My Take - Pastor's Blog

MY TAKE:
DO YOU REALLY WANT REVIVAL?

There is a hymn that I used to hear as a special at church when I was younger, the lyrics were basically a question that we need to ask ourselves and it went as follows:


Do you really want revival?

Do you really want God’s power?

Do you really want His Spirit

To control your life this hour?

Oh, repent and turn to Jesus,

Seek his face and humbly pray.

Do you really want Revival?

Are you willing to obey?


If we really want revival and for God’s help in our lives, family, church, community, and nation it is going to start with: 


1.     Turning back to God with complete repentance of sin and full dependence on Him.  (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:7)

  • Don’t depend on yourself, your reasoning, your strength, your abilities. Look to and trust in the Lord.
  • Ask forgiveness for your wayward and backslidden condition.
  • Quit excusing yourself and come clean with God and turn from your sin or disobedience.

2.     Obeying God (John 14:15)

  • This is not complicated – it is simply allowing Him to be the priority of your life. What does He want you to do?
  • God wants you reading your Bible and devoting time to Him in prayer daily.  
  • God wants you in church and at the Revival meetings.
  • By faith obey Him in all thing His Word teaches us and reveals to us.

3. Walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7)

  • To serve the Lord, I'm going to have to decide to trust Him no matter what and to put Him first no matter what.
  • There are going to be many things that will discourage or side track us from doing what God wants. As soon as Satan finds out what will keep you off track he will keep sending it your way. Don't allow him to do that. (2 Cor 2:11)
  • Trust in God and follow Him completely - allow Him to take care of the rest.


There are many other things that are vital the Christian life – but there also basic things that are indispensable and our neglect of them are not only what causes revival to not happen in our lives, but it also contributes to revival not coming to our families, church, community and nation.  


Start with the basics, be at church when the doors are open (and especially the revival meetings).  Read your Bible and pray daily.  Submit yourself over the leading and control of the Spirit of God in your life and allow Him to take care of the rest.  


DO WE REALLY WANT REVIVAL?  I pray that we do!


2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.


Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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Focusing on Loving God in a Very Distracting World

Have you ever felt like your life is distracted or scattered?  That your best laid plans for the day are often routed by some type of distraction, mishap, unplanned visit, problem, or even catastrophe.  Life is busy with many responsibilities and then even more challenges come our way. Add to those, our greatest responsibility in life is our relationship with God and service to Him.  How do we do it all?  Are we able to keep in focus as we should? It can be daunting.  


Paul shows us that it can be done. In Acts 16:16 - 17:10 we see how that even in his life, he was able to keep God first while dealing with a great number of problems and unforeseen challenges.  In verse 16 we see a demon is cast out of a woman.  Paul and Silas have a great day, right?  But then, in verses 22 and 23, they are beaten and whipped and in verses 24-25 they are thrust deep into a prison and locked in the stocks.  I guess it wasn’t as great a day as we thought.


But wait, God blesses and they are released from the prion miraculously and then they even win the jail keeper and his whole family to the Lord - great day.  Then they travel to Thessalonica, preach for three weeks and a lot of people get saved.  Things seem to be on track and God is working, right?  But then in Acts 17:5 we see lewd fellows enter in, and the end of it results in Paul and Silas leaving in the middle of night, running for their lives.


You know, life is going to have ups and downs - life is going to back and forth - but our focus on God must remain no matter if it is a "mountain top" or even a "valley."  If we expect to do a work for God, raise a family for Him and bring the Lord honor and glory – and meet the challenges that often come – God must be the focus and center of it all for us as well.


Learn to love Him above all.  Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – and the way we show that love – the way this world can see this relationship I have with God – is by investing ourselves in the lives of others by showing them God’s love for them as well (Mark 12:29-31).   That is how Paul and Silas did it and that is how they showed that wonderful love of God through their lives even though they were often confounded, distracted, and sidetracked with problems. He made the statement in Acts 20:24:


Acts 20:24 

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 


Paul and Silas were able to bring glory to God and not allow their busy and often side-tracked lives get them off focus that God's business was always their first business. God remained the first love of their lives.


May God help and use us to do the same!


-       Pastor Mark Sage


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WHERE'S YOUR HEAD?

I remember I had a football coach, Coach Bush, he was the HIGH SCHOOL varsity coach, now I was a 185 lb middle linebacker my sophomore year – I was second string, played all the Junior Varsity games on Saturdays but would dress for the varsity on the Friday night before.


He would allow me in the game a little at the beginning of the season, but not a lot, end of the game type stuff. Then our defensive end, Mike Finnessey, a senior, got hurt. The coach put me in having never even played the position before. It was 4th down and they were punting. On the punt return team, there are only two basic plays, return punt (mock a rush and run backwards to block for your return man) or you go and block the punt. I don’t even think I knew that at the time what the play was – I was going for the kicker.


Well the ball was snapped, I started charging, you know what, before I knew it, I had sacked the kicker, we got the ball and we scored on the next series. I was the hero, I went to the sideline and my team was going crazy. (TRUTH BE KNOWN, MY GUY DIDN’T EVEN BLOCK ME, THE KICKER GOT A BAD SNAP AND HE ALMOST "JUKED" ME, AND I GOT EDGE IF HIS JERSEY WITH MY FINGER TIPS AND SWUNG HIM AROUND FOR THE TACKLE. It was a fluke, but from that day on Coach Bush had his eye on me. But more than that, he expected more of me.


In practice he would constantly be on me as I read the plays and was making a lot of plays but a lot of mistakes in reads as well. There was a constant thing I remember him repeating to me that year, “SON, WHERE’S YOUR HEAD?” Maybe you played some sport and the coach asked you that same question. Perhaps your parents have asked you that, I’m sure mine did.


Maybe your teacher asked that, I know mine did both in high school and college. If you were in the military, I know your drill instructor did. Mine did, bosses even say it. They are basically saying, get your head in the game; pay attention to what is important and what is on the line.


When the coach asked me that, he was basically saying, I need to get my mind on the game. Well, they fired Coach Bush that year, and they hired Harley Eichorn for my Junior and Senior Year, he had a slightly different approach…his was this, EAT, SLEEP AND BREATHE FOOTBALL! He would say (I still use this in my preaching concerning the Christian life and doing something great for God), “Dream of making the big play.” All of these were encouragements for us to stay be successful in our endeavor of football.


Let me ask you, when it comes to the Christian life:…WHERE’s YOUR HEAD? What are you thinking about, where is your mind? Are you dreaming of the world, money, pleasure, and things or do you have your mind on the things of Christ. Are you putting Him first and thinking about what you can do that is wonderful in service and honor to Him?


We have two general mindsets - it is either being carnally mind or spiritually minded. The Bible makes it very clear for us.


Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.


The key to most of your failures or lack of success is found in this verse – this simple to understand, but not often applied verse of God’s Holy writ.


Where’s your mind, God says to us there are two minds, One is carnal and one is spiritual.


Proverbs 23:7 As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.


What I think about, muse upon, focus on, read about, listen to, watch, meditate on - that is what I'm going to become. That is where my head is - so where is your head this today? What are you dwelling upon?


Sometimes we dwell on problems, bitterness, pain, discouragement. Other times it is simply sinful thoughts. Those things will not help us be what God wants us to be. I want my mind to be on the right things so I choose to study and focus on the Lord, His will and the things that will help me to grow and "make the big play" for Him.


The whole passage is applicable but for space, Colossians 3:1-2, 16-17 reminds us about how to keep our mind where it should be:

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 


  • Pastor Mark Sage
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LOVE THE LORD & YOU WILL LOVE WHAT IS HIS

"A girl who received a book from a young man, read it and said, "What a tiresome book!" The young man said, "Did you notice who wrote it?" She looked at the front page and saw that the love of her life was the author. She began to read it again, and at the end she said, "I never read a greater book." What made the difference? Her relationship to the writer. Look at God. Is He good or evil? It all depends on whether you are single in heart or evil in heart. If you look at Jesus, you may see Him either as a deceiver or as a Savior. What makes the difference? Your attitude, your eye."  Bible Illustrations - Bible Illustrations – Illustrations of Bible Truths.

You and I, at times in our lives or even right now, have not enjoyed the things of God. Particularly, His Book, His Church, His Will & Ways, and His People have all at times been a bore or even an annoyance. The problem we have is that we often do not love God like we should or we do not have the right relationship we should with Him. in order to enjoy the Bible and have the right attitude towards godly things and towards life we are going to have to get to know the Author and Creator – the Lord God of heaven.  He is the designer, creator, and sustainer of all.   He is the one that gives us all things.  Fall in love with Him, and you will fall in love with His Book, you will fall in love with His church, you will fall in love with His people and you will fall in love with His service.

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"I" Can Do All Things?

Philippians 4:13 has been used much in our society today as a popular slogan.  It is varied in its use but the most common way it has been used is on the t-shirts of several sports stars and famous personalities.  The slogan though goes like this: “I CAN DO ALL THINGS.” While some are thankful for it as it is a Bible quote, in reality – it is a watered-down, mis-appropriated and inappropriate statement that gives a false message.


As Believers we should never emphasize what we can do.  It has never been about us but has always been about God.  Obviously, the real quote is “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It is our precious Lord who redeemed us from our lost condition by faith and repentance – and has promised to be with us and to bear our burdens and has also empowered us to be faithful in any situation.  To leave God out of Philippians 4:13 takes the TRUTH out of the verse and renders it worthless.


In addition, the context of the Philippians 4:13 shows us that Paul made this statement not in recognition of his successes – but rather in the hardships he endured.  When he wrote this, he was imprisoned in Rome, not knowing what the future held for Him other than this – whether he abounded or was abased, he could be content and give God glory.  Philippians 4:11 is a wonderful verse to help us in our walk with Christ.  It says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  So whether in a victory or a setback, Paul knew he could glorify God therein.


I'm glad we have the same God that we can depend on today that Paul had. But I can't do it. I'm not the key, it is through HIM! He is the one that strengthens me through every trial and hardship and keeps me settled when I have a victory because I know that it was He that did it and allowed me to be a part of it. It is not about "I", it is all about "HIM!"

  • Pastor Mark Sage
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Encouragement from Psalms 42 & 43

From my Scripture reading this morning in the section from the Psalms we read a phrase three times in Psalm 42 and 43 with one small variation. It is in Psalms 42:5 & 12 and also 43:5. On its face value alone it such a great reminder that I need to question my souls when it is down. If I am redeemed of God then I have no business being down very long. I can ask for God's help to:


  • Reveal if there is anything I need to repent of and seek forgiveness.
  • Reveal any way wrong attitude I have and confess it to the Lord.
  • Show me if I am harboring any bitterness, anger, or grudge toward someone or concerning a circumstance.
  • Give all of these things over to the Lord once found and allow Him to carry the load.


Then I take a moment to command my own soul. It says here: "...hope thou in God:.." Every moment of every day, I need to command my souls to this position. I cannot excuse, deny, or ignore any sin or feeling that is not right before God. It must be dealt with now and get my should where it needs to be to have the right relationship and attitude with God.


Finally, there is one small deviation in these three verses. Two verses say "I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance" and one says "...who is the help of my countenance, and my God." What a blessing to consider that He is both of those things to us. He is the help and and the health of who I am in this world and my testimony. I want to have the right attitude in this world and toward this world, being the testimony He desires me to be. I cannot do that unless I am walking with Him, staying close to Him, and depending on Him for the help and health of who I am for Him as well. - Pastor Mark Sage

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Preparing for Success in Your Walk with God, in a Basic Way

We have all heard the quotes and the illustrations about being prepared, and they are all good, such as a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln - “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Everyone of us (hopefully) spend time preparing for work, an exam, for an upcoming presentation, etc.


One thing we are often intimidated by is being the godly person that God wants us to be. He commands us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16) which is a very high calling. When we look at who we are we realize that we have a very long way to go to even start to be who He expects us to be.


Let me encourage you - IT IS NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK! There are some basic things that each of us can do to become that holy spiritual person. Now, I'm not saying that you need to become a monk which is not what God wants nor is necessarily holy. I am talking about WALKING WITH GOD. If we can learn to walk with God, spend time with God, get to know God, allow Him to change us - then I can become that holy spiritual person that He wants me to be.


Here are some things that can help you be successful. Now these are not spiritual things, but they are basic habits that will help you to be able to walk with God successfully. Now, before we jump into it, walking with God involves many things but all fall into simple categories: Bible reading, prayer, worship (personal, family, and corporate [church]).


Here are some things that I do to make sure I can spend the time; be on time; be rested; be ready to do these things in my life:


CONCERNING DAILY DEVOTIONAL LIFE:

  • I go to bed on time, so I can get up on time (we have to be disciplined about this, but our time with God each day is of vital importance)
  • Each night I gather my devotional materials (Bible, prayer list, journal, pen, glasses, iPad for Faithlife church prayer requests, even my back pillow on my reading chair) so I can be ready first thing in the morning.
  • I actually get my coffee set up the night before, my wife's tea kettle and tea bag in her cup ready to go.
  • I sound goofy, but I lay out my work-out clothes for the gym which I do right after my devotions most mornings.
  • I have my phone, iPad and even my computer go to "do not disturb" automatically for my devotion time (1 1/2's roughly for me depending on what time I get up) so there are no distractions from text, notifications, calls or emails.

CONCERNING CHURCH:

  • I do all the things above - including laying out my clothing for church (you need to do that for the kids as well) we always did.
  • I also need to make sure I don't overdo Saturday nights. As a matter of fact I rarely schedule something on Saturday evening because I can wear myself out and then I am not 100% for God on Sunday mornings (you would be surprised how many people miss church on Sunday because they gave away their best hours to something else on Saturday and stayed up too late). We've got to give God better.
  • When I worked a secular job, I always gave church the priority and did all I could to request, badger, and get my church service times off. Not always possible for all, but if you pray and try, God will help you.
  • For Wednesday nights we always have our meal planned ahead so we can be at church (still do that today). Lately, we plan a nice cauliflower pizza for after church, there are other times when we would plan a light meal before through a take out order, or cold cuts at home.

CONCERNING FAMILY DEVOTIONS:

  • Everything above, with these additions:
  • You can do it with supper, sit down to eat, read the Word together and pray.
  • Do it before anything else - everything else is a distraction, God's Word is the most important thing for our families, spend time in it.
  • It is a good time to encourage discipline with the kids in their devotional life, you can incorporate a family reading time, and then send the kids to do their personal reading and prayer.


Success in our Walk with God is sometimes just making the necessary preparations to have the time and energy to do what we God wants us to do. This is not a complete list, but just some ideas that can help you draw close to God in 2022.


  • Pastor Mark Sage
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Letter To Mason City Council in Support of Sanctuary City for the Unborn Ordinance

To each of the Mason Council Members & Leadership,


I wanted to thank you, applaud you for the decision that was made last October to make the City of Mason a Sanctuary City for the Unborn. I know that it was a controversial ordinance in some people's eyes - but it was a right one. I am thankful for you and all those that are willing to make right decisions though facing criticism from a “loud” but “small” crowd that looks to make it a “human right” to abort a human child. 


The Bible teaches that the “powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1) which you are for the City of Mason. God has allowed you to have that important position, USE IT WELL! You have within your power to wield for the defenseless or yield to the selfish. It is your responsibility to do what is right - and you should do it no matter the criticism or the cost because that is the oath you took. Right is always right, truth is always truth, and there is nothing more precious than the sanctity and protection of every human life.

  • Right does not become wrong because of financial loss - Right is still right. 
  • Right does not become wrong because of overwhelming criticism - Right is still right.
  • Right does not become wrong because of public/majority/minority opinion - It is still right!

God’s blessing and approval is far more important for the City of Mason than anything else.  Proverbs 14:34 says: 

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."


I’m praying for you this evening - I support you along with my members that are Mason residents to make the decision to protect the unborn in your jurisdiction.


Sincerely and Prayerfully, 


Pressing On!


Pastor Mark Sage


pastorsage@gmail.com

Church: (513) 683-6708

Mobile:  (513) 716-2315


Maineville Baptist Church

57 E. Foster-Maineville Rd.

Maineville, OH 45039

www.mainevillebc.orgs

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Little Town of Bethlehem

What a blessing this morning to read in my devotions this verse: 


Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be

little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me

that is to be ruler in Israel; who goings forth have been from old, from

everlasting."


This small town about six miles southwest of Jerusalem is today a

very small city of 25,000 (Hamilton Township is bigger than that) and at the

time of Christ it is estimated to have had a population of only about 300. Yet that very small town of old is one of the most famous cities of all time, known by the world, musical scores written and sung with it as the subject, and prophesied in God's Word as the Messiah's birthplace, and indeed, the place that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born.


Outside of Rachel, Jacob's wife being buried there; Ibzan, one of the Judges of Israel being from there, the story of Boaz and Ruth, and Herod’s atrocities in slaying the infants there, it has no other mention in the Bible. But oh, the importance of it. Bethlehem means "house of bread" and Ephratah means "fruitful." Certainly, God knew what this town would mean to Israel and to the world. For it is the birthplace of king David and more importantly – it is the birthplace of the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Outside of that, there is nothing else of noteworthy significance - but what else does it need to be dear to our hearts. That place of Christ's nativity! It is the place where “the Word became flesh” and yet He and his family had to flee as quickly as they arrived - but would forever be known as the Lord’s birthplace.


Is there application for us outside of that?  I believe in God’s Word there is always application!  God says in Romans 15:4 that through His Scriptures we would have hope.  I think for us, the subject of Bethlehem, that God can’t take an insignificant place, a poor family, even a time of hardship (the fleeing to Egypt and the slaying of the children of Bethlehem) and still make something wonderful out of it and to provide so much to the world shows us something.  We mentioned this verse in a recent message - Ecclesiastes 7:8: “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:..” In our lives, we may have insignificant start; a less than stellar beginning; even plagued with failures – but it doesn’t matter how you started, what matters is how you finish.  Today, with God’s help, He can make something wonderful with your life when it is submitted completely to His will.  Put Him first, let God have the preeminence He is due.  


I may not have anything memorable about me personally, but when God saves me, is with me, and uses me – my name shall be forever written down, because I have become part of His plan.  What as wondrous thought and lesson even from this “Little town of Bethlehem!”


  • Pastor Mark Sage
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The Most Unusual Thanksgiving

Have you ever been in a tight spot; an uncomfortable situation; a trial or a strange place during Thanksgiving?  One thanksgiving I went to in our first year of marriage was with some relatives of Stephanie.  It was in a nice part of California in a beautiful home.  I was 22, Stephanie was 21 and pregnant with our first daughter, Hannah. It was a delicious meal and nice people.  We finished our first helping and I watched to see who was going to get a second helping (no way was I going to be first).  Finally, another young man got up to go get “seconds”, so Stephanie and I followed and got ours.  It turns out, he only got a glass of water and Stephanie and I returned to the table – and no one else at the entire dinner got another bite to eat – so we sat there and ate while they all watched (at least Stephanie was eating for two, I did not have a good excuse).


While that is a funny story – there are many who go through difficult times during Thanksgiving or other holidays.  I remember in 1983, riding in our 1973 wood paneled Ford Station wagon in the rear facing bench seat heading out to a hopeful Thanksgiving with my siblings, mom, and stepdad, then arriving back home five or so days later, no longer having our stepdad since he passed away on our trip.  It was tough and heartbreaking.  In most of our lifetimes, there will be Thanksgivings like that.  We may feel depressed or lonely because of some loss, stress, or some difficulty.  Can I remind you: IF YOU ARE SAVED AND CHRIST DWELLS WITHIN YOU, YOU HAVE THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT ANYONE CAN EVER RECEIVE?   You have someone who is dwelling within you that has called you His friend in John 15:15. Jesus Christ has promised you: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Don’t forget that this Thanksgiving, you are not alone.  The Lord is there even in the most difficult circumstances.


I’m reminded of the most unusual Thanksgiving in the Bible.  It is found in Jonah 2:9 where Jonah says: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”  Now likely this did not happen on the 4th Thursday of November – but it was from belly of whale, and it was with every bit of sincerity.  Jonah was alone and at the end of his rope, but he came to his senses and realized that though he was in the belly of whale and though he had disobeyed God - his God still deserved thanksgiving.   Today, may you and I be sincere and thank God for what He has done and will continue to do in our lives.  He will be faithful to us and save us.  He will be with us through the good times and even more so in the tough times.  He is always there to comfort, guide, and fellowship with us.  Even in the midst of a difficult time, He is there for you right now.


So, be reminded, that it the midst of your holiday, thought it may be normal or possibly unusual - give God the THANKS He deserves, make it public, unashamed, and sincere that the reason for your Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving is because of WHAT HE HAS GIVEN TO YOU – SALVATION AND AN ABUDNANT LIFE IN HIM!  Let all know that Christ with you is all that you need and that you can be content with Him.  What a great opportunity we all have to able share that great truth and testify of His goodness today.  I’m not saying you must preach the Gospel today – but let the emphasis be that God is good, He is still on the throne, and your Thanksgiving is for His love and mercy in your life.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Pastor Mark Sage

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