“If the Night is nearly over…”

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“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:12–14 NIV84, emphasis added)

The context of Rom. 13:14 is rather intense. Many serious sins indeed. And the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Church at Rome. But whether it is Rome A.D. 57 or Grand Junction A.D. 2022, or whether we are personally committing such grave sins, we all need to “mind” this verse.

What does it look like to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ”? One thing for sure is before we start our day by prayfully putting on the “Clothes of Christ” from Col. 3:12-14. (We can also put on the Heavenly Armor at this time, too.) The Lord Jesus is: Our Coat of Compassion, our Gloves of Kindness our Hat of Humility, our Socks of Gentleness, our Slippers of Patience: The Left Slipper of Forbearance and the Right Slipper of Forgiveness, and our Belt of Love.*

We would be a more forgiving community, a more compassionate and kind community. We would be seeking the good of others—and the interests of our Lord Jesus—and be less concerned about what we get out of it or how inconvenient serving others might be.

And then we would not have “time” to “think about how to gratify the desires of [our] sinful nature.” Why? Because we are thinking about how to serve and Love others—yes, even those in our family.

So, let us hear two encouraging words. The first from our Brother Peter and the Other from Our Lord to the Church at Sardis:

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. … The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. — (1 Peter 4:3,7-8 NIV84).

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. … Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. — (Rev. 3:1, 5 NIV84)

With Joy and Much Peace,

Pastor Mike

*This prayer is taken from my book, A Call to Repentance & Restoration; Here’s a link to give it a look/see https://www.amazon.com/Call-Repentance-Restoration-Personal-Prayer/dp/1662831676

“Love & Kindness”

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11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:11–13 NIV84

As the cold of Winter turns to cool of Spring, it foreshadows the warm and hot of Summer. Spiritually, as we move from the cold and cool of our spiritual walk with Jesus to warm and hot, let us be ignited on by the above passage. Let our spiritual fervor be ignited as we serve the Lord, especially through hospitality. By Initiating, but not Imposing, our service to others, it will make us a warmly welcoming and winsome community, a family.

Hospitality first starts with each other and then extends to those the Lord allows visit. We lend first a listening ear to clearly hear their needs and the reasons for visiting. Then we offer any assistance to meet the expressed needs, even directing them to someone who can, while ultimately directing them to Jesus.

Let us keep our spiritual passion by serving the Lord through serving each other, and those whom the Lord brings across our path.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them.

Acts 4:32–34 NIV84

Peace,

Coach Mike

PS–Perhaps my Book, A Call to Repentance & Restoration, will help you ignite your passion for Jesus. Get your copy at the follow sites: 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-call-to-repentance-restoration-michael-l-rossmann/1140372126?ean=9781662831676

“Remember the ‘Good Ol’ Days’?”

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Do you think that as we enter a new year, it will be filled with uncertainty and anxiety? If so, do you think we may be tempted to yearn for the “Good Ol’ Days? When life was simple, and Love was easy?

Intriguingly, Ecclesiastes warns us: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions’” (Ecc. 7:10 NIV84). Why not ask such questions?

 Perhaps one answer is: Just as it is hard to drive a car staring in the rear-view mirror, it is hard to live life always looking back at the past. Ahead are only crashes ….

But perhaps another reason is: The Lord has planned better “things” ahead for us. Beyond what often becomes a trite cliché, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19 ESV), He truly has something wonderful in the future for us. But you may ask: How can I say this with all the dreadful things happening from deaths to lockdowns? 

One reason I can say this is, of late I have been stretching out with my mustard-seed-faith to really grab the truth: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NIV84 emphasis added). All things, even my foolish and silly “mistakes”! All things.

So, in this new year perhaps you can join me in following the Apostle Paul’s declaration of determination:

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 3:10–14 NIV2011

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Rise Above the Noise of Joy-Stealers”

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So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22 NIV84)

Has the hurry, bustle and rush of this season risen to such a loud roar that it has squeezed the joy out of life? 

Our Lord Jesus promised that when we see Him (again), “no one will take away [our] joy.” But it has been said, we can give it away. Or perhaps, let the world squeeze Joy out of us…. What do you think?

If Joy is a part and parcel to the Fruit of the Spirit (ranking second in order); and if “the Joy of the LORD is our strength” (Neh. 8:10); and if we are to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers & sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2), it seems somehow we have a role to play in preparing our hearts for the fruit of Joy to be “born” in our lives; wouldn’t you agree?

So as the noise of the Joy-stealers rises to a “feeding frenzy” hoping to devour all remnant of Joy in our lives, let us quiet our souls, turning a deaf ear to the shouts and screams of worry, doubt, insult and harm, and let us confess that “the Joy of the LORD is our strength,” and firmly believe that no matter what we are going through right now, “God is Good all the time no matter what,” because I am considering “it pure joy” as I face all these noisy trials of various kinds. Will you join me in quieting our hearts, preparing the “soil” to bear forth much fruit—especially the Fruit of Joy—in this holiday season?

Let the silence in our souls drowned out the noise of the Joy-Stealers.

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Rise Above the Noise of the Shouters”

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Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.  The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

(Acts 19:30–34 NIV84)

Lest we think that shouting is a new phenomenon (though it may be escalating more of late), you can see from the passage above, Christians have been “shouted down” since our founding, if you will. Even at Jesus’ trial the mob was shouting, too. (See Luke 23:20.) So, what is our response? How do you and I rise above the noise of the shouters?

Paul’s response was, “When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia” (Acts 20:1 NIV84). He basically ignored it and moved on, encouraging those who would remain behind. So, what about those who remain behind, what is their response? Well, our Lord Jesus remained quiet during the shouting. This could be one response: Silence. Another? “A soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Pro. 15:1 ESV); for “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone” (Pro. 25:15 NIV84). I have found that soft and gentle answers, including silence, deescalate the shouting, and at some point, earn the privilege to be heard.

Are you encouraged to join me to rise above the noise of the shouters by deploying soft, gentle answers, and sometimes, even silence?

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Rise Above the Noise of the Naysayers”

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While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.”  Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When He arrived at the house of Jairus, He did not let anyone go in with Him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at Him, knowing that she was dead. But He took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but He ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. (Luke 8:49–56 NIV84)

It seems like the noise around us is only getting louder. But one thing I have noticed: In order to rise above the noise of the naysayers, we need to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and following Him into the night.

Even when the crush of the crowd, the jarring jolt of reality, and the mocking laughter of the naysayers gets ever louder, we still follow Jesus deeper into the night. It is only when we fix our eyes on Him, His voice penetrates the night and rises above the noise: “Don’t be afraid; just believe…!” Do you hear His voice? Do His words of reassurance and affirmation comfort you? Still your heart and let His voice rise above the noise of the naysayers.

Coach Mike

“Mission Directive”

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Our church is going through our Vision Statement: “Building Families; Pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ; Living His Word, and presenting our Mission Statement: “Reaching, Reconnecting, Revitalizing and Reinforcing Families.”My prayer is that you, too, may discover your part in the fulfillment of this Mission Directive.

If you haven’t already discovered your Spiritual Gifts, there are many websites that offer this service. I have developed a Gift-Mapping Matrix handout imbedded below. You place your three highest ranking gifts in the center circle; then the next three-five in the next circle; and then the remaining gifts that scored fairly high in the out circle. The idea is that these gives jump from one circle to the other depending on the need and the movement of the Holy Spirit. As you avail yourself of these tools, you may reignite a passion for serving the Lord, and even if you already know your spiritual gifts, it would be good to refresh your memory.

As we discover our gifts, we begin the 3-D gift journey: Discover, Develop and Deploy our gifts. Now, of course, it is not the gift we deploy, but we are deployed. Some need OJT (on the job) training. Others will need formal training. Still others may need to step out and serve and discover which gifts are really their primary, secondary and tertiary gifts.

I want us to picture a sporting event where the bench is cleared for a very good reason: Everyone is on the field participating. And with the exceptions of time outs and halftime breaks (call them sabbaticals, if you will), we should keep the bench cleared.

Are you ready to get in the game of Building Families Pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ and Living His Word in the spheres of influence He has given each one of us? I am. Join me in praying for each other that we would join this journey of the 3-D gifts: Discovering, Developing, and Deploying this grace that He has so lavishly poured out on us. 

Peace,

Coach Mike

This is the Gift-Set Matrix in which you will distribute your highest ranking gifts in the inner circle, and move out from there.

“The Empty Tomb Response”

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When emotions run high and logic is empty, let the empty tomb respond. When a relationship slips & falls and leaves you empty, let the empty tomb respond. When the bills mount up and the bank account runs empty, let the empty tomb respond.

The empty tomb is after death. The empty tomb shouts of After-Life. The empty tomb is full of hope and reassurance: Jesus has conquered death—and sin, and has given us Full Life, Abundant Life.

The empty tomb response to empty logic may be silence, or a well-crafted answer prompted by the After-Life in this life. The empty tomb response to an empty relationship may be to terminate the relationship or to let the Resurrected Life revitalize and fill the emptiness. The empty tomb response to financial short falls may be to cut back on extras, and even if there is nothing left to cut, the After-Life response is full of hope and Abundant Life: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1 NIV2011), and “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25 NIV84). The empty tomb response says, “He will provide; You will make it!”

As we celebrate the Resurrection this year, let us proclaim the emptiness of the tomb and the Fullness of the Resurrection. Let us rest in the confident Hope that the Resurrected One has secured for us Fullness in our emptiness. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!!

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Seeing Eye Faith?”

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As you may have noticed, I have been talking a lot about walking by faith in the darkness. Sadly, many of us have a very “sight-seeing” faith. We look for our guide “dog,” or signs & wonders or some confirmation we are following the Lord; and this, in a deep, profound sense, is not walking by faith. Alas, we are still walking by some sort of “sight”.
So, ignoring those who do not desire to pursue the Lord (who have no passion to walk in His Steps), and disregarding the others who want no part of faith walking, but would rather make all their own decisions—ignoring the Lord Jesus in any part of their life, let me simply say this to the faithful Faith-walkers:


The Lord Jesus will never leave you; nor will He forsake you! No matter what you decide, He will be right there—even if it is a mistake. He Loves you so much, He is working all your mistakes, all your flub ups, and all your dark moments into a beautiful Laser show that will not blink out with the moment, but, instead, will leave an enduring, positive impact on all who watched the show.


So, get rid of your “seeing-eye” faith; kennel up the “faith-guide dog” and look to the Lord Jesus with a simple childlike faith in Him; trusting Him to say what He means and mean what He says. “He is for you! He is for you! He is with you! He with you! Amen and Amen!”

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. —Eph 3:20–21

Peace,
Coach Mike

“Hope For the Future”

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There is a promise in Jeremiah that a lot of us quote without realizing the context. It is a great promise no matter what, but the context gives us a deeper understanding of the promise. Here’s the promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV84).

Ah, but the context? The prophet Jeremiah is “promising” in a letter that the people of Jerusalem are about to go into exile into Babylon for 70 years! Sadly, dark days are ahead, and yet the spotlight of hope in v. 11 shines in this darkness: The LORD has great plans for us, too, to “give you a hope and a future.” Yes, even in this exile, even in this very darkest of times. … 

So whether COVID or lockdowns or elections or weather or life appear to not be going “your way,” or whether it is but an encroaching darkness, know this: the LORD has plans for you, for us, to give us a hope and a future…, but do not stop at verse 11; we need to keep reading as we secure this hope and future:

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:12–14 NIV84).

Is it as clear to you as it is to me? In this encroaching darkness, we are to “call upon” the Lord, pray to Him, seek Him—with all our heart, and then He will be found by us! This is my hope in any darkness: I need to keep seeking the Lord Jesus with all my heart as He uses this “Dark night of the soul” to cleanse my heart from what is not seeking Him. Is He your hope for the future? 

Coach Mike