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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Met with a great couple (Keren and Scott).  I have the privilege of leading their marriage ceremony in July.  Great kids!  It is going to be a beautiful wedding!

Sunday morning:

Powerful worship (God's presence was there!).

Excellent flag ceremony by four of our Royal Rangers.  It was very meaningful, especially since our country is at war.

Thank you to all of the men and women who have sacrificed and are sacrificing in defense of our country and the freedom that we have.  Our debt to you is huge.

I was thankful for the 10-12 people who raised their hand and received prayer as they connected to Christ for the first time (or reconnected to Christ).

There is nothing as meaningful and fulfilling as seeing people start a relationship with Christ.

Failure is never final unless we let it be.  You are never a failure unless you don't get up and try again.

Perfectionism can kill a marriage, a job, a relationship and a church.

Everyone is doing the best they can.

We are only as spiritual as our foyer.

We are responsible, not only for what we speak, but what we listen to.

God is calling His people to seek after Him.

Cleaned out the garage yesterday.  I was thankful Debbie helped me this year.  It doesn't get any easier.

Only two trips to Home Depot.

I'm probably the only one that can turn a 30 minute project into an all day affair.

Come on White Sox, turn this thing around!

God is good - all the time!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Living an extraordinary life

Starting next Wednesday, June 1st, we are beginning a 12 week series from John Bevere (DVD) entitled, "Extraordinary, the life you're meant to live."

I am looking forward to it.

God is calling you (and me) to live extraordinary lives for Him.

You say, "me?"  "Are you talking to me?"

Yes.  I am.

You are not an accident.  God created you for a purpose.  No one is common, no one is menial; we were created for the EXTRAORDINARY.

Each one of us has a unique path that God has prepared for our lives.

Extraordinary means, "beyond what is usual, customary, or ordinary; exceeding the common measure; remarkable, rare, wonderful."

What God desires for us individually, is what he desires for us as well, corporately, as the body of Christ - as a church - Stone Church.

One of my spiritual heroes is Dwight L. Moody.  Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God’s call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for prayer.

His friend Henry Varley said these words: ‘The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.’

Moody later would recall the words spoken by his friend, and realized that Varley meant any man! Not just someone who is educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man (or woman)! Moody determined to be that man.

He sought to be fully and wholly committed to Christ, and God did extraordinary things through his ministry.   Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college and Moody Church here in Chicago.

Don't think that you have to be in "ministry" to do something extraordinary

It doesn't mater who you are or if you are a school teacher, business person, government leader, stay at home mom, athlete, factory workers, hairstylist, student, pastor or anything else.  God has called you and created you to be extraordinary in that role.

Are you open to that? 

How do we live extraordinary lives?  Well, let's all learn together.  I encourage you to come on Wednesdays throughout the summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The rapture and dates

I am a "Johnny come lately" on the subject of what happened last week.

Jesus was supposed to return last Saturday, May 21, 2011.

I didn't even know about the prediction (I guess I have been too busy doing God's work :)).

Saturday afternoon I called "Apple support" about something with my cell phone.  While we were talking, the subject of the "end of the world" came up.  The person I was talking to asked me (in knowing I was a pastor), "what do you think about the end of the world coming?"

I replied, "I don't mean to sound cliche, but if the world does end, I know where I am going."

He went on to inform me of Harold Camping's prediction that the world was going to end that day with the return of Jesus Christ.

Great witnessing conversation starter.  We agreed to continue our conversation on email.

The minister (Camping) who was predicting it had predicted this same exact thing in 1994. Now in 2011, he was back with a new wave of billboards and devoted followers handing out flyers warning about the rapture date.

You didn’t think it was going to happen. You knew it wasn’t going to happen on that date and probably quoted the same verse I did, Matthew 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour. Not even the angels in heaven know. The son does not know. Only the father knows.”

Predicting the second coming for Jesus dates to the first days of Christianity, when believers said he would return in their lifetimes. Since then there have been a series of failed predictions. One of the most famous, known as the Great Disappointment, happened in 1843, after William Miller and his followers sold their homes and waited out in a field for Jesus to come back.

Former NASA engineer Edgar C. Whisenant sold millions of copies of his book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988."

Richard Landes, director of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, said predictions of the end of the world provide relief from the pressures of daily life for some. That's why they continue to be so popular.

"Whatever the mess that your life is in, it makes everything nice and simple," he said.

Well, as far as I know, we are all still here.  At least I am.  When I get a rapture scare, I always look to see if Debbie is still around.  If she is, I know that I am safe. 

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moving of God's spirit

My desire is that my relationship with God be more than a formal, once a week handshake on a Sunday morning.

I desire to experience God, to know God, to communicate with God every day of my life.

If you are like me, there has to always be more, more of God's spirit and God's power.  More of an intimacy and closeness with Him.

I don't have all the answers in to how to do that - any more than I have all the answers in creating a sense of closeness with Debbie.

I do know that to draw closer to God, I would do well to:

Spend time with God (Time average American spends per day in religious and spiritual activities: 9 minutes).  Spending time with anyone (much less God) doesn't mean that I will draw close to them.  However, I can't strengthen my relationship with God unless I spend time with Him.

Hang around people who know God.  I came back from the revival, Holy Spirit led atmosphere, charged up and ready to go.
Read the Word.  There is power in the Word of God.

Attend services and events that will "light your fire" for God.

Attempt things for God, that unless God is in it - it is doomed to fail.

Spend time with God.  I can't over emphasis that.

Most people don't hate God - it is just that they forget about God in the busyness of life.

Jeremiah 29:13 states, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

I believe that while there are a lot of great churches in our community, God is looking for a church that is seeking Him with all of their heart.  My desire is that we be that church.

This Wednesday evening, we will be having a time of prayer and praise.  I encourage you to come.  Come to worship.  Come to sing.  Come to praise.  Come to experience the presence of God.

And perhaps, just perhaps, your life might be changed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

I just realized I have blogged since May 4th.

Missions trip to Argentina - priceless.

It was inspiring to experience the moving of the Holy Spirit in Buenos Aires.

God has been moving there in a powerful way for over 25 years.

Churches of 20-25,000.

It was a blessing to me to speak to 200-300 bible school students who are on fire for God!

Prayed with many, many people for healing around the altars as I spoke three times on May 8th in Buenos Aires (on healing).

I pray that many were healed.

I believe God wants to do the same kind of thing in our church as we come and pray and worship with sincere hearts.

Argentine steak - best in the world.

Two all night flights - bummer.

Great services yesterday.

Worship was powerful.

People seeking after God - that warms my heart.

Thank you to all who made yesterday special for Debbie.  The celebration for her 50th was memorable and touching.  Thank you especially to all who worked in the kitchen and brought food.  I know that Debbie joins me in expressing our gratitude for your love, your support, your prayers, and your friendship.

It's great to have our son, George with us for a couple of months.

I am proud of George, Becky, Christie, Andrew and Georgia.

There is nothing better than a church family who knows how to express love.

I love our church.

Watched the movie, "Evita" (about Eva Peron from Argentina).  Interesting take on her life.

Back to the potluck celebration - the food was phenomenal!  Food from all over the world.  Tamales, sausages from Croatia, spring rolls from Korea....a little bit of "heaven".

Didn't know about the whole, "rapture coming thing".  Where have I been?  Oh well, as far as I know everyone I know and care about is still here.  When are we going to learn that setting dates is not the "Bible way."

Let's all keep believing that God is going to do great things in our church!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Going until you get a no

Here's what I know:  great men and women of God go until they get a no.

I come across followers of Christ (on a fairly regular basis) who feel that they shouldn't attempt something for God unless he specifically calls them.  They want all of the "pieces to the puzzle" in place. 

Not so!  It's as we go forth, by faith, allowing God to lead us step by step that great things happen.

There is always a risk in the walk of faith.

So many times, people of God ask for God's anointing and then take a step of faith or ministry.  In the Bible, we find that it is just the reverse.  It is as we step out in faith (whether we feel like it or not) that God honors us with his anointing and power to do the task that he has called us to do.

There have been many times when I have stood up on a Sunday morning and began to speak, not feeling like speaking, but God has honored my faith and as I begin to share, God's anointing came.

Here's the deal:  We must take the initiative.  We must keep moving forward, doing something, anything for God.  Doing something is better than doing nothing.

I encourage you today, keep moving forward in doing God's work until He stops or redirects you.

God moments are right in front of us all, and we can live a full life for God by seizing them and doing what Jesus tells us to do.

Will you join me? 

Onward and Upward.......

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

We don't live until we die

Here's a principle of life and ministry:

We don't life until we die.

Jesus said it like this in Luke 9:24, "For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life fro me will save it."

I go back to the story of Jonathan, Saul and the Philistines (check out my blog from Thursday, April 28th). 

Jonathan is going off to attack the Philistines while Saul is sitting underneath a pomegranate tree.

Here's Jonathan's strategy, as told us in 1 Samuel 14:8, "Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us.  If they say to us, 'wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them.  But if they say, 'come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands."

I am not a military expert but even I know that this is a horrible military strategy.  Jonathan says, "we are going to let them see us."

What Jonathan is living out is that you have to die before you can live.

You and I will never really live until we die and stop fearing death or anything that the world can bring.

We as followers of Christ must die to ourselves in order to fear nothing but God.

We serve whom we fear.  If we fear man - we will serve man.  If we fear God - we will fear God.

Jonathan knew that he had to go beyond the point of no return. 

In in dying that we live.  Great paradox.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend

Osama Bin Laden is dead - terrorism is alive and will continue.

Life group last night - wonderful time of prayer and sharing.  We really do need each other.

My son graduates this week from Evangel University - I am very proud of him.

I was touched by the number of our church family who raised their hands yesterday for prayer - for family conflict.

No family is perfect.

We all depend upon God.

Worship is an attitude of the heart.

Sometimes adults can act like children and children can act like adults.

Forgiveness is the oxygen of good relationships.

Forgiveness is to be a lifestyle and not just a one time act.

Failure is never final unless we let it be.

I am not to let my failures define me - but my ability to get back up and keep going.

Wonderful sense of community in our services yesterday.

I am thankful for those who came to Christ on Easter Sunday - and were back in our Sunday morning church service yesterday.

Prayer is a great healer in family conflicts.

The White Sox - are terrible.

Sometimes what is important is not finding the answer, but the process we go through in asking the question.

I now stand ready, more than ever before, to embrace the mysteries of my faith that I don't completely understand.