March 1, 2015
Are you ready for the next phase in America? Peter and John were commanded NOT to speak in the name of Jesus or make any mention of Him. His name was an offense as was His story. That same command is back and bolder than ever. If you haven’t noticed: Jesus is Offensive. His name, unless used as a curse word, is insulting and has been said to cause emotional suffering (as stated in a workplace lawsuit). NYT Best Seller’s wrangle with the issue. While the book of Captain Sullenberger’s heroics on the Hudson, saving hundreds, captivates the country, there is no such love for the Messiah. “Savior” by definition is a turn-off to the secularist. It sounds exclusionary and discriminative.
Dorothea’s prolonged choice to forsake her husband for “true love” in the book “Middlemarch” is more appealing than the Lord’s choice to forsake Himself and die for the sins of mankind. His taking the cup of gall is repugnant to the world; not cherished, and now they are poised to outlaw Him and those connected.
Awards in music, literature, and theatre are applauded, except for stories of Jesus. Even though Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus” does not support His Divine nature, it is still under attack. CNN and NBC commentators call it “that controversial subject.” In 2015, Jesus is a Controversial Subject.
Peter quoted the O.T., “Behold I lay in Zion a Chief Cornerstone, elect, precious and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” The Stone saves those that believe, but to the disobedient it is a “stone of stumbling - a Rock of offense.” Peter lived in full what we are experiencing in part. These days are filled with great rebuttal. The sounds of the End Time are growing louder, making a demand on the Church to be a Witness. My reply comes from Pilate, “I find no fault in Him.”
February 22, 2015
Paul was a great man of Prayer. His preaching, soul-winning, and writing is the benchmark of a million would-be apostles. His list of accomplishments were then banished by his humility to know only Jesus and Him crucified - making him qualified to say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Paul said that he prayed three times for a “thorn” to be removed from his side and God did not grant his request. His account speaks to the great Value of Thorns. The Lord did reply to Paul however, He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” The removal of the ‘thorn’ would have devalued God’s grace in Paul’s life. God’s strength requires unremoved thorns in order to be perfected. If all prayers were answered in our desired fashion, there would be no need for our continued trust in God’s grace.
The absence of wind does not make the tree stronger. It cripples the root system, eventually killing the tree. Vacated resistance doesn’t produce peace; it only makes one weaker. Sadly, I believe we have entered a religious era where the Lord is seen as the Fix-It-God or the One Who solves our problems. Yet the fact is this: The same God who calms the storms with the sound of His voice also calls them into existence. The Truth is that God, both sends the trial and delivers us from it. If we cannot see the reason behind it, then we have been swept away by the current of fleshly philosophy. The Modern Jesus, which of course which does not exist, makes everyone happy, wealthy, and removes all struggles in life. Yet the Real Jesus, found in the scripture, leaves thorns in place so that His grace can work its wonder and so our weakness can become His strength. Because sometimes only the work of thorns can bring us close to His side.
February 15, 2015
How far can we push the envelope before we leave the realm of decency? That question is probably long overdue. In the wake of pornographic magazine covers which line the shelves of our grocery stores; music and movies that redefine sexual relationships; and the open, acceptable affairs of the famous, it seems that our society has long since forgotten the commandments of God. The new norm, or what is culturally permissible, includes sex outside of marriage; pregnancies out of wedlock; bi and homosexual relationships; sexting; and other perverse behaviors. Anyone outside of this norm is considered passé.
Pulpits no longer speak against such things so as not to alienate the larger majority of it’s members or attenders. They know that everyone is connected to someone who lives in the new norms. So the church now copes through the rationale of the lowest common denominator instead of rebuking sin, i.e, “at least we’re not as bad as someone else” or “everyone has faults.” Coping mechanisms entail sermons which are centered on community involvement; entreating one another; and attitude attributes, all of which are good in their place. However, the “Sin Issue” is a decay destroying this generation. I don’t know what is the greater American drug afflicting our society: sports or sex. Both rely heavy on worship of the body and the temporary thrill they bring, but don’t look for that message to be preached by today’s charlatans. Popular preachers won’t touch Paul’s list of “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21) because it bothers the sinner and lowers their attendance. It’s always easier to deal with intangibles that are abstract than to preach the laws of God which speak to the specifics of alcohol, perversions, family order, and so much more.
For those who erroneously think that it’s only about what’s in your heart then know this: Noah didn’t just pitch tar on the inside of the ark before the flood. He did so on the outside as well, filling in every crack so they might survive. I’m standing to say that real Christianity is pursing holiness inside and out. It is striving to be like our Holy God. How can a person claim Christ and still read or watch “50 Shades of Grey”, a heavy pornographic publication and movie? I’m astounded that we actually have to warn the Blood-Bought to abstain from Hollywood’s debaucheries! I can’t imagine how Holy Ghost filled people expect Eternal Life when they fill their minds with the garbage of this world. Did we forget that nothing unclean will enter the Gates of Heaven? His Bride will be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, Eph. 5:27. If I am ambiguous in any way, please let me know so that we can meet personally. I certainly don’t want anyone to misread my intentions. I’m looking for a spiritual church, not a superficial social club. I’m praying for a Christ-Centered culture where the Bible trumps every human thought. I’m not after the validation from the unholy majority who claim purity is personal and faith is subjective. This is not the time to play “church” or tip-toe around the moral degradation of our day. It’s time for a revival of godliness and decency. I’m just one voice calling out: He’s a Holy God. If we desire to be saved, then we must submit ourselves to a life of holiness and godliness in this present world. Excuses and lies won’t save us. We must return to the Scripture which will make us “Wise unto Salvation”.
February 8, 2015
It was a blackberry patch where our parents and several other couples gathered to pick fresh fruit from the vine. I was but ten years old when they gathered for the gala. Mother told me to stay close, but as my custom, I didn't listen to her instructions. As the group made their way down a long hill toward the main house where they gathered, I went the other direction. The sun set on my wayward movements and in a moment I found myself alone, wandering in the dark. Being lost was not a pleasant experience. Crying and stumbling toward the light of the house below seemed like a long journey.
Lost. Perhaps it is the greatest tragedy of them all. It's more than just not having direction: it's about being alone without knowing where to go next. There is no compass; no landmark or light to focus upon. Everyone who is without the Lord is Lost. Where there is no light of the Word, there is darkness.
Jesus looked upon the multitude with compassion because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. They were lost. He saw Israel as a lost nation that needed to be gathered, but would not accept His bidding. Sometimes the Lost don't know how to get back to the Light. It took time for the prodigal to finally come to himself, but when he did, he realized how great the distance and darkness had overwhelmed him. He was humiliated and self-condemned. Such is the case with prodigals.
If we are about the Lord's business, then we too must seek and reach all that are lost. It is the work of the Kingdom and the plight of our lives. We are salt and light; we are the city set on a hill. We may be the only way back for those who are Lost and so desperately want to be Found.
February 1, 2015
When Jacob left Peniel, he did so limping. The angel had touched his thigh and it caused a physical change in his gate. His name was changed and his life was altered. From that day forward, the Jews would not eat meat near the hip of the lamb, goat, or cattle. They refrained in memory and honor of what happened on that night between God and Jacob. It makes us know that there are pivotal moments in life that need to be remembered, but our current culture is enamored with relevancy. People have forgotten the past: they are wrapped up in the present. Joshua had large rocks removed from the dry bed of the Jordan River so that in the future “when your children ask you the reason for these stones, you will be able to remind them how the Lord brought us out of Egypt - through this river on dry ground.”
If we forget where the Lord has brought us from or if we dismiss how He kept us, then our present day means very little. Those markings; those stones; some of the ways we walk and live are worthy discussions. My great concern is that the next generation does not know why we “don’t eat the meat from the hip.” They don’t know why a monument of stones lay on the other side of Jordan. Maybe they think it’s just a pile of rocks. We must tell them how God brought us out of bondage and how He saved us from the world. Because if the next group of converts or the next generation do not understand the significance of our past, then we will lose the power that came from our name change and God’s deliverance. We came by way of prayer and fasting. We came by way of family rejection as we took on the Name of Jesus in Baptism and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. These stones and this walk displayed the path of our salvation.
January 18, 2015
A plague on humanity has existed for thousands of years. It comes from the enemy of Creation and it concerns itself with God’s order. In truth, there is only one race: The Human Race. While multiple ethnicities exist, God created mankind and we are all part of His perfect plan. The human soul knows no color. Eternity will never consider the outward ethnicity because only the deeds and heart of man will be judged according to the Book. We know that this is true and yet there remains a separation in humanity based upon the lies of evolution, curses, and origins. Yet look into the perfect law of the Lord: Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.” James called the commandment of Jesus the Royal Law:
“That you love one another.”
So why this division? Why does America and many other parts of the world still suffer from these human divisions? The answer is found in the battle against Truth and body of Jesus Christ. The longer that Satan can keep us divided; separated from one another, the longer he can keep us from the power of unity in the Spirit. Trust me, and the Word, there will be no divisions in Heaven. There are no levels or segregations in the City where the Lamb is the Light. These things are temporal and they speak to the wedge against the power of the Cross that has brought us together. The Blood of Jesus is shed for the salvation of all men irrespective of their ethnicity.
What would happen in our community if we moved as One? No divisions; no racial divides; no status or categories. If we ever came together as the Body of Christ, nothing would be able to stop the revival of souls that awaits us. The Harvest might just be waiting on our commitment to one another. The Spirit is calling and we must heed His call.
January 11, 2015
Nehemiah chapter 3 begins and ends with the names of those who will rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Gates are repaired; towers fortified; doors and beams are put back into place. Burned out sections are restored; breaches are mended. Fathers, sons, grandsons all share in the work. Skilled craftsmen labor, but they are not alone. There are perfume-makers rebuilding the walls; goldsmiths and merchants alike. Everyone shared the burden because nothing existed without the strength of the Wall. The only narrative in Nehemiah chapter 3 is the repairing of the Wall. There are no celebrations, battles, or subsequent victories. No songs or music playing; no laws executed or prophetic messages. This is the chapter when all their attention was given to the Wall. The Wall was not the Temple. It was not the Holy Place or Inner Court where priests would serve, but the Wall protected the City. Without the Wall, the Temple was vulnerable. It had already lost its integrity and purpose because there was nothing to withstand the advances of false worship and heathen influences.
Some chapters in our lives display the blessings of the Lord. Other chapters show His grace and favor. Yet in the course of this life there must be a chapter, a time, when the focal point is toward the Wall. The Wall is that hedge of prayer. It’s a consecrated life; what we wear and how we talk. It’s a commitment of time and duty. The Wall must be without breaches where false doctrines enter. It must be strengthened through honesty and integrity, and there are no exempt parties. It’s not a job for the gifted or the specialist. It begins in homes with families; with fathers and mothers; husbands and wives. I’m praying that during this month, the Walls surrounding our lives and our church will be strengthened for the sake of the Kingdom.
January 4, 2015
Loss is not a pleasant thing to experience. Whether it be in death or a career; some material thing or friendship. We tend to see losses as failures, but there are some things that we must be willing to lose in order to gain. Jesus said that to live is to die. He said that anyone who is willing to lose their life now will gain life later. His words confounded the people, especially the religious leaders. Even today, charlatans boast of continual gain if people serve God. It’s a telling to note how far we’ve drifted from Gethsemane's garden. The Bible tells us that God gives and takes away; that He makes rich and poor. All gains and losses are in the divine plan of a loving God regardless of our perspective. What we see as judgment against us might actually be the means to our salvation. Some losses; some dismantling may in fact be the only thing that keeps us out of eternal judgment.
While Jesus is the Healer; He is also the Shepherd and oft times the Shepherd breaks the leg of wandering lambs just so He can bind them up and keep them close to Him. It’s a task fit for the Master to bring us through this path of life toward salvation.
Paul found himself in different settings, but was assured of the Lord’s presence. That’s why he wrote that in whatever state he found himself, he learned to be content. Some of those positions were wroth with trouble; some where filled with joy. He was lifted up as a god in Lycaonia and stoned in the same place. Some gains; some losses, but always trusting in the God who sets up kings and takes them down at His will.
Whatever your year brings, I pray that you will praise the Lord and in everything give thanks.
December 28, 2014
The last two verses of the Book of Acts depict Paul still preaching as he prepares to die. He’s living in a rented room, under house arrest and the book of his life is about to close. It’s a bittersweet moment for him as he bids farewell to his fellow saints and those who have brought the Gospel from the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem to the metroplex of Rome. The last verse of Acts ends with Paul, “Preaching the Kingdom...”
The closing of any book holds a myriad of emotions. Some rejoice in completion while others lament the end, but Paul was in full stride at the end of his life. He was converting guards, writing letters, and praying in the Spirit. He did not waste a single breath nor did he strain to look back over his accomplishments. The Kingdom was still at play and he remained a diligent participant.
This year is now closing, but our pursuit has only begun. Only the calendar details the change in time; our purpose remains. While we remember the loss of our loved ones; we rejoice over those who have found this New Birth Experience. Nevertheless, we must press forward to do the Kingdom work in the coming year. This is our hour. We must unite to reach our city with the only saving name, Jesus.
While Acts concludes at chapter 28, the power of such acts have not ended. We are living in the “29th” chapter of the Book of Acts. We are preaching the Kingdom of God. We are teaching “those things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence.” Our pursuit is the same as those in the early church: To win as many souls for the Kingdom before His soon return. Our mission and our message have not changed. Our passion remains loyal to the cause of Christ. I pray that we will join together in unity for the Kingdom’s sake. It is our Soul Purpose.
December 21, 2014
He is the greatest, most significant thought in the mind of men. Though many have tried to defame Him; refute Him; negate Him, He endures. His birth is the catalyst of the nations. His love is its own definition. There is no one like Him. He is the Christ. They call Him Jesus, “for He shall save His people from their sins.”
The origin of our current Christmas celebration has been disputed by religions for decades. Notwithstanding the commercialization of the day, Christmas is still the recognition that God was revealed in the flesh to become The Sacrificial Lamb for the salvation of the world. Yet even with all the nuances of our American views, songs and decorations, Christmas acknowledges the beginning of the most pivotal life in human history. And while poets and scholars alike have offered their commentaries in explanation or rebuttal, this gift of God is unfathomable. No sparkles, lights, or traditions can mask the fact the Jesus’ birth changed the eternity of mankind.
What was once lost and hopeless has been redeemed. He became the Light of the world that shined in a very dark place. He is the bridge between sin and justice. His is the path of Grace and Mercy. The gifts that we give to one another is out of love, but our love is finite and paltry compared to the Love that He became for the sake of redemption. No words in this small script can describe the awe we have for Him, nor the debt we owe. He is the Savior of the world, but He is also our personal savior. He died for all: He died for each. What we could not do for ourselves; having no knowledge of our own nakedness and shame, Jesus came to stand in for us. He is the perfect example of selflessness. He was born to die so that we might live. His name is Jesus.
November 16, 2014
Hebrews 11 offers this insight into the mindset of Moses: By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. I used to think that this transition occurred when he had left Egypt. I assumed that after Moses committed murder and ran from the palace; that he cast off the cloak of his royal identification to join the people of God. But the scripture is clear that when Moses came to years, he rejected the title and identification of Egypt. “Coming to years” means early in life. Some have concluded this royal rejection to have occurred between 12 and 20 years old. That means that long before Moses left Egypt he was already wary of the ways of these heathen people. His mother had taught him too well for him to believe that he was part of that life. His clothes might have looked Egyptian. His hair and ornaments might have displayed the highlife of the palace, but he was not the son of pharaoh’s daughter. He made it clear that his lineage was not found in the fabric of the Egyptian’s tapestry.
We may be in this world, but we aught to make it known that we are not of this world. Even before we make our grand escape in the clouds and shake the dust of this carnal world behind us, we aught to refuse the afflictions of this world. John wrote, 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Our heavenly birth does not make us arrogant or prideful, but it reminds us that we must not conform to the tenets of darkness. Truth demands our attention and holiness our convictions. We are of God! We are by (new) birth made in His likeness. I hope that we might “come to years” in our hearts and take up the spiritual mantle that has been given to us when we were drawn out of this world into His marvelous Light.
November 9, 2014
The Blood. To peer into the past, one would certainly notice the trail of blood reaching from the foothills of Moriah all the way to that knoll at the intersection in Jerusalem where Jesus died. Golgotha was a well known hill where convicted criminals were made an example. The blood of lambs was common among the Jews. For centuries they made sacrifices to atone for their sins. Leviticus states that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Yet through the years, the blood of animals no longer sufficed. The heart of the people were calloused and their offerings followed suit.
John called Jesus the “lamb of God.” Isaiah wrote his prophetic utterance of this Lamb. He came to die for the sins of mankind. He was the Lamb slain on Calvary. His blood made an atonement for our sins: He was The Sacrifice for the whole world. Without His blood there is no healing, redemption, or hope. His blood covers our faults and washes away our sins. Hear the prophet Isaiah, 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Jesus’ blood heals and resurrects the dead into life. All that we might ever hope for was made possible by His Blood. Oh, the Blood of Jesus! It reaches to heights and depths. It protects against every oppressing spirit. It makes the darkest of sinners into the brightest of saints. The Blood transforms the ill-fated into the children of the Almighty. It allows access where no flesh can go: Into the Realm of His Divine Holiness. The Blood! To Plead the Blood simply means to call on the Blood’s covering. It is the hedge against the enemy of our soul. Even false accusations cannot reach past it. Call on His Blood today. There is nothing greater.
October 26, 2014
Stepping back a dispensation, I’m watching Daniel pray for three weeks without an answer from God. Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, finally came to say that God heard his prayer from the first day but there was a battle in the heavenlies. The angel said that the prince (spirit over) of Persia withstood him so that he could not deliver the Lord’s answer. All of this was unseen to Daniel who was simply seeking an answer from the Lord, but the battle was vicious and consuming. It took time with wrestling and with warfare between entities unknown to mortal man. I suppose the question becomes; What if Daniel ceased to pray during the wait? What if he gave up during those long days when the heavens felt like brass and the chambers held no echo? It would have been understandable and possibly reasonable to move on. Yet outside of his purview, a powerful display of light and darkness was clashing insomuch that there was no clear winner. It wasn’t until the archangel Michael came that the battle was won and the answer delivered.
Just writing this seems incomprehensible: angels, demons; the sparks of the spiritual underworld. It’s mystical and mind-bending, but the Bible declares it so. There is a spirit world and it is all around us, battling, warring, and competing for the souls of men. My admonition is that of patience and persistence. We know not what is taking place with things unseen, but despite the lack of divine evidence we know that God is working on our behalf. He attends to the sparrow that perishes and He attends to our prayers. Our job is to keep praying, seeking, and searching. For there is no prayer lost in the realm of His goodness. Regardless of what is seen, God is faithful to His people and His answer is on the way.
October 19, 2014
If you haven’t noticed, there’s an auction taking place. It’s not your typical auction featuring household items on platforms for the bidder’s choice. This is not a liquidation of someone's physical estate; of furniture and silverware. Rather, it’s an auction of words and subsequently, their definitions. Words such as “freedom, truth, decency, and religion” are on the block. This auction gives the buyer the authority to change the mean-ings and rearrange established thought. How about marriage? “Who’ll give me a man and woman? How about a man and a man? Are there any takers for multiple spouses? Does age even matter? How about 13 yr olds and 30 yr olds? Going once; going twice… _three times. Gone. Sold to those with the loudest voices and most passion.
This is a liquidation of God’s law and biblical truth. Purity is replaced with the pop singer’s version of normalcy. Absolutes are sold to the educated skeptic. The family unit is hauled away on carts of social allowances. There is an auction taking place and it is time for us to awake out of sleep and make our bid. It is said that when the armies of Israel failed and the kings became corrupt; the prophets were the last line of defense. It was the prophet who stood to proclaim the Word of the Lord. Moses said, “Were to God all His people were prophets.” We are all called to take a stand. It is the church that must buy back the principles that have guided us and kept us. We must not allow the world to change truth into a lie, but the price to regain our footing is high. It takes a strong voice in the face of accusers. It takes daily effort and teaching. Without question the church is the only thing left standing to defend what is right and holy. Come, let us place our own bid. I hear the auctioneer calling now.
October 12, 2014
To “compete” is a common word. In strict definition two opposing forces, or teams, vie for the top. Competition occurs in every segment of our society; from purchases to politics. The Greeks and Romans knew this word well. They founded such things in arenas and the great halls. Competition is not a new thing. That being said, I am reminded that as a child most stores were closed on Sunday Morning. Many stayed closed because it was the Lord’s day and business was slow. Factories and schools considered the operation of churches far and wide, but today the church and God has intense competition. The world does not respect the things of God or His time. There is much competition for spiritual things. The Lord is competing for a place even in the thoughts of men. Vain philosophies and humanism have risen against faith and His law. In relation to time, there are daily sports; movies to see; events to witness; hobbies to nurture; not including our jobs and home life. I wonder if God has to take a number and stand in line. Could it be that church attendance itself is now more an option than a priority? I feel the call to return to simpler times where God is the Center and everything else must bow before His demand. David said that he only desired one thing: To be in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. “To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” David said, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Position didn’t matter to David. His passion was for the Lord and for the Temple, and his desire for worship trumped every other aspect of life. I offer this to you today because we must not allow the Lord to have any competition. This is our great desire and hope: To be consumed with Him all the days of our life.
October 5, 2014
Ezekiel’s word came in revelation. God showed him a valley full of dry bones. The Bible says “they were very dry.” It’s a scene of hopelessness. There are no wounded soldiers or bleeding bodies to revive. There are no borderline men to rescue. It is a valley of despair. In fact, God showed Ezekiel old losses that have been bleached by the scorching sun. Moisture has long since passed and the lifelessness of it all has vanished. I see this word in a two-fold message. First, God asked Ezekiel if the bones could live. Ezekiel answered sincerely, “O Lord God, thou knowest” Ezekiel did not know and he confessed it. God then told him to prophecy, or preach to the bones. Preaching will make alive that which was dead. It is the Word that brings life, Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. It is a phenomena that escapes the mind of man. Secondly, God showed Ezekiel a valley “which was full of bones.” Not a few, but many. Not just a handful of people are dead in this life, but many. Our city is full of people who have been burned by life and lay lost in sin. The revival of our age is to reach and preach to hundreds and thousands of people. We are witnessing the darkest of times and yet we have the Light. This is the call of our entire church: To win the lost. When Ezekiel began to preach to those bones, they came together; sinew and flesh. Lives will come back together that were lost. God can and will do the work if we will but reach out and bring them into His Presence. Paul said that one plants and another waters, but God gives the in-crease. I am praying for laborers today to look on the field and bring them to the only saving name of Jesus. I am seek-ing for dry lives and hopeless situations. God is the Great Restorer and it is His Will that they are saved.
September 28, 2014
The establishment of God’s people was born out at the foothills of Mt. Sinai. Standing fresh from a sinful foray around a golden calf; the Levites having taken a stand with Moses against wickedness; and the tablets hewn out by God’s own hand laid shattered in pieces on the ground. Moses was at an impasse, desperately needing direction from God. We’ve been there: Truth is on the line and decisions must be made. Function won’t fix it. Intelligence and know-how falls short. Even the best of leaders cannot reconcile a people freed from bondage now rushing back to the gods of Egypt. It’s at this moment that Moses calls out the prayer for everyone who finds themselves in the myriad of life’s dilemmas. Exodus 33 “God, we will not go further without your Presence.”
Moses would not move on his own without the Presence of the Lord. He knew that human reasoning is a failing remedy. He understood our ineptness without the Spirit. We need the Presence of the Lord. Our lives and our church are only as sound as the ushered Presence of the Holy Spirit. Without Him we are humanistic and lost in vain philosophy. Paul preached it in Acts 17:28, “in Him we live and move, and have our being.”
Outside of Him all of our ideas become nothing more than good intentions without any real substance. Living without His Spirit is at best a show of vain repetitions. For every crisis and every major decision of life, we must pray the prayer of Moses: “I will not make a move if your Presence is not with me. I need your Spirit to go with me.” Think of it: If the Lord does not go with you, then you should not want to move. If He is unwilling to lead, then there is no Shepherd in your life. We must follow the leading of the Lord in everything. His Presence is our cue and His Word is our light.
September 7, 2014
Ambiguity. In a single word, and not to minimize the gravity of the matter, this generation is most characterized by ambiguity: they do not know who they are. It should be no wonder after years of teachers and public leaders white-washing absolutes and promoting situational ethics that people live with a vague sense of their purpose. Both youth and adults are struggling to know their purpose on earth. The false idea of “being your own person” is a path of great uncertainty. That path has led to a massive moral decline. It is devoid of truth; has no footing and offers no confidence. The only identification for mankind comes through adherence to the Scripture and the Spirit.
I am pressing you about this subject because we come to this House of Worship after week-long inundation of corrupt media (TV, Internet, movies) and then wonder why our families; children and marriages are floundering. The Church services and ministries cannot combat a daily dose of vain philosophies, immoral depictions, and godless promotions. It’s time to gain control of the message. If there was ever a time to promote Holiness, now is the time. If there was ever a time to have a sit-down with the family and set the precedent of godly devotion, intentional Bible reading, and prayer, NOW is the time!
If we do not get serious about our walk with God, we too will be left in obscurity. Doubt rises from ambiguity. Faithlessness bleeds into worldly experiments and leaves lifelong scars. I offer you this word from Paul: Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
August 31, 2014
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me.” I’ve changed that old rhyme to reflect the truth. Solomon wrote, Pro. 18:21 “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue…” The most lasting healing or hurt is found in what we say to one another. Jesus said that we are justified or con-demned by our words. The Bible teaches us that every idle word will be brought into accountability. What we speak reflects the hidden cham-bers of our heart. Proclamations can turn the tide of the whole world as we have seen throughout history. Our personal world can shift through the commentaries of the critic or supporter. The fact is that people gain strength from words of faith and positive speech. There are few things more powerful than the spoken word; they set the atmosphere of any environment.
Confidence can rise and fall based on a few words. Elijah who heard the words of Jezebel and was so fearful that he hid in a cave. It tells us that even the most powerful among us can be overcome by hateful statements. For these reasons, we must protect one another with our words. They must be like fences and walls that keep out negativity and protect faith. Our words must be with love and consideration; not judgment and condemnation. We must speak healing and help; faith and forgiveness; encouragement and mercy.
August 24, 2014
A few key words found in Numbers 8 that speak to our lives: “...he lighted the lamps.” Aaron was commissioned to light the golden candlestick that was placed in the Tabernacle. It gave illumination to the movements of the priest; the sacrifice; and the worship. Peter called the scripture “a light shining in a dark place.” If there is no scripture, then there is no illumination. Praise and Worship; sacrifice and service is impossible without the lighted lamp of God’s Word.
Aaron and the priesthood also had to tend to the light, i.e., they had to be concerned with its continual burning. They were accountable for the light not going out. Once Aaron took on the role to light the lamps, it was imperative that someone maintained that light. Daily service was given to it and a process was established to keep it. So too, the Word shines in our lives and we must tend to it.
Instead of rebuking the darkness, we must keep the light on. Instead of rebutting worldly philosophies the lighted lamp will chase away confusion. We must give no place to the devil, who works in darkness. The scriptures bring understanding to our minds & peace to our hearts. Let us tend to the scripture so that worship, praise, and sacrifices can be made. We must know the Word, so that we do not fall into sin or vain ideologies. If there is a commentary placed upon your life, let it be that they say, “he lighted the lamps.”
August 17, 2014
At the beginning of Canaan’s conquest, Caleb offered a prize for the warrior willing to conquer the enemy. In response, Othniel stepped forward and was rewarded with the hand of Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. Caleb had already blessed his daughter with the land of the inheritance promised by God, but she was not satisfied. So she asked her father for the Springs of Water that flowed into that land. Caleb was so pleased with her request that not only did he give her the Upper Springs, but he also gave her the Nether Springs. Achsah was a product of a persistent father who stood with Joshua before Moses some 40 years prior. She said, “you’ve given me the land, but now I want the springs.” The moment depicted the next generation of faith-filled young people who are hungry for more of God. Not just the land, but the water also. Not just what we have given, but the Spirit that brings life.
There is another generation rising in this house that is searching after the Lord. They are full of the Holy Ghost and they seek a deep relationship with Him. This generation of young people and young adults long for a move of the Spirit through miracles, signs and wonders. It brings us confidence to know that this Truth is not wasted in this hour, but rather we are witnessing the continuation of the Apostolic faith firmly held in the hands of sons and daughters.
August 10, 2014
The persecution of Christians is taking place right now around the world. One survivor told how her father and brother were killed because they would not deny Jesus. At the time of his death, the man said, “if I deny him, then he shall deny me.” I believe that persecutions will not remain in foreign countries. We shall experience a greater resistance in America. For this reason and more, our prayer life must be at its pinnacle.
Trials are heavy and oft times unavoidable, but the truth is that no one prays with fervency until they face persecution. Yet, many do not feel the urgency to pray until something tragic happens. Then at that moment they question God’s intent. I am calling for us to pray as a response to obedience; not a reaction to crisis. Tribulation shall come: that is a given. What is not known is the level and focus of our prayer life.
Daniel’s prayers did not begin when the law of Persia forbid him to pray. Daniel was engaged long before those decrees were signed. Likewise, if the church survives through trials and persecutions, it will be by virtue of our devotion to God through prayer.
I am calling us to a commitment of prayer. Even those who are not ill or have no residing issue, still we must pray. Our city, nation, and church rests on our prayers. “If my people shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face...”
August 3, 2014
When Jesus told the people that He was the Bread of Heaven and that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they would not be raised up, many of His disciples fell away. His words seemed so outlandish that many of those who followed Him, doubted and were offended (John 6). At the beginning of that chapter, Jesus fed 5,000 men, not including women and children, with a little boy’s lunch. Naturally there was an increase in disciple membership.
Everybody loves the miracle. Everyone jumps on that train of free food and mind boggling moments. A miracle-working Jesus is a good fit for any people, but the moment He began to tell of Himself and their responsibilities they left Him. When Jesus spoke outside of their paradigms, they walked away. Because, both then and now, we love the provisions but we’re not so enamored with the prerequisites. As long as we are provided for, disciple membership is strong, but the Lord is after His purpose and His self revelation.
Who He is outweighs what we gain. They wanted the wonders, but He came for redemption from sin. They wanted the physical bread, but He came to be the Bread of Life. To be in Him is greater than to gain from Him. That is the great wonder of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and I am more interested in Him as the Lord of my life than receiving His physical blessings.
July 27, 2014
While preparing to meet a high ranking diplomat, a visitor was asked to come in reverently. The instructions included the appropriate attire; how to stand: even his expression. He was not allowed entry unless he followed several specific instructions. The current trend of church-goers feel the opposite about coming to God. It is widely purported that God doesn’t care how you come to worship. American Christianity has replaced reverence for relevance. We’re more concerned about being relevant with our culture than being respectful to the Lord and the things of God, but our God is a holy God.
Isaiah 64 puts his power in full display. Psalm 99 states the Lord reigns, so let the people tremble because of it. Moses had to take his shoes off in the desert because the place where he stood was “holy ground.” The priests entered the Holy place, prepared and in order. So while anyone can come to God in whatever fashion life finds them, our pursuit is to please the Lord of Heaven and earth; not dumb down our coming. If diplomats can demand such things, how much more should the people of God present themselves holy before the Lord? Paul said to lift up holy hands - it matters how we worship. Yes, we can boldly approach the throne, but He is still the King of Righteousness and we must recognize Him as such.
July 19, 2014
Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest that he will send forth laborers into the harvest.” The Great Commission echoes this sentiment: teach the Gospel to the world. Acts 1:8 tells us that the Holy Ghost will give us power to become witnesses. The scripture is replete with this admonition; to reach the lost. However, the modern day church has turned inward, thinking of their own benefit and what they will “get out it.”
JFK said it right in his speech: “Ask not what your country will do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” I am tagging onto his famous line by saying, “Ask not what the church can do for you, but ask what you can do for the church.” Jesus did not say for us to pray for the lost (harvest). He did not indicate that the issue was a sinful world. It was the laborers that was and remain the issue. Few are in the field. The prayer is for the saved that they will become workers in the field of harvest. Home Bible studies are a must for the saint of God. Witnessing to the lost is imperative according to Jesus. Soul-winning in its simplest form is the commandment of the Lord we worship. So I am praying today for the church to become the laborers in the field of our city. It is the commandment of Christ and the purpose of His Church.
July 12, 2014
The old English phrase was probably taken from Saul’s death, “falling on one’s own sword.” The example from the 1382 Wycliffe translation gives us insight referring to a death by one’s own hand rather than to be taken alive. Yet I am interested in another sword the scripture calls the Word of God. The opposite happens when we fall on the Sword of the Lord. Yes, there is a death of the flesh, but there is also a life in the Spirit. The Word is called the Bread; the Rock; and The inspired Word of God.
It is the Sword of the Lord and to fall upon it causes a cutting away of intents and motives contrary to God, but it also brings understanding and wisdom. To fall on the Word is to rest on His promises: to rely on His blessings. There is hope in The Word of our God.
Make no mistake; while this Sword gives us direction and purpose, it also removes our fleshly nature, and that process never comes without a fight. Hebrews says that it divides, cuts, and checks every thought. While we need God’s Word in our everyday lives, we must also welcome the outcome of its existence. My prayer for you today is that His Word would be welcomed in your heart and mind: that we would receive the Word with all readiness of mind, knowing that it is working something beautiful in our lives.
June 29, 2014
When Joshua crossed the Jordan on dry ground, he ordered each tribe to gather stones for a monument. He wanted future generations to remember the miracle and the meaning of their crossing. He said, “these stones” shall remind us of God’s covenant. Joshua knew that if the Crossing was forgotten, lost or redefined, then the future would be lost also. Yet years later that meaning was lost and another generation grew up not knowing the significance of God’s work or of the deeds of Joshua.
Today definitions have been changed to fit into our present paradigms. What it means to be free is embattled as those once established principles have morphed into the present culture. For the sake of our coming week I point toward the Flag of the United States of America.
Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reported on the Seal, which held the first meaning: “The colors of the pales are those used; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, perseverance and justice.” These colors were then transferred after 1776 to the flag that flies across our land.
However, internet bloggers now write that White stands for tolerance and peace, Red is for blood, perhaps unwarranted, and Blue stands for the oceans of the world that belong to mother earth and all her creatures.
Naturally, many in this hour have lost the meaning of the very things upon which we were built. Our country is in desperate need of an awakening; both spiritually and historically. If we forget what “these stones” mean, then we will lose the value of our own crossing. I am praying for this awakening as we remember, correctly, the cost of this land.
June 15, 2014
Can I preach it again?
Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb but He did not set him free. The Lord commanded that “they” unloose him and set him free. Jesus could have done all the work by Himself, but He gave that task to the men who were witness to the movement of this former dead man as he appeared before a darkened tomb. The lesson is that Jesus could have, but did not bring Lazarus out, unbound and loose.
Men are called out by the Word of the Lord, but it takes other men, godly men, to unloose our brothers and set them free. Men, fathers, husbands; all represent the strength of the church. Notwithstanding our society is set against the leadership of men; God has ordained us to lead. Even though the classrooms have feminized the student body; there is no substitute for men of integrity and honor who act and live like Men.
God has called us to be leaders, protectors, and keepers of our wives, families and the church. We are designed for worship, sacrifice, and open praise. If other men are to be set free, it will be up to us who have the courage to guide and direct them. If our world is to be unloosed from the mountain of addictions and false philosophies, it will be because there are a group of godly men that are willing to engage and confront every vain notion perpetrated against them. We are the backbone of the body and we are commissioned to stand in the face of every evil and every deception.
So I pray today that our church will grow, not just numerically, but spiritually with holy men of God leading the way. This is our collective and individual calling.
June 8, 2014
Can Jesus be saved? It’s an odd question but the fact remains that He may very well be lost to us. His teachings and Gospel delivered by Peter on Pentecost is fading into the scenery of an amenable Christian culture. New books are declaring a revised version of salvation based on intent not on specifics.
Yet Jesus’ resurrection leads us into this new birth experience. He spoke about it to Nicodemus in John 3 and then poured it out in an upper room where 120 people remained to pray. Today Christianity has drifted from those scriptures in search of a more “enlightened” look at doctrine. His Lordship and Headship is now reduced to general themes and self-discovery of personal doctrines. The American church no longer believes in the strict adherence to the scripture; following instead some general concept of the story.
The only way to truly “save” Jesus is for us to follow His commandments. His great commission instructed us to teach and baptize the whole world. While a macro view of the Bible is healthy, the Word has specifics for living and salvation. Jesus gave Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and Peter preached those Keys in Acts 2:38, Repent, and be Baptized in Jesus’ name and you shall receive the Promise which is the Holy Ghost! It is the Gospel: Death in Repentance; Burial in Baptism of water in Jesus’ name; and the Resurrection in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues. The demand on the church and on our lives is to deliver this Gospel. Pentecost is here and if Jesus and His message is to be “saved” we must tell it, live it, and deliver it to our world.
June 1, 2014
Diet is the common theme in this “processed” generation. Both government and farmers alike are focused on food and it’s manufacturing. The basic premise has been whatever people eat is what they become. Trans-fats, processed foods and a host of items now concern nutritionists as related health issues rise. The effects of a poor diet has an exponential cost in many areas of life and the economy.
In the exact fashion the church is witnessing the effects of a non-stop, state-funded educational agenda that promotes an anti-god message. Our children are taught that Faith is private, subjective, and compartmentalized. Schools now teach that Truth is relative and the greatest virtues are openness, tolerance and diversity. The irrelevance of God is waved like a banner at every educational station while the church becomes marginalized. No wonder we are struggling to keep our children focused on righteousness and Truth. We have allowed the state to tell them that science is not in the Bible; history denies God; absolutes are nonexistent. The diet of our children, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day is secularism. They are told over and over: accept Gay, reject God.
Solomon wrote: Prov. 6:10-11 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” Therefore we must not sleep in this hour. We will become what we take in. I am challenged to watch and pray and seek God’s wisdom. These are the last days and we must be aware of our responsibility and submit our lives to His authority and leading.
May 25, 2014
In haste to advance self, mankind has removed God’s requirements from the conversation. To offer God’s requirements afresh seems only fitting considering the environment of our days. God’s law deals in both the mind and heart; both in actions and thought; deed and duty. Grace does not remove us from working our faith, as James so aptly put. We are commanded to be a peculiar people and an holy nation. Pleasing society has become the stumbling block for the Christian. David wrote how the wicked believe that God has no requirements: Ps 10:13 “The wicked renounce God and say that He will not bring us into account, or require anything of us.” Micah rose to ask the question that demands an immediate action in our lives. Micah 6:8 “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Take out any one of those three and you will find an unbalanced and troubled life.
God’s requirements are woven through His book. Love your enemies; give and it shall be given you; pray without ceasing; and so much more. Living as if God asks nothing of us is not only foolish but it’s purposefully naive. He will call us into account on that day. God is coming back for a spotless bride, whose garment is not wrinkled or stained by this world or the philosophies that oppose godliness. He’s not coming back for part-time Christians or hearers of the Word only. He’s coming back for a people full of faith; a church that loves His appearing; and a people called by His name who follow His statutes. For this cause I preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, not self-ambition and personal gain. We are seeking after the requirements of the Lord.
May 18, 2014
Col. 4:12-13 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.
Epaphras is not a common figure among us. We know him as a member of the church in Colosse and also one who suffered imprisonment with Paul at one time. What comes to the forefront is the spirit of the Intercessor that existed in him. Paul wrote that Epaphras labored fervently in prayer for the saints. Another version says that he “wrestled in prayer on their behalf.” The work of The Intercessor is not always known among the body. It was not until Paul pointed towards Epaphras that we know of his worth.
Those who pray for one another are pivotal to the body. Their voices may not be heard but they are holding back hell and holding up faith. I know that I am personally sustained by the prayers of the saints. I do not stand on my own and I am not self-sufficient in this ministry. We all stand by the Grace of God and through the consistent, fervent prayers of the intercessors who battle fervently in the Spirit.
This Hedge is no trivial matter. It is a life saver. The value of the Intercessor’s prayers cannot be measured by our natural eyes or this physical realm. Yet they are the very elements that add to our stability. Remove them and there is little hope that any of us would survive. We must have an Epaphras working for us and among us; laboring in prayer. The Spirit is still calling for people of great zeal to stand in the gap.
April 27, 2014
While reviewing the ever-growing absentee rate among students, I was reminded how critical it is simply being present. Teachers say that even the most basic information is missed when students are not in class. They also note that textbooks do not provide the learning process that comes via attendance.
Acts 1:26 speaks of the value of being present as the disciples made their case to replace Judas, of the which they said, “he was numbered with us.” They chose Matthias, saying of him that “he was numbered with” them, being present. There is no reference to Matthias’ background; no resume entered or qualifications mentioned, though I’m sure he was qualified. The greater truth is that Matthias was with them. He was numbered with the twelve because he was physically present throughout their ministries and their time with Jesus.
Hebrews tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but to do it more as the final days approach. Joshua learned from Moses because he was present with Moses. The disbelief and doubt of Thomas, which has plagued his name for centuries, came about when he was not present when Jesus appeared through a wall. Thomas said, “I won’t believe unless I touch the Lord’s hands and feet.” None of the other disciples made that demand because they were there at the moment of the miracle.
Being in this house has the benefit that an audio recording does not have. There is a value like none other when we become first hand witnesses of the power of the Holy Ghost occurring in this house. So I say, Come and go with me to my father’s house.
April 20, 2014
This story is the pivot point of the whole world: when Jesus died on a cross, spent three nights in a borrowed tomb, and rose again on the third day. That moment changed the destiny of every person gracing the earth. The sacrifice of Jesus changed the course of human history. When He rose from the grave. He conquered death for all mankind. To think that Emmanuel, the great Almighty was manifest in the flesh to shed His own blood is a story beyond our telling. Yet, it must be told and retold again and again because it is the moment of our redemption.
We are living testimonies of the goodness of the Lord and of His salvation. His Joy sustains us through every season of life and our Hope comes from the resurrected Savior. Through the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we have risen to walk in newness of life. Yet all of it came at a price. It was the price of suffering. It came at the cost of pain and anguish. The Lamb of God hadto be slain to pay for the sins of the world. We take special note that Jesuscould not have resurrected until andunless He first felt the sting of death: unless He first felt the coldness of the tomb. C.S. Lewis wrote...
Love's as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (what all that is)
Our cross, and His.
Today we rejoice and give praise to Him Who died for our sins and rose from the grave. Jesus! The Resurrected Savior.
April 13, 2014
It was the formal end to the harvest when families convened in Jerusalem for a time of celebration. They gathered branches from palm, myrtle, and willow trees, wrapping their stems together to make a “waving palm” called lulav. This was joined together with a citrus fruit called an etrog and all four were waved during temple ceremonies. It was with this instrument of praise that the people welcomed Jesus into the streets of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord.”
The tradition of Palm Sunday is actually the remnant of the Jewish lulav tradition: It is the unfolding of the hands to worship. For the Hebrews, the moment of lulav literally meant to “unfold the palm leaf.” It meant that they were ready for worship.
It is in order to unfold our hands in worship. Paul wrote “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1 Timothy 2:8 It was then and now, appropriate that people would lift hands, unfolded, before the Lord. A clinched fist is defiance. A pointing finger is an accusation, but an open palm is praise. We lift our hands in the sanctuary as an offering to God. We lift our hands in surrender and submission to His will. We lift our hands in honor of His power and holiness. David wrote in Psalm 63 that the process of blessing the Lord must include lifting up hands to the Lord. It’s an open palm of the purest praise. The Lord is here and we must be prepared for worship. Our hands are lifted; our hearts open; and our attention set on Him who comes in the name of the Lord. It’s time for us to experience Palm Sunday.
April 6, 2014
Pivot points occur in all of our lives, though we rarely grasp the gravity of those moments. For some, the turning point came in a church service; for others it was sent by revelation. The scripture speaks of the changes made in the lives of people: Silas became Paul; Sarai became Sarah; Peter entered another understanding at the home of Cornelius.
But my attention is arrested by David’s great passion to build a house for the Lord. And yet, with all of his victories in battle, God prohibited him from building such a holy place because of the trail of blood that followed him. So David gave his vision to Solomon to complete the Temple. David handed Solomon the kingdom, the tools and the men to do the work. But there came a day when Solomon could not rely upon his father’s passion. Solomon had to find it for himself. Thus 2 Chron. 2:1 states that “Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord.” Regardless of his father’s desire, Solomon had to make his own choice.
We are blessed to have the example of the saints that stand before us, but ultimately our decision to build a house for God depends on us. Individually we must be determined to build a place for Him in our lives. No one will enter heaven riding on the coattails of their parents, teachers or preachers: this is a personal matter. Each one must be determined to build God’s House. It is the pivot point of our whole lives.
March 30, 2014
Many loved Jesus for the things that He did for them. His miracles could not be explained away by the Pharisees and His exploits were noised abroad throughout the whole region. Thousands came to hear Him teach and reveal the Old Testament scripture. Others sat stunned in silence as He offered parables, new teachings; explaining the hinge of the Law and of the prophets. Yet there were an equal part that hated Him. They despised His revelations, miracles and His clear opposition to that of the ruling religious class. There were non-believers casually shrugging off the Lord’s admonitions. Not everyone loved Him. Most did not wash His feet. When His doctrine became too challenging for them, they defiantly walked away in disgust.
Regardless of what side you take, there will always be those who take the opposing side. If we believe that accommodating worldliness will garnish more friends and create an easier existence, we are fooling ourselves. It is always better to stand for righteousness even if you are the only one standing. You may be alienated from your friends and family, but Truth is higher than relationships.
Remember, to retain the purity of holiness and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will cost us something. We must stand firm on the Word of God; believe in the only saving Name, Jesus; and love this Holy Way regardless of who accepts or rejects it. We are the people of God and the salt of this earth. Some will love this teaching and others will shrug it off as another outdated and irrelevant Message, but God’s Word is true for every age and we are people of the Book and of His Name.
March 23, 2014
And God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Evidenced by the Bible itself, marriage and family are institutions created by God. The home is the essential image of a family; husband, wife, and children. This is both fundamental and rudimentary to life, nations and peoples in every age. When the family unit, commonly called The Nuclear Family, is disrupted or reinterpreted, there is chaos at every level. The manipulation or interference with this divine structure causes a ripple affect economically, educationally, and emotionally.
Today we are in a revolution of God’s first institution. For those of us with biblical understanding we call this rebellion. The broader term is defined as the “devolving of the family structure.” According to the most recent data, barely half of U.S. adults are married (a record low) and one in three children live without a father. For the first time, half of Americans approve of same-sex marriage. All of this means that the function and operation of the Church is urgent and pressing.
Going through religious rituals each weekend is not saving our communities. We must be engaged; standing for truth, teaching the scripture in our homes and inviting a conversation for the express purpose of promoting God’s established Truth.
However, it seems that the “saved” are seeking to be served rather than teach. Church members around the country are noted as seeking a church that meets their needs. Yet fewer are engaged in scripture, prayer, fasting and witnessing. Much to our own demise, we’ve become consumers of the spiritual experience. In the end, religion might survive, but true conversion will die. Rituals might be maintained, but transformations of the mind and a return to godly principles will fade.
It is with little doubt that the Holy Spirit is making a demand on our lives that cannot be ignored. We are at a crossroads of eternal life and it is time for everyone to fulfill the mission. Yet this message is often difficult to relay. David saw the issue of his day and was forced to make a case to his own brothers. David asked, “Is there not a cause?”, but the real question is this: Why did David have to make a case to fight the battle? His brothers had become faithless; hopeless and lacked vision. King Saul had recoiled in the face of the giant and his giant-issue.
There is a Cause and it is worth fighting. The souls of people are at stake and we must be about our Father’s business. The giant-issue of our day is a corrupt society which wars against biblical truth. This warfare is both spiritual and urgent. Not only must we teach our children, but we also must be a witness to the world, our city and everyone we know; reaching, teaching, serving, baptizing.
March 16, 2014
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Solomon’s words mirror the admonition of Jesus: “..out of abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Paul spoke of it concerning the renewal of our mind and taught the church how to think (whatsoever things are lovely, pure, of a good report: think on these things). Positive thoughts produce a thankful spirit, but a negative spirit is a poison that corrupts our worship. Bitterness never stays isolated: it is a root that affects others. A wounded person wounds people; a bitter person transfers their bitter feelings. One begets the next. Yet we know that trials are common to us all, but it’s how we respond to those hurts that separate us. While some suffer, others rejoice. While some become calloused and cold, others choose to remain tender. No one can make you lose faith; it’s a choice. No one can make you backslide; it is your decision. If we can guard our heart and rehearse words of joy, I know that we can live a positive and holy life. If we can remember the many miracles, victories and blessings given by God, I know we can make it through every storm of life.
March 9, 2014
Panic is common among people. The medical field depicts its effects in that the adrenaline gland swells; the heart rate dramatically increases and nerve endings are sent rapid signals from the brain. There are other anatomical occurrences. Panic is accompanied by psychological aspects: doubt, fear, irrational behavior, and more.
This was the emotional state of the Children of Israel when they were trapped between the impassible Red Sea and the advancing armies of Egypt. Dust clouds were rising in the distance detailing their impending death. Panic. In that moment many wished that they had never left Egypt. Four decades of slavery were suddenly embraced and Moses’ leadership was questioned. Men of influence spoke out against their leader as people wished to have died in chains rather than by the sword. Satan uses panic to make us question God’s intent. The enemy plays upon our human instinct and logic. When we fall into panic mode we question our faith, God’s deliverance, and spiritual leadership. When we succumb to these irrational feelings, we are subject to the enemy’s subtle and not so subtle messages. Fear becomes our faith in the enemy as we believe in his power over us, but the Word says that with every temptation, God provides a way of escape. He has parted many waters for many people and made a way out of every dilemma. So when we are caught in that moment and the facts speak to our demise, we must know that God can be trusted and His plan is perfect. God has not given us the spirit of fear but of Power, and of Love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
February 23, 2014
News. Information about people, places, events, the world, weather, markets, etc. I give you Ray Nagin who a decade ago decried the government’s slow response on Katrina. He’s now on trial for corruption. Or how about more killings at malls, schools or gas stations. The Ukraine is on fire as protestors huddle against police. An actor named Hoffman overdosed and died. Someone won yet another sporting event - take your pick. Then there’s the polar vortex dumping snow on the northeast even as the west suffers from a drought. Greece, Spain, Italy are among but several failing economies as China plays havoc on Taiwan and other nations. I could offer you a thousand more headlines from the EPA to the NSA but in the end neither of us would be helped.
Information overload has reached its peak. We know more bits of information about more subjects while knowing almost nothing at all in depth. Sound bites have flooded our thinking. Recently I was in a place where my phone/internet did not work, by default, I went “dark.” It means no news, no reports, no current events. The outcome was reflection and conversation. God had more room to speak and I found it refreshing to listen. It makes me wonder if this smaller world connection, (via satellite and internet) where the issues of foreign lands are as attainable as our own city’s, has helped us. I wonder if it’s not just a ploy by the enemy to sabotage our time and I haven’t even begun to call into question time lost on social media. At the end of each week we may know a little more about the world but what about our time with God? Greater still, how much time have we lost in fulfilling the Great Commission?
Sure we now know about the animal tragedies of Sochi: we know that al-Assad won’t negotiate with John Kerry in Syria, but did we pray? Did we share the Gospel with someone who is lost? Did we visit someone who needs deliverance or encouragement? Furthermore, what about the Book? Have we discovered the considerations of the Psalmist who four times wrote “thy word”? Psa. 119:9-17 Thy word cleanses. Thy word guards. Thy word cannot be forgotten. Thy word brings life.
News. It’s like a soap opera. It’ll be there tomorrow with a similar story line, but our time is limited. It is the one priceless commodity that cannot be stored or returned. Our time in prayer and in His Word is more vital than any bit of news we might gather. Our time in Worship must not be in comparison/contrast with anything else. Nothing should rank above our knowledge of Him from Whom all blessings flow. To know about trivia or facts, statistics or analysis is a thief to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I’m pausing now to meditate on Paul’s admonition to “...think on these things: Phil. 4:8 - Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report… I want to know Him.
February 9, 2014
Esther was young when she became the queen of Persia. The scripture leaves little doubt that she was oblivious to the coming danger surrounding her and the Jewish people. Haman was plotting to kill all the Jews; seeking also to hang Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, in the process. Mordecai however knew of the impending danger. He was aware of the deeds of evil men and the charged atmosphere that existed. So he prayed in the streets. He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes. He wept aloud before the gates of the king’s palace.
Esther, still unaware of the brewing trouble, sent new clothes to Mordecai in an attempt to save her the embarrassment. It was then that Mordecai relayed to Esther the moments to come. He said that her position was for a greater purpose and not for her own pleasure; that she was made the queen to be an intercessor. He said, “who knows but that you are here for such a time as this.”
God has placed you in this house for Such a Time as this. God has brought us to this hour in history; in this generation; in this city, for Such a Time as This. We are not here on accident. This moment and our church is not by coincidence. God has ordained our coming together for a higher calling and His divine purpose. We are here to save the lost and to be saved ourselves. We are here to be a City set on a hill that cannot be hid. We are here to reach for the hurting and the wounded.
We must not think this is a casual meeting. It’s more than just a common gathering. This is no less than God’s Church uniting in the Holy Spirit to worship the Lord; receive the Word, and prepare to win every spiritual victory.
February 2, 2014
Hidden in the glamour of biblical power-players is a man named Ezra. He’s not well known among American congregations though his self-titled book is found in the Old Testament. His name literally means “help” and that is what he did in life. Ezra was a priest, scribe and leader among the Jewish remnant. He led many people back to Jerusalem from Persia to rebuild the Temple. He was a humble man; always encouraging the people to commit to God and pressing them to live holy before the Lord.
I found Ezra in the New Testament; though he is not listed by name. Again he is hidden among the more desirable things. I Corinthians calls out 9 spiritual gifts, describing them in detail, but then there are other gifts like that of admin-istration and guidance. Then tucked away in the scripture is the Gift of Helps. There he is: Ezra - still needed; still important to any and all people.
I know that we are drawn to those 9 spiritual gifts, but no people have ever survived without the Gift of Help. Someone must be a helper. Someone must walk alongside those who are weary in mind; who battle the enemy and the issues of life. Without Ezra the Jewish people would not have made it back to Jerusalem. He wept over them when they married the heathens. He cried over them when they embraced their pagan gods. Yet, he also stood by them when a campaign of accusations rose to paralyze their efforts. Ezra was a constant help. You could count on him. He was there, ready to lead, guide and stand.
I pray that those who read this word will seek to be a help in the church. Through every trial we need the blessing of someone endowed with the Gift of Help.
January 26, 2014
Perhaps there’s no need to be spiritually inclined to notice how aggressive the spirit of this age has become. Even religious entities promote the blending of scriptural concepts with current culture. While dismissing convictions they usher in human rationale. Because of this, there is less distinction between the Church and the world. The word is called Syncretism and it has exploded across our country.
While history has always heard a cacophony of voices against the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the Bible, I find it more brazen than ever before as men lead congregations into worldly acceptance. I thought we were suppose to come out of the world; not figure out how to fit into the world. I read of a holy God that would not accept the sacrifice of Cain; that God’s way was the only way. I thought that condemnation was contingent upon the Way we walk; that the only way to be free was to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Paul said to be carnally minded is death, but I suppose his wording is far too strong for our common sensibilities.
The Holy Spirit is calling out for dedicated people who embrace obedience to the Word. The Spirit is seeking for true believers and followers that will present a clear sound to a confused and bewildered world. We must become a City set on a hill that cannot be hid. Without being arrogant it must be said: We are part of The Church and we must reach the world or they will not be saved. We are Children of the Light and we must shine in this dark world.
January 19, 2014
Edmund Burke was known as the father of modern conservatism; his work being done primarily in the late 1700’s. Among the many facets of his public life, he was an advocate for protestant objectors. At that time there was gross discrimination taking place among the districts and beyond. Of his quotes and thoughts, I seem to return to these words concerning the care of people. Burke said, “ All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” But his lesser known thought is perhaps just as powerful and pertinent to this hour. He wrote, “Nothing is so fatal to religion than indifference.”
Every generation must decide for themselves how they shall entreat one another. For those who believe that God is the Creator of all men, then it is imperative that we rise together to do something.
Paul dealt with these issues among the early churches. There were factions and infractions. There were divisions and dividers which provoked the apostle to teach about the Body of Jesus Christ. All are a part of His body, he wrote. None are insignificant; none are without merit. All are one in Christ. Today, I point you toward fervent love for all people and warn you against indifference. I point toward the scripture’s call for unity and caution you away from building personal kingdoms.
God is looking for churches with enough compassion to reach every soul in this city with the Gospel. I am actively praying that New Life will be found humble enough, passionate enough and gracious enough to receive the hundreds of lost people who are being overtaken by evil.
January 12, 2014
Maybe we are not so far removed from the days of Daniel who was a man of great prayer and devotion to the One true God of Israel. The king at the time was convinced by deceitful men to make decrees forbidding prayer to God as they sought to entrap and imprison Daniel. The laws of the land became contrary to godly devotion and Daniel’s monotheistic beliefs. The government had made it illegal and punishable by death to seek the God of Israel in prayer. Yet Daniel did not waver from his pattern: he continued to do what he knew was right.
Daniel even opened his windows so that there was never any doubt as who he was and what his life was about. Even in spite of the laws and decrees, he was a man of prayer and he stood for what he believed and it cost him. He also knew that God was able to deliver him out of the mouth of the lion. He knew the den of lions was no match for the Lord God Almighty.
Prayer was Daniel’s portion. Prayer is the key to conquering every foe. If we do not pray then we will have no power. Prayer-less people are a powerless people. Prayer changes things: it shatters the walls of hell and it opens the windows of Heaven.
I encourage you to take part in prayer and especially this month’s Prayer 300 commitment. If we pray, our land will be healed; our families will be mended; our homes will be whole and our city will feel its affect. If we seek His face then we will know His perfect Will for our lives and we will have the authority of the Lord on our side. No law or decree can change us and no outside force can deter us. We must be people of Prayer.