Thursday, July 31, 2008
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." -Psalm 27:14
Hearing and doing God's will are two important steps that often get confused as one step. However, these are two distinct processes. When we hear God's voice, this is only 50 percent of the process. The next important step is to know when to move. It is one thing to hear; it is another to know when to act.
There was a time when the Lord showed me I was to write. This was a major change in my life from what I was doing. As I began to write, I attempted to find a publisher for my work. This became a real frustration. I encountered many false starts, and many well-intentioned people wanted to assist but their efforts resulted in further delays.
Finally, my wife asked me, "Os, have you completed the book you are working on?" "No," I replied.
"When you complete the book, God will provide a publisher if He has called you to write. You need to complete the book."
A few months later I was in discussions with a publisher about my work. They were going to be in my city and wanted to meet with me. The day we met they offered me a contract on my book. It also was the exact day that I had completed the book. I thought back to the words my wife had said.
Corrie ten Boom was a prisoner in the German Holocaust who lost her sister in the concentration camps. She tells a story about her father taking her on trains. She always wanted to get the ticket from her father ahead of time. He never gave her the ticket until she was about to get onto the train.
God is always on time. He is never late, and He is seldom early. Ask God for the wisdom to discern His will and His timing for the events in your life.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
"So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field with a team of oxen. . . . Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and walked away again." -1 Kings 19:19
What was Elisha doing when Elijah called him into the Lord's service? Was he walking around saying, "I wonder if God ever will do anything in my life?"
No. He was busy. He was plowing a field.
You will find this pattern throughout Scripture. The people God uses are people who are faithful with what He has put before them. The people God uses in big things are people who are faithful in little things.
A lot of people of think that, one day, they would like to perhaps dedicate their lives to Christian service. They say, "I would like to go to another country and maybe become a missionary."
That is great, but how about serving the Lord where you are right now? Do you think that some mystical thing will happen the moment you step onto foreign soil? Seize the opportunities around you today.
If you want to go to a foreign land where people speak a different language, I know of such a place. The people indigenous to this region are small of stature and hard to understand. They try your patience. They are called kids, and the mission field is called Sunday School.
When we are busy looking for distant opportunities, we might miss the ones that are right in front of us.
Are you serving the Lord right now with what He has called you to do? If so, be faithful in that. Hang in there. Do it well. Do it as unto the Lord. He sees you, and He will one day reward you openly.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
"Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." -Hebrews 4:7
An attorney was trying to deliver an important paper to a man who was determined to avoid him. The man reasoned that the attorney had some type of subpoena, so he went out of his way to dodge him.
Fourteen years passed, and the man found himself in the hospital, dying of cancer. Through a strange series of events, the attorney was admitted to the hospital and was assigned to the same room as the dying man.
The man turned to the attorney and said, "Well, I've escaped you all this time, and now it doesn't matter. You can even serve your subpoena. I don't care."
The lawyer replied, "Subpoena? I was trying to give you a document that proved you had inherited $45 million dollars!"
Many people go out of their way to avoid Christians and the opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. All the while, their hearts grow harder, and they risk becoming calloused to the point of no return. We don't know when that point will come in their lives. Maybe you even know someone who seems as though they have reached it.
We can take heart when we look at the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. It was so radical and unexpected that when it happened, first-century Christians thought he was attempting to infiltrate their ranks and persecute the church even further. They didn't believe that God could save someone as wicked and hostile toward the church as Saul.
But we know that Saul became Paul the Apostle.
If you know someone who seems so far gone and permanently hardened toward the gospel, keep praying. You never know. That person just might be the next Paul.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Lord, embrace this place, draw me near to your heart, hold me close to your chest, don't let me go...I long to see Your glory. Let me see Your face oh Lord. Amen!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." -Matthew 16:16
As we look over the pages of history, it's interesting to read the statements that have been made about Christ.
Pontius Pilate said, "I find no fault in Him." Napoleon said, "I know men, and Jesus was no mere man." Strauss, the German rationalist, said, "Jesus was the highest model of religion." The French atheist, Renan, said, "He was the greatest among the sons of men." Theodore Parker said, "Jesus Christ was a youth with God in His heart." Robert Owen said, "He is the irreproachable one."
Yet all of these titles and descriptions fall short of identifying Jesus for who He really was: the Son of God, God in human form, the Messiah.
Many today would describe Jesus as a great moral teacher. But in his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis responds to such a statement by saying that if this were the case, then Jesus was either a lunatic or a devil. He goes on to say, "Let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
We don't have the option of saying that Jesus was a great moral teacher. How could He merely be a teacher and say the things He said with His exclusive claims of divinity? And what about saying He was the only way to God the Father? Certainly, that would be wrong if it were not true.
So Jesus really leaves us only two choices: to either accept Him, believing that He is indeed God the Son, or to reject Him. But to say He was a great man or a religious man is simply not an option.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Here are are my four main playlists that I usually listen to on a regular basis...yes I listen a wide range of music...different genres for different reasons.
Here are my four main playlists...
New Music (New Downloads)
Here are a few of the songs in those playlists top 10 or so...again, it is not a complete list of songs in those list just a smapling of what I am listening to.
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Believe - Staind
It Was Faith - Puddle of Mudd
The Pretender - Foo Fighters
What I've Done Linkin Park
Lightning Crashes - Live
It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down
Never Too Late -Three Days Grace
Beat it - Fall Out Boy
Africa - Toto
Pork and Beans - Weezer
Gone - Fuel
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
I Get It - Chevelle
Left Side of the Brain - Fiction Plane
Believe - The Bravery
No Turning Back - The Beautiful Republic
The Good Left Undone - Rise Against
Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold
This Is It - Staind
Control - Mute Math
Pain - Three Days Grace
Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
Zombie - The Cranberries
Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
It's Not Over - Daughtry
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Your Touch - Kutless
Fake It - Seether
Lead Me to the Cross - Hillsong United
Deliver Me - David Crowder Band
Overcome - Desperation Band
Unveil - Jeff Deyo
I Will Overcome - Charlie Hall
From the Inside Out - Hillsong United
God of Justice - Tim Hughes
Mighty to Save - Hillsong
Solution - Hillsong United
Grace Like Rain -Todd Agnew
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) - Chris Tomlin
Breathe You In - Thousand Foot Krutch
Breathe - Christy Nockels
Awesome God - Hillsong United
Holy Is the Lord - Chris Tomlin
Beautiful the Blood - Fee
You Are God - Among Thrns
New Music (Recent Downloads) Albums & Artists
The Sound of Madness - Shinedown
O.A.R. Live from Madison Square Garden - O.A.R.
Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bendingfield (The Bonus Track of Unwritten is AWESOME!!!)
Where the Light is (Live) - John Mayer
iTunes Live - REM
Viva la Vida-Coldplay
To Know That You're Alive-Kutless
Live Cult Marquee London - The Cult
Mute Math - Mute Math
iTunes Live From Soho - Counting Crows
Yes, I am listening to a wide range of music. I have to say I am loving the Counting Crows iTunes Album and O.A.R. Live, and Mute Math, definitely recommend those albums.
I have also been listening to Jon Foreman(Fall, W inter, Spring, and Summer), Virginia Coalition and Alex Mejias, check these artist out as well. Great stuff!
So what are you listening to, what would you recommend? Love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
Friday, July 25, 2008
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." -John 3:19
The Pharisees of Jesus' day were not simply doubting the work of God; their hearts were filled with unbelief.
They did not reject Jesus and His Messiahship for lack of evidence, because He had fulfilled so many Old Testament prophesies. They did not reject Jesus because His lifestyle was inconsistent with His preaching, because He was absolutely perfect.
Even Pilate, as he was preparing to condemn Him, said of Jesus, "I find no fault in Him." Judas Iscariot, His betrayer, said, "Truly I have betrayed innocent blood."
These religious leaders rejected Jesus because He interfered with the way they had chosen to live. He was a threat to their lifestyle and to their religious system. In spite of all their rhetoric and claims of interest in spiritual things, they were not really searching for the truth. Nor were they searching for the Messiah. Otherwise, they would have embraced Jesus.
You see, the Pharisees' rejection of Jesus Christ was but a reflection of every person who intentionally rejects Him. People do not reject Jesus Christ because they have examined the evidence and concluded He is not the Messiah.
Most people I talk to who say they are not Christians never have read the Bible. They haven't even read the Gospel of John from beginning to end. They never have carefully examined the claims of Christ. People don't reject Jesus Christ because of the hypocrisy of some inconsistent people.
People reject Jesus Christ because He is a threat to their lifestyle.
They don't want to change. They want things left as they are, because they hate the light and their deeds will be exposed.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Thursday, July 24, 2008
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant." -1 Corinthians 12:1
Through the years, I have made my periodic trips to the gym to get back in shape. On one such occasion after I joined a local gym, a trainer took me on a tour to show me the various machines and how they worked. (Some of them are a little difficult to figure out these days!)
One thing the trainer mentioned especially caught my attention. He explained that it is important to work out every part of your body so you have a balanced physique. To fail to do so, he said, causes imbalance. A person needs cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training.
As the trainer began to describe the importance of balance and how the entire body needed exercise and needed to be trained for good overall performance, I began to think about the body of Christ. We, too, need overall balance. And in our own personal lives as Christians, the key is balance.
In Romans 12, we find that God has distributed gifts of the Holy Spirit into the lives of believers for the benefit of the whole church. Because of the abuse of some, many have recoiled from these wonderful gifts that God has given. Some have seen the excesses and those who have gone too far in one direction with these gifts, and they think, "I don't want anything to do with that kind of activity."
However, you can go too far in the other direction as well. The gifts of the Spirit are real, and they are available for Christians today. Not only should we be using them in our lives, but we also should be seeking the gift or gifts He has placed in our lives.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
As I reflect on the past several days, I want to be careful of my words...I don't want to make things appear bigger or dramatic than it was and at the same time I don't want to minimize what I went through.
What happened to me was very scary...I felt pain I never experienced before and I hope never experience it again.
On Sunday afternoon, after service I had so much pain pain in the left side of my face (it felt like my face was being squeezed tightly) I also felt a tingling numbing sensation in my arms and pretty much the left side of my body felt weak. Thank God for David Russell, Lisa Overman, Juliet Main, and Dave Hickox (I owe you all so much) who were there at the office and helped me through the initials stages. For few hours I don't remember what happened. I do know I was given great care by the paramedics, GWU Hospital emergency room staff and later by the nurses and staff on the stroke unit at GWU hospital.
What I went through was a mini stroke or TIA Transient Ischemic Attack, a TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke.
TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes. The average is about a minute. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there's no injury to the brain.
So I am very fortunate it wasn't anything worse and thankful that God did not allow me to go through something more severe. Again, I appreciate the team of doctors and nurses who helped walk me through this time.
EDIT***Through all the tests that I went through, there was no damage done to my brain, or arteries/veins...I believe due to so many praying and God's healing power. The doctors are not (this is what I should of said, but was typing to fast) sure what caused it...just possibly a small blockage that eventually pushed through or broke down.
Today, I am fortunate to be home and plan to relax. I am hoping tomorrow to jump back into the swing of things and get back to doing what I love to do.
I give God praise for getting me through and I will do whatever I can to prevent this from happening again.
Again, thanks to each of you for all your love, prayers, support and encouragement...it means so much to both Lora and me.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
-NCC Summer Leadership Summit (Sat. Morning)
-Lunch meeting with Small Group Team Leaders (Sat. Afternoon)
-Saturday night/Sunday morning Weekend Worship Experience prep (Sat. Afternoon)
-Greeting two missions teams that are in town (Sat. Afternoon)
-Saturday Night Service (Sat. at 5:00)
-Communion during our Weekend Worship Experience (Sat. and Sun.)
-Three Sunday service (Sun. 7:45am-1:30pm)
-Baptism By the Bay at Sandy Point State Park (Sun. 2:30pm-8:00pm)
An awesome weekend ahead...looking forward to celebrating, worshiping, hearing vision, and seeing God move in amazing ways (not necessarily in that order). God meet us this weekend and allow Your Glory to move this weekend.
Friday, July 18, 2008
On September 6, 2008, Convoy of Hope will roll into Washington, D.C. as hundreds of volunteers roll up their sleeves and serve those in need in our community. Browse through the pages of http://www.convoydc.org and learn more about this incredible event.
On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 7pm, Convoy of Hope (http://convoydc.org) is hosting a Vision Casting Meeting for pastors, businessmen, and organizations in the Washington, DC area for the 2008 Washington, DC Convoy of Hope on September 6, 2008 (http://convoydc.org). The Vision Casting meeting will be at Christ our Shepherd Church, 801 North Carolina Avenue SE Washington, DC (near Eastern Market Metro Station) and is a part of the Week of Justice (http://weekofjustice.org). We will also hear from Central Union Mission (http://missiondc.org), one of the most effective homeless shelters in Washington DC.
A Convoy of Hope outreach is a multi-church one-day special community event designed to meet both human and spiritual needs of impoverished families. On average the event partners Convoy of Hope with 1,000 local volunteers to serve around 10,000 guests. Outreaches give hope by providing 80,000 pounds of groceries, health and dental screenings, free haircuts, games and activities for children of all ages. Connections are established through job fairs, churches, government agencies, and community service organizations.
The is a great outreach opportunity that you and your church can partner with churches, businesses and other organizations in the Washington Metropolitan area to meet the needs of the poorest in our community.
We would love to have you and others in your church that might be interested in joining us as we cast vision and plan for this amazing outreach event on September 6th.
Any questions email - email@example.com
Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. -Daniel 12:3
I heard the other day that the average American will spend 15 years in front of the television during his or her lifetime. Can you imagine 15 years of sitting in front of that box, clicking away? What a waste of life.
On the other hand, the Bible speaks of many rewards in heaven for the person who faithfully serves the Lord during his or her lifetime, and even speaks of crowns that will be given. In fact, I think we might be shocked when the awards are presented in heaven.
We may expect them to go to all the big names that we know. But just imagine if most of the awards were given to someone named Maude Firkenbinder. You hadn't heard about her. She never pastored a church. She never recorded Christian music. She never wrote a book. But she used the gifts that God gave her. Maybe God called her to be a person of prayer. Maybe she labored in obscurity somewhere. But God saw her faithfulness and rewarded her openly.
When you get to heaven, what will you have to show for your life on this earth? Every man will be tried. Every woman will be tried. All of your accomplishments will be evaluated when you stand before Christ.
It is not so much a judgment for sin, but a judgment of time that was spent in a worthless way. Did you have more passion or excitement for your career or for a sport or for your possessions than you had for the things of God?
It will all come to nothing. Wasted hours. Wasted days. Wasted years.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' " -Matthew 7:22-23
Today we have people who seek experience for the sake of experience, wanting to have what they think is a touch from God. We have self-proclaimed prophets who give their messages and proclaim their visions, but are rarely held accountable for the outcome.
We must be careful. On one hand, we don't want to limit God through unbelief, because we want Him to do His miracles in our lives. On the other hand, we simply cannot believe everyone and everything.
I believe in miracles. I believe in the supernatural. I believe God can heal. But we cannot seek experience at any cost. Experience must always be subservient to truth. It must always be ordered under what is right.
We cannot say something is true because we have experienced it. Rather, we should know something is true because it is found in Scripture and it verifies our experience.
In the Book of Acts, we never read about a miracle that was announced ahead of time. When God used Peter to heal the man at the gate Beautiful, we don't read that it was advertised beforehand: "Be at the gate Beautiful today. Miracles! Signs! Wonders! Don't miss it!"
They never announced miracles in advance, because their focus was not on miracles. Their focus was on proclaiming the Word of God. They left miracles up to the Holy Spirit.
We must be especially careful in these last days, because not all miracles come from God. Remember, Satan is a great imitator.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
We may look with some envy on first-century believers who seemed to have miracles as part of their daily lives. Certainly, there were dramatic miracles that took place during their time.
We read of great things happening, such as the man at the gate Beautiful who received the ability to walk. Peter was released from prison by an angel. A woman was raised from the dead. We can look back on that time with some fondness and say, "Those were the good old days."
Realistically, though, I think we should recognize that the Book of Acts is a record of what God did over a 30-year period. As we read it, it almost appears as though miracles happened every 12 minutes. But the truth is that it's a record of miracles that took place over a long period of time.
Some Christians may think that if they could perform a sign or miracle for the unbelievers they know, then they would believe. But here is the sign they need to know about: what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
It is the preaching of the cross that will make the difference. "We preach Christ crucified," Paul said. That is our message. That is what we have to say.
Paul said, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Though I believe in miracles and hope to see more in my lifetime, one thing will never change: the simple message we must proclaim.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." -Matthew 12:38
Would miracles make more people believe? Would unbelievers become believers if they were to see a bona fide miracle?
The scribes and Pharisees' demand for a sign prompted Jesus to give them some of His most solemn and searching words:
"An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. . . . The men of Ninevah will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here." (Matthew 12:39, 41)
Jesus' response seems rather harsh. After all, here were some individuals who were simply asking for a miracle. He had performed many of them. What's one more? Perhaps that miracle could have brought them to faith. Why didn't He grant their request?
The answer is that Jesus always looks at the motives behind what people say and do. He is far more interested in what is going on in our hearts than what is coming out of our mouths.
As He looked in their hearts, no doubt He saw the real reason behind their request: They wanted to destroy Jesus. Matthew 12:14 tells us that the Pharisees "took counsel against Him, how they might destroy Him."
Jesus died on the cross for them and all of humanity, and rose again from the dead, because we all were separated from God by sin. That is the message Jesus essentially was giving to the Pharisees. That is the message He essentially is giving to us.
It is the greatest sign of all. It is the ultimate sign.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Monday, July 14, 2008
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." -Psalm 42:11
It is not unusual for even the most spiritual people to have their days of doubt.
Moses, on one occasion at least, was overwhelmed by his circumstances. After he had listened to the constant complaining of the children of Israel, he basically told the Lord, "I'm fed up. Just kill me. I don't want to deal with this another day."
Elijah, after his contest with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, heard that Jezebel had put a contract out on his life. He was so overwhelmed by his circumstances, so discouraged, so uncertain, and so filled with doubt that he said to God, "Take my life."
Even the great apostle Paul had moments when he was discouraged. He wrote to the church at Corinth, "We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life" (2 Corinthians 1:8).
Jeremiah, the great prophet, faced it as well. He was ridiculed and harassed for giving out the Word of God. Because he was tired of the pressure he was facing, it made him want to stop giving out God's Word altogether. He said, "The word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, 'I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name' " (Jeremiah 20:8--9).
You are not the only one who has ever faced doubt or uncertainty, or has been perplexed as to why God did not work in a certain way. We may be in the midst of God's work and can't see the big picture as He can.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
Saturday, July 12, 2008
We enjoyed great food and a lot of it which included but not limited to lobster tail and shrimp, steak and key lime pie in Key West. We also enjoyed great entertainment with several stage shows on the ship which included stand up comedy, a Latin musical and dance show and my favorite a Tribute to the 80s musical, which had incredible break dancers.
We had an amazing time, kind of wish we did a seven day cruise instead of a four day cruise. We absolutely loved it and would definitely do it again.
Here are a few pictures from our time.
Brother, Dad, and Myself
Monday, July 07, 2008
"John the Baptist, who was now in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 'Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?' " -Matthew 11:2--3
Have you ever had something happen in your life that caused you to say, "Where is God?" No less than the greatest prophet who ever lived, John the Baptist, faced this struggle.
John had put it all on the line for Jesus Christ. He had baptized Him in the Jordan River. He pointed his own disciples to Jesus, whom he believed was the Messiah. John had clearly pledged his complete loyalty to Jesus.
Yet a strange series of events took place after that. One moment, he was out preaching to the multitudes and baptizing people. The next moment, he was in prison.
The great John the Baptist began to entertain some doubt. So he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, "Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?"
Jesus' disciples and John commonly believed that Jesus would establish His kingdom then and there. But they failed to recognize that before Christ would establish His kingdom, He would first come to suffer and die for the sins of humanity. John misunderstood the prophecies of Scripture, and therefore felt that Jesus was not doing what He was supposed to do.
Sometimes we, too, misunderstand God and His Word when He doesn't do what we think He should do or when He doesn't work as quickly as we would like Him to. But even when we cannot understand God's ways, His methods, or His timing, He still asks us to trust Him. And He is trustworthy.
Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries
However, after 5 1/2 hour delay at BWI Airport, a 2 1/2 hour plane ride, a 25 minute wait in baggage claim, and a 10 minute cab ride we finally arrived at the Courtyard Marriot in Ft. Lauderdale.
Tomorrow at 1:00 pm, we head out of Miami on a cruise for 4 days with my parents, my brother and sister in law to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.
Can I just say...Let the vacationing begin???
I am tired and have been awake since 5:30am Sunday morning. Love you all, but good night...
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Make Us Doers
-This weekend, we continue the One Prayer series, One Prayer is based around the question, if you had one prayer for the church at large what would that prayer be?
-Don’t you appreciate this series so far and the prayers that have gone out for the Church…Make Us Prayerful, Make Us One, Make Us Generous, and Make Us Dangerous…all these things are about action and doing.
-As we enter this hybrid weekend at each one of our locations. The one prayer that is on each campus pastor’s heart is that God would Make Us Doers. God has called us to be doers of His Word.
-Let us take a look at our passage for this weekend James 1:19-27. You can also follow along on the screen…
****19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But 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.
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
-In our world and especially in this city and the culture we live in today we are great talkers, poor listeners, and not very good at being doers…how about a little less conversation and a little more action.
-Before we dive into this message, one of the many things that I love about God’s Word is that it is full of doers, men and women of action…individuals who have done great things…as I meditate on Scripture, my prayer is let me be like those people. Let me be a person of action.
-A cliché that rings true…Our actions do need to speak louder than our words. We need to turn down the volume on what we say and amplify our actions.
-Pastor Mark often says,” we are far more educated than our level of obedience. We know what to do, but are we doing it?”
-Watchman Nee, an amazing author, once made a powerful statement. He said, "all knowledge is the outgrowth of obedience; everything else is just information." that is, you can believe the truths taught in the Bible, but they will remain just information until you obey it. Once you obey it, then it becomes knowledge. When it becomes knowledge then it becomes a blessing
-My greatest heroes are those that are doers. Those that I honor and respect the most are people that are proactive with their faith.
-Each weekend here at NCC we have so many people who are doers, I have the honor of serving along side these individuals. Our volunteers who faithfully serve each week, most behind the scenes are my heroes.
-I want to mention one group people in particular that I consider heroes. They are doing In Service ministry each weekend…people like Michael Florence, Kellen Dicken, Tyler and Lydia Lund, Sarah Shapack, Elizabeth Schloesser…lives who are making a difference making an impact by not just hearing God’s Word but they are on the frontlines each week doing it. They are sharing the Good News in a practical way. They inspire me to live out my faith in broader way. In my opinion, they are living out Matthew 6.
-Doers are people who make a difference, they are people who inspire, and they are people who influence…Lord, MAKE ALL US DOERS!
-Here is an observation - I have never heard anyone saying my favorite athlete is the one at home watching the game on TV, or the one playing Madden on Playstation 3. We have the tendency to say the one who is actually out there on the ball field or on the golf course or on the basketball court or on the ice rink are our heroes, the one that are actually in the game, involved and doing it.
-This weekend, I want to challenge and help you to get out of your seat and into God’s story and become doers. I want to encourage you to push back on your excuses.
-I believe each of us are a part of God’s production, we each have a part to play. We hold our own copy of the script and our ears practice the art of listening, we listen to our cues for our turn to speak, our turn to act, and our turn to obey.
-When we step into God’s story and begin to be doers; God’s story becomes more than static history; becomes more than white noise; it becomes living history. God’s story becomes our story, not through unengaged recollecting, but by diving in, by getting plugged in, by getting involved, simply by becoming doers and experiencing God’s Word in action in and through our lives.
-The biggest catalyst of me becoming a “doer” and getting involved in ministry is
****Jeremiah 1:4-9- The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
****SMy Personal History and Story****
…before we can truly become doers we need get rid of all excuses and doubt and learn to rely on God’s strength, provision, and anointing for us accomplish those this that he has called us to do for His Kingdom
-I do not want one of my regrets to be at the end of my life, that I did not do enough for the Kingdom of God. That I did not do enough…
THIS WEEKEND, LET US LOOK AT SOME ACTION STEPS THAT WE NEED TO MAKE US DOERS…
Doers Pays Attention Through Listening…The Hear God's Word
-We so often when listening we let things go in one ear and out the other
-As we lead by lstening, we must be receptive to and accept God’s Word
- In my opinions some of the best leaders, doers and people of change are great listeners…they might not be the best communicators…but when the rubber meets the road these people are great listeners and people of action.
-I feel that this passage of Scripture was written for husbands, when I say husbands I am really saying me. How often in the middle of a fight, if I just stop and read this passage, the whole trajectory of the argument would change.
-Verse 21 …”to humbly accept the word” means to welcome the word in our lives, to be receptive of His Holy and Powerful word.
-I believe as doers, when we listen we learn, learners are leaders.
-The word "listen" in Greek is the word for "auditor". If you audited a class in college you didn't take it for credit, no tests, no responsibility, no research. You were totally relaxed. You just listened, you didn't have any intention of applying it. We have a lot of auditors in the church. They come to church, walk in, hear the word of God, walk out with no intention of ever being changed.
-We need to practice the art of listening. There might be a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth. Perhaps, we need to double our listening capacity versus our talking capacity.
*****Another Action Step For Doers…
Doers Puts Action behind What They Hear…by Accepting God's Word
-I believe we need to take responsibility with what we hear and what we know.
-I feel that sometimes we have to be good news before we earn the right to preach the good news.
-United States Air Force did a study and found that we forget 95% of what we hear within 72 hours. This statistic could cause a pastor to go insane if we let it. We spend all week preparing a message to give on the weekend. By Wednesday you've forgotten 95% of what is said unless you've written it down. James says, “Receive God's word with the right attitude, reflect on God's word by reading it, reviewing it, remembering it.” But even that's not enough.
-Too often we hear what needs to be done or what we should do even in the context of our own prayer time that we get calloused to it and we don’t do anything about it.
-We need listen to the call, answer it and take action.
-Doers are a people of action…doers get things done
-Doers, when they hear God’s Word say, I must do something about it, I must act on it.
-As Christ followers we are called to act on what we hear.
-I love this quote by the Hall of Fame NFL coach - Vince Lombardi
-Two types of sin:
-Sins of Commission
-Sins of Omission – This what happens when don’t do the things we are called to do
-As we live out our faith the perfect law of the grace and love of God it guides what we do and what we say.
-Our faith and actions must work together, we cannot have one without the other
-In verse 23 - James uses an illustration here. God's word is like a mirror. The purpose of a mirror is to evaluate us. We use mirrors to evaluate ourselves. We look in a mirror to assess the damage from the night before. Then we do something about it. What good is a mirror if we don't do anything about what we see? God says a mirror reflects what we're like on the outside. God's word reflects what we're like on the inside.
-I feel like often we get like that with the basic disciplines of our faith, we forget the things like meditating on God’s Word and prayer…
-Here is a question we need to ask ourselves…As Christ followers are we reflecting the same attitude that Christ Himself lived out?
-What are you going to do about what you already know?
- James says it's self-deception when we don't let what we know change us. We think that just gaining content is making us spiritually mature. The test of maturity is not knowledge. The test of maturity is character. A lot of people have great Bible knowledge. I need to practice it, apply it, put it in my life.
-And knowledge increases responsibility. The more we know the more we're accountable for. What am I doing about what I know? Jesus said, "To whom much is given, much is required."
- I don’t believe we can walk away from mirror of God’s Word without be changed and transformed by it.
-I also don’t believe as we can walk away from the mirror of God’s Word without it affecting how we live our life through our actions.
The Final, Action Step For Doers…
Doers Practice the Word…Simply Just DO It
-It is the perfect law of God’s word put into practice that transforms and sets people free.
-It was not until I started living out, practicing God’s Word in my journey that I began to see my life set free and transformed.
-We have a core value here at NCC, “Don’t let what is wrong with you. Keep you from worshipping what is right with God.” I think the same can be said when we practice the Word of God in our life, don’t allow what is wrong with you keep from practicing and doing God’s Word in Your life.
-Until I started to practice and doing God’s Word, I really didn’t have a love people and care for the spiritual needs of others. To be honest, I couldn’t people. Even though I had major issues in my life, I started to understand God’s Word and started to put those things I was meditating on and reading about into practice.
-This is when my attitude and motivation began to change...and I started having a heart for people and to serve them.
-Doers are motivated by love for God and love for others
-The motivating factor for us to be a doer of God’s Word is because we love Him and as Christ follower we have this desire to practice and to live out His Word in our life.
Matthew 22:37-39 – Is a great motivational passage…
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
-If we are motivated by our love for God, we are going to live in such a way that displays that love and pleases Him.
-We will not allow ourselves to be corrupted by world, but instead we will live our lives with Character and integrity.
-Romans 12:1-2 gets at the heart of it by saying… 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[ I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
-Doers live life with intentionality. We are intentionally living out the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 –
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
-James brings into focus one the fruits mentioned…self control.
We need to have control or a tight rein on our tongue. I think so often this is the hardest thing to have control over.
-The other motivating factor is a love for others and caring for their needs the way we love others is by acting on those needs.
-Matthew 25:34-40 sums what it means to love others and care for their needs…
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’
- So what are few of the ways you can know that you are Practicing the Word of God you have…
- A controlled mouth.” "If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless."
-A clean mind. "refusing to let the world corrupt you." Spiritual integrity.
-A caring heart. "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress. Social concern, a caring heart.
-James 2:14-18 (THE MESSAGE) - Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department."
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
-The practice of our faith is done through our works. We cannot have one without the other. Our Faith is synonymous with practicing and doing God’s Word.
-Personal Story - Growth in my faith and start of my ministry journey began when I didn’t just listen to what God was speaking to me, I stopped making excuses for myself, started doing and practicing God’s Word in my life.
Make US DOERS!
That is genuine Christianity.
What is James asking of us? He's asking… "What are you going to do about what you already know?"
What are you going to do about it today?
*****Let me ask you, what conversation have you had and done nothing about? What things have you verbalized and haven’t followed through with? What God ideas do you have that you are not doing? Where is God calling you to go and you are not going?****
Practically, what can you do? What is the next step? You can start by serving. Getting involved. You can get plugged into one of our ministries. You can go on a missions trip – Thailand in October.
****What are ways you can become a doer? In your bulletin there is a NEXT STEP card, where you can make some easy practical steps that to become a doer.***
We have several weekend ministry opportunities you can get involved in here at NCC.
Ways you can get involved in Convoy of Hope
· Budget of 150k dollars
· Leadership team needs for Medical, Connections & Food Prep
· Support and Donations from local businesses
· Volunteers for Day of outreach.
****Baptism by the Bay announcement – Following God’s Word and getting Bapitized a next step in being a doer in your faith.****
Don’t pray about it…just do it!
THIS WEEKEND LET THIS BE OUR PRAYER…
Make a difference, make an impact – MAKE US DOERS!