Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Mission impossible for me has always been to move to this city where we knew practically no one, with practically no money or formal training in church planting and plant this church. Our vision was to be in the interior of Vegas, not on the outer edges where the more affluent people almost always live. Our first several months we met in a hotel meeting room near paradise & twain. If you look at most thriving churches they normally go to the suburbs of the city to where new growth is taking place and wealthier families go to escape the brokeness that often accompanies life closer the to center of town. Our dream was to go into it not away from it. We have faced every kind of challenge along the way-spiritual attack, physical exhaustion, relational heartache, and financial hardship. Each time God has seen us through. So you would think that now I am totally filled with faith to face any challenge right? Not exactly!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Fasting is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. Our motive for fasting should always be to deepen our relationship with God and walk in agreement with His plan and purpose for our life. When fasting from food we are substituting our regular food intake with time with God (prayer, journaling, Bible reading, etc.). God uses our time of fasting and prayer to make us more aware of His presence and more sensitive to His leading. Our goal should be to develop a genuine hunger for intimacy with God.
Be specific about why you are fasting.
Begin a fasting journal by recording your reasons for fasting. Is it for breakthrough in you own life or in the life of a loved one? Is it to seek the Lord for physical or emotional healing? Do you need to hear God concerning major decisions to be made? Or, maybe you are seeking deliverance from an addiction or life-controlling problem.
Decide the type of fast.
Fasting is a spiritual commitment to God to abstain from something that is a normal part of your life in order to focus more on connecting with Him. Decide what, when and how long you will fast. For example, Daniel fasted from eating the King’s rich foods and wine (Daniel 1:8) and ate a vegetarian diet. Some people make fasting a part of their lifestyle by fasting one day or one meal each week. Seek God’s direction on how long and the type of fast. If you realize that you’re spending too much time watching TV or playing video games, it would make sense to fast from these activities and spend this time with God or as He directs.
Plan ahead and prepare for your fast.
1) If you are choosing to do a partial food fast or a juice fast, then you will need to make different food choices and make purchases ahead of time. If you are fasting from all food for more than a day, be sure to clear this with your physician. Always take into consideration the condition of your health and how the fast will affect you.
2) Make a commitment of your time and decide how and when you will spend time alone with God. You may want to do a Bible study on a certain topic or book. Journaling is always recommended so that you can record your thoughts and the insights God gives you.
3) Decide the best time to start and how long you will fast. Check your calendar and plan ahead how you will handle social activities and family meal times.
4) Inform only those individuals who need to know; such as, spouse and/or accountability partner. Remember, fasting is between you and God. It is a spiritual commitment to seek God as the most important relationship in your life and your true source of strength, wisdom, peace, healing and joy.
As you fast, spend quality time with God in prayer.
Each time you are hungry or long for the thing that you have given up, turn your heart to God and relate to Him instead. Remind yourself that your real hunger is to know God and depend on Him to sustain and satisfy you.
1) Be real with God. Tell Him whatever is going on inside you that you can identify. Be honest about how you are experiencing God right then. Do you see Him as a vending machine, a frowning father, a distant, cold force? Or, as a gloriously strong and intimate friend?
2) Remove hindrances. Ask God to reveal anything that would hinder your fully connecting with Him. Put into words whatever makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed when you are real with God (write this in your journal). Confess any sins of attitude, behavior or omission that come to mind and ACCEPT GOD’S TOTAL FORGIVENESS.
3) Approach God as the “first thing” in your life;. Seek Him as your most treasured and needed relationship; the person you want to know more than anyone else. Acknowledge that you have placed other people and things above Him and that you long to desire God more than anything else on earth.
4) Worship God for who He is and not just His earthly blessings.Worship is surrendering all that we are to Him so that He can express His life through us. It is desiring that God’s will be done on earth (in you) as it is in heaven.
5) Seek God’s vision and purpose for your life. Ask God to put His desires in your heart for all that He has planned for your life. Let go of selfish expectations and agendas.
6) Spend time meditating on God’s Word. Ask God to build your faith on His Word instead of on your circumstances and/or feelings. Try personalizing and praying scripture. The Psalms can be very helpful in expressing your deep feelings, needs and trust in God. (see Psalm 16, 23, 25, 27,34, 37, 51, 62, 103, 145)
7) Pray for yourself and others. While fasting, it is easier to hear God and pray according to His will instead of our own understanding. Be available to intercede for others as God brings people to mind. This is also a great time to take authority over the schemes of the evil one and reclaim any areas that you have, knowingly or unknowingly, given-over to him.
Yield all results to God.
We don’t always see immediate results during of our fast. However, God is always using this time to prepare us for what lies ahead. Remember, the goal is to know God better and trust Him more. Thank Him in advance for whatever you are desiring from Him. As you end your fast, stand on His promises and the things He has revealed to you during your fast. If you make fasting a regular part of your relationship with God, you’ll be amazed at how deep and rich your time with Him will become.
Monday, June 23, 2008
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23
I have often had discussions with other pastors about he possibilty of partnership between churches but inevitably issues of territory and ownership get in the way. Recently I heard someone say that Satan wants churches to compete with each other but God wants churches to complete each other. The church I pastor does some things very well but there are other things we will probably never do well. I suspect the same is true of every church. What if we could just be one? Share everything with each other. What could be possible? How many could be reached? How many churches would move from one level of effectiveness to another?
I have often said that I would join our church with another church in a second if the real opportunity were to arise so we could reach & disciple more people. I mean that is the goal is it not? I long for unity in the church and hope for the opportunity to bring it about. For the next several weeks we are joining with over one thousand churches to do a message series called "One Prayer". It will be a significant time for us to stand together with others in prayer and ask God do great things. This week we pray for unity. Don't miss even one week and pray with me.
Lord, Make us one!