Sunday, January 4, 2015

Growth in 2015 - Phil 3:12-16

Growth in 2015!

January 4, 2015

Phil 3:12-16


  • New year's resolutions top 10
  • 1. Lose weight
    2. Stop smoking
    3. Stick to a budget
    4. Save or earn more money
    5. Find a better job
    6. Become more organized
    7. Exercise more
    8. Be more patient at work with others
    9. Eat better
    10. Become a better person
  • Over 80% of resolutions are not kept!
  • The truth is, however, that without resolving to change, nothing will be different
  • We either plan to win or we plan to fail
  • There is no middle ground!
  • Today we are going to look at how to make 2015 a year when we win! Personally, and as a church!


  • Phil 3:12-16


  • verse 3-12
  • Paul had a lot of achievements in the physical realm, just like all of us
  • When we look at our lives in detail, we have a lot to be thankful for
  • This church as well has achieved a lot. Will talk about that in the business meeting on Jan 18. In some ways we are like the church in Smyrna, Rev 2:8 – we have gone through hard stuff, and satan's attacks, but we are still in the fight!
  • But the most important thing for Paul was that one goal, the pearl of great price, the treasure for which he would give up everything
  • That treasure was to know Jesus intimately, and to achieve the purpose for which Jesus had laid hold of him
  • For Paul, that was what his whole life revolved around
  • And so he persevered, he pressed on. He was not satisfied with the status quo
  • What has Jesus laid hold of you, for? What does he expect of you, personally?
  • What does Jesus expect of this church? Are we doing what he is looking for?
  • This is a time for introspection, for looking inside our heart
  • When we stand before Jesus and give an account of how we conducted our lives, will we have accomplished what he has asked of us?
  • Some of us have been persevering, drawing near and being obedient to our call. We are persevering
  • Others of us may not have been doing so well.
  • Today is a day when we can get back on track, and then persevere till we achieve that purpose!

PLAN TO FORGE AHEAD – verse 13-14

  • As we have seen in previous weeks, God's kingdom is a growing kingdom
  • It does not reach a point of self-satisfaction, thinking it has achieved enough!
  • It is the same with us!
  • We leave the past behind and reach forward to the future!
  • We look to what is ahead of us, and make plans for future growth!
  • What is it that God wants to do in your life, this coming year? If you don't know, ask him! Listen for his quiet voice. Expect his answer! Write it down!
  • This church is making plans to forge ahead! More about this on Jan 18.
  • We will be setting goals
  • How about ourselves? What goals have we set for this year?
  • Goals that are a part of the purpose God has for us, personally?
  • Is he showing you he is changing your direction either slightly or in a big way? Build this into your plans!
  • Then forge ahead, throw yourself into achieving those goals
  • We walk by faith and not by sight – 2 Cor 5:7


  • As we mature in our Christian walk, we can look back at a history of both accomplishments and setbacks
  • Paul is telling us to look at those things which we have succeeded in, and maintain the momentum we achieved
  • What things worked for you, this last year?
  • What made it work? Decide to continue doing those things!
  • Learn lessons from the past and then plan to maintain momentum in those things that God blessed!
  • Here are some of the things that have worked in this church:
  • We are a small church, but even when we were larger, this church was a family! We welcome visitors into our family!
  • We have a dedicated worship leader and we enter into God's presence with anointed worship each Sunday!
  • We have been responsible in paying off our debts, as a church! Around $58,000 in the last 4 years!
  • We actively pursue God's presence and leadership
  • We are not afraid to actively confront the enemy, which is a distinctive of our church.
  • These are things we need to maintain, they are a part of our spiritual DNA


  • So how are we going to make 2015 a winning year?
  • Plan to persevere and not give up – discover what Jesus expects of you, and persevere in doing this. Get back on track if necessary, but persevere in accomplishing God's purpose
  • Plan to forge ahead – set goals, which fit into God's purpose for you, and then throw yourself into it!
  • Plan to maintain momentum in those areas of life God is blessing! Move forward in new areas God is leading you and at the same time maintain momentum in the areas where God is blessing you.
  • Above all, let our central focus be seeking God and his perfect will
  • If we do this both as an individual, and as a church, the fruit will be evident!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What Precedes Revival? 2 Chron 5:1-14, 7:1-3

What Precedes Revival?
July 5, 2014
2 Chron 5:1-14, 7:1-3

  • 2 Chron 5:1-14

  • Last week I mentioned a dream I had a couple of months ago
  • In this dream, I saw Mt Susanville erupting, and boulders rolling down its sides
  • A couple months before that someone came and asked me about a dream she had had, where once again boulders were rolling down the hill, through a mist and yet no one was being hurt. At the time I did not know what this dream meant.
  • I now believe both dreams were about the Kingdom of God increasing territory in Susanville, in other words, revival.
  • As in Dan 2 – the stone cut out of a mountain without hands, and then filling the whole earth
  • But what is it that prepares the way for revival?
  • What are the conditions like when revival happens?
  • Today we are going to talk the conditions that precede revival.

  • Saul was the first king of Israel. He was a Benjaminite, he believed in God's guidance, and he had a low estimation of himself
  • 1 Samuel 9:1-14 – searching for donkeys, servant encourages Saul to enquire of God
  • God tells Samuel to anoint Saul to be king
  • And the donkeys have been found
  • Saul depends heavily on Samuel to pray and intercede for him, does not seem to have had a close personal walk with God
  • He starts seemingly humble, but his position goes to his head and he is proud and disobedient, finally even seeking guidance from a fortune teller
  • King Saul was definitely not leading the people into revival
  • It was Saul's choice – it grieved God that he had made Saul king – 1 Sam 15:35

  • King David however, was different
  • 1 Sam 16:13 – David anointed king
  • David was humble
  • David was the youngest brother, he had a humble heart
  • God looks at the heart
  • Humility is important to God, it helps us keep our roles in perspective
  • Prov 29:23, Isa 57:15, Isa 66:2
  • David was wholehearted
  • Ps 9:11, 111:1, 119:2, 10, 34, 58, 69, 145, 138:1
  • It was important to David to worship with all his heart, no divided loyalties
  • David was obedient
  • We know about David's relationship with God, through the Psalms
  • God tells of David that He could trust David to do his will – Acts 13:22
  • David was repentant
  • David sinned. He sinned big time
  • Satan tries to destroy David's relationship with God, by tempting him with a beautiful woman, Bathsheba. David commits adultery, and ends up murdering her husband, to have this lady as his wife
  • David's reaction is to repent, once again with all his heart
  • His prayer of repentance is recoded in Psalm 51
  • So, David was humble, whole hearted, obedient and repentant
  • It was this David who desired to build a house for God, a temple, to have God close to him

  • God told David the temple would be built by his and Bathsheba's Solomon
  • So we see God making something good turn out from a terribly sinful experience in David's life
  • Solomon started his reign with a humble and teachable heart
  • 1 Kings 3:1-15 Solomon asks for wisdom
  • verse 7-9 – He shows his humility
  • He asks God for wisdom
  • During this period of his life, Solomon was still right with God
  • And it was during this time, that Solomon builds the temple
  • The Ark is brought into the Holy of Holies
  • The Levites sing praise to God accompanied by trumpets
  • The glory cloud fills the temple!
  • Solomon leads the people in a prayer of dedication of the temple – 2 Chron 6:1-40
  • Fire falls from heaven on the altar, and consumes the offerings presented to God, and God's glory fills the temple afresh
  • God appears to Solomon in a dream again, and accepts the prayer of dedication - 2 Chron 7:1-16
  • verse 14 – heal their land
  • Finally, God warns Solomon to stay obedient, or consequences would happen


  • If we are to see Revival, or an Awakening, in this nation, in this county, in this city, or in our personal life, these qualities should be evident:
  • Humility
  • Wholeheartednes
  • Obedience
  • Repentance
  • This is why, tomorrow, we are going to fast 7 hours, to ask the Lord to hear our prayers this week, and bring change in our nation
  • From the president on down
  • As Christians, we are humbling ourselves in fasting and prayer
  • We are doing this with all our heart
  • We are repenting of disobedience, and setting our course to be obedient in the future
  • This is what precedes God's coming to his people
  • This is what precedes revival

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection Day - There is Life on the Other Side! - 1 Cor 15

Resurrection Day – There Is Life on The Other Side!
April 20, 2014
1 Cor 15:1-11

  • It was early in the morning, still dark
  • John was lying in bed, thinking about the last few days
  • It was just a few days ago when Jesus and his friends had eaten the Passover meal
  • Jesus had said some strange things, but now John understood what he had been warning them about
  • One of them was going to betray him
  • John could not comprehend this! Though the signs had been there for quite a while
  • Judas had been critical and seemed resentful towards Jesus
  • But he had now gone and committed suicide. How awful! John had lost two close friends in just a few days
  • So what had become of all the promises Jesus had made?
  • He had told of having to go to the Father, and of sending the Holy Spirit
  • But John had seen them lay Jesus' body in the tomb.
  • How could all this now be fulfilled?
  • ILL. It was 23 years ago, on Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, that Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait & was dead.
  • Ruth Dillow later wrote, "I can’t begin to describe my grief & shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I wept. For 3 days I expressed anger & loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great."
  • But 3 days after she received that message, the telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it’s me. I’m alive." Ruth Dillow said, "I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice, & he really was alive." The message was all a mistake!
  • She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive. I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt."

  • John 20:1-10
  • Mary comes and sees that the body of Jesus has gone
  • She assumes someone has taken the body
  • Peter and John run to the tomb to see what had happened
  • They verify that the body has gone
  • It says John believed – he believed that the body had been stolen, just as Mary Magdalen had said
  • Peter and John go home, while Mary stays at the tomb, crying (John 20:11-18)
  • Mary looks inside the tomb and sees two angels sitting where Jesus' body had laid – they ask why she is weeping, and she responds that the body has been stolen, and she does not know where it is
  • Mary then turns around and sees someone she thinks is the gardener
  • He asks why she is crying and she gives the same answer
  • Jesus says to her, Mary
  • Now she recognizes Jesus! He is alive!
  • Mary is overjoyed!
  • At this point, Jesus had not yet returned to the Father. Jesus tells tells Mary to tell the good news to the other disciples
  • Later that day, in the evening, the disciples are behind locked doors because they were afraid of the religious leaders
  • Suddenly Jesus appears in the room! (John 20:19-23)
  • The Jesus who had died on the Cross, is alive again!
  • He shows them his body, the holes where the nails had torn his hands and feet, and the hole in his side where the spear had been jammed in.
  • Jesus is alive! He has been raised from the dead!

  • 1 Cor 15:1-9
  • Jesus was seen by hundreds of people after his resurrection!
  • He is the first of many who will be resurrected to life!
  • Verse 20-29
  • If there is no resurrection, why go through the tribulation of this life and struggle and fight against sin
  • We might as well just live it up and die!
  • But Jesus WAS resurrected, and there is hope for those who have died!
  • Verse 29 – if there is no resurrection, why repent and be baptized, replacing those who have previously died in Christ (baptism is an outward expression of our faith in Jesus and our repentance from our old ways – it cannot be done on behalf of someone who has died, because they are unable to repent and have faith in Jesus)
  • Recently a number of us had deaths in the family
  • The good news is that there is life beyond the grave!
  • Jesus was resurrected on Resurection Day, and he is the forerunner of all those who will be raised to Life when Jesus returns!

  • Ruth Dillon's son called and told her he was alive and not dead as she had supposed!
  • Jesus appeared to the disciples and told them that he was now alive!
  • A living Jesus can make change in our lives!
  • If Jesus is alive today, it changes everything!
  • The life we live today is not just for today and after that, oblivion.
  • No, there is life on the other side!
  • Do you want to make a commitment to Jesus, so you can share all eternity with him?
  • So your life can be changed?
  • Let us pray

Monday, March 17, 2014

Grace Fellowship Vision Statement

"We see Grace Fellowship as being a growing, Spirit-filled, multi-generational, multi-cultural, unified, motivated body of believers, reaching out into the Susanville, Janesville and surrounding communities, overcoming spiritual opposition, and extending encouragement, restoration, healing and deliverance through a vibrant relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

House of Grace - Healing Sheep - Jn 10:10-11

House of Grace
March 16, 2014
John 10:10-11

  • Sheep get hurt
  • They develop cuts and tears
  • They fall down ravines and can easily break their legs
  • Sheep stand out in wet pasture land, and develop foot rot, a bacterial infection which causes the hoof to rot, and the sheep would ultimately need to be put down
  • One of the roles of a shepherd is to take care of his sheep
  • Because his sheep need healing
  • He will take the hurt sheep and do what is needed to restore it to full health
  • He puts antiseptic ointment on the cuts and tears
  • He sets the broken limbs, and puts them in a splint, so the leg heals up properly
  • He digs out the infected tissue in the feet, trims the hooves, and soaks the feet in an antiseptic zinc solution.
  • He then separates the sheep from any possible source of reinfection
  • Today we are going to look at an often forgotten aspect of healing

  • As we grow as a church people will be coming here who are hurt and damaged
  • Their hurts will not be the same as this sheep, but they are hurt nevertheless
  • People need healing
  • The kind of hurts they have are physical hurts, like illnesses.
  • But they also have emotional hurts and wounds
  • Both the physical and the emotional hurts need healing, God seeks total recovery for his people
  • It is his will for us that we enjoy good health and that all may go well with us – 3 John 2
  • John 10:10-11 - the good shepherd comes to bring life to the full!
  • The sheep that is hurting with foot rot is in continual pain, so much that it can often be forced to its knees
  • This is not living life to the full
  • The shepherd needs to bring healing
  • It is the same with people
  • We can walk around with our hurts and damages from the past, and they will spoil all the enjoyment we can have
  • Or we can bring these hurts to the Good Shepherd, for healing

  • God is our shepherd
  • Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd
  • Jesus was the God of the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament
  • So let's take a look at one aspect of this God
  • God is a God of grace
  • The word Grace, in Hebrew, is chanan
  • This word means (1) to BE gracious, to show favor, to be compassionate, (2) to MAKE gracious, to make favorable, to direct favor or to have mercy on someone, (3) to BE SHOWN favor, mercy or compassion
  • I believe this word may have been the reason the original name of this church was Canaan Rest – the rest that comes when we receive grace
  • A good name for our church would be House of Grace
  • God is a God of grace
  • This aspect of his character shows that he desires to extend grace and favor to his people
  • He extends favor to those who come to him for help in time of need
  • Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
  • In the Old Testament, in the temple, in the Holy of Holies where God revealed his presence, was the ark of the covenant.
  • On this ark or box, were two golden cherubim, facing each other
  • They were known as the covering cherubim, and the place they covered was the Mercy Seat
  • God says we are free to come before the mercy seat, whenever we need help or healing.
  • It is where we receive grace
  • It is where God extends grace, favor and compassion to us

  • We are told in Hebrews, that we can come boldly to that place of grace, in our time of need.
  • We all know that we need to trust God or have faith, when we ask for healing
  • But grace extends a whole new aspect to our asking for healing
  • God is the good shepherd who loves his sheep, and extends favor to us, and is compassionate, and merciful
  • Because of this grace that is extended, we can experience health, and wellness
  • Both in our physical bodies, but also in our emotional life
  • God wants to heal us, wherever we are at.


  • Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother's heart.
  • Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself.
  • With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janiero. Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable.
  • Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all.
  • And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note.
  • It wasn't too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. 
  • It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare.
  • A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away.
  • As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother.
  • Christina's eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter. Please come home." She did. - Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

God hasn't healed me yet - now what? - Luke 18:1-8

God hasn't healed me yet - now what?
March 9, 2014
Luke 18:1-8

- Sometimes we pray for something from God and it is as though God has not responded
- Sometimes a person has a serious illness, has called for the elders of the church repeatedly, and has still not been healed
- Does this mean God does not want to heal?
- Does it mean this is something he does not want to get involved with?
- Does this mean we just have to go on suffering?

- 1. Go to the elders of the church and be prayed for
- James 5:14-16
- How often do we do this?
- We get sick and just live with the consequences
- We think because we are not complaining to God, we are doing ok
- But actually we have not been obedient to this instruction
- How can we expect God to heal if we are not obedient to his instructions?
- We explain this by saying, I didn't want to bother the minister
- Or, Pastor always seems so busy
- The fact of the matter is, we did not do what he said to do
- Why is this so important?
- It takes a certain humbling of ourselves, to submit and do things God's way
- We have heard the story about Naaman who came to Elijah for healing from Leprosy - 2 Kings 5
- He was told to go and wash in the Jordan river 7 times
- His reaction was, why do I need to do that, I want things to be done my way
- When he humbled himself and was obedient, he was healed
- 2. Pray in faith
- When we receive prayer, we expect the minister to pray in faith
- But where is our own faith at?
- Are we believing that Jesus will heal us?
- Time and time again, Jesus says healing is dependent on our faith - Mat 9:2, 22, 29, 15:28, Mark 2:5, 5:34, 10:52, Luke 5:20, 7:50, 8:48, 17:19, 18:42
- We are told, The just shall live by faith - Heb 10:38 (whole verse)
- God desires people to come to him, trusting him
- He does not appreciate people coming to him half-heartedly

- Sometimes we go for prayer, and nothing seems to have happened
- How should we deal with this?
- Luke 18:1-8
- Here is a person who has an issue, and Jesus relates it to our prayer life
- What if God does not respond immediately?
- Keep on praying in faith
- Don't think, I guess God doesn't like me
- Don't think, He doesn't want to heal me
- Just keep on praying
- Sometimes God is testing us to see how obedient, and how full of faith we are
- Abraham was told to go and sacrifice his son Isaac - Gen 22
- It was a journey of 3 days, plenty of time to think about it
- God then says, Now I know you fear me and have not withheld your only son - v.12
- 1 Pet 3:9 trial of your faith

- Dan 3:17-18
- Being faithful even when things do not go our way shows that we are allowing God to be in charge
- We are entrusting our lives to him
- Not every disease will be healed in this life
- But we do know that when we stand before Jesus, we will no longer experience sickness, pain and death any more
- Because we are now with Jesus, for ever more

- If we have not yet been healed, ask self why it is
- God is faithful
- Be obedient to God's instructions, to ask for anointing
- Pray in faith, expecting results
- Continue praying in faith, God is listening

- Finally, allow God to do things his own way, not having to fit our personal agenda

The Coming of the sheep Catchers - Acts 1:8

The Coming of the Sheep-Catchers!
March 9, 2014
Phil 3:13

  • During past few weeks we have talked about sheep.
  • We have talked about how lost sheep are without hope
  • We have spoken about how God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation
  • We have talked about going fishing
  • We have talked about what Susanville sheep look like
  • But what is the vision we have for the Grace Fellowship
  • How does this fit in to the bigger picture?
  • I have mentioned before how this church was given a founding prophecy, which said that this church would be a source of healing and restoration for this community
  • What does this look like?
  • Here is the vision I have for this church:
  • Vision statement - We see Grace Fellowship as being a growing, Spirit-filled, multi-generational, multi-cultural, unified, motivated group of believers, reaching thousands, with multiple church services, church plants, home groups and ministries, reaching out into the Susanville, Janesville and Lake Forest communities, overcoming spiritual opposition, and extending encouragement, restoration and healing through a vibrant relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The baby has been conceived, this church now pregnant

  • We are co-laborers with Christ
  • Takes all of us
  • Our gifts – fill out form and place in basket
  • Luke 9:12-17 - Loaves and fishes
  • We may not think we have much to offer, but God has a way of multiplying things!
  • 1 Cor 1:26-31 – our calling
  • We are not necessarily the world's brightest
  • But God will use anyone who is dedicated to him
  • Zech 4:6-10 - Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit
  • Do not despise the day of small beginnings

  • Acts 1:8 – start at home with your friends
  • 1 Cor 7:17-24 - In whatever station of life, make the most of it
  • Psa 1:3 - Grow where planted
  • God knows who you are and your circumstances
  • Some did not agree with moving to our present location
  • Be content with where we are now
  • God is aware, and this is where we are today
  • This is where we stand
  • This is where we plant our flag
  • Psa 60:4

  • I see an army come over the crest of the hill
  • They wear armor and carry swords
  • Their helmets flash as the sun catches them in the distance
  • They are stretched in a line from horizon to horizon as far as the eye can see
  • In their midst is a banner
  • The motif on the flag is the Lamb of God, bearing a Cross
  • They have come to bring hope and freedom to the lost
  • They fight against the darkness to set the captives free
  • We are in this army
  • In next few weeks we will start our preparations for reaching our community

“Onward Christian Soldiers”