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Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find a collection of past newsletters, upcoming events and other news about The Net Church of Huntsville, Alabama. If you would like to receive our email newsletter, you can easily subscribe here for our weekly update.
The first miracle, turning water into wine, Mary says, “Do whatever He tells you.” The second miracle, Jesus says to the official that his son will live, “The man took Jesus at His word and departed.” The third miracle, Jesus delivers a demon-possessed man and says, “Be quiet, come out of him.” On and on as Jesus heals the sick, changes the weather, and even raises the dead, He uses words, “Let down your nets. Give them something to eat. Peace, be still. Lazarus, come forth.” These are just a few phrases that set heaven and earth into miraculous motion.

His words are powerful! They are spirit and they are life. They are sharp enough to divide soul and spirit and they are discerning. His words create! They heal, rescue, light the way and lead us in the paths He has marked out for us. The apostles also had this unique ability. They spoke and miracles happened.

After the apostles died, the miracles, for the most part, died out with them. Why? Do miracles still happen today? Is there something we are missing? Is there some reason our words do not carry the same power as those of that first generation of believers? What must we do in order to speak powerful words that matter and release the miraculous?
Do you ever feel worthy of God’s grace? That is probably the better question. I never do. I can’t remember when I ever have. I’ve always been acutely aware of my sins. Even in my pride the awareness is there. This is something that most Christians and many nonbelievers struggle with. In many cases, it’s the one thing that keeps us from coming to God in the first place. Our enemy would love for us to believe one extreme or the other. He would have us convinced that we are completely worthy or unquestionably unworthy.

The truth is that we are unworthy of God’s acceptance but we are counted worthy because of the very grace that our shame pushes us away from. Once, when I was young, I was struggling with the guilt of a failed relationship and many foolish decisions that I had made. My Sunday school teacher at the time who later became a mentor to Lynnae and me asked me a question. She said, “Do you believe that God knows the future?” I said, “Sure I do.” She replied, “Then you believe that God knew about all the sins you would commit at the time He saved you. And He still saved you.” That piece of wisdom set me free, not to sin more but to be grateful for God’s grace and leave the shame of forgiven sins behind.
When you think of miracles, you probably aren’t thinking about someone simply talking. But, one of the greatest miracles took place in just that fashion. Men spontaneously began to speak in a language other than their native tongue and many other people from different places who spoke many various languages heard this new kind of speech and all understood it as it was being said. This happened when God poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Why do you think God did this particular miracle in the beginning when the church first received the power of His Spirit? Why did God use a miracle of communication to display his power? And why do so many try to recreate it in their own churches? What is the difference between that event and praying, using a “prayer language”?

It’s fascinating stuff and as always, we learn in order to do. Have you ever thought about speaking to God in this way? We will take a journey down this path Sunday as we begin our new series called “Louder Than Words.” It’s a look at the book of Acts. Don’t be nervous, we aren’t going to try and recreate that experience. I think you’ll be intrigued and challenged.
Why does the church always ask for money? How many times have you heard someone ask this question? My grandfather never went to church and he always said church people were hypocrites and were always asking for money. There is a good bit of truth in what he said. As I talked about a couple of weeks ago, we are all hypocrites in the church, until we stop sinning and completely obey God in every area of life. We say we believe in one thing and then in some cases, we act as if we don’t believe it at all. Sorry, but that is the definition of a hypocrite. And we ask for money because God is telling us to do things. Most of these things cost money.

The question we all ask in the church is how much should we give. There are two ways to ask this question. One way is to say, “God, everything I have is yours, what should I give and where should I give it”? The other way is to say, "what is the bare minimum that I must give”? The problem with the second way is that it assumes that everything I have is mine. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me”. Jesus carried His cross up a hill called Golgotha, which means “the place of the skull” because it had indentions on the side and looked like a skull. He laid his life down in that place and He calls us to do the same. We MUST carry OUR cross and lay our lives down in the place of the skull.

We must change how we think. We must change what we think. We must put others first. We must give ourselves, all of ourselves to God along with all we possess. It’s never a matter of what we give and what we keep but always a question of how God leads us to use all that He has placed in our hands. If we are grateful to be worthy stewards of God’s wealth and happy to direct it where He leads us, then money will not keep us from the kingdom. And we will be very blessed. Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than receive.” It really is! But if like the rich young ruler, we ask what must I do to inherit eternal life, which is just another way of saying, “what’s the minimum requirement, where's the threshold”, then we will not like the answer any more than he did. The answer? "Everything, I require everything.”

If you believe that God holds the universe in His hands, and you want all that He can give you, then it’s simple. You must give Him everything that you have. Most of us, even in the church, unfortunately, will walk away from this proposition because we have so much. And some of us will eagerly make the trade. But remember, God is not after your money, He is after your heart. “Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Life in Christ does not depend on the Bible. I’ve never heard another living soul in all my life say those words. But, it’s true. In the Christian culture, some among us have elevated the Bible so much that it has become more important to them than God Himself. Jesus said this to the Pharisees. “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39,40) My life in Christ depends on CHRIST, and so does yours. 
 
Satan has a dirty little trick that he plays on some believers. He gives them this religious idea that in order to be acceptable to God, you must know the Bible. He uses people who know the Bible but don’t know Christ to shove this very idea down our throats with the hope that we will feel condemned by it. But Jesus said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) Some use the scriptures as a weapon. They call it "the sword” as if it was an offensive weapon and that’s exactly how they use it. 
 
But the scripture rightly describes the Word of God as "Sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Read it and you’ll understand that God’s words, the Greek word logos, (it literally means “saying”) are never meant to be used to hurt people but rather more like a surgeon would use a sharp scalpel as an instrument of healing. It cuts away the disease. It divides the corrupt parts from the uncorrupted parts. It’s described in Ephesians 6 as a defensive weapon to use against the enemy, not believers in Christ. In fact, Jesus said about those who harm young believers, that it would be better for them if they had a millstone tied around their neck and were thrown into the sea. Wow! 
 
The Scripture calls Jesus "the Word made flesh" and He does not condemn. He will love you, forgive you, save you, heal you, restore you, and lead you into all truth. But He will not condemn you. And if you know how to read and have access to a Bible, He will most certainly use it in the most incredible ways in your life. He will speak amazing truths to you and reveal Himself to you, staggering your imagination. But Jesus is the only way to the Father. You can have everything in the world including the Bible, but if you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing. 
 
The truth of this week’s message will liberate you! I hope you’ll come and enjoy the glorious freedom of Christ, our Liberator. You’re invited! Sunday morning at 10:30 am, 2620 Clinton Ave., Campus 805, just follow the blue flags! See you there!
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