Deep & Wide

Deep As It Is WideAmy Grant, Eric Pasley and Sheryl Crow
perform “Deep As it Is Wide”

…the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ
which surpasses knowledge

Ephesians 3:18-19 NASB

“Deep As It Is Wide” written by Eric Paslay.
Performed by Amy Grant, Eric Paslay & Sheryl Crow
How Mercy Looks From Here album by Amy Grant.

By David Cook

When I was young I attended Vacation Bible School and sang a song called “Deep & Wide”.  The song was about a fountain flowing deep and wide.  I really didn’t comprehend what the song was about.  A water fountain?  Hard to say, but hey; I liked the song anyway.

We sang that we could plunge right in and lose your sin in the fountain that is flowing deep and wide.  As I grew older I began to comprehend more of what the song was really about.

In the sanctuary we sang a song in the Hymnal called “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”  The fountain filled with blood flowed from Emmanuel’s veins; and us sinners can plunge beneath that flood to lose all our guilty stains.

God loved us so much that He sent His own Son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. Jesus allowed His own blood to flow so that we could be redeemed by His blood.  God’s Son paid for the penalty of all of our sins with His own blood.  So now we can be completely forgiven of our sins and began a relationship with God our Father in heaven.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.   Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB


“If I Stand” performed by Rich Mullins

Once in a while we hear something that deeply challenges the beliefs that we hold tightly about ourselves, others or even beliefs we hold about God.  Sometimes our beliefs are true, sometimes our beliefs are skewed.  Sometimes our beliefs are only slightly skewed other times we may well be holding onto false presuppositions.

Sometimes we need a shift in our thinking based on new light, based on the truth.   Sometimes we need a paradigm shift in our thinking.  Today may well be that day.

This talk by Brennan Manning on God’s unconditional love and mercy may well challenge some of your beliefs about yourself, others and God.  For some of you this talk will only reinforce the truth you already hold onto but it may well help you look at it in a fresh new way.

 “Be who you is,
cause if you ain’t who you is,
you is who you ain’t.”

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The Gospel

St DC a royal in KC

by David Cook

For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God that brings salvation
to everyone who believes:
–Saint Paul

Romans 1:16 NIV

Hip Hop artist Lecrae grew up without good role models while living in the hood. He grew up with a single mom, and spent time watching rap videos at his grandmother’s house searching for significance and real manhood without his Dad around.  Lecrae wrestled with insignificance, and never met his father and endured a life of abuse and neglect. He looked for acceptance and a place to belong, attempting to fill the void by hangin’ with gangsters in the neighborhood.

It wasn’t long before Lecrae was trapped in a world filled with drugs, theft, alcohol and gang activity. “I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was just a misfit of a person,” he said.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
 the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here!  
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

Little did he know that his view on life would soon be rocked, opening his eyes to the One who knew he was significant.  The One who cared enough to die for him.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”   –Saint Paul
Romans 1:16-17 NIV

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.    2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NIV

Lost

By David Cook

Yeshua_talit

“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
—Yeshua the Messiah
Luke 19:10 NASB

While living in sunny Southern California one day we realized our daughter, who was almost three years old; was nowhere to be found.  “She was just here a few minutes ago, where could she be?”; I thought to myself.  We walked around the house and looked in her room, in the closet, under her bed.  “Is she hiding?”  We went into the family room where her brothers were watching Inspector Gadget on Saturday morning cartoons; “Where’s your sister?”, I asked.  They shrugged their shoulders and said, “Don’t know Dad.”  I walked into the living room and the front door was wide open.  I walked outside and quickly looked around the front yard and then scanned up and down the street.  Panic!  “Where’s my daughter!?!”  “Is she lost?”  “Lord, please help us find our daughter!”

Thankfully, about five minutes later (which seemed like five hours) my observant and compassionate neighbor found our daughter and brought her home.  I was exuberant and relieved to see my little lost lamb come home!  My adventurous daughter didn’t know she was lost; she was on an adventure, out exploring the world.

Thanks be to God, His Son Yeshua is our good Shepherd; ever watching over us!

The Prodigal Son

Yeshua told this story; “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

prodigal son

14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”         Luke 15 NASB

Party on! Wine, women and song! This was the mantra of the young prodigal son.  But after he squandered all of his inheritance and lost all of his “friends” and “lovers” he finally wised up and came home.  Are you on an adventure looking for what life is all about?  Perhaps you’re lost but don’t even know it?  Your Father in heaven wants you to come home.

Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  Mathew 22:37-40 NASB

Loving God is a vertical relationship.  Loving people is about relating on the horizontal level.  We can live each day in the vertizontal, loving God will all your heart, soul and mind and loving people as you love yourself.  The whole Torah (613 Laws given by God to Moses) and the writings of the Hebrew Prophets rests on these two commandments.

Knowing the true and living God, who is love; is the prize!                                                       http://www.knowhimpersonally.com

The Son of the Most High, who is much wiser than all; taught that life is all about loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  And about loving your neighbor as yourself.  Today is a good day, now is a good time; if you hear the voice of your Father in heaven calling you home then turn to Him in faith and humbly ask for His forgiveness.

5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  1 John 1:5-10 NASB

For by Grace

New Zealand Beach

By David Cook

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

So many good things in this life come from human effort, hard work and the payoff from that effort and work.  It could be physical effort, intellectual work, creative effort or networking work and various related rewards.  But what about grace, divine grace that comes out of the blue?  When perhaps you don’t get what’s due; instead you are embraced by an avalanche of grace.  Perhaps you’ve never experienced it. Or perhaps you have, over and over again; like waves rolling in from the deep blue sea of God’s love.

523px-Celsius Library-DK

The Celsius library ruins in the ancient city of Ephesus.

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Yeshua the Messiah who lived in the ancient city of Ephesus.  The city of Ephesus is near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.    Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV

Paul wanted believers in Messiah Yeshua to understand their past spiritual condition, dead in our trespasses and sins and the amazing grace of God.  Because of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace, when a person puts his (or her) faith in Yeshua the Messiah; a spiritual new birth transpires and eternal life begins!  After a person has been born again transformation begins to take place in our thoughts and actions!!  We begin to understand our new identity in Messiah!  God has raised us up with Yeshua and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah! So that in the coming ages God might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua.

For By Grace You have been Saved through Faith

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.   Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV

Know Jesus Know Love

Yeshua explained God’s love and the gospel; 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  John 3:16-18 NIV

When you put your faith in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God you pass from God’s condemnation of your sin into God’s pardon of your sin and eternal life.  You are born again and you receive new life.  You become a child of God!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1 NIV

Hillsong United, Lara Landon and other steller music artists and musicians are on VMN,

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www.hillsong.com/united

Show Me the Love!

Authentic Red Roses

by David Cook

Sometimes a romance ignites and you think you’re bout to have a heart attack…yet in time for various reasons you realize, it wasn’t meant to be.  Sometimes a romance transitions from high feelings to love, then marriage and a lifelong commitment.  Sometimes in a romance you reach for a rose and grab a thorn, resulting in pain and sorrow. Sometimes you learn how to forgive and grow closer to one another. Sometimes because of hardness of heart you grow apart and one day you’re left alone with a wounded ego, a broken heart, and the termination of a lifelong dream; and so it goes.

Red Roses Wet on Black

So many people talk a good game about many things.  But there is One who wasn’t just blowing smoke when He spoke of His love…God Himself.  We hear about God’s love for the people He created, but it wasn’t just cheap talk.  You see, God took action and implemented a plan that He had from long ago.  God demonstrated His love for us in way that is hard to comprehend.

We read in the gospel of John;

“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 ESV

Paul wrote to the believers in Rome;

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:6-8 ESV

Perhaps when you reached for a rose in romance you were hurt by a thorn.  Instead of the beauty of love you were hoping for, you found pain and sorrow and are left alone.  Because of His great love for you, God sent His only Son to suffer on our behalf, to wear a crown of thrones and give His life on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our many sins.

Crown of Thorns

So God gave, He gave His only Son.  God demonstrated His love in a very real way, He gave His Son Yeshua the Messiah to die on the cross in our place for all our sins.  The One without sin, the sinless Messiah; gave His life for sinners.  Let His love sink in, into your mind, into your heart and into your life.  I pray His love breaks through to you today!

Reminds me of the song by Phil Keaggy – “Your Love Broke Through”