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Showing posts from April, 2014

Overwhelmed?

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed;  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2 Yesterday I needed to be surrounded by the spirit of God. There are moments in life when everything comes against you and you you find out how strong(or weak) you really are. When you are overwhelmed, its usually because you are carrying things that you should not carry and involved with things in your own power and strength. When life throws rocks at you, pray this little prayer... "Lord lead me to the Rock that is higher than me."  Lift me up out of the mess and feed my spirit the message that you want me to understand in the midst of all of this.  Set my feet on solid ground. You are the Rock that is stable. Help me to cast all of my cares upon you. Teach me how to exchange the heavy things for those that you have given me strength to handle.  We may feel overwhelmed right now...but we are about to be overcomers!

One Miracle

Acts 9:32Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. 33 There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. 35 Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord. It just takes one miracle. One act of God, one supernatural burst of power, one deliverance...one miracle. Peter went from city to city looking for people that needed Christ. Some needed to have their minds reprogrammed, some needed financial help, some healing in their bodies. When he met Aeneas it was clear what his condition was. He hadn't been able to move for eight years. Peter spoke with authority and said "Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, grab your sleeping bag and get moving!" Immediately the man was healed. One man, one miracle. But the…

Heaven is For Real

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:4This is one of my favorite promises about heaven in the Book of Revelation. It came alive again this week as I went to see the movie, Heaven is for Real. What is heaven really like? Is heaven real? John was given this amazing vision of heaven by God to ignite hope in each one of those people that follow Jesus and know Him as their Lord and Savior. I love this particular promise because it comforts on every level. It describes a place of perfect peace. It's hard to imagine that there could ever be a place, even a season where pain, crying and death would be gone! Still, this is my hope. And it's what Jesus went ahead to prepare for you and me. Heaven is for real! But make no mistake, so is hell. Read on in chapter 21 and you can get a description of hell too. It's your decision about where…

Bust It!

For in him we live and move and have our being.’
There is nothing that feels more liberating than "getting a move on". We were created to be in motion. They used to have a saying... "bust a move".  Moving the right way at the right time can bring about the desired result. Many people don't arrive where they are supposed to be because they fail to launch out, to just take a step forward...to bust a move! Have you found yourself stalled and stagnant? Why not ask the Lord to help you get up, get dressed and get moving in a forward direction. I think that faith is like liquid; it moves like His Spirit which God wants to flow in all of us. Living water does not stand still. Let yourself ride the wave today and watch where God takes you! Go ahead, bust a move:)

What's Keeping You Sick?

I was reading a story one day about a man that had been sick for almost 40 years. The story is found in John 5. I would assume that perhaps his entire life he had struggled with his illness. I would also assume that anytime you live with something long enough, you just get used to it. Some people live with pain. Some live with abuse. Some live with the disease of depression. One day Jesus came by the place where this man was. Jesus, the One who knows the number of hairs on our head, the One who can tell us what is wrong and how to fix it, asks a question..."do you want to get well?". The first time I read that all I could say was DUH! Lord, I've been like this all my life! But the man does not answer. He comes up with excuses. Basically he blames his condition on the fact that the environment that he lives in does not care about him and neither do the people. Jesus knew his answer. He wanted to provoke this man to really think about getting well. If you get well you hav…

Turn the Lay-Off into a Pay-Off!

2 Corinthians 4:16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Difficult seasons have a way of halting breakthrough sessions. Abrupt changes in your marriage, at your job and in your faith can be disconcerting. Many people are struggling to survive financial hardship, relationship meltdown and spiritual apathy. We need to learn how to turn the lay-off into a pay-off! When life causes you to be at a stand still, why not stand still and see the deliverance of God?Difficult patches will come but we must not lose heart. It may feel like the wheels are falling off when God is getting ready to bring you an entirely new car! His glory is being built through your challenges. 
Use the down-time to enjoy some up-time: lift up your eyes and give God praise! That my friend, is how you can begin to turn the lay-off into a p…

How Much Will Your Sin Cost Me?

It's very clear that we are more connected than we might think. They used to call this a dog eat dog world but unfortunately no one realized that we are all "leashed" together! In other words, what you do affects me. What I do affects you. God had a plan for this. It had to do with honor: honoring one another. LO4EO: look out for each other. (Read Romans 12) In every scandal the media points out to us we can see a leader, a victim and a large group of people, connected but not really intimately involved. Still, what happens has a profound impact on everyone. My sin will cost you. Your sin costs me. The way to honor each other is to stay connected...to realize that we are tethered to people...created for fellowship and relationships. Of course the most important relationship we can have is a vertical one with our God. When that one is right, we keep evil desires and bad influences at bay and we develop strength to overcome.  Evil will always be around us. People will get…

You've Got This!

There is no better way to start this week than giving you some encouragement and hope. You are gifted. You have every spiritual gift YOU need. God is going to keep you strong. But don't take my word for it. You can read it today from the pages of 1 Corinthians...I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge.This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. You have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 1 COR 1:4-8 You are here, sipping a fresh cup of joe on this Monday right after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus! How does THAT make you feel? Keep your head up...it's going to be a great day! He's still alive…

Good Friday?

Today is the day followers of Jesus look back and remember the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For some reason its called Good Friday. For years I have wondered why we refer to it as ‘good’ Friday. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The 'Kar' part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word "care" in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, this day is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. For a few days they thought all was lost.
Perhaps the English language refers to this as 'good' Friday because it is pivotal to our future as we look forward to facing life's challenges and overcoming them just as Jesus did. We know that he endured horrific things but we also know that because He pressed through, we have power to endure things too. Yes, there is agony in remembering His suffering but we understand that "joy" comes in the morning! Death is not the winner...an…

Knowledge is Power

During the final week of ministry on the planet, Jesus had to face much scrutiny and criticism. The Pharisees wanted to know where his power was coming from. People continued to be astonished by the power in his words and actions. Still today, everyone wants to know the source of that power. They say that "knowledge is power" but in reality, life in Christ is truly the most powerful thing we can be a part of. So I guess we could say that when you know Christ, you become more powerful. During this special week in the church, hearts are turned towards Him and people are looking for real ministry that comes from the heart. Today is the day when Jesus would gather those closest to him around the table for one final meal together. He would summarize the past and prepare them for their future...and his. You see, when you find Jesus you find all that you need. It's not difficult to understand, just hard to do. Perhaps it all boils down to something more easily understandable: h…

Born Again?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8 NIV)You must be born again? It confused Nicodemus then and many others today. How can this be? Jesus speaks of our soul and spirit needing cleansed and renewed much like our bodies do. Our spiritual life can become polluted by ideas that are not healthy much like our bodies can be harmed by foods that are toxic. When we surr…

Don't Let Them Speak!

Mark 1:32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. People brought those that were sick and influenced by demonic powers to Jesus all the time. His mission was to set them free. In fact, He healed them all. And notice how he handled the demons: he did not let them speak. Too often we try to negotiate with the forces that come against us and that can lead to discouragement, depression and frustration. It takes two to argue:) Don't let the enemy whisper in your ear and guide you off of the path that God has destined you to take. Don't let him speak! Be still and know that God is about to bring you out of that situation and set you free!

**dont forget this is tax day! Render unto Caesar....(you know the rest!)

Fan or Follower?

There is quite a difference between a FAN and a FOLLOWER. I've been thinking a great deal about this at this season in my life. Some time ago I preached a little message on the subject. It was all inspired by the book "Not a Fan". It challenged me to become more of a follower than a fan of Jesus. Here's what the author said... I realize that many times I consider myself to be a follower (imitator) but I’m really just a fan (enthusiastic admirer). Jesus can’t be simply one of the choices…He must be THE choice. He IS the way, the truth AND THE life. God sent Jesus to give His life so that He could have yours. Is He your one of many or your one and only? Have you made a decision for Christ or are you committed to Christ? It’s about so much more than walking an aisle and praying a prayer. Fans do that. Jesus said you must deny yourself (turn from your selfish ways) take up your cross DAILY and follow Him. And this is MY story… Nine years ago my 20 year marriage ended. I was s…

Lonely Places

Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.While reading this morning I came to this verse and could not move past it. I noticed how the calling that Jesus had was so clear and precise that he felt the urgency to keep moving...to go and to preach all over the countryside. I also noticed that in verse 41 of this chapter he became indignant when asked if he was willing to heal a man with leprosy. He then reached out and touched the man and that man was made well.
And then as you keep reading, Jesus filled with a passion to preach and the power to heal, you read that because if these miracles he could no longer openly go into any town and he withdrew to the outside...to lonely places.Most of the folks that I know who are in ministry for Christ can relate to these lonely places. Its not because of any miracles that we …

Crosswords

Our CONNECT groups at church are looking at the 7 words that Jesus spoke from the cross: crosswords. Most church folks have heard these phrases preached before. I am trying to look at each of these words that he spoke and reflect on what they mean to me. I am also reading the four gospels in the New Testament this year paying special attention to the words in red which are ones that Jesus spoke personally. Why? I figure if Jesus said it, it must be important. If anything matters to him it should also matter to me. So when I read these words from the cross, words that he spoke in the most trying time of his life on earth, I am attempting to find a personal meaning for me out of each of them. One of the couples in last nights meeting brought up the thought that we prepare ourselves every year for Christmas, the birth of Christ, by decorating our homes and by paying great attention to the season. Lots of activity goes into getting ready for Christmas. But for Easter, there seems to be m…

Singing in the Pain

Sometimes life can be challenging. Some people do things that can cause pain on other people. You have probably been harmed by actions, words or some circumstances beyond your control. When I think about these "pains" I remember Paul and Silas and the one night after they had been stripped and beaten when they were thrown into prison. They were under heavy surveillance and bound hand and foot. They had to be in a great deal of pain.  But the Bible says that at midnight, the two of them began to sing. Really? In chains and in prison and singing? Imagine that, singing in the pain! As their voices were lifted up their chains were falling off. Suddenly a violet earthquake shook the foundations of the prison and ALL of the doors flew open! Today you may feel as if life has just stripped and beaten you. You may even be held captive by emotional distress or a troublesome circumstance. Why not try what Paul and Silas did? You too can start singing in the pain! When you start praisi…

Nevertheless

There is a moment in every ministry endeavor, every outreach, every step of faith that requires launching. Launching is the assertiveness to actually step out on nothing and have complete trust that God is going to allow you a place to land. It's not very hard to "talk" faith. It's easy for most of us to have grand ideas and wonderful plans that we feel God is leading us into. But when the talk is over and the "walk" must begin, well, that is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus wasn't afraid to step out of the ordinary. He "launched" out into the deep often and met needs every time. Once he asked Peter, a renowned fisherman, to "launch out into the deep". Not a crazy request for a fisherman. But He asked it after Peter had just had an all-nighter on the lake without catching a single fish. He was tired and he was....done. Jesus asked him to get the nets back out, go deeper and throw out the nets again. That is where most of us ar…

H.O.P.E.

HOPE...a friend of mine defines it as Having Only Positive Expectations. Well, the only way to make that happen is to realize that some things are just not in our control. Scripture says, "I CAN do ALL things (through Christ) who strengthens me." It's in Him that I live and move and have my being. My mind can be in a positive place when my body is in a negative one. My words can match my  thoughts. But unless my actions and my daily steps are in a positive, forward direction, I will not rise up with hope. With so much that is uncertain in our economy we need hope. When relationships or jobs end, we need to learn how to have positive expectations. Ultimately, if we keep making good decisions, if we are smart with our money and if we pray before we spend it will indeed change. If we take care of those close to us everything will work out for the best. God says so. Whatever you sow, you will reap.  So today, hold your head up, take steps forward in His power and have only …

Hunger for Holiness

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Today I will make my best effort to live in peace with others and to be holy. Holiness isn't talked about much these days. To be holy means to be dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; to be used for sacred purposes. There needs to be an increase in our appetite for things that God desires: a hunger for holiness. We need to do our best to detach from the corrupt and polluted ideas of non-believers and attach to the divine purposes God had in mind when He breathed life into us. Dedicate yourself, your words and actions to a sacred, spiritual purpose today. As you allow peace to rule your heart and life God will bring more peace to you. Have a great and peace-full weekend!

Tune In!

Proverbs 2:2Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. NLT Tune your ears to wisdom. Easy to say but it takes some effort to really tune in. Some folks don't like to "tune in". Have you ever been in the car with people who listen to the radio? Not just a part of it, but they listen to ALL of it! They roll up and down the dial searching for a station to listen to and they never stop and let the song play all the way through because they are in constant SCAN mode. They are never happy, never resting, always changing.For many folks I think this is how they look for God. This is the method they use in trying to “tune in” to His purpose and plan…they are always "scanning", searching for the next seminar, DVD or series that will change everything. What ends up happening is that they never lock in on the right frequency so tha…

Oreo Theology

Sometimes I am a victim of frantic behavior, urgent responses and hurried activity. I even get swept away by tsunami waves of "others needs" and "crisis situations". In 2014 I'm trying something different. I've always felt like I was good at starting things well and I usually finish strong. But it’s the middle part that gives me fits! When I feel like my rhythm is off, I can miss the "pace" of this life God designed for me. I think there is a divine flow to life and if we rush to begin and hurry to finish we can miss the best part…the middle. Which brings me to my new theology.  I love Oreos. I take two cookies, eat the tops off of both and then merge them into a single cookie with double stuff. When OREOS came out with Double Stuff cookies I thought the rapture had come! I know that I go through this routine every time I have them because I enjoy the middle. So why can't my life be like that? I want to enjoy the "middle" portion of all…

Who Cares?

Every once in a while the Lord dramatically interrupts my life. The other day I was prompted to read more of a scripture I had taught on some time ago. It was from Ephesians 4:17 where Paul is reminding the people not to live like unbelievers do in the futility of thinking. The greek word for futility simply means "one who has ceased to care". I acknowledged the interruption, and then ceased to care! Just kidding, I always listen to what the Lord tries to say to me even though I don't always understand it. There are people that are living life in the futility of their mind. Futility brings with it darkened understanding, separation from God, ignorance of God's ways, a hardening of the heart and a loss of sensitivity. What happens when we "cease to care" is that we jump on a downward escalator that leads us to abandon all that is right and good and we fall prey to spiritual numbness. How do you know when things are going wrong? How can you tell if you are o…