Increase Your Faith

Posted: August 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

In Luke 17, Jesus is instructing his disciples. He had been rapid fire teaching on the implications of right and wrong living, and being an example to others, and giving forgiveness to those who asked for it. In order to illustrate in the strongest possible terms, Jesus suggested the penalty for noncompliance, and even leading a child astray would be likened to having a one ton millstone tied to their neck and thrown into the sea. In my mind’s eye, I see all the disciples swallowing hard wirh a distressed, panicked look on their faces, and then tripping over one another to beg Jesus to “Increase our faith”.

The disciples knew, as we should, that the key to keeping from sin is having and exhibiting more faith. We have each recieved a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), and it is our responsibility to grow and exercise our faith.

How can we increase our faith?

1. By THINKING faith.

Philippians 2:5

Philippians 4:8

2. By HEARING faith.

John 5:24

Romans 10:17

3. By SEEING faith.

Hebrews 12:2

4. By TALKING faith.

2 John 1:12

5. By WORKING faith.

James 2:12

6.By WALKING faith

2 Corinthians 5:7

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Deeds of the Devil

Posted: July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Satan is referred to as “the god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. That’s why Satan could offer Jesus all the nations of the Earth in an attempt to tempt Jesus to join in his rebellion against God. Jesus knew that Satan was a defeated adversary, even in his physically weakened state after 40 days of fasting. Satan uses the same pattern today. He uses the desires of our flesh to tempt us.

He tempts with wealth, fame, popularity, and power. He attacks our weaknesses. He will stop at nothing to keep people from hearing and accepting the message of the cross, and when one does, he attacks from every side to keep a Christian from realizing their full potential in Christ.

Satan cannot steal our salvation, but he can minimize the effectiveness of our salvation. That’s really something to consider. We have trouble enough doing the right thing on our own. Sometimes we’re not as engaged living out our faith as we should be, and we have an enemy that wants to destroy us.

We need to be able to recognize the tactics of the one who desires to derail us. His strategy is simple, but too often effective.

1. The devil DISTRACTS. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 11:14-15

2. The devil DECIEVES. John 8:44

3. The devil DISGRACES. 2 Corinthians 11:3

4. The devil DEPRESSES. 2 Corinthians 12:7

5. The devil DESTROYS. John 10:10

There is only one way to experience life and victory over Satan and his demonic forces- place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

A New Year- A New Opportunity

Posted: January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

2014 was a great year, and I’m expecting (and looking forward to) even better things in 2015. As we grow numerically, there are more opportunities to serve and get involved at CCM. If you are looking for a home church, I’d like to invite you and your family to come check us out. You will find a friendly, casual atmosphere with contemporary Christian music and a practical and relevant message from the Bible that you can apply to your daily life.

Some of the highlights of 2014 include the addition of a second praise team led by Ed Smith. Louis Crowley’s team alternates every other week. Last winter CCM distributed over 200 blankets to those in need. As a result of our partnership with the Olive Garden restaurant at Coconut Point Mall, our food pantry distributes hundreds of pounds of food weekly to families in crisis, and those in need.

In June, my wife Donnitta and I led a team on a trip to the Dominican Republic where we not only ministered in the streets of Santiago, but also painted the dorms at a local boy’s prison. They were very appreciative, and some of the boys were actually allowed to help. It was good to see Mark and Stephanie Pyles again.

Joann Scardino initiated a helps ministry that provides a monthly meal to the Ronald McDonald house. Her group takes over their kitchen to provide families of sick children a home-cooked meal. Kari Smith facilitated the 9-week course of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It was such a hit, we are starting another course on January 21st.

This Christmas we provided gifts for four young girls who had been rescued out of the sex trafficking trade. It’s an honor to be able to partner with organizations like Wings of Shelter who care for and mentor these girls. We have been faithful in our monthly support to all of our missionaries.

Our nursing home ministry is as strong as ever with Brenda Biggar leading that team. They are now providing services in four different facilities. Joyce and Jesse Garza revitalized our recovery group ministry several months ago. Every month we partner with Dennis and Jenna Sherman’s Galvin Foundation to box up treats and gifts for our men and women serving in the military in Afghanistan and other places around the world.

There is so much more I could write about. You will have to come see for yourself all that’s going on at CCM. In just a few weeks we will be airing a weekly radio program on 91.5 Kingdom FM. New Bible studies and small groups will be starting up this month. The best way to find out what’s going on is to come and get involved.

Take care and God bless.

Pastor Mark

I’m Back

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I wasn’t ever really gone, but I’ve neglected to keep up with updating this blog site. I could give a hundred convincing reasons (excuses), but the truth is I did not place a priority on it, and let other activities crowd out the time I could have spent doing this. The truth is that most of those other things were good too. It’s not easy pointing out my own shortcomings, but in doing so I may be able to help others in their struggle to stay focused and properly prioritize.

We all have families and jobs and commitments to keep. The key is to determine the most important things, and give them priority. There is the illustration of the sand, pebbles, and rocks put into a container. If you put the sand and pebbles in first, the rocks will not fit. If the container represents our life, it can be filled with the lesser important things represented by the sand and pebbles, not leaving space for the most important things; God and family. Put the rocks in first, and the sand and pebbles can find their way into the container without crowding out the rocks.

Our first priority is to “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33). One way I do that is to commit to reading the Bible every day. I would invite you to join me. It will cost you 15 minutes a day, but I believe it will help you set all your other priorities in order. There is an Old Testament and New Testament reading. Read either or both. Friend me on Facebook or find me on Twitter (@MarkGooman) to recieve the daily reading. If you want to find your own reading plan, I would recommend going to http://www.backtothebible.org to see their plans. Take care and God bless.

Pastor Mark

P.S. You have an open invitation to come worship with us at Christ Community Ministries. Sunday mornings at 10am. Come early for a cup of coffee and and donut holes. If its your first time, we have a special gift for you.

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Posted: September 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Recently I preached a series on forgiveness. It was not an easy one, but definitely necessary to our Christian life. Jesus gave us a lot of direction on forgiveness, and even indicated that we should always be ready to forgive (70 X 7 times), especially within the family of God, and particularly when the offending party repents and asks for forgiveness. To see the importance of forgiveness, check out the parable Jesus gave in Matthew 18:21-35. 

If we do not forgive, we place ourselves in a prison of anger and torment and turmoil, a place that destroys us from the inside. If we are to live the abundant, victorious lives that Christ died to give us, we must become willing to forgive others.

I think we don’t forgive because we don’t have an accurate picture of what forgiveness is and isn’t. In order to set out on the subject of forgiveness, it was crucial to go through a list of what is NOT forgiveness. I’d like to bullet item those for you here in this blog. If you would like to hear the whole message, go to http://www.CCMchurch.com.

1. Forgiveness is not excusing wrong actions, or sin.

2. Forgiveness is not forgetting.

3. Forgiveness is not denying or ignoring the fact that a wrong has been committed.

4. Forgiveness is not waiting for an apology.

5. Forgiveness is not permitting or enabling sinful behavior.

6. Forgiveness is not ceasing to feel the pain caused by the offense.

7. Forgiveness is not neglecting justice.

8. Forgiveness is not trusting.

9. Forgiveness is not a one-time event.

10. Forgiveness is not necessarily reconciliation.

We can only know how to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt or offended us- even in horrific ways, because God has forgiven us of our sin against Him. Obviously, from the parable, there are consequences to not forgiving, so it’s in our best interest to decide to forgive. More on forgiveness in my next post.

Amazing Grace

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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For the past few weeks at CCM we’ve been learning about “grace”. Grace is God’s favor towards us that we neither earned nor deserved. Like faith, it is entirely given to us by God. Nothing from us, everything from God. I would encourage you to go to our new website, www.CCMchurch.com to listen to all the messages on grace for yourself. We’ve been using Max Lucado’s book titled “GRACE”.  I’ve described grace as a multi-faceted diamond. As you listen, pray the Holy Spirit increases your understanding. Here are some of the highlights we’ve explored so far:

Week 1-

  1. God’s grace is not limited by our understanding and treatment of it.
  2. Grace is available to everyone.
  3. A changed heart is evidence of God’s grace.

Week 2-

  1. God loves each of us enough to stoop to our level and even below.
  2. Satan’s goal is to accuse and destroy us.
  3. God stands in our defense every moment of every day.

Week 3-

1. Grace is a gift.

2. There are no merit badges in God’s economy.

3. God has completed the work of salvation. We add nothing to it.

Week 4-

1. Grace once received is meant to be given.

2. Holding on to hurts only further wounds the injured party.

3. We each control only our response to the pain.

Week 5-

1. Confession is agreeing with God about our sin.

2. Unconfessed sin festers in the soul, bringing only pain.

3. Confession brings about healing and promotes unity, not judgment.

When I get back from our trip to the Dominican Republic (June6-13), I’ll pick the series up for a couple more weeks. Teen Challenge men will be at Christ Community Ministries on June 9th, with a lunch to follow. come be a part of what we’re doing in SW Florida and around the world.

The past two Wednesday nights, our CCM Bible study group watched the Louie Giglio talks on the universe and the human body. Awesome and Indescribable are such appropriate words to describe what God has created. Being left just about speechless, the word that comes out of my mouth is “wow”.

What a contrast. As eloquent as the most practiced, educated, and seasoned speaker could be, there is no comparison to what comes from the mouth of man and the mouth of God. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (ESV). The word of the Lord is true and perfect. No wonder God made us with two ears and one mouth. To remind us as he does in James 1:19, “…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”

If we would heed this directive, we would no doubt be better husbands, wives, sons, daughters, employees, friends, mentors, and leaders. Our challenge is to be better listeners. As we do, we will extend more grace.