Friday, October 23, 2009

Ask for the nations

God wants us to share our faith with those we come in contact with in our daily lives. But he also wants us to have a global perspective for advancing his kingdom. From the beginning, God's plan has been to redeem the nations. He told Abraham when he choose him... "all
peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:3). And when
Jesus gave his marching orders to the church he said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matt. 28:19).

Spend 20 or 30 minutes today praying for a the Gospel to spread to every "tribe, people, language and nation." (Rev. 14:6) Ask God to give you a heart for the nations. Pray that God would use your church to have a global impact. Pray for any missionaries that you or your church are connected with... pray for them personally and pray for their effectiveness in spreading the gospel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wisdom & Courage

Read Joshua 1 & James 1 - then spend at least 20 minutes praying for wisdom and courage. I ask God to give this to my sons almost everyday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seek & Save

Think of people you know who need Christ. Spend 10 minutes praying for them to be saved. Spend some of the time asking God for a heart for the lost. Ask him to open the door for you to share your faith with them. Look for an opportunity this week to speak to someone about Jesus. This will be the goal for the week.

I Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lord's Prayer

Pray through the Lords Prayer, using it as a model for praise, surrender, provision, forgiveness,and protection.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Contemplate

Spend 20 minutes today in silence and solitude. Contemplate only God’s character(faithful, kind, patient, holy, love, etc.). Redirect your mind at any moment it drifts away from this. Worship him for who He is. Let your mind be filled with all the fullness of God.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:18-19

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pray for your church

Paul asked for prayer often…Today you pray for your church and its leaders. Pray for the leaders by name (Pastors, Elders, teachers, worship leaders, etc.) use verse below as an idea for ways to pray for them. Spend 15 minutes in focused specific prayer.

Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Rom. 15:30-33

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Gratitude & Family"

Spend 10 minutes thanking God for anything and everything he has done in your life. Don't ask him for anything during this time.

Then spend the next 10 minutes praying for your spouse and kids.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fervor

Fervor: James 5:16-18
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The fervor is about developing power in prayer. Spend ten minutes today in what James referred to as "fervent" prayer. Make sure there is passion and intensity. Pray about whatever you want but be
fervent for ten solid minutes. Let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Being a good friend

"For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus" Phil. 1:8

I want everything in my relationships with my friends to reflect what Paul says in this verse. When I'm thinking about others, I don't want to be critical, judge them, and tear them down in my thoughts. I want to think of them and long for them with the love of Jesus. When I pray for them, I want to pray with the affection of Christ. When I spend time with them, I want to show Christ's affection for them.

When you read Paul’s letters, you can see the priority that he placed on his relationships. He valued them greatly and he built them over years and through the ups and downs. He longed for his friends when he was separated by miles or circumstances. I wonder if in today’s culture, Paul would be distracted by all of the current “entertainment allure” and devalue his relationships. Would he be able to keep his friendship focus? I confess that in the midst of daily pressures and temptations, my desire to love others with Christ's affection often wanes. I have often allowed my affections to be turned toward selfish interests instead of really loving like Jesus did.

In the future, I see myself choosing a better attitude. I want to take the initiative to stay in touch, even when others sometimes fail to do so with me. I want to ask friends what issues they are struggling with, and listen carefully as they respond. I’ll share my struggles with them and tell them how God is at work in the midst of them. I want to take off my own masks and be transparent and encourage others to do the same. If possible, I would like to feel as strongly about them as Christ does. I also want to pray for my friends more. To me this is the attitude of a good friend. It seems like the attitude that Jesus had as I read about his life in the Bible.

Have you thought much lately about how good a friend you are? Are you giving your best effort in your relationships? Are you allowing Jesus more influence in your heart? Can people sense more of Him coming through as you interact with them? Sit with God for a few moments even now and ask him to give you an incredible heart for your friends. May your heart come alive for your friends today.

Chris

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Inspiring Friends

Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. Heb. 10:24-25

What would life be like if you had at least two maybe three people thinking about how to encourage you? What if you had others cheering you on in living a life of love and doing good to others? Would your life be different if you could get together regularly and simply be encouraged by a group of friends? If that could really happen, what changes could be possible for you? No friendship is as satisfying as one in which Christ is mentioned often. I don’t know about you, but I need some people to help me grow, to inspire me to really live out this amazing life in Christ.

Having fun is what inspiring friends do as well. They seek to enjoy one another and create situations where laughter is common and gentle teasing can take place. Real joy is only found in the context of relationship. God created us to give and receive enjoyment from one another and our joy is made full as we lighten up, laugh a bit, and allow our God-given senses of humor to develop with our friends. I think this is far too undervalued in Christianity today. We need to laugh more-until our faces hurt and tears come to ours eyes kind of laughter. We need this far more than we know!

At our New Community Church we have environments designed to encourage this. Our groups are forming over the next few weeks and will be meeting until Christmas Break. If you attend our community, let me strongly encourage you to join one. Groups meet weekly, discuss life issues, pray, and build faith in each other’s lives. If you do not attend our church, I hope you can find an atmosphere that offers these things. People who commit themselves to groups like these find the support, encouragement and inspiration to face life and overcome obstacles. I don’t know, maybe you don’t need friends like these, but I do. May God give you some great friends. May your life be lifted and new wind be at your back. And may you know the joy found in one of God’s special gifts-inspiring friends!
Click below and to see a list of groups-click the "all groups" tab after...
http://www.ncclv.com/contentpages.aspx?parentnavigationid=6802&viewcontentpageguid=4c7f1285-4cf7-4067-8aaf-b0a698a859d6

Chris

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The now

Next Monday I will have that unique experience of walking my son Sam two blocks to his first day of kinder garden. I have heard this moment described by many but never experienced it for myself. I can just imagine what that will be like and the emotions that will be attached to it. But life is filled with moments that are often missed. We simply are sometimes just not present where we are at. Last night my son came home from a meeting at church and wanted to get in the pool. It was a little late and I could have easily said "not tonight" but instead I followed him as he made a trail of clothes ripping them off on his way to dive straight into the pool. I followed suit and quickly dove in myself. We played and played until we both ran out of gas (well one of us did). Then it happened. The moment. Sam looked at me like a little man, his heart filled with joy and satisfaction, he said, "Dad I really love you". The way he did it was so mature that it almost overwhelmed me. My eyes filled with tears and then I choked them back and told him how much I would always love him. It was a great moment that I am glad I didn't miss because I was watching TV or something else. I look forward to next Monday but I don't want to miss the now because I will never be here again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I could have never been

Some may not know, but my parents (biological) decided to let me live. That's right. They had the choice to abort me or give me up for adoption. They could not keep me so they chose life. Life for me that is. I was adopted by two parents who loved me. Just think about it, I would not know any of you had they ended my life. No marriage to Michelle. No New Community Church. No Sam. No Jon Jon. Most of you who attend NCC would have never met. A lot of you not met the Lord. Not met your spouse. Not had your kids. Whew! That's too much for me to fathom. Scripiture says God has all our days planned even before we are formed in the womb. Let's leave God's plans in place. There are no unplanned pregnancies with God. Choose Life. I am glad to be alive.

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Atom bomb-God's way?


After dropping the Atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Jan. 9, 1945, President Harry Truman said, "Having found the Atomic bomb, we have used it. We shall continue to use it. ...It is an aweful responsability which has come to us. We thank God that it (the bomb) has come to us intead of our enemies and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes."

What is your reaction to this?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Murderer in Me

This week my reflections are on the 6th Commandment: "You shall not murder". Recently I recieved a call about an abusive husband who had a long history that I was aware of involving betrayal, verbal abuse, and now was becoming physical. Over time, my opinion of this person has degenerated and then the latest news came of a particularly dispicable act toward the woman and then out of my mouth it came, "That man is an idiot". I wanted to call him a fool but I know what Jesus says about that.
Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

I'm no axe murderer, but niether are the guys Jesus is talking about above. Apparently Jesus magnifies the 6th Command to include the way we regard others in our heart and mind. According to Him viewing others as worthless (Raca) or thinking someone is an idiot or moron (Fool)is a murderous proposition that endangers us for serious judgement.
I am thinking about this today as I don't want to be a murderer at heart.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Love being these guys Dad!

This pic was taken at Loews Lake Las Vegas after a long day at the beach. I honestly did not know just how much I would enjoy Fatherhood. Even right now I have a bouncing (and tooting) baby boy in my arms and I love it! Being a dad of two sons is the best thing ever!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What principles can you draw from this?

I have never really thought deeply about this passage...
Isaiah 58:13-14
"Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Tell me what you think...is this for Christians today? How do we practically apply it?


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Agriculture and the Sabbath-a test of faith

Did a little research on various internet sites and thought I would share it with any study heads out there that like this stuff...


Leviticus 25:1-5 (NIV) 1 The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.

Sabbaths are a Test Commandment

The Sabbaths are a test commandment to "prove the people whether they would walk in God's law or not" (Ex. 16:4-30).

As part of the fourth commandment, the Sabbath and Jubilee years are a test of faith for God's people to obey and trust Him to bless them and provide their needs even during long periods of commanded rest (Lev 25:20-22; 26:2-12; Neh 5)."And if you say, 'What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?'" Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce enough for three years" (Lev 25:20-21).

The Sabbath and Jubilee years were given to provide a "sabbatical rest" for the land and for man, requiring farmers to take a break from their regular pursuit for profit and wealth, learning to trust God to provide.

Throughout history, man has exploited the land, which caused erosion and depletion of soil fertility and productivity and resulted in the downfall of many civilizations of the past (see "Conquest of the Land Through 7,000 Years," Agricultural Information Bulletin No. 99, U.S.D.A and "Ill Fared the Land").

The principles of the land rest are principles of soil conservation for maintaining and improving soil fertility, rediscovered by the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, which was established because of the "dust bowl" of the 1930's in the U.S. For more understanding of soils and sustainable soil management principles see "Keys to Understanding Soil's & Soil Testing for Sustainable Soil Management" and "Soil Biotechnology for Profitable & Sustainable Agricultural Systems".

God knows the the land needs to rest and He commands us to let it rest. May we obey for our own prosperity's sake. By the way, what am I made out of? Psalms 103:14 (NIV) 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. I need my rest every seven days too or I become less productive.

More bricks less straw

The command to take a Sabbath day every week and rest cannot be properly understood apart from these words, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of slavery". Coming out of Egypt into the promised land required a change in how they viewed productivity and freedom. Egypt was the epicenter of modern culture and technology. The biggest city. The best homes. The pyramids. All this built on the backs of ever harder working slaves. The Jews were given quotas of how many bricks they were to produce in a day. If they did not make quota or complained Pharoe would beat then and increase the quota. Seven days a week they worked to produce more and more and more.

Exodus 5:10-14 (NIV) 10 Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.'" 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, "Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw." 14 The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten and were asked, "Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?"

For us, coming out of Egypt and into a new place of freedom means rejecting the voice of the worlds fastest and most demanding economy that tells us "more bricks less straw". Productivity at all cost often means doing more with less.

But can we do more with less rest? Or do we actually become less productive if we do not get regular times of rest? "But if I can just get the overtime we can get that bigger, nicer condo down on the nile". Really? What does it matter to have "better" things when you are too tired and stressed to really enjoy them? In the long run we are not more productive with out a Sabbath anyway. Without proper rest we break down physically, emotionally, and spiritually and begin to lose our abilty to be fruitful in all areas of our lives. You can even see this is agriculture. Of course, God already knew this. I will discuss this tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Question: "Does God require Sabbath-keeping of Christians?"

In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul instructs, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
Romans 14:5 states, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

These Scriptures imply that, for the N.T. Christian, Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom. Sabbath-keeping is an issue on which God’s Word commands us not to judge each other. Sabbath-keeping is a matter about which each Christian needs to be fully convinced in his/her own mind about if, why and how they will observe it.

I keep a Sabbath Day reserved (Monday) for my family as a life principle. It is an act of obedience to God for my own good and the good of those I love. On that day we unplug from phones, computers, and anything else that might lure us into work. We rest.

We do not feel the "law requirement" as much as we feel the "love requirement". We hear the voice of a loving Father saying, "Get your proper rest my child". Once again, we see this is a loving command and it positions us to be more loving by being refreshed and revived one day each week. Tired, worn-out, cranky people find it difficult to love God or their neighbor.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sabbath thoughts

Have not blogged in a week...As I get back to my studies in the 10 commandments I turn to the 4th command:

Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV)
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

It takes maturity to apply this command to our lives and benefit from it. My son throws a fit when I say it is time to rest. He NEVER wants to rest. He gets tired alright, but that is when he fights harder. He gets cranky. He gets upset. He should gladly just "give in" because rest is the only thing that will right the ship but no-he cannot-he will not give in. Finally, I make him lay down and he drops off into his much needed time of recovery.

Rest. Do you do it? Do you fight it? Or do you just press on like so many cranky, fussy Americans chasing productivity and seeking to get ahead.

God says that He made this day called Sabbath for you. It is your day to rest. Do you have a day that you totally stop? Unplug? Enjoy God? Enjoy family? Friends? If you don't take your weekly break you are disobeying God. He gives us this day for our own good. Maybe we should take another look at it and trust God to bless us as we obey. Recovery. Renewal. Recreation. God's Idea!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reader beware

Today I read a tough piece on the third commandment and how we often "Break" it. I don't totally agree with all of it but God's Spirit used this to open my eyes today. Reader beware...

Taking the Name of God in Vain
By. Dr. C. Matthew McMahon


The third commandment is often the most memorable because we often hear people using the name of God in vain. We are reminded of the third commandment especially if we work in a secular environment, or we have relatives who show forth their rebellious nature without qualms in the language they use. But in looking closely at the third commandment we will find more than we bargained for. We as Christians break the third commandment more often than any pagan who may be screaming "God D_____t" or "Jesus Christ!"

What does the third commandment say? "Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who uses His name in vain." What does this commandment principally teach? The third commandment forbids all profaning and abusing of anything whereby God makes Himself known. (Malachi 1:6-8; Lev. 20:3; 19:12; Matthew 5:34-37; Isa. 52:5.) It is not simply a matter of cursing or using the name God or Jesus vainly in that way. It is true that God's name is not to be used in that manner. We are not to say "God bless you" frivolously when someone sneezes, or say "Oh my God" when we are excited or ecstatic. Truly, we use His name in vain when we say those kinds of things. But the use of God's name is hardly restricted just to language. The commandment shows us how to worship God aright, as God designs the first four commandments in this way. The third commandment is rightly divided into two parts. The first part is the explicit command that we should not take His name in vain. That is obvious. The second part of the command is not so obvious. It is the practical implications of the right use of His name, namely, that we should honor and revere His name every time we use it.

What is this commandment primarily directed against? The commandment is primarily directed against the heart and the tongue. The heart is where a man's actions come forth from. If our heart is irreverent towards God, then we will use His name in vain, or in an ignoble fashion. Remember, the heart controls the tongue. This commandment is a bridle for our tongues. It is the bit where God turns us onto His right path. The commandment is setting up a right attitude for the heart, and then consequently a right use for the tongue. So be warned, we are forbidden to use God's name in any other way but in the right way.

What does it mean to use God's name in vain? Simply, this means to misuse God's name in any fashion. It is not just directed against cursing, though that is one way in which His name is dishonored by people and is used in vain. What are some ways people take God's name in vain? There are many, but let us look at just a few.

The first way is when we profess God's name but do not live answerably to it. It means we live hypocritically. Thomas Watson said, "pretended holiness is merely double wickedness." Whenever we do not live up to the call of the Christian life, we take God's name in vain. We are mirrors that should reflect the perfection of God. If the mirror claims to be Christ's and reflects tendencies of hell, then we use the name of Christ in vain, and people see that.

Secondly, when we use God's name in idle discourse we are vainly using His name; like telling a joke with God or Jesus in it. God is to be revered by us, not spoken of in a light and jesting manner. When we speak lightly of God we use His name in vain because God is not to be taken lightly by anyone.

Thirdly, when we worship with our lips and not our hearts we take His name in vain. We say we follow Him, and then worship Him in the secret place of our heart as the hypocrite. How many Sunday mornings have you come to church, worshipped, and then left the same as you entered? In doing this you take His name lightly, and use it in vain. God is a God of promises. When you are not changed by the hearing of the Word, or the worship given with the saints, you mock God and all His promises to the church. You take His name in vain.

Fourthly, when we pray to Him but do not believe Him we use His name in vain. How many prayers have you prayed in doubt? God promises to make good on all those prayers prayed in His will. Do you doubt His will? Do you doubt His promises? Do you doubt when you pray? If you do, you use His name in vain. This is not positive confession or the power of positive thinking. Rather, when you pray and doubt, God says you are like a double-minded man unstable in all his ways. You are like one who forgets his face after looking in a mirror just a second before. What God is saying is that when you pray and doubt, you are forgetting the God you are praying to, and thus, you take His name in vain.

Fifthly, when we, in any way, profane or abuse His Word, we are using God's name in vain. Every theological error, misquoted Scripture, every jot and tittle not remembered in the right way is using God's name in vain. God's name is tightly bound to His Word. When we have bad theology we use His name in vain. When we misquote the Bible when a friend asks us to cite a verse or two, we use His name in vain. Imagine how many times we are theologically incorrect! Imagine how many times we have misquoted His perfect and precious Word! Imagine how many times, in this way alone, we have used His name in vain!

Sixthly, when we swear by God's name falsely, we use it in vain. Whenever we make a promise and do not keep it, we are lying as a Christian and making a mockery of God's name. When we make an oath to God and do not keep it we use His name in vain. When we make an oath to covenant with the body of believers, and then leave the church over some non-essential doctrine or ill-feeling, we are taking the Lord's name in vain. Jesus even warned us in Matthew 5:33ff not to make false oaths in God's name. The Pharisees tried to swear by other names-heaven, the earth, the city of Jerusalem, or by their own heads- so they would not directly swear by God's name. They thought that by substituting one of these other "important" phrases that it would allow them to make oaths, and have a way of escape just in case they did not keep the oath because they did not formally swear by God's name. Jesus sets them straight; heaven is God's throne, the earth is God's footstool, the city of Jerusalem is the city of the great King, and your own head is God's. So there is no substitution. It all belongs to God and subsequently should not be used in a false oath. Making a promise and not keeping it can bring dire consequences when dealing with God. He commands that we do everything that comes out of our mouths when we make an oath. So when we make an oath to each other or to God and do not live up to it, we are using God's name in vain because we are Christians who are to be honest always.

Seventhly, when we set God's name next to any wicked action we use His name in vain. An example of this would be when we baptize a wicked person, or baptize someone in the wrong way. The wicked and heathen have no right to be baptized, only the saved are to be. And Matthew 28:19ff tells us we are to baptize people in the name of the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." We use their names in vain when we baptize those who ought not to be sealed with their name.

Eighthly, when we use our tongues in a way that dishonors God’s name we use His name in vain. This is when we curse and swear. It is when we say "O my God" or any such time when the Lord's name is used in an irreverent way. Even when we are in prayer or praise to God and we continually repeat the name "Jesus" or "Father" irreverently through vain repetition, we use God's name in vain. It is a sacred name and should be held in high esteem no matter when we invoke it. For invoking the name of God is a weighty matter and should not be taken lightly.

Ninthly, when we make rash vows we use God's name in vain; like Jephthah's vow in Judges 11:31. Jephthah rashly vowed to the Lord that if he came back victorious from the battle, he would sacrifice the first thing which came running out of his house; pig, cow, horse, whatever. When he returned from the battle victorious, his daughter ran out of the house to greet him, and he had to sacrifice her to keep his vow and so he did. Such a terrible evil twice over! Let us not make rash vows to God.

Tenthly, when we speak evil of God in a circumstance He is bringing us through we use His name in vain. How often do you grumble and complain against God? Do you find His ways hard? Is the path that He is leading you down weary to your feet? Do you want to hop over the fence into the plush meadow to comfort your aching bones? Do you gripe at the perfect, concise, eternal, unchangeable plan of God? If you do or if you have, then you have used God's name in vain. God has the perfect plan laid out for you. When adverse circumstances come by you should praise Him as Job did, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21b) Do not grumble or gripe like Job's wife who said "Curse God and die," but be humble before Him knowing that everything He does for you is for your good. When we grumble against God in hard circumstances we give a bad witness and consequently use His name in vain.

Lastly, when we falsify a promise as if we were to do a thing if God does something for us, then we use His name in vain. When we barter with God to get something we act irreverently before Him and use His name in a way that does not glorify him. We say, "Oh God, if you would just take this or that away then I will never do such and such again." But this is using His name in vain. We are not to barter with Him but accept His will as it stands.

This is a very short list of ways which we may use His name in vain. We are to be lights in the world bringing forth His name in purity and truth. We must not grumble, but be content. We must not vow rashly, but let our "yes be yes and our no be no." We must reverently invoke God's name in worship and prayer with an attitude of fear and trembling for it is a privilege to even have His name marked upon us. We are to take heed in our beliefs, so that we do not misrepresent Him and His name in our theology. There is much involved in keeping the third commandment and in keeping His name holy. For God says "I will not hold him guiltless who takes My name in vain." How guilty are we?

Think about how many times in the past week you broke the third commandment? Christians do not go a day without breaking it in some fashion. This causes us to mourn our sinful condition. All our sin is not yet mortified. This causes us sorrow and rushes us to the the cross since we sin this way against our Lord and Christ. But we thank God for Christ. Thanks be to Christ who lived a perfect life! Thanks be to Christ who fulfilled the Law perfectly for His people and imputed to His people His righteous deeds which they did not deserve. Without His sacrifice we would be doomed to hell for just the sin of breaking the third commandment over and over.

Ponder upon the holiness and purity of Christ. He kept ALL the commandments perfectly. Every time He worshipped, He did it with His heart. Every promise He made He kept. Every time He invoked God's name He used it with reverence and dignity. Never once did he break the third commandment. So let our eyes be open to see what the third commandment requires of us, and pray that the Lord would aid us to keep His name holy every day, and never use it in vain again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Help me write my message.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Help me prepare for my weekends message by telling me your thoughts on this passage.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Top 10 reasons for keeping the 10 commandments


1. Because God wrote them.
These were not opinions of Moses, these commandments were written on stone tablets by the very finger of God.

2. Because the God who wrote them, has proven his love for us.
God had just proven his existence and his love for the people of Israel by bringing them out of the Land of Egypt. God has proven his love for you at the Cross of Calvery. There is our freedom and hope.

3. Because we do not want to live our lives in bondage.
If we fail to observe God’s commandments, sin will once again enslave us all.

4. Because we need the blessings of God upon our lives.
God said that he would "shew mercy" to all of those who love him and keep his commandments. If our prayer is, "God bless America," we need to heed his commandments.

5. Because there is wisdom and righteousness in all that God has asked us to do.
Many people who want to reject the ten commandments as to be outdated, have never even read them. The heart of God is expressed in the ten commandments. The commandments are reasonable and right!

6. Because God only wants what is best for us.
God had our interest in mind. Each commandment was given to bring betterment to mankind.

7. Because we are to love our children.
It is our children who were bear the reproach of our sin unto the "third and forth generation." Violating the commandments of God is the most unloving thing that we can do to our children, grand children, and great grand children.

8. Because holiness is happiness.
The God who created us, created us to live holy lives. Holiness is happiness.

9. Because it is the one thing that I can do to show the Lord that I love him.
We have a God who can be "pleased." Here are ten things that we can do that will "please" our creator God. The verse says, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

10. Because God will judge us if we do not keep his commandments.
Even if the Supreme Court decides to remove the commandments of God, the God of the ten commandments has said, "I will not hold them guiltless" on the day of judgment. The Books are going ot be opened, anc the ten commandments will be there. God will has not, and will not remove his "ten commandments" from his court room!

Conclusion: Jesus observed and kept every jot and tittle of the law. He is my righteousness. I am not saved by keeping the ten commandments. I am saved by grace. Jesus Christ is my Savior. But the Christ who saved me by his grace, saved me for the purpose of allowing his righteousness to reign in my heart. His ten commandments are forever etched on the walls of my heart!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obey before the pain

Today I spent time contemplating Psalm 119. David wrote this Psalm later in life after he felt the pain and destruction of his disobedience to commandments #6 (kill), #7 (Adultery). He turned his heart to fully obey the Lord's commandments. It is striking just how focused and clear he became on the issue of obedience-it was his whole-hearted desire to follow God's law. He viewed as a means of protection, fulfillment and joy. It was not a heavy wieght around his neck holding him down. Instead obeying God's command was a way to lift his spirit and lighten his burdens.

Unfortunately, it was not until he felt to acute pain of his disobedience that he had his moment of clarity. I want to obey before the pain. How about you?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The law of liberty

Should we have the same feelings as the author of the following verses?

Psalms 19:7-8 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

Psalms 119:1 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.”
Psalms 119:10 “With my whole heart have I sought you: O let me not wander from your commandments.”
Psalms 119:18 “Open you mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Psalms 119:19 “I am a stranger in the earth: hide not your commandments from me.”
Psalms 119:35 “Make me to go in the path of your commandments; for therein do I delight.”
Psalms 119:47 “And I will delight myself in your commandments, which I have loved.”
Psalms 119:48 “My hands also will I lift up unto your commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in your statutes.”
Psalms 119:60 “I made haste, and delayed not to keep your commandments.”
Psalms 119:61 “The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten your law.”
Psalms 119:66 “Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed your commandments.”
Psalms 119:70 “Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in your law.”
Psalms 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.”
Psalms 119:72 “The law of your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”
Psalms 119:73 “Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.”
Psalms 119:77 “Let your tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for your law is my delight.”
Psalms 119:96 “I have seen an end of all perfection: but your commandment is exceeding broad.”
Psalms 119:97 “O how love I your law! it is my meditation all the day.”
Psalms 119:109 “My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget your law.”
Psalms 119:113 “I hate vain thoughts: but your law do I love.”
Psalms 119:115 “Depart from me, you evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.”
Psalms 119:136 “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not your law.”
Psalms 119:142 “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is the truth.”
Psalms 119:143 “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet your commandments are my delights.”
Psalms 119:163 “I hate and abhor lying: but your law do I love.”
Psalms 119:165 “Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.”
Psalms 119:172 “My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.”
Psalms 119:174 “I have longed for your salvation, O LORD; and your law is my delight.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ok so I'm challenged

My wife went back to work for the next 6 weeks...what does this mean? It means that I am primary care-giver for two boys and I am drowning. I have not been able to write on my blog in a couple of weeks. I thought my mom was coming and then she got sick and had to cancel. Oh no! These boys are a handful. I am not a pig but women seem to be designed with INCREDIBLE SKILLS that I may not posess. Ok so I'm whining. Feel sorry for me anyway! I am going to celebrate mother's day from a whole new vantage point this year!

Mr. Mom

Monday, April 13, 2009

I love my church

This weekend I witnessed a beautiful thing as our people prayed, invited, celebrated, and served thier hearts out. This church is so resiliant. We have been through so much and still come out stronger and more passionate. More and more people coming to Christ each week, stories of people growing in Christ, and morale high like when we first started the church. What a great time to be Pastor at NCC. I love my church.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"Heaven-the church's best kept secret"

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God's deep secrets.” I Cor. 2:9-10

My family and I go to a restraunt in Vegas that is connnected to a casino. The restraunt is not really there to make money but to serve the customers who gamble in the casino (where the real money is). What many do not know is they have this patio that is perfect for breakfast. AND there is a starbucks right next to the patio! The breakfast plates are big enough for the three of us to share. Nobody is ever really there at breakfast so Sam can run around and play on the patio while shell and I relax and linger long over breakfast. It is one of the best kept secrets in Vegas. Where is it? I’m not tellin”.

Did you know that Heaven is also one of the best kept secrets? But it is the church that's not telling. While heaven is mentioned often, it is rarely discussed. It is even even more seldom described. Why? I do not know. Maybe Satan has a strategy to keep us from knowing the amazing wonders so we will anchor ourselves in the pleasures of sin here rather than longing for the mind-blowing experiences that God hasplanned and prepared for us in the new heaven and new earth.

“Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy;” Is. 60:5
Did you hear that? Heaven will make our faces radiant and our hearts swell and throb with Joy. I can’t wait! I will be everything we have ever desired and much, much more!

This Easter Sunday we take a provacative look at your next life. It has been the best kept secrets but I’m tellin’.

Come hear things you may have never heard before. Let the anticipation of heaven begin in your heart.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hell helps me...

Jesus spoke of heaven as a real place. "I go and prepare a place for you" (John 14:3).
Jesus also spoke of hell as a real place. In fact, he spoke of hell more than any other teacher or prophet in the Bible. He told the story about the unrepentant rich man who wanted a drop of water to cool his tongue and asked that his brothers be warned "lest they also come to this place of torment" (Luke 16:28). He wanted us to know about hell.

Jesus' teaching about the reality of hell helps me:

1) To reflect about the authenticity of my own faith.
2) It provides additional motive for me to share my faith.
3) It reminds me that in the end all injustice will be dealt with.

It may be difficult to "feel" that the neighbor across the street (who is "such a nice guy") is really destined to a Christless eternity - but so it is - unless there is real genuine repentance and a clear embracing of Jesus Christ. (John 3:36; Romans 5:9; 1 John 5:12). Friends - are you warning of the wrath to come? There is a bridge out down the road. Are you keeping quiet?

Monday, March 30, 2009

CAN A GOOD GOD JUSTIFY HELL?

I read this today and found it helpful...

We know God is good, kind, patient, longsuffering, always willing to forgive. He is love personified, magnified, and exemplified (1 John 4:16). But God is also just, infinitely holy, and perfectly righteous. The Scriptures picture Jesus as both the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5). Like a lamb, He is meek, gentle, a holy sacrifice for the sin of those who confess Him. Like a lion, His claws can tear the unrepentant to pieces.
It is this picture that reveals a first answer to the problem of hell: God's character demands it. While God's love, mercy, and grace are demonstrated in the atonement of Christ, other attributes demand equal authority and actually justify hell. What are these attributes?
Righteousness/Holiness. That God is righteous and holy means He always acts in accordance with those things He deems just and lawful. He cannot do anything less than what is right. God's great plan is ultimately to bring the universe back to perfect righteousness—back into harmony with His character. There are only two ways He can do that. One is by providing a way for sinners to return to righteousness—through the death, Resurrection, and power of Jesus Christ. In Christ He makes us new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17).
But what about those who do not seek righteousness, who desire darkness over light? There is a second option. God will confine such people in a place where they cannot affect or harm those who seek righteousness. That is hell.
Justice. The justice of God functions as a logical complement to His righteousness. His righteousness demands that He make things right. His justice demands that something be done about sin. Again, to bring about perfect justice for all the wrongs in the universe, God offers two options: to make payment for them Himself through the death of Jesus; or to require payment by the sinner. God cannot wink at sin, overlook it, or allow it to persist (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4–6)
Omniscience. God's omniscience enables Him to know everything that is, was, shall be, and could be (Psalm 139; Isaiah 46:10). How does this attribute require a hell? An omniscient God must eliminate evil from His knowledge. One way is to forgive that evil and choose to forget it forever.14 God can actually "blot out" or eradicate His own knowledge on such an issue.
But what of those whom He has not forgiven because they have not accepted His forgiveness in Christ? God's only other option is to gather all the evil into one place and render it dead—separated from Him forever. That is hell. While God may be conscious of the evil in that place, He does not have to have contact with it or look on it ever again.
Love/Wrath. These two aspects of God's nature are linked together in the doctrine of hell. His love requires a hell because He must protect those He loves from the defilement of His enemies. His wrath calls for vengeance—that His enemies be punished for injuring, hating, and rejecting Him.
Nearly any aspect of God's character can be used to explain both heaven and hell. We have to take God and what His Word says about Him on His terms, not ours. Those who accept His grace and love but balk at the idea of justice or perfect holiness are guilty of folly.
By Mark R. Littleton—Discipleship Journal

Friday, March 27, 2009

Get Your Reward

God will reward those who serve Him. Below are three scriptures that have formed my beliefs about eternal reward. God evaluates the quality of our work, the motive behind it, and whether or not it is pleasing to him.

(A person’s) work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

Reflection:
How does your belief about eternity affect the way you live today?

If you died today and stood at the judgment seat of Christ, when your works and motives are revealed, would you feel good about your life? Why or why not?

Since you still have an opportunity to change, what is God showing you to do differently?

Live for Him today!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

YOU WILL FACE THE JUDGMENT

...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment… Hebrews 9:27

There are two specific times of judgement clearly mentioned in the Bible.

1. GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it…And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-12, 15


The "books" are opened and a "book" is opened. The "books" contain the deeds of us all. But another "book" contains names. This is the book of life. It is also refered to as the lambs book of life. This book holds the names of all who have recieved the gift of eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. If your name id written in the book it won't matter what is written in the books because it will be forgiven. If your name is not in the book you had better hope you have lived an incredible life.

2. JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10

When the scripture above is read in it's context it is clear that it is adressing Christ followers-those whose names are written in the book of life. This passage and others seem to indicate that this is a judgement of our service to the Lord for the purpose of reward.

(A person’s) work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
So our daily choices all have eternal implications. Tomorrow I will write more specifically about the how I believe God will reward those who seek to serve Him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

1 second after you die


The moment you die the soul and the body separate. The body goes into its natural state of decay while the soul goes toward its ultimate destination.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

Those who have not recieved Christ will find themselves in torment. We will talk about that in detail next week. Those who have recieved eternal life through repentance and faith toward Jesus Christ will awaken to the presence the Lord Himself.

8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 5:8-10 (NLT)

Over the next couple of days I will discuss what the Bible has to say about "judgement".

"...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…" Hebrews 9:27

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Have you thought about death lately



Over the last few days I have had the serious implications of death impressed on me as we just held the funeral of one of our dear friends Ralph Muse. His death was sudden and unexpected. He left behind a wife a three kids.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28

What you believe or don't believe about death will determine how you live. There are some clear teachings in the Bible that I will be exploring over the few days and in our weekend services. Join me at http://newcommchurch.blogspot.com/ engage the conversation. Are you looking forward to death? Should you look forward to death? Tell me what you think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Knocked out of blog routine

I have been totally knocked out of my routine because of travel and the early surprise birth of my 2nd son Jonathan. I plan to write more in the future but cannot find time right now. Back in a few days hopefully.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Get out of town

Today I go to Dallas/Ft Worth area to speak at a men's retreat. I'll be back for weekend services but it will be good to get out of town for a couple of days. Pray that I'll be able to serve these men well.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What his name?


Michelle, Sam & I have been praying for the last few days asking God for the name of our son who is to be born in a few weeks. We have some names that we like but nothing that I feel is "just right" yet. Sam was not named until he was born. I am hoping to hear from God today. Will you pray for God to reveal the name today?
Send me your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Why I occasionally fast

…I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:14-17
Fasting is a way for me to renew my spiritual hunger and regain my spiritual strength. For me this is key to maintaining victory over Satan and his temptations to love this world more than God. Fasting is how I allow the cravings of my flesh to be disciplined and brought under control. When I fast and pray I get clarity about the things that God wants me to have and release my desires for the things of this world.

The desires of this world anchor down the soul-they oppress the spirit. But pleasing God is truly what pleases me AND it leads to eternal life. Sin leads to death and separation from God. Fasting helps me make that choice clear.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Prayer Warrior


Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Dan. 6:10

Today New Community begins three days of training in prayer warfare. We are learning from Daniel how to pray. He often humbled himself and fasted and prayed. God responded to his prayers in big ways. Fasting is to be a part of the life of a disciple of Jesus.

For the next three days we will take only the most basic food and water, turn off our TV's, eliminate all forms of entertainment and find refuge only in God. We will look to Him for everything. We will ask Him to meet with us and cleanse us. We will ask Him to glorify Himself in and through us. We will ask Him for breakthroughs in the lives of those we love.

Join us for three days of prayer and fasting.

NCC building open for prayers at: 6:30 am, noon, 6:30 pm Mon-Wed. Have a great three days.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Go in the strength you have....

I thought I would share what someone who attends our church wrote...

Pastor Chris, in his Warrior message yesterday, taught about Gideon. He was the least member of his family from the least tribe in Israel. His country was sieged by a nation much stronger and crueler than they were because they had not obeyed God and worshiped other idols.

When we meet Gideon (Judges 6), he is threshing wheat in a wine press. Wheat was typically threshed on top of a hill so the wind could catch the chaff and blow it away. What fell to the ground was usable wheat. Wine was pressed in valleys where gravity made the work much easier. Gideon was afraid he would get caught by the invading nation and that his wheat would get stolen, so out of that fear, he was doing the wrong thing in the wrong place and probably at the wrong time!

But God shows up and speaks to this man who is afraid and sees himself as the least in all Israel and calls Gideon a mighty warrior. God then tells Gideon to "Go in this your might" (KJV) and he would save Israel from the hand of the Midianites who were persecuting them. The NIV says "Go in the strength that you have". This is where Pastor Chris talked about the fact that there are things that we are already strong enough to do and we have to trust that if God is directing us to do something, He's already equipped us to do it. We don't need to be afraid of failure in some things because we have the strength already in us to face the battle.

I pulled out my Hebrew word study bible (thank God for a husband who loves books!!) and the word for "Go" in hebrew notes movement - to walk, continually; to lead or to travel. The word for "might" can be translated - to be firm; capacity or means; ability; fruits or substance. So, we can lead or continually walk with firmness. We can use our means and capacities, our abilities or the fruit that we bear in life to walk out our faith with purpose.

This made me think of the boy in John 6 who gave his lunch to Jesus. Jesus in turn fed 5,000 men with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. If I give to Jesus my abilities and walk in faith, trusting that He can multiply what I have, then I have the capacity to not only accomplish His will in my life, but I also have the potential to lead others along the way.

There are so many hard decisions we have to make in life, and often it is easier to let things "happen" to us than it is to actually meet circumstances face to face. But like Pastor Chris said, if we sit back and wait for changes and battles to come to us, we are guaranteed failure every time, not to mention how much ground the enemy gains when we just wait for him to attack us.

If we could take the gifts and talents and experiences that we have and offer them to Jesus; if we would be willing to move forward, in faith, and face the changes and challenges that come to us, we would find that we are much stronger than we think we are and would have a much greater chance of success! And who knows how many people we would invite into God's kingdom by leading the way, using our abilities and experiences to show others how God is able to turn the least of us into mighty warriors for His glory and our salvation.

Dawn Steele

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Perfect Day

A couple of weeks ago I had what I am calling a perfect day.

First it was our church's 11 B-day and we celebrated big-time! We had a large energetic crowd that brought the largest offering in our church's history. People responded to the invitation to receive Christ. The Band nailed one of my old favorites by Reo Speedwagon. I could not believe how much fun church was that day. I went to eat a great lunch with my family. Then OU one a basketball game on TV. I decided after the game to go to see a movie. On the way I called a great friend Ted who lives in Phoenix to celebrate my 11 year victory day by phone. I shared with him our great day and I told him it was to bad he was so far away else we would go out to party big time that night. He congratulated me and wished he could be here too. I went into the theater to see "Slumdog Millionaire" it was incredible-A must see! The movie was almost over when I received a text, "I land at 6:30 don't make me get a taxi...AND DINNER'S ON YOU!" I could not believe Ted had done it. He drove straight to the airport a got on a plane. We talked and laughed over dinner until the restaurant made us leave. After I took Ted back to the airport I thought, "That was a perfect day". Life is fun when you give permission to celebrate it. I'll never forget that day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Has Satan outsmarted you?

When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too...so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Cor. 2:10-11 (NLT)

Relationships are a main area of attack. A few years back a man I trusted turned against me. Soon after he turned others against me. Satan had sown lies and misunderstanding. The devil's plan was to hurt the church and hurt the church he did. We have dear loved ones who walk with us no more. I felt many emotions. Frustration and anger began to settle in.

Then I began to see the "unseen war" more clearly. I took our staff away for a few days and we prayed about the matter.

  • We used our spiritual weapons and began to thwart Satan's scheme.
  • We asked God to give us a forgiving heart and remove any resentment or bitterness that had begun to take root in our spirit.
  • We began to bless those who were cursing us.
  • Not long after that we called a fast in the church.

It was a glorious three days that in my opinion broke us free from an enemy attack.

Satan wanted to make our fun-loving church into a place of division. He wanted us to become closed and gaurded. He sought to bring depression to our place of joy. But we did not let him outsmart us. Don't let him do it to you. Remember you can always drop the "F" bomb! FORGIVE!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Warrior message 1 outline

WARRIOR MESSAGE 1 “TAKE THE RED PILL”
Open message w/Matrix clip

“Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not” –Aragorn

THERE IS AN UNSEEN WAR ALL AROUND US WHETHER WE REALIZE IT OR NOT
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) 10 A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

THERE IS AN UNSEEN BATTLEFIELD-YOUR HEART

Cause of Christ: THE ULTIMATE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND SOULS OF MEN

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

John 10:10
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.
“The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it” Eldridge “Until you understand this much of your life will not make sense.”

Fights w’family, gossip, impulse purchases, conflicts at work, depression, hatred, anxiety can all be understand in the context of warfare.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
THERE IS AN UNSEEN WARRIOR

Exodus 15:3 (NIV) 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
Jeremiah 20:11 (NIV) 11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Lord of hosts or almighty –Navy seal

Isaiah 42:13 (NRSV) 13 The LORD goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns…He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God…Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter…"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-13, 15-16

YOU CAN BECOME A MIGHTY WARRIOR! YOU MUST CHOOSE

Image of god….

Judges 6:12 (NCV) 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!"

James 4:7 (NIV) 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Will you join the resistance?

Matthew 11:12
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

THE RED PILL OR THE BLUE PILL...WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Take the red pill

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Lord is a Warrior

Exodus 15:3
The Lord is a warrior!
The Lord is his name.

4 He has thrown Pharaoh's chariots and army into the sea.
Pharaoh's best officers were drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep water covered them.
They sank to the bottom like a rock.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, wins glory because it is strong.
Your right hand, O Lord, smashes your enemies.

7 With your unlimited majesty, you destroyed those who attacked you.
You sent out your burning anger.
It burned them up like straw.
8 With a blast from your nostrils, the water piled up.
The waves stood up like a dam.
The deep water thickened in the middle of the sea.

9 “The enemy said, ‘I'll pursue them!
I'll catch up with them!
I'll divide the loot!
I'll take all I want!
I'll use my sword!
I'll take all they have!'
10 Your breath blew the sea over them.
They sank like lead in the raging water.
11 “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord?

Who is like you?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

open war is upon you...


"Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not" Aragorn, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

We too must confront the reality that open war is upon us whether we believe it or not-whether we realize it or not.

Revelation 12:17 (NCV)
"Then the dragon was very angry...and he went off to make war against all her other children--those who obey God's commands and who have the message Jesus taught."


Think about the things that have happened to you. Are some of those things just a coincidence? Are you kidding? Do you live in the awareness of the unseen world at war around you? Do you believe that your heart is a target? Your loved ones? Your coworkers?

Are you a warrior engaged in the "ultimate battle for the hearts and souls of men? Do you know what your weapons are? Do you know how to use them?

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then..." Eph. 6:10-14


Join me at NCC and here on my blog over the few weeks as we encourage soldiers to engage the enemy and fight.


Neh. 4:14 Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Warrior Series Begins this Weekend

Warrior

In everyone’s life, there is a cause worth fighting for and a victory worth claiming. What is yours? Both men & women must fight in this war. Discover how to prepare for the battles ahead and emerge a victor. Join us for “Warrior”.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lies-staff member comment

Michelle Wilson serves on our staff as financial administrator she writes concerning our final Hostage message:

The enemy lies a great deal. He has tried to lie to me my entire life as I'm sure he does to everyone. I know it's important to combat those lies with God's truth in His Word. But sometimes when the lie is staring you in the face it's difficult to recall those truths at a moment's notice when you need them the most. So I began keeping a journal of the lies the enemy tells me and at the moment he tells me that lie. I will write it down and right next to the lie, I will put God's truth and reference scriptures. This way, when the lie comes back I can refer to my journal and instantly know where I can go to find the truth. Meditate on that truth. Memorize the truth. And give the lie to God. It's been helping this week. The enemy is not very creative, i've found. He keeps coming up with the same lies. But God never changes, and His Word stays the same and His promises are forever. I can rely on the truth of His Word. I can count on it more than anything else in life. And with prayer and meditation, God will free us from those lies.

--
In His Arms,
Michelle W

11 years in Vegas http://newcommchurch.blogspot.com/

It is hard to believe that just over 11 years ago Michelle and I packed up everything & left Oklahoma to follow a dream. So much has changed since that day. I remember arriving and unloading our van with our friends Bill & Mary who made the trip out with us (They would later move here to join us in the mission for a few years). We knew hardly anyone in Las Vegas. I thought, " What if we can't reach people"? Or "What if I fail?" We worked so hard. We really did not know exactly what to do. But we did know one very important thing: God led us to come here and plant this church. So we poured our hearts into the work and valued every relationship that he gave us. Now there is a vibrant and dynamic church that has touched the lives of so many. We have made so many great friends. This weekend will be fun to take a trip down memory lane and cast vision for our future. I hope you can come and celebrate with us.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Outline from final Hostage Message

LIES THAT BIND

John 8:44 (NLT)
44 … the Devil, …has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does .The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Stronghold: ochuroma (okh-oo'-ro-mah); to fortify, a strong castle, a prisoner locked by deception.

WHAT LIES HOLD YOU HOSTAGE?

I CAN’T CHANGE

…we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

masterpiece: poiema (poy'-ay-mah); a product with a designated purpose, workmanship, masterpiece.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17-18

THE STRATEGY FOR CHANGE

1.) RENEW YOUR MIND.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Identify False Beliefs-Replace with God’s Truth
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

…whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:8

2.) SPEAK ONLY TRUTH.
From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:20-21

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14 NLT

3.) NEVER GIVE UP.
To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:29-2:1

Michael Anglelo “The Agony & the extassy”

agonizomai (ag-o-nid'-zom-ahee); to struggle, to compete for a prize, to contend with an adversary, and win.

…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The battle for your mind

2 Cor. 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. [4] The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. [5] We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


There is a full on battle for your mind being waged everyday of your life. Images, suggestions, voices, music, TV, movies, etc. Much of this designed to implant Satan's lies in your mind. If he can get you to believe lies he can hold you hostage.

Strongholds are areas of thinking not based on truth but lies. Instead of protecting us, they actually imprison us. Unless we renew our mind, we risk continuing to believe those lies and making important decisions based on deception.

Truth is your weapon. Saturation of your mind in God's word is the key that unlocks the various prison cells cunningly designed by Satan. Expose yourself as much as possible to God's word. Read it. Hear it taught. Obey it. Then you will be free.

John 8:31-32 (NLT) 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Liar


Satan is the Father of lies. When he speaks, he speaks out of who he is. The Great Deceiver-The one who deceives the whole world. This is how the Bible describes him. Because of Jesus' victory over him at the resurrection, his only power now is the lie and he is a master of it. He has lied from the very beginning and continues today.

Many are literally held hostage to his lies. They believe what is not true and live in a prison of deception. They lose thier identity. They lose thier loved ones. They lose thier hope. Simply because they believe what is not true.

This happened in the Garden of Eden where they "exchanged the truth of God for the lie". The lie is that you can live your life independant of God.

Odds are that even right now you are believing some lie that is holding you back from who know you were meant to be. That is what Satan does he lies and he is good at it.

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

read more http://newcommchurch.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I wish I were him...

I just watched my son fall asleep. I love doing this. So peaceful. So carefree. His biggest concern? Is Mommy coming home soon? The only person who has it better...my cat. Sam knows I am going to take care of him. He does not worry. Why? He is convinced I love him.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Outline from my weekend message

Hostage 4 “ANGER”

ARE YOU GIVING THE DEVIL A PLACE?

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

topos (top'-os); opportunity, location, place, room.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:6-7

WRONG WAYS WE HANDLE ANGER

1) SPEW IT.
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Proverbs 29:11

A quick-tempered man does foolish things. Proverbs 14:17

2) STEW IT.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in… Luke 15:28

WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY ANGER?

LET LOVE CONTROL IT.
Love… is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Cor. 13:5

REFUSE TO HAVE FIGHTS.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

ASK GOD TO FILL YOU WITH SELF-CONROL.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24

WITH GOD’S HELPI CAN CHOOSE TO CONTROL MY ANGER


Friday, January 23, 2009

Love controlled anger

Love is self-control and a good temper. Having self-control and a good temper is easier said than done, especially for those individuals who are more prone to irritability for various reasons. Even so, have a temper that is either good or bad is ALWAYS a matter of choice. We can all learn to gain greater control over our tempers and how we react under pressure. Irritations will never cease, nor does our love need to when they come.

Reflection:
What makes me most irritable?
What do I do when I am under more pressure than I feel I can handle?
How do I treat others when I am irritated? Do I get mad when things don't go my way?
Do I have to have the last word? Why?
On a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being severe and 0 being nonexistent, how would I rate my temper?
How would those closest to me rate my temper?


Review the previous blog of how self-control communicates love. Which one(s) do I do often? Which one(s) do I need more work on?

I can accept responsibility for my temper and exercise self-control. I do not need to feel Hostage to a bad temper.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Anger

This week in our Hostage series we look at how Anger can imprison us. Many say anger is just love disappointed. There is good anger and bad anger. For the next several days I will share thoughts on this subject. How you handle your anger is of utmost importance. An uncontrolled outburst of anger can completely alter or even totally destroy someone's life.

Some become easily angered at others, sometimes at the slightest provocation. We might even become hostile and behave in ways we will later regret. Gaining control over our thoughts, feelings and actions when irritated and angry is the best way to keep from acting out in unloving ways.

Controlling our anger is an expression of love. Love is not easily angered. Love can be seen whenever we:


  • Take responsibility for our reactions to others

  • Do not accuse or blame others for the way we feel

  • Treat others graciously although they irritate us

  • Keep from saying something hurtful and unnecessary

  • Do not take our anger out on those around us

  • Think before we speak

  • Allow ourselves a time-out to gather ourselves together

  • Do not expect more from others than we should

All human failures are the result of a lack of love.~Alfred Adler
We may not be able to control stressors and pressures in our lives, but how we respond to them is up to us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Enjoying the holiday after a wildly succesful men's retreat

About 75 men went to Zion, Utah this weekend for the "Warrior" men's gathering. Men strengthened existing alliances and made new ones. The gained a hightened awareness of the ultimate battle for the hearts and souls of men. They made key choices about how they will be engaging that battle. I am encouraged today concerning our men. Pray for them as we plan to continue challenging them in the days and weeks ahead.

Ironman metting 6:30pm this Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warrior Men's Retreat


Meet @ NCC Building Fri. @ 5PM
& Return Sun 11:30AM

$80 per man (Age 16 & up)


Activities: Gun Range, ATV's, horseback riding, Repelling, video games, card tournament, gun range, IMAX theater, and more.

This weekend Men will be challenged to Engage the Ultimate Battle for the hearts and souls of men. They will be inspired to develop courage to lead others & they will experience the revolutionary Spirit that sets the world ablaze! AND we spend all day Saturday playing too!

Registered men should be at NCC building @ 5:00 pm sharp on Friday ready to have a blast!

Not registered? Call my assistant today-688-1990

We Lodge @ Best Western Zion Inn
1215 Zion Park Blvd.
Springdale, UT 84767

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dance to the time warp again

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself... Matthew 6:34

Most people do not live in the now. Today is missed. Many either live in regret of things yesterday or live in anxiety about things tomorrow thus today is missed and simply becomes another day regreted.

When we worry, we use our imagination to create a negative future in our mind. We predict a bad tomorrow. Often our worry takes part in making the "imagined" bad tomorrow a reality. We tend to move toward our dominant thought. Worry can be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is much better to focus on living today in a healthy and productive way. Today is a good day. It has many good possibilities. Take advantage of the moments to love and know the people around you. If you must allow your thoughts to drift to tomorrow, then imagine it being a good one. I think I'm going to go tickle my son now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Imagine


Isaiah 26:3
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Do you meditate? If you worry you do. Worry is simply negative meditation. It is using the power of the mind-the power of imagination to run scenarios where bad things happen.

For the believer, worry is the sin of taking the most powerful gift God has ever given anyone-thier own mind, and using it to dispute His promises and negate His character. It is unbelief.

Why not use the gift of imagination to picture God coming through for you. Why not envision Him being a loving, caring, Father who makes promises and keeps them. He invites me to trust Him and experience His faithfulness. Imagine that.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hostage week 2-Worry

4 Reasons Not to Worry

What Does the Bible Say About Worry?

1. Worrying Accomplishes Absolutely Nothing.
Worrying won't help you solve a problem or bring about a solution, so why waste your time and energy on it?

Matthew 6:27-29 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

2. Worrying is Not Good for You.
Worrying is destructive to us in many ways. It becomes a mental burden that causes us to grow physically sick as well as age faster.

Proverbs 12:25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

3. Worrying reveals I am not trusting God.

Here's a little formula to remember: Worry replaced by Prayer equals Trust.

Matthew 6:30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

4. Worrying Puts Your Focus in the Wrong Direction.

Even in the difficult times, when it seems like God doesn't care, we can choose to focus our trust toward the Lord and on his kingdom.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.