3/21/17 – The Principle of Faithfulness – Samuel Burger

“The Principle of Faithfulness”

Joel Prusak was an employee at the ice cream chain Dairy Queen. One day, as he was serving customers their food, he noticed that a blind man had dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the floor. A lady standing in line quietly bent down and put the twenty dollars into her own pocket. Young Joey Prusak approached the lady, asking her to give the twenty-dollar bill back to the blind man. She refused, quite aggressively, claiming it was her own. And then Joey did something very generous. Quietly, he opened up his own wallet and handed the blind man a twenty-dollar bill of his own. The man took the money gratefully, and the Dairy Queen resumed normal business.

A customer in line observed the whole episode and sent an e-mail to the Dairy Queen management, informing them of Joey’s act of generosity. The DQ management then posted about it on Facebook, and the event went viral. A couple of days later, Joey received a call from the billionaire Warren Buffet, a big investor in Dairy Queen. He thanked Joey for showing such integrity and asked him to come to the next Dairy Queen investors’ meeting. As Joey was an employee and representative of Dairy Queen, Buffet wanted him to be there as an integral part of the fabric of the organization.

Joey’s act of generosity inspired thousands of people to believe that they, too, could do something small to impact the world for good. It was a small act—with a huge impact. And so it is with God. He takes our small acts of obedience or kindness or goodness and multiplies them for his good, and ours. So don’t wait until you can do big things; start small. Sometimes small seeds grow into large trees, and sometimes they fail to thrive.[1]

The Bible says in Luke 16:10, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” If you want more you must be faithful in little. This principle of faithfulness can work for anyone.

  • If we are faithful with giving God will bring increase
  • If we are faithful with integrity God will bring increase
  • If we are faithful with ministry God will bring increase
  • If we are faithful with prayer God will bring increase

Our persistence and diligence toward God’s will in our lives will always bring reward. Never underestimate a small act of integrity and faithfulness. Do this:

  1. Be faithful where you are currently.
  2. Don’t complain.
  3. Always keep in mind promotion will manifest soon
  4. In everything you do, do it as to the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Don’t put the cart before the horse. Follow God’s way and serve faithfully in whatever He has called you to do. Nothing is ever small when it is done for the Lord.

[1] [Ken Costa, Know Your Why, (Thomas Nelson, 2016)]

1/25/17 – The Power of Serving – Samuel Burger

The Power of Serving
I once read about a person who falsely claimed he was a soldier in the army while wearing a deceased soldier’s uniform. However, a true soldier called him out on the inconsistencies of his uniform. The soldier yelled, “Stolen Valor,” a reference to the Stolen Valor Act, a law passed making anyone caught reaping tangible benefits from impersonating a service member subject to federal criminal charges. 

The problem with this person is that he wanted status over service. It was only a matter of time before he got caught. He wanted the servant’s position but not the servant’s attitude. There are people who want recognition and reward instead of humility and submission. Are you serving to get a position or are you serving because of God’s rightful position in your life? 
Jesus stated His mission in Matthew 20:28. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
We are to be marked by servanthood. Here are three signs you have a servant’s heart:
1.       You serve selflessly. Matthew 20:20-22 reads, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” Did you notice the reason behind this request was a desire for personal advancement? We must serve without expectations.
2.       You serve submissively. Matthew 20:23 reads, “So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” Jesus totally committed to the Father’s will. He was ready to serve all the way to the cross.
3.       You serve sacrificially. Jesus gave His life and we are to pick up our cross and follow Him. This is the definition of greatness and leadership.
Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, was once asked, “What is the hardest instrument to play?” Without a moment’s hesitation he replied, “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists. But to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem! And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”[1]
Perhaps we could find harmony by serving one another? Don’t you think?


[1] Ben Patterson, “A Faith Like Mary’s,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 87.

1/23/17 – Breakup To Breakthrough – Samuel Burger

You’ve got to have a breakup before you can have a breakthrough. These are the words the Lord gave me today. Our breakthrough is dependent upon our decision to breakup with what holds us back spiritually.

A breakthrough is the work of God manifesting a miracle or deliverance in a person’s life. However, we must make the decision to completely breakup with whatever is holding us back.

God wants us to breakup with old habits, old sins and old alliances. God only moves through a surrendered and committed heart. God says, “I want a relationship with you but if you refuse to breakup with unbelief there won’t be a breakthrough.”

I have found that people give up right before their breakthrough. They get tired of praying and serving God because they think their breakthrough is out of reach. It reminds me of the parable of the sower. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus refers to the seed as the word of God and the sower is the one who plants the word of God. The soil is about the receptivity of the word of God. In verse 16-17 Jesus says, “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure for only a time. Afterwards, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.”

There are people who give up when the least amount of trouble comes their way. You’ve got to keep going strong until you’ve gotten a breakthrough. Paul said in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

The harvest is your breakthrough. If you keep planting and nurturing the seed you will see the seed breakthrough the ground and get a harvest!

That’s why you’ve got to keep on giving, praying and worshipping! You’ve got to keep on keeping on!

Breakup with what’s holding you back and press toward your breakthrough. It was Jacob who wrestled with a Man in Genesis 32:24-26. Jacob told Him, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

Jacob was blessed. Some of you are letting go to soon! You need to press through the crowd like the woman who had the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). She was determined to get to Jesus.

God says, “Because you won’t breakup with old thinking you can’t discern the doors of opportunity I put in your lap.” You can’t think the same way and get different results.

It’s time to breakup! You’ve been in bondage with negativity and drama too long! Some of you may have a boyfriend or girlfriend that’s keeping you back spiritually. If they don’t want God or His family then breakup. Your breakthrough is right around the corner!

The moment you breakup with what displeases God will be the start of your breakthrough! Glory to God! You must make a decisive commitment. God will move for those who let Him.

You’ve got to breakup before you breakthrough.

1/11/17 – Priorities – Sam Burger

Priorities

If you have your priorities in order you’ll see the will of God flow in your life. The Bible teaches about priorities. God admonishes us to seek Him first and things will come together in our lives. We have all at one time or another put the cart before the horse. In other words, we tried to make things happen in our own efforts by seeking other things first. 

I was reading preaching magazine and came upon this letter about priorities written by a pastor. 

“In 1988, Greg Simmons, a brilliant young businessman whose ideas helped revolutionize American life insurance, flew to New York to make a presentation to Board members of AT&T. It was a deal with a commission potential worth more than one million dollars. At the last minute, the AT&T CEO was delayed. He requested that Greg make his proposal the following day. Greg politely explained that was not possible. ‘Tomorrow,’ he said, ‘is my daughter’s fifth birthday. I promised her I’d be at her party.’ 

“For Greg Simmons, his daughter’s birthday party was more important than a million-dollar deal. I wonder how many big-time CEOs have played second fiddle to a little girl’s birthday party. I also wonder if Greg had any idea he would die in a mountain fall a few months later. 

“Priorities! At the time, some people said Greg’s priorities were all out of whack. But when you stop and think about it, none of us knows when we might attend the last birthday party for someone whose love we value beyond price. I was Greg’s pastor. He was my best friend. His example of well-placed priorities taught me a lesson I hope I never forget!”

I hope this is a lesson for us too. Let’s always be mindful of what is important and valuable. What’s your priorities? 

1/7/17 – Prophetic Declaration – Samuel Burger

Prophetic Declaration

Have you ever heard of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel chapter 37? This factual story amazes me because of the intensity Ezekiel must’ve felt. He’s in a valley surrounded by bones of individuals and God asks him if those bones can live. The prophet said, “O Lord God, You know.”

Then God asks Ezekiel to prophesy to those bones. So He speaks directly to the dry bones word for word on what God told him to say. As Ezekiel was making a prophetic declaration, there was a noise and a rattling. The bones came  together and the skin covered them. Finally, at God’s command, Ezekiel prophetically declared that there would be breath in those bodies. Then what happened?

They stood on their feet and lived.

What was the point of this supernatural act? God was giving Ezekiel a concrete example of how He will restore Israel to their land after they have been saying, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.”

However, there was a link between Ezekiel’s prophetic declaration and the will of God. Prophecy is simply proclaiming God’s kingdom will in the earth. Prophetic declaration is so powerful that Jesus mentioned it in Mark 11:23-25. Solomon said that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Your words have creative power and when you match your words to God’s words there is a shift in the spiritual atmosphere.

Your breakthrough deliverance is found between God’s word and your prophetic declaration. As sons of God, we not only have asking power but affirming power. We must affirm what God has already did through prophesying.

Your miracle isn’t just around the corner. It’s actually in your mouth.

Everyday people are prophesying but it’s not always for God. Just take a listen to your co-workers, family and friends. Many people prophesy what Satan wants by complaining, etc. Listen to what they are saying. Pray for them. Equally important, pray for yourself!

As one minister put it, “Nothing ever happens in the kingdom without declaration.” It doesn’t matter who you are you can use your words to bring heaven’s reality into the earth!!! Go ahead and prophesy. Believe and confess the promises of God.

9/22/16 – Already – Samuel Burger

“Already”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

   1. The Father already blessed us

John Flavel gives a great illustration he heard on justification. I think it is a great illustration on what it means to be already blessed in Christ Jesus.

“My friend Dr. Roy Gustafson has the finest illustration of justification I have ever heard. It seems that there was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something happened to the motor of his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” So when he got back to England, he wrote the people a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.” That is justification.”

As believers, we aren’t trying to get something from God but have already received from God. We need to agree with Him through our words of faith that every spiritual blessing is already ours in Christ Jesus.  

In regards to blessing the Father for what He has done Charles Spurgeon makes this statement:

“We are not sitting here, and groaning, and crying, and fretting, and worrying, and questioning our own salvation. He has blessed us; and therefore we will bless him. If you think little of what God has done for you, you will do very little for him; but if you have a great notion of his great mercy to you, you will be greatly grateful to your gracious God.” Praise God!

   2. The Father already blessed us with every spiritual blessing

I don’t know how many spiritual blessings there are but I know justification is one mighty blessing! All you Bible scholars try to think of every spiritual blessing you can think of at this moment. If you did God still has more left! Thank the Lord for temporal blessings but we thank Him even more for endless spiritual blessings

   3. The Father already blessed us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

The location of our blessings is in Christ who is in heaven. The Holy Spirit came down and dwells in us so these spiritual blessings will bear witness in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has awakened us to the “already.” We should live daily in the “already.” If we never live in the “already” we will never live successfully in the present. We will never have confidence for the future if we don’t understand the “already.” We aren’t trying to get to heaven, we have “already” received heaven as a down-payment of our inheritance He “already” gave us. Many hardships and many difficulties from the flesh and the enemy but we always live in the “already.” Praise the Lord!  

 

8/9/16 – God Helps You Obey Him – Samuel Burger

Genesis 22:1-19
God Helps Us Obey Him

Introduction:

Have you been through a test before? Did you doubt that you could make it through the test? I’m sure you are no stranger to difficulty but what if I told you that God can provide you with the means necessary for you to obey Him through the tests of life? If you rely upon His word and trust Him, you will find His provision. There are times when God tests us but He provides us with the strength necessary to get through it and rewards us at the end of the test. We will find in this chapter of how God dealt with Abraham. We will discover that God’s dealing with Abraham is similar in how God deals with us as believers. If you look at Abraham, you will find the same principle of testing in your own life. I pray that this message will give you an understanding of how God wants to help you through the tests of life. We see that in the first verse that…
1.       The Test of Obedience V1-12

Abraham is tested by God. As believers, we experience testing times in our lives. The purpose of these trials is to confirm our faith. In James 1:2-3, James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” The trying or testing of our faith gives us patience. What does patience mean? Patience is the quality of forbearance and self-control which shows itself particularly in a willingness to wait upon God and his will. Abraham is passing the test because he is prepared by the promises of God and the promises of God has prepared Him for this particular test. What was the main promise God gave Abraham? We can read the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. It reads, “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Abraham knew that God cannot lie as Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2 tell us. Abraham had faith in God’s character. Abraham lived by the promises of God and not by what he naturally saw. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we are to live by faith and not by sight. Paul writes in Hebrews 11:8 on Abraham’s faithful obedience, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”He also mentions Abraham’s faith offering up Isaac in Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham’s faith was rooted in what God had told him beforehand and not in what he saw. He was patient because he knew God was able to raise Isaac up from the dead. It was through Isaac that the Seed would be born in order to provide redemption.

         This particular point in Abraham’s life is a representation of the tests we go through as believers. We know God doesn’t tempt anyone because James 1:13 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” God will never tempt us to do wrong but He tests us as believers to do right. Peter also had something to say about testing in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” So don’t think the tests are given to disprove you but to prove your faith.

However, God not only tests us but He allows us to be tempted. Notice I said, “Allowed.” God doesn’t tempt us but He allows temptation. Look at the example of Job in Job 1:6-12, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” Biblically speaking, God tests us and He allows temptation to come to us. He doesn’t tempt us to do evil.

          Warren Wiersbe shares wisdom on testing and temptation. “Learn to distinguish between trials and temptations. Temptations come from our desires within us (James 1:12-16), while trials come from the Lord who has a special purpose to fulfill. Temptations are used by the Devil to bring out the worst in us, but trials are used by the Holy Spirit to bring out the best in us.”
2.       The Provision of Obedience V13-14
 
At the end of the test, Abraham discovers God is Jehovah-Jireh, meaning, “The Lord Will Provide.” You’ll always discover a new aspect of God at the end of the test. Instead of Isaac being sacrificed, God provided a ram in his place. Isn’t it refreshing to know that the Lamb of God took our place? Jesus became the substitutionary sacrifice to redeem us. As the ram became the substitute so did Jesus become our substitute to redeem us from the power of sin, death and the grave. Hebrews 5:8 states, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” His obedience is our salvation and He learned obedience through suffering. Obviously, this is a type of what is to come. As Abraham offered his only son on Mount Moriah so did God send His only Son on Mount Calvary which is the same mountain range. Abraham seen the whole picture. He got a glimpse of the redemptive plan of God. Friends, God will provide you with the strength to obey His will. He will give you the strength to live in total surrender to His plan if you will trust in Him like Abraham did. If God can provide the sacrifice necessary to save you then He can provide you with the strength necessary to obey Him. His provision is always linked to obedience.
I read a story of Dr. Robert Schindler and his wife. They founded a mission hospital associated with radio station ELWA in Monrovia, Liberia. In their book Mission Possible they wrote, “For us, it was a continued exercise of faith that we would have the right drugs and supplies at the right time. We recall how much we counted on our X-ray machine, something we take for granted [at home]. We even had the opportunity to get an extra one when a friend of ours, a doctor with the U.S. Embassy, asked if we could use a portable X-ray machine. But then as the months dragged out, we knew it must be lost at sea. Then one day our big X-ray machine stopped working. We found it was a major problem which would take several months to fix. But that very afternoon, the ELWA truck pulled up to the hospital with a huge crate from port. You guessed it—it was the portable X-ray machine! We plugged it in, and it worked! We didn’t lose a day for X-rays.” If you are on mission from God He will provide you with the means necessary to carry out His will. He did it for Abraham and Jesus and he will do it for you. The Lord will always provide for you. Your willingness to obey during the test will always be met by the provision of our sovereign God.
3.       The Reward of Obedience V15-19
Also, God desires to reward those who are obedient to Him. Abraham was rewarded according to verse 18. It states, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” If we obey His voice, we will see the reward. Abraham was willing to choose God over anything else. Friends, God knows what is best for you and if you live in total surrender to God’s will for your life you will never lose. Even though the command from God seemed illogical, Abraham obeyed. The trials you go through is never wasted because the reward is greater than the trial. 1 Peter 5:10 states, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Job 23:10 harmonizes with this truth, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Today, we have the blessing of Abraham according to Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” If we live by faith alone we can receive all God has for us through Jesus Christ.
William Cowper wrote a hymn called, “The Lord Will Provide.”
The saints should never be dismay’d,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His aid,
The Saviour will appear.This Abraham found: he raised the knife;
God saw, and said, “Forbear!
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life;
Behold the victim there.”Once David seem’d Saul’s certain prey;
But hark! the foe’s at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His Word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait;
The promise may be long delay’d,
But cannot come too late.

Application:
Will you heed the call to salvation? God’s provision is stronger than any problem of sin. Are you worried? God has the answer. Are you paralyzed by fear? God has the answer. God is calling you sinner. What about those who are called to labor in the ministry? Are you still holding onto doubt? If God called you to it don’t you think He can provide you with His confidence? Don’t ignore the call of God. Obey like Abraham and you won’t lose. Surrender all to Him. Will you say, “Here I am” like Abraham? The provision is here and all you have to do is call upon Jesus to save you. Obey the call to salvation and the command to obey Him. You won’t lose. God will help you. Whatever situation you are in God will help you. He provides what you need but you need to place faith in Him. Come to the Provider. Let Him save you and use you as his willing vessel. Jehovah-Jireh can give you the strength obey Him if you trust in Him. Whatever the case, God provides.

8/2/16 – Follow Through – Samuel Burger

Follow Through

I remember playing basketball and my friends would tell me to follow through on my goal-shooting. They said if I would learn to follow through I would have a better chance scoring. The “follow-through” is all about continuing your arm movement after the ball is thrown. I played a better game because of it. My scoring was consistent because I didn’t let go of the ball too soon. I followed through.

When we are not confident in what God has called us to do or we halfway trust Him; we don’t follow through. We let go too soon. We give up too soon. Consider the Scriptures urging us to be consistent.

    • “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
  • “Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
  • “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
  • “As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.”
  • “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.”
  • “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”

Imagine being in Noah’s shoes. Noah was told to build a big boat because God was going to send a flood. Judgement was coming because God saw the earth was corrupt and filled with violence. Noah did everything God told him to do. God actually told Noah that he alone was righteous. Noah lead his family and was consistent in the will of God. His consistent relationship with God allowed him to follow through.

Abraham and Sarah were considerably old when Sarah gave birth to Isaac. However, Abraham didn’t waver at the promise of God. It was through Isaac that Jesus would be born. Abraham cooperated with the redemptive plan of God before Jesus was ever born. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” Abraham was consistent.

Daniel kept praying after the Babylonian government decreed no one could pray to Daniel’s God. Daniel followed through and he reaped a harvest of blessings. Daniel was consistent and intentional with his relationship with God.

Jesus followed through with the Father’s will by taking our sins and giving us His righteousness. If we follow His example, then we will reap an untold harvest of blessings.

 

7/27/16 – Who Are You Living For? – Samuel Burger

“Who Are You Living For?”

Out of the 26,639 people who completed the 2016 Boston Marathon, 72-year-old Fran Drozdz finished 26,639th. Dead last. The roaring crowds and official coronations had departed. Workers were still tearing down the stands and barricades when she crossed the finish line at 8:45 p.m.

But the real story is not her last place finish; it’s about who she was running for. Drozdz has run in more than 75 marathons throughout her life, and she ran the Boston Marathon this year for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her husband, who is currently battling cancer himself (for the third time), met her with a medal at the finish line. He had called the police earlier in the day, thinking his wife might have gotten lost or hurt. As one media outlet reported, “It turns out this race’s ‘loser’ is quite the winner.”

Who are you living for?

  • Job?
  • Self?
  • Others?
  • Popularity?

In the end, only what is done for Christ will last. Where are your priorities? What do you deem important? Are you living in complete abandon to the will of God?

No one likes to finish in last place. In any sport, last place is an embarrassment to most. However, in the journey with God, last place isn’t an embarrassment. It’s a joy. If I know I’m running for Christ, then that’s the only thing that matters. Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” It doesn’t matter how fast you get there. It only matters who you’re running for when you get there. I love the Scripture:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It’s about endurance and if you keep your eye on Jesus you will find He has His reward with Him to give you. After all, He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Who are you living for?

7/15/16 – Point Makers and Difference Makers – Samuel Burger

“Point Makers And Difference Makers”

There is a time for making a point but there’s also balance. I’ve found that making a point about an issue doesn’t really make a difference unless you’re willing to do something. With all social media outlets, there are a barrage of opinions but it seems those opinions never leave the digital into the real.

Many people are guilty of this but I’d like to confess I’ve been guilty of this before. I would tell others what to do and how they should do it but I really didn’t take any action. I convinced myself that I was taking action but in reality I wasn’t. It’s kind of like the fans in the stands who criticizes the coach. The fans have never coached a day in their life yet they are experts. I have sorely fell short of this in my life. So how can we make a difference instead of being obsessive about making our point?

  1. Take Action. Do something. Too much analysis leads to paralysis. A minister never ministered unless he or she did something to obey the Lord. God moves through people who move.
  2. Become The Solution Of Your Point. Alright, you’ve made your point many times on FaceBook and to your friends. Have you done anything about it? I preached a message recently on “Being the Church.” I mentioned that we can state the problem repeatedly or we can be the church. You only get what you put into it. If you’re tired of the church not being the church then be the church. It’s very simple. Nobody else will be the solution to your point unless you put the energy in being the solution also.
  3. Your Idea Needs Implementation. You’ve got a bunch of ideas but for some reason they are never implemented. It’s either you don’t have time or you just have fear. Regardless of the reason, you will have to learn how to utilize the idea into something that’s practical.

Have you ever met people that talked a really long time? Have you seen people that was ready to pour out their problems to you only to have you listen to them while they have no desire to do anything about it? It’s amazing what happens when you decide to stop talking about it and do it. That’s what you call results. It’s good to plan and be deliberate before making life-changing decisions but don’t put off what God is telling you to do today. Be daring. Be bold. Be obedient.

Let your life make God’s point through the Spirit!

7/6/16 – Shine-Share-Shape – Samuel Burger

Witness

Shine-Share-Shape

God has called us to shine His light and to share His word that will shape others into the character of Jesus Christ. How we live and how we share His message will be proportionate in molding others to be like Christ.

God is actually making His appeal through us. His appeal is to restore people back to Himself. He saw fit to have human instruments be His ambassadors. God gives His urgent request through us to reach others. God isn’t looking for someone to make the appeal for Him but to allow Him to make the appeal through us. How exactly is God making His appeal?

1. Through the Bible which is God’s revelation to humanity. All 66 books work in harmony with a reaching overall theme: Redemption. It was written over a period of 1,500 years by a number of authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. God worked through human instruments to deliver His written word. Although believers bear witness of its validity by God’s Spirit, there is physical evidence, archeological evidence and internal consistency. The Bible is the key to understanding God’s eternal plan for everything. Without it, there’s no way we can know God’s appeal.
2. Through proclamation and teaching God’s word. Father God works in us and then through us. God has given the universal church with His gifts. Through these gifts, people are drawn to Father God by the Holy Spirit. We proclaim the Good News and we teach others how to speak and demonstrate the Good News. From evangelistic media to church meetings, God is constantly making His appeal everyday through human instruments. There’s not a day that goes by that He isn’t making His appeal.

Who will go? Who will be God’s ambassador? Who will stand in the gap? Why not you? Why not now?

6/28/16 – Getting Over The Hurt – Samuel Burger

“Getting Over The Hurt”

We, as the church, often deal with spiritual health and rarely on emotional health. This is why it’s possible to see very spiritual people with poor emotional health. Have you ever wondered why people “act that way?” I’m assuming you said yes. This is what I’ve learned when it comes to emotional hurt.

1. Hurt people often harbor a victim mentality or a victim spirit.

2. Hurt people perceive every word and action directed toward them through their area of pain.  This is why it can be difficult to discuss things with them.

3. Hurt people are enormously sensitive.

4. Hurt people often overreact with outrageous emotion.

5. Hurt people only see their pain and have no idea that they are hurting others.

6. Hurt people open the door to demonic activity such as a controlling spirit or a controlling

7. Hurt people aren’t aware that the same thing they’ve been hurt with is the same thing they are

8. Hurt people usually don’t have healthy relationships.

We cannot use the actions of others as an excuse for ungodly behavior. Anyone with poor emotional health use their hurt to determine all their decisions and how they treat others.

I remember as a kid I scraped my knee riding a bicycle. Well, my Mother put Hydrogen Peroxide on the wound. As the wound began to heal and scab within a few days, I began picking at the wound until it started bleeding again. I was interrupting the healing process because I wouldn’t let my body heal the wound! Hurt people stay hurt because they won’t let the wounds heal. They pick at the wound with bitterness, unforgiveness and rage. A wound that doesn’t heal will eventually infect and spread to other parts of the body. So the longer you stay wounded the more susceptible you are to get emotional infection. You need to stop picking at your wounds and let them heal. You can bleed to death.

It’s true that hurt people hurt people, but it’s also true that you can take that hurt to God in prayer. The Bible says to cast your cares upon God for He cares for you. You’ve got to release them and let it go. If you don’t, every area of your life, including relationships, will divide. Don’t let hurt become your identity.

The Bible teaches we are spirit, soul and body. Don’t neglect your emotional/soul well-being. We can be healed from all hurt in Jesus name.

6/24/16 – Conquering Loneliness – Samuel Burger

“Conquering Loneliness”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

There are a number of things that can make us feel alone such as guilt and shame. Maybe you’re not happy with yourself or what you have done.

However, you can still be with people and be lonely. We must understand that accepting the love others offer to us is the way to knock down the walls of loneliness. You need:

1. Support
2. Friendship
3. Love
4. Community
5. Advice

As Solomon said, “If you fall alone you are in real trouble.” Your loneliness may be something you have become used to but it’s depriving you of the life God meant for you. As a result, misery sets in and you become angry and bitter. You can’t let how you’ve been mistreated lead you into ungodly behavior. You’ve got to start fresh. You have to believe in the love others have for you.

This “triple-braided cord” are your friends and God joining together to form a community that glorifies God. This community is not easily broken and will speed up the healing you need in your life.

6/17/16 – Doomsday Prepping – Samuel Burger

6/17/16 Doomsday Prepping

TheEndIsNear

Have you ever seen the TV show “Doomsday Preppers?” I’m sure you’ve probably at least heard of them. Perhaps you’ve heard of conspiracy theories? The list could go on and on when it comes to apocalyptic matters but I think there needs to be a balance. I think the focus can be too extreme or one-sided. Nevertheless, I think we should focus more on what God has to say about the end-times. Yes, I believe in the Book of Revelation because it is God’s history written in advance. It is the apocalypse or the unveiling of what’s to come. However, it’s my concern that we can be extreme talking about the kingdom of God that is to come instead of being the expression of the kingdom of God now.

We need to live as though He may come tomorrow but prepare as if He may not come back in 100 years. As a young teenager, I remember Y2K very well. Almost everyone I met was in a frenzy of how the world will never be the same. Granted, the world isn’t the same as it was before the year of 2000, but it still doesn’t negate the fact that there was fear in lots of people. I also remember how everyone of us held hands in a circle on New Year’s Eve and we made this statement in repeated unison, “Come Lord Jesus!” Obviously, the Lord didn’t come back and after we were done we all went back to our routine!

I said all that to say this. Let’s have a balance in our message. This balanced message conveys that Jesus is coming soon unexpectedly but He also wants us to continue building, preparing and planning until He comes again. It doesn’t do any good to prep for doomsday instead of prepping to meet our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know, I know. There’s a lot of bad things happening out there. It’s terrible. Recently, there’s been a terrorist attack killing 50 people in Orlando. Last year, Chattanooga suffered a terrorist attack killing 4 marines and 1 sailor. There’s much unrest in this nation and the world. If there ever was a time for the church to shine, it’s now. Everything is a mess but look who has the message! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. We know there will be a rapture of the church and there’s a Great Tribulation coming but let’s not forget this simple message of truth and love. I don’t know what will happen in the near future but I do know God is sovereign and I trust in that truth and in God the Creator and Redeemer.

Let’s face it. There could be way more years left here on earth which means there’s more time to reach people for Christ Jesus. We are looking for that great reunion which could take place tomorrow but we should also be seeking the lost at any cost. Let’s pray for the peace of Jerusalem (when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem you are actually praying for Jesus to come again because there can be no true peace without Him) but let’s also pray for more laborers and workers because the harvest is ready.

5/27/16 – Togetherness – Samuel Burger

5/27/2016  Togetherness

CWCWLogoiTunesSizeCommunity is key in the kingdom of God. Its more than just attending a church service but actually getting involved in some type of ministry. There are so many opportunities to experience the togetherness God desires for us. It is by our love for each other that the world will know that we are His disciples. Jesus prayed that we would be one even as He and the Father are one. However, this togetherness is not just about doing things but having a genuine relationship with each other while doing things for God. There are 4 togetherness principles that are essential for spiritual growth:

  1. Get Together: Hebrews 10:25 is clear upon getting together. Today, we think getting together with other believers is not important but getting together is highly important. Notice what the verse says, “not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.” He actually tells us to get together more.
  2. Go Together: Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” So not only do we need to get together but we must go together with one mission in mind.
  3. Give Together: What if we saw the success of others as our own? We should be known for our generosity. We have worn people out with words. How about we give them a breath of fresh air with acts of generosity. Also, we are to give a tenth of our income. Just think if the whole church body gave a tenth of their income? Think of the possibilities.
  4. Grow Together: I honestly believe if we don’t get together, go together and give together we will not grow together. We will remain spiritual babies if we don’t live in obedience to God. If we never take the time for togetherness, then we put a heavy load on those who are expressing these principles and commands in their lives. You can get all the information you can get on every subject in the Bible but until you apply what you know there will be no growth. What if the depth of your application of the word was more than the knowledge of the word?

I know getting together, going together, giving together and growing together doesn’t make you a Christian but it’s what Christians do. If you aren’t doing this, then maybe you should evaluate on why you aren’t doing these things.

5/23/16 – Interpreting Your Life – Samuel Burger

5/23/16   Interpreting Your Life

I deliver God’s word every week and it’s important for me to interpret the word of God through the proper context. From an objective standpoint, there has to be one interpretation God wants to deliver through a particular passage of Scripture. It’s my responsibility every week to rely upon the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the word of truth. If I have the wrong interpretation, then my attitude and application to life will be skewed.

However, the Bible isn’t the only book that needs proper interpretation. Our life needs proper interpretation. Your interpretation of life will either give you hope or despair. Everything that happens to us needs to be viewed in light of what God says. Remember, it’s not what happens to us that affects us; it’s how we interpret what happens to us. Are you ready for a life change?

• Interpret your failures, mistakes and sins through the eternal plan of God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” Philippians 1:6 says, “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” God has a plan and a purpose for your life but your interpretation of your life must agree with these verses. We have all failed but we must look at our shortcomings through the interpretation of redemption. We don’t look through this lens to continue in sin but to instill in ourselves hope so even in our mess we can rely upon a perfect God. This lens gives us the confidence we need and makes us God-conscious and not sin-conscious. The more you focus on your shortcomings the more you will come short but if you focus on what God says your life will align with His will! Your interpretation is a result of your focus.

• There will always be a daily battle to counter faulty interpretations. Paul gives the admonishment in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” Your mind needs to be reminded daily of God’s word because according to Scripture your mind is being saved. Your mind isn’t full of heaven so you need to be intentional about feeding your mind with the word of God.

Always remember hopeless situations only need a different interpretation based on God’s word.

Previous blogs by Pastor Sam can be found at:
https://samuelbrgr.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/redemption-and-scars/