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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holy Spirit Joy

One of my daily prayer requests to God is that we as a church family will experience a Holy Spirit joy in our journey together.
Here's what I know:  When God's spirit moves - God's people are filled with joy.
A sense of God's peace arrives.  A sense of godly encouragement fills our hearts.
We no longer focus on the minors - but focus on Jesus.
We leave the petty things behind and become obsessed with the purpose that God has for us.
The Bible is very direct about this:  Deuteronomy 28:47-48 tells us that "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things:  therefore you shall serve your enemies."
The children of Israel went into captivity because they did not serve God joyfully.
The people of God were submitted to many yokes of bondage because they did not cultivate a joyful heart in serving God.
Joy is the antidote to both legalism and license (Legalism meaning an obsession with rules; license meaning an irresponsible use of freedom).
God longs for us to serve him with joy!
Jesus said that we are to experience his joy (John 15:11) and joy more abundantly.
God's joy is not the same as happiness.  Happiness is based on "happenings" in my life.  God's joy looks not at my circumstances but at Jesus.  Our bondages are broken.  We are set free.
As God moves in the next few months and years - let's let a heavenly joy overtake our spirits.  Let's rejoice together in worship; let's encourage one another with the consistent truth that God is in control.
In short:  Let's as God for a baptism of joy!
BTW - it's okay to laugh in church!
Can I get an "amen" with this thought:  We have lived a sour Christianity long enough.  When God moves upon us with a fresh touch, my prayer is that we are going to be so happy that we will draw people in - who are looking for joy.
Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saying no to the flesh

I often quote the scripture (one of my favorites):  "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."  (Galatians 5:16
As I walk in the Spirit, I become dead, D.E.A.D to the temptations of the flesh - and dead men/women can't be tempted!
One disclaimer today or rather one word of explanation about this verse.  Paul doesn't say that if you walk by the Spirit you will not have the desires of the flesh (the "flesh" being your sinful nature that wants to sin) - but only that you won't gratify them or give in to them.
Sometimes the enemy of our souls (the devil) will pound at us with the idea that, "If you were really a spiritual Christian, you wouldn't even want to do this sin."
But don't be surprised by that thought or upset and frustrated. 
Don't get frustrated because your flesh keeps wanting to do what's wrong.
Your flesh will keep wanting to gratify its desires until the day you die.
And the flesh is extremely experienced and good at it. 
Your flesh will say, "you've got to have it," and you begin to feel that way.
Although you will continue to have fleshly desires, the Holy Spirit's promise is that even now you can have the full power of God to say no to them.  You can tell your flesh what to do instead of the flesh telling you what to do.
Finally, put the proverbial "cart before the horse" with this verse."
You don't try to put the flesh to death so you can walk in the Spirit; rather, you walk in the Spirit, which give you power and victory to overcome the desires of the flesh.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The importance of Sunday morning worship

I love the church.
I really do.
I really like our church with all of its strengths and weaknesses.
One of my favorite aspects of church life is when we gather together on a Sunday morning for worship.
I can't wait for Sundays.
Many times sleep comes and goes on a Saturday evening because I am so excited for Sunday morning.
Please know this:  Sunday mornings are important and we must guard Sunday mornings for worship as a church family.
Here's what I know:  the church is not meeting together on a golf course for relationship.  The church is not a parachurch ministry where we all gather together on a Sunday morning to "do" the work of God - outside of the church campus - no matter how sincere we might be.
We must never let go of the fact that one major part of the church is when the people of God gather together on a Sunday morning to worship him, corporately and together.
It is becoming a disconcerting trend in our churches across the country to "do" ministry outside the church on a Sunday morning - when the people of God are called to gather together to lift up the name of Jesus.
We see that in the secular realm where ball games and soccer games and other events are now routinely scheduled on a Sunday morning.
And now, we in the kingdom are buying into that - if we are in ministry somewhere outside of our church campus - that is the church.
My plea today is that we continue to guard Sunday mornings as a time when we as the people of God come together to center our lives around Christ.
My plea today is that we continue to put Christ at the center of our lives.
How can you tell that is happening?
You stop worrying.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:6,7, "It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
There's a word for this.  It is the word "worship."
Whenever you focus your life on God, that's called worship.  Whenever you center your life on God that is called worship. 
And worship is the antidote for worry.
If you want to worry less, worship more.  Because if  you worship less - you are going to worry more.
When are supposed to worship?
Leviticus 23:3 states, "You have six days to do your work but the seventh day of each week is holy because it belongs to Me.  No matter where you live you must rest and come together for worship."
God is looking for people who will take time on a Sunday morning and love him.   Those who will minister to the Lord.
Let's never replace ministry for a corporate time of worshipping God - together.
Just a thought for a Tuesday

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

God is doing a "new thing" in our church.

Both services yesterday were filled with a wonderful sense of the presence of God.

Jesus said it best in Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled."  The emphasis is on the words, hunger and thirst.  How thirsty and hungry are you for more of God's power and presence in your life?
God always meets you at the level of your expectation.
As you have cravings for certain foods (late in the evening) how much do you crave a deeper connection with the Holy Spirit?
I would ask that you come "hungering and thirsting" each Sunday morning - and let's see what God can do!
If you were healed this past Sunday (or being progressively healed) please let us know at the church.  There is power in testimony!
Walking in spiritual authority is new to some - I trust (and pray) that you are open to that - and exercise your God's given power and authority throughout the week.
What a wonderful visual I had (after I prayed for people) of people standing, sitting and kneeling in praise and worship before God!
May God continue to unleash His Holy Spirit upon us - so that we might go out into the community with God's message.
Church picnic is coming up this Sunday.  One service - 11:00 A.M.  Picnic to follow.
When in doubt - leave it out.
Good advice for someone out there today.
The NFL starts this Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys record this year:  3-13 (you heard it here first).
Kids are going back to school (college).  It's that time of year again.
I encourage all moms and dads to get a routine (rhythm) in their family's life that results in wholeness, balance and health. 
Debbie and I had a great time with the men and women's group yesterday (picnic at a park).  We absolutely love to connect with people who are not only fun to be around - but on fire for God.
God is sending people who want to reach outside the four walls of the church.
I am jazzed.
I am pumped.
I am excited.
Can't wait for next Sunday to get here.
Love you all......

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who needs faith for healing?

This coming Sunday, I am going to give a teaching from Acts 3:1-12 - concerning the first recorded healing in the early church.  A lame man that began to walk.
One of the questions I will tackle will be (if I get to it) this:  Who need faith for the healing to take place?
Who is the agent of faith? 
The Scriptures give us separate illustrations of the agent of faith being the sick person - intermediaries and the healer.
Sometime is the faith of the sick person that is connected to the healing.
Two blind men (for example) came up to Jesus for healing.  Jesus said in Matthew 9:27-31, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?  When they said yes, Jesus responded, "According to your faith let it be to you."
And they were both healed.
But that is not always the case.  I have been in situations where I didn't have enough faith to pray in faith - in fact I didn't have enough spiritual energy to even pray.
What is needed?  Someone to pray for us, someone with faith - an intermediary.
In Matthew 8, we read the story of the centurion's servant who was healed of paralysis without even knowing Jesus was healing him.  In this case an intermediary, the centurion, had the faith.  Jesus said, "I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel (Matthew 8:10)!"
The Bible says, right before Jesus said that that Jesus was astonished at this man's faith.  He was blown away in other words.
But finally (and there are more) is the faith of the healer themselves - as we will see Sunday.
Peter and John approach the lame man at the temple gate and this man didn't expect to be healed - nor were there any intermediaries.
Being healed wasn't even on this lame man's radar.
But Peter was the agent of faith in this case when he said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you:  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."  Acts 3:6
Here's the point:  In different cases God will use different agents of faith (and different methods).
One of the most common (and destructive) errors made in praying for healing is to say to a sick person who is not healed through prayer, "If you only had enough faith, you would get well."
That is not only unbiblical but cruel and inhumane because it adds on unnecessary pain and suffering to the sick person.
Just some thoughts for a Thursday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dead men don't get offended

I am around people all the time who get offended.
To be candid with you, they are a bummer to be around.
You have to walk on egg-shells for fear of saying something that might "offend" them.
Now then, I get it that we are to be gracious and kind and supportive and loving to one another.
But some people just offend easily.
They walk around with a spirit of offense.
They hurt easily - probably because they themselves are hurting.
But here's what I know:  Dead men don't get offended.
Obviously, the guy in the casket can't get any more hurt feelings because he doesn't have any feelings to hurt.  They are dead to self.
What is the solution to carrying around a spirit of offense?
Die to yourself!
We must become totally immersed in the identity and person of Jesus Christ, dying to self and allowing Christ to live through us.
Paul said it well in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is not longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."
Jesus said (Luke 9:23) that if "anyone want to follow me, they must take up their cross daily."
The old nature is what Satan uses to hinder you (Ephesians 2:2,3). 
If you live according to the leading of the flesh, Satan will continue to be able to oppress you with offenses, upset emotions, hurt feelings, not to mention many other problems.
You can't stop offense from coming your way (somebody, somewhere, will say something to hurt you on a daily basis) - but you can eliminate what offenses you feed on.
Die to yourself!  Realize who you are in Jesus!
And then the immunity that you seek from offense will come.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

God calls us to wait upon Him

Here's what I know:
We can't give what we don't have.
It is important that as we minister in God's kingdom - that we spend time in his presence; waiting.
Asking for more of His power in our lives.
We cannot minister or live life in our flesh.
God calls us to wait upon Him.
To walk in the spirit means that I wait upon God.
Jesus in Acts 1:4 said, "Do not leave Jerusalem (and do ministry) but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about (the baptism in the Holy Spirit)."
Waiting on God is not something passive where I sit and a chair and do nothing.
It means you only do what God tells you to do, what God anoints you to do and what God give you permission to do.  Then you don't do anything else until God tells you to do something else.
God calls us to wait upon Him.
Waiting releases the anointing.   Many times as we pray - we talk too much.  Instead we need to go into prayer and humble ourselves by saying, "God, I don't know what to say.  I don't have anything to say that is going to make sense.  If you don't anoint this, it isn't going to get through, so I'm going to wait upon you.  Speak to me, Lord."
And then God's anointing is released. 
Wait upon God before a situation is confronted.
Wait upon God before a person(s) are confronted.
Wait upon God before any endeavor that you attempt that will need the foundation and help of the Holy Spirit.
Many times we think before we speak.
We act before we pause and ask God as to what we should do.
We can get so "full of ourselves" that we go ahead of God's timing and direction.
God's calls us to wait upon him.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Busy week this week!

Family summer blast - we encourage you to bring your children - excellent guest children's evangelist.

Tuesday evening prayer:  6:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.  This week only:  in room 102 (to accommodate the children's activities in the chapel).

Wednesday:  Pastor Eke (from Nigeria) will be sharing.  I am looking forward to hearing about the revival in Nigeria!

Thanks in advance to all of our volunteers who are helping out with the children's emphasis week!   We are grateful for all that you are doing!

I appreciate the way God is moving in our services.  Power of God.  Relationship.  Small groups.  Prayer.  Having the Word of God as our first priority.  Worshipping with freedom. 

These are all statements of our vision - our mission.

But most of all - reaching people for Christ.

Many times God will offend your mind in order to reveal your heart.

God is not concerned about your reputation (in the context of worship).

God will intentionally offend your mind.

It is hard to soar with the eagles when you are flying with turkeys.

Be an eagle this week - don't be a turkey!

Anybody can "gobble, gobble, gobble," but not everyone can soar in the spirit with God.

Invite someone to church this week - I am speaking on healing this week.  Invite the sick, the terminally ill - and let's see what God can do.

Great to hear the "buzz" of relationship between services with the coffee connection time starting back up.

Overheard from a 6 year old in our church, "The donuts are back!"  (Said with emphasis)

Are you sensing that God is up to "something good"?

I love the church - I love our church - and I love you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Old Man and growing older in the Christian faith

I want to end up being a gracious, loving old man - before I die to be with the Lord.

I really do.

I don't want to end up being an grouchy, bitter, angry, "Christian" old person.

Complaining about the sound.

Complaining about the style of music.

Complaining the temperature of the room.

Always talking about the way "things used to be."

Always longing for God to move in the way he did in the past.

Always thinking things were better in the "good ole days."

Always remembering pastor so and so.

Insisting on my own way.

Getting angry when anything new is proposed or change is hinted at.

I really get all of that, please don't get me wrong - it's just that I don't want to be or do or say that when I become an "old man."

I want to realize that I am going to heaven and I am grateful for what God has done in the past, but I am not going to live in the past.  I want to realize (when I am an old man) that culture shifts and that we must present the message in a method that will reach the current culture and world we live in.

I want to release any thoughts that the methods and style of the church are all about me - I know I am making heaven - and I want to reach as many people as I can with the current way of spreading the gospel. 

I want to be more concerned about others than myself.

I want to walk in servanthood as Jesus did.  Jesus said, "For the son of man did not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45)

I want to enjoy watching people younger than me worshipping God in a way that is touching them.

I want to "give up"  my preferences so that others might draw closer to God.

I want to realize that my greatest ministry as I grow older will be to let God move in the way He wants to move.

In short, I want to be like Jesus.
Richard S. Halverson, the former U.S. Senate Chaplain, used to challenge people with the following image:
"You're going to meet an old man [or woman] someday down the road—ten, thirty, fifty years from now—waiting there for you. You'll be catching up with him [or her]. What kind of old man are you going to meet? He may be a seasoned, soft, gracious fellow—a gentleman who has grown old gracefully, surrounded by hosts of friends, friends who call him blessed because of what his life has meant to them. Or he may be a bitter, disillusioned, dried-up old buzzard without a good word for anyone—soured, friendless, and alone.
That old man will be you. He'll be the composite of everything you do, say, and think—today and tomorrow. His mind will he see in a mold you have made by your beliefs. His heart will be turning out what you've been putting into it. Every little thought, every deed goes into this old man.
Every day in every way you are becoming more and more like yourself. Amazing but true. You're beginning to look more like yourself, think more like yourself, and talk more like yourself. You're becoming yourself more and more. Live only in terms of what you're getting out of life and the old man gets smaller drier harder crabbier more self-centered. Open your life to others, think in terms of what you can give, your contribution to life, and the old man grows larger, softer, kindlier, and greater."
Please understand, grouchy, angry, bitter old "Christian" person, that we are here to minister to you and love you - I do love you with all of my heart - it is just that I don't want to be you when I get old.
Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tapping in to the Holy Spirit

Sometimes we try to figure things out - and then ask God for his wisdom.
Here's what I know:  We should always ask God first (for wisdom; direction) and then try to find the guidance that we need.
As long as we rely upon our own human logic and our fleshly perception of life, we will find ourselves riding the wave of our circumstances.
But when we tap into the Holy Spirit, when we tap into the Holy Spirit, the way we look at things takes on a whole new perspective and we begin to walk in the authority and power that Jesus intends for you and for me.
We no longer are anxious and worried when the gates of hell rise up against us because we know that Jesus has given us the keys to the kingdom - or the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Do you ever feel "locked out" by life's circumstances because you don't have the master key to overcome?
Jesus knows how you feel.  During his time on our planet he faced:  The traditions of men (Matthew 15:1-3).  Outward religion that left the heart  desperately wicked (Matthew 15:10-20).  Physical infirmities in others, a type of spiritual handicaps (Matthew 15:29-31).  Physical  hunger, a type of spiritual starvation and famine (Matthew 15:32-39).
Know this:  As a Spirit filled Christian -  you have the master key that can open any lock.
Jesus told the Apostle Peter not to worry about the gates of hell because He (Jesus) would give Peter the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:17-19).
He (Jesus) would give Peter the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
So today, let's recognize Jesus as the Christ (the anointed one).  Let's receive the master key (the anointing) to unlock any crisis in our lives. 
And know this as well:  The anointing does not promise to keep the gates of hell from coming against you, but it does prevent the gates of hell from prevailing against you.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression and the Christian

Back in the fall of 1978, I attended Fuller Theological Institute in Pasadena, California (Fuller is the Stanford or Harvard of theological studies on the west coast).
I was getting my master's degree in Biblical Languages (Hebrew and Greek).
I would be in the library on Thursday evening, studying.  The stress levels were high.  It was an intense academic atmosphere.
What brought relief from all of that stress?
Every Thursday evening, the Fuller library would seemingly empty out as we would walk across the lawn and gather in the student union at 8:00 P.M. to watch "Mork and Mindy."
A silly show, but it brought relief.  How do you spell relief?  R.O.B.I.N. W.I.L.L.I.A.M.S.
It has remained so throughout the years.  There has been many a time when I would watch one of appearances on television and laughter would fill my discouraged heart.
He was a comedic genius - yet a powerful serious dramatic actor at the same time.
That's why I was given pause yesterday, when Debbie looked up as we were watching television and said, "Robin Williams died."
Suicide.  Hanged himself.
The comic/clown dealing with bi-polar and depression - to the point that it overwhelmed him.
I am thankful that we in the kingdom are beginning to be sensitive to the realization that depression is not "just" a emotional/spiritual challenge, but can be mainly a physical (chemical imbalance) problem as well.
Are you dealing with depression today as a Christian?
Seek your doctor's help.  If necessary, take the prescribed medication.
And - know that Jesus is here to help - and God's people are here as well.
Reach out to a brother or sister in Christ.  The absolute worst thing you can do in to withdraw and become a recluse. 
In her book, "Darkness is my only companion:  A Christian response to Mental Illness," Kathryn Green-McCreight describes her tortured journey through ten years of extreme depression and bi-polar disorder.  Concerning the importance of Christian fellowship while in recovery, she writes:
"This is why it is so important to worship in community - to ask your brothers and sister in Christ to pray for you - Sometimes you literally cannot make it on your own, and you need to borrow from the faith of those around you.
Sometimes I cannot even recite the Creed unless I am doing it in the context of worship, along with all the body of Christ.  When reciting the Creed, I borrow from the recitation of others.  Companionship in the Lord Jesus is powerful."
You and I never know who is hurting as they walk through the doors of the church on a Sunday morning.
We really do need each other.
We really do need to be real with one another.
We really do need to reach out to one another and encourage, support and pray for one another. 
Don't be fooled by the smiles and nice clothes that you see on a Sunday morning.  Behind every smile there could be someone who is really, really suffering - like Robin Williams.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Jesus is coming soon - I believe that wholeheartedly.

The next major prophetic event will be the rapture of the church.

The time to share our faith is now - if not today.

I appreciated the prayer "intensity" that I saw around the altars yesterday - as we prayed for friends and family to come to know Christ.

I am praying this week for all of the names that were given on the "Friends and Loved Ones who don't know Christ."

In fact, the thought just occurred to me:  I will bring them to our Tuesday evening prayer time (from 6:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.) - for us all to pray for the names.

I believe, I believe that we are going to hear wonderful testimonies of people coming to Christ (or rebooting their relationship with Christ) in the coming weeks and months.

The great secrets of church growth and unity:  Prayer.  Prayer.  Prayer.

Can I tell you something?  I walked away from the services yesterday just longing for next Sunday morning.  I feel an excitement in my spirit as to what God wants to do in us and through us!

Let's not ever, ever, underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lots of needs in our church family.  My heart breaks for those who are hurting.

The devil does not fight fair.

We had 11 visitors during the second service!

I am thankful for life.

We desire to be an Acts 29 church (28 chapters in the book of Acts - we desire to continue to see what God can do through the moving of His Holy Spirit).

The Holy Spirit is just that - He is Holy.

Mean, unforgiving people cannot be filled with the Spirit of God.

A person cannot have a mean and angry spirit and walk in the Spirit at the same time.

Conversely, the only way to forgive is to ask God for the fullness of His Spirit.

In John 20:21-23, Jesus appears to the disciples after his death and says, "Peace to you!  (Just) as the Father has sent me forth, so I am sending  you.  And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive (admit) the Holy Spirit!  (Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him) if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained."

The number one rule is forgiving sins is to receive the Holy Spirit, who provides the strength and ability to forgive.

In almost every case, we cannot forgive on our own.

If you are having trouble forgiving someone today, pray this prayer:

"Holy Spirit, breathe on me and give me the strength to forgive this person."

And then - let it go.  It does not good to go through it all again over lunch with friends or family - and rehash the whole thing. 

After you have forgiven - let it go; otherwise Satan will use it as an opportunity to nullify  your decision to forgive and rob you of your peace and blessing.

Love you all....

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Wite-out and forgiveness

Have you ever said something you wish you could take back?

I do that all the time.

As much as I try to put a governor on my words, I still say things I wish I could pull back, throw in a waste can and never hear again.
In some cases, wouldn't you like to just start over?
Let me give you some words from John Ortberg that visualize what I am saying.
Ortberg writes:  "Back in the days when everyone used typewriters there was a little thing called Wite-Out. Wite-Out dates to 1966 when an insurance-company clerk named George Kloosterhouse teamed with a guy who waterproofed basements to develop their own correction fluid. They originally called it "Wite-Out WO-1 Erasing Liquid."
You can still buy the product. Wite-Out isn't perfect. If you made a mistake on the typewriter, you'd have to take the paper out or get it raised up a little bit and then dab it with the Wite-Out, paint over the mistake, and then blow on it and let it dry. Then you could type right over it as if the mistake had never been made.
When electric typewriters came along, some genius invented something even better than Wite-Out—the self-correcting typewriter. Now wouldn't it be great if someday down the road somebody invented self-correcting people? Wouldn't it be cool if there could be a self-correcting husband or wife who would say the wrong thing and then just back up and say it over again right? "You know, you're just like your mother. Oops! Let's just erase that and start over." Wouldn't it be great if every spouse or friend or parent or child came with self-correcting technology?"
Good words.
Important words.
But you and I know that the human race is not self-correcting.
In fact, when left to our own devices - we will always self-destruct.  We will always act in the flesh.
Remember what I have said a couple of times in my teachings:  Expect people to act in the flesh - and when they act in the spirit, rejoice!
That being said, in His grace, God gives us one of the most amazing inventions there is when we say something stupid.
Forgiveness (to use this analogy) if far more powerful than Wite-Out.
God wipes the slate clean - and if God does that, how much more should you and I.
Just a thought for a Thursday.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

You have signficance

Here's what I know today:  You have significance in God's kingdom. 

You are needed.

You are important.

Everyone is part of the picture in the photo of our church.
No one is to be left out.
Mike Yaconelli in his book, Messy Spirituality, wrote of how individual believers, who may think they are insignificant, are brought together in the body of Christ to create a magnificent work of art.
He writes:
"Moorhead, Minnesota, the home of Concordia College, lies across the state line from Fargo, North Dakota, a very bleak part of the country (especially during the winter). All year, the community anticipates Concordia's annual Christmas concert. Each December, a huge choir and a full orchestra give a musical performance in the concert hall at the college.
Every year, the people in the community create a unique background for the concert—a one-hundred-by-thirty-foot mosaic. Beginning in the summer, about six months before the concert, the community designs a new mosaic, rents an empty building, and the painting begins. Hundreds of people, from junior high schoolers to senior citizens, paint the mosaic. They paint by number on a large-scale design that has thousands of tiny pieces. Day after day, month after month, one little painted piece at a time, the picture on the mosaic gradually takes shape.
When everyone has finished painting, an artist goes over the entire creation, perfecting the final work of art. When the mosaic is completed, they place it behind the choir. It has the appearance of an enormous, beautiful stained-glass window. The weekend of the concert, those people who helped paint arrive early, along with their friends and neighbors. Throughout the building, you can hear people whispering, "See that little green spot below the camel's foot? I painted it."
Every year in the middle of the summer in Moorhead, Minnesota, thousands of unknown, ordinary people paint a tiny insignificant tile. Six months later, the result is a spectacularly beautiful masterpiece."
I would suggest that you not look at yourself as one insignificant "piece of the puzzle."  But that you remember this day - no one is more important than you in God's kingdom.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Mark of the Beast

The Apostle John writes in Revelation 13:16, 17, "He (the anti-Christ) also forced (you will have no choice) everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless she had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."
The mark of the beast.
If I have time this coming Sunday morning, I am going to mention this in my teaching.
Will the mark of the beast be a tattoo?  An arm band or head band of some sorts? 
NBC news recently came out with a report that this is and will be reality in our lives by the year 2017 - that modern technology has caught up with Biblical prophecy and we can begin to understand what the mark could potentially look like.
An implantable chip in a person's hand.  The chip would interact with your body in the doctor's office.  Scan it, and it could tell your blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, or any other vital piece of information of medical history.
It would be used (as Revelation tells us) to buy or sell things.  Go to the store and scan your hand to pay for groceries (already in some Jewel Osco's in Chicago - finger prints are being used to buy groceries).  It would be connected to your bank account and the amount deducted.  No cash.  No credit cards.
No fraud.
Here's what I know:  we are living in the end times.
However, ultimately, friends, no know:  when the complete fruition of these events come to pass, we as a church will be raptured to be with Jesus Christ.
That's how close the rapture is.
So relax, and keep serving God. 
Just a thought for a Tuesday. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:
Needless to say, I was anticipating God to move yesterday - and He did - for which I am extremely grateful.
I never, ever, take his hand upon us lightly.
Knowing that people seek after him and are hungering and thirsting - priceless.
There is no other place I would rather be on a Sunday morning than in a setting where people are worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
Just had lunch with two great friends, Randy and Nancy Jones - pastors in California.  Isn't it wonderful to reconnect with lifelong friends!
Beautiful weather outside - let's all enjoy it while we can!
It is hard to believe that football season is right around the corner.
New services times, Sunday, August 17, 2014:  9:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M.
Thanks to our worship team yesterday - outstanding. 
The altar time:  What can I say?  God's power is an intangible, yet real phenomenon that can be experienced by everyone who calls Jesus Savior and Lord.
We desire more of your ministering presence in us, Father!
If Jesus desired and needed to walk in the fullness of God's presence and power - how much more do you and I?
There's a song by the Christian rock group Petra that is called "Godpleaser" (I didn't get to use this illustration yesterday).  The words go like this:

Don't wanna be a manpleaser - I wanna be a Godpleaser
I just want to have the wisdom to discern the two apart
Don't wanna be a man pleaser - I wanna be a Godpleaser
I just want to do the things that please the Father's heart

I just want my life to glorify HIs Son
To make my Father proud that I'm His child before I'm done
No need to pat me on the back or stop and shake my hand
I just want to hear my Father say Well done, well done
I just want to hear my Father say Well done.

We do everything to glorify the name of Jesus!

Reminder:  "Hour of Prayer," Tuesday, 6:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Love you all.......