Resolutions

January 1, 2013 at 10:59 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It’s a new year. The Mayans were wrong, we’re still dangling on the edge of “the cliff”, and no one has any clue what’s going to happen this year. Many people are making resolutions to change their eating habits, their attitudes, their weight, their job, their marriage, and a number of other things. These resolutions are a vow to help make them a “better person”. Many people who make resolutions will have broken them by the end of the week much less the end of the year. One resolution that I never see is “I resolve to change my heart this year!”. Why? People seem to focus on changing what people see and what makes them feel good, or what’s good for them, but they never seem to be concerned with changing what’s inside them.

Scripture says that the heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) . Jesus said that the heart is the source of all “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and slanders” (Matt. 15:19). No one resolves to change this about them….and they can’t. There is nothing that man can do to change his heart. The only One that can change the hearts of men calls all men to repent. Scripture says that if someone repents, God will take their heart of stone and will give that person a heart of flesh that loves God and His desires.

My prayer for this year is that all of you will not resolve to change the outside without first considering the inside. My hope is that you will repent of your sins and will trust in Jesus Christ as the perfect Savior who will change your heart and grant you eternal life. In light of this, all other things are nothing of value.

Design of the Week – Leaves Change

October 12, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called Leaves Change.

The design shows a photo of fall leaves that fades out from color to black and white to nothing. You’ll also see that the design has an ornate frame and the phrase “I, the Lord, do not change” which is found in Malachi 3:6.

The basis for the design is the idea that everything we know changes. Time continues on and almost nothing stays the same. People get older, days get shorter/longer, and seasons change. In the fall the leaves of deciduous trees all change colors and fall off in preparation for winter. With all of these changes going on, we get used to it. We also take for granted that things change and expect all things to be like that. This can be difficult when we’re facing problems and need something/someone to be consistent.

There are numerous places in the Bible that talk about God’s unchanging character. He always has been and always will be the just, holy, righteous Creator of the universe. He will also always be the forgiving, merciful God that sent His Son to take our place. The fact that God doesn’t change is something that bring solace to all of those who are Christians. Regardless of the trials and tribulations we face, God doesn’t change. He is always there and always will be…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom

July 3, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Freedom
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

___________________________________________________________________

© Copyright 2001 by Tony Capoccia. This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. All rights reserved.

Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION © 1978
by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

A copy of this sermon, Preached by Tony Capoccia, is available
on Audio Tape Cassette or Audio CD at www.gospelgems.com
___________________________________________________________________

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”–John 8:36

The subject before us today deserves our attention. It should ring in the ears of every person like the voice of a trumpet. We live in a land which is the very cradle of freedom. But are we ourselves free?

The question is one which demands special attention during the present state of public opinion. The minds of many are absorbed in politics. Yet there is a freedom, within the reach of all of us, which few, I am afraid, ever think of–a freedom independent of all political changes–a freedom which neither the prevailing government, nor the cleverest politician can bestow. This is the freedom about which I speak today. Do we know anything of it? Are we free? Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom…

A buried treasure

November 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Think of something precious to you. Not someone, some thing. Maybe this is a ring that has been handed down in your family for generations. Maybe this is a tool your grandfather gave you. It may be something from a loved one who is no longer here. Whatever it is, think about it. Could you describe it to me? What color is it? How big is it? What is it made of? Does it have any distinguishing features? Do you remember the day that you got it? Where you were? What was going on when you got it?

For most of us this exercise comes pretty easily. As humans, we hold on to those things that we hold dear. The things that are most important to use have a prominent place in our hearts. Now, think back on that object that is precious to you. See yourself holding it (if possible). Now imagine that you took the item outside; somewhere in your backyard. And you dug a hole, dropped that precious object into it, covered it back up with dirt, and tamped it down. Continue Reading A buried treasure…

Revival (long)

April 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I don’t know what it is like in other areas of America (I’m originally from Ohio and don’t remember hearing a lot about this up there), but over the next five or so months, churches across the South will be holding revivals. These will be big to-dos varying in length from three or four days to an entire week. During the time leading up to these events, the church excitement grows and people look forward to this in order to be “refreshed” and get a spiritual boost so that they continue to “work for the Lord”.  They will dress in their Sunday best, notebooks in hand, to hear what the preacher/evangelist (usually a guest) has to say. Depending on the denomination and area, these meetings will range in volume and action. The expectation is that at the end of the week, they will have heard the very thing they needed to hear so that they can move to a new level with God and “do more” for Him. I remember attending a few revivals (I haven’t been to one in years) and recall them being emotionally charged appeals (in some cases) or sound, steady topical teaching (in other cases). For weeks following the revival, people would make larger efforts to have more ministries, outreaches, events, and other things geared toward the church. As I look back though, I seem to also remember that after about two months the revival wore off. People began getting caught up in the daily grind again and all of those new ministries and events just fell by the wayside. I have thought about this a lot lately. In my own life, I am striving harder to have everything I do line the Scriptures. I am not even close yet, but things are moving along. I started wondering what Scripture said about revival. What I found was interesting. Continue Reading Revival (long)…

Tea party in the church?

April 12, 2010 at 4:16 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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The climate of the US has changed dramatically in just over a year. Where there was talk of “hope and change”, there is now talk of disappointment and disgust. Where there was talk of a better tomorrow, there has been more of the same. The politicians that supposedly lead this country have shown themselves, for the most part, to be incompetent at even the most basic of tasks. They can’t do the things that the Constitution gives them the power to do and they still try to grow beyond the limits the Constitution places on them. Some of them don’t even know basic geology (Guam, or any other island, cannot capsize and sink…). Enter the Tea Party. The Tea Party has been mocked as an “Astroturf” type of movement that is all fluff and no substance. Those who support the Tea Party have been labeled as “right-wing extremists”, “terrorists”, and “racists”. They have made their voices heard as they stand up for truth and integrity from our so-called leaders. They share the same principles that our God-fearing founders did. All of this started with the people… Continue Reading Tea party in the church?…

Joe Wilson and the church

October 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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A few weeks ago, Republican Senator Joe Wilson made the news when he shouted “You Lie!” during a speech given by the President to Congress. The news media was all over this and, because they are pretty much a liberal bunch that blindly follows the current administration, made a lot of noise about what Senator Wilson did. To them, it was an “outrage” that anyone would do that to the President of the United States. Of course they forgot how the Democrats treated George W. Bush while he was in office, calling him a “liar” and other derogatory terms without respect for his office or remorse after they did it. I can’t say that I’m surprised that this is how they looked at it, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Continue Reading Joe Wilson and the church…

Teach Your Children Well

September 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Today, President Barack Obama gave a speech to a number of school children around the country for “President Barack Obama’s Back to School Event”. And while I didn’t hear the speech itself, I did read the transcript. If his teleprompter showed exactly the same thing as the transcript, then this speech wasn’t as political as it could have been. Somehow I have a hard time believing that he stuck to the script, seeing as he hasn’t done that yet. Adding to the controversy is the supposed lessons that were to go along with the speech. With all of this, I can’t help but be skeptical.

Even so, a quick read of the transcript shows a shallow but somewhat encouraging speech. The problems come when you look deeper and compare what he is saying to reality and to the president’s own agenda. From the beginning, the president plays on emotion (like he always does) to “touch” people. I wonder if the president realizes that the state the nation is in is “no picnic for any of us” and that everything he plans on doing will only make it worse.

His supposed purpose for the speech is to remind the kids of what’s expected of them. That they are to be responsible. He told them that they are responsible for their own future. Amazingly, I actually agree with the president on this point, but later on in the speech he tells the kids that the goverment is doing all it can to help. I find talk about responsibility pretty funny coming from a man who doesn’t seem to know what the word means (along with the words transparency, freedom, and justice). He tells the children they are responsible for their own education and if they fail, then they not only fail themselves, they fail the country. Maybe the president should start with his own responsibilities and actually fulfill those before he tries to tell others what they need to do. It is because the president has failed to be responsible that we are in the situation we’re in. He has already spent more money than all the other presidents combined and he hasn’t even been in office a year yet. Much of the money has been wasted and has failed to produce any positive effect on anything. The president has failed to be responsible to America by allowing the bills he supports (those meant to stave off “catastrophe”) to be rushed through Congress and avoiding any kind of debate on the issues. The bills have been passed in the dark of night by Congressmen (who are supposed to represent you and I) who didn’t read them at all (and at an average of 1000 pages each, who would want to?). How is that responsible? How does the president expect people to be responsible when he continues to push them to depend completely on the government for everything? On top of that, the man has taken vacations that would make Robin Leach jealous (some costing $35,000 a day!) on the taxpayer’s dollar! Tell me again how that is responsible when there are now millions of people without jobs and the economy is suffering?

He tells the children that if they want to have a good job and help the nation, they will have to work hard and train for it. How much training did Mr. Obama have for his job? Does Sal Alinsky’s book really teach the things that the president of a free republic needs to know? I doubt it… He then lists a number of jobs that they need an education for. If they want to be a doctor they will need an education. He fails to tell them that if his healthcare plan gets passed, there will be no need many doctors because the government will be deciding who gets to practice, what they get to practice, and where they get to practice. They will need an education to be a teacher. But, the president fails to tell the kids that teachers are so overworked and underpaid that it’s not funny. He doesn’t tell them that the public (government run) schools are so bad in many places that teachers fear for their lives. The teacher’s union doesn’t make things any better…Another job they’ll need an education for is police officer. What he forgot to tell the kids is that if they actually do their job, they will be labeled racists or worse (I mean, really, how many beer summits can the president have anyway?). Maybe they want to be nurses, architects, lawyers, or be part of the military. Out of the entire list, the only ones that may make money are the lawyers. There is a shortage of nurses, but in many places even those nurses who are working are having their hours cut because of the economy. Architects are feeling the crunch of the economy as well. And for those going into the military, he forgot to mention that he cut the defense budget. This means that the soldiers we have (and the new ones coming in) will have to do without more than they already do and still do the same job (reminds me of Pharoah taking away the straw…). All of this on top of the fact that they are fighting his war in Afghanistan.

He then tells the kids that their classes will help them get the skills they need to “meet our greatest challenges in the future”. They will need math and science to gain problem solving skills needed to find cures for AIDS and cancer. Of course, we need to ask if it is really science or if it is the evolutionary trash that they are talking about? Or maybe it’s the “climate change” pseudo-science? Not only that, he doesn’t tell them that their cures will be rationed to the people that the government determines are most needed and viable (which kind of ignores the whole Hippocratic oath doesn’t it?). They will also need these skills to develop “new energy technologies” (except nuclear power) and protect our environment (from things like global warming – oops! – I mean climate change). They will also need critical thinking skills from things like history and social studies to “fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and free”. What history will they be taught Mr. President? Will it be the revised one that removes much of the truth that liberals have been pushing for decades or will it be the true history of our country that includes the faith of the founders and their dependence on God? Will it be the one that shows how atrocious things get when the government takes control of things or will you leave those parts out because they don’t fit your agenda? Will is show how lazy and complacent people get when they depend on the government for everything or will the oversized, “big brother”, federal government be painted as the hero? Will they have to fight poverty by stealing from one who is successful (which could very well be them!) and giving it to someone who has no desire to do what it takes to acheive anything? He also tells the kids to develop their creativity and ingenuity so that they can start new companies and “boost our economy” but fails to tell them that his administration (and those like him) is destroying small businesses through taxation, legislation, and the erosion of the free market.

He tells the children that we need every single one of them to help solve our most difficult problems, but what about the millions of unborn children who were not fortunate enough to make it to school age because they were unwanted and aborted? Don’t we need them too? Don’t we need the senior citizens to teach up and coming generations what made this country great, how to live within their means, and what honor and integrity are; instead of pushing for “end of life care” and euthanasia to eliminate them (except the ones in Congress of course…)? He talks about the stuggles that many of the kids face but fails to admit government’s role in many of them. Are those situations tragic? Yes! Should they be addressed? Yes! But, it should be with something that works and the government isn’t that something.

He calls on each child to set goals for themselves and meet them. He doesn’t tell them that they’ll be fighting the government every step of the way. Maybe they’ll get involved in extracurricular activities or voluteer in the community (like with ACORN Mr. Obama?). Maybe they’ll stand up for those being bullied and teased because of who they are and what they look like (unless they’re Christians – because we can tolerate everyone but them…). The president says that he believes that every child deserves a safe environment to study and learn in (provided they make it out of the womb alive). I agree with the sentiment but I don’t think that a public school classroom is that place.

He tells the kids that being successful is hard (and it is) but they can do it if they persevere. He tells them that they shouldn’t let their failures define them. Instead they should learn from them. Sadly, his own words and actions don’t line up. He says that failures should teach us but completely ignores his own failures, continuously lies to defend them, or attacks those who point them out for what they are. His stimulus package just had to be passed  but it has failed to keep the unemployment rate below 8% (which was promised), it has failed to produce millions of “shovel ready” jobs to boost our economy(another promise), it wasn’t debated or put up for 5 days so the public could read it (still another promise), and it has failed to responsibly spend the taxpayers money (yet another promise). Not only that, it saddles the children he talked to with about $100,000 in debt before they can ever make a dime (and he’s not done yet). He claims that no one is born good at things, but he sure acts like he is (hence the Messiah title given to him by some of his followers).

He says that the kids should be afraid to ask questions, but I can’t help but wonder if he set up an email where other kids could rat them out if the questions they asked were “fishy”? Why should the kids ask questions if they will only get the same tired “party line” or be reprimanded for actually disagreeing with the administration? He tells them to go to others to ask for help, but who should they go to Mr. Obama? You mention family, teachers, and coaches. Family would be best (if they have that option), but teachers don’t often have the time (or don’t have the right things to say) and coaches can get in severe trouble if they give what is deemed to be Christian advice (you know, that whole separation of church and state thing that’s not even in the Constitution…). He does mention counselors. Does this mean that he’s planning on setting up a new government department (there’s those shovel ready jobs!) so that kids can call an “anonymous” hotline for help?

He then tries to tie in history (which is something that he hasn’t been too good at) to his agenda, telling the kids that out country’s story is one of people who never quit when things got tough. They loved their country “too much to do anything less than their best”. I find it ironic that the people from 250 years ago he’s talking about were fighting against a bigger than life, tyrannical government that wanted to take away their individual liberties and freedoms (kinda like the current administration!) They fought oppressive government who failed to represent them and tried to tell them exactly what they could and couldn’t do. Not only did many of them fight for their freedom, many died for it too. How far have the American people fallen. Today, if the government offers us the same old thing in a shiny new wrapper, we jump all over it and seem to forget that they’ve continually lied to us for decades. Today, we don’t vote for elected officials based on character, honor, and integrity. Instead we vote for them based on party affiliation, charisma, and rhetoric. The people who were there 75 years ago overcame a Depression that was made worse by constant, ill-conceived government intervention by a government that was larger than it had ever been up to that point. It was a raw deal complete with numerous wasteful government programs (basically the ancestor of the current administration). They destroyed crops at a time when people were starving (and still do!). It destroyed the economy and the job market, leading many to commit suicide. The world war we fought was something that our nation didn’t need to be in and something that the president of the time (Woodrow Wilson) promised the country he would keep them out of. We may have changed the way we communicate, but unless we’re telling each other the truth, nothing has really changed.

So, what has the president contributed? He’s contributed to the national debt, mocked our nation, lied to the American people on numerous occasions, surrounded himself with people who promote everything that America has always been against, and enlarged the federal government to a size that defies the Constitution. He hasn’t solved any of the country’s current problems (it’s hard to do that when you’re always on vacation) and has added numerous new problems to the pile. If there is a president in the next 20/50/100 years, I hope that he sees this generation as the one who said they’ve had enough and turned back to God and the Constitution. Mr. Obama says that he’s trying to fix the classrooms but that’s not his job. He tells the kids to get serious, but he fails to do the same. He then adds what has become a cliche in America: “God bless you, and God bless America”. Which God are you talking about Mr. Obama? Is it the god of Islam? Is it one of the gods of Hinduism? Or is it the God of the Bible? If it’s the latter, then he is just deluding himself (or trying to delude us). Barack Obama neither knows or has seen the God of the Bible. If he really had, then the things that he does and says would be much, much different.

If we’re going to see true change in our country, we have to so something other than what we’ve always (recently) done. We have to go back to our moral foundations. We have to start living by the word of the Lord. We have to teach our children to fear God and obey what the Bible says. We have to restore the traditional (Biblical) family to its position of prominence in our nation. Proverbs says, “Train up your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will never depart from it”. We’ve stopped training our children in the way they should go and we’re paying for it. We’ve have ignored God’s wisdom and it is now catching up to us. The only ones we have to blame are ourselves…

Does the world need “Elders”?

July 27, 2007 at 11:36 am | Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment
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I will readily admit that I’m behind on the news that is going on. I am still working a daily job, as well as preparing for a huge church function, preparing to coach my daughter’s soccer team, researching my next sermon, and trying to get all my thoughts together on my new venture: an online evangelistic t-shirt company.

Even with all of that going on, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write on something that seemed so grossly out of place and just plain weird. The news item in question is the announcement of a group of “Elders” that will use their combined wisdom and insight to help solve the “global community’s” problems. The group of Elders includes Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Muhammad Yunus, Ela Bhatt, Graca Machel, and Nelson Mandela. 

Not to be rude, blunt, or sound ignorant, but I don’t know most of the people listed and regardless of whether I know who they are or not, why are they the ones “chosen” to be Elders? The group was proposed by millionaire Richard Branson (Virgin Records) and Peter Gabriel. Is this really the type of people that should be choosing “wise” men? Does this group represent the type of wisdom that the world needs? Many of the members of the Elders are pro-homosexual , pro-abortion, and pro-population control. Is that what the world needs? Maybe it’s kind of like this: “If we can’t keep you from being born, then we’ll keep you from reproducing, and if we can’t do that, then when you’re old enough to not fight us off, we’ll euthanize you”. Sure, it’s brash but how close to the truth is it? Continue Reading Does the world need “Elders”?…


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