Preach with Power

1/25/2006 8:44 AM

Title: POWER

S: Acts 1:8 NKJV  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[1] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

O: Power is a wonderful thing.  Power is a thing that truly takes control of the situation.  Milton was just coming down and talking to me about the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  That was about power too.  Jesus is here saying that power doesn’t come from ourselves but from the Holy Spirit. 

A: What power am I leaning on?  When it comes to evangelism/reaping, what power am I leaning on?  Is it the power of advertising?  Is it the power of the brochure?  Is it the power of the speaking?  Is it the power of the Holy Spirit?  I hope and pray that it is the Holy Spirit.

P: Lord, I pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon Jim, Shane and I.  I pray the Holy Spirit will come upon the community of Ft. Collins, Loveland and Windsor.  I pray the Holy Spirit to come upon the West Campus.  I pray the Holy Spirit will come and prepare the soil, prepare the hearts and minds of people, and prepare us to give them a message of hope. 

Lord, I don’t want to make this a time of preparation of doing everything right – although I want everything to be right.  But more than that, I want to make sure that it is all bathed in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised us that when the Holy Spirit came, we shall be His witnesses.  But first we had to receive the power. 

Lord, send me the power.  Send me the power of the Holy Spirit on my life.  Send Shane the power of the Holy Spirit.  Send Jim the power of the Holy Spirit.  Make us your instruments to share a message of power that will change lives.  Please, Lord, come in and make us like you.  Please come in and fill us with the Holy Spirit.  Please come in and make us like you.

Leading through my fears

1/14/2006 8:10 AM
Title: FEARFULNESS AND LEADERSHIP

S: Genesis 34:30-31 NKJV Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have
troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land,
among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number,
they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be
destroyed, my household and I.” (31) But they said, “Should he treat our
sister like a harlot?”

O: I find it interesting that some of the “GREATS” in the Bible are some
of the most fearful at times. Israel (Jacob), the father of the nation
is one of those people. Later we read about Joshua being fearful a lot.
But here, Jacob, is fearful of meeting his brother. He’s so fearful that
he wrestles with God all night long. Now, his sons have done something
honorable, but Jacob can only think of his fear of being wiped out by
the surrounding nations.

Where does that fear come from? I think of Abraham and Isaac who told
lies because of their fears. I think of Moses’ fear of speaking and
leading. I think of Joshua’s fears of leading into the promised land and
conquering it. I think of Peter’s fears of admitting he was with Jesus.
I think of David’s fears of his son Absalom. I think of Elijah’s fear of
the queen Jezebel and running away after Mt. Carmel.

Where DO these fears come from? Each one of these men were great leaders
in the Bible. Each of them had fears. It says to me that leaders must
lead through their fears. In other words, just because you are afraid,
doesn’t mean you aren’t a leader.

A: I’m afraid of moving the church to a new location – namely a school
setting. I’m afraid that the west campus won’t grow. I’m afraid the East
Campus has settled in and is comfortable. I’m afraid that I don’t be
able to take the church to the next level. I’m afraid that I am not the
right guy.

I’m afraid I won’t be strong enough to do my mom’s funeral. I’m afraid I
won’t be able to become a better speaker. I’m afraid that I won’t raise
my kids to honor God as well as I could.

I have a lot of fears. But my biggest fear is that I would turn
someplace else to deal with my fears than to God. I want to be the kind
of man that turns to the Father for my help in times of need. I don’t
want to run away. I don’t want to run to stuff, to computers, web sites,
people, etc. I want to be the kind of man that turns to God to deal with
his fears.

P: Lord, I ask you into my heart. I ask you lead me to walk with you. I
give you my fears. I give you my desires. I give you my ideas and I give
you my strength. Please guide me to walk with you. Please come into my
heart and fill me with the Holy Spirit.

My Mom’s Death

1/13/2006 4:15 AM
Title: MOM’S DEATH

My mom died today. The actual death was 1:10am. We went up there at 7pm
to see her. We didn’t really expect to stay very long simply because we
were expecting to bring her back here to our house on Monday of this
next week. But when we got there, we came to the very real conclusion
that this was likely the end. I sent Gary and Text Message and we talked
that way some until he got out of his Small group. I called Dad and he
got back up there about 10:30pm. Gary arrived about 1:35am – so about 25
minutes after my mom died.

She had pretty laborious breathing and didn’t really recognize us at
all. We did see early on in the evening some following with the eyes and
at least recognition of movement. We are unsure if it was recognition of
us or not – we don’t think so.
We finally got the kids to lay down and everyone approaching sleep by
11pm when I finally lay down on the sleep sofa that they have in the
rooms. I slept a little, very little. Finally, I couldn’t take the noise
– my mom’s breathing, gasping and even choking. I got up and went down
the hall to a waiting room and just got a few minutes of peace and quiet.

When I came back into the room, I sat down beside my mom and held her
hand and finally saw her struggling and I got up and rubbed her forehead
as well. She finally breathed her last.

Seth, Gail, Dad and I were in the room (so were Summer and Kinsee, but
they were sleeping). The nurse was right there to verify the death and
we cried and sent another TM to Gary. Later I tried to call, but he
wasn’t answering…. They arrived about 15 minutes later.

When we finally were all together we talked, we laughed, we cried, and
when we finally left, it seemed really final. We didn’t want to hang
around any more, but we also knew that once we left, it was over
forever. I will NEVER get to see my mom again. At least not until Jesus
comes.

Lord, come quickly. Please come and comfort my dad. Come and take us all
and hold us all. Please fill us with the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for my mom’s life. Thank you that she stayed together in the
marriage. Thank you for cub scouts and for Room Mothers. Thank you for
birthday parties and birthday presents. Thank you for kisses, and for
long talks after dates and when I was on school breaks. Thank you for
packing later into the night before I left for Africa. Thank you for
opportunities, challenges, and for my mom’s work on molding and shaping
my character. Thank you for the way you led her to love. Thank you for
her love. Lord, thank you for my mom. I love you, Lord.

I love you a lot. I loved her a lot. I always will, Lord. Please help me
to grieve in healthy ways. Please help me to grieve in a way that brings
you glory, not myself. Please protect me from evil. Thank you for my
mom, for my dad, and for my wife. Thank you for the way you’ve led us.
Thank you for speeding the whole process up so that my mom didn’t have
to suffer at all. I love you, Lord. I will serve you, Lord.

Succeeding through Obeying

1/8/2006 7:25 AM

Title: OBEY FIRST, SUCCEED SECOND

S: Genesis 22:2 NKJV  Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

Genesis 22:7-12 NKJV  But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!"

And he said, "Here I am, my son."

Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"  (8)  And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.  (9)  Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.  (10)  And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  (11)  But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!"

So he said, "Here I am."  (12)  And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

Genesis 22:17-18 NKJV  blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  (18)  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

O: This has always been a fascinating story.  If I heard some voice in my head, or even in person, telling me to take Seth and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah, I don’t know if I could do it.  He made Isaac carry the fire and the sticks for his own funeral.  I’ve often wondered what Sarah would have said – did she even know?  We’ve always quoted, as Adventists, Isaiah 8:20 NKJV  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  Yet in the 10 Commandments, it says, Exodus 20:13 NKJV  "You shall not murder.

Was this voice from Heaven speaking AGAINST the word of God, or not?  How can a person tell?  I’ve always said that the way Abraham was able to tell was that he recognized God’s voice and no imitation would make it happen differently.  But could Satan make his voice sound just like God’s?  Could the very elect be deceived?  How do you tell?

A: As I sit here thinking, it comes to me that there are certain things that I must do:

  1. I must get into the word daily
  2. I must do more than just the LIFE Journals, I must actually get into a deeper study
  3. I must make God my first and last priority in life – above family, friends, work, etc.
  4. I must assure that I am part of the elect

In other words, this is not a matter for Christianity-Lite, but for Christianity-heavy.  I must make sure that I am putting God first, growing with Him, relying upon Him for my day-to-day decisions and I have to listen and obey Him.  Look at the last verse in this scripture reading - (18)  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

God says that the reason Abraham passed the test was because he obeyed God.  Obedience is a big factor.  And it’s downplayed so much in today’s world.  I think much of the story of Abraham up to this point is telling about his success in following God and his failures in doing so.  Now, this is put to the final test.  But although I believe Abraham had some major failures, his life was trending towards Heaven.  And when this one came along, it was only natural that he continue to obey and follow God.

P: Lord, that’s the prayer of my heart.  I want to obey and follow.  I want to be a part of you and your family.  I ask you into my heart and I ask you to make me a man like you.  Please take my life and make me like you.  Please fill me with a desire to listen to you.  Please cleanse me.  Please forgive me.  I am a sinner.  I’m full of pride, selfishness and anger.  Please forgive me and cleanse me.

Quit Arguing with God and just follow!

1/7/2006 6:37 AM
Title: ARGUING WITH GOD

S: Genesis 18:15 NCV Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I didn’t
laugh.” But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”

Genesis 19:16-21 NCV But Lot delayed. So the two men took the hands of
Lot, his wife, and his two daughters and led them safely out of the
city. So the Lord was merciful to Lot and his family. (17) After they
brought them out of the city, one of the men said, “Run for your lives!
Don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Run to the mountains, or
you will be destroyed.” (18) But Lot said to one of them, “Sir, please
don’t force me to go so far! (19) You have been merciful and kind to me
and have saved my life. But I can’t run to the mountains. The disaster
will catch me, and I will die. (20) Look, that little town over there is
not too far away. Let me run there. It’s really just a little town, and
I’ll be safe there.” (21) The angel said to Lot, “Very well, I will
allow you to do this also. I will not destroy that town.

O: It’s amazing the things we will say to God. Sarah flat-out lied to
God. Oh my goodness, how can anyone actually do that? Lot is being told
by God – or at least his angels – to leave and get out of Dodge. He
delays. He’s dragging his feet. He doesn’t want to go, but he
begrudgingly follows. Then the angels’ say – go there, and Lot says, I
don’t want to go there, can I go over there?

A: It sounds like me sometimes. Dragging my feet. Not wanting to do what
God is asking me to do. My goodness, what am I thinking about. I want to
get to the place where I have obedience first.

That’s the principle that is expounded in “Child-Wise” and the books
accompanying it. First obey, ask questions later. Lot didn’t know it.
Abraham didn’t know it. Sarah didn’t know it. I don’t know it. Sheesh!
How do we get to the place in our experience that we follow God no
matter what he says – if it sounds strange, if it sounds harsh, weird,
or wrong? Am I willing to obey no matter what?

P: Lord, I pray you will continue to teach me. I pray you will continue
to lead me.

Psa 3:8 Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your
people. Selah

You have promised blessing to those who belong to you, Lord. You have
promised blessing to your people. I want to be among that crowd. And
that crowd are the people who follow what you tell them to do. That
crowd are the people who follow you no matter where you go.

Luk 7:35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”

When I look back at Lot, I see a picture of someone who’s children were
not wise – but it all came from Lot himself. He thought he was wise, but
it showed very much in the lives of his daughters that he was not wise.

I want to see my children raised in wisdom. I want to see my children
raised in a way that makes sense to them. I pray, Lord, for your wisdom
to overtake me. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut, not talk back to
you and simply listen to your wisdom, then follow it.

I commit myself to you, Lord. I commit myself to you and I will follow
you. Please guide me. Please lead me.

Trending Toward Heaven

1/6/2006 7:29 AM
Title: TRENDING TOWARDS HEAVEN

S: Luke 6:45 NKJV A good man out of the good treasure of his heart
brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his
heart[7] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his
mouth speaks.
Genesis 15:6 NKJV And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to
him for righteousness.

O: Abraham believed what God told him and because of his belief, he was
counted among the righteous. God had just told him that his descendants
were to be like the stars in the sky – too numerable to count. Abraham
had NO kids at this point in time and he was 86 years old! But he still
believed. His trust and faith in God were pretty strong.
Along with that verse we see that in Luke 6, a good man brings forth
good and a bad man brings forth bad. It’s like a seed – plant an apple
seed, get apples, plant an orange seed and get oranges. There’s no other
choice.
BUT…along comes this next verse:

Luke 6:1-5 NKJV Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first[1] that He went
through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain
and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. (2) And some of the Pharisees
said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the
Sabbath?” (3) But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read
this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
(4) how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and
also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the
priests to eat?” (5) And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord
of the Sabbath.”

Jesus appears to take into account situational ethics. I mean, he
basically said, “Yea, David did was wrong, but it was okay at this one
time. Yea, we’re breaking the Sabbath, but it’s okay right now.
Now that could be a whole discussion, that I am not ready to get into.
My point in bringing that up is this: Abraham believed God and was
counted righteous because of his belief. But how deep did his belief go?
Just a couple of chapters before this Abraham became a pimp and gave his
wife to Pharaoh so that he could save his own life. Then the next
chapter after this, Ishmael is born – when Abraham took his belief into
his own hands.

I guess I see this basic thing going on. The great people of the Bible
were not perfect. Not at all. Abraham lied, gave his wife as a whore to
Pharaoh, and later took a slave girl to be his wife so that he could
have a son. David was a murderer, liar, and cheat, but God said he was a
man after His heart. Peter denied Christ. Paul had an anger problem.
There is story after story after story about all this.

Being that they were not perfect, it gives us a picture of what
righteousness is really like. Perhaps God looks at the trend of the
heart, rather than each individual instance. It seems like Ellen White
says something like that too, but I just can’t find the quote online
right now….

“Our characters are not to be weighed by smooth words and fair speeches
manufactured for set times and occasions; but by the spirit and trend of
the whole life.” {RH, August 16, 1892 par. 3}

A: The individual instances of my life are not worth retelling. The
trend of my life is toward God. I think we all should be trending toward
heaven. My friend Milton asks his congregation – which way are you
trending? I think that’s a very valid way of looking at things. I think
that’s a very good way to take a look at things and to discover things.
Which way am I trending?
Luk 6:21 NKJV …Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.

The last two days I wrote about my mom dying. Yesterday when we went to
see her, she clearly was much better. We’re yet to see things happen.
We’re yet to make things happen. But it appears as if she isn’t dying in
the next week. The roller coaster continues. But in this passage, God
gives me a promise – if you weep, you will also laugh. In other words,
God will renew the heart. God will renew the life. God will bring joy again.

P: Lord, I want my life to be part of you. I want my life to be on the
trend towards heaven. I want to be fully submissive to you and to your
leadership. Please take my heart today. Please guide my life today.
Please fill me with the Holy Spirit, I pray.

I ask you to come in and change who I am. I would like my life to trend
towards heaven even more. If I am 55% trending towards heaven, make me
aim for 65%. If I am trending 65% help me trend more like 85%. In other
words, Lord, don’t ever let me think I have arrived or that I am good
enough. I think that when I begin to do that, I begin trending the wrong
way.