- You will have an active spiritual life.
- You will draw close to God.
- You will sense God speaking to you.
- Your heart will be in tune with God’s heart.
- You will know God’s will for your life.
- You will improve your prayer life.
- You will grow in maturity and walk with Him.
- You be participating in an important spiritual discipline.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)
Momentum is everything. What are you going to do right now, before the end of 2010, to get momentum on your side for the start of 2011?
May I suggest a Bible reading plan to get some serious spiritual momentum going in your life? Log on to YouVersion.com to see their list of reading plans, or pick up a One-Year Bible, or purchase an audio version to listen to, or find a daily devotional to get the Word of God in your heart each day.
The benefits of daily Bible reading are numerous...
Make daily Bible reading a part of the spiritual momentum plan for your life and watch what God will do in 2011!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone involved with last weekend’s Christmas Musical. To the leadership team, cast and crew, those who invited family and friends, and everyone who prayed, it was a tremendous Kingdom success! What a powerful Christmas presentation that got our hearts ready for Advent, the coming of Christ to our world.
But why did Jesus come to earth? He was a great teacher. He lived a perfect life. He did amazing miracles. But that’s not why he came. He came to be our savior. Each of the four Gospels give a purpose verse for Jesus’ life.
“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
(Right before the cross Jesus says,) “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!”
As we celebrate Christmas, remember why Jesus came to this earth. Let him forgive your sins. Let him into your heart. Let him be king. Let him be your savior this Christmas.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent letter I received from David Wilkerson.
Jesus never looks away from a crying heart. God’s Word says, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Not once will the Lord tell anyone, “Get hold of yourself! Stand up and take your medicine. Grit your teeth and dry your teeth.” No - Jesus stores every tear in His eternal container.
Do you hurt? Badly? Then go ahead and cry. And keep crying until the tears stop flowing. But let those tears originate only from hurt, and not from unbelief or self-pity.
Life does go on after your crying. You would be surprised how much you can bear, with God helping you. Happiness is not living without pain or hurt. True happiness is learning how to live one day at a time in spite of all the sorrow and pain. It is learning how to rejoice in the Lord no matter what has happened in the past.
You may feel rejected or abandoned. Your faith may be weak. You may think you’re down for the count. Sorrow, tears, pain, and emptiness may swallow you up at times. But God is still on his throne. He is still God!
Look up! Encourage yourself in the Lord. When the fog surrounds you and you can’t see any way out of your dilemma, lie back in the arms of Jesus and simply trust in Him. He wants your faith, your confidence. He wants you to cry aloud, “Jesus loves me! He is with me, and He will not fail me. In fact, he’s working it all out right now. Therefore, I will not be cast down. I will not be defeated. And I will not be a victim of Satan. God is on my side! I love Him, and He loves me.”
The bottom line is faith. And faith rests on this one absolute: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)
Sunday, November 14, 2010
As we walk through a season grief let us allow these Scriptures to bring comfort to our church family.
He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1, 2
Jesus said... “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
John 11:25, 26
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Monday, November 08, 2010
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
Steve Sampson always says, “Our expectation puts a demand on God.” I love that thought. I’ve also heard it said by Evangelist Mike Smalley that, “expectation is a divine magnet God finds irresistible.”
The Bible teaches our faith is an important element in the miracle ministry of God. In the Gospels, Jesus loved it when people had great faith in Him. When Jesus healed the blind men he said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” (Matthew 9:29) The woman healed in Mark 5 was delivered because of her expectation.
- God notices our expectation!
- Expectation is feared by the enemy.
- Expectation is the key to the miracle power of God.
- Expectation births something fresh in our life.
- Expectation is agreeing with God’s power and plan for our life.
Study God’s Word. Listen to His voice. Believe His Promises. Expect God’s very best for your life!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sermons are an essential part of each weekend service. They provide the spiritual food for our church to feast on each week. I wanted to write a Bible Blog on how to listen to a sermon with thoughts about prayer, focus, taking notes, acting on what we have heard, etc. But this week I came across an old article by George Whitefield on How to Listen to a Sermon.
How to Listen to a Sermon by George Whitefield
Keys for getting the most out of what the preacher says.
Jesus said, 'Therefore consider carefully how you listen' (Luke 8:18). Here are some cautions and directions, in order to help you hear sermons with profit and advantage.
1. Come to hear them, not out of curiosity, but from a sincere desire to know and do your duty. To enter His house merely to have our ears entertained, and not our hearts reformed, must certainly be highly displeasing to the Most High God, as well as unprofitable to ourselves.
2. Give diligent heed to the things that are spoken from the Word of God. If an earthly king were to issue a royal proclamation, and the life or death of his subjects entirely depended on performing or not performing its conditions, how eager would they be to hear what those conditions were! And shall we not pay the same respect to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and lend an attentive ear to His ministers, when they are declaring, in His name, how our pardon, peace, and happiness may be secured?
3. Do not entertain even the least prejudice against the minister. That was the reason Jesus Christ Himself could not do many mighty works, nor preach to any great effect among those of His own country; for they were offended at Him. Take heed therefore, and beware of entertaining any dislike against those whom the Holy Ghost has made overseers over you.
Consider that the clergy are men of like passions with yourselves. And though we should even hear a person teaching others to do what he has not learned himself, yet that is no reason for rejecting his doctrine. For ministers speak not in their own, but in Christ’s name. And we know who commanded the people to do whatever the scribes and Pharisees should say unto them, even though they did not do themselves what they said (see Matt. 23:1-3).
4. Be careful not to depend too much on a preacher, or think more highly of him than you ought to think. Preferring one teacher over another has often been of ill consequence to the church of God. It was a fault which the great Apostle of the Gentiles condemned in the Corinthians: 'For whereas one said, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos: are you not carnal, says he? For who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but instruments in God’s hands by whom you believed?' (1 Cor. 1:12; 2:3-5).
Are not all ministers sent forth to be ministering ambassadors to those who shall be heirs of salvation? And are they not all therefore greatly to be esteemed for their work’s sake?
5. Make particular application to your own hearts of everything that is delivered. When our Savior was discoursing at the last supper with His beloved disciples and foretold that one of them should betray Him, each of them immediately applied it to his own heart and said, 'Lord, is it I?' (Matt. 26:22).
Oh, that persons, in like manner, when preachers are dissuading from any sin or persuading to any duty, instead of crying, 'This was intended for such and such a one!' instead would turn their thoughts inwardly, and say, 'Lord, is it I?' How far more beneficial should we find discourses to be than now they generally are!
6. Pray to the Lord, before, during, and after every sermon, to endue the minister with power to speak, and to grant you a will and ability to put into practice what he shall show from the Book of God to be your duty.
No doubt it was this consideration that made St. Paul so earnestly entreat his beloved Ephesians to intercede with God for him: 'Praying always, with all manner of prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and for me also, that I may open my mouth with boldness, to make known the mysteries of the gospel' (Eph. 6:19-20). And if so great an apostle as St. Paul needed the prayers of his people, much more do those ministers who have only the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.
If only all who hear me this day would seriously apply their hearts to practice what has now been told them! How ministers would see Satan, like lightning, fall from heaven, and people find the Word preached sharper than a two-edged sword and mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the devil’s strongholds!
This excerpt is adapted from Sermon 28 from The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield. Published by E. and C. Dilly, 1771-1772, London. George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a British Methodist evangelist whose powerful sermons fanned the flames of the First Great Awakening in the American colonies.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Reflect on Matthew 13:44-46...
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!
Now ask yourself these questions...
What is valuable to me?
What are my priorities?
Do I understand what Jesus is asking me to do here?
Do I even understand the value of Christ and His Kingdom?
Am I intently searching for the Kingdom?
Is the Kingdom all I want?
Am I willing to give up everything for the Kingdom?
What is my faith costing me?
What does "selling all" look like for me?
Is this one of the teachings of Jesus that made some walk away or even want to kill Him?
Do I really desire Christ and His Kingdom?
Do I really want to know God's will for my life?
Do I love Christ and His Kingdom? Or do I love this world more?
Finally, reflect on Matthew 6:33...
Seek the Kingdom of God...and he will give you everything you need.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Let me share some of my notes that I took at our regional leadership conference for the Full Gospel Fellowship this past year. Mark T. Barclay shared “8 Things To Do When You Want To Quit.”
1. Refuse to quit.
2. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Talk to yourself if you have to. If no one
is there to do it, do it yourself.
3. Rehearse who you are in Christ. Meditate on these verses. 1 John 4:4. Romans 8:11. 1 John 4:17. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Philippians 4:13. Galatians 3:26
4. Remember what you have been called to do. Our lives are to be lived in
service of the Lord bringing Him glory. Begin with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
5. Reminisce about past victories. Think about your testimonies. Remember the good and not the failure.
6. Go through the motions anyway. “Fake it until you make it.” Take one step at a time. Open your Bible. Kneel to pray. Go to church. You may not feel like it. May not want to do it. Just do it anyway.
7. Practice the presence of God. Don't run away from God, there is power in His presence.
8. Hang around motivated spirit-filled people. You may not feel like it but it will definitely have a positive impact on your life!
When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.
Jesus, John 12:32 (NIV)
We are celebrating a successful Harvest Crusade with Greg Laurie at the Allstate Arena. We believe God’s Spirit is being poured out on our city with tremendous fruit to follow. Let’s continue to pray for God to send revival to our city!
Our church has been entrusted to reach out and disciple some of the new converts from this past weekend. In a letter that was sent to those who responded to the Gospel message we gave four action steps for them to take after their conversion. It’s good advice for all of us. Allow me to share them with you.
- Read your Bible daily. His Word is our source of spiritual food and provides direction for us in all matters of life.
- Pray. Let your prayers be a two-way communication wherein you bring your requests to Him, and more importantly, where He can speak to you.
- Get connected and committed to a good Bible teaching church family where the Bible is taught faithfully. Where you fellowship will have a tremendous impact on your spiritual growth, maturity, and your fulfillment as a Christian.
- Lastly... be sure to share your faith with others, for in doing so you will be strengthened as a believer, and others will hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ.
Continue to pray for those who surrendered their hearts and lives to Christ this weekend! And may we as a church always embrace our sacred mission of evangelism and discipleship!
My Book Shelf – You Were Born For This by Bruce Wilkinson
Every now and then in my blog to our church I like to share with you the books that I’m reading that really help, challenge, and inspire me. My hope is that these books do the same for you.
Here is an excerpt from Bruce Wilkinson’s (The Prayer of Jabez) newest book You Were Born For This.
What if I told you that you missed a miracle yesterday?
I would understand if you were doubtful.
Yet most of us can identify an event in our lives that seemed impossible to explain without saying, “That was a miracle!” We call these experiences divine coincidences, miracle moments, supernatural provisions. It’s as if God Himself stepped through the curtain that separates seen from unseen to make something amazing happen, something only He could do.
Not that we can expect such a thing to happen again any time soon.
Or can we?
I wrote this book to help you see that the land of personal, everyday miracles is your rightful home turf. Instead of focusing on the nature-defying acts that God could do, this book invites you to encounter the miracles that God does do on a regular basis, and to embrace your exciting part in making them happen.
The truth is, you were born to live a supernatural life doing God’s work by God’s power. You were born to walk out your door each morning believing that God will use you to deliver a necessary miracle to someone in need.
You were born for this.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The New Testament reinforces the importance of our life together as the church by giving us more than 60 verses that illustrate how to practice Christian encouragement.
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
- Love one another (John 13:34)
- Be joined to one another (Rom. 12:5)
- Be devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10)
- Honor one another (Rom. 12:10)
- Rejoice with one another (Rom. 12:15)
- Weep with one another (Rom. 12:15)
- Live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16)
- Accept one another (Rom. 15:7)
- Instruct one another (Rom. 15-14)
- Greet one another (Rom. 16:16)
- Agree with one another (1 Cor. 1:10)
- Wait for one another (1 Cor. 11:33)
- Show concern for one another (1 Cor. 12:25)
- Serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
- Carry one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)
- Be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
- Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
- Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
- Bear with one another (Col. 3:13)
- Teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
- Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
- Build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11)
- Spur one another on (Heb. 10:24)
- Offer hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
- Minister gifts to one another (1 Pet. 4:10)
- Be humble toward one another (1 Pet. 5:5)
- Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Last week I began to share some things I learned about attending church as a family while I was on sabbatical. Allow me to share a few more thoughts with you that will help you and your family make the most of your weekend church experience.
- When coming to church, focus on what God wants to do in and through you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Each weekend God is looking to do something supernatural in your life. Are you open to Holy Spirit’s work today? Prepare your heart and the hearts of your family to receive.
- Connect with the people around you at church. For me, it was difficult to come into a new church and not know anybody. A kind greeting or helpful directions made the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Be friendly at church. Share God’s love with others.
- Enjoy the experience of worship. Make church a good experience for you and your family. Remember you are getting the opportunity to connect with God and His family.
- Talk about church on the way home in the car or at lunch. Speak positively about what God did during the service. Rehearse for one another what you received from worship, prayer, and/or the Word.
- Invite someone to church with you. Pick them up. Sit together. Take them to lunch. Share your faith with a friend.
- Remember, you have influence. Your attendance and church experience will impact your spouse, children, friends, etc. Make your influence on those around you positive as we seek to connect with God at Christian Life.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
It’s good to be back! While l enjoyed my sabbatical, I missed our church family. There really is no place like home! I’m sure that throughout the weeks to come I will be sharing a variety of insights gained during my sabbatical. Today let me share with you one of the joys I experienced during my time away. It was one of those surprise blessings I hadn’t counted on.
For the first time we were able to travel and attend church together as a family. I didn’t have to be early and help get things ready. I didn’t have to run the service or preach. I didn’t have to look after a bunch of details. I didn’t have to stay late. We could come, enjoy, and leave church together and I have to admit I really enjoyed that time together. Maybe you get to do it all the time? If so, realize you are blessed and make sure you make the time special.
Here are some ideas that I believe will help make the church experience special for the family.
- Prepare yourself and your family to experience the presence of God. Take time to focus on Him in the morning as you get ready and ride to church. Remember it’s the Lord’s day, make that time sacred in your life.
- Be on time to church. Leave home early if you have to. You don’t want to miss out on a moment. It takes time to get your kids to the right class, to talk with a friend or meet someone new, to grab that cup of coffee, or just to meditate and prepare your heart before the service begins.
- Enjoy your time at church. Get filled up. Don’t miss out on what God wants to do in your life. You need this time!
I will share some more thoughts like these in next week’s Bible Blog.
Friday, June 11, 2010
The Old Testament makes it quite clear that sabbath rest is important to God. The Torah contains a variety of God’s commands concerning rest and sabbaticals. Whether a person, an animal, or even the earth there is an appointed time for rest. After a Monday morning meeting with the eldership of our church I will be leaving on sabbatical for the summer and returning when school starts in the fall.
Let me share with you some of the goals I have for my sabbatical this summer.
New Perspective. Spending time away from the daily grind of ministry will allow me to reconnect with the world around me and better equip me to reach the world in which I live and minister.
Spiritual Renewal. When one is constantly teaching and preaching for others it can be easy neglect your personal spiritual growth. I look forward to renewing the spiritual disciplines that sometimes get lost in the busy-ness of life.
Rest. It will be nice for a short season to step away from the stress of the care of the church.
Education. While not pursuing a formal degree at this time I’m looking forward to returning to Oxford University to study in their Summer Programme in Theology. I always find my time in the classroom refreshing. It definitely fills my tank for preaching and teaching.
Time with Family. Ministry hours can become invasive to family time. I am looking forward to being available and connecting with Leslie and the boys this summer.
Renewed Passion and Vision. With this time of rest and refreshment I hope to return with a clear sense of mission and renewed energy for the task of Lead Pastor at Christian Life Church.
Thank you for praying for me while I am gone. You can count on my prayers your way. I will miss you but will see you again soon.
Grace and peace, Pastor Daryl
Monday, June 07, 2010
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)
Beginning on June 14 I will be leaving on a two month Sabbatical, a time of purposed rest, reflection, and growth. For the past several years I have been hearing and reading about the necessity of sabbaticals within pastoral ministry. I sometimes joke, it’s great to have a job that you only work one day a week, but to be honest, if served faithfully, the role of pastor can be one of the most demanding jobs in the world. It demands a wide variety of skills, it is physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing, and it is both so regular (weekly services and meetings) and so variable (crisis management) all at the same time.
During a sabbatical the pastor is relieved of all of the routine and emergency duties so that there can be rest and refreshment with God. This is more than just an extended vacation. A sabbatical is specifically aimed at reinvigorating and renewing the mind and heart of the pastor through research, reading, purposeful travel, writing, etc. Along with connecting with God I will plan to connect with family as well as spend time studying in England at the University of Oxford Summer Programme in Theology.
We have an awesome staff and church family that will carry on the work of ministry while I’m gone. I have been planning this time away since last year and the summer months into the fall season have been planned with great services and events that will connect people to God, connect people to people, and connect people to their calling.
I will miss you while I’m gone. I have to admit, in a way I’m scared to be gone for so long. I love our church! I know that every time we gather together in His name He is there in a supernatural way. I can’t wait to come back and share with you what God taught me during my sabbatical.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
My Book Shelf – 360° Life by Billy Joe Daugherty
Every now and then in my blog to our church I like to share with you the books that I’m reading that really help, challenge, and inspire me. My hope is that these books do the same for you.
What if you only had a few days to live?
Would you love?
Would you laugh?
Would you give?
Would you live differently than you do right now?
If possible, would you do a makeover on parts of your life? Most of us would gladly say “Yes!” to a fresh start, and that’s exactly what God offers. So many people live empty and frustrating lives, which is tragic because God desires a full, productive, and satisfying life for His children. 360° Life explores how ordinary people, regardless of their challenges, can experience life-altering change through simple faith. Billy Joe Daugherty weaves material from the Bible, his own experiences, and riveting interviews with contemporary Christians to reveal how not just to survive struggles, but to rise above them.
During the writing of this book Pastor Daugherty went home to be with the Lord. A final quote from the book, “I’ve lived as if my life was not my own, as if I have been bought with a price. My goal is to touch as many lives with the love of Jesus as I can in my brief journey through this earth. That is how you live the 360° Life - knowing that you started with God, entered the earth, touched others during your brief stay, and finally completed the circle to enter eternity with God.”
Saturday, May 22, 2010
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)
It’s time to celebrate the birthday of the church! It is Pentecost weekend! This week take time to read Acts 2 to see how it happened! Christ had talked about building His church in Matthew 18. He had promised the Holy Spirit throughout the Gospels and in Acts 1. At Pentecost the 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit, Peter preached, and 3000 members were added to the church. What a glorious beginning! And the power of Holy Spirit continues today as Christ builds His church.
There are 3 baptisms spoken of in Scripture. Make sure you have participated in all 3.
The baptism into God’s family. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” 1 Corinthians 12:13
The baptism in water. “Then Peter said to them,...’let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...’” Acts 2:38. “...and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” I Peter 3:21. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
The baptism in the Holy Spirit. “I (John the Baptist) baptize you with water, but He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8. Take time this week to study the following verses concerning being baptized in the Holy Spirit... Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 8:14-17; 10:44-48; 19:3-6; Ephesians 5:18.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
It is impossible to please God without faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
Your faith is matters! God cannot be pleased without faith. God has given each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3) and we need to have the attitude of the disciples who asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). Our faith needs to be strengthened and grow daily. We do this by spending time in God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Your Faith... Moves Mountains. “So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt... but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.” (Matt. 21:21)
Your Faith... Gives You Access Into The Peace Of God. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.” (Rom 5:2)
Your Faith... Does Not Need To Be Large To Be Incredibly Effective. “So Jesus said to them, '...if you have faith as a mustard seed... nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20)
Your Faith... Can Birth A Physical Healing In Your Body. “...listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed.” (Acts 14:9)
Your Faith... Will Lead You To An Eternity In Heaven. “The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” (I Pet 1:9)
Your faith in God has the potential of incredible rewards in your life!
Sunday, May 09, 2010
My Book Shelf – Radical by David Platt
Every now and then in my blog to our church I like to share with you the books that I’m reading that really help, challenge, and inspire me. My hope is that these books do the same for you.
It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...
BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT?
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment - a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
There is something beautiful about spiritual maturity. I love it when I’m able to spend time with someone that is “rooted and grounded” in Christ. (Eph. 3:17) There is a depth to that person and their life and they provide a powerful spiritual influence wherever they go. The sad truth is that most Christians never “grow up” in the things of God. (1 Peter 2:2)
How can we grow up in God? How do you know that your spiritual development is on track? How do we graduate from the milk of Christianity to the meat? (Heb. 5:12) Here are the basics:
Read your Bible. Find a bible that is easy for you to read and then find a Bible reading plan that works for you. There are a variety of plans available at http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans. Allow the Word into your heart and then obey what God tells you.
Pray every day. Prayer is simply talking with God and allowing Him to talk with you. Make prayer a part of your daily routine.
Go to church. The Bible encourages us to meet together regularly with other believers (Heb. 10:25). There is something powerful about worshipping, praying, and studying the word together. Attending church is a fundamental part of your spiritual growth.
Join a small group. This is an important step beyond just attending church. Small groups allow you to “plug in” and share your life with other believers. This is where real relationship and growth can happen.
Give. Being a Christian means being a giver. God has given us our time, talents, and treasure. If we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) we need to give Him our first and best!
When working on growing up in God always remember that God looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) Allow these basics to help you develop a heart after God.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
From an email I got this week...
Spring cleaning is a time when we clean out the mess, open the windows and let the warmth and light shine in. Here are seven ways to spring clean your life:
Clean out Pride and replace it with Humility. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:9)
Clean out Anger and replace it with Self Control. An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. (Psalm 22:9)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Clean out Unbelief and replace it with Faith. See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Clean out Revenge, and replace it with Forgiveness. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. (Romans 12:17-19)
Clean out Complaining and replace it with Praise. Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14)
Clean out Wicked Thoughts and replace them with Pure Thoughts. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Clean out Gossip and replace it with Encouragement. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:29-32)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I wanted share an exert from a blog by Pastor Perry Noble. You can check out his blog at www.perrynoble.com.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HATE YOUR LIFE!
Jesus Christ did not die on a cross, reconcile us to God, give us His Word and fill us with His Spirit so that we could live mediocre lives!
He is ALIVE…and those who follow Him should be as well!
Our dreams should be bigger!
Our passion should run deeper!
Our potential is greater!
We are called!
We are gifted!
We are commissioned!
WE ARE VICTORIOUS!
We should BEG Him for HIS direction…and understand that He wants to direct our steps WAY more than most of us want Him to!
We are not called to try to sell Him on our agenda but rather completely sell out to His!
You don’t have to hate your life…His call us for us is to live a full and complete one (John 10:10!)
So…let’s stop existing and start living…
The world does not need “more informed Christians” but rather more ignited, passionate, sincere followers of Jesus!
And when we LIVE in HIM…and the WORLD sees HIM…THAT is when He can use us to make the biggest difference!
Monday, April 12, 2010
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)
In previous blogs I have shared with you some of my favorite books, today I would like to share some of my favorite websites. Each of these sites relate to God and His Word. My hope is that they bless you as much as they have blessed me. And, as always, send me your favorite websites. I would love to see them.
This website tells the story of Scripture exclusively through the use of LEGOS. At first, I thought this site would fun for the boys but the more I read the more fascinated I became. If you have trouble simply reading the Bible you need to check this out. It’ll be fun and you may end up reading more of the Bible than ever before. Due to the nature of some Bible stories, please check the ratings provided for each story before sharing them with your children.
This site not only has merged Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John it provides helps to prove that the Gospels are 100% historically accurate. This is a fantastic website with great research and tremendous video presentations.
These are my personal favorite online Bible study sites. I love having the Bible just a click away. Let me know what your favorite Bible sites are.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
It truly was a happy Easter! God blessed us at the Ascension Convention (thanks to everyone for your help… you guys are awesome!) and Sunday we got to celebrate our risen Lord and Savior!
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. Some may ask what is the historical evidence that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Christian apologist Josh McDowell provides six facts that prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ in history.
Fact 1 – The broken Roman seal
Fact 2 – The empty tomb
Fact 3 – The large stone removed
Fact 4 – The Roman guard goes AWOL
Fact 5 – The graveclothes
Fact 6 – The appearances of Jesus after His resurrection
I don’t have room to go into all of the powerful details of each of these facts, but if you’re serious about looking into this evidence or know someone who is, take please visit www.josh.org and click Evidence for the Resurrection to get the whole story.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
From the book, A Physician Looks at the Crucifixion by Mitchell Peter Pries M.D
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement.
The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain - the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain.
With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint wrenching cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber.
Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level-the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues and the tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues. Finally, he can allow his body to die.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 (NLT)
Leslie and I are amazed at how fast the boys are growing. Each new season brings new growth in their lives. Time is flying by. We are sensing now more than ever before the need for setting goals for the parenting of our boys. God gave Leslie and me the stewardship of the young lives of Luke, Matthew, and Mark. Our responsibility is to train them in the way of the Lord and equip them for adulthood. For a life that glorifies God.
So how do we do it? Especially with the uniqueness of personality and variety of giftings our children have? It will require a set of goals, a plan of action, and quality time investing in their lives.
Goals and plans are important. They provide a sense of direction and purpose. They help us track our progress. They allow us to look ahead to a better future. They motivate us to action.
Do you have goals for your parenting? What about some personal goals? It is important to know where we are headed and where we are taking our children. Take time this spring to set some life goals that glorify God. Remember, that’s why each of us were created.
In closing, let me say a big thank you to all of those in our church who are volunteering to help out at this year’s Ascension Convention (www.theascensionconvention.com) this coming Easter weekend, April 1-3. There is no doubt that your involvement is making the difference in the lives of many teenagers lives. There is still time to sign up to help. I can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Monday, March 15, 2010
My Book Shelf – Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris
A few weeks ago I shared with the congregation that Leslie and I are now parents of a teenager. I know these teenage years are going to fly by so I want to make them count. I had a pastor friend tell me about a book by Alex and Brett Harris called Do Hard Things. He said it transformed his son and their relationship, so I knew when my boys got older I would take the journey with them to “do hard things.”
The twin Harris’ have a brand new book called Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are. As I started to read this new book I realized that it speaks to me as much as it will to my children. I want to “do hard things” for God and I believe you do as well. Here is a summary of the book that will help us and our children in the process.
At the age of eighteen, Alex and Brett Harris wrote Do Hard Things—and launched a movement that would change a generation. Young people around the world were ready to be inspired, ready to move beyond complacency, ready to rebel against society’s low expectations.
Now the highly anticipated companion book, Start Here, answers the questions Alex and Brett have received from thousands of teens on their worldwide conference tour and popular online community: How do I get started? What hard things does God want me to do? How do I keep from getting discouraged or burned out? What is the best way to inspire others?
Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide for young people who are ready to take the next step and blast past apathy. Let the rebelution continue.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
Matthew 3:14-15 (NIV)
John’s Baptism was a baptism of repentance. Jesus requested a baptism of repentance. But why? Jesus was perfect. He knew no sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 testifies, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Jesus is baptized with a baptism of repentance so that he could identify with us as the sacrifice for our sins.
Fast forward to Christian Baptism. In Christian Baptism we are identifying ourselves with Christ, His death, burial and resurrection as we go down into the water and then come up again. Romans 6:4 teaches us, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Just as Jesus identified Himself with our sinfulness, we identify ourselves with the abundant life He gives us through the victory He won for us on the cross. He identifies with our weakness and we identify with His strength. What a wonderful picture of God’s love and power shown to us in baptism.
Baptism is an important step in our Christian walk. It is a requirement for the obedient disciple. Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:21, “this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” We celebrate with those obedient to God following Him in water baptism!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
...the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards were sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Beyond all the cards imagine all the gifts, candy, and flowers. Why all the fuss? All because of LOVE!
Of the three great Christian virtues faith, hope, and love, the Bible teaches us that love is the greatest. 1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Love is the ultimate test of our Christian faith (1 John 4:20). The ultimate act of obedient discipleship is to love God first and foremost and then love others as yourself (Mark 12:30). The Bible is clear, we are nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
But what is love? It is pretty clear that our culture doesn’t understand what true love is. So we go back to the Bible, our guide for life, to understand what true love is. This Valentine’s Day discover the characteristics of love. Read, meditate on, and then apply what you learn about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7...
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
From My Book Shelf... Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge
What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.
With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through.
LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.
Monday, January 25, 2010
We need to believe that God will answer us when we pray. Look at a few verses from a conversation Jesus has with His disciples during the Last Supper.
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
John 14:12-14 (NLT)
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
John 15:7 (NLT)
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
John 15:16 (NLT)
You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
John 16:24 (NLT)
What do you think Jesus was trying to get across to his disciples? I want to see God answer our prayers. But it’s not just a blank check from heaven. Look again at John 15:7, “...if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!" The key to answered prayer is remaining in Christ and His Word. IF we remain in Christ and abide in Him we can expect God to answer our prayers. This week pray, abide in Christ (John 15:5-8), and watch what God will do.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
Jeremiah 2:13 (NLT)
Worship and prayer are essential. They connect us to God. Without worship and prayer in our life we are on our own. We will try our hardest, maybe do our best, but it won’t be enough. We are broken people. On your own, you will never be able to be the person you were created to be. For me, in order to be the disciple, husband, father, pastor, teacher, neighbor, friend I am called to be, I need to be connected to God who mends my brokenness with his grace and love and then fills me with His living water! We must walk in God’s wisdom, strength, courage, new life, victory, etc. and not our own.
This week worship and pray and meditate on what Jesus tells you and me in John 15:5-8...
“...I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Worshipping God is our highest calling and nothing pleases God more. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks “What is our chief end?” It's “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Here are a few Bible passages about worship for you to meditate on this week.
- Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 1 Chronicles 16:9
- Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 1 Chronicles 16:23
- I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. Psalm 9:1
- Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. Psalm 30:4
- You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11
- But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16
- Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Psalm 95:6
- We will bless the Lord from this time on and forevermore. Praise the Lord! Psalm 114:1
- Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
- Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13