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Monday, August 31, 2015

Highly Friendly

I recently read an article on churchleaders.com on 13 Habits of Highly Friendly Churches. I want to share the highlights of their findings. We can all be better at being the church that makes God (and others) smile.
1. Highly Friendly Churches Have Highly Friendly Senior Pastors.
2. Highly Friendly Churches Have Highly Friendly Staffs.
3. Highly Friendly Churches Leverage Social Media.
4. Highly Friendly Churches Make Great First Impressions.
5. Highly Friendly Churches Create Comfortable Environments.
6. Highly Friendly Churches Passionately Serve Their Local Communities.7. Highly Friendly Churches Care About Those Attending Their Church.8. Highly Friendly Churches are Multi-Ethnic and Multi-Generational.9. Highly Friendly Churches Use Humor.10. Highly Friendly Churches Have Volunteers Who Are Glad to Be There.11. Highly Friendly Churches Care About the Things You Care About.12. Highly Friendly Churches Are Passionate About Getting Better.13. Highly Friendly Churches Make You Glad You Were There.

How we doing church? Fantastic I hope, but if not let’s get work. Amen?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Service Experience

At the Global Leadership Summit this year I heard I great presentation on being the best servant you can be. Desiring to be the servant God desires I bought the book he suggested, The New Gold Standard.  The teaching contains five leadership principles for creating a legendary service experience.

1. Define and Refinecommunicating the core identity and culture of your group
2. Empower through Trustselection, training, and empowerment of servers
3. It’s Not About Youfocus on others with empathy (can do attitude)
4. Deliver Wow!actions needed to deliver a great experience
5. Leave a Lasting Footprintaspire, achieve, and teach for a lasting impression

 I believe that these are wonderful principles for welcoming people in to the church. The ironic thing is that these principles are from the training manual for employees of the Ritz-Carlton!


A luxury hotel experience should not be better than what we offer at God’s House. Let’s focus on giving our best. Amen?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Serve with Compassion

To serve like Jesus we need to have a compassionate heart. Compassion is a special force that should never be minimized to a human feeling or emotion. Compassion was the centerpiece to the ministry of Jesus. It is also the key to our seeing miracles, signs, and wonders released in our lives and the lives of others.

Jesus went ashore and saw a great assembly. And He was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14).

Compassion is a heart motivation set toward an intense desire to see someone moved from a poor state of being to a significantly better state—mind, body, and spirit.
Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the crowds, because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). Many times we lack the compassion of God because we lose sight of who the real enemy is. The Bible says we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against unseen rulers and powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).

If we don’t get heaven’s perspective on this, we will fast and pray with the right endgame but the wrong heart and see no results. No miracles. No signs. No wonders. Like Jesus, the Pharisees also prayed and fasted regularly, yet they showed no signs of having been with the Father. They did not walk in the miraculous. They did not have compassion on the people.

Pray that God will give you a heart of compassion like Jesus. It will change the world.
Amen?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Year Round Harvest

God knows that we have a hard time following instructions. So, I'm glad He gives such clarity in what a Christ follower should do in this life. We are given a one word command - "GO"! Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Jesus

He spoke to His disciples and us about the need to share the Good News to a lost and dying world. In John 4:34-36, Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest '? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.… 

Where is Jesus calling you to GO today? Remember keep your eyes and heart open it's harvest time! Amen?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Church of Hope

The church in America is at a critical juncture. We've all seen it's decline in influence, functionality, and in numbers. We need to be the active "body of Christ" that we are called to be. Remember Bill Hybels famous saying that "the local church is the hope of the world"? Well, the rest of that quote is "when the church is working right". If something isn't working right then we ought to be seeking a repair.Let's look in God's Word about what the Lord says His church.


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. - Jesus (John 15:9-17)



Let us always be the church God wants us to be. Amen?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Courageous Leadership

Leadership is so important. When a leader gets better so does everyone around them. Courage is necessary to be the leader God has called you to be. After 40 years with a mentor named Moses it was tome for Joshua to become Israel's leader. Moses implored him to be strong and courageous, and so did God.


God wants you to depend on Him on not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.


Remember God is always with you do not be afraid of this world. Amen?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Faith Training

Jesus calls all believers to be faithful in their service to Him as we serve others. Faithfulness is defined as the concept of unfailingly remaining loyalty to someone or something and putting that loyalty into consistent practice, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Consider the following "faith" verses:

      “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” John 17:4    

      “The one thing required of servants is that they be faithful...” 
1 Corinthians 4:2 

      “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

      “He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians.” Hebrews 6:10   

      “'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!”   Matthew 25:21

Lord increase our faith. Amen?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Stepping in It

Stepping out in faith in God's service can be a bit unnerving. Even God's servants can have doubts and fears. The prophet Jeremiah is told that he must be bold: Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. - Jeremiah 1:8. We must be bold in our service as well.

Remember always that God is with you!

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  - Joshua 1:7-9

God is in the business of encouraging His people. Let's plug in to His power. Amen?


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lack Nothing

Today my church will be experiencing it's first Ministry Fair. It will be exciting to see all our different areas of service plus the opportunity to invite others to join in! We always need to be faithful to what God has called us to do and be about His purposes. Events like this are good reminders as is God's Word.

I love this quote by Matthew Henry concerning call and commission in to the Lord's service: Because he had no reason to fear the wrath of men if he were faithful; for the God whom he served would protect him, and bear him out, so that they should neither sink his spirits nor drive him off from his work, should neither stop his mouth nor take away his life, till he had finished his testimony. In today’s fallen world it is hard to be faithful. We all have problems. King David, a man after God's heart had plenty of them. Some were self imposed, but others were cast upon him. It was during one of these times that he wrote in Psalm 34:1-9:

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. - David

This is a great model for all of us. Even when we are facing a crisis or even death we should:

1. Tell of His greatness
2. Give Him praise and glory
3. Encourage others
4. Rely and trust in God
5. Know where your true salvation comes from
6. Fear God not man (or the things of this world)
7. Experience God in new ways (even in your pain and sorrow)
8. Accept his protection and provision
9. Be strong and courageous
10. Do not be afraid Christ is always with you

Always serve the Lord with a glad heart and all you got (heart, mind, body, and soul). Amen?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Thinking Right

Service starts in your mind!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)

Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes:
- Servants think more about others than about themselves.
- Servants think like stewards, not owners.
- Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.
- Servants base their identity in Christ.
- And servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Henri Nouwen said, “In order to be of service to others, we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others … thus we become free to be compassionate.”

When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

Imagine what could happen if just 10 percent of all Christians in the world got serious about their role as real servants. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people? 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Serving Others

We serve God by serving others!

“You can tell what they are by what they do.” Matthew 7:16 (CEV)

In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. Yet, it is possible to serve in church for a lifetime without ever being a servant. You must have a servant’s heart.

Notoriety means nothing to real servants because they know the difference between prominence and significance. In Heaven God is going to openly reward some of his most obscure and unknown servants – people we never heard of on Earth, who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after incontinent elderly, nursed AIDS patients, and served in thousands of other unnoticed ways.

Knowing this, don’t be discouraged when your service is unnoticed or taken for granted. Keep on serving God! “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” I Corinthians 15:58 (MSG)


Even the smallest service is noticed by God and will be rewarded. Remember the words of Jesus: “If, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.” Matthew 10:42 (LB)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Your Best

God deserves your best!

“Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be.” Romans 12:5 (MSG)

He shaped you for a purpose, and he expects you to make the most of what you have been given. Don’t let another day go by. Start finding out and clarifying what God intends for you to be and do.

Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. The best way to discover your gifts and abilities is to experiment with different areas of service. Until you’re actually involved in serving, you’re not going to know what you’re good at.

Consider your heart and your personality. This is simple - Paul advised, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” Galatians 6:4b (MSG)

Examine your experiences and extract the lessons you have learned. Review your life and think about how it has shaped you. Moses told the Israelites, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him.” Deuteronomy 11:2 (TEV)

Forgotten experiences are worthless; that’s a good reason to keep a spiritual journal. In Heaven we are going to serve God forever. Right now, we can prepare for that eternal service by practicing on Earth. Like athletes preparing for the Olympics, we keep training for that big day: “They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 (MSG)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Understanding

Only you can be you!

“You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (MSG)

God designed each of us so there would be no duplication in the world. No one has the exact same mix of factors that make you unique. That means no one else on Earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for you. If you don’t make your unique contribution to the Body of Christ, it won’t be made. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts … different ways of serving … and different abilities to perform service.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (TEV)

Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with. One of the most common excuses people give for not serving is “I just don’t have any abilities to offer.” This is ludicrous. You have dozens, probably hundreds, of untapped, unrecognized, and unused abilities that are lying dormant inside you.

Like stained glass, our different personalities reflect God’s light in many colors and patterns. This blesses the family of God with depth and variety. It also blesses us personally. When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you, you experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness.

You will be most effective when you use your spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of your heart’s desire, and in a way that best expresses your personality and experiences. The better the fit, the more successful you will be.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Shaped

You were shaped to serve God!

“Your hands shaped me and made me.” Job 10:8

Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on Earth. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry. Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Ephesians 2:10

God’s custom combination of capabilities is called your S.H.A.P.E.:
Spiritual Gifts

Heart

Abilities
Personality
Experience


Spiritual gifts are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers. Have you taken time to discover your gifts? An unopened gift is worthless.

Another word for heart is passion. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others. Figure out what you love to do – what God gave you a heart to do – and then do it for his glory.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Your Assignment

You were put on Earth to make a contribution!

“It is God himself who made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Ephesians 2:10 (LB)

You were created to serve God. “God has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10b (TEV) These “good deeds” are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes.

You were saved to serve God. Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just immediately take us to Heaven the moment we accept his grace? Once you are saved, God intends to use you for his goals. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.

You are called to serve God. The Bible says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT) Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important.


You are commanded to serve God. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?” Do you ever ask that question? One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Godly Service

Jesus came to serve man, and told His disciples that they were to do likewise. The greatest in the kingdom of God are those who put others ahead of themselves. Through our service we honor God and draw others to Him.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. -Psalm 143:10

But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. -Luke 22:26-27

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. -James 1:22-25

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. -Colossians 3:23-25

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul." -Joshua 22:5

May the Word of God guide us as we serve Him with all we got. Amen?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Five Change Words

People always say that you have to change to keep up with the times and culture. That’s great, but how does that look. What are some things we need to consider to grow and keep being the church God intended? Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. Consider these five words that can change your church.

1. Inviting... instead of recruiting
When someone is recruited, it brings to mind cajoling or convincing. It also implies action on the part of the recruiter, not on the part of the recruitee. Inviting describes a very different approach; one that includes intent and desire on the part of the equipee to serve, minister, and also to be released into service. 

2. Active Service... instead of volunteering
Asking people to join you in active service creates a partnership and promotes ownership of the work (ministry). When one volunteers, all that is required is to show up and complete a task. This leads to our next phrase:

3. Delegating... instead of dumping
While delegating is tough for some leaders, it is a necessary skill. It shares some level of ownership and responsibility with other people. This can be a little trickier, as levels of delegation may vary depending on the role, person, or importance. There is a greater risk that something could go wrong, which may be why we often hold back from true delegation and settle for dumping to-do lists on our volunteers.

4. Empowering... instead of authorizing
Similar to number three, empowering means you completely trust and release that person to "take the ball and run with it." Leaders who think in terms of authorizing, retain control over outcomes. True empowering lets go of that control, and trusts his team - and God - with the results.

5. Collaboration... instead of isolation

While many think of leadership as a "It's lonely at the top" sort of thing; in reality the essence of leadership is surrounding yourself with great people... and then to draw on their gifts and talents in meaningful ways.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Your View

The world is trying to force it's life view and discredit the Biblical worldview. Jesus has a lot to say on the subject. Consider His illustration in Luke 11:24-26,
 When a corrupting spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits dirtier than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place.”

The world applauds people who "get their lives together" and those who "clean up their acts". The problem is what do they replace their bad behaviors or problems with? Jesus says without filling those voids with God then you have set yourself up for an attack and find yourself in worse shape than you were in the beginning!

Fill yourself with God's Word. Through faith in Christ be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then be obedient.
Amen?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Determination

What you believe determines what you will do. This is a powerful statement on why we do what we do. It's also an indictment on our faith. We say we really believe in the Bible, but then there is not much evidence of it in our actions. Where is the disconnect?
 
One thing I am sure of is that the problem is never God! The problem is our lack of faith that comes in the form of doubt, closed eyes, pride, stiff necks, and hard hearts. 

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God, and obey it." - Luke 11:28

What do believe

Consider what the world sees you do, and then ask Jesus to help you get better. Amen?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Give It

I heard a new slant on a familiar Bible story at the GLS by Pastor Albert Tate last week. It just shows that God's Word is timeless and bottomless! We can keep mining it for those "nuggets" of wisdom all our lives. We've all heard the story about Jesus feeding the 5,000 from John 6:5-13;
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,  “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
This little boy shows up out of no where - gives up his lunch - and then disappears - and never referred to again. Hmm...
The great truth - the boy gave what he had and then got out of the way! 
Wow, that's a great lesson for all of us. So many times we just get in God's way, or try to control things. Next time let's give God what we have and let Him do what He does best. It will amaze you, and everyone else.  Amen? 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

God and Teenagers

Years ago a man named Paul gave his protege' some sage advice about living life God's way. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. -
1 Timothy 4:12

Our church Youth group has adopted this as a life verse for this year. It's a good choice. You know, we can learn a lot from young people. Their passion, energy, and willingness to serve can be contagious. Spend some time with a teenager this week. You'll be blessed by it.

This verse also gives great counsel to all of us (regardless of age) - watch your words and actions, love like Jesus, stay focused and make righteous choices with all you do.

Follow the plan -it will put a smile on God's face. Amen?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Use My Time

The Purpose Driven Life

Since life is preparation for eternity, 
I want to use my time on earth fulfilling 
God’s five purposes for me:

I was planned for God’s pleasure (worship), so
I will use this day to get to know and love God better.

I was formed for God’s family (fellowship), so
I will use this day to show love to other believers.

I was created to become like Christ (discipleship), so
I will use this day to make choices that grow my character.

I was shaped to serve God (ministry), so
I will use this day to serve God by serving others.

I was made for a mission (evangelism), so
I will use this day to share the Good News


“David served God’s purpose in his generation…” Acts 13:36a

*Declaration from the purpose driven life*

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary. How much pain and unhappy consequences could be avoided if we all learned the meaning of this word! 
King David shared some of the emotion
he personally experienced after he asked God to “wash me thoroughly
from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
Elsewhere he says, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1–2).
In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings. It will get us from Here to There!

Three areas we can grow in with forgiveness:
1. forgiveness from God,
2. forgiving those who have wronged us,

3. forgiving ourselves by putting our past behind us.

Today pray about what areas of forgiveness you need to give or receive, and then accept it. Amen?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

God and Others

King David had left to his son the plan, finances, and materials to build the temple. Solomon so desired to honor God and his father in succeeding as king and temple builder. It was up to God to help him on his quest. That night the Lord came to Solomon to provide the answer.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
His request was made a reality. God appeared to Solomon and asked him to ask for whatever he desired. His asked for wisdom and knowledge so that he would be able to lead God’s people,Israel, in a way that honored the Lord. God was so pleased the he granted it and gave him much, much more. He made Solomon the wisest, wealthiest, and most honored man ever!   - 2 Chronicles 1:7-12

Why did Solomon’s request for wisdom please God so much? I think it pleased him because it focused on God and others first. 
How do your requests make God feel? 
Are they focused on Him and others?

Friday, August 7, 2015

What To Do

I have a number of friends in the process of making pretty big life changing decisions. No one wants to make the wrong choice, and all want to be in God's perfect will. I shared with them a saying that has served me well for many years. 

"Be where God wants you to be, do what He is calling you to do"! I know it's kind of simple but it has been a big part of all of my big decisions. Location and vocation are big in living out God's purposes. He cares deeply about where we are at and what we are doing. So ask yourself these two questions:

1. Where does God want me to serve, live, or use my talents?
2. What can I do that would please God the most?

Remember: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11.

Don't forget to ask God His plans for your future. It's the best direction you can receive. Amen?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Hand Up

We see God’s protection in 1 John chapter 2 - “If anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the righteous One."
It is because of our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can stand before the Father and get to heaven. We would not stand a chance without Him.

There is a story about a poor boy many years ago who had heard that the great evangelist, Dwight L Moody, was going to be preaching for one night at a church way across town. The boy so wanted to hear him that he took off bright and early and it took him the whole day to get to that big church across town. When he got there he saw a big staircase leading to a big door. He made it up the stairs and as he was walking in the door a big hand came down and grabbed him, and said what do you think your doing? He explained that he had taken all day to get there a and he was there for the services. The big man said you cannot come in here looking like that so be gone!
The boy was crushed, but decided he had not come all this way to be turned back out to the street. So he tried the side doors, the windows, and all around the building, but could not find a way inside. He walked back to the bottom of the big staircase sat down and began to cry. He did not notice but another big man was standing in front of him. “What’s  wrong son?” he asked. The boy still sobbing explained what had happened. When he was through with his story the big man put out his hand, and said, “Take my hand and come with me”. He did and climbed the big stairs again, but this time the big door was opened and he was allowed in. He walked hand in hand with the man to the front of the church where the big man and him sat on the front pew. A few minutes later the service started , and the big man walked up to the pulpit as Dwight L Moody was introduced

Jesus Christ will do the same to us. We just have to put our hand in His! He will lead us to life everlasting. Amen?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why Am I Here?

Part 1 of The Purpose Driven Life asks a great question: WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR? We can start to answer that by getting the answers to three other questions.

1.  QUESTION OF EXISTENCE: WHY AM I ALIVE?

“Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, and settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.”  Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) I WAS CREATED TO BE LOVED BY GOD.

2. QUESTION OF SIGNIFICANCE: DOES MY LIFE MATTER?

“You... scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” Psalm 139:16 (LB) and "His plans endure forever; his purposes last eternally." Psalm 33:11 (GN)  I WAS MADE TO LAST FOREVER. “When this tent we live in – our body here on Earth – is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 (TEV)

3. QUESTION OF INTENTION: WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?

"Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding."
Proverbs 9:10b (LB) I FIND MY PURPOSE BY GETTING TO KNOW GOD. “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16 (MSG)

“It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for... part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)

“It makes no difference who you are or where you're from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.” Acts 10:35 (MSG)

Live for God according to His purposes for your life. Amen?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Church Matters


I heard someone ask the question, Does the church really matter?" It really got me thinking because in record numbers people leave the church every day. The Bible has something to say on this matter. I found one of those "minor prophet" verses that we probably never read or skipped over. It's God's Word to the church for all time, so we better listen to it. Amos 5:21-24 really talks about what matters to God: 

I hate all your show and pretense-the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. 

Whenever you see the word "justice" in the Bible it is usually in regards to caring for people's needs.Living a "righteous life" means doing it God's way.   

Imagine that?

God wants us to take care of others and live a Christ-honoring life - a radical concept by most standards of "church". By the way, church, He means do this every single day - not just on Sunday (or when the Pastor is looking).

Let's always be the church that matters to God. Amen?