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


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Prayer Service - Heal our Land! - 2 Chron 7:14

Prayer Service - Heal our Land!
August 18, 2013
2 Chron 7:14

  • We were driving from Los Angeles one time, and were headed up the I-14
  • Suddenly the power steering died
  • I steered over to the slow lane, and took the next exit
  • We found a car parts place, and asked if someone could have a look
  • After he checked it out, he found the problem, and was able to repair it
  • If this had happened later, it could have been really bad
  • We could have been out in the middle of the Mojave Desert, with a broken down vehicle.
  • God helped us get our car repaired, on a Sunday, before something more serious happened
  • But I had to listen, I had to notice the signs I was being given, and then I had to respond
  • It is good to be aware of signs that something is different from the norm

  • In our church, things have not been going as well as they normally do
  • Our attendance is down
  • They say that this is a normal thing during summer, because people travel
  • Personally, though I may make a trip away from home, I try to never miss church
  • This is not because I am the pastor, but I have always been this way
  • I miss being with my spiritual family, when I am away.
  • Our attendance has gone down by an average of 45%, since the end of May
  • This is not just because people are traveling, or the comparatively few who have valid reasons
  • A good number are just not being faithful in coming to church
  • I know I am preaching to the converted, you are here!
  • Another indicator is church income
  • Church income has dropped
  • This coincides with the drop in attendance
  • Our income in June was $5,400, July was $2,500, and this month has started even lower.
  • We are at a point where I am once again not drawing a salary, and the church is having to juggle its utility bills.
  • As I said, these are indicators, but they are also, only indicators
  • This is not a main street business, and the church is not run the same way
  • This is because we have the T-factor – we trust God, and we follow his lead
  • So many times, God has rescued his people
  • The Old Testament is full of such examples
  • Gideon with his 300, vanquish 12,000 Midianites
  • Josiah sends his worship team out front against the enemy, and the enemy starts killing themselves off
  • So God does intervene on our behalf, and he does the impossible
  • However, when things aren't running well, we need to listen and respond

  • My initial reaction was, that I could write a letter to the members, explaining the situation
  • But I was not sure if that was what I should do
  • Dianne and I were talking, and what came out of it was 2 Chron 7:14
  • 2Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
  • Trials are allowed to come, to teach us lessons, and to increase our faith and endurance
  • But we need to be open to hearing what the lesson is God is teaching us
  • Today, we are humbling ourselves and praying to God, to heal our land
  • Our land extends beyond the confines of these four walls
  • This whole city needs healing
  • This church needs healing
  • Our personal lives need healing

  • 1. PRAISE
  • Praising God
  • God as Creator
  • Jesus as head of the church
  • Holy Spirit as our guide and the one who empowers us
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • As a church, how has God blessed us?
  • Membership
  • This building
  • Faithful people
  • Income
  • Witness to community
  • (Testimonies, corporate prayer)
  • As a city, how has God blessed us?
  • Beautiful country
  • Protection from wildfires
  • Forests that provided jobs until the mill closed down
  • Prisons that provide jobs for a large portion of our population
  • People who are real
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • Individually, how has God blessed us?
  • A body of believers who care about us
  • God's healing in our lives
  • Work
  • Food and shelter
  • Our daily bread
  • A purpose in life
  • (Prayer triplets)
  • What do we need to repent of as a church?
  • Not welcoming Holy Spirit gifts in ourselves
  • Not going out into the harvest as we should
  • Allowing criticism and gossip
  • Not reaching out to new people as we should
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • What do we need to repent of as a city?
  • Not turning to God
  • Lack of raising our kids in God's ways
  • Disobedience to God's commandments regarding marriage
  • Immorality
  • Seeking answers in substance abuse, instead of God
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • What do we need to repent of individually?
  • (Private prayer)

  • On behalf of the church, we ask God for:
  • A fire and anointing for seeking the lost
  • A well of healing for the sick
  • Boldness to carry the gospel
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • On behalf of the city, we ask God for:
  • A spirit of repentance to fall
  • Families that turn to Jesus
  • Children that are fired up for the gospel
  • Addicts to be supernaturally healed and turned to God
  • (Corporate prayer)
  • Individually, we ask God for:
  • (Private prayer)

  • (Corporate prayer)
  • We thank God for hearing our prayer
  • 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
  • Thanks to God for healing our land

  • We expect change
  • We expect new faces in church
  • We expect church finances to be abundant
  • We expect global repentance in this city
  • We expect whole families to become Christians
  • We expect God's will to be done here, as it is in heaven
  • We expect jobs to come
  • We expect healing and recovery for addicts
  • We expect marriages to be healed and reconciled
  • We expect that God will heal our land!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dealing with hurts - Matt 18:15-20

Dealing with hurts
August 4, 2013
Matt 18:15-20

  • A person can be hurt so easily
  • All it takes sometimes, is a sideways glance
  • Sometimes we hurt people totally unintentionally, with the best will in the world.
  • There was someone I knew, who had a cat
  • This cat ran out into the road, was hit by a car, and he found it lying dead in the gutter.
  • The cat was a mess
  • So he took a spade, wrapped it in a sack, dug a hole in the back yard, and buried it.
  • He did not want his sister to see it as it now looked.
  • He was barely out of high school when this happened
  • Later I heard that my sister had had a huge problem with this, wondering what had happened to our cat
  • I am so sorry I dealt with it as I did, but it was totally unintentional, with the best will in the world.
  • Sometimes hurts come as a result of anger, or other impure motives
  • Sometimes nothing actually happened, but it is all a misunderstanding
  • How do we deal with these issues?
  • Today I want to go through an overview of some biblical principles regarding how we deal with these different kinds of upsets in relationships

  • When someone hurts us, we have an initial reaction
  • That reaction can vary, depending on how closely we are listening to God
  • We can respond in anger, irritation or resentment. We can just bury it, it's just one more thing we have buried. Or we can respond with a forgiving, merciful attitude
  • What are the results:
  • If we respond in anger, the situation will only get worse, and the rift in the relationship becomes deeper. Wounds are reopened, and the anger develops into a resentment to the other person, and eventually becomes bitterness.
  • That bitterness infects our life, in all kinds of unrelated ways, including sickness
  • If we bury it, yet again, it has not been dealt with
  • Sooner or later all those things we have buried will find their expression in some negative way
  • One way is that we explode uncontrollably, bringing fallout to all around us
  • Alternatively we implode in anger at ourselves, and seek to hurt ourselves, in addictions, resentment, and possibly suicide
  • None of this is good
  • If we respond in mercy, it gives time to sort the situation out
  • It is a step towards reconciliation and forgiveness
  • It is not the world's way
  • The world's way of responding is tit for tat, an eye for an eye
  • God's way is that we show mercy, just as we have been shown mercy

  • Matt 18:16-20
  • First, go to your brother alone
  • Don't talk to others about it, don't gossip about it, don't ask others to pray for your situation, don't ask your pastor how to deal with this
  • Just go to your brother alone and seek to reconcile
  • How do you reconcile? You go with a merciful, forgiving attitude. The same way Jesus said “Lord forgive them, they don't know what they are doing” - Luke 23:34
  • Hopefully when we go with a humble and merciful attitude, we can resolve the situation
  • But what if they don't want to reconcile?
  • What if they don't want to say sorry
  • Pray for them – Luke 6:27-31 – don't retaliate
  • Do good to them – Romans 12:20-21
  • Live peaceably with them – Rom 12:18
  • Don't insist on your rights – 1 Pet 4:8 - love covers a multitude of sins
  • Overcome evil with good – Rom 12:21
  • If it is something that has to be dealt with, take someone else with you to speak to them, to get it on record.
  • But do so with this same humble, merciful, forgiving attitude
  • Hopefully, this will encourage them to bury the hatchet
  • As a last resort, take it to the church
  • But still do so in a loving, merciful manner
  • The pastor may or may not agree with your view on the situation
  • Allow the church to deal with it
  • Trust that God will give wisdom in the situation
  • Finally, if you are still not able to reconcile, keep out of each other's way
  • Not every disagreement warrants a person being put out of the church
  • They are a part of the body, we don't start chopping off arms and legs
  • This is only done where a person is damaging the body, and are not walking with us
  • It's like cutting out a cancer, something life-threatening
  • Even then, we pray that they will repent and come back into fellowship
  • We have the power to bind people by refusing to be merciful to them, or we have the power to loose them, by forgiving them

  • God's intention for us is that we walk in agreement
  • That is why this scripture is in the context of dealing with issues in our relationships
  • Matt 18:19-20
  • That does not mean we will always see things exactly the same way, or do things in an identical manner
  • God loves variety, and he loves that we all make our choices, and that we are different
  • But God does seek that we walk in agreement
  • On the big things we totally agree, like Jesus being our Savior, the Bible being God's Word, that we are saved by grace and not by our works
  • But we can have differences of opinion on things that are not totally clear in the word
  • And we may disagree with how someone is doing things in their life, but we also know to his own master he stands or falls
  • we are all running our own race, we have been given different talents and gifts to develop
  • God has a different purpose and road for each of us, though each road starts with accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior

  • Let's be a church that is unified
  • Psalm 133 – How good and how pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity!
  • If we have an issue with someone, let's seek to reconcile
  • Let's forgive each other just as Jesus forgave us
  • Let's live together in peace, and without judgment
  • Let's be a place where visitors will recognize this is the home they have never experienced before