Monday, September 26, 2011

A Believer's Heart Trouble

Good day to you.
I trust you had a good week since we last met, and that you are in good health. For me, the last two weeks have been a little out of the ordinary. Bess was dog/house sitting for Sister Brenda Conley who had flown up to Kentucky for her daughter's wedding. Brenda's house is less than ten miles from ours, so I stayed with her about half the time. Then this past Saturday, our men's group met for their monthly fellowship breakfast. I really enjoy my time with them. The fellowship is great, and the food is excellent. If you are ever in this area, I highly recommend The Twisted Lemon Cafe on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. If you go there and leave hungry, its your own fault. Their portion sizes are more than generous, and the prices are reasonable. Plan to go early in the day as they only serve breakfast and lunch. Be sure to tell them Pastor Vic sent you. They will likely not know me, but I always like sharing information with you about good people.

Yesterday's service at Friendship Harmony was quite enjoyable. Our director of music, Bro. Ken Birdsong played a trumpet duet with his pianist wife Margaret. The did the old hymn, “Nearer my God To Thee.” Maybe I'm prejudiced, and I know I'm bragging, but the music at Friendship Harmony is as good as you will find anywhere. Of all the churches I have pastored, the music at Friendship Harmony is second to none.

The sermon was the second in a series dealing with spiritual heart trouble. This week we examined some symptoms of spiritual heart trouble of a believer. The notes are below.

Symptoms Of Spiritual Heart Trouble Of A Believer
2nd of a series by Pastor Victor Cooper
Proverbs 4:23

To diagnose a believer's spiritual heart trouble:

I. watch his life. Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...
A. What he is doing comes as a result of the condition of his heart.
B. His words and actions do not agree.
C. Our Text verse from the NLT: Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”
1. “Heart” also encompasses one's values. See what a believer values.

II. listen to his speech Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
A. In the first part of the verse, Jesus is affirming what the verses we saw in Proverbs said.
B. In the last section, Jesus says, “...for what is in his heart is going to fly out his mouth.” VCT*
Victorism 2011 “Humility is easy to recognize, and hard to fake.”

III. see his faith. James 2:20, 26 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
A. These verses are a good diagnostic tool.
B. Christianity is about doing. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
C. Jesus called for followers, ie doing something. Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Next week's message will examine what a good heart looks like. Go out and make it a good week. Search out opportunities to serve your fellow man. In doing so you also serve Christ. How do I know? Read these familiar words of Jesus. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

I'll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Heart of Man

Good Monday Morning To You!

As always it's a real pleasure to visit with you in this way. I know that if your life is as busy as mine, the word hectic definitely comes into play. I really haven't done anything worth blogging about this week, so there's no sense in telling anything.

Yesterday was another good day at Friendship Harmony, but we missed one of our deacons, Bro. Ken Long. Last week Ken was at a gas station in Cape Coral, and was walking back to his car after paying for his gas. A lady came into the pumps from the wrong direction, and upon realizing her mistake, put her car in reverse and backed into Ken, knocking him to the pavement. Ken, who is over eighty years old, was injured and required surgery to fix a broken pelvis. Please remember him in your prayers this week. His pain is minimal, but he will not be able to put any weight on it for six to eight weeks.

I began a series of sermons today on spiritual cardiology. Lately, for some strange reason, I have been thinking much about the heart. As I was sitting in my cardiologist's procedure room, awaiting a stress test to determine my degree of stamina, I looked around the room at all the machines used for diagnosing heart trouble. There were three other patients there having various and different tests. We had one thing in common: we had told our doctor what was going on with us, and from those conversations, he was able to pick up on symptoms. Those symptoms told him that there was something that needed further evaluation. It dawned on me that I am a spiritual cardiologist, dealing with man's spiritual heart. As the medical doctor has symptoms he watches for, there are also symptoms of spiritual heart trouble. This week we looked at three symptoms the lost exhibit with their heart. Next week, we will learn of heart trouble of God's people. In the weeks to come, we will look at treatment options. Below are the sermon notes. Feel free to use them for your personal Bible study. Other ministers and teachers are free to use them as well, as long as proper credit is given. (Sorry, but my highly educated, over paid, and under-worked Baptist attorneys make me say that.)

Spiritual Cardiology
Proverbs 10:20
Series: Cardiology By Pastor Vic Cooper
#1 Heart trouble of the lost 9/16,17/11

Intro: My cardiologist, Kenneth Town and I have something in common. I too am a cardiologist. While he deals with man's physical heart, I deal with the spiritual heart. As he looks for symptoms in diagnosing a problem, so do I. Today we look at some of the symptoms of the spiritual heart troubleof the lost.

I. Prone to error --- Psalm 95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
A. err> Heb. Taw-aw'> to vacillate; to stray

II. Covetous --- Jeremiah 22:17 But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
A. covetousness> Heb.> beh'-tsah > plunder, unjust gain
B. This is one of the seven deadly sins. It is also known as avarice/greed.
1.  "Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty,deliberate betrayal, or treason,especially for personal gain, for example through bribery, scavenging and, hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.
B. Peter, another spiritual cardiologist wrote of it as well.
2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices...
1. covetous > Gk. > pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah > fraud; extortion; greedy practices
III. Far from God --- Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
A. Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 29:13
B. He is speaking of “lip service;” those who “talk a good game.”
1 I know folk who speak of their loyalty to Christ who wouldn't darken the door of a church.

Poem: The heart of man is stony and cold,
whether young and tan, or grey and old.
Only Christ can fix that mess,
When we our sins to Him confess!

Maybe next week something exciting will happen, and I will have something to tell you. For those who may not know, Friendship Harmony has a Facebook page where you can be updated on prayer requests, and see announcements of upcoming happenings at the church. You can even join our group if you'd like; we'd be glad to include you. Have a good week, and I'll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hate Evil!

Good Monday Morning To You!

I trust you have had a great week since we met last. For those of you who are new to Monday Morning With Pastor Vic, let me say, “Welcome” to you. Did you see any of the 9-11 remembrances? I did not see many, but the pre-game remembrances put on by the New York Jets was the most touching and awesome thing I have ever seen on television. I've seen lots of good on TV, but this was television's finest hour. It is my intention to e-mail NBC and ask them to replay it. If it is ever available as a memorial CD, sign me up for a copy. My favorite song in the whole world is Amazing Grace, they played it as part of the ceremony --- on the bagpipes. When I hear it played on bagpipes, I feel I'm as close to Heaven as I can be yet still be on earth. Years ago my family was directed to be sure the bagpipe version of Amazing Grace was played at my funeral. If you're there, don't be too surprised if I sit up so I can listen too. Again, my hat is off to the Jets for such a fine program. I did, however root for the Dallas Cowboys. Other than my hometown Bengals, I'm a Cowboy fan. One of the things on my bucket list is to see a Dallas game at Cowboy Stadium.

I know you must get tired of hearing this, but yesterday's service at Friendship Harmony was absolutely fantastic. Brother Ken's selection of songs is what sets the tone. Our people sing like they are part of the Brooklyn Choir! I wish everyone of you readers could experience a Friendship Harmony Baptist service. It would absolutely bless your soul. Never in my 39 years of ministry have I ever been privileged to be part of such a fine church. I thought there would never again be a church like Calvary Baptist in Norwood/Oakley, (Cincinnati). I was wrong! I believe God saved my best for last! I thank Him and praise Him for it!

The message was from Psalm 97:10-12. It was about making the right choices. Verse 10 says those who love God should hate evil. Hating evil is not only hating to see evil acts performed by others, but here hating means to reject; to not choose. We are told to not choose evil. Sadly, many believers believe that the sins committed by others are evil, but theirs are only "minor infractions.” All sin is an affront to God: yours, mine, and theirs. Therefore, if you love God, do not choose sin. I heard a song the other day that said, “Jesus is second to none.” When we choose sin, we are saying, “Jesus is second to my desires." That is not loving God. If I sound like I'm preaching, you're right --- I am. It's what I do. It's called standing in the gap. I must tell you what the Scriptures say because God holds you to them whether you know them or not. The verse goes on to say that God is quite able to deliver you. The Greek literally means He snatches you away from the hand of the wicked; ultimately, the wicked one.

Verse 11 is a verse that on the surface is an encouragement, but in reality it is also a very deep theological statement. The first part speaks of Light being sown for the righteous. Notice I have capitalized the "L" in the word Light. That sown Light is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the righteous. Jesus said John 8:12,” I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Righteous means, “right with God." As a believer, you are righteous. The Light is there for you, therefore you can reject (hate) sin! However, that verse has a second part. That part says,”...and gladness for the upright in heart.” The word “and' links the word “sown,” so that as Light is sown for the righteous, gladness is sown for the upright in heart. This part of the verse is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The New Living Translation reads, “ Light shines on the godly,and joy on those who do right.” (Psalm 97:11 (NLT) You have joy in the Lord thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Verse 11 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Those who are rejoicing in the Lord will not choose evil. Are you rejoicing in Him? As you think of His holiness, you can do nothing else but rejoice! Let me leave you with this suggestion. The next time you are tempted to choose wrong, tell the Devil, “Wait just a minute.” Then start reflecting on the holiness, goodness, and grace of God. I guarantee you God will deliver, and Satan will flee.

Have a good week these upcoming days. If this blog is a blessing to you, feel free to share it with others that you know. You can print it to give to them, or share the web address. If it has helped or blessed you, it might help others. I hope so; that is the reason the blog exists.

Be sure to pray for me when it goes well with you, and I'll see you next week on Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

As Good As God

Good Monday Morning To You!!!

I hope you had a tremendous week since we met last Monday. By the way, Happy Labor Day to you. Today we honor the American worker; those who have made America strong. It is not the politicians in Washington who have made this country great. It is the men and women who have worked in our factories, driven our buses, mined our coal, took dictation from their boss, taught us, then later our children. It is those who have staffed our hospitals, manned our courtrooms, and gave that much needed daycare to our kids. This list could go on for miles, but you get my point. Thanks goes out to our farmers; try to survive without them! Thanks to our truck drivers who literally are the life blood of this nation. Where would we be with out them? The American economy owes its very life to the small business owners; those who own the florists shops, the roofing companies, and the home based businesses. Again, I do not want to leave anybody out, but you know who you are. Thank you for all you do, or did if you have retired.

Yesterday saw another fine service at Friendship Harmony. With that service, we officially began our second year as a congregation. As I look back over this past year, it is truly amazing to see all the blessings bestowed upon us from on High. God is surely in this venture! I should call it an adventure, for certainly is has been that!

Yesterday's message came from Matthew chapter 19. We listened in on a conversation between our Lord Jesus, and a rich, young ruler. Twice in one breath he uses the word “good” when speaking to Jesus. He called Jesus good master then asked what good thing could he do to insure eternal life. Jesus replied in verse 17, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God...” What Jesus was waiting for was to hear the young man say something like this, “But of course you are good. You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus essentially tells him that even keeping the commandments were not sufficient; you must be as good as God. This boy had been raised in religion. He knew that was not possible.

As we read further, we hear Jesus tell him to, “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” The Bible then tells us that he sorrowfully left Jesus. The young man received his answer, counted the cost, and decided it was too expensive to follow Jesus. What the LORD was showing him was the condition of his heart. Very likely had he told Jesus that he was willing to do that, and had made plans to follow through, the LORD would have stopped him as he did Abraham when he was bringing the knife down on Isaac. Jesus isn't against riches. I personally have known some very wealthy people who love God with all their heart. I have also known many “regular folk” who put what few things they might have in front of God. Jesus clearly has shown this rich young boy that he has not kept the commandments. He violated commandment # 1 which states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3) Matthew Henry writes these words, “The first four of the ten commandments, commonly called the FIRST table, tell our duty to God. It was fit that those should be put first, because man had a Maker to love, before he had a neighbor to love. It cannot be expected that he should be true to his brother, who is false to his God. The first commandment concerns the object of worship, JEHOVAH, and him only. The worship of creatures is here forbidden. Whatever comes short of perfect love, gratitude, reverence, or worship, breaks this commandment.”

Another commentator, Adam Clarke wrote, “This commandment prohibits every species of mental idolatry, and all inordinate attachment to earthly and sensible things. As God is the fountain of happiness, and no intelligent creature can be happy but through him, whoever seeks happiness in the creature is necessarily an idolater; as he puts the creature in the place of the Creator, expecting that from the gratification of his passions, in the use or abuse of earthly things, which is to be found in God alone. The very first commandment of the whole series is divinely calculated to prevent man’s misery and promote his happiness, by taking him off from all false dependence, and leading him to God himself, the fountain of all good.”

As the rich young ruler knew better, so do we. How do I know he knew better? Because he went away sorrowful. Had he not known, he would have had no sorrow! How do I know we know better? We have the indwelling Holy Spirit telling us. As a born again believer, you literally have God living in you, and He cannot be quiet to your sin and rebellion --- including putting things, or even others before Him. Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Did the rich young ruler ever turn his life over to Christ? I hope so, but only in Heaven will we know for sure. However, he is not your concern. He lived and died centuries ago. You are your concern. Is following Christ too costly for you? Would you be willing to give it all up for Him. When I consider what He gave up for me, the answer is easy. I know how to answer this question, but would I really? Would you really? I hope so.

It's been good visiting with you. I hope you have a good week and that you keep your eyes upon Jesus. I'll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!