Sunday, December 29, 2013

Anticipation! - Rom 8:22-23

December 29, 2013
Rom 8:22-23

  • It is hard to be patient.
  • We are now at the end of 2013, this is the last service.
  • We are finishing the year at much the same level of attendance as where we started!
  • But we want more.
  • Our desire is to see this town come to Jesus, en masse!
  • I am impatient about this, and am looking for growth to come.
  • And it will come, in God's time.
  • “Commenting on our need for [patience], M.H. Lount has said, "God's best gifts come slowly. We could not use them if they did not. Many a man, called of God to...a work in which he is pouring out his life, is convinced that the Lord means to bring his efforts to a successful conclusion.
  • “Nevertheless, even such a confident worker grows discouraged at times and worries because results do not come as rapidly as he would desire.
  • “But growth and strength in waiting are results often greater than the end so impatiently longed for. Paul had time to realize this as he lay in prison. Moses must have asked, 'Why?' many times during the delays in Midian and in the wilderness. Jesus Himself experienced the discipline of delay in His silent years before His great public ministry began."
  • “God wants us to see results as we work for Him, but His first concern is our growth. That's why He often withholds success until we have learned patience. The Lord teaches us this needed lesson through the blessed discipline of delay”. - from Our Daily Bread
  • The fruit that is worked by delay, and patience, is anticipation!
  • Today we are going to talk about anticipation

  • While we were working hard getting everything ready for Christmas, our children were anticipating getting up Christmas morning and seeing what was under the tree!
  • There is an excitement in anticipation!
  • Jesus too, experienced this anticipation!
  • There was a short period of time during 4 BC when it all seemed to be happening!
  • The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14) and was born of a Nazarene virgin, in Bethlehem.
  • The Son of God at the Father's right hand, became a tiny human baby boy. He was both human and divine, had chromosomes from Mary, and from God!
  • At the time of his birth, the shepherds are told that a Savior , the Messiah, has been born, that God's plan is “peace to men on whom his favor rests”. Luke 2:14
  • Aged Simeon, 8 days later prophesies “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”. Luke 2:34
  • How was this all to come about? When would it happen?
  • There was to be a delay
  • Jesus knew who his Father was – Luke 2:49
  • He was aware of his destiny, the blessing He would bring to suffering people, and that his ultimate purpose was to suffer and die so that man could have a fresh start
  • Jesus as he was growing up, was aware of all this.
  • He must have been eagerly looking forward to the day when he could start to fulfill his destiny
  • Even though that would mean going through the experience of death.
  • In heaven, I am sure that the Father and the angels were excited to see The Plan coming together, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle falling into place
  • Healing, freedom and salvation available to all!

  • Paul talks about the whole creation groaning, waiting for God to rescue it from Satan's domination – Rom 8:22-23
  • We too, eagerly anticipate and look forward to being rid of our broken down physical bodies and instead be healed and receive our spiritual body, which will no longer be limited as it is today
  • But we may wonder, why is it that I have not yet received the healing I have been praying for?
  • Why is it so tough at school to experience our school friends acting out and tempting us to go along with the ways of the world? I know better and yet the temptation to join with them is so strong
  • Why is our church not growing by leaps and bounds, as hundreds of people come to Jesus?
  • Why is the Body of Christ seemingly impotent against the onslaught of godlessness from the society around it?
  • There are more than one factor in answering each of these questions
  • However, the big answer is that God is in charge, he knows the times and the seasons, and he will take care of things at the right time
  • He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus – Phil 1:6

  • Whatever our situation, we are God's children – 1 Jn 3:1-3
  • God is not a man that he should lie – Num 23:19
  • God will perform his promises
  • Just as the promises about Jesus came good, on the day Jesus was born, and later when he started his ministry 30 years later, God's promises to us will be fulfilled too
  • God promises healing, he says he is the God who heals (Ex 15:26, Psa 103:2-5, James 5:14-16, 1 Pet 2:24)
  • God promises to take care of us (Matt 6:8,33, Phil 4:19, Heb 4:16)

  • When we believe in the promise, we know it will come
  • It will happen in God's time, as he sees appropriate.
  • But it will come.
  • We eagerly anticipate the day God intervenes in our life
  • It may be today, it may be tomorrow. But he has not forgotten us, nor his promises
  • As his children, we can have total anticipation for what he wants to do in our life
  • Because what he does, is good.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Joy that goes deep - Advent 3 - Luke 2:8-20

Joy that goes deep - Advent 3 - Luke 2:8-20
December 15, 2013
Luke 2:8-20


. Luke 2:8-20


. Joy is a wonderful feeling
. It's something we love when we have it and we miss or long for when we don't!
. We feel happy perhaps most of the time, but joy is something that goes deeper
. We may be facing unemployment, but we can still experience joy
. We may have financial struggles, but we can still feel joy
. We may be scraping to get the rent together, but we can still have joy inside.
. “A conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they weren't free to say "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord." All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go!” - Bruce Larson, Luke, p. 43
. This morning we are going to speak of the joy that is available to us as Christians

. Paul was an apostle in the early church and wrote most of the New Testament we find in our Bible
. Paul was a great scholar, was respected and had a bright future ahead of him
. But Paul learned that money and the material things of life did not count
. The most important thing was Jesus
. Phil 4:11-13
. He learned to be content whatever the circumstances
. Some of his circumstances were pretty bad
. 2 Cor 11:23-29
. And at the time he wrote the words that he had learned to be content in all circumstances, he was chained to a jailor
. Yet he learned to be content, wherever he was
. Being content is saying “It's ok, I can be at peace here”.

. So joy does not depend on our circumstances.
. That means it is not a feeling of happiness.
. Because we feel happy when something good happens, or sad when something bad occurs
. These are feelings, and they depend on circumstances
. They go up and down from day to day
. Joy is a knowing of what is going on in our life, which transcends pain and hurt and sadness
. Someone this week was reading the book called Jesus Freak, a book about martyrs for the faith
. These people when the flames were licking their feet at the stake, still had a peace inside them which circumstances could not remove.
. “As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: "It's a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians--and I am one of them." Today In The Word, June, 1988
. Deep joy in our heart is independent on what is going on outside
. It is like a river that runs underground, bringing life wherever it goes

. As we have seen, joy does not come from circumstances
. It does not come from temporary feelings of happiness
. It is actually more linked to faith and trust, than the things we experience
. Matt 6:33-34
. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God
. Jesus is the king of that kingdom.
. He is saying he needs to be number one in our life
. The other things of life, which we all need, are less important than putting him first
. This is huge
. We are so often swallowed up in the material things of life, that we neglect Jesus, and he comes second
. He tells us here that he will take care of us.
. That's a promise!
. Phil 4:19 – in context of being content in all circumstances, Paul tells that God will meet all our needs!
. But it is dependent on putting Jesus first.
. We trust him to come through on his promise.
. This gives us peace inside
. We are able to be content, we are able to be at peace
. We now are able to be joyful whatever happens to us

. The angels brought tidings of great joy, for all people
. But joy is not something walk around with deep down, unless there is a reason for it
. That joy comes through a relationship with Jesus where he is number one
. If you have never yet developed a relationship with Jesus your Savior, toady you can do so
. If you are missing that deep down joy and want to renew your walk with Jesus you can do so right now.
. Joy can be a part of each of our lives!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The King of Love - 1 Jn 4:16

The King of Love
December 8, 2013
1 John 4:16
. How would you describe God?
. Is he tall, short, how is he dressed?
. Does he wear a crown?
. Is he sitting on a throne?
. Does this impact how you see him?
. What kind of personality does he have?
. Can you see him?
. Does he say things to you?
. God of course is Father Son and Holy Spirit
. But Jesus says if you have seen me you have seen the Father
. So I expect that the Father and the Holy Spirit look the same as Jesus
. Today we are going to discuss what God is like, and how we can draw closer to him

. How does God appear in the Garden of Eden?
. God creates man from the dust of the ground
. We see that man is made of the minerals and molecules that make up the soil from which he is made
. God breathes into Adam the breath of life and Adam becomes alive
. God shows utmost care in the way he prepared a place for Adam to live, and finally forms man
. God recognizes that Adam needs a wife, and companionship
. So God fashions Eve from Adam's rib
. They were made perfect for each other
. This was the start of the institution of marriage, where man and wife become one flesh,  totally unified
. So God was aware of Adam's needs, and he took care of it
. God himself is one, and totally unified, though he is made up of three persons
. So he tells Adam and Eve that they are married till death do them part
. He desires that they enjoy the same closeness and love that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit experience.
. These attributes of God are all pretty loving toward Adam and Eve
. 1 Jn 4:16 – God is love
. God showed his love to us
. 1 John 4:9-10
. He showed his love to us by sending his Son to be a sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven

. Why are our sins so important?
. When I live contrary to the way God shows us, I am sinning
. Rom 14:23 – whatever is not of faith is sin
. God made it easy for us to define what is good and bad for us by giving us the Ten Commandments
. Deut 5:29 – O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
. Sin separates us from God – Isaiah 59:2
. So what makes it difficult for us to love God?
. It is sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God
. When we are separated from God we miss out on his love for us
. But we don't have to stay separated!
. 1 John 4:9-10
. He showed his love to us by sending his Son to be a sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven
. Now we can have relationship with him, and his love dwells in us.
. This love then flows out and is expressed in the way we love others.
. 1 John 4:11-12
. What are some of the things that separate us from God?
. Selfishness.  It does not fit into a life of love.
. Pride.  Pride says I don't want your help.  I will do it on my own.  I don't want your love
. Holding onto hurt.  To hold onto hurt means we want to hurt the other back, rather than love them.
. Unforgiveness.  This is similar to holding onto hurts.
. Each of these build up a barrier between us and receiving God's love

. The way back means that we tear down these walls
. Listen to this short video clip
. These walls stop us from experiencing the love and joy that God has for us
. These walls need to be broken down
. But how do we break them down?
. We ask God to forgive our sins, and we allow him to tear the walls down brick by brick.
. Dream of wall outside my window, had to be torn down, brick by brick
. If you would like to remove these barriers from your life, please come forward now.
. Don't let yourself leave this room without experiencing God's breakthrough in your life

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Prayer Ministry Training


  • Prayer is a special ministry
  • Prayer is a priestly activity – Jer 37:3, Job 42:8, 1 Pet 1:9, Rev 5:10
  • We are a helper between the person and God – Heb 7:25, James 5:14, Col 1:9 2 Tim 1:6
  • We listen to the person's need
  • We ask God to respond – Num 12:13, James 5:14
  • We are a channel of God's answer to the person
  • We probably feel inadequate to the task – God knows and understands – Heb 7:28
  • We may be scared to be in this role – John 20:21, 2 Tim 1:7
  • Yet with God all things are possible – Matt 19:26
  • It is God who gives us an intercessor's heart – 1 Pet 4:11
  • We have the privilege of working together with God in this ministry

Part 1 – God - the Giver
  • God is everywhere – Ps 139:7-10
  • God is within us – John 14:23, Col 1:27
  • We are God's children – 1 Jn 3:1-2
  • God delights in responding to our prayers – Luke 18:7-8
  • God desires to give life, gifts and freedom – John 10:10, 1 Cor 12:7-11, 2 Cor 3:17
  • God gives himself to dwell in us – Is 7:14, Mat 1:23
  • He works in us to make us more like him – Eph 2:10, 4:15
  • He desires good for all mankind
  • He is not willing that any should perish – 2 Pet 3:9

Part 2 – Us - the Vessel
  • We are human and imperfect – Heb 7:28, Rom 3:23
  • God knew this when he commissioned us to continue the work Jesus started
  • In our imperfection God's glory is manifest – Heb 11:34, 2 Cor 12:9
  • At the same time, we cannot rest in our imperfection – 1 Pet 4:2
  • Sin separates from God – Isa 59:2
  • Sin hinders us in being a channel for God to work through
  • Need to keep short accounts with God
  • God desires to forgive, wants to forget, knows our frame – Psa 103:8-14
  • We present ourselves as a living sacrifice – Rom 12:1
  • We are never in a place of total transparency with God
  • Yet that is our goal
  • This means that our walk with God is a journey, not a state of being – Philippians 1:6
  • We will experience good times and dry times in our journey
  • Our relationship with the Lord will carry us through the dry spells
  • It may seem one-sided
  • But God is there behind the clouds – Mat 28:20, Heb 13:5
  • Our goal is total transparency with our Savior
  • When we are totally transparent, sinless, there is no hindrance in our ministry – Heb 12:1-3

Part 3 – The Method - Love
  • Treat God the way he truly is
  • He is right there inside you – John 14:23
  • Speak to him as though he is right there with you and listening
  • When we speak to a friend we expect an answer – Job 14:15, Psa 86:7, Isa 58:9
  • God will respond to your prayer request
  • There is no special technique
  • Just treat God as being real, and on your side! - James 4:8
  • Requirements
    • Pray according to God's will
    • Pray in faith, expecting an answer
    • Pray in Jesus' name
  • Pray according to God's will – 1 Jn 5:14
    • Be listening for God to give you a sense of his will – Col 1:9
    • Live closely with God, so you start to think like him – Phil 2:5
    • All we say should be according to the Bible and its principles – Isa 8:20
    • Stay within your area of expertise – 2 Cor 10:13
    • i.e. do not correct, counsel, or give direction. Your role is to pray for the individual in love, and pass on what the Lord tells you, sensitively – Phil 4:8
    • If more help is needed, refer them to the appropriate person, usually the pastor
    • If you are not sure how to pray, ask the Lord to tell you – Luke 11:1, Isa 30:21
    • Pray in your spiritual prayer language, ie. Tongues – 1 Cor 14-15
  • Pray in faith, expecting an answer – 1 Thes 5:24
    • If we are clean with God, he will respond
    • Long prayers are not necessary – Luke 20:47
    • Pray as the Holy Spirit leads – Luke 4:1, Rom 8:14
    • Invite the Holy Spirit to do his work
    • Detail what you are asking the Holy Spirit to do
    • Be expecting a miracle – 1 Tim 2:8
    • God delights to give good gifts to his children – Mat 7:7-11
  • Pray in Jesus' name – John 14:14, 16:23
    • This means that we pray with Jesus authority behind us – James 5:16
    • He has commissioned us to intercede for each other
    • We are to stand in the gap, on the behalf of the person for whom we are praying
    • We should be living a holy life – Eph 1:4
    • We treat God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit with reverence and respect
    • We do not joke about spiritual matters
    • We are clean inside and out, and in our speech – Eph 4:29, Col 3:8
    • We keep short accounts, not out of legalism but because we love God
  • Other guidelines
    • Usually men pray with men, and women with women
    • In a private setting always have a person of the same sex as the one being prayed for, present – Rom 14:16
    • Prayers should be positive. For example, “Lord please increase their faith” rather than “Lord please cast out their unbelief”
    • Prayer ministry can be tiring, so try to be fresh when you start
    • Have breath mints available to you during ministry, also use deodorant
    • If someone is slain in the Spirit, someone should be ready to catch them, and lay them in an open area. Be aware of modesty, cover appropriate areas.
    • Anointing or laying on of hands should generally be lightly done on the forehead, head or hands – James 5:14, Mark 6:13, 16:18
    • If the affected area is in a sensitive area, such as the abdomen for instance, ask them to lay their hand on the affected spot, and then you may touch their hand. Or alternatively touch their forehead or hand
    • The ministry area is for prayer, unnecessary talk should be kept to a minimum
    • Anything divulged in prayer ministry is confidential and should not be shared with anyone
    • Breaking confidence is a sure way to cause people to not trust your ministry
    • The only exceptions would be if there is a threat of hurting themselves or someone else. In this case, tell them that you are referring them to your pastor or a designated person. Then do follow through and tell the pastor, etc.
  • Conclusion
    • Thank you for your sacrificial service
    • You will be giving of your time, and energy
    • But you will be blessed immeasurably in allowing the Lord to work through you – 1 Tim 3:13
  • Prayer

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Filled with the Spirit - 1 Cor 2:1-5

Filled With the Spirit!
October 6, 2013
1 Cor 2:1-5

  • Let's be quiet for a few minutes and listen for what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church

  • What was it that got the early church started with such an explosion of new converts?
  • During the last weeks we have been examining the early church to find out how things started
  • Last week we talked about how prayer was the way the new church was started
  • What was prayer like?
  • Just spending time on our knees?
  • No, it was heartfelt, conversational two-way communication with God
  • We were encouraged to develop this conversational quality in our prayer
  • Today we are going to take a look at the role of the work of the Holy Spirit in the church!

  • 1 Cor 2:1-5

  • Paul in these verses explains what was the driving force in his ministry
  • It was not that Paul was such a great person, with a charismatic personality
  • He did not want to be known for oratory, or persuasiveness
  • But his preaching was accompanied by a display of the Spirit's power!
  • The Holy Spirit brings life wherever he goes
  • Paul knew this
  • He did not want dry preaching, but the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit
  • This is my goal for our church too
  • Sometimes we hear words spoken against places where the Holy Spirit is moving
  • Sometimes we wonder about some of the things that happen, and we are not sure if it is of God or if it is from the other source – there aren't a lot of choices!
  • The devil is negative – he comes to kill steal and to destroy
  • But the Holy Spirit brings life wherever he goes!

  • The early church was close to the Holy Spirit
  • They listened to him, they were obedient to what he said
  • As a consequence, the Holy Spirit was close with them too
  • This was the key to the miracles that happened in the ministry of the apostles, and of Paul, and others
  • Jesus sent the disciples out to preach the gospel, heal the sick and set people free
  • This was totally in line with the way the Holy Spirit operates
  • So naturally, people were healed, people were set free, and the preaching had results!

  • Ezek 47:1-12, Rev 22:1-2
  • There is a river that flows from the Temple, from God's throne
  • This river is called the river of life
  • This river represents the Holy Spirit
  • We read that where this river goes, it transforms deadness into life
  • The Dead Sea teems with fish, because the deadness has been taken away and replaced by the life-giving qualities of the Holy Spirit
  • There will be fishermen casting out their nets, drawing in a harvest of fish of all kinds!
  • Matt 13:47-48 – kingdom like a net that gathers fish of all kinds
  • Where the Holy Spirit goes, there will be a harvest of souls for the kingdom
  • This river is a large river
  • At the edges it is shallow
  • Yesterday I went out with my son Matt and my grandsons Jordan and Jarred
  • We were looking for a good place to go fishing
  • But the places where we looked were too shallow, not a good place to fish
  • We can step into the river and let it get up to our ankles
  • That is good, but won't catch a lot of fish
  • We can go in up to our waist, that's better
  • But it is still too shallow for that big harvest
  • We need to go out into the deep part of the river, where we swim in it
  • Then the river gives life and we are able to be effective in reaching people with the gospel
  • In the coming months we will be starting a Bible study, where we will be drawing closer in intimacy with the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit is our friend, our supporter, our confidant
  • He loves closeness with his people

  • The Holy Spirit brings life, and he will restore life to us!
  • This requires us to be totally filled with the Holy Spirit
  • I don't want to be wading at the edge of that river, I want to be swimming in it, over my head, breathing the breath of life from the Holy Spirit
  • If you would like to have a fresh filling with the Holy Spirit, please come forward now
  • Whether you would like to be filled for the very first time, or this would be the hundredth time, come and receive the river of living water
  • After the service we will be meeting and eating and training for the Billy Graham event in November. It should take around one hour


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Prayer - a conversation with God - 1 Thes 5:17

Prayer a conversation with God
September 29, 2013
1 Thes 5:17

- As we were growing up, if we grew up un a Christian home, we learned to pray
- Prayer was a time to kneel down, close your eyes, and talk to God
- I remember our family getting on its knees together each morning in prayer
- I had a list of things to pray about, my prayer list
- As a child we were not worried about what happens if God does not answer a prayer, we just trusted God implicitly
- And God responded!  Time after time!
- So what happened?
- We became distracted
- We saw suffering and our trust shriveled up
- We became caught up in our own interests, and neglected God
- We became ashamed of our belief and became macho but empty
- The awesomeness of God is that he allows us to come back to him
- He forgives our neglect and he allows us to come back to him!
- Today we are going to look at what we can do to revitalize our prayer life

- The long and short of it is, prayer is a two way conversation with God
- God created man to have relationship with him.
- God's intention is that he shares everything with us
- He sent Jesus to die for us so that there would be forgiveness and we would have a chance to experience this relationship
- Wherever we have been, we can be restored to closeness with God
- If we never accepted Jesus, we can take that step today
- If we grew up as Christians but we backslid, we can sort things out and have a fresh start
- If our prayer life is dead, it can receive new life!
- God created us for relationship
- Do you know how much he wanted that relationship?
- He sent his son to die for the sake of that relationship
- It is something precious to him
- When he has that relationship with us, he wants to be real close
- Like when we fall in love with someone, we want to be real close
- We never want to be apart
- Wherever they go, we go
- God is the same!
- John 14:23 - God makes his home with us
- This does not just mean that he is in our home, in our car, in our office, in our classroom
- It means he is inside of us
- Paul talks about "Christ in you, the hope of glory" Col 1:27
- The Holy Spirit had been with the disciples, but would be in them - John 14:17
- When you were in love, and wanting to be close to that other person, how did you do this?
- You did it by talking
- You had long conversations with them
- I remember my phone bills when I was courting Dianne
- But it was worth it, wasn't it?
- Time invested in prayer is worth it.
- The fruit is a close relationship with God

- Is it about the position we are in when we pray?
- No of course not!
- Someone once said the best position in which to pray is hanging upside down in a well
- Last week I drove by the Catholic church on Nevada Street, and had to think about the well that is across the street from it
- I wonder how many people fell down the well, before they put a cover over it?
- You can pray on your knees.
- You can pray lying down
- You can pray prostrate with your face to the floor
- You can pray standing up with your arms raised to heaven
- All of these examples are mentioned in scripture
- Is it about the number of words we say?
- Actually, no
- The Bible gives us examples of long prayers and short prayers
- We are told to consider the content of our prayers though
- We are told we will answer for every idle word we speak - Matt 12:36
- But when we have a conversation with a loved one, do we monitor every word?
- No, because the conversation is an expression of the love inside
- So if our heart is right with God, our prayers will be pleasing to him
- Prayer is a conversation

- Yesterday I was in a parking lot, and the lane I was in had an arrow going only one way
- Sometimes we pray as though we were on a one way street
- We give God our thanks, we give him our requests, we say we are sorry
- And then we get up and think we have finished
- Prayer is two way!
- God wants to speak back to us
- This is a conversation, not a monologue
- Take time to ask God questions, and listen for his answer
- Often the very first thought, even perhaps before you have completed asking the question, is from God
- Try it!
- Learn to converse with God
- Let your prayer be a conversation
- Prayer will be come a precious time you won't want to miss
- Sometimes I ask the questions verbally, other times I journal them
- But the same thing applies, God does respond
- He delights in relating to the things we are experiencing

- Books about prayer may have different categories
- But there are some types of prayer I am particularly interested in, for our church
- 1. Church service prayer covering
- I need a prayer covering over the service
- I pray for the service, each Sunday
- But I need others praying with me
- ILL: Dr. Wilbur Chapman often told of his experience when, as a young man, he went to become pastor of a church in Philadelphia. After his first sermon, an old gentleman said to him, "You're pretty young to be pastor of this church. But you preach the Gospel, and I'm going to help you all I can." Dr. Chapman thought, "Here's a crank." But the man continued: "I'm going to pray for you that you may have the Holy Spirit's power upon you. Two others have covenanted to join with me in prayer for you." Dr. Chapman said, "I didn't feel so bad when I learned he was going to pray for me. The 3 became 10, the 10 became 20, and 20 became 50, the 50 became 200 who met before every service to pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me. I always went into my pulpit feeling that I would have the anointing in answer to the prayers of those who had faithfully prayed for me. It was a joy to preach! The result was that we received 1,100 into our church by conversion in three years, 600 of whom were men. It was the fruit of the Holy spirit in answer to prayer!"
- If we have people who covenant with me to pray for me and for our church service, God will grow this church
- 2. Prayer team
- We need people here in church who will commit to pray for those who come forward at the end of the service
- We will have a prayer ministry team training session on October 27, after the potluck meal
- I want to pass on what I have learned about prayer ministry
- If you feel called to praying for people, feel free to come
- It will be in next week's bulletin
- 3. Prayer walks
- We need people who are becoming prayer-warriors, to stand with us as we recapture this town for Jesus
- Describe a prayer walk
- 4. Silent times in church
- Today we are going to have a time of silence before the Lord
- We will listen for what he has to say to us
- Then we will respond
- This is for all of us to participate in

- During this next week, let's reconnect with God
- Let's initiate conversations with Him
- Not stale dried out prayers, but a fresh, real conversation
- Be listening for what God has to say to you
- When God's people pray, things change, and God's purposes are fulfilled

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Way Forward - Acts 2:46

The Way Forward
September 22, 2013
Acts 2:46
. There was a famous evangelist some time ago, who used to preach up a storm
. He toured the length and breadth of the country, and thousands were won to Jesus
. He had a warm and compassionate heart, especially when he saw the hurting people who came to his revival meetings
. In his meetings he preached the full gospel, he believed in miraculous healing by the power of God
. He believed in deliverance, in the form of casting out demons
. And he preached good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God
. Thousands followed this man!
. He had an enormous reputation
. And yet, there came a time when many left his ministry
. This was as a result of his getting up close and personal in some of the things he said
. It was toward the end of his ministry in this country
. people left in droves
. But this did not say that his ministry was bad, wrong, or not of God
. It just said that people left!  They did not agree with what he was teaching.
. John 6:60-69
. This is saying, that numbers are not the important thing.
. On the other hand, numbers do have a role to play in ministry
. For example, we are to go out into all the world to preach the gospel and make disciples
. Today we are going to take a look at the future

. Luke 9:62 - don't look back
. When we look back, we are focussed on things that cannot be changed,
. When we look back we are comparing the present with the past
. God wants us to be moving forward, not thinking backwards
. The Israelites were continually comparing the past with the present
. The result was that they became dissatisfied and grumbled and upset the God who freed them
. We too can look at our present situation and think I wish I was back there
. But God has plans for us which are yet future
. These are the tings to be focused on, not the good or bad days of the past

. God's plans for us are good!
. Jer 29:11 Gods plans are to prosper us
. He gives us hope and a furture
. In our approach to life we need to be moving in synch with what God has planned
. God's intention for the church is to reach the whole world with the good news of the kingdom of God
. This kingdom was embodied in Jesus
. This kingdom's reign will bring healing into all parts of our life
. Mat 13:33
. We can look forward to the future

. God's future for this church is good!
. He has called us to be his instrumnents in reaching this hurting society
. Just like Jesus reached his society, with compassion and love
. Next week we are going to start our training for the Billy Graham event in November
. As you came in you were handed a Matthew leaflet
. In your bulletin there is a sheet with a few questions. 
. Please take out a pen and fill out your answers to the questions
. This will be helpful information for me in encouraging us into the future
. Our vision for the future is that these Matthew groups will bear fruit and people will be drawn to Jesus
. These Matthew groups will form the nucleus of small groups
. As time goes on, our friends whom we invited to the group, will themselves invite their own friends
. This will be the start of a growing small group movement
. This is our vision, and a plan for the future
. We pray for God to guide and lead us on this journey
. Prayer will be the basis for this movement
. Come along next week to learn more about prayer!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Learning From the Early Church - Acts 2:46

Learning from the early church
September 8, 2013
Acts 2:46

  • Last week was communion Sunday
  • It was a time of reflection on our relationship with the Lord
  • In the sermon last week we examined the lessons of Ezekiel 37, where it speaks of the Valley of Dry Bones
  • In its application to us, these dry bones can refer to a nation that has turned away from God, the Church as a whole, or the church where we attend, or even to ourselves
  • We all go through periods when our relationship with God seems to have gone behind a cloud
  • It is only through the Spirit of God that these bones can be made to live, this is the lesson of Ezekiel 37
  • This sermon was the start of a series, leading us into the naturally supernatural Christian life
  • Today is the next sermon in this series
  • We will be examining the structure of the early church

  • 1. The early church was social!
  • They got together in home groups
  • Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
  • It is good for the church to be socially active
  • This church has a history of being knit together
  • We have regular potlucks and activities to draw us together
  • This is a necessary part of deepening relationships
  • Just coming to church once a week and then living as loners the rest of the week does not do it for us
  • Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
  • This means relationship.
  • 2. The small groups were more than social gatherings
  • In the home groups they would deal with the day to day real issues, beyond just eating together
  • Prayer
  • Act 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
  • Teaching
  • 1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
  • They were teachers of the word, who had a big impact in Paul's ministry - Act 18:26
  • There is nothing magic about home groups, except that they are a place where members get together in a closer way than we are able to do at church
  • In the groups, people gained experience in the Word, in prayer, in loving each other, in caring for one another
  • It was a place to live out the Christian life
  • It was a place where new Christians could grow up in the nurture of the Lord, in a loving environment

  • While the early church had a lot of small home groups, it also met together in a larger context
  • Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
  • They met as a church on a daily basis – this sounds like a revival!
  • This sounds like a group of people who love being together!
  • The church apostles were not able to attend all the home groups
  • So they would have meetings where the apostles would teach and exhort the body as a whole
  • Translated into our experience, the church would meet on Sunday's and the home groups would get together during the week
  • It is at the weekly church service that we recognize we are part of a larger whole
  • And it is where we are encouraged to all walk the same walk, as the pastor follows Christ
  • It is my intention as your pastor, to set you an example of the way Jesus lives and does things.
  • It is a place where we receive teaching from the Word, by people whom Jesus has set in the place of under-shepherds over the flock

  • As we read about the early church, it is as though it was soaked in love
  • This is the way the Holy Spirit works
  • Rom 5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
  • That love flowed through everything
  • However, we are living in the last days, almost 2000 years on
  • The world around us is cold and selfish and materialistic
  • Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
  • Our handicap is that the church is made up of people who live in that kind of society. It is easy to be come infected by selfishness
  • The story of the early church however is that they did not allow society to infiltrate the church
  • Instead, they set out with the light of the gospel, to set the whole world ablaze!
  • It was in the church body that their flame was kept burning brightly!
  • If we as a church want to have an impact in society, church needs to be a central part of our lives
  • We can say, yes, but I have Jesus living in me, so I don't need the body
  • But Jesus dwelling inside us means we are a part of a larger body of which he is the Head
  • And he tells us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together
  • In the early church, people are told the be cheerful givers, to be supporting the church
  • Elders who rule well are to be given double honor, speaking about the church providing financial support for their pastor.

  • As we move forward into becoming a naturally supernatural church, like the early church was, we will be implementing the lessons we see today
  • This is a different world than it was back then, but the things we have seen today are even more necessary
  • The love and commitment to the larger church needs to be there, to provide a nursery for new Christians
  • New believers will come into our fellowship, as we go out and share the love by which we will be known
  • We will have home groups to nurture them in their Christian walk
  • And the church will move into its role to make a difference in Susanville, reaching the lost

  • Next week is Back To Church Sunday
  • Take a few packets and invite your family, friends and colleagues to come to church with you
  • It's going to be an exciting service!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Love For You - Jer 31:3

“My love for you!”
August 25, 2013
Jeremiah 31:3

  • Yesterday we had the very first Band of Brothers conference here in Susanville
  • It was a wonderful time of sharing together, and seeing some of God's heart in working through each church that was represented there
  • The theme of the conference was “Rise up, Mighty Men of God!”
  • We were encouraged to move into the role we have as mighty men of God
  • I left the conference with a profound sense of God's love for us
  • Last night as I was putting the worship together, I was deeply affected by the words
  • And as I was praying about this morning's sermon, I was told to speak on God's behalf, and tell of his love for us
  • So this morning, I want to share God's love with you

God's word for you
  • I am the God who loves you with an everlasting love
  • I am the One who loved you from the beginning of time, because I was there
  • I am the Lord who watches over your life
  • I knew you from the foundation of the world
  • Though you have messed up, I am patient with you, because I know your humanity
  • I sent Jesus to experience what it is like to be a human being, and in so doing I also, know what you are going through
  • I have good plans for you, all my thoughts toward you are of love and goodness
  • There is no evil in me
  • I am the faithful one, the one who is always there and has been there with you since the day you were born
  • I knew you before you came into existence, right from the foundation of the world, when I fashioned the splendor of the universe
  • I have carried you when you needed my support
  • I gave you opportunities to grow strong, to become a child of mine who makes good choices
  • I do not want to control you, because I respect you and love you
  • My heart's desire for you is that you grow up to be just like me
  • I am your parent, I chose you, and adopted you as my child
  • I am proud of you and will always be by your side
  • You are special to me, I treasure you
  • I delight in spending time with you, sharing what is going on in your experiences
  • I know what is going on, I know every sparrow that flies around
  • But I love hearing your voice as you speak to me
  • I know English, I know Spanish, I know every human language
  • But I especially love it when you speak to me in your heavenly language
  • I gave that to you on the day you completely surrendered, which was so special to me
  • I love not only you, but all those who are looking forward to my Son's return
  • You are a mighty army, which is preparing the way for the return of the way I intended things to be
  • I am restoring all things
  • I am doing this in your life, I am restoring your soul
  • I replace the father who walked out on you and betrayed you, the mother who did not want you and put you up for adoption
  • I am restoring you
  • There is nothing that I would not do for you, to bless you and make you whole
  • I am the father who loves you, with an unconditional love
  • Nothing can tear you away from me
  • Our love is eternal, and will continue forever
  • Come to me and experience my love
  • Behold I make all things new
  • There will be no tears, no more death, no more crying
  • Because the former things will have passed away
  • I will be with you forever
  • I love you, totally, with all my heart
  • Love, your Dad

Love Letter From God

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Men of Wisdom - Wise Spiritual Warfare - Mark 16:15-17

Men of Wisdom-Wise Spiritual Warfare
Subject: Inspiration and insights into wise spiritual warfare
Band of brothers Conference 2013
August 24, 2013
Mark 16:15-17

  • Luke 13:10-13 – woman is bent over by a spirit of infirmity, 18 years
  • Mark 16:15-17 – in my name they will drive out demons
  • Acts 16:16-18 – Paul tells a spirit of divination to come out of a woman

  • Dianne and I were visiting at a church once
  • A person came in to the church service, doubled over with pain
  • Dianne and I both felt that God wanted us to pray for him to be healed
  • So after the service we went to the lead pastor, and asked if it would be ok for us to pray for this person who seemed to be in agony
  • We had experience in praying for healing, and in setting people free from bondages
  • The pastor was in agreement, so we prayed for the person
  • We started by praying asking God to heal him of the source of the pain
  • When the pain did not go away, and the person was obviously being tormented, I had to think of the woman who had been tormented by a spirit of infirmity so that she was bent over and could not straighten up – Luke 13:10-13
  • I followed this train of thought, and told the spirit of pain that was bending this person double to leave, in the name of Jesus
  • There was an obvious reaction, the pain increased.
  • Then the battle was on
  • Eventually the spirit that caused the pain left, he was able to straighten up and he was totally set free.
  • He went around town telling people of how Jesus had marvelously set him free from his pain, as well as from his addiction to methadone and a number of other issues
  • This is an example of how Jesus does set people free, even today!
  • The subject I have been assigned to speak about is “insights into wise spiritual warfare”

  • When people think about spiritual warfare, they often think about sensational television evangelists, or the movie the Exorcist, depending on what they have been watching
  • Because of this fear of the unknown, people often do not come for help in this area of life
  • Jesus example
  • Jesus, however set the example for us in many instances of deliverance in the gospels
  • People recognized they had problems and came to him for healing
  • Jesus did not disappoint them, they walked away, set free
  • Disciples commissioned
  • Mark records Jesus command to the disciples: in my name they will drive out demons – Mark 16:15-17
  • Verse 20 – they went out, they preached the word, God worked with them and confirmed the word by the signs that accompanied it
  • Paul shows how it is done
  • Paul illustrates his method for deliverance in Acts 16:16-18
  • He basically told the spirit to come out of the woman, and it left

  • Today, we set people free, for two main reasons
  • 1. If a person is being tormented by a spirit and we have the love and compassion of God in us, we will want that person set free
  • We can't stand to allow Satan to have his way with people
  • We stand in the gap for this person, and do battle with the enemy, so this person can be released to become all God intends for them!
  • 2. The miracle of deliverance testifies to the power of Jesus, and provides an opportunity to present the gospel to this person.
  • So many people know the reality of demons, because they see and experience them
  • When a person is finally set free from anger, addiction, pornography, pride, self-pity, depression, anxiety or any number of issues, they know Jesus is real and powerful, in a whole new way!

  • 1. First of all, take responsibility
  • So often we allow our past to determine our future
  • We feel sorry for ourselves, we blame others, we have a little pity party
  • We can take a stand, today, and decide that our future is going to be different
  • Steve was saying last night how addicts are so often blaming everyone but themselves for how they are
  • I used to do this too
  • I blamed my childhood for the way I was – it was a great crutch, but it kept me where I was, without changing
  • When I turned 40, I read something which challenged me to take responsibility for my life
  • It woke me up. This was the start of monumental change in my life
  • I did not need to stay the way I was
  • You can do the same!
  • You may have battled against anger or some other issue all your life
  • It may have damaged your relationships, and held you back from becoming the man God called you to be
  • This can be the day you decide to make a stand
  • 2. Seek help
  • We are guys
  • Guys feel, I can do it alone
  • It is part of our macho image
  • But if we are going to be real with God, it will take humility
  • Recognize when the thing we are battling is not budging, and we need assistance
  • 3. Stop sinning
  • If we are sinning in particular areas, and thus opening doors so the enemy can come in and torment us, just telling the enemy to go will not solve the issue
  • We need to repent of those sins, radically
  • Job 42:4-6 I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes
  • We humble ourselves so that God can lift us up
  • Now, when the spirit is told to leave, it no longer has grounds for staying, and we will be able to keep our deliverance
  • 4. Help others
  • Once we have been healed, we can become God's agents in passing it on
  • A person who has been there is better able to help
  • 2 Cor 1:3-4
  • Ill. Salvation Army
  • If we have had an anger problem, and God has healed us of it, we can help someone else who has anger issues
  • If we had a problem with pornography, and we have been set free from that magnetic attachment, which is spiritual bondage, we can now help others be set free
  • This is what we were made for
  • Not to stay where we are, but be used by God to bring healing into other people's lives
  • But the decision is ours
  • Are we going to stay as we are, or are we going to be set free, and help others?

  • 1. Take responsibility
  • 2. Seek help
  • 3. Stop sinning
  • 4. Help others
  • This ministry is not for the faint-hearted
  • You will need to be filled with the Holy Spirit
  • You will need wise counsel, from someone who has experience in this area
  • But if God has laid it on your heart to do battle in spiritual warfare, you will experience the joy of people being set free from longstanding torments, like addiction, fear, depression, and anger
  • Someone needs to be doing this!
  • Is the Lord speaking to you right now, asking “Whom will I send?”
  • What is your reply going to be?
  • If you want to know more about this ministry, please come and talk