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Friday, December 28, 2012

"Faithful in Little Things"

(part 1 of 2)

“He who is faithful in a very little thing, is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little thing is dishonest and unjust also in much.”                                                                                                                              Luke 16:10 (Amplified)

Recently I have been reading a book about prayer that has a lot of references in it regarding the Prophet Daniel. As I read about Daniel I was struck by an idea the writer mentioned that made me think about this passage from Luke. In Daniel 2:48 we read:

“Then the King placed Daniel in a high place and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men”


In a tremendous miracle God exalted Daniel from a simple Hebrew slave to Governor! However this miracle did not happen on a whim. It had its beginnings in Daniel 1:3-20. Here we read that the king ordered that young men without physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, and quick to understand be chosen to serve in the king’s palace.  Daniel was among those chosen and was assigned a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Daniel 1:8 tells us:

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.”

The official overseeing Daniel was hesitant fearing that Daniel would look in poorer health or malnourished if he allowed him to follow these dietary laws and in turn anger the king. However, God caused the official to show Daniel favor and after testing him for ten days Danel 1:15 says:

 “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.” Daniel was faithful in keeping what would have seemed to many as little dietary laws, but God honored his faithfulness and commitment by exalting him contrary to reason to a place of authority.


.Pastor Scott Burr


Friday, December 21, 2012

"The Angels' Christmas Message"

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

                                                                                                                           Luke 2:10-12

Last Sunday, our church presented a Christmas play entitled “Angels on Assignment.” It was different from the kid’s presentations we have done in the past. It was packed full of the common characters you would expect, like, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wise men, but it was told from the vantage point of the Angels assigned to oversee Jesus’ birth.

It really stirred something in me. I never really took time to consider what the angels must have thought about what was happening. They must have watched with wonder as God’s plan to save mankind unfolded. In fact we read in 1 Peter 1:10-12:

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”

This group of witnesses to His birth is unique in that they were with Him before He came.
This made me even more curious, not just to what they must have thought, but what they had to say! We read about them on four occasions just prior to the birth of Christ. An angel of the Lord visits Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, who would be the forerunner of Jesus. An angel also visits Mary, Joseph and the shepherds keeping watch over the sheep near Bethlehem. All of them brought a message from God. That message was “Do not be afraid!”

Powerful words that each of them needed to hear as they faced a very common enemy…Fear! Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of failure, pain and even death. The same kinds of fear that we face today! You can’t turn on the television or open the newspaper without reading stories that usher fear into our hearts like the horrendous shooting in Connecticut, the devastation of hurricane Sandy, the looming war in the Middle East, to the financial crisis facing our own nation. This is not to mention the personal struggles we face daily. Many are facing loneliness, job loss, addictions, financial uncertainties, and marital problems. Fears that can cripple and paralyze us. Yet, in the midst of it, God sent the angels with a message of hope… “Do not be afraid…A Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord.”  Just like with the shepherds of old, the angels are pointing us to Jesus. Why? Because they know that in Him we can find healing for our broken hearts, peace for our anxious minds, and rest for our weary souls. They know this because they knew Him before He came to earth.

In the face of all the uncertainties, we need not be afraid. Because lying in the manger is the answer to all our fears “Emmanuel- God with us.”  We simply must come to Him. Just like the Wise men and the shepherds, we must come and kneel before Him to find the comfort we need. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28:

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

So if you are overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, depression, discouragement and hopelessness, gather them up and come and kneel before Jesus. He is waiting to give you the rest your heart is longing for.


Pastor Scott Burr



Friday, December 14, 2012

“The Prophets Preach the Birth of Christ”

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”- which means, “God with us.”

                                                                                                            Matthew 1:22-23

 The Christmas story is one in which we have heard preached a hundred times, viewed in various plays and productions, heard bellowed by choirs and singers, and witnessed in the paintings of many great artists. We are so blessed, in the day in which we live, to be able to look back upon the fullness of Christ’s coming and proclaim the miracle of His birth.

Yet, I fear that we have become so immersed in the Christmas events that we have lost our “wonder”! And worse yet we have lost the message of Christ’s birth among the busyness, shopping and holiday parties. There is a message of hope that is being overshadowed and overlooked.  A message that the O.T. prophets only had bits and pieces of, nevertheless, they found hope in the small portions they received. In the book of Matthew, the writer pulls together several quotes from Old Testament prophets that give a glimpse of this magnificent moment. No prophet is given the whole account, but just a piece of the puzzle regarding the coming of Jesus Christ. Each prophet is given a glimpse of hope in the midst of a time of distress.

When God showed the Prophet Isaiah that the virgin would be with child and they would call him Immanuel; the house of David was being attacked by the King of Aram. Isaiah 7:2 tells us:

“…so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest were shaken by the wind.”

It is in the midst of these attacks that God chose to give hope to His people by revealing the coming of their Messiah. The same is true in the times of the prophet Micah. Israel is under siege being held captive within her own walls. Israel’s rulers are being threatened, when God announces through His prophet Micah:

“But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will rule over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah brought a word of hope to a people under great duress. However it was not only during times when Israel was under attack from an outside enemy that God endeavored to send a message of hope, but also when their greatest enemy was themselves. In the days of Hosea the prophet, God sent him to a nation that was steeped in wickedness. He was sent to a nation that had reaped evil and eaten the fruit of deception. Nevertheless, God spoke through this mighty prophet a word of hope:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

                                                                                                Hosea 11:1

Each of these messages infused hope into the hearts of God’s people. Even though they did not see the event that we celebrate, the message was not lost on them. In fact, one could argue that they got more mileage from their piece of the puzzle than many of us do being able to see the whole story. The message, regardless when it was spoken remains unchanged, it is a message of hope; a message to those who are under attack from illness, marital problems and financial pressures. It is a message to those who are sieged by anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. It is a message to those who are steeped in wickedness and see no way out. It is a message to those who are being held captive by addictions, bitterness and unforgiveness.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ! He is the source of our hope! Israel’s future changed when they got their eyes off the circumstances that surrounded them and fixed their eyes on their coming Messiah… Jesus. Fix your eyes on Jesus and may the message of Christmas come alive in you this year!

Pastor Scott Burr

(Check our Pastor Scott's Book on Covenant marriage entitled "Bound by God" on Amazon.com)


Friday, December 7, 2012

"Forfeiting Our Forgiveness"

part of the "Hard Teachings" series

(Part 2 of 2)

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

                                                                                                Colossians 3:13

When we receive God’s forgiveness we are not simply receiving a pardon for our iniquities, but we are becoming a conduit of forgiveness to others. Jesus, when teaching His disciples to pray, said:

“Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.”

                                                                        Matthew 6:12

And again in In Luke 6:37, Jesus said:

 “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Jesus ties His forgiveness with our willingness to forgive. This is how we know that we are truly experiencing God’s forgiveness. We forgive as the Lord forgave us! Our unwillingness to forgive others demonstrates that we did not truly receive the forgiveness Christ purchased for us. We are still in sin!

How can we say Jesus Christ chose to forgive us of our sins, although we did not deserve it, yet not model that same forgiveness towards others? There is a story in Matthew 18 about a servant that owed his master ten thousand talents (that’s like a million dollars), but was unable to pay it back. The servant pleaded with him and Matthew 18:27 says:

The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.”

However, once the servant left, he found a fellow servant that owed him money (just a few dollars, compared to what he had owed) and he grabbed him and choked him demanding that he pay him back.  His fellow servant pleaded with him for mercy, but he refused and had the man put in prison.

When the other servants saw what happened they told the master. The master was furious. In anger, he turned the servant over to the jailer to be tortured, until he could pay back all he owed. Jesus closed this parable with this statement:

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

In a tremendous act of selfishness, disregarding the sacrifice made by his master on his behalf, this man refused to give to someone else what the master extended towards him. In doing so, he forfeited his forgiveness. How many Christians today are forfeiting their forgiveness because of their unwillingness to forgive others?

(Also check our Pastor Scott's covenant marriage workbook "Bound by God"  on Amazon)

Pastor Scott Burr