The Believer’s Party!

Not all events are celebrations; most, but not all. Celebratory events are:

  1. Weddings
  2. Birthdays
  3. Anniversaries
  4. Retirements
  5. Promotions
  6. Victories (big wins)
  7. Commencements

We plan, prepare, and pray over weddings. We spend every dollar we can. The ceremony isn’t the rub; it’s the reception that launches costs over the moon. Just ask a father of daughters, or a single mother.

Big wedding anniversaries are amazing events. We get dressed up and marvel at two people who are still in love after 50 years. It’s fabulous.

High School, college, and grad-school commencements are celebrated. Big promotions at work, professional advancements, are reasons to celebrate. We rejoice and lift our voices in honor of another’s success.

But Not All Events

Not everything is a party. Not every event is happy. But they are no less significant, and no less important.

  1. Funerals
  2. Memorial Services
  3. Going away parties
  4. Loved ones in their final moments of life
  5. Divorce proceedings, especially in court

These aren’t the bright and happy experiences; none are sought nor celebrated. But they are no less significant, and no less important.

What About Believers?

What about the significant events for a believer? How important is the new birth? Should it be celebrated? Is the moment of being raised to live the new life something to be lifted up and honored?

Some Thoughts

Over the past four weeks the ministry at Southeast has experienced significant responses to the New Birth. I’ve had the pleasure of joining 22 adults with Christ, and 4 young people have also experienced the believer’s immersion.

I’ve seen grown men cry uncontrollably. I’ve held them as the guilt, fear, and doubt were lifted from their hearts and souls. I’ve witnessed adults, ages thirty to eighty, come seeking the cleansing of the Lamb of God and then watched them go on their way rejoicing.

Some Observations

Weddings are about two becoming one. There is an ending of separate individualities and a joining of two into one flesh. For that there is a party.

Funerals honor the life that was and rejoice at the life that will be. There is an ending of life on earth and a beginning of life in glory. For that there is a dinner of honor.

In The New Birth

The sinful individual joins with Jesus in the New Birth, there is a death and a new life. For that shouldn’t there be a party?

Most of us enjoy  weddings. Jesus is the husband of the church, his bride. The bride’s dowry was paid with his own blood. The New Birth is the wedding ceremony between the believer and the head of the church, it’s where the two become one. For that shouldn’t there be a celebration?

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Let’s Finish

Events both happy and sad happen everyday, and with them the emotions and resources appropriate to the occasion.

The New Birth should be lifted up: celebrated, honored, and remembered. It should be recognized as the most important, most significant day in a lifetime of days.

Is this how it is?

Just a thought.

Shalom

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One Of Those Moments

There are moments in life that are difficult, hard, and overwhelming.

Then there’s the other kind, the sweet and wonderful moments, the kind you wish would never end. Yesterday was one of those.

Yesterday my church blessed me beyond what I could have imagined.

SoutheastSM

The Blessing

I’m referring to a book-signing event that was held in our church. I’ve recently had a book published and the church’s leaders publicly endorsed it and encouraged attendance for the book signing. 

Book

A First Timer

A first time author doesn’t know if the book will be good. Sometimes a book isn’t very good but people like the author so they buy a copy anyway. And if they can get the author’s signature, then even better.

I signed a lot of books yesterday.

The Point

It’s wonderful having  great friends. Its even better when they are fellow-church members. My church is brimming over with kind and supportive people, kind and support friends. 

I was abundantly blessed.

I guess all of us like hearing certain things now and then. To hear people say, “Congratulations Rick, we are so proud of you,” was, well, pretty wonderful.

It was a very emotional day.

So Good Morning Holy Spirit

As I rise to start a new day and a new week. I greet the Holy Spirit asking him to bless my friends who are going back to school today. To bless the moms and dads who are dropping off a child for the first time. I ask the Holy Spirit to bless my church, for they stood in line to bless me.

Let’s Close This Out

I am button-popping proud of my Southeast family. They have a sweet and gentle spirit, and they absolutely know how to love and care for their preacher.

I ask the Holy Spirit to bless those that set everything up, and staffed the table, and made the refreshments, and did everything to make the day special.

Yesterday was one of those moments, the kind you wish would never end.

Thank you church.

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The Message

I have misunderstood Acts chapters one and two. For most of my ministry I believed those chapters were about people getting baptized. The emphasis was on the immersive act of being renewed in full water baptism.

It’s true that 3,000 people responded to Peter’s message and were immersed. But that isn’t really what the text was emphasizing.

What’s It About?

It’s about the ministry and presence of the Holy Spirit in connecting people back to God, to bring us, created in his image, back into fellowship with our Creator.

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Peter’s arguments and logic

  • God performed miracles, wonders, and signs that were done through Jesus of Nazareth; the people saw the miracles. They recognized that Jesus had divine power. The Messiah was prophesied to be anointed with God’s Spirit. As God’s Anointed One, he would give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleanse the lepers, and even raise the dead. The Judeans witnessed all of those miraculous acts of compassion and healing. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
  • The people crucified Jesus of Nazareth. God gave them his Son because the Messiah was purposed for death, to be sacrificed for them. God handed him over by his set purpose and foreknowledge. It was prophesied that the Messiah would die for the people. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
  • The Anointed of God would indeed be killed, sacrificing his life for others, but he would not stay in the grave and his body would not undergo decay. Peter proved to the crowds that Jesus was resurrected, just as it was predicted. He used King David from Psalm 16 and Psalm 110. Peter said that God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, and that they, the apostles, were witnesses of the resurrection. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
  • And lastly, Peter’s greatest argument for Jesus being the resurrected Messiah was the evidence of the Holy Spirit having been poured out on mankind. The sound of the violent wind from heaven, the preaching of the apostles in 16 different languages, the apostles who were unschooled and unordinary. Peter said these things were evidence of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out his Spirit. The apostles received the Spirit in the upper room on Pentecost. The believers received the Spirit when they were baptized, (Acts 2:38). Peter said that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God, had received the promised Holy Spirit and then he poured out the Spirit. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.

The Whole Message

Peter’s message was a powerful testimony to fulfilled prophecy and to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

It’s too simplified to suggest that Acts 1 & 2 is about people getting baptized. The force of the text demonstrates the amazing promise of God to give his Spirit to all of us. Not just for the repented Jews, but to believing Gentiles too, for the whole world, for as many as the Lord our God will call!

Closing

This morning, at the Southeast Church of Christ in Friendswood, I will be speaking about this very topic, celebrating the Holy Spirit in our salvation.

Come join us at 8:30 and 10:45!

Shalom 

Something I Needed To Do

My wife has been encouraging me to write a book. But I was resistant.

  1. I wasn’t a good enough writer.
  2. Who was I to write a book?
  3. I didn’t have anything to write about.

She disagreed, and kept encouraging me.

Then Israel

Then about five years ago my church’s leadership sent us to Israel. We had never been.

Touring the Holy Land can be a nice vacation or a life changing experience. For me it was the ladder. I came home deeply affected, inspired to study, to read and to research.

Here’s What Happened

I became immersed in the Jewish Roots movement. The JRM is the discovery of how the bible’s history and message are deeply rooted in the Hebrew culture. There is so much more to learn, to know, and to be blessed by. 

And Then…

After a year of study and research, I went back to Israel. Which led to more study, research, and awareness. And then I went back again for a personal tour. Emerging from all of that was a series of lessons I preached to my church entitled, “Our Spiritual Roots.”

I wanted to show them how the Scripture is one seamless message from Genesis to Revelation, all of which points to him. I hoped they would see how the whole Bible is rooted in the message and story of the Messiah.

As A Result

After that series, I was convinced I had something to write about. And so I did. The book’s title is:

                      Jesus Our Messiah

              From the Covenant to the Cross

                                                                       Book

Is It Any Good?

I don’t know if its any good, my readers will decide. But I’ll tell you that it came right out of my heart, right from my soul.

Some Encouragement

So let me invite you to read my book. It’s neither a commentary nor a textbook. It’s personal, illustrated with beautiful and powerful stories, and is a journey beginning with Abraham’s blood covenant with God and concludes at the cross.

I hope it draws you closer to the heart of Jesus.

You can read more about the book at my website, there is even a brief video about the book, just click on the Projects tab.

If you would like a copy, you can buy one from the website.

Also: for those of you in the Houston area, I’m having a book signing tomorrow from 12:00-2:30, and the book will be available as well.

Southeast Church of Christ, 2400 West Bay Area Blvd, Friendswood

God bless you.

www.rickfyffe.com

Fall Classic: College Football!

As the summer wears on, it becomes more and more difficult to contain my excitement. Not that my excitement is so big that if it lost containment it would threaten the world.

I’m just excited.

About To Start

In just a couple of weeks the NCAA College Football Season launches. College Football. It doesn’t get any better.

However

Evidently, all humanity falls into two categories: those who are die-hard, hard-core, fanatical college football fans, and everyone else.

Here are some thoughts regarding our two global groups of humanity.

The College Football Enthusiast

  1. Is better equipped to handle life’s problems.
  2. Has a greater capacity for strategic thinking.
  3. Can recognize the quality of great snacks.
  4. Is usually more successful and climbs the ladder faster.
  5. Generally, is a nicer person and a better neighbor.

The Non-College Football Enthusiast

  1. Lacks vision.
  2. Prefers to watch reruns of Lawrence Welk.
  3. Goes to bed early and would miss the big games anyway.
  4. Prefers a rousing game of Scrabble.
  5. Is often less successful and doesn’t know about the ladder.

Perhaps I’m a little biased, maybe. But it’s okay; it’s good to be on the side of truth, freedom, and the American way.

Who Else Would Be A Huge Fan?

  1. Simon Peter: he would be big for Texas A&M.
  2. King David, the most victorious King in Israel’s history: Florida Gators.
  3. Judas Iscariot: Alabama, LSU, or maybe Notre Dame.
  4. Apostle John: Longhorn fan, he always sided with deep tradition.
  5. Jesus: he would root for everyone, but down deep: Texas Tech (I know, I just threw that in to score points with a Red Raider friend.)

Texas A&M Seating Lawsuit 4  471_Texas_Longhorns_DKR_Texas_Memorial_Stadium_1

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I Love It

The pageantry and traditions, the crisp autumn afternoons, the packed stadiums with raucous enthusiasm, it all works for me. College football can never start soon enough and its always ends way to soon.

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Okay, I Get It

I know, it’s not for everyone. There are people in the world who exist in the other group. And you are good people; I love you, and I want you to have a good life.

Bless your hearts.

Are Capes Coming Back?

Now For Some Nonsense: You’ve Been Warned

Men In Capes

What’s the deal about men in capes? Do they keep them warm? Is it a fashion statement? If it is a fashion statement, what does it say?

We’ve Seen Capes

     

superman
Superman Looks Good In A Cape
batman
The Batman Wears A Cape
thor wears a cape
Thor Can Wear A Cape!
boys in capes
What About These Guys?
cat in mask and cape
Captain Whiskers
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Here’s A Guy In A Cape, What Do You Think?

Me?

I’m not a super hero, nor have I played one on TV. However, I was the Royal King in a High School play. I wore a crown, held a scepter, and had a cape. I actually felt pretty cool.

I was seventeen. They made me give the cape back.

Who Am I To Judge

But who am I to judge men wearing capes. I still wear banded collar shirts and pleated pants, with cuffs.

Wonder Woman has a cape, but frankly, she’d look good in a sack.

wonder woman in cape

Functionality?

Perhaps the cape is a symbol of authority? Or maybe they have protective properties? Would super man still look cool if his cape didn’t wave like a flag? Batman’s sidekick Robin wears a cape, but it seems superfluous, not super. I think its purely decorative. 

Be Happy?

I say wear what you want, wear what you like. Wear what makes you feel good. But be modest, and cover up what common decency demands to be hidden.

Fellas, pull your pants up, wear a belt, nobody wants to see the top of your underwear, it’s not a fashion statement, its’ just ugly and in poor taste.

Girls, please don’t wear tops that are designed to reveal your undergarment straps. Nobody needs to see that. Its not attractive, is isn’t interesting, its just tacky.

Men, we need to either lose weight or buy shirts that are long enough to cover our big stomachs. Talk about something nobody wants to see!

And Finally

To the young: cover up, be modest, and don’t show it off.

To the older: cover up, be modest, you don’t want to gross people out.

Maybe its time to rethink the cape thing.

Are You A Believer?

Do you believe?

Believing Can Be Tough

Believing isn’t easy. Belief requires an acknowledgement of something being true, but also that some of it must be taken on faith.

All Kinds Of Things

People ask us to believe in all kinds of things, even things not ethereal, and far less erudite.

Some Examples:

  1. There were no lunar landings, all faked.
  2. Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter
  3. A shadow-world group plotting to make us wear plaid.
  4. An elixir so potent, so concentrated, that it will heal mankind.
  5. Bigfoot is real, he is alive and living closer than you think.

fake-moon-landing_545

Those claims can’t be proven. There may be evidence, or science, but if we believe, we’ll have to take some of it on faith.

Me? I believe we went to the moon. I live around the corner from NASA, here in Houston. I know NASA engineers and employees. I even know someone who did pubic relations for NASA. They are friends of mine and attend my church. They are mostly believable and nearly credible. After all, they are literally rocket scientists.

(Actually, they are highly credible and respected.)

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The other things? Well, Lincoln hunting vampires is a stretch. The World-Be-Plaid group might exist, but I look good in plaid, so? Bigfoot is a myth, a total fabrication, probably.

The thing that keeps me awake at night is the miracle elixir. What if that’s real? What if it could make me smarter, give me more energy, and stop my hair from falling out? Man, I’d buy it even if did just one of those things.

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My good friend takes a miracle elixir. She lives by it, takes it twice a day.

She believes.

So I tried a sample. It didn’t taste great, but what miracle elixir does? I chased it down with a glass of lemon water. What happened? Well, I woke up this morning. I slept great, I feel great, and no kidding, I may be even a little smarter. Not sure.

I doff my cap to those who commit to their beliefs. We have way too much cynicism and jadedness in our world. I’m having a little fun at my friend’s expense, but truthfully, I say good for her. Be healthy, commit to good things, believe and be better.

Even the Bible says to test everything, to hold on to the good and avoid every bad thing.

In Closing

I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead. There are reasons to believe, there were sightings, interactions, evidences of the resurrection. But part of it I accept by faith.

I believe.

Shalom