Author: Pastor Mark

FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN SPORTS!

FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN SPORTS!

When I was on the High school football team I was dedicated to my team.  I first started in the 7th grade.  I really didn’t know what I was doing the first two years.  I didn’t know how to read the play on paper let alone put it into practice.  On my Freshman team, I started to learn more and became excited about it.  The more I matured, the more I wanted to work at getting better.  My coach demanded dedication.  So, I started working out in the off season running and lifting weights.  I started going to “2 a days” in the summer as well.  My Sophomore year I played on the junior varsity on Saturdays and was a back-up middle linebacker on Friday nights for the varsity where I was able to get a lot of playing time and lettered for the first time.

I learned to love the game and gave myself to it.  I never missed a practice; I never missed a workout; I worked to grow in knowledge, strength, and conditioning.  I even went to seminars.  My Junior & Senior years I never left the field and played every play of every game (offense, defense, and special teams).  I would even go to the junior varsity games on Saturday to encourage and promote the younger guys on my team.  I believed in my coach’s game plan.  He was passionate about the team and its success and what was good for us.  There were rules for conduct and dress that we had to abide by. I went along with all even though I did not always understand it mainly because of my ignorance and immaturity.  There were times I was corrected and even yelled at when I did not fulfill my role as I should have.  I took the correction and tried to fix the mistakes.  We never had a great season let alone champions in our division, but all in all, it taught me some great lessons.

Now as an adult, and hopefully a maturing Believer, I certainly hope that I can apply more faithfulness to my Lord and Savior and His church He has loved and given Himself for more than I ever did to football.  I have a new team; I have new brothers and sisters; I have new goals; a new plan. Instead of a game – I live for God daily in a lost and dying world.  Instead of practices – I go to every church service of the week.  Instead of conditioning and training – I daily seek to grow through Bible reading & study, prayers, and seeking to learn from other godly people.

Oh, Christians, may each of us dedicate ourselves to God again in a greater way than we ever devoted ourselves to the affairs and cares of this life.  May we be faithful to God, attendance and service at church, and our ministry God has given us.  Our generation of Christians is becoming more faithful to worldly pursuits at the cost of our faithfulness to God who has given His Son to die on the cross for us.   Oh that we may dedicate ourselves to Him anew.  – Pastor Mark Sage

 

Absolutely Surrendered

Absolutely Surrendered

Philippians 1:12-30

After his vision on the road to Damascus, and his salvation the shortly followed after – there was nothing that was more important to Paul than fulfilling God’s will and bring glory to the Father.  He lived his life with everything else coming second to Christ.

He had seen great victories in the middle east and Asia and planned on taking Rome by storm with the Gospel of Christ.  He probably imagined that the roads the led to Rome would help him to make it the epicenter of Christianity.

After Rome he planned to go on to Spain and then likely as far as Germany and Britain after that.  His was a life of Absolute Surrender. But it was not because of what he was doing – much more than that – it was because of what he was willing to endure for Christ Jesus.

In our generation in contrast – the Lord is endured as a chore through the week – someone that is to be a tolerated often because He is the Son of God.  So rather than enduring for him and living for Him, we endure Him and live for self.  But that is not what God has intended for our Christian life.

Absolutely means: Complete, not mixed, pure, unrelated to, or dependent on something else. Not partial. Not weakened down.

We have too many members today that are Christians and something else. You cannot be half Christian and half something else. You can’t be a hyphenated Christian.  You are either a believer in Christ or you are not.

But, to be absolutely surrendered you must be first absolutely saved.  I don’t mean, “I think so.” I don’t mean part way. I don’t mean saved on Sunday only. I don’t mean just halfway saved. I am talking about being saved from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

God Never Partially Saves Anyone.  To be partly saved is to be completely lost.  To be almost redeemed is to have totally rejected Christ.  No one is part Christian and part child of the devil.  If that be true then Christ died in vain, and salvation is worth nothing to any of us.

But praise God, you can be saved today.  Simply repent of our sin and put your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior.  then you will have salvation and a home forever in heaven with the Lord.

What Happened to Grandpa’s Democratic Party?

What Happened to Grandpa’s Democratic Party?

I have never been a democrat. My family, growing up, was.  My father having been murdered, and my first step dad dying of a heart attack when I was 13, resulted in our family having a lot of financial struggles.   I remember being a teenager growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks,” living in a trailer park.  Yet, I still had conservative leanings even though my public high school was already teaching a semi-liberal agenda in the latter part of the 1980’s.  I always had a love of country and knowing what was right even though I often erred on the side of wrong in my own personal life.  It was also before the era of conservative talk radio; Fox News; and the internet sites that promoted conservatism.  I always wondered where the conservatives were.  Perhaps they were out there and I just did not know them.

 

I remember though, at that time, there were a lot of Democrats in church and in my extended family.  Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts; people that identified as Democrats.  Their philosophy was built out of the “labor union” mentality.  They believed that the Democrats were the party that were protecting worker’s rights and against harmful climate problems such as (do you remember these) destruction of the ozone layer, acid rain, and the onset of global cooling and a return of the ice age (that’s what they were teaching in grade school in the 70’s).   They also thought that the government should help those that are struggling and were often upset with big corporations.  At the same time, those democrats were very moral: they were against abortion; they were for the sanctity of marriage (didn’t need to be defined back then); having children out of wedlock was not the norm; corporal punishment was the norm; homosexuality was still defined as reprobate; and your word was still your bond.

 

But now the progressive liberal agenda has destroyed what was once a socially conservative and fiscally liberal democratic party and has made it liberal in both aspects.  I can appreciate the argument of a union man in protecting worker’s rights to some level; I can even respect the motive of caring for the poor and helpless of our society (though I don’t agree with how it is often accomplished or the political motive of today’s liberal democrat politician).  I do know that on the grass level most democrats are still morally conservative.

 

My grandfather on my mom’s side was truck driver most of his life, and did very well financially in Ohio.  My grandpa on my dad’s side was coal miner from the late 40’s to the 60’s in West Virginia and never had much.  Both were democrats and both have long passed on.  I don’t think either of them would want to be a democrat today.  I’m sure that if they were to awake from the slumber today and look at the present political situation and the immorality running rampant in society and in government – they would wonder what happened to their democratic party.presidential-election-1336480_1280

Why I, Mark Sage, will be voting for Ted Cruz for President

Why I, Mark Sage, will be voting for Ted Cruz for President

There has not been, in my lifetime, a better candidate get this close to being nominated and elected. I joined the USMC in the last year of Reagan’s presidency, graduating Northwestern High School two weeks early to do so. This is the closest candidate to Reagan that has ever stepped forth and closely aligns with Conservative Christian values. Here are a few of the reason I will be voting for Ted:

• Ted has a good profession of salvation in Christ Jesus. (His is not a politically expedient profession like Donald Trump’s)
• Ted is a defender of Israelis and the State of Israel. (Genesis 12:3, Psalms 122:6)
• Ted promotes religious freedom for all. (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
• Ted is staunchly against abortion – calling Roe vs. Wade a “Dark Anniversary.” (Psalm 22:10; 139:13-16; Job 31:15; Jeremiah 1:5)
• Ted supports a Constitutional amendment that mandates Congress to balance the budget. (Proverbs 22:7; Romans 13:8)
• Ted wants to end Common Core and and he co-sponsored the “Local Control Education Act.”
• Ted would repeal Obama Care.
• Ted supports a move towards a flat tax.
• Ted is against illegal immigration and amnesty. (Acts 17:26)

Contentment

Contentment


In Matthew 22:16-22 we see that money was not an issue with Christ.  Money had its purposes, but the Lord was not wooed by it in anyway.  If only we could say that as believers – if only we could be content like Christ.

One of the major battles that Christians often face is the battle of contentment.  On every billboard, every radio and television commercial are allurements to get you to be discontented.  As you walk into the grocery stores; go through the mall; or surf the internet – you will see things that are tempting you to become discontented.

You often here statements like “Do something for yourself” or “Pamper yourself a little while.”  There are slogans like, “you deserve the best” or “your family deserves the finest.”  All these things lend to our discontentedness.

I don’t know how you grew up, but if you are like me, I remember when I was a young boy we were living in an 8 x 30 foot travel trailer that did not travel anywhere located in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  It was a 50’s model and it was home for several years for the 6 in our family.  Mom and dad slept in the living room, my sister in the laundry room/bathroom, and my two older brothers and I had a bunk bed on the far end, well, I slept on some shelf that was overhanging the propane tanks on the front of the travel trailer.  I don’t know if mom and dad were content, but I was.  I was happy, I remember the 13” black & white TV and that was awesome, and there were about 3 channels, one was PBS, and all were fuzzy.   We had to use the pliers to turn the channel.  But I was content.

But something kept happening to me, as I grew I kept becoming more discontent as I saw what other people had. Additionally, even when I got what I wanted at times or had worked hard for, I found that I would shortly become discontented again.

Contented means to appease the desires of; to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or actions; in a word it means to be satisfied.  As believers, we need to learn to be content.  God’s Word says in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  If we want to learn to be content, the Lord Jesus Christ is our best model.

  • He lived 2,000 years ago without any modern comforts.
  • He was born in a manger – a stall for animals.
  • He was raised in relative poverty.
  • He was a day laborer for most of his adult life.
  • He often had to pluck fruit of trees or crops out of the fields for food in his ministry.
  • Most of all, he left His glory and throne in heaven and came to be a man on earth.

Yet he was content.  For you and I to know contentment, we must know the Lord of contentedness, Jesus Christ.  No amount money, things, fame, or even friends will bring contentment like a real relationship with Jesus Christ will bring.  Do you know Him?  If so, have you been looking to Him and working on growing closer to Him and seeking to become more like Him?   It is a must for us to know contentment.

Is it Easter or the Resurrection for you?

Is it Easter or the Resurrection for you?

The busyness of the Easter holiday seems to be growing.  More is being purchased probably than ever before.  Easter is an appropriate name of this day for most for it is a pagan holiday.  As a believer though, we do not celebrate Spring or “new life” as those who celebrate Easter do (knowingly or ignorantly).  Rather, it is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ even referring to it as “Resurrection Sunday!”  What a wonderful fact it is that the Lord used such a pagan holiday to complete his plan for the redemption of man.   May Easter never replace the importance and place that the resurrection of Jesus Christ holds.  Praise God for all who truly lift up the Lord in praise and honor for He is worthy – and the truth is, He is the creator of Spring and He is the giver of “new life.”  You can have a new life starting today in Him.    2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Why don’t you trust Him today!   – Pastor Mark Sage
Why the Tragedy?

Why the Tragedy?

On Friday, December 16th, 2012, in Connecticut, 20 children and 6 adults were killed by a lone gunmen.  There are going to be many reports and many jumping on the bandwagon to make their attacks on guns, or on school security or on law enforcement or possibly even video games.

While all of these things play a part in the problem – there will never be a solution for it as long as sin runs rampant.

As long as children do not have to honor and respect parents;

As long as parents cannot discipline;

As long as teachers cannot discipline;

As long as correction can only be positive;

As long as people make excuses;

As long as the latest disability can be blamed;

As long as personal accountability is not demanded;

As long as God is kicked out of the schools, government, and even (if the world had their way) out of society totally.

When you try to explain why the murderer did it; or why God allowed it; no worldly wisdom can cover it; but I can read over to you the passage from the Bible where Christ addresses such tragedies:

Luke 13:1-5 1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

God’s will in the face of any tragedy is to repent and draw to Him.  Trust Him as your Saviour if you are not saved – and trust Him more if you are saved.

Friends, we need to be vigilant and faithful to our God; fervent for righteousness; look to help rather than ignore.  And know that God has a purpose in all of this.  Everyone of us at these terrible times need to repent and turn to God.

“I Go to Church”

“I Go to Church”

“I GO TO CHURCH”

It seems as I talk to many people, many say, “I go to church.” In reality most do not.  The definition of what a church is has been askew in the last few generations especially.  Here are a few misnomers about what church is:

  • Some believe church is where two or three people are gathered together in the name of theLord. While the Bible says the Lord is in our midst he does not say that it means we had a church service.
  • Others “FEEL” that church can be had at home, in the woods or wherever one feels comfortable. While it is true we can worship God anywhere and at any time; such worship does not constitute a church.
  • Yet some think that a Bible study, chapel service, or watching an evangelistic television program means they went to church. While we are thankful for when the Gospel is preached, these do not fit the definition of a church either.

Church is not defined by what we believe, what we feel or what we think. Church is defined by the Bible. It is the Bible that teaches us what church is. Here are a few things to remind us:

1. A Church has as its Head and Founder – Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior – Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20

2. A Church has as its sole authority the Word of God, the Bible – Romans 15:4; 1 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3. A Church is a called out group who have been assembled together to fulfill the Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8

4. A Church has as its members saved and baptized believers; Ephesians 2:8-9; Act 2:41; Acts 10:44-48; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Matthew 28:18-20

5. A Church has pastors and deacons as its officers; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-16

6. A Church has a pastor appointed by the Holy Ghost that leads and feeds the flock from the Word of God – Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 4:6, 12-16; 1 Peter 5:2

7. A Church submits to God’s appointed leadership within the church – Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Timothy 5:17; Philippians 2:29;; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

8. A Church has people that study God’s Word for themselves – Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:15; Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8

9. A Church has been started or sponsored by another church or a group of churches – Acts 13:2; Acts 16:5

10. A Church is the “pillar and the ground of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 3:15

Now this is not an exhaustive list of what the Bible says a church is; but it does remind us that it is a vital part of our Christian lives. This should always necessitate our finding, joining, and serving with a local Bible believing church. It would behoove us to be a part of one, as it is the established institution on earth that Christ founded, sustains, works through and died for – Ephesians 5:25-27. On a personal note, since the age of 18, I have always been a member of a local church where I have lived. When I moved, I always knew where my family and I would be joining. We always stayed at that church until God moved us to a new state or country. Was every church perfect?  By no means!  Did I always wholeheartedly agree with everything taught?  Not always.  Did I agree with every decision the leadership made? Not by a long shot!   But I have always tried to faithfully serve, help and bless that local church and pastor, whether I saw eye to eye with them on everything.  Why?  Because I love the Lord and I love His church and any sacrifice I make is minuscule compared to His great sacrifice He has given when He died on the cross of Calvary.  There has not been a church that I have not been able to grow in because if I am doing what I am supposed to do God will always bless.

– Pastor Mark A. Sage

Putting Up Fences in our Lives

Putting Up Fences in our Lives

Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray;…” There is a danger for every sheep that is in the fold of God to go astray. When we go astray it means we are outside the bounds of habitation that the Good Shepherd intended for us. It means to go in a way that is not according to His will.

Shepherds would lead their sheep to good pastures where they could be fed and be safe from danger. We too need to makes sure we stay in good pastures – God’s pasture. Here are two key points about staying in God’s pasture.

PUT UP SOME FENCES IN YOUR LIFE

People don’t like fences or boundaries in their lives; yet the Bible has a clear set of guidelines that we are to live by. We need to set up fences that are based on Biblical principles. God gives us the guidelines, but we set up the fences for ourselves. It is dangerous when we do not set up fences because we often will without thought cross out of the pasture of God’s will and blessing.

Fences are important for three reasons:

  • Fences are for our protection – they keep the evil out.
  • Fences set up the bounds of habitation – they tell us where we can safely roam.
  • Fences identify us – they tell who we belong to.

For instance, the Bible says that drunkenness is a sin (Proverbs 23:30-35). Therefore I will set up some guidelines that will protect me from this sin of drunkenness. Some examples of fences would be: I will not drink alcoholic beverages; I won’t have them in my house; I won’t go to bars or night clubs (there are many principles as to why these are wrong). I won’t hang out with people who are going to do such things; if must go to a military function where it is served, I certainly won’t bring my family and will leave at the earliest opportunity. Why, because I don’t want to get out of the will of God. I may have a moment of weakness, but if I am on the right side of the fence I will not be near the sin and therefore not partake of it. Many Christians have fallen into sin because they were near sin at a moment of weakness. Self-imposed fences will help keep us from sinning against our Lord, not to mention will identify us with him.

But we also need to:

STAY CLOSE TO THE SHEPHERD

Even when people set up fences in their lives they still need to learn that danger lurks near to the fence. The best place to stay is in the center of the pasture, near the Shepherd. When we stay by the Shepherd we are:

  • Staying close to His Word – the Bible
  • Staying close to His Bride – the local church
  • Staying close to His Heart – witnessing to the lost and serving others.

When we lurk near the fence (which is away from the Bible, Church, and God’s service) we are longing for things that are outside of His will and where danger is found. Don’t go there; stay close to the Shepherd. A good indicator as to how I am doing as a Christian is to test whether I am lurking near the fence or am I am staying close to the Savior.

Battleground or Playground?

Battleground or Playground?

What is this life to you Christian?  I guess it depends on how you look at it.  How we perceive our lives lends to how we live our lives.  Do you look at your life as a battleground or a playground?  Do you think about the next movie you will watch, the next meal you will eat out the next vacation you get to go on, etc?  Are you leisurely going through life making yourself at home in it or do you think about how you might draw closer to the Lord and look to fulfill His calling for your life?  Right now, what is on your agenda today, this week and this month?  What is it that fills your thoughts and plans?

May I remind you that this world is not our home.  For the Christian it was never meant to be a leisure walk or a playground.  Rather, God tells us in 2 Timothy 2:4 that “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”  The Lord also tell us in Ephesians 6:11-18 that we are to put on all the armor of God. Consider what Ephesians 6:13 teaches us, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  I know that this is not a popular message in our generation where we want to have fun and relax, or even bask in the joy of the Lord free from any problems.  The truth is for a Christian following God, this life is often a battle.  Living for God breeds problems in a dark world and in an evil generation.  C.H. Spurgeon said over 100 years ago that “No man can be a Christian these days without being a controversialist.”  If that was true in Spurgeon’s day, it is only more true today. If you never have problems, confrontations, troubles to some degree, it is likely that you are not battling for the Lord.  A person who reaches out to the lost is constantly fighting battles, but it is worth it to him “…that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”