Tag Archives: Jesus

9 Fruits of the Spirit-Cultivating the Character of Christ.

The Character of Christ

Last Week, we began a new sermon series out of text Galatians 5:22-23:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Imagine if you will, looking for a model of what Jesus looks like in a person’s life. How does one determine that vision? These virtues are the outcome, and as the Scripture teaches, the fruits of what a spirit-filled life takes on. This is called application. The beautiful thing about these virtues are they can’t be produced apart from walking with Jesus. We can’t role-play out these virtues. The spirit of God behind these actions must be genuine or we will be found out for who we really are.

Love is the crucial fruit behind all of the rest. Without love, our patience will wear thin, our joy won’t really be solid, and our faithfulness will be shallow. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Love of God will always be the foundation of all others virtues in our life.

Will you begin to truly deepen your study of these 9 fruits? Begin with making sure first and foremost you love Jesus with all your heart. That is really hard especially when you really love your spouse, children, friends, etc. You can do that but not until God is first, then that Agape love flows out to those that are closest to us. They can see if your love is for real! Love God today!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached

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When you remember great sermons that have been preached by pastors current and from the past, they pail in comparison to the Master of great sermons. Jesus’ few words are so packed with amazing truths. We are allowed to preach by gathering inside information via the Holy Spirit, commentaries, and theological professors. Jesus preaching was from within.

That leaves me to formulate a thought here. Shouldn’t we as spiritual leaders also be preaching from within as we draw day by day closer and closer to Jesus? Our sermons should by all means be more heart felt as we preach time and time again. I pray that I can be a Jesus preacher as well.

I am beginning a new series based on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. Here is the  schedule. Raising The Standard!

April 23—Blessed Are You! Matthew 5:1-12

April 30—The Salty Life, Matthew 5:13-16

May 7—The Law of Grace, Matthew 5:14-20

May 14—Mother’s Day

May 21—Heart Check-part 1, Matthew 5:21-26

May 28—Heart Check-part 2, Matthew 5:27-32

June 4—I Cross My Heart, Matthew 5:33-42

June 11—Love My People, Matthew 5:43-48

June 18—Father’s Day

June 25—Generous Giving, Matthew 6:1-4

July 2—Praying for the Kingdom, Matthew 6:5-15

July 9—Do I Have to Fast? Matthew 6:16-19

July 16—The Treasure of Your Mind, Matthew 6:19-24

July 23—Kingdom Matters, Matthew 6:25-34

July 30—Who’s Your Judge? Matthew 7:1-6

Aug 6—Go Ahead and Ask, Matthew 7:7-12

Aug 13—Danger: One Lane Bridge Ahead, Matthew 7:13-14

Aug 20—The Sad Reality, Matthew 7:15-23

Aug 27—Built on the Solid Rock, Matthew 7:24-29

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Hacksaw Ridge

Today’s post is from Jim Denison’s cultural commentary. I can hardly wait to see this upcoming film.

Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s new film. It tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a World War II army medic who refused to bear arms but received the Medal of Honor after he saved dozens of his fellow soldiers. The movie was shown at the Venice International Film Festival last Saturday. According to USA Today, the audience gave Gibson a ten-minute standing ovation when the film ended.

It was my privilege to see Hacksaw Ridge at a private showing a few days ago, then participate in a discussion with Gibson. I don’t remember ever being as moved by a movie as I was by his film. Looking back, I can identify three reasons for my response.

Part of my reaction was the realism with which Gibson depicts the violence of the battle scenes. Hacksaw Ridge is a cliff-like formation on the island of Okinawa, Japan. It was the scene of a two-week struggle between US and Japanese soldiers. Gibson told our group that he depicted the war violence with such realism in order to demonstrate the atrocities Doss faced and the courage he displayed.

A second reason for my visceral reaction is the fact that my father, a World War II veteran, fought with the Army in the South Pacific. He would not discuss what he experienced with our family. Like so many veterans, he could not put into words what he went through. I have visited several World War II museums and had a sense of what the Pacific theater was like, but the movie brought home my father’s suffering in a way that moved me deeply. It made me realize again the immeasurable sacrifice so many continue to make in defending our nation and our freedoms around the world.

A third factor is the story of Desmond Doss himself. His commitment to his Christian faith and specifically to nonviolence resonated powerfully throughout the film. He risked his life in the most horrific circumstances imaginable to save his fellow soldiers and to serve his Lord. I agree with Greg Laurie: “This is the most positive portrayal of a Christian in a mainstream film that I have seen since Chariots of Fire.”

I hope you’ll see Hacksaw Ridge when it opens in theaters November 4. As I have noted, the war violence it depicts is very realistic. But the story it tells is truly one for the ages.

During our group discussion, I asked Mel Gibson why he chose to make the film. He explained that Desmond Doss’s heroic faith so moved him that he felt compelled to tell his story to the world. He noted that more than 80 percent of Americans identify as Christians, yet Hollywood very seldom presents our faith in a positive light.

Our culture deserves to see authentic Christianity. “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Romans 10:14). Desmond Doss was willing to pay any price to follow Jesus. Now it’s our turn.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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Vacation Bible School

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Vacation Bible School is just around the corner! We at City Church are excited for all of you coming this year to our sports themed VBS. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so HERE

Hope to see you there!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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What a Week

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This is the week that we have all been waiting for. Holy Week. There is no other week quite like Holy Week because of all of the impact this week will have on the entire world. Jesus will be the talk of the nations all week. Some will claim His risen status for themselves, while others will deny that He even existed. Jesus is asking you the same question He asked His disciples; Who do you say I am?

At City Church Del Rio, we will be looking at what the resurrection and it’s power mean to us a people of God. We have 3 opportunities for you to worship with us, and 2 other opportunities for your family to enjoy as well. Here is the schedule for this coming Easter Sunday: 7 am – Bilingual Sunrise Service, 8 am – Breakfast, 9 am – Servicio En Espanol, 10 am – Easter Egg Hunt for Kids thru 5th grade, and 11 am – Contemporary English Worship Service. 

I pray that you will invite someone to church, as you well know that many that do not participate in regular worship services are more than willing to go on Easter.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Marriage and Ministry

I am posting a recent blog post from Ed Stetzer. Enjoy.

Marriage and Ministry

Ministry marriages don’t succeed by accident. It takes effort. |
Marriage and Ministry

Marriage advice can be a bit overwhelming. But, you need it. Although most of the doomsday stats about pastors are not true (that they all hate the ministry and want to quit), ministry does put stress on a marriage.

In my most stream-of-consciousness column ever, allow my to share a few things that Donna and I have seen after almost thirty years of a ministry marriage.

1. Marriage is worth the investment.

Yes, it is an investment. I know that it is not always easy, but it is always worth it. I’m thankful for a strong marriage.

Ironically, you have to invest in a marriage for it to be worth the investment. It sounds strange, but it’s true—it takes continual investment on the investment.

I’ve seen “perfect” couples—like some we knew in high school and college—get married, drift apart, and end up divorced. We have not. It’s not because we are perfect, it’s because we work hard.

You have to make investments while serving in ministry to get the return on investment you want.

2. Choosing your marriage partner is the most important human decision you will ever make. 

Not to go all Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on you, but you must choose wisely in marriage. That begins with who you marry, if you in fact get married.

I’ve seen many miserable ministry marriages. A big part of that misery relates to bad marriage choices. My wife was/is beautiful, but that’s a really bad foundation upon which to build a marriage.

Instead, I’m thankful that as a ministry marriage, we are in this together. She, and we, have a joy in what we are doing. You simply can’t have a successful ministry marriage if you have not chosen one another wisely.

You have to make investments while serving in ministry to get the return on investment you want.

3. Most fights are over stupid things that don’t matter. 

When I was younger I always wanted to prove my point. It’s more important to prove your love. You do that by not arguing over stupid things. Note: most arguments are from stupid things, over stupid things, and including saying stupid things.

Most arguments are resolved when both people are more concerned with being in a relationship than with being right. I’m amazed at how many times I thought I was right. I had to be right. I had to show her I was right. And, let me say, that’s just wrong. It’s dumb. And it does not work.

In all marriages, you don’t sweat the small stuff. And, it’s mostly small stuff.

4. Sex is essential to a marriage relationship. 

It’s not everything, but when you value and prioritize it, your intimacy impacts your relationship. Sex does not just happen. It, too, is something you work at. It’s fun to do the work, though!

5. Practices (like date nights, long conversations, and trips together) make your marriage stronger. 

Some of these are essential—you need a regular date night if you are married. If you can’t afford dinner, you can walk in a park. You won’t have a strong marriage if you don’t act like you are married. If you’ve forgotten how to be married, then act like your dating until it all comes back to you.

6. Kids are awesome, but they stress your marriage. 

I’m a pretty obsessive parent. I love my kids. I spend time with them. They are a treasure. But they also make marriage more complicated and stressful. Kids should know that your marriage is your first priority. The most important thing you can pass on to your children might be not be what you give them, but the marriage you show them.

7. Never go to bed angry.

Yes, that’s true for everyone according to Ephesians 4:26, but stretching an argument into two days usually leads to stretching it longer. Then bitterness sets in.

You can’t really settle most arguments if you are not willing to just say, “We may not agree, but we can forgive and move on.” (See number 5.)

Kids should know that your marriage is your first priority.

8. You need Jesus. 

I started dating Donna because of her faith. She had shared her faith with the girls in her neighborhood, came to the Bible study I was leading in high school, and loved the Lord deeply. She still does. When we put Jesus at the center, everything else revolved around Him well.

I really love being married. Without a strong marriage, everything else in my life suffers. And I am well aware that such a marriage is not always so easy for many couples.

However, I learned that—in our marriage—I was the cause of many of the challenges and conflicts. Donna was the cure.

Either way, we have learned a lot. We are still learning. But, maybe you can be encouraged by our experience.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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There Is A Reason For Everything

“There is a reason for everything” is a very popular saying. Many times it is said when we really don’t have an answer as to why something happened. For God fearing people, “there is a reason for everything” is an acknowledgement for knowing that God has allowed all things to happen, good or bad.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:

1  There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Yesterday, 2 churches made it official that the Kingdom of God is bigger than any one agenda. The reason we are uniting is to lock arms to fight the forces of evil that lurk in our midst. City Church Del Rio and Iglesia Cristo Vive will come together on February 7 for the first time. Under the dual banner with plans to become one banner in time.

City Church Del Rio is making a difference in community of Del Rio. This is our reason:

  1. Outreach—We believe we are to engage any and all persons that God places in our sphere of influence, in order to fulfill our vision.
  2. Life groups—This will be the backbone to the growth of City Church. Our Life Groups will be dispersed throughout the city of Del Rio during the week in order to have maximum impact.
  3. Multi-Cultural Church—Reaching multi-cultural families that reflect the community of Del Rio. The way we accomplish this is to have leadership that mirrors the congregation. Of course, as we minister in Jesus name, we will minister to all people God brings into our presence. We value all cultures, races, and people just as God does. We are all valuable in the Kingdom of God.
  4. Sundays—City Church Places a high emphasis on Sundays as it pertains to the worship of Jesus for the entire family. We believe in embracing God in the most excellent experience that we can provide under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Won’t you pray for City Church or if you are in the area, please stop by at one of our Sunday services. 9 am worship en espanol, 10 am Bible Study for all, 11 English worship service.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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