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Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Community



We are looking this week at what God’s community looks like. David gives us a glimpse of it in Psalm 133:1-2 says How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.

The first verse is obvious when you realize that unity and community are synonymous in God’s eyes. The second verse refers to the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to see and experience the anointing of the High priest of Israel. They sprinkled other priests but for him they drench him with this special anointing oil that is only used in these occasions.

In other words authentic community with a few close friends gives off the same level of joy as the celebration of the anointing of the high priest. Pretty special in God’s eyes, and should be to us as well.

Be wise today and always – soak in God’s anointing in His community.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Unity



 Psalm 133:1 says: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  


“When brothers live together in unity,” is also call “community”. King David, the writer of this psalm, is speaking much more about living together in a tight, communal relationship than simply keeping peace and not arguing or having discord. 

This is God's desire for His church! It is not about just going to church, but about becoming the church. We need take a genuine interest in the lives of others.  We must care, share, and pray for each other every day.

Be wise today and always - live in unity.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Authentic Community



What does authentic community feel like?

Turn to Psalm 133

 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

This is a song of ascents written by King David, who experienced the power of authentic community in the company of close friends who were called, “David’s mighty men.” Psalm 133 is a song written about the power of authentic community.

I’ll break it down over the next few days. Read through it and ask God to illuminate its meaning as you seek to live in God’s authentic community.

Be wise today and always – experience God’s authentic community.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Purpose of Church



In my church we have started the 30 Day Church Challenge. Every one of the challenges will be related to one of the five purposes of the church. According to the first church found in Acts chapter 2:

The Five Purposes of the Church are to ...
a. Cultivate authentic community. b. Experience worship as part of your daily lifestyle. c. Take successive steps of spiritual growth. d. Practice personal stewardship. e. Reach out to the world around us.

The first is cultivating authentic community.
Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the fellowship.”
Verse 44 says, “They held everything in common.”
Verse 46 says, “They broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”

In other words they were all about authentic community and unity. Remember that the church isn’t a building you go to, it’s a family you belong to. 

Be wise today and always - belong to the community of Christ.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Success



Four components that we must use in our Christian walk, and incorporate in our lives to have success:

God’s Word
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:31-32

Our Unity
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. -Matthew 12:25

Our Obedience
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. -John 14:15

Our Love
Jesus said, By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35

Be wise today and always - grow in Christ

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pressing On



Life is tough! We have so many things that keep us from doing what God wants us to do. It seems we are so busy chasing the "good life" that we forget what is necessary for the "God Life"! Consider the following challenge from the Word of God.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:12-16

Press on believer! Keep your eyes up - where our true help comes from.  
Amen?

Be wise today and always - press on towards Jesus.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Growth

Let's look at the fifth reason that made the First Church so compelling?

5. They invited others to join them

If you loved church you’d invite others!

The church is where people get adopted into God’s family.
We are all called to be in the ministry of reconciliation.  

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Are you ready to “Be the Church”?

Be wise today and always - grow the church.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Show Up

Let's look at two more of the reasons that made the First Church so compelling?
 
 3. They took their spiritual growth seriously. 

This is the most important purpose, because the others hinge on this one.

The church is where you can become the best you - you can be.

Can you get better? Where do you start?

You must Show Up in order to Grow Up in the Lord.

4. They invested in positive priorities

What do you do with your time, talent, treasure?

Some sing, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!”
What do you owe God?

The church is where our time, talents, and treasure get invested for eternity
Where are you storing up your treasure?

Be wise today and always - grow in the Lord.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Devotion


Let's look at two of the reasons that made the First Church so compelling?

1. They committed to authentic community. 

We are designed to be in relationship.

The church is where you can experience relationships the way they were meant to be.

They “devoted” themselves.. The church is where you can be loved & accepted.

2. They gave God wholehearted worship.  

Do we show our appreciation for athletes more than we do God?

Romans 12:1-2 (proper worship is being a living sacrifice) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


The church is where God gets the glory He deserves.

Be wise today and always - give God all your devotion.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Original


 What Made the First Church So Compelling?

Acts 2:42–47 gives a glimpse of this new institution called The Church.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Does this look like your church?

Be wise today and always - imitate the original and don't settle for an imitation.

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Church


Forty days after Jesus rose from the grave He returned heaven. He promised His disciples and followers that they would receive a gift - the  Holy Spirit. We see this come to past in Acts chapters 1-2.

They called this new movement “The Church.”Peter preached the first sermon and 3,000 people believed in Christ that first day. Acts 2 is how God envisions His Church, not just in Jerusalem, but all over the world, including right in your church!  I believe this with all my heart.

How does a church become like that original church in Acts 2?

That church pursued five purposes that when implemented can make any church compelling, powerful and influential.  This is what God wants my church and your church to be like, too. It can happen starting today if we commit to pursuing the priorities the first church did.  

Are you ready?

Be wise today and always - be the church God wants us to be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kingdom


Two thousand years ago, a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus burst on the scene with a vision that has changed the world. Everywhere He went Jesus inspired the imaginations of many people by painting a picture of a spiritual and relational movement like none that had ever existed before.

Some would go without food just to be near Him. Others would travel miles to hear Him tell about a God who loved them personally. They thronged to hear Him teach about a phenomenon He called the Kingdom of God.” They found it hard to believe that God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation was for everyone.

For three years, Jesus Christ proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom and then He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, and murdered on a cross.  His followers thought the Kingdom-vision was dead. 

But three days later Jesus rose from the grave, and His Kingdom dream was as alive as He was. He opened their minds to see that the kingdom He had been teaching about for three years was not a political kingdom, but a far greater one, a spiritual kingdom—the rule of God in people’s hearts,

Does God rule in your heart?

Be wise today and always – accept Jesus in to your heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Church Revealed


Sociologist and statistics tell us that people who attend church regularly have lower blood pressure, happier outlooks on life, better marriages, less divorces, and longer lives! So you couldn’t pick a better place to be on Sunday morning.

The next few weeks I will be writing about this thing called “The Church.” I believe that the church is the most misquoted, misaligned, misattributed, misbelieved, miscalculated, misdiagnosed misheard, misunderstood institution on earth. In other words people miss what church is all about! I hope that through this study you will have a new appreciation for this institution that God loves so much. Acts 2:42–47  is part of the story of the very first church,- Tomorrow we’ll look at the rest of the story ...

Be wise today and always – learn and love God’s church.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Going to Church


One Sunday a man complained to his wife that he didn’t feel like going to church that morning. She said, “What are you talking about. Get out of bed and get going. Why on earth would you stay home from church?”

The man said, “I’ll give you two reasons. First, I don’t like those people. And second, they don’t like me.” His wife said, “Well I’ll give you two reasons you should go. First, you’re fifty-nine years old. … And second, you’re the pastor.” 

Well I'm a pastor, but I love going to church!  In fact I think that it's the best place to be. When we commit to being a regular participant and servant in the Lord's house good things happen. Try it and see!

Be wise today and always - go and stay in church.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church


I recently was reminded about a guy who complained to his mother that he didn’t feel like going to church that morning.

His mom said, “What are you talking about. Get out of bed and get going. Why on earth would you stay home from church?”

The man said, “I’ll give you two reasons. First, I don’t like those people. And second, they don’t like me.”

His mother said, “Well I’ll give you two reasons you should go. First, you’re fifty-nine years old. … And second, you’re the Pastor!” 

Regardless who you are sometimes we don't "feel" like going to church. There's lots of good reasons why we should go.Sociologist’s studies over the past twenty years show that those who attend church regularly have:
·         lower blood pressure
·         happy outlooks
·         better marriages
·         less divorces
·         and longer lives! 

The biggest reason to go is that you'll meet Jesus and His people there. I hope you have taken advantage of this Lord's day, and went to your church. There is no better place to be!

Be wise today and always - go to church!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is National back to Church Sunday. I think it's a pretty big deal. When I was growing up we had a special "high attendance" Sunday every April and October. It was always exciting to see what we were going to do to encourage our community to come to church.

These special Sundays have kind of fallen to the wayside in recent years. Every Lord's day is special for sure, but there is nothing wrong in getting excited and having one special day together. Thousands of churches across the US are participating. Just think, maybe this could be the start of a national revival!

So regardless if your church is "participating or not take time right now and pray. Ask God to lay on your heart who you can talk to today about joining you in church tomorrow. It could be a life changing experience for both of you. Amen?

Be wise today and always - invite someone to church today!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sinners

This coming Sunday is National Back to church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the United States will be welcoming visitors. Let’s look at why would someone want to invite another to church. We are told that we should share the love of God even with our enemies and those in sin. Let’s look at John 1:12–13, Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

 People who have been touched by God are so moved by him that they want to introduce everyone to him, including their enemies. All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Let's remember that when we are considering who to ask to church this week.

Who is God laying on your heart?

Be wise today and always - love the unlovely. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Introduce

This coming Sunday is National Back to church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the United States will be welcoming visitors. Let’s look at why would someone want to invite another to church. Let’s look at 2 Kings 5:1–3, Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.  Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.  She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

People who meet Jesus are so moved by Him that they want to introduce everyone to him, including those who don’t care about them. We need to have the same kind of compassion as this slave girl. Even in captivity she still believed in the power of God.

Who do you know that needs God's healing touch?

Be wise today and always - share God's love and invite someon to church.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sharing Christ


This coming Sunday is National Back to church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the United States will be welcoming visitors. Let’s look at why would someone want to invite another to church. Let’s look at John 4:28-41, and what happened after Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

You see people who meet Jesus are so moved by him that they want to introduce him to those they care about. The woman in story cared about the other people in her town.

Do you care about those in your community?

Be wise today and always – share Jesus with those around you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reasons

This coming Sunday is National Back to church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the United States will be welcoming visitors. Here are reasons why many of us go to church.


Reasons why I want to come to church.

1.  I want to grow.

2. I want to do what God says.

3. I want to be around people who sharpen me.

4. I want to live a longer life.

5. I want to train my children well.

6. I want to strengthen my marriage.

7. I want a better outlook on life.

8. I want rewards in heaven.

9. I want to be part of a cause that’s bigger than me, and I want to invest in something that will last for eternity.

10.  I want to come to church because more people come to Christ in church services than anywhere else on earth.

Be wise today and always - come to God's house and be blessed.
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to Church


This coming Sunday is National Back to church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the United States will be welcoming visitors. There is a Biblical precedent for this. Let’s look at the story in John 1:35–42, 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Right after Andrew found Christ he went and brought his brother to Jesus, and they became His followers. This is a great example of what all believers should do. Let’s take this lesson to heart and bring our brother, sister, family member, friend, co-worker, and neighbor to church with us this Sunday.

Be wise today and always – get back to church September 16th.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great Expectations


We are quick to tell God what we want, but how many times to we ask Him what He expects of us?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-11 7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Jesus tells us to: Ask, seek, and knock! Then we’ll receive, find, and doors will be opened. We just have to follow His plan.

God intends for us:
1. To have good gifts.
2. To seek Him.
3. To love the world in the name of Jesus.

It’s not about you, and it’s not about now.

Is your life all about Jesus, and His purposes?

Be wise today and always – it’s all about God and His eternal plan,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Decision


We all have a destiny to decide. We have to accept salvation through Jesus Christ, or be separated from God eternally.

Jesus makes it clear in John 13:20 - I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me."

Paul explains it further in 2 Timothy 2:10-13 -Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 

It is a matter of faith. Do you believe and give your life to Him? 

Be wise today and always - praise god for His indescribable gift of the Savior!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Duty


In Luke 12:4-9, Jesus tells us:
 
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 8"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 

Today contemplate these words of Christ, and apply them to your life.

Who do you fear and serve?

Be wise today and always - never be ashamed to love God.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Suffering


 Every believer has a determination to make when it comes to the question: Am I going to live my life for self or for Christ?

Look at what Jesus tells us in John 15:20 - Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

We are to be "little Christs" to the world around us. We should expect the same results that He had.

We are promised that as we serve there will be suffering. Philippians 1:29- For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.

Be wise today and always - be ready to suffer as you serve.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Workman


I was recently at a large church conference, and sat in a meeting with their HR director. He gave a nice exercise to use to measure the effectiveness of your staff.

I remembered Paul’s advise to a young Pastor, Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

The test to use is to make a graph. The left vertical line represents performance and the horizontal line is potential. You rate each one low, medium, or high. From these results you can find who has value and those worth investing in.

I think we should use this same kind of tool when it comes to our Christian service. Are we being productive for the kingdom? Would others think we have potential to grow and mature in ministry?

James says all believers should look in a mirror and be honest about their relationship with Christ.

Be wise today and always – measure up to God’s plan for your life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Moment


A recent trip took a little more patience that I was prepared for. The drive was a lot longer, 90 miles, twice the distance of my normal airport. It took over 20 minutes to find a parking spot followed by a 45 minute security line!

I had just enough time to get a cup of coffee before going to my gate, and no one was in line at the Duncan Doughnut. As I stepped to the counter the server turned and said, “One moment please”. I could have got mad but decided to laugh at my hurriedness instead. “In a moment” I was enjoying a great cup of java with a smile on my face. I thought later that a lot can happen in a moment - both good and bad.

The Bible gives us good news about what can happen in a moment.

In a Moment:
- Through Christ you can cross from hopelessness to hope.
- We can be taken from this life in to eternity with God.
-  Christ will return (In the twinkling of an eye).

Be wise today and always – take your moment with God today.