Original Super Bowl

All we heard yesterday was that this was the 50th year for the Super Bowl.  I would take issue with that.  It may have been the 50th year for the NFL Super Bowl, but the Original Super Bowl goes back way further than 1966.  It goes back to a time recorded in John’s gospel.  Jesus had gathered his disciples together in an upper room for a last meal. Peter would soon deny him, Judas would soon betray him, Pilate would was his hands of him, and on the story goes. It was the last meal, it was his last shot at Judas.  What would you have done, Judas needed a fire and brimstone sermon. He needed a straight up hardnose sermon about loyalty and friendship.  But instead of that Jesus takes a towel and a bowl of water and begins to wash the feet of the disciples.  He could have taken a sword and forced Judas, rather he took a bowl/towel and washed him.  That was the FIRST SUPER BOWL in my opinion. It should not surprise us that this is the first super bowl, it started with his servant heart and attitude.The winner of yesterday’s game can talk about and boast of greatness, but Jesus had a different opinion concerning greatness. Greatness in his mind is not about beating someone on the field of play or the field of battle.  Jesus knew and taught that greatness comes through serving others. Matthew 20:26 and Mark 10:43 both tell us that greatness comes through serving others.  “If anyone wants to be great among you, they must be your servant.”  Greatness is not about brute strength, how fast you can run, how hard you can hit, or how far you can throw. Greatness is found in being a servant. Greatness is not always the starting quarterback, lineman, or linebacker. True biblical greatness may be found in the equipment manager or the medical trainer.  They serve long and tireless hours most folks never realize and no reporters ever ask them for interviews. 
The good news is that anybody can be great,  you can be great.  Greatness is in your grasp.  Anybody can be great because anybody can be a servant.
How will you be great this week. Be great this week.  Make this a week of greatness. Be great by encouraging others. Be great by fixing a meal for an elderly person. Be great by visiting a nursing home/hospital.Be great by sending a note of encouragement. Be great by picking up someone who doesn’t have a ride to church/ Dr. Office/ Grocery store.
Be great by volunteering for a ministry at church. Be great by seeing someone in need and trying to meet the need.
Be great by tutoring a child with home work. Be great by sharing an intentional act of kindness with someone.
Be great by denying self and serving others.That is what the SUPER BOWL that Jesus talked about really means.
Greatness comes by serving.

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

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DON’T TOUCH THAT

I preached a brand new sermon this morning taken from 2 Cor. 6:14-18
The title was, “Hot Stoves and Other Things We Should Not Touch”
When was the first time somebody ever yelled at you, “DON’T TOUCH THAT”
I think for me it was as a child when I stood in front of a hot stove and my mother had a panic attack. There have been scores and scores of other warning that said, ‘”DON’T TOUCH THAT”.  Some of them happened when visiting a farm that had an electric fence that was turn on, and the sign read “Don’t Touch.  Scores of things like waiters in restaurants,  museums, garage mechanics, all post signs “Do Not Touch.”
Yes, even a freshly painted wall with wet paint will have a “Don’t Touch” sign.  
There is one of two reasons why those signs appear,  1.)  To make you miserable,takeaway your rights, and pleasures, or 2) protect you from disaster, brokenness, pain, and getting burned.  
I would have to side with the latter.  With that being said let me asked you this question: If people you don’t even know would go to such extremes to protect you and keep you safe, how much more will your heavenly father do to protect you from harm.  He sent his only son, to love us and show us the way.  Part of the problem is that we live in the most selfish and self-centered society in the history of the human race.  We must realize that the prohibition of things, the THOU SHALT NOT’S, are not for our punishments but rather for our protection.  I remember years ago when cars did not come with seat belts, and people starting fussing that they would become standard equipment on cars, I heard people say, “Well, they aren’t going to make me wear my seat belt, I have the right to not
wear seatbelts if I don’t want to.”   Maybe things are forced on us cause we don’t know any better.
vs. 17B reads “Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. Being a child of God means that we are set apart and
called out etc.  
Being called out, separation is not so much an outward act, as it is an inward attitude.  To be in the world but not of the world Jesus said no one can serve two master, if Paul was going to be a new creature in Christ  then he had to leave the old ways.
If the prodigal was going to live into his newness he had to leave swine land and separate himself from the pigs. He had to go with new friends, eat at a different table, and abide at a new home.  
We have two competing forces coming for us. The enemy is there to lure us not to a burning stove, but a burning hell, and we have a loving heavenly father who is not out to lure us but to love us.  He loves us enough to tell us not to touch unclean things,
Remember the tree in the garden,  He loves us enough to tell us NO.  Don’t eat of the fruit.    “Don’t Touch”
As my friend Ken Smith says, “…..that is what the book says and the book never lies”.
I really like the Message Translation  of 2 Cor. 6:14-18
Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong?
That’s not partnership: that’s war.  Is light best friends with dark?  Does Christ go strolling with the devil?  Do
trust and mistrust hold hands?  Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple?  
But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives.  God Himself put it this way:
I’ll live in them, move into them:
I’ll be there God and they’ll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise: 
leave it for good, ” says God. 
Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.
I want you for myself. 
I will be a father to you:
you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
The word of the Master, God. 

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

The Train Of Life

The Train Of Life.  
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.
However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. 
As time goes by, other people will board the train, and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life.  Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.
This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos. goodbyes, and farewells. 
Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery to every one is: We do know at which station we ourselves will step down.
So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.  It is important to do this because when the time comes
for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.  
I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life.  Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.
Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

Are you listening….Do you hear it ?

All four gospels record various parts of the story where Peter cuts off the ear of the Chief Priest’s 
servant.  Luke and only Luke tells us of a miraculous healing that Jesus preformed after he told Peter
to put up his sword.  Jesus touched this man who John tells us was named Malchus.  Malchus truly had a miracle ear.
There are times that I go way to long without hearing from God.  I need him to touch my ears so that I can hear clearly from him.
How about you?  Do you need him touch your hearing too.  So many times we have to put up with noise, sounds, voices, cheers, boos, and
you know…..I would encourage you to ask God to touch your hearing/ear’s.  
When we have not listened to that still small voice we forget who we are
We loose our identity
We forget his love for us and for others
We become judgmental
Our struggles become bigger      
Join with me this week in some intentional prayer asking God to restore our hearing so we will not miss what he wants to say to us.
Join me this week to intentionally listen and expect to hear Gods voice.
I have a friend who recently told me that one of the best things he has done is to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his office door.
You may want to try that or some other way to guard your time with God.   

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

Zephaniah 3:17

The Old Testament book of Zephaniah (one of the minor prophets) records some great words 3:17 says “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty
 Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament contained and the New Testament is the Old Testament explained.  Zephaniah 3:17
is explained in John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The little word SO has a huge meaning.  So means “to a great extent”  God went to a great extent and extreme measure” for you because of his love for you 
This is God’s gift for you, if you unwrap this gift you will find something that will cure the blues that come your way anytime of the year.
1. God is with you—he is not a distant God.  His very name Emmanuel means “God with us.”  I love the translation that says “The word became flesh and move into the neighborhood.”  God is with you seen or unseen. he is the ever present help in time of trouble.
2. He is the mighty warrior who saves.  We can let him fight our battles for us, we can rest in him for the outcome. When we face battles in our marriage, our jobs, our health, and on the list goes. the victory come through him.  We are more than conquerors   
3.  He takes great delight in you.  He loves you, he even likes you.  As Ken Smith often says, “If God had a refrigerator he would have your picture on it.” You bring a smile to his face.  
4.  In his love he will no longer rebuke you.  Sometimes we have a hard time feeling like we measure up.  We all know people who have been ridiculed, made fun of. etc. God is not one who will ever make fun of us   When the world tells us that we don’t measure up, God sent his son to tell us about the Father’s forgiveness.   
5.  He will rejoice over you with singing.  God thinks that you are pretty special , he not only takes delight in you, he rejoices over you.  
I hope that as you have read these words you have realized just how much God loves you, he is head over heels in love with you, he wants a committed relationship with you.
Receive his love , receive his gift,  His love will chase away the Christmas blues and the summer time blues as well.
Remember  in HIM you are UNDEFEATED.

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

Advent Season

Well,
It is December, are you ready, are you prepared, are you already overwhelmed? Advent is the time when we concentrate on the baby who became a boy who became a man who was a person who has always existed…It is strange but true and let’s ponder this truth during Advent.
Advent is a season of getting ready. Preparation is a part of the season.  In the secular world, we prepare by making a list of gifts we plan to purchase, checking that list over and over.  Then we plan the
trips, routes, and stops.  Then get on the internet and do cyber shopping, and finish by doing some local
small business patronizing.  We drop in a few bucks when we hear the bell ringers of the Salvation Army.  
We go to office, choir, or neighborhood parties. We send cards, bake cookies, go to open houses.
We wrap presents, decorate trees, put up lights, and wear Christmas sweaters.  That pretty well covers it.
How behind do you already feel?   
All of those things are good and have their place, but there is more to it than the items listed above.  
Joseph and Mary had travel plans, and hectic schedules…..and Mary pondered these things in her heart.
A part of getting ready is pondering, be sure to take some time to ponder the things of God this Advent Season
Ponder that God Loves You.  John 3:16
Ponder that God has sent you a savior.
Ponder that God sent you a redeemer.
Ponder that God sent Jesus for you and the rest of the world.
Ponder that the infinite came in the form of an infant. 
Ponder that the uncommon arrived in the common place.
Ponder that the HIGH one came through the LOWLY.
Ponder that HOPE has come for the Hopeless.
Ponder that the only begotten came for those who feel forgotten
Ponder that unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulder, 
and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
There is a lot to do before the baby comes, we must be prepared, and that is what Advent is all about.
Among the things that we are called to do in this time of preparing we need to 
1.  Repent   that was the message of John the Baptist  Luke 3:2-6
2.  Rearrange   examine your priorities and see if they are in their proper places.
3.  Rejoice for unto you a child is born, and a son is given.

Have a great week, remember that in HIM you are UNDEFEATED……

On the Journey,
Randy Brown

When struggles come….

I want to encourage those of you who are struggling to know that,  “When things seem to be falling apart, they are really just falling into place”.  Hold on to him who is holding on to you.
1 Peter 5:6-11 says: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 
Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.  Be alert, and of sober mind. your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. and the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be glory for ever and ever. During this Advent/Christmas season think about the baby, who became a boy, who became a man, who was the one who has always existed…… Emmanuel.  God with Us. Amen.

On the Journey,
Randy Brown