth.  He came into our world and revealed to us the heart of God through His words and through His actions.  His message continues to speak to us in our day.  His message has not changed.  If He were invited into church services this weekend, what would He preach?  What message would He deliver? 

To answer that question we must go back to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth.  Jesus had just been baptized in water by John the Baptist.  At His baptism, the Spirit descended on Him and Father spoke words of pleasure from the heavens.  He was immediately driven into the wilderness where He would spend 40 days in seclusion being prepared for the ministry in front of Him that would include a violent death on a cross.  He overcame temptation in the wilderness and came out ready to touch people at their point of need while He headed to the cross as the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
(Mark 1:14-15 ESV)

The location is Galilee, a province of Palestine.  Palestine was divided into three provinces – Judea, Samaria and Galilee.  Galilee was the northern most province and it’s here that we get to listen in to the message of Christ.  He delivered the good news of God and it was fourfold: the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 23 May 2010
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
(Mark 1:9-11 ESV)

As John was baptizing all of the people who were repenting of their sins, Jesus appears on the scene.  This is the most unlikely time for the Son of God to show up.  Jesus had no need to repent of sins because He was sinless.  But yet, He allowed John to baptize Him.  His baptism was not for sins, but was to identify with people in their sin showing His willingness to submit to God’s judgment of their sin.

Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will, which meant certain death on a cross, was pleasing to the Father and demonstrated by the Father’s words and the Spirit’s descent upon Jesus.  Notice that all three persons of the Trinity was present – the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

It is hard for us to comprehend what is taking place.  Jesus came into our world to die for our sin.  He was sinless and had no need to die for Himself.  It was all about us.  The Father loves us and wants to spend eternity with us so much that He sent Jesus.  The Father wants us to experience life in Him and not death.  And Jesus submitted to the will of the Father and He came.  He left the glory of heaven and the splendor of the Father’s presence to come into our world to live and to die.  He came as the son of man and He came as the son of God.  He was 100% human and 100% God.  As the son of man, he lived his life as an example for us to follow.  As the son of God, He died for our sin taking God’s judgment for it upon Himself.  And here at His baptism He, as a man, is indwelt by the Spirit just as all those who are born into God’s Kingdom would be.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Those who follow Christ making Him their Lord and Savior are baptized with the Holy Spirit by Jesus. 

Paul explains this baptism best: 

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:5-11 ESV)”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 17 May 2010
Mark jumps right into truth as he begins the Gospel of Mark.  In the first eight verses we are introduced to John the Baptist and Jesus Christ is exalted.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:1-8 ESV)

The very first verse of Mark is short, but it speaks volumes – “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1 ESV)” Throughout the entire Gospel of Mark, we are told about Jesus.  It is good news to all who learn of Him, but this good news did have its beginning with Mark’s Gospel.  Jesus was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament and the Prophets and Mark is implying to this with a reference to Isaiah. 

Mark declares that Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ.  The name “Jesus” means “Yahweh is salvation”.  Matthew brings particular attention to this meaning – “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21 ESV)” 

Christ is a title and means “the anointed one”, or “the Messiah”.  So here at the start of the Gospel of Mark we have the declaration that Jesus is the son of God and the Messiah who saves us from our sin and delivers us out of its captivity and bondage.

I thank God that He sent Jesus into our world!


Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
In the paragraph of Scripture as given to us in Acts 7:54-60, the religionists break the Roman law which prohibits them from executing a death sentence.   As a mob, they react to Stephen’s stand for faith and justice.  They kill the messenger and God’s instrument of grace.  Instead of making the right choice, repenting of their religious ways and following Christ, they make the wrong choice and choose religion over Christ.  Their actions show how religion is full of anger and leads to death and not life.

As I read this paragraph of Scripture, it is Stephen’s reaction that catches my eye and speaks volumes into my life.  Notice with me:

  • Stephen the Christ follower, even in death, kept his eyes fixed on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of faith (Acts 7:55).
  • Stephen the Christ follower left this world praying to Jesus and releasing himself to Jesus’ care (Acts 7:59).
  • Stephen the Christ follower prayed for his enemies as they violently attacked and killed him (Acts 7:60).

What a picture of Christ portrayed by a follower!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Even when our faith is immature and deficient, God does a work that only He can do.  And through it all, God still loves us and is perfecting our faith as we focus our attention on Jesus and follow Him.

In Acts 12:1-11 we are told of how the Apostle James was killed and Peter was placed in prison awaiting his death. After Herod Agrippa I saw that beheading James pleased the people, he decided to do the same to Peter and He had him put in prison.  Because Herod was now observing the Jewish law and trying to win favor with the people, he would not put Peter to death during the Passover season.  He would wait until afterward and do to Peter in front of all the people what he had already done to James.  In the meantime, he would hold Peter prisoner and make it impossible for him to escape or be freed by assigning four squads of soldiers to guard him.  Each squad consisted of four Roman soldiers and each squad would have a six hour shift.  Two soldiers would be chained to either side of him and two soldiers would guard the door.  There was seemingly no way Peter would be able to escape, but God sent an angel to deliver Peter out of the prison in the middle of the night.  As Peter followed the angel, he was set free.  Peter was still in a daze from it all and when his mind finally cleared, he realized that he was supernaturally delivered by God and saved from death.

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, "You are out of your mind." But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, "It is his angel!" But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell these things to James and to the brothers." Then he departed and went to another place. Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
(Acts 12:12-19 ESV)


The church survived without a church building for three hundred years.  There were no building funds.  There were no campaigns to pay down building debt.  There were neither maintenance invoices nor utility bills to pay.  Instead, Christ followers met in houses and existing facilities.  At this time in Jerusalem, the church had grown to large numbers and was meeting in many houses in the city.  Upon his supernatural deliverance from prison, Peter went to John Mark’s mother’s house.  Many believe that this was the house that held the upper room where Jesus had His last supper with the disciples the night before His crucifixion.  This was probably the house where Peter met with other Christ followers regularly and was the people he was most familiar with as Rhoda knew his voice.  In any case, Peter went to where he knew people would be meeting in the middle of the night to pray for His safe release.

Prayer has always been a quality that identifies the church.  Christ followers are praying people and follow the example that Christ gave as He walked this earth ministering at the point of need.  Jesus took the time to pray and the disciples, seeing that this was a priority in Jesus’ life, asked for Him to teach them how to pray. 

Faith is exercised as one communicates to God and asks for his help, guidance and intervention.  A person prays believing in God and believing that He can do the impossible.  Those who met in this house knew that Herod had beheaded the Apostle James and was planning to do the same to Peter the next day at the conclusion of the Passover.  They were praying earnestly for him day and night knowing that God could deliver and in this case, it would take God. 

Peter knocked at the gate indicating that this house had a courtyard which was typical of the bigger homes of that day that could accommodate many people.  Rhoda goes to see who is knocking.  Upon recognizing Peter’s voice and without opening the gate and letting Peter in, she goes back inside tell the people it was Peter.  The people thought she was out of her mind!  Anyway you look at this it is humorous.  Their prayers had been answered.  Evidently they had enough faith to pray knowing that God could deliver Peter out of this seemingly hopeless situation, but their faith was deficient in realizing that God was willing to deliver Peter.  Even though their faith was deficient, God moved on their behalf and supernaturally delivered Peter from the chains of bondage and certain death.

Beloved, we have been supernaturally delivered from the bondage of sin and saved from death by Jesus Christ.  Some may doubt our deliverance and that doubt may come from some who have prayed for our deliverance, but nevertheless we have been delivered!  We didn’t do anything to deserve it.  It was all God pouring our His amazing grace upon us.  We were bound in the chains of sin and held captive in its prison.  But Jesus set us free.  And when Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed!

Not only is God able to deliver and set the captive free from the power of sin, God is willing.  All Peter had to do was follow the angel the Lord sent out of the prison he was held captive in.  We have been given Jesus to follow.  All of those friends and loved ones that you are praying for, God can and he will deliver as they follow Jesus out of their prison.  Keep praying for them.  Pray earnestly for them.  God will do in an instance what no person could do in a lifetime.

If you are held captive by the power of sin today, I encourage you to follow Jesus out of that prison.  As you fix your eyes on Him and follow Him, He will break every shackle that binds you.  He will lead you out of darkness and despair.  He will take away your hopelessness and give you a reason for living.  He will truly set you free!

Beloved, as we follow Christ and keep our eyes fixed on Him, our faith will grow because He is the founder and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).  When our faith is immature and deficient, God still loves us.  He does supernatural things in our life and in our circumstances regardless of the size of our faith.  And as He does, our faith grows.  It is simply Jesus perfecting our faith.


Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 26 March 2010
It is possible for us to grow to such a point in our faith as to rest in times of trouble knowing that God is in control of our life as we follow Christ on this journey from earth to glory.  He is directing our steps.  He is making a way where there seems to be no way.

For the early followers of Christ there was a season after Saul became a Christ follower (Acts 9) in which they experienced a freedom from oppression and persecution brought on by the religionists of their day.  It would not last long though.  King Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of the King Herod of Jesus’ birth, in order to gain favor with the Jews began to observe their ways and practice their law.  He had heard them complain of Christ followers spreading the message of Christ and how it threatened their religious tradition.  He decided to display his hand of power against the radical Christ followers in order to win more favor with those who were merely religious.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
(Acts 12:1-11 ESV)

James here is the disciple of Jesus, son of Zebedee and brother of John, not to be confused with James, brother of Jesus and author of the book of James in the New Testament.  James, John and Peter made up the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples while He ministered on earth.  Why James would die and Peter escape is a mystery of divine providence.  Peter still had much to accomplish as he would author two epistles of the New Testament.  James would complete His mission and be the first of the disciples to join the glorified Christ.

After Herod Agrippa I saw that beheading James pleased the people, he decided to do the same to Peter and He had him put in prison.  Because Herod was now observing the Jewish law and trying to win favor with the people, he would not put Peter to death during the Passover season.  He would wait until afterward and do to Peter in front of all the people what he had already done to James.  In the meantime, he would hold Peter prisoner and make it impossible for him to escape or be freed by assigning four squads of soldiers to guard him.  Each squad consisted of four Roman soldiers and each squad would have a six hour shift.  Two soldiers would be chained to either side of him and two soldiers would guard the door.  There was seemingly no way Peter would be able to escape.

Notice what the followers of Christ did.  They prayed for Peter, but it was not a half hearted prayer mouthed through sleepy lips.  It was earnest prayer.  The oppressive hand of Herod was powerful, but not as powerful as earnest prayer that releases divine power that destroys strongholds and sets the captive free (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  Beloved, earnestly pray for those you know that are held captive by their troubles.  Prayer is our spiritual weapon.  Pray earnestly. 

What catches my attention the most today from these paragraphs of Scripture is what Peter was doing in the midst of his troubles.  He was asleep.  That is an indication that his faith had grown to a point where he was able to rest in the midst of his troubles.  He could not always do that, but now his faith had grown to a point where he could.  He trusted God fully and understood that God was in control of his life as he followed Christ.  He was at peace.  He did not fear death as he realized that to be absent from the body would mean that He would be present with our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Beloved, I believe that is the faith God desires to develop in each of us.  It’s a faith that will inspire our earnest prayers for those that are held captive by their troubling situations and seemingly hopeless circumstances.  It’s a faith that allows us to rest in the middle of the greatest storm that life brings our way knowing that God is in control and He can either calm the storm or get us through it. 

Supernatural deliverance came to Peter that night.  It was an undeniable miracle that happened in a fashion in which no person could take the glory.  It was all God.  Peter rested.  God delivered.  

Beloved, allow your faith in God to produce that same rest in you today.  God knows the difficulty that you are in.  He knows what you are going through.  He has lifted up others who are praying earnestly for you.  He will make a way where there seems to be no way.  He will make the impossible possible.  Trust Him.  Rest in Him.  He will do the rest.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Regardless of one’s political and economic convictions, there is a God given relationship expressed throughout the Bible between ability and need.  God blesses people with ability and it is His expectation that those with the ability take care of those in need.  This is in direct opposition to greed which is not of God.

We find the Christ followers in Antioch being blessed in Acts 11:19-26.  The work of God in Antioch was authenticated by good works.  It was in Antioch that Christ followers were first called Christian which means good, kind, loving benevolent, useful and generous.  They showed their love in practical ways. 

Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
(Acts 11:27-30 ESV)

Claudius Caesar ruled from A.D. 41 to 54.  During this period there was a series of bad harvests and serious famines in various parts of the Roman Empire.  Jewish historian Josephus wrote of a great famine during the reign of Claudius that oppressed the people of Judea.  Many people starved to death without the means to obtain food.  Two Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, have recorded that there were several localized famines during the Claudius period.  Barnabas arrived at Antioch in A.D. 41 which was the beginning of Claudius’ rule.

In this paragraph of Scripture we find that Luke, the author of Acts, was more concerned with recording the generous response of the Christ followers in Antioch than he was with the fulfillment of the prophecy of famine.  We can glean much from these verses of Scripture that will help us be everything that God intends for us to be in our day.

First of all notice that the need was presented by the moving of the Holy Spirit.  Prophecy is a gift of the Spirit and a verbal manifestation.  Prophecy is both foretelling and forthtelling, but prophecy in the Bible is mostly forthtelling or speaking God’s message rather than foretelling the future.  The important fact here is that God revealed a need to the Christ followers in Antioch by the Holy Spirit.  Beloved, God identifies needs to us in our day and if we are people of the Spirit and we walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh, we will know when God is revealing a need to us that he has given us the ability to meet.

Next, notice that their faith was not dead.  Their faith led to a decision and the decision led to action.  Beloved, our faith will always lead to action because faith without action is dead.  God’s Word says “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18 ESV)

Finally, notice that they each gave according to their ability.  They were not illogical in their giving and did not give beyond their means.  Each one voluntarily gave what they could based on the ability that God had given them.  Beloved, God blesses us so that we can bless others.  The Apostle Paul wrote “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)

Beloved, God’s requirement for us in our day is very simple.  As we are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will show us needs that we can meet based upon the ability that He has given us.  Whether we act or not will be based upon the condition of our faith.  If our faith is dead, we will do nothing.  If our faith is alive, we will utilize the ability that God has given us to meet the need that He reveals to us. 

I encourage you today to recognize the ability that God has given you.  Your ability is a gift of God’s precious and amazing grace.  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He will direct you to needs that you can meet based on the ability you have been given.  Be quick to act upon your faith.  Decide in your heart what you are to do and act upon it, not reluctantly or under compulsion, realizing that God loves a cheerful giver. 

Know that you are loved,

Rev. Greg Johnson
Founder
LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 11 March 2010
As Christ followers recognize God's grace at work in people, they are glad because they realize that God is doing the same work in others that He has done in them.  They know that God is no respecter of people; what He does in one, He will do in another.  And it’s not because one deserves it.  It’s all the result of God’s grace; His unmerited favor towards us all.

In Acts 11:19-21, many Gentiles had lost their confidence in their idols and were looking for something better.  Their situation looked hopeless, but God was working on their behalf.  He broke down religious tradition and practices in Jewish people and sent them to Antioch to preach Jesus.  Through the preaching of Christ, many non Jewish people turned from their idols, received the forgiveness of sins and became followers of Jesus Christ.

The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:22-26 ESV)


Antioch itself was significant.  It was the third most important city in the Roman Empire.  It was exceeded only by Rome and Alexandria.  The church in Jerusalem heard of what was happening in Antioch and out of love sends to them Barnabus, their best encourager.  When Barnabus arrives in Antioch, he “saw the grace of God” and “he was glad”. 

The biggest thrill in ministry is seeing God’s grace on people and the changes that it brings to their lives.  I was preaching the good news of Christ in Santiago Cuba on a hot and humid spring night to hundreds of people who had gathered.  The small building was packed full and the crowd stretched out the open doors, into the yard outside and across the street.  Later I would be told that there were over 900 people listening, mostly outside because they could not get in the building.  As I spoke a sentence, I would wait and watch the people as the interpreter spoke in their language what I just said in English.  As I watched, I could see God’s grace at work in them.  They soaked up the message of Christ like a dry sponge absorbs water.  Many became followers of Christ that night, but one lady, I will never forget.  She was 90 years old and had never heard the Gospel.  She decided to receive God’s grace and begin her journey with Jesus that night as she gave Him her life and made Him her Lord.

We experienced the supernatural that night.  We did not speak the same language.  We did not have the same color of skin.  We were raised under two different types of government.  We were of different economic status as they lived in extreme poverty and I live in wealthy America.  They would stay, but I would go back.  We had a lot of differences, but we had one thing in common.  We had experienced God’s amazing grace.  God loved us all equally and poured His grace out upon us.

I’ve seen God’s grace on women and on men as I’ve preached Jesus to them in Jail.  I’ve seen God’s grace on the homeless as I’ve encourage them with the good news of Jesus who Himself experienced homelessness.  I’ve seen God’s grace on gang members as I’ve pointed them to Jesus, the most courageous man that has walked this earth.  I’ve seen God’s grace on sex offenders in transitional housing as I’ve told them that a relationship with Jesus is the answer to their sexual addictions.  I’ve seen God’s grace at work and it always makes me glad. 

Beloved, rejoice in God’s grace today.  His hand is not only upon you, but it is upon those around you.  Recognize that we are all God’s creation and created in His image and in His likeness.  We all make mistakes in life, but God still picks us to follow Jesus in spite of our mistakes.  He picks us just like we are and He brings changes to our heart and mind as we follow Christ.  As we allow Him to change our heart and our mind, our behavior changes and others begin to experience God’s grace through our words and through our actions.  As others experience God’s grace, we will see it and it will make us glad.

I encourage you today as Barnabas did those in His day to remain faithful to Jesus.  Value Him and your relationship with Him above all else.  Above all that you own and all that you dream to own and above all other relationships.  Remain faithful to Jesus.  Keep a steadfast purpose to follow Him, continuing His point of need ministry in the power and in the fullness of the Holy Spirit until He comes.

Know that you are loved,

Rev. Greg Johnson
Founder
LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Do you feel that you are in a hopeless situation?  Nothing you try to do helps and you don’t know what to do next.  Please know today that no situation is hopeless. 

The central theme of the book of Acts in God’s Word is found in one verse given to us by Jesus Christ.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Act 1:8 ESV)

Throughout the book of Acts we see this fulfilled.  Stephen preached Christ to the Jews in Acts 7.  In Acts 8, Phillip preached Christ to the Samaritans who were half Jews. In Acts 10, Peter preached Christ to the house of Cornelius who was non Jewish or Gentiles.  The rest of the book of Acts focuses on the preaching of Christ to all people regardless of their race or social status.

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
(Act 11:19-21 ESV)

Many Gentiles had lost their confidence in their idols and were looking for something better.  Their situation looked hopeless, but God was working on their behalf.  He broke down religious tradition and practices in people and sent them to Antioch to preach Jesus.  Through the preaching of Christ, many non Jewish people turned from their idols, received the forgiveness of sins and became followers of Jesus Christ.

You may be saying about now, "how does this help me?"  "My situation seems hopeless and I don’t understand how this is relevant to me." 

Beloved, these three verses of Scripture are relevant to us today, in the midst of our seemingly hopeless situations, because God’s heart is revealed to us in them. 

God goes out of his way to rescue perishing people and provide hope to the hopeless.  God does not want people to be hopeless no matter where they live, what they have done or what they have become.  He sent Jesus into our world to give us the hope of eternal life.  Jesus showed us by example how to live a life dependent upon God, He died for our sins and on the third day He defeated the hopelessness of death giving us resurrection life.

God uses people to help others out of their hopeless situations.  In God’s infinite wisdom, He uses people to help people.  It is God that gives a person the heart to go out of their way utilizing their time, talent and treasure to help other people.  If you are in a situation that seems hopeless today, know that God is preparing others and He will send them just at the right time to help you at your point of need.

The power of God is manifested in the midst of hopeless situations.  If your situation seems hopeless, you are ready for the power of God to be manifested in your life.  He will work undeniable miracles in ways in which He will be exalted. 

Where Christ is exalted, hopelessness turns to faith.  God’s Word is what grows our faith.  Christ is exalted throughout God’s Word.  As we read God’s Word and we listen to God’s Word proclaimed through His messengers our hopelessness turns to faith.  As our faith in Christ grows through the consumption of God’s Word, we become strong in Him and nothing will move us.

Be encouraged today!  God is for you and not against you.  He is working on your behalf even when you do not realize it.  As you wait on the Lord, His power will be manifested in the midst of your situation and He will be exalted in and through your life.  Know today that there is no situation that is hopeless with God!


Click and check out our audio Bible messages.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 18 February 2010
How we react to criticism will influence those who criticize.  The way we react will either bring further criticism or it will be instrumental in a change of the critic’s heart. 

Acts 11:1-3 tells us how Peter received criticism because of his obedience to God.  After Peter hears the criticism, he responds and his response is a model to follow as it produced a change in the heart of his critics.

But Peter began and explained it to them in order: "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But I said, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.' This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.' As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
(Act 11:4-18 ESV)

When I was just beginning in pastoral ministry, one of my mentors told me that I would face much criticism if I obeyed God and not people.  He said “when you receive criticism look for the truth that lies somewhere within it.”  He said that “there are usually elements of truth in all criticism.”

Since receiving that advice, I have received a lot of criticism and I always try to look for the elements of truth that may be present in it.  In looking for the element of truth in the criticism that Peter received in Acts 11:1-3, we see that his critics stated a fact.  He indeed went into a home of a foreigner, spent time there and even ate with them.  That was the truth.  The non truth in their criticism, which was the result of their religious tradition, was that God was just for the Jew only. 

Peter does not run from his critics.  Instead, he faces them and responds.  Peter’s response was not an argument.  He did not allow himself to get caught up in an argument with his critics that would take away valuable energy from helping people at their point of need.  Instead, his response was just simply a statement of the facts.  In obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, he did go to the house of a foreigner and he took six fellow Christ followers with him, which would prove to be a valuable move of wisdom, as these were witnesses to what took place in that house.

The fact is that God loves ALL people and desires that ALL people receive the forgiveness of sins that comes through faith; faith which increases through hearing the good news about Jesus Christ.  As one’s faith grows to the point of believing, they receive the new birth that Christ talks about; specifically His words “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (see John 3:1-8).

Peter’s straightforward narration of his experience silenced his critics.  What could they say?  Peter’s preaching the good news of Jesus Christ to a house full of non-Jews grew their faith to the point that they received the forgiveness of sins.  And through the Holy Spirit, God had given the Gentiles a change of mind and heart and the assurance of eternal life just as He had the Jews.  Peter and six other Jewish Christ followers witnessed this move of God.  Now, with Peter’s response to criticism by stating the facts of what happened, God has given these critics in the early church a change of mind and heart to receive all people into the church of Jesus Christ.

Notice their response which is an outward indicator of the change that had taken place in their heart.  They “glorified God.”  The fruit of their lips had changed from criticism to praise!  To God be the glory!

Beloved, the Holy Spirit will take us places we would never imagine to minister Christ to people we never would have met without Him bringing it all together.  As we obey God instead of people, we will face criticism.  Look for elements of truth in all criticism and don’t spend energy in arguing.  Just state the facts and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.  If we follow Peter’s model of defense in just stating the facts we are allowing room for a change in the heart of our critics.

Click and check out our audio Bible messages.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 12 February 2010
If you are obedient to God and include all people in your sphere of influence, regardless of who they are and what they have done, you will be criticized by those who still don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.  And those who criticize you may be a part of your community of believers.

Acts chapter 10 begins with Peter being partial to those of his own race and belief system.  The chapter concludes with Peter obeying God and making those outside of his own race and belief system a part of his sphere of influence.  He does not condemn them or judge them; he simply associates with them and points them to Jesus.  As he does this, the Holy Spirit does the rest.  Acts chapter 11 begins with Peter being criticized by those in his community of believers for including those who were different.

Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."
(Act 11:1-3 ESV)

Peter was criticized for obeying God and including those in his sphere of influence who were different.  You would think that those in his community of believers would be rejoicing over his obedience to God, but they were not.  Instead, they were upset.  They just didn’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.

Take a moment and consider who you have included in your sphere of influence.  Are they different from you?  Or are they just like you?  There are a lot of people in our day who go to church, but only include people who are like them.  Most churches are segregated and do not fairly represent the racial diversity of God’s Kingdom. 

There are those in our day who only include people who:

  • Vote like they do belonging to the same political party
  • Are of the same faith
  • Are of the same denomination
  • Have the same color of skin
  • Are of the same economic status
  • Have the same sexual orientation

They exclude others who are different than they.  I feel sorry for these people because they just don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.  There is hope for these people though.  If God could change Peter, God can change them.  That is what gives me great hope for change in our day.

Beloved, I encourage you today to look at all people through the eyes of Christ.  Christ died for all people.  It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have become, God loves them as much as He loves you.  Don’t try to change people and make them just like you.  Instead, obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  He will broaden your sphere of influence and speak God messages through you.  He will do the rest.  When criticism comes from those who don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do, you will know that you are right on course as a Christ follower.

Click and check out our audio Bible messages.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 11 February 2010
God is not partial and He does not show partiality to one group of people over another based on status or race.  God loves all people and He has sent the Holy Spirit to baptize us all into one body.

Peter was preaching a simple but yet powerful Christ centric message as recorded in Acts 10:34-43.  His audience was of a different nationality, but Peter had learned that God shows no partiality.  God loves all people and desires that all people come to Him through Jesus Christ.  As Peter told this house full of foreigners about Jesus, faith rose up within each hearer.  And we know that God’s word declares that faith comes from hearing the Word (Romans 10:17) .  It was saving faith springing up within them like a gushing fountain and they were receiving the forgiveness of sin that Peter told them would come through believing (Acts 10:43).

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Act 10:44-48 ESV)

As Peter was speaking, there was a holy interruption.  He did not conclude his message with a story and a prayer, nor did he precede his message with a joke to break the ice.  He didn’t ask for a show of hands of those who would like to receive Jesus into their hearts.  He did not ask people to come forward to receive Christ.  He simply spoke God’s message and the Holy Spirit did the rest.

The six Jewish brothers (“the believers from among the circumcised”) that he brought with him were “amazed”.  They could not believe that God was pouring out the gift of the Holy Spirit on these foreigners as He had poured out on the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  And they would have never believed it if they had not come with Peter and witnessed what God was doing at this God gathering.  They were witnessing God baptizing believers into one body by His Spirit.  It is as the Apostle Paul would write in 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks”.

When Peter realized that these people had just received the Holy Spirit as He had earlier, he immediately pointed them to water baptism which is an outside indicator and testimony of what God has done on the inside.  All through the book of Acts and early church history, Christ followers did not wait to baptize a new Christ follower in water.  When a person was baptized into the body by the Spirit, they immediately looked for a hole of water deep enough to follow their Lord Jesus Christ in water baptism.

Beloved, in this paragraph of Scripture, some of the heart of God is revealed to us:

  • He desires to use preachers to communicate the good news of Christ to all people.
  • He has ordained the preaching and hearing of the Word to produce and grow saving faith in people.
  • He does not need manmade gimmicks that produce “converts” or “church members”.
  • He is not partial.
  • He loves and desires for all people to be baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ regardless of race, regardless of status, regardless of what they have done and regardless of what they have become.

God is no respecter of people.  What He does for one, He will do for another.  May He lift up preachers in our day who will deliver God messages and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in baptizing all people, Jews and Gentiles, into the body of Christ.  And may we be quick to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in water baptism as an outward testimony of a spiritual rebirth.

Click and check out our audio Bible messages.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 04:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
God messages are delivered by imperfect people who submit to the direction of the Holy Spirit.  These messages are good news!  They always point people to Jesus and grow the faith of the listener to receive the forgiveness of sins and become followers of Jesus Christ. 

In Acts chapter 10, God puts together a God gathering.  By the time we get to verse 34, we see that God has put together a full house of foreigners and has sent an imperfect preacher to give them the good news of Jesus Christ.  This messenger of the good news of Jesus Christ was once a racist and a coward, but God was changing him and using him to minister at the point of need as Jesus had showed Him by example.  Let’s look at the God message delivered by the imperfect messenger.

So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
(Act 10:34-43 ESV)
The message that Peter delivers at this God gathering of people is simple, but yet powerful in building the faith of the listener in Jesus Christ.  The entire theme of the message is Jesus.  It is relevant to us today and we will do good to note the major points of the message:

  • Jesus came into our world as God’s gift to people due to His love for people.
  • Jesus ministered at the point of need in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus was put to death by people revealing the sinful nature that is within each us.
  • In contrast, Jesus was brought to life again by God who desires to give life to all people.
  • The Christ follower is a witness to the resurrection as Jesus is a living presence in their life.
  • The result of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is forgiveness of sin for every believer.

Beloved, that is a God message that never looses its relevancy and it is Good News to each hearer!

There is no one that is perfect, that is why Jesus came into our world.  He showed us how to live and how to minister at the point of need in the power of the Holy Spirit.  He died for our sins.  He rose again.  He ascended back to be with God the Father.  He has not left us alone, but has sent the Holy Spirit to empower His followers to continue His point of need ministry.  He is coming again.  That is all good news!  It is relevant in our day.  And it is still delivered to God gatherings of people from all around the world through imperfect messengers.  And when it is, faith grows and the forgiveness of sins is realized.

Click and check out our audio Bible studies.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 04 February 2010
God puts together gatherings where people are presented with the truth of His Word so that their faith can grow to a point where they can receive all of His spiritual blessings.  These God gatherings cross all barriers that man has instituted; they transcend learned traditions and practices and are used to build the church of Jesus Christ regardless of race or nationality.  

In Acts chapter 10, we are seeing God put together a gathering of people to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.  It would require that barriers be broken down and it would require obedience.  In the first paragraph (Acts 10:1-8), God is working on a Gentile named Cornelius.  In the second and third paragraphs (Acts 10:9-23), God is working on a Jew named Peter.  In the fourth and fifth paragraph, we see the gathering come together as these two individuals obey God.

So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man." And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me." And Cornelius said, "Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.' So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord."
(Act 10:23-33 ESV)

As Jesus was helping Peter see that racial barriers had to come down, Cornelius was busy getting his house full of his friends and family so that they could receive the blessings of God that were coming.  He didn’t know what they were going to receive; he just knew that if God was putting it together, it would be good. 

By the time Peter gets to the house of Cornelius, the house is full of people.  This was a God gathering designed by God, but for it to take place and people’s faith grow to receive God’s spiritual blessings; it required the obedience of Cornelius and Peter.  In this paragraph of Scripture we see that their obedience to the instructions that came to them through prayer resulted in a God gathering.  When God puts a gathering together, good things are going to happen.

These two individuals did not realize what the result of their obedience would bring prior to obeying.  They knew God and they knew that if they obeyed Him, the result would be good.  Many never enter into all that God has for them because they can’t see what the results of their obedience will bring.  These two did not have to see the results before they moved forward in obedience.  They trusted God and knew that if He was leading, the result would be good.

Beloved, trust God and move forward in obedience as He instructs you through His Word and through prayer.  You may not understand it all, but that is not a requirement.  All that God requires is obedience and as we step out in obedience, we know that the best is yet to come.  God rewards obedience with His spiritual blessings.

We need God gatherings in our day, but it will require stepping out in obedience.  At Loving God Fellowship we have built a platform for God gatherings to take place in cities across America and around the world.  We have stepped out in faith believing the instructions God has given us, not knowing what the end result will be while realizing that God’s spiritual blessings are for all nations and they will follow obedience.  We are calling these gatherings Loving God Fellowship or LGF Gatherings and all we need on the other end are for people like Cornelius to step out in obedience and gather their friends and family.  God will show up and with Him comes spiritual blessings.  To learn more about these gatherings and how you can be a part, please go to our website at LovingGodFellowship.org and click on the link “Building the Church without a Building” or the link “Church without Walls”.

May those who love God and ALL people rise up in obedience to the Lord in our day.  May God gatherings where the truth of God’s Word is proclaimed and faith is enlarged be commonplace.  May we realize that God gatherings do not have to take place in a church building and on a church day.  And may we receive the spiritual blessings that always follow our obedience to God.

Click and check out our audio Bible studies available online.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 29 January 2010
I love God’s Word. 

It is so relevant to us in our day.

Helping others understand the relevancy of Scripture and growing their faith is what I love to do. 

I’m currently doing a verse by verse expository walk through Scripture and making it available to be listened to online. 

The book of Acts is where we have started and plan on completing the New Testament, book by book, verse by verse. 

You can join us online!

The direct link is http://www.lovinggodfellowship.org/bible_studies

Share it on Facebook.

Share it on Twitter.

Listen in.

Faith comes by hearing.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Prayer positions oneself for sweet encounters with the Lord resulting in immediate impact on behavior, attitudes and beliefs.  An encounter with Jesus can do in an instance what could never be done by man in a lifetime.

In Acts 10, the Lord is breaking down racial barriers that had been in place for generations.  For the church to be what Jesus intends it to be, there can be no discrimination.  We are learning the heart of Jesus for the church in this wonderful chapter of God’s Word.  We are seeing the importance of separating one’s self for the purpose of prayer which makes available the resources of heaven and opens us up to sweet encounters with our Lord.

Peter was on the house top praying when the Lord gave him a vision of all kind of animals coming from heaven on a sheet with His command for Peter to kill and eat.  Peter refused because of the unclean animals, but the Lord showed him three times.  Jesus was showing him that nothing He has made is unclean, including ALL people.  

Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them." And Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?" And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say." So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.
(Act 10:17-23 ESV)

This is a beautiful paragraph of Scripture that records the obedience to direction given through prayer.  Cornelius received instructions through prayer (Acts 10:1-8) and here we see the beginning results to obeying those instructions.  Peter was pondering on the meaning of the instructions he received through prayer, but the Holy Spirit was about to show him the deeper meaning which would require him to let go of traditions and practices that he had held onto entire life. 

Somewhere between his walk from the rooftop to the door, it started to make sense.  As Peter was obedient to the Holy Spirit’s instruction, change percolated in his behavior, attitude and beliefs.  Peter did something that he would not have done before.  It would shatter the way he was raised and go against everything he had been taught from a young child upward.  He invited non Jews, people of a different race and different beliefs, not only into the house with him, but to be his guests for the night! 

Something happened in Peter.  It started when he separated himself from all distractions and went up on the rooftop to pray (Acts 10:9-16).  It continued as he meditated on what he was shown as he prayed.  It happened when he stepped out in obedience to the Holy Spirit; behavior, attitude and beliefs all where changed.

Beloved, as we pray, we will have times of sweet encounters with Jesus.  We will receive instructions and as we obey the instructions, we will have supernatural changes in behavior, attitude and beliefs.  It may shatter the way we were raised and go against everything we have been taught, but it will always line up with Scripture and take us into a deeper love of God that will result in a deeper love of ALL people.
  

Click and check out our audio Bible studies available online.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Do you ever wish there were more hours in a day?  Life can become quite overwhelming.  There are deadlines to meet.  There are bills that have to be paid.  There are appointments to be kept.  There are assets that have to be maintained such as houses and cars.  There are relationships that have to be nourished.  And how do we ever find time to properly take care of ourselves?  To live a healthy life, we have to eat right and exercise. 

Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed and losing perspective?  I do quite often. 

God has given me a verse in His Word that puts everything back in perspective.  I want to share it with you today so that you can glean from its wonderful truth. 

(2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 
Wow!  This is the greatest double paradox in history.  It is powerful and it puts everything in perspective.  Understanding it will change our life and the way we live it.

GOD ARRANGED FOR JESUS TO BE MADE SIN
It’s all about divine justice, divine wrath, divine self-sacrifice and divine love.  Because of God’s divine justice, His reaction to sin is divine wrath.  God in His infinite wisdom decided that the penalty of sin would be death and that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 11:22 NIV)  But the blood had to come from a perfect sacrifice; one that did not know sin.  That would be the only thing that would appease God’s wrath.  The only one that could fulfill this was God Himself because only God is sinless.  But yet God could not die.  So God came into our world.  I get so excited every time I think about it.  It amazes me that God left the portals of heaven and came into our world.  That is how much God loves us.  God has gone out of His way to save us from His wrath.

Only Jesus could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins; a sacrificial lamb without spot and without blemish.  At the cross, Jesus took upon Himself every sin we ever committed.  God’s Word says (Isaiah 53:6 NIV) “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  At the cross, Jesus took upon Himself God’s divine judgment and God’s divine wrath that we deserve so that we would be shielded from God’s judgment and His wrath.  Beloved, our sins were charged to Jesus’ account.  It doesn’t sound right.  He was innocent, we are guilty.  We deserve the punishment, but God took it upon Himself instead.  It was divine self-sacrifice.  That’s how much God loves us.        

GOD ARRANGED FOR PEOPLE TO BE MADE RIGHTEOUS
Again God’s Word says (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  Jesus’ righteousness was credited to the account of all who would believe on Him.  It all happened at the cross of Christ.  

MANY PEOPLE IN OUR DAY HAVE A CONFUSED UNDERSTANDING OF GOD
Many today believe that God is just waiting for us to mess up so He can pour out judgment.  They live in fear and they teach fear to others in believing that everything bad that happens is God’s judgment being poured out.  They tie every disaster that happens to the judgment of God.  There are consequences of sin that we bring on ourselves, but God is not pouring out His judgment on us through everything bad that happens.  

These people are still living under the old covenant instead of the new covenant.  They are confused because they do not understand what God did for us at the cross.  At the cross, Jesus took our sin upon Him.  At the cross, Jesus shielded us from God’s perfect justice and His wrath.  At the cross, Jesus took our punishment.  Beloved, it is at the cross we see a loving God drawing lost people to Himself.  Since the cross we have been living under God’s grace.  God’s heart is that all be saved and come to Him.  Jesus is coming again for those who have denied self, taken up their cross and followed Him.  The best is yet to come!

DRAW CLOSE TO THE CROSS
Beloved we must draw close to the cross.  Cling to the simplicity of the cross.  Realize and believe everything that God did for you at the cross.  Refuse to live in fear.  Decide to live in total victory through Jesus.  Remember God’s Word that says (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 

And always remember the cross. 

Remembering the cross will help you keep perspective no matter what comes your way!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 24 January 2010
According to an article published by WebMD Medical News “Top 10 Causes of Death Worldwide” the top two causes of death is heart disease and stroke.  Doctors tell us that the main causes of heart disease and stroke are genetics, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and stress.  Genetics are out of our control, but we can eat healthier, exercise and guard our heart from the stresses of our journey.  We need to look at what the Bible says about guarding our heart from the stresses of our journey and specifically look at something Jesus tells us concerning this.

In John chapter 13, Jesus is spending time with His followers in an upper room just prior to His crucifixion.  Jesus predicts Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial and begins to prepare them for His death.  You can detect the heaviness in the room as these followers begin to try to comprehend such news.  They had left everything to follow Jesus – jobs, homes, families.  They left everything to follow the person they thought was going to set up His Kingdom and rule on earth and deliver them from the Roman oppression that in itself was heart wrenching and depressing. 

Jesus senses the heaviness, the depression, the anxiety, the worries, the stress and He ministers these words:  (John 14:1-3 NIV)  ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."  In these words, Jesus gives us the cure for a troubled heart.

Do not let your heart be troubled.
We live in troubling times.  There are wars being fought and genocide taking place.  There are terrorists.  There are famines.  There are earthquakes.  There are increasingly more severe and frequent natural disasters.  It is like Jesus said it would be prior to His return (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). 

Many things that are happening bring stress.  When devastation occurs in our day it is because of a destructive, life destroying devil and not a loving, life giving God.    Jesus said (John 10:10 NIV)  "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 the midst of all that is going on around us, we must not let our hearts be troubled.  It’s a command given to us by Jesus.  Jesus not only gives us this command in John 14:1, but He also gives us the methodology of keeping our hearts from being troubled.

We are to place all of our trust in Jesus.
Jesus said (John 14:1 NIV) "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me."  The only way we are going to keep our hearts from being troubled is to place our total trust in Jesus.  We must constantly remind ourselves that He is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep.  Jesus said (John 10:11 NIV) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." 

King David knew how to trust the Lord.  David said (Psalms 23 NIV)  "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. {2} He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, {3} he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. {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. {5} You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. {6} Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Beloved, to keep our hearts from being troubled on this journey that we are on, we must place our trust in the Lord.  Jesus will see us through whatever comes our way as we fix our eyes on Him and follow Him.

We are to forget the past and look beyond the present.
Some people allow their heart to be troubled by living in the past.  Others are so consumed with present trials that are overwhelming.  We must put the past behind us and look beyond the present in order to protect our hearts from being troubled.  Jesus said “(John 14:2-3 NIV)  "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Beloved, no matter what you have gone through in the past and no matter what you are going through now, you have a bright future.  Jesus is preparing your eternal home and He is coming back for you.   That is the very next event on God’s agenda.  All Bible prophecy up to that point has been fulfilled.  Jesus is returning for the beloved.  God’s Word says “(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)  "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. {18} Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Beloved, be encouraged with these Words today!  God is not against you.  He is for you!  Jesus is coming to rescue you!  Keep following Jesus on this journey from earth to glory!  Keep your eyes fixed on Him and keep your hearts from being troubled!


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 21 January 2010
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
(Rom 10:14-17 ESV)
This paragraph of Scripture is what drives us to make Bible messages available to be listened to online at LGF Online, LGFinternetChurch.org or GlobalChurchOnline.org .  The messages we make available are Christ centric, adhere to Scripture and are relevant to our day.  They will grow the faith of each listener. 

Many churches and ministries charge for sermons and make CDs available for a price.  We don't and we never will.  All messages are FREE and we encourage people to burn their own CDs of the messages and distribute them for FREE to friends and family.  We trust God that as people listen and their faith grows, they will make donations as they can to help us continue to make these messages available to people all around the world.

We produce one to two fresh Bible messages per week to be listen to online or downloaded.  As of date, there are over 4 years of messages available online and they have been listened to by people all around the world.  Many who listen do not have local churches available and are in countries where the preaching of the gospel is restricted if not forbidden.

Tune in to a message today and feed your faith. 

http://k.b5z.net/i/u/2166921/i/PODCAST_3631_ezr.jpg

Be sure and share the messages with others.

Send them the link http://www.lovinggodfellowship.org/bible_messages .

Share it on facebook.

Share it on twitter.

Help people's faith grow! 

My prayer is that your faith will grow exponentially as you listen to God’s Word proclaimed!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Jesus prepares you for that which He is preparing for you to do.  And rest assured that as Jesus is working in your life, He is also working in the lives of those that He will lead you to touch for Him.  But we must let go of all traditions and practices that would hinder our obedience.

In Acts 10:1-8 Cornelius, a Gentile, receives specific direction from God as he is praying.  The direction is to send men to go get Peter who was staying 30 miles south.  God was doing a deep work in Cornelius’ life.  He, along with his family, would be radically impacted through Peter’s obedience to Jesus.  But first, Peter had to be prepared for that which Jesus was preparing Him.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has made clean, do not call common." This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
(Act 10:9-16 ESV)

Peter separates himself from distractions and goes to the rooftop where he would not be disturbed so that he could pray.  It was in prayer that God’s specific instructions came to Cornelius the day prior.  We see God doing a work at both end of the lines in both individuals and the conduit of that work in both instances is prayer.

As they pray, divine communication comes to both Cornelius and Peter preparing them both for a divine appointment.  As Cornelius prays, an angel is the means of communication.  As Peter prays, a vision is the means of communication.  The means of the communication differ, but prayer is the common ground or the conduit of the communication.  Beloved, the resources of heaven are open to us through prayer and it is in prayer that we will be prepared for what is ahead of us. 

I wonder how many appointments we miss and how much preparation in us we forfeit in neglecting to separate ourselves for times of prayer.  Prayer needs to be a part of our life and the Holy Spirit will lead us into those times of separation from distractions that we need in order to be prepared for what is ahead of us as we follow Christ and continue His point of need ministry.  May God give us much sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit and a desire to separate ourselves from the distractions of our day to spend time in prayer.

The vision that comes to Peter rattles the core of what he has been taught and what he has practiced all of his life.  The orthodox Jew adhered to strict food laws as outlined in Leviticus 11:2-47 of the Old Testament.  These food laws were given under the old covenant in order to separate the Jews and make them different from the world around them.  But, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the old covenant.  Now beloved, we have been given a better covenant through Jesus Christ.  We see in reading the Old Testament how the old points to the new, but we no longer live in the old as we are active participants in the new.

No doubt Peter heard the teaching of Jesus firsthand when He declared all foods clean and told them that it was not what went into a persons mouth that defiled (Mark 7:14-23).  But it’s hard to stop in an instance what one has been practicing for a lifetime, so Peter needed further preparation.  To emphasize the instruction, Peter is given the vision, not once or twice, but three times.

Peter recognized the instruction coming from Jesus as we see in his response of “By no means, Lord”, but his reaction is a contradiction.  How can you call Jesus “Lord”, but do not do what He says.  This is the reaction that still keeps many people from following Jesus. Peter is having a hard time letting go of tradition and what he has practiced all of his life.  As we will learn further in the tenth chapter of Acts, Peter will eventually see that Jesus was showing him that He does not favor one group of people over another.  He created and loves ALL people and there is no room for discrimination in the Kingdom of God. 

May we be quick to let go of traditions and those things that we have practiced all of our life responding in total obedience to Jesus as He prepares us to continue His point of need ministry in our day.  He will give us direction, preparing us for ministry opportunities ahead of us, as we pray.  But we must let go of all that hinders.
 
Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study in the book of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 16 January 2010
If we seek God, He will find us.  As we place all of our trust in Him and allow our faith to control us, He will lead us into all that He has for us and it will be good.

In Acts chapter 10 we see God breaking down racial prejudices so that the Gospel can be shared with all people regardless of their race.  There is no room for any discrimination within the church of Jesus Christ.  Discrimination will always divide and never unite.  In the body of Christ there is unity. 

In the beginning of Acts chapter 10 we are introduced to Cornelius.  We learn about him and his desire for God.  We also learn that if we seek God, He will find us.

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius." And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea." When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
(Act 10:1-8 ESV)

Caesarea was the capital of Judea and was about 30 miles north of Joppa, where Peter was staying with Simon the tanner on the coast (Acts 9:43).  God was doing a deep work in Peter and breaking down all prejudices as we will see further evidence of in Acts Chapter 10. 

Cornelius, stationed in Caesarea, was a centurion and part of the Italian Cohort.  A cohort was a group of 6 centuries which were 100 men each, so a cohort was 600 men.  Each century was under the command of one Centurion.  Centurions were the backbone of the Roman army and would be equivalent to a modern day Captain.  Each Centurion was paid well at five times the pay of an ordinary soldier.

Cornelius was socially prominent and wealthy.  Cornelius is proof that it is possible for a person to be socially prominent and wealthy while being a person of faith.  Cornelius did not allow his prominence and wealth to control him.  He allowed his faith to control him as we know from this paragraph of Scripture.

The evidences of his faith are:

  • He was devout and feared God.  “God-fearer” is a term used in New Testament times for a Gentile who had attached themselves to the Jewish religion.  They did not accept circumcision and the Law; but they attended the synagogue and believed in one God.
  • He gave generously to meet the needs of people.  His search for God had made him love people and desire to meet their needs.
  • He prayed to God continually.
  • He was quick to obey God’s message when it came.

Cornelius was a Gentile and not a Jew, but he attached himself to the Jewish religion instead of the pagan beliefs of his surroundings.  He wanted all that God had for him and really trusted the Lord to guide him in all things.  He was certain that what God had for him was good. 

Allow your faith to control you.  Put all of your trust in the Lord today.  He will guide you in all things.  All that He has in store for you is good.  As you seek Him and do all that you know to do, He will lead you into all that He has for you.  Be quick to obey Him.  Seek God and let Him find you. 




Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study in the book of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 14 January 2010
As Christ followers wait for specific direction to come to them from their Lord, they pray and do all that they know to do to continue the point of need ministry of the One they follow.  When direction comes it will always be in Christ’s timing and the Christ follower’s obedience to the direction will always result in Christ being exalted.

Acts 9:32-35 gives us account of Peter continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus outside of Jerusalem in a city named Lydda.  As He followed Christ there, Peter was used as an instrument in the healing of a man who had been paralyzed and had not walked in 8 years.  Jesus healed this man through Peter’s willingness to be His hand extended.  Revival broke out in the city as true revival always impacts the community and brings social change to it.

Where would Peter go next?  When would he go?  How would he know to go?  What would he do until he received direction?

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, "Please come to us without delay." So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.
(Act 9:36-43 ESV)

Peter followed Christ in point of need ministry in Lydda, until He received the next step.  The next step came through unlikely sources that communicated a need.  Peter did not delay.  He did not put it off explaining that things were happening where he was at that required his attention.  When Peter found out there was a need, he got up and went.  The need was the call of God.  The need was the instruction of Jesus.  He received all of the direction he needed to step out in obedience when he was informed of a need.

As a Christ follower, Tabitha was continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus through making undergarments and outer garments and distributing them to the poor in her city.  Her city was seeing the love of Christ and the Kingdom of God demonstrated through her actions as she provided for their felt needs, but her godly life and good works did not prevent her from sickness and death.  She died and the community, along with the other Christ followers, was grieving at her loss. 

When Peter arrived, he separated himself from all distractions and did what Jesus showed him to do; he prayed.  He prayed until he knew what to do next.  He received his direction through prayer.  In a boldness that only comes as a result of prayer and through the unction of the Holy Spirit, he told Tabitha to get up and he presented her to the people alive. 

Notice that Peter took no credit for this miracle.  All the credit belonged to Jesus.  A Christ follower receives direction and obeys.  Jesus does the rest.  And when Jesus does it, He will be exalted.  As a result of this miracle, many in Joppa believed.

All the while, God was doing a deep work in Peter, eliminating all prejudices from his heart so that he could minister at the point of need regardless of race, gender or status.  How do we know such a work was being done in Peter?  As he stayed in Joppa for many days waiting for his next assignment, notice that Peter stayed with Simon, a tanner.  The occupation of a tanner was considered unclean.  Because of the stink of the dead animals, the job was carried on outside a town or city.  God was doing a work in Peter and he was overcoming the prejudices of a Jew, for he recognized God’s grace in Simon regardless of his race or his occupation.

Direction comes to those who follow Christ and pray.  They may receive direction through unlikely sources, but it will come and it will always point to a need that Jesus desires that they meet.  As they step out in obedience, Christ is exalted, lives are touched and the Kingdom of God is realized on earth.

Click and listen

Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Christ followers bring encouragement and healing to people as they continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saul deciding to deny self take up his cross and follow Jesus, as recorded in Acts chapter nine, brings peace to the church that had become scattered from Jerusalem due to the persecution spearheaded by Saul.  It’s in this peace that we see Peter at the conclusion of Acts chapter nine leaving Jerusalem and visiting those who make up the church in the surrounding areas bringing encouragement and healing to them.

Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
(Act 9:32-35 ESV)


Peter went to the people and did not expect them to come to him.  Peter could have stayed in Jerusalem and been comfortable as a leader of the early church, but he didn’t.  He couldn’t and be a Christ follower.  Jesus did not stay in the synagogue on the Sabbath and expect needy people to come to Him.  Jesus allowed the Holy Spirit to direct His steps as he went and ministered to people at their point of need every day of the week.  And now we see Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, following Jesus and continuing His point of need ministry. 

Peter knew that within himself, he could do nothing.  He knew the source of healing was Jesus Christ.  Through the knowledge given by the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to tell Aeneas that Jesus was healing him.  Aeneas had been paralyzed and confined to a bed for eight years.  Peter would not dare say these words unless the Holy Spirit prompted Him.  He spoke the words and the healing was immediate. 

This miracle was instrumental in the residents of Lydda and Sharon deciding to become Christ followers.  They could not deny the healing power of Christ when they witnessed this man walking again after eight years of bed confinement.

We need Christ exalting miracles in our day and I believe that they will increase as more and more people decide to shake off the shackles of dead stale religion and deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus.  I believe that in the last days, there will be a supernatural reaping of the harvest of souls that is already ripe for harvest.  Christ exalting miracles will draw people to Him.  I’m not talking about superstars making a circus out of faith healing.  I’m talking about common folk, full of the Holy Spirit, continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus on a daily basis wherever the Holy Spirit directs them.

Christ followers minister encouragement and healing at the point of need.  They rely on the prompting of the Holy Spirit knowing that they can not heal, but Christ will heal.  They are willing to go instead of wait; act instead of just attend.  They know that Jesus will do the rest as they simply follow Him.

Click and listen

Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 07 December 2009
God does not hold our past sins against us and we are to reflect His heart and not hold past sins against others realizing that the life changing power of God’s amazing grace is at work in us and in others.

Acts chapter nine begins with Saul heading from Jerusalem to Damascus as a persecutor.  It concludes with Saul going back to Jerusalem as the persecuted.  He goes to Damascus to arrest and destroy Christ followers.  He returns to Jerusalem as a Christ follower.  The changes in Saul’s life are brought about through grace.  It truly is amazing.

And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.  (Act 9:26-31 ESV)

Saul’s return to Jerusalem puts him in a very difficult position.  All of his religious buddies there know that he is now a radical Christ follower.  And the Christ followers in Jerusalem had not forgotten his self led drive to destroy them.  But just as there was a Christ follower in Damascus that accepted Saul and brought him into the gathering, there is also one in Jerusalem.  Thank God for Ananias in Damascus and Barnabus in Jerusalem.

Ananias and Barnabus had a couple of things in common.  They believed the best in others and they did not hold a person’s past against them.  This is the heart of God.  He does not hold our past sins against us and we are to reflect His heart and not hold past sins against others realizing that God’s amazing grace changes us and others.

Saul was brought to the local gathering because true conversion involves joining the Christ following community where encouragement can be received and given.  Not only must converts join the Christ following community, but the Christ following community must welcome converts, including those from different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds.  May God lift up Ananiases and Barnabuses in our day that will take the initiative to be friends with newcomers who have decided to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus.

A true community of Christ followers will always welcome others regardless of who they are and what they have done in the past.  It is a community of sinners who have been arrested by Jesus and dramatically impacted by the life changing grace of God and they quickly recognize that God’s grace is at work in others.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:05 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 05 December 2009
The Holy Spirit intervenes in the life of a Christ follower again and again, providing direction and protection needed to not only enter into one’s destiny, but also to complete the journey. 

In Damascus, Saul had entered into his destiny as he denied self, took up the cross and followed Jesus.  Entering into one’s destiny is not entering into some waiting pattern until a future event takes place.  Instead, it is a life long journey that is full of adventure and excitement.  Saul had just started on his journey and there was much for him to accomplish for Christ and His kingdom,

When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.  (Act 9:23-25 ESV)

Saul had entered into his destiny but had not completed his journey.  There was much to do ahead of him.
  • He would go on to become the apostle to the Gentiles.
  • He would go on to establish churches on his missionary journeys.
  • He would go on to write two thirds of the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit intervened again and again to direct and protect Saul and assure that he completed his journey as He followed Jesus.

Beloved, you have a destiny.  The moment you denied self, took up the cross and began to follow Jesus, you took your first step into your God given destiny of continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  What all you will accomplish for Jesus and His kingdom is still yet to be written.  It’s a journey.  The Holy Spirit will intervene again and again in your life providing you the direction and the protection needed to complete the journey and accomplish everything God has intended. 

The days in front of the Christ follower are always exciting and adventuresome.  From the first step of entering one’s destiny to completing the journey, there is much to be accomplished for Jesus and His kingdom.  The Holy Spirit has been given as a supernatural partner and He will direct and protect.  The Christ follower marches forward knowing that the best is yet to come! 

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
The good news of God is powerful and life changing.  As it is lived out through the lives of those who follow Christ, others are called to repent and believe realizing that the Kingdom of God is present and that Jesus is reigning in His followers.  
 
Saul’s life has forever been changed:
 
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. 
(Act 9:19-22 ESV)
 
The immediate changes in Saul’s life have been startling.  Jesus does a work in him that is powerful and obvious to those who have known Saul. Instead of fulfilling his plans of arresting the radical Christ followers in Damascus, he becomes one.  It’s amazing grace in action.
 
As I read about Saul’s dramatic conversion in Acts 9:1-22, I see a vivid picture of salvation that has repeated itself throughout history and continues into our day.  The picture is painted in this fashion:
 
  • By grace, we are picked by Jesus to deny self and follow Him.  We don’t go looking for Jesus.  He comes looking for us.
  • As we follow Jesus, He changes our thinking resulting in a change in our behavior.  Once we were self led and now we are Christ led.  We no longer see people the same.  We no longer treat people the same.  We see each person as one Christ died for and we treat others as we want to be treated, loving all people as Christ does.  
  • We become living testimonies of the power of the Gospel.  Those that know what we once were begin to see the changes that Christ makes in us.  We begin to point others to Jesus through our words and our actions.
 
Later on, Paul would pen these words:
 
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:8-17 ESV)
 
The Christ follower can not conceal the change that Jesus brings to their life.  They are living testimonies of the power of the Gospel.
Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 04 November 2009
I wonder if we at times base our understanding of God’s willingness to help us on man’s willingness to help us.  Let me give you some examples of what I mean.  There is the job interview.  The interviewer is able to hire, but is the interviewer willing to hire you?  There is the loan process.  The loan officer is able to give a loan, but is the loan officer willing to give the loan to you?  There is that house that you want.  The seller is able to agree to your offer, but is the seller willing to agree to your offer?  There is your education.  Your teacher is able to take your late assignment because your dog ate your homework, but is your teacher willing to take your late assignment?  The police officer that pulls you over for going just a little over the speed limit is able to let you go with just a warning, but is the police officer willing to let you go with just a warning?  People are able, but are they willing?

You may be thinking, “I don’t get it.  What’s your point and how is it relevant to me?”  My point is this: we can not base our understanding of God’s willingness to help us on people’s willingness to help us.  We must base our understanding of God on the Bible.  The Bible is our authoritative guide to all of our beliefs and our actions.

At the end of Mark Chapter one, we meet a man that has a need.  A job is not his primary need.  Neither is a loan, a house or an education.  This man needs health care.  "A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, If you are willing, you can make me clean." (Mark 1:40 NIV) 

Leprosy is a terrible disease.  In Jesus’ day, leprosy is incurable.  Lepers were separated from society and considered to be outcasts.  With the disease, skin decays off of the bones.  Once a person was diagnosed with this disease, they were separated from their family and could no longer touch or be touched.  Can you imagine living the rest of your life and not being able to touch and be touched? -  A child no longer feeling the touch of a parent and a parent no longer feeling the touch of a child, a husband no longer feeling the touch of his wife and a wife no longer feeling the touch of her husband.  The disease itself brought much physical suffering and disability, but the mental and emotional suffering due to being an untouchable was just as continually tormenting.  

To make matters worse, the leper was required by law to walk through the crowded walkways of the city declaring at the top of their voice “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, LEPER, UNCLEAN.”  Upon hearing this, the crowd would part and allow the leper to come through making sure that no one touched the outcast.  That pretty much describes this man’s world that we read about in Mark chapter one; untouchable and a social outcast.  

This man brought his need to Jesus.
In the midst of his physical suffering and mental anguish; in the midst of emotional devastation, this man did the right thing.  He came to Jesus with his need.  In the first part of Mark chapter one, we see Jesus healing people and setting captives free from the bondages of sin and evil.  The whole city of Capernaum in the providence of Galilee is impacted.  Can you imagine the crowds that are now following Jesus?  This man with leprosy, void of any self esteem or respect from others presses through the crowd to bring his need to Jesus.  His steps to Jesus were humiliating as he shouted “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, LEPER, UNCLEAN.”  As the people moved out of the way to let him by, he could undoubtedly feel the stares and hear the whispers.  But he pressed onward knowing that he had to get to Jesus with his need. 

Beloved, we have to press through whatever life deals us and get to Jesus just like this man did.  What are you going through right now in your life?  What are your needs?  What are you struggling with?  Do you need a miracle?  I encourage you to press through until you get to Jesus.  He is able to help you.

Expectations shaped by human treatment.
I imagine that this man turned to many people that were able to help him in some way or fashion, but they were not willing to help him.  Listen to his words to Jesus as he says "If you are willing, you can make me clean." (Mark 1:40 NIV)  I believe this man went to many people that could help him, but were not willing to help him.  His expectations were shaped by others actions and reactions to him.  You can hear in his words that he had great faith in Jesus’ ability to help him, but he was not sure if Jesus was willing.  This man with leprosy knew that Jesus could help him, but he was managing his expectations based on how others had treated him.

As I meditated on the words of this man with leprosy, God began to show me that our expectations in our day have been shaped by human treatment.  We live in a world where others have the ability to meet needs of people, yet they are not willing.  In our day, there seems to be more concern over oil in the Middle East than genocide in Sudan.  It spills over to our understanding of God and it diminishes our level of faith.  We approach God, not doubting His ability, but doubting His willingness to meet our need.  That’s why we pray prayers like “God, if it is your will, please heal my body…..”  We are not questioning God’s ability to heal, we are questioning His willingness to heal.  Our expectations have been shaped by human treatment.

Jesus reveals His heart to us in the way He responds to this man.
Jesus responds to this man’s request, which was conditioned by his experiences of denial for help.  "Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.”I am willing," he said. "Be clean!""  (Mark 1:41 NIV)  Notice that Jesus does not condemn this man for lack of faith in Jesus’ willingness.  No, instead Jesus reaches out and touches the man.  This is very significant.  Jesus touched the one that was untouchable showing physical evidence that He was willing to help this man.  Can you imagine?  Who knows how long it had been since this man had felt someone’s touch and here the Son of God reaches out and touches him.

Not only does Jesus physically touch the man, but He verbally tells him that He is willing to meet his need.  With a spoken command of “Be Clean!” Jesus demonstrates not only His ability to meet needs, but also His willingness to meet needs.  The result of the man coming to Jesus and Jesus touching the man was supernatural.  "Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured." (Mark 1:42 NIV) 

Beloved, this has great relevance to us in our day.  As we press through whatever we are going through and we take our needs to Jesus, He has compassion on us and works miracles in our life.  Please know that according to the Word of God, Jesus has not changed.  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)  Not only is Jesus able to meet your every need, He is also willing.  Continually bring your needs to Jesus Christ.  Jesus will have compassion on you.  Jesus will reach out and touch you.  Jesus will defy the natural and will work the supernatural in you.  In these days that we live, refuse to let human treatment shape your expectations in what God can do.  Expect a miracle each time you come in contact with Jesus!

As Christ followers, we are to minister at the point of need as Jesus did.  I call it, "getting our hands dirty." As Jesus leads us to where the need is and has given us the resources of time, talent and treasure to meet the need, we are to be willing.  The recipient of point of need ministry will see Jesus in us and experience His love and willingness to help through us.  His point of need ministry will continue.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 02 November 2009
Jesus works in each of His followers in different ways that produces the same result.  The result is always obedience that leads to point of need ministry.

In Acts 9:10-19 of God’s word we see Jesus working in Saul and Ananias, molding and shaping them to obey Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Only Jesus can do this work and it only happens in those who submit to His leadership.

Saul was picked by Jesus in Acts 9:1-9.  He humbled himself and submitted to Jesus’ leadership.  He once was self led and now he is Christ led.  Jesus instructed him to go to Damascus and wait there for further instruction.  Saul obeyed. 

It was in the waiting that Christ did a deeper work in Saul, preparing him to enter into his destiny as a Christ follower.  While waiting, Saul fasted and prayed.  This went against Saul’s nature of being self led and self sufficient.  He was use to going and blowing; doing his own thing in his own time.  He rested, worked and played on his own schedule.  This had to change in order for Christ to fully utilize him.  Saul waited.  Saul prayed.  Saul fasted.  Saul obeyed.  He didn’t know why, but he obeyed.

Ananias was a Christ follower in Damascus.  Jesus came to him in a vision and gave him detailed instructions.  He tells him specifically what street and what house to go to in order lay hands on Saul so that Saul would receive his sight back.  Jesus was telling Ananias to go help the man who came to town to throw you in prison and would like to murder you.  Wow, what an instruction and what a step of obedience by a Christ follower.

Ananias obedience led to point of need ministry.  When he arrives, he specifically addresses Saul as “brother”.  What an example of the love and forgiveness that are fruit of a Christ follower’s life.  Saul received his sight after Ananias laid his hands on him.  Saul followed Christ that day as Ananias baptized him in water.  Ananias took care of Saul’s basic needs and prepared food for him to eat so that he could regain his strength.  Once again, the obedience of a Christ follower leads to continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saul learned a lot that day.  He learned the value of obedience and he benefited from its result as a Christ follower ministered to him at his point of need that day.  Saul didn’t have to go to a church building and attend a service.  Saul didn’t have to go to an evangelistic event or a faith healing crusade.  Saul did not have to wait in line at the homeless shelter for a cup of hot soup.  No, the Christ follower came to him and took care of his needs right where he was at.

This act of unconditional love and forgiveness undoubtedly started to shape Saul for the ministry that was ahead of him.  In the rest of the book of Acts we will see Saul, in complete obedience, continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Ananias will not be mentioned again, but rest assured, a Christ follower does not retire until they reach glory.  Ananias kept living a life of obedience, continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we follow Christ, He will direct our steps and lead us to where He desires us to continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We will be pleasantly surprised as we realize that Jesus’ ministry goes far beyond the walls of a church building and the confines of a service.  His ministry is where the need is and that is where He will lead us.  Will we go?  The difference between the called and the chosen is obedience.


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
I believe that one of Satan’s greatest tactics that he uses against us is distractions.  If he can keep us distracted, he will keep us from fulfilling our purpose and our mission here on earth.  We must recognize this tactic and overcome it.

Throughout the Bible we learn of how people were distracted by Satan.
  • Eve was distracted by a quest for knowledge.
  • Adam was distracted by peer pressure.
  • Cain was distracted by jealousy.
  • Moses was distracted by anger.
  • Samson was distracted by self sufficiency.
  • Saul was distracted by human reasoning.
  • David was distracted by lust.
  • Solomon was distracted by all the stuff he had accumulated.
  • Judas was distracted by love of money or greed.
  • The disciples were distracted at the cross by fear and unbelief.
Please know that Satan will try his best to distract you and keep you from fulfilling your purpose and your mission.  Distractions will come your way. 
 
Jesus was in Capernaum.  The Word of God says "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was."    (Mark 1:32-34 NIV)  In the first chapter of Mark we see Jesus entering into powerful ministry.  People are healed and captives are set free.  An entire city is impacted.  What a powerful ministry 

Jesus knew the source of His power
The Word of God says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."    (Mark 1:35 NIV)  At this point in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, His followers did not understand the importance of prayer.  Later on as they saw Jesus move and minister with a powerful anointing, they understood that Jesus received anointing and instructions through His prayer life and they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

Jesus placed priority on prayer.  There were a lot of people to minister to as there were a lot of people in need, but Jesus always made time to get by Himself and pray.  Here we see Him getting up early in the morning, going off by Himself and praying.  He had ministered all day to needy people and now He was refueling through prayer; spending time with His God the Father. 

Beloved, Prayer is vital for the follower of Jesus Christ.  It is where instruction for our journey is given and strength for our journey is supplied.  If we are to continue the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, we must spend time in prayer.  We must spend time with Jesus.

Distractions will come
The devil watched Jesus and observed His prayer life.  The devil knows the power of prayer.  He tried to distract Jesus.  He will try to distract you. 

God’s Word says "Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!""    (Mark 1:36-37 NIV)  Jesus is in prayer and Simon Peter comes looking for Him because he thinks Jesus should be back at the house ministering to people.  What a distraction!  Here we have the second person of the Godhead spending intimate time with the first person of the Godhead; the Son of God spending time with the Father refueling for the mission and Peter interrupts!  I believe Satan used Peter to try to distract Jesus from His mission just as Satan tries to distract us from our mission.

Beloved, Satan will try everything he can to try to distract you from your purpose and your mission.  Satan will try his best to get you so busy that you don’t have quality time to spend praying; having little or no intimacy time with Jesus.  He will try to bring interruptions as you try to spend time with Jesus.  You must identify this tactic and overcome this brazen scheme of the enemy of our souls.  If Satan succeeds, he will get us off track and will keep us from fulfilling our mission in this life.

We must stay focused on Jesus for He is our mission
Notice Jesus’ response to Simon.  Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."  So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons."    (Mark 1:38-39 NIV)  Jesus refused to be distracted from his mission.  He refused to buckle under the pressure of man.  He had spent time with the Father and received instructions and anointing to move on in the mission.  He was not going to stay in Capernaum.  His message was that the Kingdom of God was hear; to repent and believe.  There were so many more that needed to hear the message.  He moved forward with anointing and continued to minister to people at their point of need.

Beloved, we must stay focused on Jesus.  If we are going to impact our cities in our day, we must stay focused on Jesus.  We can not be distracted from the mission.  We must spend time with Him in prayer getting our instructions and receiving our anointing.  There is no other way.  We are called to continue the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and we must keep our focus on Him.  Satan will try to shift our focus, but we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.   As we keep Jesus the center of our attention.  As we focus on Him.  We will make a difference for Jesus in our day.

(Heb 12:2 NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Praise the Lord Beloved.   Overcome all distractions.  Stay focused.  Continue the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit until He comes!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 19 October 2009
As one grows in their walk with Christ, they continually learn that the Holy Spirit directs their steps.  They begin to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him to prepare and design God encounters with others at their point of need.

In Acts 8:26-40 we see a Holy Spirit designed encounter take place that we can learn much from and it will help us be able to recognize future Holy Spirit designed encounters in our journey as we follow Christ and increase His kingdom.  Please notice some things with me in these Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit caused the paths of two unlikely people to cross – a Jewish Christ follower and an Ethiopian non Christ follower. 

Jesus desires for us to mix with people that are not like us.  If we continually mix with only those who are like us, we will miss our Holy Spirit designed encounters.  That is why Christ followers have allowed Him to remove all prejudices that they have learned from their heart.  They love God and ALL people.  They are willing to mix with people of all race, belief, and economic status.

The Holy Spirit prepared both individuals beforehand for this encounter.

Philip was full of the Holy Spirit and had developed a heart to help people (Acts 6:1-6).  He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and was used by God in a powerful way there and now he was led by the Spirit to just head south.  Phillip had allowed Christ to break down all prejudices in his heart and he was willing to minister at the point of need to anyone, no matter who they were and where they were located.

The Ethiopian had just been to Jerusalem representing the queen of the Ethiopians and was now heading back home to Ethiopia.  He was not yet a Christ follower, but God was working in His heart. 

Scripture was used as a basis to reveal Christ.

The Holy Spirit had attracted the Ethiopian to the Scriptures and he was reading in Isaiah 53.  He did not know that Isaiah 53 pointed to Christ.  He did not know that Christ had already come and fulfilled the Old Testament.  He had questions concerning Scripture.  Phillip the Christ follower answered his questions and pointed him to Jesus.

Christ followers must know Scripture.  It’s not an option.  Scripture is our authoritative guide to our beliefs and our actions.  The Holy Spirit works on people’s hearts through Scripture and for us to be used by the Holy Spirit, we must know Scripture and be constantly ready to lovingly point people to Jesus through Scripture as they ask questions.  If they are not asking questions, the Holy Spirit has not prepared them yet and we are just simply to love them and take care of their felt needs.  Christ followers know when the Holy Spirit has prepared an individual by the questions they ask and we must be prepared to give the answer of Christ.

The desire to follow Christ in water baptism was the indicator that something genuine had taken place within the Ethiopian.

After having Christ revealed to Him, the Ethiopian did not have the desire to go to a church service, walk an aisle and repeat a prayer after somebody asking Jesus into his heart.  No, all of those things are man made and not found in Scripture.  The Ethiopian did have a genuine desire to follow Christ in water baptism.  Water baptism is the first step a Christ follower takes in their journey with Christ and it is an outside indicator of what has already taken place on the inside.

The kingdom of God grew that day.  It grew by one on that road heading south, but when the Ethiopian got back to Ethiopia, the good news about Jesus compelled others into the kingdom and Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 continued to come to pass.

Is Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 being fulfilled through your life? 

A Christ follower will always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and minister at the point of need resulting in Christ being exalted and the kingdom of God growing.  They can not keep the joy and the good news of the kingdom to their self as they come across people that the Holy Spirit has already prepared to receive point of need ministry and the love of Christ.  


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
We live in a world that is constantly changing.  People change.  Relationships change.  Morals change.  Fashions change.  Trends change.  We constantly have to deal with change.

In the workplace we have been introduce to terms such as reengineering and downsizing.  In education and health care we are constantly seeing changes as new academic and scientific studies are completed.  We are seeing changes in the environment with global warming.  The world around us is constantly changing and the changes grow more rapid with time. 

We don’t have to look far for change.  You probably don’t have to think real hard to realize a change that you had to deal with just this week.  Every day our bodies are changing as each day we grow older. 

Who can you depend on in a changing world?  God’s Word says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)  In the midst of a constantly changing world, you can depend on Jesus.  Jesus has not changed!  Jesus will not change!

Jesus continues to speak the same message
God’s Word says "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"" (Mark 1:14-15 NIV)

Jesus came preaching good news.  The people of Jesus’ day believed in two ages; the present age ruled by Satan and the future kingdom ruled by God.  Jesus came telling them that the Kingdom of God was near.  Jesus told His disciples that when He returned to glory that He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within them. 

Praise the Lord Beloved!  We can live in this present age which belongs to Satan with a deposit of God’s kingdom deposited within us now.  It’s our down payment of that which is to come.  As we follow Christ, He deposits within us His Kingdom.  Jesus deposits the Holy Spirit in His followers.

What a message!  And the message has not changed.  The kingdom of God is near.  God’s Kingdom is coming, and we have a deposit of that Kingdom now on our journey from earth to glory as we follow Christ.  

Beloved, Jesus has not changed.  He continues to speak the same message!

Jesus continues to call
Continuing in the first chapter of Mark we read "As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."    (Mark 1:16-20 NIV)

Jesus walked this earth calling people to follow Him.  He is still calling people today.  Notice with me that Jesus doesn’t call people to join a denomination.  Jesus doesn’t call people to join a church.  Jesus just simply calls people to follow Him.  That’s all.  Just drop the nets, get out of the boat and follow Jesus.  As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, He will take us on a wonderful journey from earth to glory.

There are so many that have heard the call and decided to stay in the boat.  They hang on to the nets, the things of this world, with a white knuckled intensity.  Beloved, we can not hang on to the things of this world and follow Jesus at the same time.  We must constantly evaluate what we are hanging onto because the world creeps into our lives in subtle ways.  Those that get out of the boat, drop the nets and follow Jesus will live an exciting life on a wonderful journey from earth to glory!

Beloved, Jesus has not changed.  He continues to call people to follow Him!

Jesus continues to set the captive free
Let’s read on in this powerful first chapter of Mark.  "They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.  Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"  The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek."  (Mark 1:21-26 NIV)

Here we see Jesus setting the captive free.  This man had been held in bondage by a controlling evil spirit.  With just a Word, Jesus sets this captive free. 

There are so many today that are held captive.  Materialism holds people captive.  Drug addiction holds people captive.  Alcohol addiction holds people captive.  Food addiction holds people captive.  Sexual deviancy and perversion holds people captive.  Pornography holds people captive.  People are held captive by anger, jealousy, bitterness etc….  The good news is that Jesus continues to set the captive free.  As we follow Jesus, He sets us free from what holds us captive.  He fills us full of His Holy Spirit that empowers and enables us to walk in victory.  God’s Word declares that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh!

Beloved, Jesus has not changed.  He continues to set the captive free!

Jesus continues to bring healing
We must read on in Mark Chapter one.  "As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.  Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.  So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them."    (Mark 1:29-31 NIV)

Here we see this woman that receives healing by coming in contact with Jesus.  You see, Jesus is healing.   God’s Word declares in Isaiah 53 that it is because of the stripes that Jesus took on His back that we receive our healing.  Jesus did so much for us at the cross.  Not only did He take the punishment for our sins, but He physically suffered for our healing.

I believe that Jesus still works miracles and brings His healing to people today.  Whether it be an instantaneous miracle or a process through medical science, it is only God who heals.  I believe in these last days we will see an increase in the miraculous as people place their faith in what Jesus did for them at the cross.  As they come in contact with the suffering Christ, He imparts His healing to them.

Beloved, Jesus has not changed.  He continues to bring healing!

Jesus continues to impact cities
We have to read just a bit further.  "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was."    (Mark 1:32-34 NIV)

Jesus came to this world to not only touch individuals, but to impact entire cities.  What our cities need in our day is to be impacted by Jesus.  Jesus has left us here and He has filled us with His Holy Spirit to continue His ministry.  That is what Loving God Fellowship is all about.  People around the world that are loving God and loving people; touching people at their point of need and impacting entire cities for Jesus in our day.

Beloved, Jesus has not changed.  He continues to impact cities in our day!

As everything around you constantly changes, you can hold on to Jesus who never changes.  There are never any surprises with Jesus.  He stays the same yesterday, today and forever.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) 

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
I have had to do a lot of unlearning as a follower of Christ.  I was raised in the church and have been a Christian all of my life.  But I have not been a Christ follower all of my life (1 Peter 2:21).  When I decided to follow Jesus, I had to unlearn a lot that the modern church had taught me that is not found in Scripture. 

There is a big difference between being a Christian and being a Christ follower.  Christians believe in Christ.  Christ followers deny self and follow Christ continuing His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is possible and most probable in our day and within our culture to be a Christian while not being a Christ follower.

Matthew was a tax collector in Jesus’ day.  Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were considered to be worse than sinners.  They oppressed the people.  Caesar would declare a tax to fund his luscious life style and it was up to the governors of provinces to collect the tax.  The governors were allowed to add a tax to that tax in order to support their life style.  They would hire tax collectors to collect these taxes and the tax collectors would be allowed to add onto the tax they collected an amount they desired to fund the way that they wanted to live.  And they lived nice at the expense of oppressing people.  That was Matthew.  In Matthew 9:9-12, Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him. 

I notice some interesting facts concerning Jesus’ contact with Matthew:

What Jesus didn’t do: 
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to go the synagogue with Him the next Sabbath
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to repeat a prayer after Him and ask Him to come into his heart
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to attend some evangelistic event
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to participate in a synagogue designed and led program that would help him change his behavior and become a good person
What Jesus did:
  • Jesus went to where Matthew was (point of need ministry)
  • Jesus did not point out all the things that Matthew was doing wrong and did not condemn nor judge Matthew for what he had did in the past or what he had become
  • Jesus showed Matthew that he cared for him just as he was
  • Jesus spent time building a relationship with Matthew that included Matthew’s friends who were all sinners
What the religionists of Jesus’ day did:
  • Avoided all people who did not believe or act as they did
  • Only associated with people that attended their service at the synagogue
  • Questioned why Jesus was hanging out with sinners
Jesus only made one request of Matthew and that was “follow me”.  Jesus makes the same request to us today.   Yes the culture has changed, but not Jesus’ request or His methodology.  He still is asking people to simply follow Him.  He doesn’t ask them to join a church and utilize all of their expendable time volunteering for church activity designed to attract people into the walls of a building and the confines of a service.  He just simply asks us to follow Him.  As a person answers that call, they begin an exciting journey that will lead them from earth to glory and on the way, they will touch many people at their point of need as Jesus did.  They can’t help it.  It’s the fruit of following Jesus. 


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, 12 October 2009
As we continually choose to follow Jesus and we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He changes us.  We develop more of His mind and more of His heart which impacts our behavior each step of the way on our journey from earth to glory.

In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him.  And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.

Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus.  At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years.  Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though.  After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him.  After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day.  But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers.  As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.

The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria.  John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated.  It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56).  Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.

It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers.  They were following Jesus once again to Samaria.  He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.

Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus.  He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ.  Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power.  Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”.  Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked.  He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.

As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their heart and their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others.  On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother communicating with those in the villages of Samaria.  As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they preached the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25).   Jesus had brought more change to them.  They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.

Jesus changes us.  He changes our way of thinking towards others.  He changes our behavior towards others.  He changes us to be more like Him as we continually deny self and follow Him.  The best is always yet to come as we follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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