We are excited to announce some new features to the blogsite. As more and more readers are viewing from foreign countries we have added the translate feature to the site. Our readers can also now choose to have the blog emailed to them, and they can search the blog by keywords on various topics. We hope that this makes the site more manageable for you. God Bless.

Hear current audio messages by Pastor Scott Burr at:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

“That Your Faith Not Fail”

(Part 1)

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:31-32

Jesus is eating the Passover meal with His disciples, when in the midst of the feasting He announces that one of them is going to betray Him. Before long they began questioning among themselves which of them it might be, which then led to a dispute, among them, over who was the greatest. As they bickered among themselves, Jesus weighed in and said to them:

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Luke 22:25-30

Up to this point in their walk with Christ, the disciples had faced very little opposition. They had stood by Jesus in His trials, but they had not yet tasted the bitterness of persecution. In fact, the times Jesus had sent them out (prior to this) had been amazingly fruitful as they preached the gospel, healed the sick and cast out demons. Luke 10:17 tells us that:

“The seventy two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

Jesus cautioned them though that this would not always be the case. In Luke 5 when Jesus was asked why His disciples did not fast like the Pharisees and John’s disciples He relied:

“Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken and then, in those days, they will fast.”

Luke 5:34-35

Jesus was about to “leave the earth” and in doing so would confer the Kingdom to His disciples. So He equipped them with the authority of His name and the power of the Holy Spirit to assume the spiritual responsibility of spreading God’s Kingdom in the earth. They were about to eat and drink at “His table”, but not the banqueting table, instead they would be introduced to the table of suffering. When James and John desired to sit at His right and left hand in the Kingdom, Jesus said:

“You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

Matthew 20:22

They both answered: “Yes” and Jesus responded:

“You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right and left is not up for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Matthew 20:23

He had been trying to prepare them for what was going to be the biggest spiritual shock of their lives.

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

(Part 2)

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.”
John 8:7-9

Like this woman, there are many people who are afraid to approach Christ because they are fearful of being condemned. They approach Jesus the same way the priests would approach the Ark of the Covenant. They would enter once a year, with fear and trembling, beyond the veil to make atonement for sin; fearful of being struck down as they placed the blood on the altar. However, as the woman caught in adultery stood there in her shame Jesus straightened up and asked her:

“Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:10-11

The good news today is that God in His great love made a way for us to come to Him and receive mercy. We can now enter the inner sanctuary, behind the curtain. We enter by a new and living way, opened for us through the curtain, that is Christ’s body. Jesus went before us into the Holy Place on our behalf and made atonement for sin.

“He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Hebrews 9:12

We can now draw near to God with full assurance of faith. He desires for us to come to Him. He is not waiting to condemn us, but rather waiting to extend His precious mercy toward us if we will come in humility.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Maybe you need God to do something in your life that you don’t deserve. You, yourself, created the mess you are in, either by ignorance, willful disobedience, rebellion or unrestrained sin. Your marriage is a wreck because you were unfaithful. Your finances are a mess because you were a poor steward. Your kids are running wild because you were disengaged. Your without a job because you were chronically late. Like the adulterous woman, you have no defense for your actions. All you can do is repent and throw yourself on the “mercy” of God. Can I tell you, that is precisely where God wants to meet you. He wants to meet you in the place of mercy. His Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for our sins. Through the blood of His Son, God made a way for us to approach Him to receive mercy. The Judgment Seat of Christ is very real, but it holds no fear over those who have come first to the mercy seat…because mercy triumphs over judgment.

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

“Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment”

(Part 1)

“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?”

John 8:1-5

The Pharisees had once again skillfully manipulated the situation in an attempt to trap Jesus. They waited eagerly to hear what Jesus would say. Would he reject the Law of Moses and give them a basis for accusing him? Would he agree that she must be stoned and position himself with the other religious leaders of his day? What would he have to say in the face of this woman’s blatant sinfulness?

As he stooped down to write on the ground they kept pressing him for an answer, questioning him, and prodding him to take a position. And although they were wanting to “know” for all the wrong reasons, there stood among them a woman who, too, was anxiously waiting to hear what Jesus had to say! This woman was a sinner. These were not fabricated charges. She had been caught in the act of adultery. She had willfully and knowingly transgressed God’s Law. She was well aware that if she was ever caught, it meant she would be stoned to death. She makes no defense for her actions. The Pharisees seized the opportunity and dragged the woman before Jesus for judgment.

All of this played out in the Temple Courts where just a few hundred feet away was the Holy of Holies. At one time, the Holy of Holies had housed the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the Ark was the very Law of Moses to which the Pharisees had made reference. It was here that the High Priest would enter ,once a year, to make atonement for the people. The blood was applied to the lid of the Ark, known as the Mercy Seat. It is the place where God promised to meet them:

“There, above the mercy seat between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”
Exodus 25:22

The mercy seat depicts for us how mercy and grace overshadow the Law. Judgment and death were the penalty for sin, but mercy could be found through grace and faith in the blood. God established the mercy seat as the place He would meet and commune with His people. It was the place where sins were atoned and redemption imparted. God desires to meet us in a place of mercy where He can extend His grace toward us.

Here in the Temple Courts Jesus straightened up and said:

“If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7

He did not minimize the severity of her sin. Nor did He trivialize the weightiness of the Law. Rather, He chose that His first encounter with this woman be at the mercy seat rather than the judgment seat. God never brings people to judgment without first extending His hand of mercy.

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Remaining In Christ

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
John 15:1-4

It’s important to notice that it is the “branch” that must bear fruit. Never do you read where the gardener “cuts” or “prunes” the vine to make the branches bear fruit. The vine has already demonstrated and proven to the gardener it’s ability to give life. So any lack of fruit bearing is not on the vine side. So what must a branch do to enjoy a fruitful life?

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be me disciples.”
John 15:7-8

God’s Word is life blood to the branch, just as blood coursing through my veins is life to my body. My arm is like a limb. It is attached to the trunk of my body. The blood passes from my heart, located in the trunk, to my arm ensuring life to the limb. If you cut off blood circulation to my arm, eventually my arm will wither. Cut yourself off from God’s Word and eventually you will wither. God’s Word cleans us and keeps us pruned. Hebrews 4:12 describes God’s Word like this”

“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

We will wither like an arm with no blood flow, if we do not allow God’s Word to ebb through every corner of our lives. However, remaining in Christ is more than just remaining in His Word. It is also remaining in His love!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

John 15:9

Jesus is very specific about what that entails. He tells us in verse 10 that: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s command and remain in His love.”

Just as my arm needs life-giving blood flowing to it to make it viable, my arm must also be exercised! If you fail to use your arm, even with proper blood flow, your arm can still wither and become unusable. Remember fruit is the outward testimony of a life connected with Jesus. This outward evidence in manifest in our obedience to God’s Word. As we live out the Word, that is flowing through us, we demonstrate our love for God. By exercising God’s Word in our lives, we reveal ourselves to be friends of God.
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:14-16

God recognizes the fruit that is born out of the vine. As the master gardener, He can identify what fruit is being born out of a life connected to Jesus and what fruit is being born out of a connection to something else. Matthew 7:17-20 declares:

“Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit . Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

God’s desire for us is to bear good fruit. Fruit that will last. You can live a fruitful life if you remain in His Word and remain in His love.

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com