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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inviting people to church

One of the goals that Holy Spirit has given me for our church family is to increase our desire to bring people into a connection with Jesus Christ.

Part of the process of fulfilling this goal is to invite people to come to one of our two church services on Sunday morning (8:30 A.M. and 10:30 A.M.).

I am currently in a series on the end times.  This week - the end times, the mark of the beast and the coming Great Tribulation.

Now, more than ever, I believe that Jesus is coming soon.  I believe that we are living in the end times.  I believe that the world is in such a mess that no man, no set of political "doctrines," so one political party can bring the solutions that we need.

What the world needs is Jesus.

Do you agree with me?

What the world needs is a connection and relationship with Jesus.

We have (as followers of Christ), if you don't mind me saying this without sounding self-righteous or haughty, the answer.  The solution.

Let me ask you a series of perhaps rhetorical questions:

What kind of fireman would you and I be if we didn't warn others about fire and how to put a fire out?

What kind of policeman would we be if we didn't warn others about criminals and how to fight crime?

What kind of doctor would you and I be if we didn't tell others about disease and how to bring about a cure?

What kind of Christian would you and I be if we didn't tell others about eternal life and hell and heaven and the way to Christ?

There are days when I wish I could just love people into heaven, but then reality sets in and I know that we have the responsibility to share the truth - and the truth in love.

Today is that day.  Today is the day for you and I to invite people to come to our church.  Today is the day to rise up and say, "I am a follower of Christ - and you can be too."

Again, some rhetorical questions:

What kind of fireman would we be if we saw our neighbor's house burning down and simply said, "It will burn itself out in a while?"

What would you and I say about a policeman who saw some criminals vandalizing someones property and simply said, "Well you know, boys will be boys"?

What would you and I say about a doctor who, when telling someone that they had cancer, simply said, "Take two aspirin and rest"?

We would say that they were not taking their jobs seriously.

My dear friends, let's take the fact that people are lost and going to hell without Christ - seriously.  By inviting people to church.  By telling someone about Christ.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

holiness and a holy God

When I say the word, "holiness" - what does that mean to you?

Does it conjure up a list of "don'ts"?

Does it bring back feelings of the legalism you lived through as a young person growing up in the church?

Is it simply a list of rules and regulations to be followed in order to please a judgmental, harsh God?

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 (as we shall see in tonight's dvd series segment with John Bevere), "Finally, dear bothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.  You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.  For you remember what we taught you in the name of the Lord Jesus."

God desires that we live a holy life!

The word holiness, from the Greek (in which the New Testament was written originally in) simply means, "to be separated".  "Consecrated to God."

In other words, God desires that we come up to His level of living. 

Living an extraordinary life in God means that I talk like God, I think like God, I act and react like God.

As Will Rogers once said, "Live so that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip."

That can be difficult, if not impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

It's a combination of God's Holy Spirit, and my willingness to live a holy life.

That willingness can always come from this:  A healthy, respectful, reverent fear of the Lord.

Believers who struggle with habitual sin - the root is always - whom am I going to fear?

If I fear God - I am going to live a holy life.

I was reading today of a Leadership magazine cartoon by Mary Chambers,  where two couples are seated in a living room engaged in Bible study. One of the women is speaking. "Well," she says, "I haven't actually died to sin, but I did feel kind of faint once."

God doesn't want us to feel "faint" to sin, God desires that we "die" to sin.

So, how can you break free?

Well, admit that you have a problem.  Agree with God that you have sinned.

Submit yourself to God.  Receive His grace.

Commit yourself to God's Word.

Pray and say the Word over your life.

Be accountable.

May God bless us all with a life of holiness, in which we are truly free to live for him - and live an extraordinary life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Falling asleep

Last Sunday in my teaching, I said that when we die, it is like "falling asleep".

And who is afraid of falling asleep?

Let me clarify.

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:14, we believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

Where are these people who have fallen asleep? Where are they?

If you look in the very next chapter, 1 Thessalonians 5:10 says, "He died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him."

Those who have fallen asleep are living with Christ as surely as we here are living with Christ. Whether awake or asleep, we live with Christ.

Remember that famous statement by D.L. Moody?

"One day you will hear that D. L. Moody of Northfield, Massachusetts, is dead. Don't you believe it! In that day I will be more alive than I have ever been before."

But how can you say that they're sleeping if they're alive?

Let me quote:

"Actually, not to put too fine a point on it, they are not sleeping; their bodies are sleeping. The Bible is very clear that the moment we die, we are consciously present with the Lord. We don't go into some long, spiritual coma. Our bodies are asleep the way you see them in a casket, for example.

Believer's bodies are, you might say, incubating. They are dormant just like the lily bulbs that are under the ground out in our gardens, waiting to come to life. But the spirits of those who have fallen asleep are alert at this moment and enjoying the company of the Lord. Take heart in that and do not grieve. Don't think they'll miss a thing, for they are consciously with the Lord.

Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise." Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." God will see to it that those who have fallen asleep will not miss out on Jesus' Second Coming. In fact, in a manner of speaking, they get first dibs! They get to be first in line"

Look at what it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord will certainly not"—that's one of the strongest negatives in the whole New Testament (will "absolutely, certainly not")—precede those who have fallen asleep." They'll go first; we'll come after them.

Take heart in knowing what will happen when Jesus comes back. 

As Paul writes in verse 18, "Be encouraged."  This world is not our home.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Had a great "date night" on Friday evening with Debbie.  She is the "love of my life" - and my best friend.

Found an interesting thought from Genesis 7:16 for yesterday (sermon).  It was God who shut the door of the ark.

Noah felt such a burden for people who didn't know God - even couldn't even shut the door of the ark.

Jesus is coming soon!

I am grateful and thankful for the many who raised there hands yesterday in the second service - asking for prayer and signifying that they were starting a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Fun to see the second service basically packed with people.

We love our Nigerian friends who attend our church.

Great morning with prayer for our students and youth leaders going to Honduras.  Renewal of vows (25 years) for Robert and Maria Adjuzie.  Baby dedications of Henry Insalaco and John Schwider.

Wonderful family stuff.

It's great to be a part of the family of God.

God is up to something great!

I encourage everyone to invite an unsaved friend to church in the next three weeks.

Sermon subject this Sunday:  Antichrist, mark of the beast and what to do if you miss the rapture.

Saturday evening:  Loved watching the Nigerians celebrate the Adjuzie's 25th wedding anniversary.  Singing, dancing (African style) and eating.

Big series for the White Sox this week with the Tigers.  A "make or break" set of three games.

Look forward to going to the White Sox game tonight with 19 others from our church.

Thankful for a loving church family.

It remains hot.  But I don't mind the heat.

Kinley Cummins will be a week old on Wednesday.

She and mother are doing just fine.

George is in Los Angeles.  Becky is in New York.  Christie, Andrew, Georgia and Kinley are in Grand Rapids.  Some days my head swivels.

I love them all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A study of the end times

This Sunday morning, I am going to begin a four Sunday series on the end times entitled, "Are we living in the end times?"

I would invite you to invite friends and family who don't have a connection with Christ.

Sometimes eschatology (or the study of the end times) is like having something that you never use, yet you keep it around and take comfort that it is "just there".

We take great comfort in the fact that there will be a rapture, a resurrection, an eternity with Christ, but we many times don't actively pick up the topics and apply them to our lives.

I was reading today that years ago, a North Carolina fisherman found a fairly large rock in a stream where he was fishing and took it to his cabin home.  Not having a mantel over his fireplace on which to place it, he used it as a doorstop.

Years later, a geologist was hiking through that area and the man invited him in for coffee.  This gesture turned out to be an extremely profitable one as his guest began examining the rock and found out that it was solid gold!

In fact, it turned out to be the largest hunk of gold every found east of Colorado.

For many, the theological and practical implications of the Second Coming of Christ and the end times are like that rock that turned out to be gold. 

It is gold that remains unrecognized and unclaimed in our walk with Christ.

Some leave it unclaimed because they feel it causes fear in their lives.

Others have difficulty understanding all of the different theories and theologies.  It seems to be just too confusing.

Yet, Paul tells us that the study of the end times can bring great "encouragement" to us.  It should also prompt us to live holy lives, knowing that Jesus could return at any moment, and I do mean at any moment.

Don't miss one Sunday of this series!

July 24 - The rapture of the church

July 31 - The Antichrist and the mark of the beast

August 7 - America in Bible Prophecy

August 14 - Heaven and Hell

Maranatha - "Even so, come Lord Jesus"!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is your Christian walk boring?

How would you characterize your Christian walk?

Is it exciting?  Boring?  A daily drudge of religious activities?

Maybe another question is this - when was the last time you were genuinely excited, I mean emotionally pumped about your walk with God?

We all go through seasons of dryness is our pilgrimage with Christ.  And, sometimes those season can be quite lengthy.

Do you need the "rain" of the Holy Spirit to drench you, fill you and overflow your spirit and soul?

I would encourage you to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

If there is anything that will take your Christian experience from the mundane to the marvelous, it is the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Let me use this analogy:

When you leave church on Sundays, you go to your car and make your way home or out to dinner.

You will deplete the reserve of gas in the tank.  You don't have to be a bad person for your car to go form full to empty.   You just have to use the car.

If you drive, I can guarantee you, you will deplete gasoline.

Many times, when people leave church, they are spiritually full because of the time they spent singing praises to God and hearing his Word.  However, within two hours of being filled, their spiritual tank will be to dissipate.

And they are back to their old, boring, "filling my religious duty" way of life.

All a person has to do to lose their filling is to live life.  Life is hard.  Life has a way of draining out the reality of the Holy Spirit in us. 

Since last Sunday morning, when we powerfully experienced the presence of God, I have continually sat through a series of difficult meetings (difficult in the sense that we really have some tough choices to make).

My spiritual "high" has melted away like an ice cream cone in this heat that we are experiencing.

I find myself once again, "plodding on."

But just as a person who drives a car has to continue to make trips to the gas station to fill up and make the car run smoothly, Christians must continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Just some thoughts for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flesh and Spirit

There was a man who visited our church a couple of weeks ago and after the Sunday morning second service, pulled me aside and tried to convince me that Christians cannot sin.

That the person in whom the Holy Spirit resides cannot give into the flesh and sin.

He went as far as getting into my face and pointing his finger into my chest (which in and of itself raised up fleshly thoughts in my spirit).

Despite that fact of me sharing with him from 1 John 1:8, "if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us," he persisted in trying to convince me of his beliefs.

My friends, you and I struggle each day with the flesh and we will do so until we die.  While we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have a relationship with Christ, we still struggle as Paul says, "that which I don't want to do I do and I do that which I don't want to do."

The difference between a follower of Christ and one who is not is that as Christians, we no longer have to sin.  We can make a choice whether to sin or not.

Plus, we fight against an enemy who is trying to destroy us.

In his book By Grace Alone, Sinclair Ferguson identifies four major "fiery darts" Satan uses to unsettle believers and rob them of their assurance and peace in the gospel:

Fiery Dart 1: "God is against you," Satan says. "He is not really for you. How can you believe he is for you when you see the things that are happening in your life?"

Fiery Dart 2: "I have accusations I will bring against you because of your sins," Satan argues. "What can you say in defense? Nothing."

Fiery Dart 3: "You can say you are forgiven, but there is a payback day coming—a condemnation day," Satan insinuates. "How will you defend yourself then?"

Fiery Dart 4: "Given your track record, what hope is there that you will persevere to the end?" Satan asks.

Let's continue to realize that while we fight against our flesh and against an enemy who throws his fiery darts against us, we can, and I repeat, we can walk in victory.

"Greater is he that lives in us than he who lives in the world," John writes in 1 John 4:4.

Walk with boldness this day knowing that with God's power in you - you and I can live a life of holiness.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend.

It is hot - but I am not complaining.  All I do is think of winter. 

White Sox - winning two out of three in Detroit.  "Come on boys", as the Hawk would say.

Thankful for the David and Hermila, Rick and Dina, and Tom and Lonna - and their help and willingness to minister in our life group ministry.

Life groups are important.  We need life groups to sustain the relational dynamic of the church.

Great, great services yesterday!

I am thankful for those who received their prayer language.

Worship - wonderful!

We had a great crowd for a Sunday morning in July.

Youth camp is this week - let's pray for all of the kids.

We are just on the verge of a breakthrough in our church.

An excitement for the fall (and what God is going to do in our church) is beginning to build in my spirit.

I am thankful for everyone who was ministered to yesterday.

We had our second granddaughter!  Kinley Kay Cummins, born on July 13th, 4:03 P.M.  8 pounds 14 ounces, 20 inches long!  She is beautiful.  Mom and daughter are doing great!

I love my family!

Please continue to have a great summer - but don't forget about us here at Stone Church - and don't forget about God!

I'm glad God never takes a vacation.

Thankful for our staff.  The best I have ever worked with.

Stay cool, my friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Christie, my daughter is just about ready to have our second grandchild.

I was just told that our new granddaughter will be born around 6:00 P.M. tonight.

We are waiting.  And waiting.

Have you ever waited for something for a season and then it finally came?

Sometimes, it is in the waiting that makes the result even more meaningful to us as it comes about.

It builds up the suspense.  It builds up the joy of experiencing what we are waiting for.

I am also waiting to find out the her name.  Will let you know tomorrow.

Waiting...and waiting....and waiting.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We need God's power

This afternoon, the power went out here at the church.  Twice.  The first time, they told us that it wasn't going to come back on until Thursday noon.  But it came back on.  Went off, and now is on again.

Every time that happens, we realize how powerless (no pun intended) we are to do our work.  Obviously, we can't work on computers, there are no lights to see with, we are basically rendered ineffective.

We need God's power in our lives.

Without it, we are rendered ineffective in our Christian walk and our battle against the enemy.

I read a story this week about a man who strolled out of a hardware store with a smile on his face and a brand-new chainsaw in his hands. He was told it could cut down five big oak trees in an hour. Twenty-four hours later, however, his smile was gone.

Frustrated, he was back at the store complaining that the saw would never cut five trees in an hour. "It took me all day to cut down five trees," he said.

Puzzled, the store owner stepped outside with the saw, gave the cord a swift pull, and fired up the steel-toothed beast. Its deafening roar sent the customer stumbling to get away. "What’s that noise?" he gasped.  :)

It’s ridiculous for someone to try to cut down trees with a chain saw without starting it up.

But that’s how foolish we are as Christians when we try to live for Christ in our own strength.

We get frustrated and spiritually exhausted when we try to work things out on our own terms and according to our own schedule.

We fail to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us (Romans 8:9-11). Yet His presence can become real and powerful when we rely on Him.

Just some thoughts for a Tuesday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

My son, George, left today for California.  May God watch over him and bless him.

He has a bright future ahead of him.

We are still waiting on our second granddaughter to be born - any day now.

Many, many thanks to Stephanie Hiller and the worship band for leading us yesterday.  God was present!

This is the season for our church family to be on vacation.

I encourage you, wherever you go on vacation - go to a church service!

I'm thankful God never takes a vacation.

Just about the moment I get excited about the White Sox this year, they lose four in a row or four out of five.

The All Star game has become a boring affair.

Transformers 3:  great action movie.  A little bit long (It was interesting watching Chicago be destroyed by the alien machines).

I am grateful for all of the people in our church family who are faithful.

Excited and proud for Becky, my daughter.  She continues to do a great work as the director of volunteers at a church in New York City.

People are not to be tolerated but celebrated.

I feel sorry for Josh Hamilton (who plays for the Texas Rangers).  He threw a baseball up in the stands, and a man died trying to catch the ball (falling over a railing).  I also feel terrible for the family of the man who died.  A horrible tragedy.  "Father, be with everyone involved.  Strengthen them and comfort them."

May God continue to move and lead us in all of our lives.

With much love - George

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Random thoughts from the past two weeks

Random thoughts from the past two weeks:

It's good to get away, it's good to get home.

Having a vacation gives you a chance to "clear your head".

I love my wife.

Can't wait for our second grandchild to be born.  We are waiting, waiting, waiting!

Having something stolen leaves with you with a feeling of being violated (credit cards, IPhones and cash).

We live in a broken, ungodly world.

"Larry Crowne" - cute movie - we will all be riding mopeds soon.

Interesting and fun to go to another church while we are on vacation!

God is on the move around our country.

We worship and serve God in different ways - and God is okay with that.  In fact, here's a thought - do you ever think God gets bored with our worship/your worship?

People are different everywhere, but yet the same.

People need the Lord.

Can't wait for Sunday.  I will be speaking on "discerning of spirits".

What is of the flesh? What is an attack of the enemy?  What is of my on making?  (When it comes to sin).

How do we know - whether or not something is demonic or psychological?

What do you do with someone who experiences symptoms of the demonic?

Heavy stuff, but we will be discussing it this Sunday.

Invite someone to come this Sunday!

It will be good to see everyone again!

God is on the move and up to something good!  Come expecting!