Tag Archives: Jesus

May Your Righteousness Exceed that of the Pharisees!

The Purpose of the Law?  Pastor Duane Sheriff with the most important hour of your day, and possibly your life.  Don’t be self righteous! Be righteous by Faith!!!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or download the 5 hour series here: https://www.dsheriff.org/secure/product-detail2.aspx?id=MS-78&ListType=Mini

Passionately Christian

Yesterday I wrote a little bit of why I am a “Passionate Conservative.”  I could have gone on, but I don’t have hours to write and you don’t have hours to read.  Bottom line is I believe that Conservative Principles when applied in a Representative Republic give individuals the best chance to be the best they can be.  As individuals prosper, the entire society is lifted up.  Indeed the results have been dramatic for the entire planet!

This morning I want to talk a little bit about why I am passionately Christian.  Bottom line is Jesus gave up Heaven so God could have a friendship with me and you!  In other words, God died so that when you die you don’t have to really die!  You can live with Him forever!

The only requirement to qualify for Heaven?  Believe in your heart that Christ died in your place and paid for your sins and on the third day rose from the dead.  Believe that in your heart and confess it with your mouth.  That’s it!  Romans 10:9 & 10.  You then exchange your earthly sin for His absolute righteousness.

Now as simple as that sounds, we all resist.  Well, most of us.  I do know a couple of wonderful people who have been Christians as long as they remember, but for most of us we decided that “having fun” in our youth was more important then being called “Jesus Freaks.”  Of course the fun lead to heartache and sometimes disease.  While we might be “good people” we are all pretty selfish by nature.  Of course God was still drawing us to Him and eventually we responded and accepted His wonderful gift of salvation.  If you haven’t and are alive enough to read this then there is still time.

For me it started in Sunday School at the First Conservative Baptist Church of Canby.  I was maybe 8 or 9 and our Sunday School Teacher was showing me in the Bible that God talked about springs in the bottom of the ocean.  Springs that scientists were just barely discovering thousands of years later.  That was enough for me to accept Jesus into my heart.  I still remember the joy I felt as I prayed and in my minds eye I saw light bursting from my heart!  It was pretty cool.

But.  I eventually stopped going to church and eventually started living more and more for my own desires.  That included increasing drug and alcohol use as a teenager and young adult.  I even shared a drug needle to inject some cocaine into my arm.  I only tried it 2 or 3 times in a one week period when I was about 20 years old, but I ended up paying a high price for the temporary rush the cocaine gave me.

I found out much later that I had Hepatitis C.  The worse kind too.  It was also about that time that God drew me back to him.  I started going to church, got baptized and started reading my Bible.  During worship at church I would cry out to God and also actually cry as He was healing my heart.  The folks around me at church probably thought I was a troubled man, but I didn’t care.  God was working while I was in His presence.

It was during one of those times that I heard God say in my heart about my Hepatitis C, “I’m going to take this from you.”  It was a word I clung to during the difficult one year of combination drug therapy.  I lost a lot of weight and some hair.  Food lost it’s flavor and I had suicidal thoughts.  All side effects of the drugs, but I hung on because I had God’s promise!

Sure enough, after a year of treatments I was Hepatitis C free!  And still am today.  That was 10 years ago.  Since then I have left my TV career and have served in a few ministries.  Mission Odessa, Family Life Radio and Teen Challenge of Arizona along with some churches along the way.  I don’t know if I will stay working in ministries as a job the rest of my life, but I do plan on ministering the rest of my life!  God has shown me a lot in His Word and through experiences with Him that I have to share.  It’s too important.  I don’t always live as I should and God doesn’t just give me what I want, but I know that He is always with me and He always gets me through.

If you want more evidence that God is who He says He is, check out this blog entry from a couple of years ago.  Stars really do sing, just like God said they do thousands of years ago!

If you don’t know Jesus and you are still alive, it’s not too late.  To say that it is awesome to know the God who created the Universe as a personal friend and Father is an understatement!

Rejoice!

Last night was the second Tucson Fall Banquet.  The banquet series takes a break today before resuming for three nights in the Phoenix area.  (you can find out more here)

As you probably know, Teen Challenge of Arizona is my employer.  I maintain the web site and do some YouTube videos.  It is a very rewarding job as you can imagine as we see literally hundreds of boys, girls, men and women set free from drug and alcohol addiction every year.  My small role of support allows me to tell some of the amazing stories of how God is saving lives through the ministry of Teen Challenge.

This years banquet theme is Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say, Rejoice!”  The banquets are more then just our major fundraiser for the year.  They are also an opportunity to share the amazing things that God is doing and to Rejoice! in them.

One amazing story I got to tell after Fall Graduation is that of Karami’s and how God not only saved her life and changed her forever, but also changed her Dad and her entire family!  Karami and her family shared from the stage last night.  While I didn’t record that, I can share part of their story with you via this YouTube story I put together at graduation in September:

Reasons to Rejoice! indeed.

Take Up Your Cross

Originally posted at EmbraceGrace.org


24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
– Matthew 16:24-25

Does God want you to have a wonderful and blessed life? I would say that the answer is yes. As we are diligent to obey Godly principles in our business dealings and personal dealings it brings success and love into our lives. We will find favor with God and Men and as we draw near to God we become blessed to be a blessing.

However, there is another side to following Christ. One that is vital to keep in mind so as to keep from being discouraged when difficulties come. See, the world may not appreciate that you like to do things the right way. The world doesn’t like when you speak out against abortion for example, or if you try to lovingly remind people that sex outside of marriage is not God’s best. The world hated Christ and if Christ is in you, the world will hate you too. That resistance can show up in a thousand ways. Betrayal from a friend. Loss of a job or promotion. Ridicule and insults and even death at the hands of people who don’t know Jesus.

When Jesus said, “Take up his cross and follow Me” think about what that symbolizes. Think about what happened in that barbaric Roman practice of Crucifixion. The “guilty” party had to carry his own cross through town to the Crucifixion location. (in Jerusalem’s case, Golgotha) As the condemned carried his cross through the crowd he was insulted, spat upon, ridiculed, cursed, had rocks thrown at him, etc. He had already suffered 40 minus one lashes and the insults to injury were not a minor thing. After walking the gauntlet it was time to get nailed to your cross followed by a slow, painful suffocation. (no wonder Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was considering about what was to happen to Him)

When Jesus says we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him it is not a small requirement. I think that it’s important that we keep it in mind always so we aren’t surprised when the world attacks the Christ in us.

The minute you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have grabbed a hold of your cross. As Jesus works in your life and changes you and you start to become more like Him, the world is gonna start to notice and not everyone is going to be thrilled. As you reflect the Holiness and even Love of our Savior don’t be surprised if you have to endure insults, ridicule, harassment, being spat upon and even death.

Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30

29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

(emphasis mine)

I love the Good News! Jesus died our death so we could live in God’s presence for eternity. Jesus came so that we could have an abundant life! There are vast rewards in this life and especially the one to come. You will be rewarded for every cup of water offered to another in His name. But don’t be surprised if the world is not always for you and is even vehemently and violently against you. Take up your cross. Follow Christ. It may not always be fun, but it will be worth it.

Revelation 12:11
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Good News for a Reason!

Also posted at EmbraceGrace.org


Christian Recording Artist and Lead Pastor of The Exchange, Joel Engle, wrote this on his Facebook wall this evening:

Christian, don’t fall into despair over your sinful failings! Christ has freed you from wrath, has made you holy and will give you victory!

That gets me excited!  It is the Gospel message.  Jesus took your punishment and God isn’t mad at you anymore.  Truly this is the heart of Christianity that should be the heart of every sermon.  So often we let the enemy, or the world, or ourselves, lie to us about who we are in Christ and the miraculous transformation He has done in our heart and is doing in our lives.  When you receive Christ He gives you His Holiness!  You are justified (just as if I’d never sinned) and God removes your sin from you as far as the east is from the west!  It is a miracle and it is good news.

When we consider the story of the Prodigal Son, who spent his share of the inheritance with “loose living” and was still welcomed home by his father when he returned home then we get a glimpse of the heart of our Heavenly Father.  He never looses His love for you no matter what you choose to do.  Yes, sin has consequences and can lead you to an early grave and an unhappy life, but remember you can always run to a loving God who loves you more than you can ever imagine.  Always.

God poured His wrath out on His Son Jesus so He will never pour it out on you.  Remember that when you sin (and you do) that God isn’t angry with you.  He loves you with an eternal love.  Run to Him and receive your forgiveness, don’t run away in fear and go deeper into destruction.

Are sermons about the dangers of sin important?  Of course they are and all scripture is God-breathed and is good for instruction and even correction.  But looking at your sin is not going to bring about change in your life.  It’s when you look at the Cross and what God did for you that you realize you can trust the King of the Universe to bring you safely to your destination.  And you can trust Him with your problems and your secrets.  He already knows and He couldn’t love you any less.

Always remember and never forget that at the core of any and all Christian messages is (should be) the complete forgiveness that you receive when you receive Christ.  Joel calls it The Exchange.  It’s the best deal ever offered in the history of the universe.  You Exchanged your mess for His Glorious Kingdom!  When you do that you become His kid and a part of the family!  Now start acting like it :-)

It is Finished

Often during the music worship time at church I am taken back to that moment in history where Jesus Christ hung on a cross and was punished for the sins of the world.  In my mind’s eye I see the entire universe, all of creation, and all of time, pivoting on that moment.

The Old Testament Saints were looking forward to the cross in faith and the New Testament Saints look back.  That remarkable moment that affected future and past.  Where God righted our wrong once and for all and for all time, past, present and future.

Several years ago I wrote how God showed me that it was the joy of my salvation (and yours) that gave Jesus strength as He went to the cross.  It’s a similar message that Musicianaries “Take No Glory” share in their song, “He Didn’t Die in Vain.”

Check out all of their music.  They give it away for free!

John 19:30
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

The story doesn’t end there.  Jesus rose from the dead on the 3rd day!  He appeared to His disciples and many others over a period of 40 days and then He ascended into Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints.

We are born with a sin nature thanx to the original sin committed by Adam, but God fixed it.  Only He could.  Sin (falling short of God’s perfection) demands a payment.  Death.  Jesus paid that price so God could be both Righteous and Love.

Righteous because God can’t say that sin brings death and then lie by not punishing sin.  Because of God’s Love He sentenced His Son to our death so we could live with Him forever!  It was the only way.  That’s why Jesus said that the only way to the Father is through Him.  And so it is.  Finished.  All you have to do is believe.

Love God, Love People, Continued

Just to elaborate a little more on my last post.  Here is a 5 minute sample from a sermon that Pastor Duane Sheriff gave yesterday about the simple and powerful Biblical concept of Loving God and Loving People:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can hear the rest of Pastor Duane’s sermon and sermons here.  You can also do what I do and that is subscribe to his podcast on iTunes.

Pastor Duane’s teachings have been a huge blessing in my life.  I have been listening to him for 11 years and counting.  I have visited his church in Durant, Oklahoma numerous times as well.

Pastor Duane’s teaching combined with my prayer time, reading my Bible and sitting under great preaching by my home pastors, I have been able to grow in God’s Word and Love.  I haven’t arrived, but at least I’ve left the station, hallelujah.  :-)