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Uncovering a Gold Mine

In A Christian Life on July 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

It has been quite a while since last posting on my blog; I have been lost in the land of social media: Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. While trouncing through the land, I have made many friends and learned a great deal about any number of subjects. For the most part, ministry has been my goal while walking through the land of endless chatter and updates. Though this post is being written for my blog, I am not going to abandon the other forms of writing – at least not yet!

Blessings from God come in a variety of shapes and sizes through a seemingly never ending caravan of resources. Don’t misunderstand me here on this very important point – God is our source; he uses resources to bless us and move his kingdom forward. God never did send his people out to work in this old world without equipping us to complete the task at hand.

Let me tell you about what God did for us at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God several months ago. This is a fascinating story – one that needs to be told so others can see the hand of God working in the lives of his people. Even now, I am amazed how God brought this about. He put people together in such a way that it would be impossible to doubt his guidance in the matter.

My youth group had been meeting upstairs in the old sanctuary for quite a long time. They practiced drama there, conducted Children’s Church and even taught a Sunday School class in that huge room. They even held the first Youth Spiritual Explosion in that old sanctuary, worn out carpet and all! We even had a luau up there. Let me just say, there have been a lot of tears shed and victories won upstairs in the old church building, and we’re not done yet.

Shortly after the luau, I was walking outside the parsonage one morning and looked across the street to see quite a surprise. There was carpet on the ground in front of the old steps. Well, it wasn’t long until I was upstairs looking at one of my youth leaders ripping up that old, raggedy, worn out carpet. “You said we could do what we wanted up here!” That’s exactly right. I began ripping carpet right along with him. Pretty soon we had piles of the old carpet stacked outside.

We called for a work night and on a Tuesday night a sizable group of people, young and not so young, showed up to continue the project. At this time there really wasn’t a clear cut plan regarding the direction we were headed or the project’s goal. We did know all the carpet had to go, though. It took quite a while to get the carpet out of the sanctuary, but it did happen after many hours of work. What was left was another story.

All we knew to do was scrape the floor with shovels and putty knives. The old glue was stuck to the old pine floor and wasn’t coming off very well, but we kept pressing forward. We spent many Tuesday nights scraping and cleaning as much as we knew how. It was a sight to see all those young and older people working together to get the job done.

Here’s where God came to our rescue. Some of our people were with family at a restaurant in town, and they met a man who owns a floor business, Beautifying Floors by DeVere. Oscar came by the church one day and to look at our project. What a wonderful man! Oscar and I hit it off and we began deciding the direction we would take to complete the project. Oscar gave his time, energy, expertise and love to the table in order to help us turn the old sanctuary into something beautiful. The meeting in that restaurant was no chance happening at all.

The word of God declares in Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” I do not believe in happenstance or luck in the lives of Christian people. God orders the steps of those who put their trust in him.

The sanctuary walls were in bad shape, too, and needed quite a bit of repair. Once again, the Lord sent someone by to help in our time of need. One of our new people works at Sea World in maintenance and knows how to do all sorts of things relating to construction and repair. He voluntarily spent a couple days of vacation time to repair the walls. What a blessing! I am also thankful for the volunteers in the church who spent hours preparing the walls for the work that followed.

Under that old carpet was a diamond in the rough. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful floors I’ve ever seen. It took a long time, but was worth all the effort. The walls that were in such bad shape are not that way any more.

God blessed in ways we couldn’t imagine. He orchestrated the whole affair, and we are not done yet. There is still more to be done, but we have no doubt the outcome will be amazing.

God Will Restore

In Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on January 8, 2010 at 9:35 PM

At the request of a young lady who needs encouragement, I offer the following message which was preached on the first Sunday of 2010. The premise is simple: 2009 is gone and we need to press on. We need to let the mistakes and sins of the past be buried as we look ahead to the wonderful provision God has for all who put their trust in him. Stop worrying about yesterday and begin stretching your faith in order to believe for big things.

Look at Philippians 3:12-16 for a moment and allow the scriptures to speak to your spirit:

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

We really have no choice if we are going to see the blessings of God as never before. Your hopes and dreams are just as real now as they ever were; the enemy of your soul has robbed you and taken the air out of your sails, but now it is time to believe God for victory. Press on, child of God, press on!

Foundational Scripture: Joel 1:1-5

The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel: 2 Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? 3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. 4 What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. 5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.

INTRODUCTION:

What we think our Christian lives are supposed to be and how they actually are often contradict each other. For years we have been taught the Christian life has no pain, no grief, no failures, only joy and peace and happiness. The promises in God’s word are vividly clear.

A. The Christian Walk

1. Our Christian Life Should

  • Be Radiant John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
  • Be Eternal John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Be Abundant John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
  • Be Filled With Resurrection Power John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
  • Acknowledge Jesus as the path of life John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2. Our Joy Joy is that deep-settled peace even in the midst of the storms of life. You can’t buy joy or happiness; you can have joy in the most severe trials.

  • Neh. 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
  • Psa. 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Exceeding gladness)
  • Psa. 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • Psa 42:4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. (A wink of the eyes; a very short space of time.)
  • Psa. 126:5 – 6 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

3. Our Peace

  • Peace is a gift John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (How often do our hearts race with fear, doubt and disbelief)
  • Based on the Word of God John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • One of the fruit of the Spirit Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  • Guards our hearts and minds Phil. 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

4. Our Power

  • We wear or put on this clothing Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  • Comes from the Holy Ghost Baptism Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

5. Our Strength

  • Psa. 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psa. 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Isa. 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
  • Isa. 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

OUR LIVES SOMEHOW DON’T MEASURE UP!

The problem lies in the fact that the locusts have eaten up your expectations. Let’s look again at the prophecy. It really has a two-fold meaning.

A. Prophetic

  1. Cutting locust (Palmerworm): eats the top away from the crops (fulfilled in the Assyrians)
  2. Swarming locust (Locust): swarming cloud (eats the stalks) (fulfilled in the Babylonians)
  3. Hopping locust (Cankerworm): licks up the stubble, devastating (fulfilled in the Roman empire)
  4. Destroying locust (Caterpillar): goes under the earth (eats seeds) (will be fulfilled at the Battle of Armageddon.

B. Personal Level

Fields represent who we are and reflect our deepest desires. Some had wonderful visions about what you wanted to do for God. The zeal you once had has grown cold and has been plundered. Your faith has grown cold and the joy you once felt has somehow given way to a feeling of despair. There is an empty feeling and you somehow feel you have been cheated out of everything God desired to give you.

If something good ever did happen in your lives, you would wonder if something was wrong. The things God meant for our good have been turned around and used against us by the army of locusts the enemy sent our way.

  1. God’s Promise to Restore

God is in the restoration business and delights in seeing his people put back together again. Life is often hard and the enemy of our souls does everything in his power to make sure our eyes are not fixed on the Lord. If he can detract us long enough, he knows we are more apt to fall. Take heart child of God, there restoration ahead, and we win. God is for us and not against us.

Joel 2:23 through Joel 2:27

“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. 26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

C.  Pictures in our lives

  1. Locusts of self-pity. Poor me. You focus on self instead of God. Any time you do this, you tied the hands of God and you will never succeed. We all need to quit thinking the world revolves around us and know God is in control of our lives.
  2. Locusts of loneliness. “I’m the only one.” Remember what Elijah said in 1 Kings 19:9-10? “God, there’s nobody righteous except me. I’m all you’ve got left.” God told him there were yet 7,000 who hadn’t bowed their knees to the image of Ba’al, and that there were three other prophets waiting in the wings: Jehu, Hazael, and Elisha. Child of God, you are not the only one fighting the good fight of faith. Get up, child of God – quit whining!
  3. Locusts of meaninglessness. “I don’t count for anything.” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought your live was absolutely without any purpose? Paul said he “despaired even of life.” II Cor 1:8 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
  4. Locusts of isolation. “I don’t know the will of God.” Let’s look at the life of John Baptist. In Luke 7:19-23, we find him in prison and sending his disciples to find out if Jesus was really the one prophesied about. There was a time when John knew who Jesus was without any doubt. There was a time when this man of purpose boldly declared the message of the cross. This sounds like many of us who have somehow lost sight of the person of Jesus Christ and have felt the despair of isolation. Look at John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John was confused about things and felt isolated from the promises of God. At first he would never have doubted God, but now there’s a question.

The only way for us to gain the victory is to accept the generous provision the Lord has offered to every believer in every generation. God said He would re­store the years the locusts have eaten; will you not receive this great gift? Put down your cares and burdens at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Let the Lord of glory fill you with His marvelous touch this very hour.

Youth Spiritual Explosion – November 21, 2009

In The Pastor's Blog on November 25, 2009 at 8:22 PM

What started out as an idea in a youth meeting culminated in a powerful event which included eight diverse churches from several local communities. It was an incredible evening of praise and worship, anointed preaching and fellowship. It was a testament to what God can do with willing vessels.

We are a small, but growing church in Central Florida. There really aren’t many youth here, but the ones we have are growing in grace and knowledge in Jesus; they are ready to step out in faith to accomplish great things in the kingdom of God. Their youth pastor is not the typical one, either, but that has not been anything but positive for our young people. It really doesn’t matter what the mold looks like as long as God is allowed to direct our journey.

The young people wanted to put on an event geared toward reaching the younger generation in our community. They came to the conclusion it wasn’t going to be something hastily thrown together to fill a time slot; rather, it would be on a grander scale. It would be challenging, lots of hard work and would have to bathed in much prayer and preparation. We would use the facilities on our church campus, too.

Many of our people were involved in preparing our old structures for what was to be an event unlike this church had ever seen. Fresh paint everywhere was the order of the day, cleaning on a grand scale, running cable and wire for sound and video are just some of the tasks undertaken by a dedicated group of our own church members. When joy is in the house, it’s much easier to get work done. There was even some hands-on training for altar workers.

We had packed the old sanctuary with chairs and had several rooms downstairs set aside as overflow in case we needed them. If that weren’t enough, we had the capability to run video and sound to our main sanctuary just in case. There was a good crowd and it was a good thing rooms had been prepared ahead of time.

One thing that still amazes me is the fact so many churches worked together to make this happen. There were four singing groups and four drama teams. That is eight churches represented in an evening when so many teens could have been at other places. What an incredible night. The groups had one common purpose, and that was to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and purposefully affect the lives of those who listened to the message they presented.

Our featured singing group was Julian Drive who hales out of Athens, Georgia. This ia group of guys who are loaded with talent and possess a powerful anointing to minister to people of all ages. Their story if fascinating, and full of a sense the hand of God led them to where they are now. You can read their story here. They really are a great bunch of guys, and I had the privilege of meeting their families during their short stay with us. If you need someone who is all about ministry, you would do well to contact them.

Bishop Jonathan Zeigler is an exciting preacher, to say the least. He has a heart for worship and a message to deliver, and he was our guest speaker. I don’t believe it was an accident he was chosen by our youth group. They had seen him at the Florida Campmeeting a couple of years ago as he preached the Friday Youth Night service. He brought a powerful, on-time word right from the throne of God. Many lives were impacted by what the Lord put on his heart to deliver that night.

Bishop told the incredible story of how he got to our neck of the woods, and it was nothing short of a miracle. He was tired and worn out from a great revival and all he wanted to do was go home and rest up for the next meeting. Well, when God gets in the arrangements, anything can happen. His office manager told him he needed to go to a youth meeting in central Florida, and he told her he was the boss and he wasn’t going. Well, she insisted and he knew it was the hand of God directing the orchestra. He didn’t even know where “here” was, but under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, traveled to “here” on assignment from the throne of God. It is an amazing story, and the word he delivered was indeed powerful. I wish you would have been here.

Our church and youth group are not done yet. We have begun making plans to do this all over again next year, but with a different focus. Some of the people are interested in Southern Gospel, and we can do that, too.

We’re Better Than This, Mr. President

In E-Mail Tidbits, The Pastor's Blog on November 24, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Someone sent an e-mail to me recently, and I thought it was pretty funny at first, but on further consideration, I couldn’t help being embarrassed. In the midst of all the things gone wrong, the supposed health care crisis, fake global warming, and all the other catastrophes the current administration doesn’t want to waste, I find it distasteful to see and hear of our president lampooning our country’s exceptionalism and spirit.

While President Obama should be thankful for the capitalist nature of our society, it seems he takes choice opportunities to criticize its virtues while attempting to lower our values and standards. It seems he wants us to be on equal footing with the rest of the world. By God’s amazing grace and power, we are exceptional, and we should never forget what brought us to this point. It certainly wasn’t our own greatness; it was the grace of God.

I believe many of the people who voted for the president are waking from their sleep and beginning to see right through the catastrophe they created. Let’s hope so, anyway. Let us never again fall into a place where we think the only hope we have is the type of person who currently resides in the White House. What a mess! How’s that hope and change working out for you?

Our only real hope lies in the promises of God’s word. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is our hope, and if we allow him to, he will change our lives for our good. We are better than what we have seen recently; our hope isn’t about us and we can’t fix our problems by ourselves. The whole world needs Jesus. Isn’t it time to pick ourselves up by our boot straps and run to Calvary?

With This President it’s One Bad Thing After Another

In Politics, The Pastor's Blog on November 8, 2009 at 5:24 PM

How do the Democrats have the nerve to talk about President George W. Bush’s years in office in the face of the horrendous job President Obama is handing to the American people? With this administration, it’s one bad policy and public relations nightmare after another.

This post will not seek to offer much in the way of commentary; rather, its intent is to point to some current headlines and offer sympathy for the American people and those who have dealings with our left-wing administration.

As this Washington Post article suggests, President Obama is excited about the House passing what sane people call a catastrophe. He absolutely ignores common sense and continues pressing forward to make sure our nation more weak by strangling us with debt many generations will not be able to pay back. Pitiful!

Remember, the jobless figure won’t be more than 8-9 %. Right!

In one more failure to display presidential prowess, our president will be sitting out the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. President Ronald Reagan was instrumental in tearing down both the wall and the stench of communism. What a shame. He should go to see what a previous generation thought about too much government control. It appears he wants to take us down the path torn down twenty years ago.

Bible Study Questions – November 4

In The Pastor's Blog on November 4, 2009 at 10:34 PM

I’m trying something new for a short while to see how it goes. My weekly Bible Study Questions post is found on my Facebook page as a note. Just trying to shake this up a bit.

Bible Study Questions – October 21

In The Pastor's Blog on October 21, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Well, everyone, it’s time once again to engage in our weekly bible study questions. I have come to the conclusion these are always difficult because there are so few who care to leave the answers. Whatever the reason may be, let’s get started.

We had a good study tonight and talked about something at the end which wrapped around the entire lesson. It was a simple question, really, but had an enormous effect on everything we discussed tonight. It is simply this: where is the church’s “story.” In other words, where is our testimony? Do we still have a testimony or has it grown silent? Where is your story?

  1. To whom did Jesus say “you will see greater things than these?”
  2. Jesus confronted a master (teacher) about spiritual birth. Who was the teacher?
  3. What is the prerequisite for receiving wisdom from God, who gives to anyone who asks liberally?

Don’t forget to add as much detail to your answers as you possibly can. Get involved in the study of God’s amazing word. I believe you will find great joy in studying these questions.

Left-Wing Stooges – Not Funny at All!

In E-Mail Tidbits, Politics, The Pastor's Blog on October 15, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Someone just sent me an e-mail that speaks volumes about the plight of our great nation. When Bo, Blinky and Harry run the show, debt happens at an alarming rate, and the march to destruction seems to be the number one priority. Honestly, the real stooges would probably do a better job running our country than the ones in the picture. What do you think about it?

Three Stooges

The original e-mail had the following quote attached to the bottom of the page, just as I have done. After scouring the net, though, I could not substantiate it even though it is cited in numerous publications. There just isn’t a source for what she is supposed to have said.

According to a Wikiquote article, the following seems logical:

Update: Margaret Thatcher, in a TV interview for Thames TV This Week [[1]]on Feb. 5, 1976, Prime Minister Thatcher said, “…and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.”

What these three are doing to our country is definitely not funny. They are forcing something on the American public that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Wilson Reagan fought so hard against – socialism, communism and any other ism which stifled the excellence of capitalism. Sadly, there are too many in our country who are asleep at the wheel and have no clue who’s in office. Perhaps they should take a look at the poster!

For the president, it’s one mistake after another, and the other two sharing space on the poster are right behind him. Sad, but true.

Bible Study Questions – October 14

In Family Training Hour Questions, The Pastor's Blog on October 14, 2009 at 9:13 PM

bible-searchWords cannot describe how wonderful our bible study was tonight. Without a doubt, this was the best one to date, and that’s saying quite a lot. The pastor can hardly wait until next Wednesday night so we can do this all over again.

There was a struggle to answer the first question; many answers flew all over the room, but they weren’t correct. Finally, someone got the answer and we spent quite a while digging around determining background information. No doubt, we could have spent the entire time on this one alone, but didn’t.

Anyway, let’s get started on the questions. Please take the time to answer these questions; it will do you good as you study the word of God. Be blessed in your time in prayer and study.

  1. Where are the ark builder, vision interpreter and man who kept his integrity found?
  2. Which commandment is the most important of all? Where is it found in NT writings?
  3. Where is a charge given by a master teaching his student to preach according to various seasons?

Thanks for taking the time to participate. You will benefit greatly by spending time in your bible on a regular basis. Why not set aside a time every day to spend with God, getting to know him through his eternal word?

President Obama’s Nobel Prize – There is no Defense

In Politics on October 13, 2009 at 9:50 PM

It was going to happen sooner or later, and the Nobel judges have not disappointed. Four of the five spoke out in defense of their decision to give President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize recently. What a sham they have made of this prestigious award. Their record of late has not been noteworthy. They have given the prize to some people who never should have been nominated, let alone be recipients.

There has been non-stop coverage of this travesty since the president received the news of the handout by the Nobel judges. I know many conservative talk show hosts have spent a great of time on the subject. It is such a shame the president continues to be an embarrassment to the citizens of our great nation.

According to an Associated Press article by Ian MacDougall and Karl Ritter, committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said “Alfred Nobel wrote that the prize should go to the person who has contributed most to the development of peace in the previous year, Who has done more for that than Barack Obama?”

The article goes on to say “World leaders have reacted positively to Obama’s Nobel in most cases, the committee said, with much of the criticism coming from the media and Obama’s political rivals.” I have a theory as to why world leaders have reacted positively to the president’s Nobel gift. It is simply that he wants to be just like them. People who are alike generally don’t have major problems between them; it’s those who are in direct opposition to someone’s values who stand a better chance of raising a great deal of ire.

Please note this one important fact – President Obama has done nothing worthy of this award. Perhaps he has thought long and hard about ways to make the world a better place, but so have many other people. I am confident we could find someone who would do the Nobel prize justice, it just isn’t our current president.

In an article by Denis Kilcommons of The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, he had the following to say: “Unfortunately, Obama has been seen as a global Messiah and the award has raised expectations even further of what he might achieve.”

What more can the prize committee do to further tarnish the award? According to ABC News, Rush Limbaugh called the Nobel prize committee’s decision “a bigger embarrassment than losing the Olympic bid,” and said, “He’s being judged on wishful thinking.” In my opinion, he needs to quit just wishing something will happen and begin to do what the Nobel prize alludes to. What has he really done?

No amount of talk by the Nobel Prize Committee will ever convince me President Obama is worthy of the prize. History has passed over some of the greatest men in favor of people who are just like the Obamas and Gores of the world. It really is sad. What do you think?