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Category Archives: Encouragement

He will fight for us and Himself.

As we looked at a snap shot of Peter’s life Sunday we saw how when under pressure Peter returned to his default and fought. When a mob came to arrest Jesus, instead of Love, Peter responded with aggression and hostility fighting for Jesus. Jesus corrected Peter showing him that Peter didn’t have to fight on Jesus’ behalf but that rather Jesus was more than capable of fighting for Himself. Beyond that scripture tells us that Jesus is not only capable of fighting on His own behalf but that He is willing to fight for us as well when it is appropriate. The most important point from the sermon is that we don’t fight people but rather we fight Satan and we love people, even the really unlovely ones. But even when fighting Satan Jesus will fight for us we don’t really have to do it alone, though we do have a responsibility in the matter.

Romans 16:20 tells us that: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

God will fight on our behalf, He will crush Satan and  He is going to use us to do it, at least some times. God wants to use us, to do great things in this world. It is our responsibility to allow God to put us where we need to be so that we are properly positioned to be used.

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Bible, Encouragement, Sermons

 

Mobilize and Educate

The church has typically educated then attempted to mobilize often with poor results in the mobilizing aspect. The Bible teaches that we are to mobilize and while people are in motion on mission active in living out their faith. We are then to educate in the process. Education after all is not a destination at some point in the distance. It isn’t that on day we will be educated, mature, discipled believers but rather that discipleship, that Christian maturing, is a continual process.

It is much easier to steer a moving vehicle then one that isn’t moving.

Jesus said I send you out as sheep unto wolves then I will give you what to say. Matthew 10:16-19

We don’t have to know everything in order to be effective in evangelism or reaching this world. What we have to do is be authentic and love people just as Jesus did. To provide a safe place for people to share their lives. Accept people as people who are loved by God yet struggle with sin, just like us. Jesus didn’t wait to teach everything he had to teach to his disciples before he sent them out. Jesus apparently sent then out in the middle of them being his disciples.There is a story of Jesus sending his disciples out and them coming back with a man who had a son with a demon. The demon wouldn’t come out for the disciple but it did when Jesus called it out. The disciples tried first then brought the man to Jesus when they couldn’t.

This is why being in a mentoring, discipleship relationship is important. Not because we need one on one education but because we need one to one discipleship, we need to have someone we can ask questions to as things happen, in the midst of struggles. This is why Life Groups are so important at New Life. It is a group of people to share struggles and triumphs with. A group of people who celebrate and support us and that we in turn do likewise.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Church, Community, Encouragement, Life, Sermons

 

Furtick’s Haters

Steven Furtick is a hugely popular preacher. He is pastor of Elevation church in Charlotte NC, where he is lead pastor of a church of 8,000+ persons and has seen thousands come to faith in Christ over the churches short history. I believe largely because of his success in ministry and his youth Furtick has received many accusations in regards to his genuineness. I can’t say I know everything there is to know about pastor Furtick or elevation nor do I have a desire to. And I won’t say I endorse everything he says because their probably isn’t a person on this planet that I would endorse everything they say. However, what I will say is two things 1) I believe that Furtick is not a heretic and does preach the gospel. I believe that Furtick is a genuine Christian with a genuine love for scripture and people and desires to see the two connected. 2) I believe what Jesus said in Mark 9:40 ‘For he who is not against us is for us.” and that he was right.

With that being said watch this video from Furtick addressing those that have accused him:

Call me weird but I really do believe that we are all in this together, Christians that is. If one ministry or one church or one pastor or one person is successful it is not our job to point out how they aren’t perfect or how I would have done it differently. It is our job to celebrate some more people in the kingdom, or more orphans placed, or more hungry feed, or more Christians discipled  Why aren’t we celebrating and more importantly working with each other. I know that a large reason for this is denominations and I am no fan of denominations in a general sense. I believe they serve some good purposes but they also serve to bring much division. However, I believe that the Evangelical Free Church of America has it right on at least one point of their distinctives. They state that:

The Evangelical Free Church of America embraces a humble orthodoxy in partnership with others of like faith.

We believe in the spiritual unity of the Church though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like, precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit.  Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians. Check out there statement of faith to see just how humble their orthodoxy is. They are foundational and that is about it.

They are right and Furtick is right. It is time for us to stop “Hating” each other and start loving each other for the sack of the world. It is time to stop negatively pointing out how every other church isn’t like us and start celebrating the diversity of the work that God wants done. I would like to call on all those reading this blog. All those at New Life and around the world to be known by your love for other Christians. To be labeled as the church and the people who work with other Christians to see this world changed. Plenty of Churches say they would work with others if a situation came up and will if there is a big crusade or something. That is not what I mean. What I mean is we ought to start seeking out how we might partner with others. To deliberately search for opportunities to unite the body of Christ. I want to see more and more and more partnerships that don’t find differences but seek out similarities in the same missions to see people saved, lives changed, and the kingdom of God grown and strengthened.

We are in this together, lets start acting like it.

 

Worshipping Who?

I would like to bring together two ideas of current events. We are preaching a sermon series on “Why Church?”. What is the purpose of our church? We have concluded that all churches should have the same purpose. We are to DCOW, right? Discipleship, Community, Outreach, and Worship are the four purposes of all Bible believing churches. Daniels latest message was on worship. We are to worship God, not just on Sunday morning, not just during the praise and worship music, but rather we are to worship God 24/7. Daniels questions in his last blog got me to thinking. The questions are elementary at first glance. What do you have to worship God about? Why do you worship God? What do you have to worship and praise God for? These and the other questions kinda slid through my mind without any real answers.

After some thought, I had to ask myself another important question. Who do I worship? Who do you worship? Your answer and mine is, “God, of course”. What if we would record every word spoken from us today. Record the whole week while we are at it. Now, listening to the playback, let me ask again. Who do we worship? All the complaining, bellyaching, critical, discontented, dissenting, fretting, grumbling, lamenting, moaning, murmuring, resentful, weeping and whining that we would hear! Now I know we would hear some true worship as well, but would it be proportional?

My point is this. Daniel preached on worship Sunday. It is the Christmas season. Can these two thoughts be linked? Read Matthew 2:1-2.

 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to WORSHIP Him.

Friends, just as the wise men had to seek after Jesus, we must as well. We have to purposely seek after Him daily. We must watch our negative speech and attitudes and be mindful to bring honor and glory to God our Father each day. Each moment of each day! If we aren’t careful, we will be doing just the opposite. We will give credit to the enemy and not our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us worship the true King!

“It is a wonder how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow-men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.” Helen Keller

 

 

PRAY

“Obama Triumphs” is the headline on USA Today. To be honest, I am a little disappointed I guess. But to be completely honest, It doesn’t really matter. Obama or Romney, they are both the same. The same? How can I say that? Same sex marriage, abortion, and many other issues are important to me, because they are important to God, but don’t fool yourself into thinking one candidate is any better than the next. The big wheel of politics is rolling and most, if not all, soften their stance on religious issues when in office. Men and women elected forget their roots and say and do what they think will win favor with the voters.

Now, with that, what are we to do? Pray! Pray and humble ourselves. God made a promise to the Israelite people in the Old Testament and it is still valid for us to pray today.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This Sunday at New Life we will conclude our sermon series on prayer. Let me encourage you to take prayer seriously.Come this Sunday to church. Come to God on your knees asking and believing. Ask for forgiveness of sin, for yourself and for our nation. Pray that the name above all names, Jesus, will be glorified regardless of who is in office.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Church, Encouragement, Events, Life, Prayer

 

On our honeymoon Rebecca and I were able to visit two great churches in Florida. I love visiting other exciting churches. It really gets me pumped up to see what God is doing in other churches and I just can’t wait to get back to ministry and see what God is going to do at New Life when I see him working somewhere else.

The Journey Church in Fernandina Beach Florida is one of those exciting churches that we got to visit and who’s story and method really got me thinking and excited about ministry here at New Life. The pastor of this church had lived a normal, non-pastoral, life. He worked in business and I believe owned his own company. Then as a grown man with a family God called this man to be a pastor. He served at at least one other church until God lead him to plant a church in the area where he grew up. The church has grown rapidly, and in there current location they have seen exceptional growth. They are in a shopping center and they have continued to grow so that as other tenants have moved out of the center because of the bad economy, Journey Church has moved in.

But I don’t want to share just about the church I went to on my honeymoon, I want to share with you the message of the church I heard and learned from that Sunday I was there. The big phrase to remember from the sermon, at least that I got, was that “God doesn’t call us to do but rather to be”. God doesn’t call us to do morality, he calls us to be moral. He doesn’t call us to do evangelism, outreach, or missions, but to be a witness. This idea of doing over being goes beyond actions and even motivation but hits the root of perspective and value.

The preacher noted that what you value will determine what you do. What takes precedent, what fills your mind, what fills your time? What you do is important because it is a direct reflection of what you value.

Adult discussion:

  1. What do you value?
  2. What does your life as a witness say about what you value?
  3. Where is your emphasis? If you have the opportunity to share Christ or something  “Fun” which will you choose?
  4. How can you change your values? Practical steps.

Family Discussion:

  1. What does it mean to value something?
  2. What does God want us to value most?
  3. What are some things we do a lot? What does that show we value?
 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Church, Encouragement, Missions

 

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Ellen and I claimed these two verses some 26 years ago to be ours. Not that you can’t have them as well, we just decided that Proverbs 3:5-6 would be ours for our married life together. Many times over the years we have claimed them to each other as well as praying them to the Lord in times of need. They have been a comfort and provided strength to us. To fully understand these verses we need to look at them in context. We are told in the verses preceding this text to keep the law and commands of God. We are told to have mercy and truth. Verses 7 and later say not to be wise in your own eyes, depart from evil, fear the Lord, and in doing so it will be health and strength to us.

This seems on the surface to be a list of do’s and don’ts, but it isn’t. These verses represent a heart issue. If you love the Lord with all your heart, if you want to walk with Him daily in a love relationship, then these verses come naturally. Faith is active. Trust must be continual. Gods way is always best. Gods way is always right. And listen friends, Gods way is always the very best thing you can do. Stop putting God on the throne of your life Sunday morning just to knock Him off Monday. If we know Gods way is best, why do we insist on doing things our own way?

Trust in the Lord. Give Him the first fruits, which means “serve Him first’, no matter what.

 
 
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