The Question

I love the conservation that takes place at the beginning of the “Lazarus” story. We usually miss it because we want to get to the part where a man who had been dead four days hops out of his tomb! Okay that’s pretty spectacular, but the truth found earlier in Jesus’ discussion with Martha is life-changing for all of us.
Jesus said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” Then He asks her if she believes.
Every person is asked that same question. Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Your answer chooses your eternal destiny. The choice is yours. To be born once and die twice, or be born twice die once. Think today about what a faithful God has promised you and then think about the promises you have made to Him.
Faith is defined as; “Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say “amen” to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.”
Since God is faithful to us He deserves our faithfulness to Him in return.
God’s Word says in Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Sheep Business

Believe it or not for a short time in my life I was a shepherd! Okay, not in the traditional sense, but I did own and care for two pregnant ewes for six months. I learned a lot about them. First of all, sheep are pretty helpless and really do depend on their owner for all their needs. Secondly, sheep aren’t very bright. They could turn their face to the corner of the stall and start crying (baaa-ing), because they thought they were lost. So then I read what Jesus said in John 10:10, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

Hmmm I guess that says a lot about our relationship, and the sheep/shepherd one. We depend on Jesus for all our needs, and without Him we’re lost. I’m glad He loves and cares for us aren’t you?

I just want to be a sheep. Amen?


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Love Like That

The world will tell you many things that are not true like: there are many ways to heaven or that there is no God. Jesus said in John 15:26, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father He will testify about Me.” The Holy Spirit speaks the truth. The only way to God, the Father is through Jesus Christ the Son.

So why do “we” have a hard time grasping this? There are probably many answers to this but boils down to what’s called free will. In His infinite wisdom and great love God lets us choose what to believe!

This has led to disappointment. From the beginning he gave Adam and Eve one rule. That should be pretty easy… but they broke it and sin came to humanity. I have thought many times why didn’t God just make us obedient with no choices. But then what kind of love would that be?

Today let’s try to love God like He loves us. It may be impossible but it will be a journey of a lifetime.

Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Do Likewise

What’s so hard about the Truth?

The problem is focus. We lack kingdom minded foundational type of focus. This lack of focus does not mean that there is a lack of intention. We are at an all-time high of busyness, great intentions, and availability of information and resources.

Jesus came to earth to fulfill the work of the father in saving people from their sin. He came to live His life, and to give up His life in order that we might have salvation. This alone allows us to live abundant lives! He left the church (that He called in to being) to fulfill what He began on earth.

The Great Commission tells us what to do. The Great Commandment shows us what to obey. Remember that Jesus’ focus was on one thing – the kingdom of God. Let’s do likewise.

Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Loving Bread

I admit that I really love all kinds of bread! Trying to limit my gluten has been tough. I like eating all breads – white, wheat, hard, soft, loaves, buns, pumpkin, garlic, sweet, banana, muffins, raisin, rolls, dumplings, rye, flat, bagels… – any way and any taste I really do enjoy them. There is one though that I don’t have to ever worry about consuming too much.
Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” Be filled with Jesus!
Being filled with God must have been what the psalmist was thinking in Psalm 34:8 which says, Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. When we obey the great commandment to love the Lord with all we have then He becomes a part of us as believers filled with His Spirit.
Consume the Word – Be filled with the Holy Spirit – satisfaction guaranteed. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Importance

What is the most important thing in your life? The answer to this question can be found in how you live your life, spend your time, thoughts, and money on. Seriously, think about what someone would say is most important to you judging by these criteria. We might be surprised by the answer.
Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
Stuff and titles don’t impress God. Our love, faith, and obedience puts a smile on His face. We all have a limited amount of time here on earth. Doesn’t it make sense to focus on things that last and truly make a difference?
What the world offers is momentary. God’s gift is eternal.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Remedy

I saw this in a quote recently. It really helps to be reminded when you are going through the storm who to keep focused on. Amen?

Our God is not only greater, but He is the absolute greatest. Even in the midst of trouble, instead of praising your problem and magnifying it, give praise to your God, magnify Him, and watch Him stand up and step in on your behalf. Hallelujah!

Like the old hymn reminds us:

O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

See Jesus and bask in His presence! Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Someone’s Knocking at the Door

The Bible uses the example of dark and light to symbolize the ways of God (light) and the ways of evil (dark). Darkness contributes to our lost-ness, and confusion. Light allows us to see things: clearly, distinctly, openly, truthfully, and eternally.
Jesus said John 8:12; ” I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”
When my kids were little we always made sure we had “night lights” on so they wouldn’t stumble if they awoke in the dark. If we are Christ followers we can always have His light reflected in us. It can keep us and others from falling.
The way, truth, and light is how Jesus describes Himself on the night of betrayal. This gives all of humanity clear directions on the way to God. He is truth. The Light that comes from Him illuminates and clarifies how we can be in the right relation with God. Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” We are given the opportunity to enter through this gate into the kingdom of God!

The Christian faith is much easier to understand than any other religion. We all have sinned and separated ourselves from the Lord, but God loves us enough that we can be forgiven.
Jesus, the Way, provides the only entry door to Heaven. We just have to open it. He’s knocking.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Bringing Jesus

Every Lord’s day should be a Back to Church Sunday! Everyone is encouraged to invite the unchurched and “haven’t seen you in a while” to come. Our hero, Andrew would be all about inviting everyone he knows and meets. John 1:40-42 shows us his passion; Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

If he was with us today I think these might be some of his closing words of encouragement:

1. Look for Jesus throughout the day. Christ sightings are all around us – have an open heart, mind, and eyes to His presence.
2. Look for opportunities to introduce others to Jesus. Friends or strangers – everyone needs Jesus!
3. Look for ways to show Jesus’ power to the world. Greater is He that is in you, believer, than anything this world can do.
Who do you need to invite to church next week?
I’m excited to see who God will lead you to today. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Let Them Know

Most of us have heard of Jesus’ disciple Peter, but if it wasn’t for his brother they might not have met. You see this week’s hero is Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus. The God theme of his life might be to “Go out and eagerly share the good news about Jesus Christ”.
Look at some of Andrew’s encounters with Jesus:
First to follow Jesus. (John 1:35-40) (Told his brother, Peter, could this be the Christ?)

Called to be a fisher of men. (Matthew 4:19)

Sent out on a mission to the Jews to preach “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8)

Informed Jesus that several Greeks wanted to see him. (John 12:20-22)

Told Jesus of the boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. (John 6:8, 9)

Was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection. (John 20:19-25)

Was present for the Great Commission when Jesus sent his disciples to all nations. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Witnessed Jesus being taken up into heaven. (Acts 1:8, 9)

Andrew believed in Christ and wanted everyone else to know Him too. May we have that same kind of enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Gone Fishing

Over time as you study God’s Word you will discover that there is a deeper meaning to almost everything Jesus says. As He called His disciples He was specific in His choices and clear about His expectations. In Mark 1:17 Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men”. Many of us were taught the Jesus used this language because many of His students were previously fishermen (of fish) and now they would catch people with the life saving truth of Jesus. This is a good explanation but it goes much deeper than that.
You see people of that time would have known the qualities of a great fisherman. Jesus did to and knew these same qualities would be needed in sharing the Gospel. I was recently reading an article by O S Hawkins who said that following Jesus means you’ll be expected to fish! Those same “fishing traits” are what God looks for in His followers today.

Four traits of a real fisherman (and follower of Christ):
1. They are positive. Every day is a good day to catch a fish (or witness).
2. They are persistent. They will never give up until they catch a fish (or share the Gospel).
3. They are patient. They (both) will try different methods to reach the goal, and wait as long as necessary.
4. They are passionate. They (both) hate to lose one! Fishing, (following, evangelizing) is their life.

Jesus still uses ordinary people to do things extraordinary for His kingdom and glory. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Coming Home

Today is a great day – It’s Sunday and we get to go to church! I hope you are planning to be in church, and also invited someone to come.

The Lord leads us to greater things if we will just follow Him. I heard a message recently by Louie Giglio about taking steps. He said there are three things to consider:

1. Life is short. There should be an urgency about our Christian lives.

2. God is big. He should be our only focus and drive.

3. Take the next steps. It’s the only way to get here to there, across the room, or to the top of the mountain.

I love this quote, “The man at the top of the mountain was not placed there.” We have to follow God in all we do.
Even if it means doing things differently.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Church Priority

Psalm 122 is a short psalm – take a couple of minutes and read it today. It is a great testimony by David on how important going to church should be in our lives. This may come as a shock but: Sunday was meant to be the best day of your week!

David gives six great reasons why he wanted to go to church.

1. He wanted to go to church because he liked being with God’s people (v. 4a). “That’s where my tribe goes.”
2. He wanted to honor God (v. 4c). “I want to go to church to praise the name of the Lord.”
3. He wanted to do what God asked him to do (v. 4d). “I want to go to church because the statutes given to Israel told us to do that.”
4. He wanted peace for those who love God (v. 6). He just wants good things for God’s people.
5. He wanted peace because God’s people were his family and friends (v. 8). “For the sake of my family and friends,” he says.
6. He committed himself to the prosperity of the house of God (v.9)

How to Make Sunday the Best Day of Your Week:

1. Decide to let Sunday be the best day of your week.
2. Invest in your Sundays.
3. Take your next step, whatever that is.

Make Sunday a priority – it is the best day of the week. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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God’s Business

Jesus has made everything we need to know available to us. He said in John 15:15,
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
So Jesus is saying we can and need to know and be about doing the Master’s Business. How do you learn God’s will and ways? Spend time with Him by watching, learning, reading His Word, and asking questions through prayer.
We need to stop making excuses and putting our own agendas first. Be a God’s way not my way person. Through the Holy Spirit you can know God’s business – Jesus promised. That’s good enough for me.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Godly Living

Today we will pick up the God story of Caleb 40 years later. We don’t hear much about him during this in between time outside of his faithfulness, God’s promise to him, and being the leader of his tribe. Things change though as Israel finally enters the Promise land, and we see now that 80 year old Caleb is still trusting his God.
Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’
10 “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. – Joshua 14:6–14
We can learn a lot about faithfulness from this man. Caleb’s faith was based on the Lord’s promises, Godly living, and the secret of long life. May we learn from his example. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Eye On The Prize

There is a great passage in the Old Testament about Moses giving some of his final words of instructions to Israel. “In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” Deuteronomy 1:32-36

So God kept His promise to Caleb. Even Moses was not going to the Promise Land. There is much we can learn here. If Caleb were with us today these might be his closing words of encouragement:
1. Let your labor honor God! For forty years he labored in the desert, and kept faithful and obedient.
2. Join God’s army! Caleb didn’t follow the crowd. He kept his focus vertical.
3. Be an overcomer in the Lord! Only two people who left Egypt made it in to the Promise land, and Caleb was one. As Paul said much later, “Keep your eye on the prize, which is Jesus Christ.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Culture Counters

We first hear of this week’s hero, Caleb, in Numbers chapters 13 and 14. We really don’t hear much about him until 40 years later. After God’s people were freed from captivity in Egypt they sent spies in to the promise land. Caleb was chosen as his tribe’s representative. When they came back only Joshua and him had the faith and courage to go forward.

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13:30

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes. Numbers 14:6

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24

Caleb had enough faith in God to counter his culture. When everybody was saying we can’t, he and his Godly friend said we can’t but God can! A great lesson here in trusting God and having Godly friends.

May we always seek God’s way and be blessed by faithful friends. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Love Hate Relations

If you are ridiculed for what you believe know you are in good company.
Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” This word “hate” is thrown around a lot these days. Here is the dictionary definition: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. No surprises here, but let’s look deeper.
Hate isn’t a dislike or a preference. It is a personal choice to have intense hostility towards someone or something. In christianese we say things like, Hate the sin, love the sinner. But if we unpack that statement we shouldn’t be surprise that sinners would hate us. So once again Jesus isn’t surprised and warned us a long time ago.
Instead of getting in debates over wordly things let’s follow the Great Commandment that says LOVE God with all we have and treat the world as we would want to be treated. Hate is easy – love takes courage. Be brave today!
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Problem Solving

We all have problems. King David, a man after God’s heart had plenty of them. Some were self imposed, but others were cast upon him. It was during one of these times that he wrote in Psalm 34:1-9:
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. – David

This is a great model for all of us. Even when we are facing a crisis or even death we should:
1. Tell of His greatness
2. Give Him praise and glory
3. Encourage others
4. Rely and trust in God
5. Know where your true salvation comes from
6. Fear God not man (or the things of this world)
7. Experience God in new ways (even in your pain and sorrow)
8. Accept his protection and provision
9. Be strong and courageous
10. Do not be afraid Christ is always with you

Accept God’s promise and apply them to your life every day. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Pray Today

Today is See You at the Pole; This global day of student prayer began as a grass roots movement with ten students praying at their school. Twenty-nine years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September. See You at the Pole is a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. See You at the Pole; is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event.
In 1990 when youth ministers in Texas first challenged young people to meet on a common day to launch their school year in prayer, one of the concerns what how to help those who wanted to pray together find each other. It was noted that virtually every school has a flagpole, and the flagpole provided an easy-to-identify place to gather. Also, one issue that the teenagers were praying about was the spiritual health of their country and their leaders, in obedience to 1 Timothy 2:1–2. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Even if you can’t meet at “the pole” today remember to pray. Our schools, communities, and country needs it.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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