Looking for Life Change

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The Blame Game

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Blame … to consider somebody else responsible for something wrong or unfortunate that has happened.  To point the finger of blame is as old as The Fall (Genesis 3).  Ever since the beginning man has struggled with taking responsibility.  Psychiatrist doesn’t help much with this contagious problem either.  In fact, it seems that much of the “counseling” today is trying to place most of the blame everywhere except at the point of origin — Me.

Man tried to blame the woman and the woman tried to blame the serpent.  “The devil made me do it” kind of thought process, as if that’s OK.  What we need today is a clear understanding that our sin has an origin that begins with our own sin nature … in fact each of us has a unique sin nature that James talks about — James 1:14“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”  James is telling us that every person has a unique sin nature that the adversary understands and uses to plot against us.   Can we be willing to call it what it is … sin?  Can we step up to life’s plate and let it be known to all that “we have all sinned” and fallen short of the glory of God? … and in that discover a compassionate and grace filled God whose mercy is new every morning.  Can we really begin to walk the journey admitting our own sin and in that see ourselves as God sees us?  Can we truly begin to repent from blaming others for our own choices … at the same time realizing that there are times where we are sinned against that create challenges … but for the most part owning up to what we can own up to … our sin.

The most significant process to a successful life is to learn to take Responsibility for one’s own actions, choices, and decisions.  Coming to the conclusion that casting blame to others does nothing but bring more hurt on our own lives and causes us to walk in confusion and conflict.  The great news is that every sinner has a seeker who comes looking for us when we have sinned.  Just like in the garden God came looking for Adam and Eve … He still comes in the cool of the day seeking sinners who need his forgiveness.  He “calls out” -- meaning to summon, invite, or to invoke by name.  Just like when God called out to Moses from the fiery bush in Exodus 23:4.  In that moment Adam and Eve were dealing with completely new emotions that they had never felt before … guilt … shame … remorse … confusion … God comes to them to bring forgiveness, hope, and love.  Wow!  How amazing!  The God of the Bible has always been a God of love and hope.  When they sinned He came ready to make a sacrifice and cover their sin and bring them back into a wonderful relationship with Himself.  The first physical death should have been the man and his wife, but it was an animal–a shadow of the reality that God would someday kill a substitute to redeem sinners.

But we must remember Genesis 1: 7“And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”  Man has always attempted to produce a path back to God – our own version of covering (i.e. fig leaves) … and God has always rejected every attempt … there is but one way to forgiveness and eternal life and that is through the blood sacrifice of God’s choosing … in the Old Testament it was the lamb on the Day of Atonement … in the New Testament it is through the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ!

Let’s walk away from the Blame Game.  May we see our lives clearly through scripture as sinners in need of a savior!  I know that this kind of message isn’t really popular today … even amongst evangelical believers.  Don’t talk about sin … don’t deal with it … don’t call people sinners because you’ll turn them off.  But how can a sinful man come to understand his need if we avoid the topic and deal with it in love and clarity?  Ever since the beginning and The Fall sin has been the separator between God and man … let’s confess it … let’s call it … let’s humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and receive His unconditional love that brings abundant and eternal living.

To view Pastor Rouse’s messages on the book of Genesis please go to: http://hhbconline.com/thepulse/sermons_online.php.

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As promised from this past Sunday … because we ran out of time I am putting my message notes on my blog to finish out this very important issue that believers and our country has been facing for some time.

The intent of this message was to present truth in the balance of love to call for reconciliation, and redemption.  The message was not to be a “squash” you like a bug kind of presentation but to really see how God views this issue and how the church must take a stand and at the same time be compassionate and careful to seek and offer hope and help.

The message outline:

Introduction:

  • Today we continue a series called FACE TO FACE … dealing with real life challenges and questions.
  • Abortion … one of the major “hot buttons” that has impacted our culture now for over a decade.  There is great passion in our country on both sides of this issue.  There are important positions on both sides of this issue.  But as believers our first question should be:  What does the Bible say?
  • IMPORTANT:   This issue in the eyes of a loving God is no different than any other struggle that we face as people born with a “sin nature”.  We are ALL in the same boat today.  Please know that God loves us all the same … and if this issue has touched your life is a very personal way KNOW today that our church loves you and more important GOD LOVES you and His forgiveness and mercy is NEW every morning … our intent today is not to point fingers but to offer Hope, Love, Compassion, and Assistance to anyone and everyone!
  • How do We deal with such a difficult issue?  To do so we must answer some basic Questions:

I.  What Does the Scripture Say about Life?

  • Isaiah 49:1-5
  • Jeremiah 1:4-5
  • Psalm 139:13-16

II.  What is Our View of Scripture?

  • A Foundation must be Established:  “Is the Bible Our Sole Authority”?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
  • Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, then believers accept the Bible as our manual for living.  Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the bible say?”  Therefore, believers practice daily Bible reading, studying, and memorization to grow in understanding and personal application.  Many times this practice is not because we completely understand it but clearly see God’s direction and we become obedient to its truth whether we agree or understand it completely or not.
  • The Adversary’s Method to Connect to us must be Understood – “Did God Actually Say … ?”:  Genesis 3:1 … “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, …?”
  • John MacArthur says:  In effect Satan said, “Is it true that He has restricted you from the delights of this place? This is not like one who is truly good and kind. There must be some mistake.” Satan insinuated doubt as to Eve’s understanding of God’s will, appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) to lead her to the supposed true interpretation. She received him without fear or surprise, but as some credible messenger from heaven with the true understanding, because of his ability to create confusion.[1]  His tactics have not change!

III.  What does the Scripture Say about Life’s Purpose?                        

  • Life Begins at Conception:  [See previous verses in 1st point]
  • When the Bible speaks about God knowing us in our mother’s womb then it gives us to basis to understand life begins there.  Not only does God know us BUT He has plans for us … a purpose for us … so life begins in the womb.
  •  Life is to Be Abundant:  John 10:10“ I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”
  • The heart of God has always been for His creation to enjoy and have abundant living.  The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
  • Life is Not Our Own:  1 Corinthians 6:19–20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
  • These words allude to Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross where he paid the price of our redemption. Jesus paid for our freedom from sin, so that as redeemed children of our heavenly Father we may share his blessings.
  • The term bought calls to mind the marketplace where slaves were bought and sold. If this is what Paul means, he alludes to Christians whom Christ has bought as slaves to serve him.
  • Christ now owns us and is our master, therefore when comes to all issues of LIFE the decision is His not ours to make.

To watch the video of the message go to:  Semons on line


[1] The MacArthur Study Bible. 1997 (J. MacArthur, Jr., Ed.) (electronic ed.) (Ge 3:1). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.

Confession and the Transparent Life – Psalm 32

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I.  Confession Keeps the Fellowship:  Ps. 32:2b

“… and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

The word for “deceit” means … to become lazy or slothful … to hold back the whole truth … a relaxing of one’s commitment and drive to grow.  When sin has been acknowledged and confessed there is a connection to the Lord in sweet fellowship that empowers us to continue the spiritual journey … to press on in Jesus name … to sense a freedom and releasing to move on!  But when sin is covered up, or ignored it has a choking value on our spiritual lives … it clogs up the channel of God’s power and brings to a halt the fellowship needed to grow, change, and be conformed into the image of Christ.  Confession keeps the fellowship connection between the believer and God engaged and the Spirit’s continued action and  impacting of our lives.

II. Lack of Confession brings Weakness:  Ps. 32:3-4

“… my bones wasted away … my strength was dried up …”

The word for “bones” means … his entire being was affected by the separation of fellowship … he was in pain all over … down to the depth of his bones he was in agony because of his unwillingness to acknowledge his sin.  When sin is ignored or attempted to be covered up it brings about great pain in our lives.  How we deal with sin is very important to our daily spiritual health.  David talks about his “strength “being impacted by his ignoring God’s conviction … as in the summer heat that completely zaps someone’s ability to work … complete exhaustion had overcome him because of the lack of confession.  Warren Wiersbe says:   ‘He became like an old man. God’s hand of conviction was heavy upon him day and night. He “dried up” like a brook in a drought.[1]

III. Confession has It’s Benefits:   Ps. 32:5-7

“… you forgave the  iniquity of my sin.” 

Confession should be a direct result of conviction.  Conviction in a believers life is a good thing.  For so many years I misunderstood this valuable truth.  When I became convicted about sin I misread its purpose.  I would feel bad about it and therefore would try to ignore it or run from it.  God began to show me that His conviction was to be sought after.  It was a good thing.  Without the loving conviction of the Holy Spirit in my life I could never become all that God intended for me to be.  His conviction brought clarity about truth and living.  As I received His conviction it would lead me to personal application and confession of the place I had missed the mark and as a result could experience change and development in my spiritual life.  In this passage David brings clarity to four benefits to Confession:

Forgiveness – (v. 5) “…you forgave …” to be restored … pardoned … to be lifted up … to bear up and support and to strengthen.  This forgiveness did not come because of being “sorry”, or “because he prayed” … it came because he acknowledged and confessed – to see and agree with … and sweet forgiveness is given and received.
Safety – (v. 7a) “You are a hiding place for me; …” – a place of shelter and protection.  A refuge that you can run to and escape the attack of the enemy … it is seen as a fortress that believers run to and find safety.  We are not on this spiritual journey alone.  God desires to be our refuge … our fortress … a place we can go for safety, protection, and love.
Preservation – (v. 7b) “… you preserve me from trouble …” – confession allows God to bring His protection … to guard our hearts … to keep watch for us – and in that He keeps us from trouble.  When we confess it keeps us alerted to that which is causing us to be weak and to see honestly its effect on our lives causing us to run from it and to seek His holiness.
Deliverance – (v. 7c) Joy is found in deliverance and it expresses itself in joyful shouts as a tribute to God’s faithfulness.[2]

Take some time today to rethink the power of confession in your life.  It is key to spiritual growth and health.  The ability to let your communion with God bring about beautiful moments of pure conviction of an attitude or action and  compelling you to be honest and like David acknowledge where you missed the mark – sinned – and letting that conviction bring about true and genuine repentance is a good thing.  Look forward to today’s opportunities to learn, grow, and confess.

Two verses to also contemplate:

1 John 1:9 … “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

James 5:16 … “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

[This blog is a synopsis of Pastor Rouse’s message notes from ACTS 6.04 prayer and proclamation of God’s word on August 29,2012]


[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Ps 32). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (274). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

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Crazy Love – Week One – Questions text to pastor

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This past week as we started our four week journey of discovery – CRAZY LOVE!  It was a wonderful time of worship and teaching.  As we said during the message each week you can text questions to the Pastors and they will answer as many as possible live or we’ll answer them on the blog during the week.

This passed Sunday 2 questions were text:

First, what is the name of the book that supports this new message series … it’s Crazy Love by Frances Chan.  You can go to:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=crazy+love to order your own personal copy or go by the Resource Center on the Hermitage Campus.  

Second, what are the seven spirits of God mention in Revelation 4?

Dwight went back after lunch on Sunday to find your answer: In some commentaries the seven spirits mentioned Rev 1 are the seven spirits mentioned in Isaiah 11:2 these seven spirits being the seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit…

the Spirit of the Lord

the Spirit of wisdom

the Spirit of understanding

the Spirit of council

the Spirit of might

the Spirit of knowledge

the Spirit of fear of the Lord

Hope this helps … remember to text you questions during the message each week at your campus and we would love to answer your questions live, if possible.


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Do Something – What is God’s Purpose for me?

Miles McPherson in his book “Do Something” answers this question with the story of Jesus and the religious leaders:

Jesus stood surrounded by men in religious robes and multicolored turbans.  They were taking turns questioning Him, like tag-team wrestling.

First the Sadducee s confronted Jesus about the resurrection.  They were “sad, you see,” because they did not believe in it.

After Jesus bent their minds with His wisdom, they walk away with their tails between their legs and tagged the Pharisees, who jumped into the ring for a shot at Jesus.

Jesus must have rolled His eyes when one of the Pharisees challenged Him with are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? question.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

He answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets”  (Matthew 22:36-40).

What is the fastest way of being blessed by God?  That is easy: keep the great commandment to love God and love your neighbor.

Loving the world was undoubtedly the purpose of Jesus’ life.  You know the familiar Bible verse:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” (John 3:16).  This is also the purpose of our lives.  In other words, the foundation of everything we do must be out of loving God and loving our neighbor.  Jesus also told us that people would know we were His disciples by our love, one for another (John 13:34-35).

Every believer is call to DO SOMETHING.  To love God, to love one another, and to love the world the way God does … how’s that … GIVING — of time – talent – and treasure.  Join with God today in His purpose for you life — Give Your Life Away!

If you missed last Sunday’s message or any message in the DO SOMETHING series … go to:  http://www.hhbconline.com/thepulse/sermons_online.php and you can listen to an audio or watch a video of a message from this series.


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Do Something — The Plan

No one has done more good in and for this world than Jesus.  During His three-year ministry, He established a moral standard for humankind that has yet to be improved upon.  He healed the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, and raised the dead.  He has a Plan for you, and guess what it says?  You were created to do something great.

John 14:2 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.”

Did you just see that … no really … did you just see what God’s word says to every believer –  “… and greater works than these ….”- do what?  How can we do anything greater than Jesus.  There’s only one way.  In the power of the Holy Spirit we can do greater works.  How awesome is that thought?  Every believer has the wonderful opportunity to partner with God in such a way that just as the Father had a plan for the Son (see Acts 2:22–23 (ESV) 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men”) … so that same Father has a plan for each of us … to do greater works.

Dr. John MacArthur says:  “Jesus did not mean greater works in power, but in extent. They would become witnesses to all the world through the power of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and would bring many to salvation because of the Comforter dwelling in them. The focus is on spiritual rather than physical miracles. The book of Acts constitutes the beginning historical record of the impact that the Spirit-empowered disciples had on the world (cf. Acts 17:6).

Baker New Testament Commentary – John says:  “Christ’s works had consisted to a considerable extent of miracles in the physical realm, performed largely among the Jews. When He now speaks about the greater works, He is in all probability thinking of those in connection with the conversion of the Gentiles. Such works were of a higher character and vaster in extent. That Jesus actually has this great task in mind seems to follow from the fact that He referred to it just a few days before (12:23–32), and also definitely during this very night (17:20).  Now this conversion of (God’s elect from among) the Gentiles, this work of Peter in the home of Cornelius and of Paul on all his missionary journeys, could not have been done before Christ’s death and ascension for the simple reason that at that time the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out. For that very reason the wall of separation was still in existence. All this was going to change presently, that is, in connection with Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and coronation. Hence, Jesus is able to say, “Greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father.”

Warren Wiersbe says:  “Of course, it is not the believer himself who does these “greater things”; it is God working in and through the believer: “The Lord working with them” (Mark 16:20). “For it is God which worketh in you” (Phil. 2:13). Faith and works must always go together, for it is faith that releases the power of God in our lives.”

All that said … dear believers we get to be a part of the greatest part of life.  Seeing people experience Life-Change through Jesus Christ.  There is so much that life can become … what are you doing with the ONE life you been blessed?   God’s purpose for your life is to love Him by obeying Him.  He has created you to do something great with your life.  Each of us will have unique things to do, but whatever we do, it should be out of obedience to God.

Follow the example of Christ.  Jesus gave His life, not because of some emotional attachment to someone or something, but out of obedience.  His obedience led Him into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  His obedience is what led to all of His miracles.  His obedience paved the way for our sins to be forgiven.  He humbled Himself and died on the cross out of obedience (Phil. 2:3-8).

What does our obedience say about us?  DO SOMETHING out of a heart of obedience … join with God in His plan for your ONE life to live and MAKE IT COUNT!

[This blog series goes with the sermon series at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church … to list to one or all of these series go to:     http://www.hhbconline.com/thepulse/sermons_online.php?sermonsite_action=view_topics]


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Strong Families … learn together and grow together

The Bible is clear that the God who created the universe intimately knows each one of us.  He knew each of us before we were born.  He knows the number of hairs on our head and everything about every day of our lives.  He loves us beyond what we can imagine.  In fact, God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.

God designed the family as a way for us to understand His love for us and demonstrate that love to others.  What would it be like to really, truly know the members of your family?  How would you feel if your family really understood your feelings and your dreams?  What might that do to improve your relationships?

When you look at the history of the family you can see how it has evolved (dare I use that word) into various different forms and understandings.   In the days of Jesus, the family was the basic unit of society.  Extended, not nuclear, families were the norm.  The most senior male acted as head of the family, which included married and unmarried children, grandchildren, and slaves.  In the 1900’s a mix of nuclear (parents and children) and extended families (including married children and spouses, grandparents, etc.) were the norm.  In the 21st Century in America, many single people live alone or with a roommate.  While many families include two married parents, others are headed by single parent or grandparent or are blended families with children from previous marriages.  These changes have brought about serious and specific consequences to family as God intended, many times beyond our control.  How do we develop strong families in today’s culture?

Last Sunday, I had the joy of proclaiming from God’s word concerning families “Knowing Each Other”.   Remember that Strong Families … Pay Attention – we truly see one another as a valuable part of life.  We have honest discussions with one another over breakfast or dinner.  Taking the time away from TV, newspapers, and etc. to look one another in the eye and have conversation.  Strong Families … Ask Great Questions – we don’t see ourselves as the great fixers.  Tell me your problem and I’ll fix it.  Sometimes what needs to take place are to ask questions.  These questions go deeper and bring everyone together for honest discussion, reflection, and examination.  We see this example in the life of Christ.  He asked great questions at important times to get people to draw together.  Did He not know the answer to the questions He was asking … He wouldn’t be God if He didn’t.  Strong Families Know that Loving Means Listening – James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak and become angry (James 1:19).  Enough said … slow down enough to allow the time to listen to others in your family.  You probably won’t agree all the time but you show enough respect for one another to allow for expression of thought that leads to action.  Strong Families …. Communicate Love through Touch – I’ve heard a lot about this one all week long.  It seems that the husbands took this to heart and have been touching a lot.  Well that is all well and good but the purpose was to touch with a purpose.  The examples given were take her hand, pat her shoulder, let her know you’re there and you care.  The 12 touches a day were to show concern and communicate I’m on your team.  It wasn’t to get anything in return or to be selfish in any way … right guys?

Our assignment was to work on the habit of touching and spend some time paying attention.  How has that gone?  Ask a good question today and be quick to listen and slow to speak.  These principles will bring great value to our families.

See others as more important that yourself … that’s this Sunday’s Biblical discovery point — read Phil. 2 before Sunday to be prepared.

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