Monday, July 30, 2007

God Was In The House

Spectacular! Not close enough, but as close as I get get to describe how God really worked at our kids VBS. Last year we brought in an evangelist to do the kids crusade, and they did an awesome job. But this year, our team really felt led of the Lord to do it in house. We really didn't have the experience of doing a VBS or Kids Crusade, so we planned it out as a long Sunday School lesson for children.

It came off with a BANG. We had more attendance than we planned on (God always oversupplies when He is in it, besides that's a good problem to have), and every adult that committed to help showed up (see above). The last night we had corny dogs and sodas and invite the parents and had a great turn out.

A big Thank You to all the First A/Gers who came through. Not only did the kids have an encounter with God, but it was great to see how God used each of you in different ways to make this an event to repeat and do better.

To quote the Mercy Me guys, I can only imagine how God is going to bless not only the children, but all of you who gave of yourself to show them the love of Jesus. Well done, good and faithful folks!!

Friday, June 15, 2007


When the President appoints an ambassador to a foreign country, that person becomes his personal emissary . The ambassador is expected to represent the President in all things, and communicating to the host country the beliefs and policies of the President and the nation. In no instance is the ambassador to interject anything that would be contrary to the stated ideas of his or her country. But the ambassador is expected to do this according to the culture and mores of the host country. In other words, he or she is expected to communicate the ideas of their country in a culturally relevant and meaningful way, without compromising the policies. Failure to communicate in a way that is understood is a failure to explain ideas and a failure to bring countries to your way of doing business.

In 2Cor. 5:20, the Apostle Paul tells us that as believers, we have been appointed ambassadors for Christ. That means that we are instructed to go and communicate the policies of Him who appointed us. And if we are to be effective ambassadors for Him, we have to be able to explain the love and saving grace of God in a way that is heard and understood. The church can be culturally relevant without compromising or watering down the Word of God. When Jesus talked to the woman at the well, He first established a relationship and then told her of the Good News He brought. We would do well to learn from Him.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Didn't See Him Doing It This Way

Remember in Acts 12 when Peter is in prison and God miraculously releases him the night before he was to go trial? It took Peter a while to recognize God was doing a good thing, and he wasn't dreaming.

Then when he goes to John Marks house, little Rhoda goes and tells all the "church folks" God just answered their prayers. And they told the servant girl she was out of her mind. Now here God does what everybody asks Him to do, and nobody can recognize the results of His answering their prayers. I would never miss God on something so obvious as that. Famous last words. Confession is good for the soul. And all those other sayings.

It's been a while since our church has had any sort of youth group. I'm not really sure why, but in the three years we've been here there just hasn't been one. So my wife and I have been praying that God would send folks with youth, just send youth, or how ever He chose to do it, but we felt burdened for the youth of our city. There are churches in town with good youth groups, but there is still a great harvest in the field.

Last Tuesday as I was walking over to the sanctuary, there were three guys skateboarding the ramps around the entrance. I jokingly asked them if we built a half-pipe on the back parking lot would they come to church on Wednesday night and help me reach out to some of the other neighborhood kids. They half-heartily said yes, and they had plans for a simple ramp they wanted to build. I told them the church would buy the lumber if they brought me the plans and let me take a look. Of course they told me they would be back Wednesday.

Well Wednesday came and went, and no plans. I really had given up by lunch on Thursday. Later in the afternoon I was in the sound room trying to trace down a wayward mic, when in walks six guys, all with skateboards and one carrying plans.

I had ask God for something, and He provided. But because He did it in a completely "out of left field" way, I was like the disciples who didn't believe Peter was at the door. I just did not see it happening this way.

The half-pipe is under construction, and I am looking forward to our first in a long time youth service on Wednesday night. Gotta build some relationships, so pray for a 54 year old novice skateboarder. It's a great ride when God puts it together.

Friday, June 1, 2007

What Language Do you Speak?

Have you ever thought about if people really understand you when you talk to them? Like it or not, we all filter things through our own cultural sieve, and things that don't go through the mesh of our filter will be strained out.

Paul was in Athens in the 17th Chapter of Acts, and had an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a group of "intellectuals" who worshiped every god but the Right One. He spoke to them on their level using their logic and even used an empty shrine to their unknown god to share the gospel with them. Paul spoke to them in the language of their culture, and still did not compromise or change the message that Jesus id the only way. He didn't trash their way, he explained Jesus.

I wonder if we are learning from Paul. Rather than us tear down, we should build up Jesus and let Him to the remodeling. In 1 Cor. 9:20-23 Paul says that in order to gain people for the Lord, he spoke to people on the level they were on.

The world is looking and listening. The church is supposed to be where they can turn when they need answers. If we don't understand the question, or can't formulate an answer they understand, are we really doing what we were left here for?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Do You Listen and Do, or Just Listen?

It is truly exciting to watch God work. It is an often forgotten truth, that if we will get out of the way and allow Him to work through us, we can go to and experience things that we could never do in our own strength. If we could just get over this idea of having to try and "help" Him to what needs to be done (after all, we want the same thing He wants, right?), and just be the vessel He uses, life would be so much simpler.

A young couple has been attending our church for a year or so, and God has clearly put a call to ministry on their lives. But the call of ministry can often times be the hardest thing to answer. "Not me, how can the Lord use me after all that I have done in the past?" If that was the criteria for ministry, there would be a whole lot of empty pulpits.

They had been seeking the Lord as to if the call was real, or just the emotional ramblings of the local pastor. They asked that God reveal to them His will in the matter, and unbeknownst (is that really a word?) to me, I was a part of the sign they were asking God for.

Well, without going into details, their call has been confirmed to them. It is so cool to be used of God, especially when you don't even realize it. I just did what I felt God would have me do, without even being aware that He was confirming things to them through a completely unrelated matter.

We have the opportunity to serve God in some truly spectacular ways. It may be that He will use you in a way you were not even expecting. But you have to listen to His call, and then do. If He is calling and you listen but don't do, you aren't fulfilling His call on your life. It will take faith and trust to follow Him. It always has, it will until He takes us home. Listen. And then do. He has already been there and prepared the way.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ready to Move

I am more convinced than ever that we are on the verge of seeing an awesome move of God in the Church. The more time I spend in His presence and being lead by the Holy Spirit through His Word, I really feel that He is going to use some available vessels to do some mighty things in this world. Things that are going to be so spectacular that they could only come through a supernatural move of God.

We have to be ready when the move begins. If our lamps aren't full of oil and the wicks trimmed be will miss being a part of this move. God is calling us to be ready. This coming move can be a spectacular opportunity to reach out to those who will see but not understand the things happening around them. But only for those who step out in faith and seize the moment.

So be ready. Unload everything that could keep you from being a part of what's to come. Be prepared to show love to the unlovable. Be open to what He asks you to do. You may be called to do something completely different. Get in the River and flow!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Need Some Power?

Power...Some people spend their entire life trying to get more, often at the expense of other people. It becomes an addictive drug that can cause people to say and do just about anything to get more.

But believers have an inexhaustible supply of the greatest power source ever imagined. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians that God can do more than we can ever imagine (Eph. 3:20a). The interesting thing is that that is where most folks stop. They don't read the rest of that verse that says God will do more than we can imagine,"according to the power that works in us." (Eph 3:20b).

Paul is telling us clearly that God uses the power that is in us, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. In Acts 1:8 God told them to the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Holy Ghost. When that Power came upon them in Acts 2:4, they were suddenly a Power source that God could use to radically change the world. That Power was inside them and they could be vessels used by God to do more than they could ever imagine.

It's still available today. And God is looking for vessels that have that Power source so He can use them. Let Him use you. Get and stay full of the Holy Ghost. Be a vessel that He can work through. You have absolutely nothing to lose...except not effecting the world around you.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Commitment...Is It Really a Bad Word?

Commitment...It's a word some people seem to want to shy away from. Don't want to be tied down to anything. Really like my freedom. I want to be able to come and go as I please.

Some church folks are that way. They don't want to make a full commitment to the Lord. "Jesus, I want to follow You while I'm at church on Sunday, but come Monday when I have to go back to work, You just might have to take a back seat to all the other things I face during the week."

Won't work that way. You won't make it, and He isn't going to be a part of something like that. Paul us tells throughout his letter to the Galatians that we can only experience true freedom when we are completely committed to Christ. Not to religion or churches, but to Jesus Christ.

When we get past the religion thing, and move into a full commitment to Jesus Christ and Him crucified, then we will experience the true freedom and fullness of life He came to allow us to have.

So be committed. And then go infect someone with the love of God. It will give you a high that you only can have through knowing you are doing the work He left you here to do.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dreams and Vessels

Change. I really sense that it is here. I feel that God is truly up to something great, and that if we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we can be a part of a fantastic move of the Spirit. People are more open than ever to listen to the gospel, and if we will reach out, we can start a God directed change that can affect the entire world.

It only takes one person to start an epidemic. What if a bunch of folks on fire for God reached out in a loving relationship with one other person, and that person caught the love of Jesus Christ. And then that person reached one other. Before long, we would have a breakout of Christianity of pandemic proportions.

I know, you might say that's pie in the sky dreaming. You can't save the whole world. Well let me live in my world. A world where the power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave is freely available to anyone who will receive. A world where my Bible says that God will do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can imagine. And let me tell you I have a big imagination!

I expect Him to do great and mighty things through vessels He can use. I want to be a vessel He will use. I want to be part of the epidemic of Christianity that I sense is going to sweep over the world. The prophet Joel says that in the last days He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. I want to be part of the pouring. How about you? Want to get wet?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

WOW! What a Day!

Awesome! The only way to describe Resurrection Day! God was so there at First Assembly today. His presence was ushered in during morning prayers, and just continued to build all through Praise and Worship.

As I took the platform, I could really sense that He was going to do great things in the lives of folks today. Even as I read the scripture for the message, He gave me a word for some folks in the congregation. All through the message, I could feel in my spirit that He was up to great things.

We had great attendance, with one of the largest number of visitors we have ever experienced. I had asked our members to really go out and encourage friends and relatives that don't normally come to church to be with us today, and boy did they come through! Hats off and well done to the regulars! You done good!

The altar service was wonderful. People who had been experiencing valleys in their lives came forward for prayer and I truly believe that they re-established themselves with the Lord. People who has walked away from God came forward and re-dedicated themselves. It was truly a spectacular sight to see parents and in one case grandparents come and watch their loved ones return to the Lord. God is so good, but then He is God!

Thanks to the praise and worship team for a great service, and many blessings on all those who invited folks to come and celebrate with us. Y'all done a good thing, and He is watching. Be expecting Him to continue to move.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Second Chances and New Relationships

When Jesus cried out on the cross,"It is finished", our opportunity of new life began. With that solemn act, He discharges a debt He did not owe, one that there was no hope of us paying. No matter how far in sin debt we are, His death and resurrection gives us the chance to start again.

It seems so simple actually. The death of one Man giving the whole world the opportunity to stand at the door of eternal life, and He is asking us to come in by accepting Him. But sometimes, it is the simple solutions to problems that seem to elude us. We want to search in our own strength to find a way, because we all have been told that if we want anything in life, we have to make our own way. It's the forest for the trees syndrome. We can't see the answer because it's right in front of us.

So try something different. If you have never truly trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have everything to gain (and nothing to lose except your old life). You will spend the rest of your life somewhere. And if you are burdened by an unsaved family member, friend or neighbor become their friend. Let them see Christ in you the hope of glory. They are searching. They are looking for truth. You may indeed be the book they are reading. Jesus reached out to the woman at the well and began a relationship with her. It worked for Him, it will work for you (because He said it would).

Have blessed Resurrection Day!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good Things From God

One of the highlights of my short tenure as a pastor happened last week. I had the honor of dedicating two babies to the Lord last week. From what I was told, it was the first baby dedication at First Assembly Bonham in several years. Not really sure why that was the case, but it sure was exciting to have those two little bundles of joy on the platform along with extended family members.

As this is my first pastorate (I came to the Lord late in life), I really was not sure how you did a multiple dedication. I had seen my pastor in Houston do one, but here I not only had two to do, but they were also cousins! But all went off without a hitch. The little ones were on their best behavior and Moms and Dads were very happy.

The experience made me realize how we can take gifts from the Lord for granted. We don't always recognize the He really is the source of all things good. And looking into those two little faces, knowing that if the Lord tarries that they will grow up into a world full of temptation, brought even closer to home how much we need to seek the Lord in all things. We need His presence in our lives. With His presence comes His power. And if we have His power, there is nothing we can't accomplish.

Seek Him, not him.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Why We Do Missions

We just received the preliminary report from Springfield on what our church gave to missions, both world and US. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and spread the Good News. While we are not all called to go to full time missions, we can all play an important part by helping support missions through giving of offerings and prayer support.

An important thing to remember about missions work is that you and I can be missionaries where ever God has placed us. As you go about your day, be aware of the people that the Lord puts across your path. Often, people that we would normally not come into contact with seem to show up in the least likely places. It may be that these folks were supernaturally brought into our lives for "such a time as this." If God can use you in furthering His Word, He will bring people into your life that you might have other wise not been aware of. These God - directed meetings can have life changing results for both parties.

So be aware of every opportunity. Nothing happens by chance or coincidence. God bring people together for kingdom reasons. A couple in our church met in an unlikely situation, but the Lord had a God ordained marriage in His plans for two single people. They are now celebrating their second year of marriage and serving God together.

You are either a missionary or a mission field. (Not original, but I don't know who said it first)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Who Are You?

One of the more interesting things in life is watching people and things grow and change. There have been some remarkable changes in the church and in me over the last 2 plus years. And that is the way it should be because if we stay the same and don't change, we get like that stagnant pool of water that doesn't support life.

The change has been both spiritual and physical. And neither one is complete yet. Services are becoming more focused on the Lord and what He desires for us. More and more His presence manifests in both worship and the Word and in our lives. That is the exciting part of seeing people see their relationship with Jesus grow and deepen. Because the idea of a personal relationship with God is hard for some people to accept. But when you allow it to happen, when you allow Him to be the most important part of your life, all those feelings of emptiness and doubt go away.

So if you are having issues you can't seem to fix yourself, there is Somebody waiting to help. Call on Him. If you have questions, call...we'll be glad to show you how to get to Him.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Here We Go

Well, here we go. I hope that in all things discussed here, that those who contribute will be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus as their Lord. Because it's all about the relationship. A very smart man once said rules without relationships breed rebellion.

So I pray that as we explore this together, that your realtionship with The Savior will grow. And that you will become the vessel He wants you to be so that He can work through you. He has chosen His children to work through to take the message of salvation to others. Let's let Him use us.