Dr. Jim Garlow is the pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego. The email I received this morning brought me to tears — lots of them — as he shared the news of his wife Carol’s death. Met them both in the mid 1980′s in Dallas while he pastored Metroplex Chapel. Jim has been a special friend through the years and have some great memories of time we’ve spent together – mostly in Indianapolis where I lived.
Reflecting this morning about Jim and Carol and especially touched about the godly love he had for her. He’s such a classy guy, and if you’ve ever had the privilege of serving God as a shepherd of His sheep, you know what a special woman it takes to be married to someone on the front lines.
So, as I reflect this morning, I’m remembering some of the many laughs Jim and I have had together. One of the funniest moments caught on video had to be when Jim Garlow was speaking for Jack Hayford at Van Nuys’ Church On The Way. Now, I attended at least a couple of the Pastor’s Conferences there, and even had the honor of making Pastor Jack laugh myself, pulling off to the side to share a couple of my favorite church jokes. But nobody probably has ever made him laugh like Jim Garlow did in the video below. One note about Carol Garlow, is that she had to have an awesome sense of humor as well, as you’ll see in the last line of the Jack Hayford roast.
Gotta love a town that names a street after a preacher. Billy Graham Parkway is prominent here in Charlotte; the Billy Graham Library is part of our local tourist culture, and worth seeing! There’s a small cemetery on the grounds, which brought tears to my eyes. And within the next few days, there will be an addition to Billy’s friends and family buried there.
As reported in today’s Charlotte Observer, ”George Beverly Shea, who spent a lifetime singing for God and Billy Graham, died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 104. Spokesman Brent Rinehart of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said Shea died in Asheville.
Known to family, friends and fans simply as Bev, Shea and his wife, Karlene, lived for years in the North Carolina mountain town of Montreat – a mile or so down the road from Billy Graham. Shea lived his life not just in North Carolina but on the grandest of pulpits – the stage of the Billy Graham crusades, singing to millions of Christians in stadiums and arenas the world over.
It was as much a part of the American Christian experience as a Sunday morning sermon – that bass-baritone voice singing about “The Wonder of it All” and “How Great Thou Art” before Graham marched to the pulpit and asked people to open their Bibles and listen for God’s word. “How Great Thou Art” became Shea’s signature offering. He sang it on 108 consecutive nights during the 1957 New York crusade that helped catapult Graham – and Shea – to Christian stardom.”
Jesus Christ is the same Today as He was Yesterday, and Forever. As the Word of God, the logos of the Eternal God – He is and was and is to come. He was in the beginning with God. He came to live a sinless life in a human body as He tabernacled among us. He died on a bloody cross to pay for our sins. He rose from the dead and ascended back to the right hand of the Father. He reigns as Lord.
If He is not reigning as Lord in your life, ask yourself a question. Are you ready to stand before Him at any given point in the next 24 hour period and desire entrance to heaven? If not, then consider the conclusion I made years ago. No matter what other accomplishments or failures in this life, the most important aspect to life on earth is preparing for eternity.
Matt 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (KJV)
|THIRTY FOLD||SIXTY FOLD||HUNDRED FOLD|
Ps 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (KJV)
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (KJV)
- GOD WANTS US TO GROW UP
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (KJV)
Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (KJV)
|JESUS THE BABE||JESUS THE YOUNG MAN (12)||JESUS THE MAN|
30 FOLD: Jesus was a babe, but He didn’t stay that way.
- Everybody loves a little baby, nobody likes a big baby.
- Grow up, be responsible, do your part; don’t be a taker, be a giver.
60 FOLD: As a young man (age 12), Jesus was about His Father’s business.
- He had studied to show Himself approved
- He took responsibility, and sought out opportunity
100 FOLD: As a man, He fulfilled His ministry and finished the course
- He sacrificed for others (Giver, not a taker)
- He was persecuted for His faithfulness and suffered it
|LITTLE CHILDREN||YOUNG MEN||FATHERS|
I Jn 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (KJV)
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJ)
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING! So are you. God the Father sent His uniquely-begotten Son to bear our sins in His body on the cross. God Himself was in Christ (v19), reconciling the world to Himself. At the same time He was blessing us, He was assigning the responsibility of being a blessing to others. He reconciled us, then committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. He committed the word of reconciliation to us. One of the purposes of this spiritual Journey, is to give you the tools to fulfill this assignment.
Remember that you are a new creation, a new species of being that never before existed. All things have become new, because you have been born again and are now in Christ (v17). So, if you were shy and unable to share the gospel with others, guess what? Those old things have passed away. And here’s the secret — now that God is in you, it is God who is actually pleading to sinners through you. Through your lips, He is saying, “Come back to Me. Be reconciled to Me. I’m not angry, because I poured out my wrath on the perfect sacrifice. He has totally paid for your sins, so there’s nothing standing between you and Me. Come to Me, all who are burdened, and I will be your rest.”
And here’s the great substitutionary truth of the gospel. Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became our sin offering, and He has made us right before God. You’re now in right-standing with Almighty God, because you believe the blood of Jesus Christ takes away your sin.
Jam 4:1 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.
Jam 4:2 You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you?
Jam 4:3 And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
Jam 4:4 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way.
Jam 4:5 And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” (MSG)
- Not ALL desire is GOOD, GODLY desire
Pro 21:25 (Darby) The desire of the sluggard killeth him; for his hands refuse to work:
(KJV+) The desire8378 of the slothful6102 killeth4191 him; for3588 his hands3027 refuse3985 to labor.6213
(MSG) Lazy people finally die of hunger because they won’t get up and go to work.
—V26 MSG) Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.
(YLT) All the day desiring he hath desired, And the righteous giveth and withholdeth not.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (KJV)
—Ps 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (KJV)
Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (KJV)
- They wanted PROMINENCE, God wanted SERVANTHOOD, CHILDLIKE TRUST
Matt 8:1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” ABLE & WILLING
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9 “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
–13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.
15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,
17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (NKJ)
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. KJV
YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION
4 Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains — he hath carried them, And we — we have esteemed him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 And he is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace [is] on him, And by his bruise there is healing to us. YLT
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Remix: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJ)
One of the most well known verses in the Bible is John 3:16. The good news of God’s kingdom is that He does love us, despite the many sins we’ve committed. He loves us so much that He made a provision for our sin. The provision is in the person of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
There are many, many people throughout the ages who have “believed” the Jesus story, but have never committed their lives to the truth of it. If you believe a chair will support your weight, you will sit in it. If you believe Jesus is the Savior who came to save the world, then believing requires action on your part. That action is to receive Him as the only provision for forgiveness of sin, and to rest in Him (sit in the chair).
The passage above goes on to explain that many, many people love the darkness of sin and living independently of God that they never really do come to the light of Jesus. After all, which of us really wants our evil deeds exposed? But because God loves us, He wants to cover our sin, and forgive our sin. But that’s only available as we come to His Light and change our mind about darkness! To come to the Light is to hate the darkness and turn from it.
There are some great sayings on signs in front of churches that are meant to stimulate thought. Funny. Clever. Provocative. And meant to get folks thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
I love that the local church is a visible expression of God’s people regularly meeting together for worship and fellowship. A place to present ourselves to the Lord; a place to bring our tithes and demonstrate our belief in His ownership of all we have.
Check out the right sidebar for a bunch of these great signs!
The blood of Jesus is completely unique, in that no blood from Adam’s stain of sin was mixed with His. The design of God’s creation even disallowed the blood of a mother to mix with the blood of the baby (as evidenced in the placenta on the uterine wall, without mixture).
Completely rare. Completely unique, one-of-a-kind. Completely precious.
1 Pet 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (KJV)
- THE VALUABLE, COSTLY, LIBERATING, RELEASING BLOOD OF CHRIST
- REDEEMED = lutroo (loo-tro’-o)
1) to release on receipt of ransom
2) to redeem, to liberate by payment of ransom
- PRECIOUS = timios (tim’-ee-os); valuable, costly, honored, esteemed
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (KJV)
- THE FORGIVING BLOOD OF CHRIST
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (KJV)
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (KJV)
- THE WASHING, RELEASING BLOOD OF CHRIST
WASHING =luo (loo-o)
1) to loose any person (or thing) tied or fastened
2) to loose one bound, that is, to unbind, release from bonds, to set free
I Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV)
· THE CLEANSING, PURIFYING BLOOD OF CHRIST
CLEANSES = katharizo-
1) to purify from wickedness
2) to free from guilt of sin, to purify
3) to consecrate by cleansing or purifying
Titus 3: For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJ)
- What are we heirs of? What have we inherited? What do we have to show for it?
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (NKJ)
…for all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ. (WEY)
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
… and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being remolded into full knowledge so as to become like Him who created it. (WEY)
11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
[As many as be perfect] As many as are thoroughly instructed in divine things, who have cast off all dependence on the law and on every other system for salvation, and who discern God calling them from above by Christ Jesus; be thus minded; be intensely in earnest for eternal life, nor ever halt until the race is finished.
- be ye perfect– thoroughly instructed, deeply experienced.
- <Heb. 5:14>: but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, teleioon (grk 5048), the perfect– those who are thoroughly instructed and experienced in Divine things. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect– as have entered fully into the spirit and design of the Gospel, be thus minded, namely, Forget the things which are behind, and stretch forward along the mark for the prize. (from Adam Clarke Commentary)
John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself; but the Father who abides in me, he does the works. (DBY)
the Father who is in me all the time does his works. (BBE)
the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (KJV)
the Father dwelling within me carries on His own work. (WEY)
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
That He simply loves you, wants to lavish love upon you, wants to give you entrance into eternal life.
That, though He was angry at sin, His anger has been appeased by the blood sacrifice of Jesus. And having done that, He is no longer angry. Is that right? And He has made you right with Him. Is that right?
- Are you always trying to get right? Or can simply believe that you are right through the right-ness that is of God by the blood of His Son?
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (NKJ)
Rom 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” (NKJ)
—10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,
12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,
15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (NKJ)
2 Cor 9:6 Remember this– a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
7 You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (NLT)
STINGINESS LEADS TO POVERTY
Prov 11:24 It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. (NLT)
STINGINESS IS REBUKED BY THE MASTER
Matt 26:7 During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste of money,” they said.
9 “She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor.”
10 But Jesus replied, “Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? (NLT)
LIBERALITY IN GIVING LEADS TO PROSPERITY
Prov 11:25 The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. (NLT)