Lending a helping hand

You can listen to this sermonette by clicking below

Good Morning, this is Michael De Rosa and today I want to talk about bearing burdens.  Let’s turn to Galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6-2Helping others will interrupt our schedules.  And that can be difficult IF we are solely operating on our own strength of good works.

When we don’t take into account the vertical dimension of helping others, namely God’s command for us to help,  we can quickly run out of physical, emotional and spiritual strength as we lend helping hands.

The law of Christ is not legalistic, but it has been orchestrated in and through His jealous love for us, namely He knows what we need to live with complete contentment and will spare nothing to help us embrace that Good News.

And one huge item in God’s master plan for us is to help others so that they too can know God through Jesus.  

So the next time you are inclined to help someone ask yourself:  Why am I doing this?  And if it is for any other reason that to fulfill His law, then please reconsider how your time can be more wisely used.

Overcoming Worry

You can listen to the audio by clicking below

 

Matthew 13-22Good Morning, this is Michael De Rosa, and today I want to talk with you about worry.  My text will be Matthew 13:22

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful

Worries come about because we want to control a situation that we can’t.   And even though we are created in God’s image, we have been birthed in Original Sin, which continually tries to get us to consider our own interests above any one else.

So, while we may have developed the worry habit, we simply can not effectively address it by modifying our behaviors.

It is a spiritual problem at its core. And, unless we allow God to overcome our Original Sin, and then -on a daily basis- the continual effects of sin in our lives, we will always succumb to worry.

My friends, if you have time to worry, then use this time instead to Pray.  And see what God will do.

Full House

You can listen to the audio by clicking here

Luke 14-23Good Morning, This Michael De Rosa, and two weeks ago, I volunteered at Joni and Friends Family Retreat, a camp that serves families of those affected by disabilities.

And I want to talk about that today.

My Scripture is Luke 14:23

And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and 

compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 

In order to fill the church, we can’t just increase our numbers of people who have disabilities.

We need to have welcoming attitudes towards them.  And here is one way to develop this:

By growing in our realization that we really do NEED to learn from them.

What I mean is that instead of being put off by an annoying behavior, or a repulsive sight,  I have discovered that that thing which bothers us is a symptom of an inner conflict that we have yet to resolve and which we can confront in God’s mercy and grace

Basically, I am telling us that we don’t have all the answers to life’s questions, and only when we can authentically connect with people who are differently abled will we be moving towards a collective knowledge and wisdom that will help us grow, intrapersonally, interpersonally, and numerically.

 

Blessings on your Journey

 

-Michael

Wrong Motives Paralyze Praying

You can listen to this sermon by clicking below:

James 4:3Good morning, friends, this is Michael De Rosa, and today I want to look at James 4:3, which addresses our prayer life

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 

For some Christians, wrong motives are the reason for unanswered prayers,  And wrong motives may not be purposely planned.  While they are the reason for one’s actions and thoughts, they can arise from deeply engrained habits

Let’s explore this.  OK?

First consider that maturing in the Christian faith means that our old self is being transformed.

And submitting our old self to our Lord’s authority can be difficult because that carnal nature struggles for control.  And, when we don’t address this inner conflict, it can inadvertently become a poor foundation from which we pray.

And thus, we can subconsciously be comparing any response we get to our prayers with what that foundation deems good and acceptable.

Spend time to allow God to press into those areas in your life and be amazed at what He will do.

 

Think about Your Legacy

You can listen to this sermonette below

 

Psalm 112:1-2Good Morning, this is Michael De Rosa.  Over the last couple of weeks, I spent some time with my entire family, which includes 3 awesome grandchildren.  I want the best for them, which is to see them come to that place in their lives where they love Jesus with their whole being.

My text reflects this desire and is  Psalms 112:1-2

Praise the Lord!

How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

Who greatly delights in His commandments.

His descendants will be mighty on earth;

The generation of the upright will be blessed.

Helping our families know more about God is not always easy.

Little eyes are watching our every move, and what we say or don’t say, and how we act and respond is continually creating impressions in the lives of others.  And part of those impressions probably necessitate asking and giving forgiveness.

Yet, recognizing that living our lives before God alone is our number one priority, will continually help us to leave just the right impressions upon others.

What else do we really need to live for?

Seeking God’s Kingdom first Makes Sense

You can listen to this sermonette, by clicking below.

 

Matthew 6:33Good Morning, this is Michael De Rosa and I want to talk with you about what priorities

My text will be Matthew 6:33 which reads

But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you

-Jesus

When people don’t have the basics of life, they will find substitutes for their needs and the results are not wholesome:  broken relationships and dysfunctional individuals.

Removing God from our lives, inadvertently invites Chaos to enter.

Simply acknowledging that God knows our needs is not sufficient to be able to come to the place and actually have the basics of life.  For unless we diligently pursue God in all areas of our day, we will begin to drift from the foundation which God has established within us in Christ.

If you are like one of us who have screwed up our priorities, then take heart because God is waiting to forgive us and show us what really matters for us to live a peace-filled life.

You can download an exercise to help you clicking here

 

Submission

You can listen to this sermonette by clicking here:

Good Morning, this is Michael De Rosa from the Mountainside Community Church and today we are looking at submission to Pastoral Authority.

My text is a portion of Hebrews 13:17, which. reads

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.

Submitting to our Pastors becomes problematic whenever we begin to act upon our thoughts that our way of doing things is better, at which point we are stepping outside of God’s mercy and grace.

And taking such authority into our own hands is akin to determining that you will move your car by stepping on the brakes!

That car was designed by the manufacturer to move forward by stepping on the gas just as much as a church is designed to move forwards by heeding God’s oversight, which he has given to the pastor.

May I suggest to you that one huge reason that we don’t follow our pastors is because of our poor insight of the spiritual battles for our souls.

Now our pastor will be held accountable for how well he provides spiritual care for us, but we can help him in this, as well as experience spiritual growth by praying for his leadership

Costly Grace

You can listen to the audio by clicking hereMatthew 10-28Good morning, this is Michael De Rosa, and today I want to talk with you about the cost of discipleship.   My text will be  Matthew 10:38

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

In our Westernized culture of Christianity, Jesus’ words can be too easily glossed over because while the political climate is becoming heated against Christians, we still have the mindset that persecution via martyrdom is not going to affect us.

Maybe it won’t.

BUT….to not live as though we may be called upon to give up our lives for the sake of Christ leaves us vulnerable to living in a cheap type of grace.

This grace that gives us the freedom to live within rules and regulations of the Christian faith with which we are comfortable.  This type of so-called grace which is fed by the fires of hell.

The only way for us to live a vibrant Christian life is to consider the horrors of the cross of Christ and to realize that we are obliged as Christians to willingly embrace such trials ourselves.

So, how well are you handling your cross today?

Stop Complaining

You c an listen to this sermonette, by clicking here

 

Philippians 2-14Good morning.  This is Michael De Rosa and today I am looking at Philippians 2:14

Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

We are not really left with many options as to when we can grumble.

Now, if you think this is impossible, you have arrived at a good place for only God, himself, can work this out in You, doing more than you could ever dream for.

So, to live out his Word we look at the context and find that it takes effort to live the Christian life, that our salvation by grace never was meant to be freedom from the consequences of our actions.  Rather, His grace becomes the foundation upon which we mature in faith as we keep an intent focus on God Almighty

Let’s just practice this simple truth:  If God said it, let’s obey, and just allow the Holy Spirit to work out the details as we become resolute to living by His word.

Trust God ruthlessly, and roll up your sleeves to seize this day for His glory

Who is Being Promoted?


Philippians 1-12

 

Philippians 1:12-14 (Emphasis mine)

 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

Today, I focused on ‘in the cause of Christ’ and asked myself some questions:

While I am not in a prison, do I do what I do because of Christ, or are there other reasons?Am I promoting the Gospel with my actions, my behavior?

And my response needs to be either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  For me this is a black and white issue;  I don’t really have to wonder if I am doing it.

Now, I find it totally opposite of my pre-Christian days when I believed that being good enough warranted Heaven for me…and, yet, if you were to ask me what ‘good enough’ meant, I would have assuredly point you to the bad people, which I surmised were either all in prison or soon to be going there. And that type of thinking did not seem odd to me for others I knew were of the same mindset as me.  And during this time, I readily believed that some people were extreme in their faith, namely those who vocalized that Jesus was the only way to heaven and. that all without Him you would be eternally lost.  While I accepted that part of Jesus being the only way, I thought they went a bit overboard by preaching a Hell for those who did not believe this way.

Ah, yes, during my pre-Christian days, I felt confident (shudder! shudder!) that my moral standing would keep me on the right path for heaven. So, I know I would have looked up ‘in the cause of Christ’ as something that everyone who was good enough just did, and, again, some just did it to an extreme, namely born-again Christians…at least as I looked at it.

Back then, I would call myself a fence sitter, as I saw a lot of gray in what living as a Christian might mean. Basically, I had a view of Scripture as a book of good morals that were not meant to be taken literally, but only applicable if a person had the ability.  (I was, unwittingly, telling God that I expected Him to make exceptions for me!)

Not anymore:  black or white

Living like this is liberating because it leaves no room for doubt:  Christ is the Way, God’s word is plain.  The Holy Spirt lives in me to show me how to walk in faith  So, each day, I can make the decision to live for the cause of Christ.

This type of living is not one of arrogance, but it is one of confidence as I continually am made aware that I ‘have not arrived’, but I press on towards the goal for which Christ has received for me.

While Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written from a jail cell,  he is showing me that his imprisonment did not enslave him to his surroundings because of his confidence in Christ’s cause.

And I am beginning to think that when we are not living for the cause of Christ, that we are the ones who are imprisoned because while we know about the power of God, we have succumbed to mediocrity through living life in the hear and now.

QUESTION:

What do you think keeps Christians from experiencing the reality of being mindful of Christ 24/7?