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March 31, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                              Jeremiah 30. 24                                            

 

See the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a driving wind

   swirling down on the heads of the wicked.  The fierce anger of the

   Lord will not turn back (repent) until He fully accomplishes the

   purposes of His heart.  In days to come you will understand this.

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

Being one of God’s mighty men does not always seem to be an

enviable position in the eyes of the world.  Of course, aligning one’s

self with the King of the Universe does tend to mean that the begging

for popular human opinion is not high on the list.  Whether as fathers

or husbands or neighbors or co-workers, God’s mighty men must be

made of a character of faith that bends but does not break.  I am sure

you have at least heard as a child, if not say it yourself to your children

“This is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.”  It was hard to

understand those words after being disciplined and sent to my room

while my parents enjoyed loudly a favorite show on the television in

the “family” room.  Today, being sent to our rooms isn’t such a severe

punishment considering everything we have stockpiled for our kids

in their rooms.  It may well hurt us more than it hurts them today.

 

Yet, in the days of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet who was on no one’s

Top 100 list of favorite people but God alone, there was a promise of

a devastating discipline coming on the nation of Israel.  It was up to

the prophet to prepare the people for its arrival, its duration, its meaning

and its purpose.  I am confident that there were many, many people who

believed what God was promising to do was unfair and unjust.  I have

no doubt that the corrupt leadership of that day which sought the

service of the people instead of serving the people by obeying God’s

Word railed against the words of the prophet.  It would not surprise me

if Jeremiah at least thought “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it

is going to hurt you.”  And it did.  Jeremiah suffered greatly at the

hands of that faithless generation of leaders who called themselves

God’s own.  Yet, Jeremiah was obedient to God.  Whatever the world

had to give him would pale in comparison to whatever discipline

measure God was bringing upon those who lacked faith, hope, love

and the courage to espouse them.  As God’s mighty men, we are

called to be the same as Jeremiah.  There are things that we should not

stand for and accept in our world today.  Whether it is in our homes, in

our workplaces, in our communities or in our communities of faith, we

must proclaim the Word that is acceptable to God with the words of

mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the works of our hands.

 

To do less is to venture the full wrath of God who promises that in the

days to come we will understand why He has to do what must be done.

We have to believe that taking strong action, even so strong on our

behalf as to commit to the sacrificing of His Only Son, hurts Him a lot

more than it hurts us.  Jesus died that we might not know the pain and

suffering of that day of wrath when God will draw the definitive line

of righteousness and ask us which side shall we stand on.  He loves

His children and does not will the death of anyone.  That is why He has

given His voice, His word, His will and His heart to His mighty men-

so that His people might not suffer any longer but accept Jesus Christ

as their Lord and Savior.

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For all of God’s mighty men that they may be preparers of the way

*  For Josh Tittle in a battle with adrenal cortical cancer; it is at stage

    4 and only a miracle can save his earthly life; support Josh and his

    family with prayer

*  For Charles’ doctor’s report period

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series (week 3) and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed up for

    the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you truly desire to

    be changed to lead like Jesus!]

*  For families of those who lost their lives in the nursing home shooting

    in North Carolina on Sunday and for the surviving staff and residents

    as they deal with the tragedy, for those who will minister to them in

    this time of need

*  For the strengthening of those in Minnesota as they prepare for the

    consequence of another round of wet weather in an already soaked to

    the brim state

*  For those who are reliving the horror days of the Khmer Rouge regime

    due to the war crimes trial in Cambodia

*  For those students in Texas preparing for the next round of high-stakes

    assessments that their minds be full of ready knowledge


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  For the continued leveling and slow receding of the Red River in

    Minnesota

*  For the brave police officer who risked his life to confront the nursing

    shooter in North Carolina accepting wounds to protect lives


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Lord, we know that you know better than any of us “no pain, no gain.”

We have gained so much in our lives that could have been lost because

You have suffered more for us than we can imagine.  May the presence

of the cross stand before us as a reminder of keeping the faith and sharing

the love.  It may bring discomfort and worry to our hearts and minds when

we are confronted with a situation where saying and doing the right thing

will be difficult.  But, by Your Holy Spirit remind us and encourage us to

know the consequences for their lives if we do not abide by righteousness.

Bless these mighty men who take on the coat of courage so that those who

have been given to them might know the way, the truth and the life.  AMEN.

The “Living” Last Supper

March 30, 2009

April 8, 2009
7:00 pmto8:30 pm
April 9, 2009
7:00 pmto8:30 pm

A theatrical presentation of DaVinci’s Last Supper by members and friends of Lakeway Church.  I will be portraying Philip.  It is a time of remembrance and celebration of  the Lord’s Supper.  Admission is free.

Post tags:

“Lead Like Jesus” Bible Study

April 4, 2009
7:30 amto9:00 am
April 11, 2009
7:30 amto9:00 am
April 18, 2009
7:30 amto9:00 am
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HIS Word for Today:                                                         John 1. 31                                            

 

I myself did not know Him, but the reason I come baptizing with

   Water was that he might be revealed to Israel.

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

It is wise to think before doing.  We do make the mistakes of putting

our words out into public hearing before we ourselves have given

them a good hearing.  Sometimes we are reactive when we do things

and then are regretful when we look back at what happened.  A great

part of our strength as God’s mighty men comes from the fact that

we have been given an insight, a vision, of what is to come.  We may

not see all the details of the vision clearly but we are aware in our

spirit that there is something of great importance.  When we made our

decision to be Christ followers and God believers, we stepped into the

arena of kingdom importance.  Even Judas had his part in revealing

who Jesus was albeit a tragedy for him.  He saw a bigger picture but

acted on his own volition.  It is important to know why we are doing

what we are doing.

 

John the Baptizer taught the Pharisees who came to question his

ministry “I am baptizing with water [for the reason of repentance] so

that Jesus might be revealed.”  It was a matter of forcing Jesus’ hand

as Judas sought to do but to prepare a world to be in the proper frame

of mind to see and accept Jesus.  We might do well to consider that

we embrace a similar construct for what we do.  Are we working,

speaking, playing, worshipping or whatever it is we are doing on a

daily basis so that the world is better prepared for see and embrace

Jesus when He is revealed to the world?

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For are of God’s mighty men that they may be preparers of the way

*  For Josh Tittle in a battle with adrenal cortical cancer; it is at stage

    4 and only a miracle can save his earthly life; support Josh and his

    family with prayer

*  For the Church in Nicaragua and Ethiopia and France

*  For Charles’ positive doctor’s report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  For the leveling and slow receding of the Red River in Minnesota

*  For a beautiful day to be outside and study God’s word and to share

    tt with others


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

You have prepared us, O Lord, to be worthy vessels of faith, hope

and love.  We are ready to be put into use today.  May the filling

we receive in Your Holy Spirit be complete for this day.  May the

outpouring of Your Love bring a flood of blessing for those we

meet and serve.  May Your Will be done in us so that others might

see and embrace Jesus as Lord.  AMEN.

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March 29, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                            Ezekiel 21. 25-27                                            

 

O profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose

   time of punishment has reached its climax, this is what the Lord

   your God says: Take off the turban, remove the crown.  It will not

   be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be

   brought low.  A ruin!  A ruin!  I will make it a ruin!  It will not be

   restored until He comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to Him I

   will give it.

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

We have often heard the reminder that all we have is on loan to us to

use with faith, hope and love for the work of the Kingdom of God on

earth as it is being done already in Heaven.  Think about the impact

of what that mission statement says to us as God’s mighty men.  What

work is being done in Heaven?  Do we think that Heaven is a reflection

of earthly living and industry?  Are there factories, shops, stores, fast-

food restaurants, schools etc. lining the streets of golds near the gates

each made of the jewels that represent the months of our year?

Is there political chaos, cultural ruin, famine and pestilence, and death

in heaven?  Do we think that Heaven is some kind of spiritual retirement

retreat and reward for the faithful?  If we read HIS Word we are told

of the continual service of worship that praises God in the very presence

of God, that celebrates with thanksgiving the life of the Lamb of God for

our salvation face to face with the Lamb Himself and joined with all

those believers whose focus of heart, mind, soul and strength is brought

together in an eternal chorus of God’s bidding.  Do we see the significant

difference between these two realities?

 

One reality is the perpetuation of a time-bound duty which has become

the very life and breath of humanity as well as the measure of worth

and value according to the standards of the world.  Where does Jesus

teach about such things as the ultimate goals and vision of our lives?

The other reality speaks of the natural and normal cause and effect of

the life of faith and faithfulness.  The Elder John of Patmos wrote of

the Revelation given to him that he saw Heaven as that place where

there is no more suffering, dying, hungering, thirsting and turmoil. 

Yes, I know it is easy enough to consider that for Heaven because sin

does not exist there.  But, sin exists here in this world only by choice. 

It is not meant to be a normal and natural state of being.  Sinful living

is abnormal.  It is not what God requires nor is it what God created.  It is

not a part of God’s expectation for earthly living.  If it was then we would

not need Jesus and He would not have asked Him to die on the cross for us

as a means of showing us there is a better life for us all in this world as in

the next.

 

But, God is a God who honors free will.  He gave us His will freely and

allows us to freely choose how we will respond to it.  But, He does not

remove the consequences of the choice simply because we live in a

world of choices.  Freedom always has a price.  Sin’s price is eternal

death.  Those who choose to live apart from faith and abide in sin will

die and all that they have had will be lost including, and especially, their

freedom.  So it was for the less-than-mighty men of Israel as they chose

to follow their own inclinations and definitions of the good life.  What

they had was taken away and it will not be restored to the righteous

until the rightful ruler of all returns.  Our choice is to be righteous and

to cast our hope on the vision of all we have been given.  Just as the

people of Israel were given the Promised Land without seeing it so we

have been given Heaven without ever having been there.  It is ours.  It

is real.  It is more than a dream and a hope.  It is a truth.  And God’s

mighty men are called to live that truth out here on earth in readiness

for the day when the True Master of the House of this Earth returns

to reclaim its residents, His family, and abide with them forever in

praise to God.  It begins now with our choice to live by the ways and

means of the earth or by the glory and honor of Heaven.

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For those who will lead God’s people in worship this weekend

*  For Josh Tittle in a battle with adrenal cortical cancer; it is at stage

    4 and only a miracle can save his earthly life; support Josh and his

    family with prayer

*  For the Netanyahu government in Israel that no person become a

    barrier to peace

*  For the Church in Nicaragua and Ethiopia and France

*  For Charles’ positive doctor’s report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]

*  For the continued decline of the Red River in Minnesota and the

    strengthening of all those who standing against its flood waters

*  For those impacted by the continuing eruption of Mt. Redoubt in

    Alaska, earthquakes in Southern California and Peru, damaging

    storms through the midwest and southeast

*  Healing of lives and finances


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  A friend accepting the call to be baptized into the life of Christ

*  A worship challenge to mission work


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Thank You, Lord, for choosing us to receive mercy and grace even

and especially when we have not deserved it.  But, we have chosen

You as well not so that we might receive any reward but because

this choice is the only one that makes sense of how to live best in

this world.  Thank You for entrusting us with Your World.  We are

sorry we haven’t done a better job with it.  We are sorry enough to

commit ourselves to doing better by leaning more on You and one

another than on leaning upon our own understanding.  Give us today

what we will need to make this world a better place for others until

Your Son, Our Master, returns in His full glory for Your Honor.

 AMEN.

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“Say It Again” conclusion

March 28, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                            Philippians 3. 1                                            

 

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!  It is no trouble for me

  to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for

  you.”

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

He realized that everyone was looking at him with eyes full of

expectation.  How long had he been standing there in silence? How

long had he dwelt in the land of Israel moving with those mighty

men of faith across the pages of God’s Word?  How long had he

been in meditation for those who were struggling now in the midst

of this service?  It was as if all the air had nearly left the room in one

big gasp.  Everyone was holding their breath.  Even the birds

hushed their singing.  He had been walking in the Garden of his

spirit talking with God, seeking His wisdom and listening for His

answer.  In that moment the weight of their waiting pressed heavy

upon him. There was such a burden on his heart, in his mind and with

his spirit that he fell to his knees.  At first no one moved.  Then there

was a slow rippling of whispers that passed across the pews.  He

couldn’t hear what they were saying.  He was embarrassed that they

were no doubt wondering about him.  He never wanted to be the focus

nor the center of attention.  That place belonged only to God whom he

loved with all his heart, soul, strength and mind.  Now, here he was.

 

It was then he felt a hand on his shoulder.  He looked up to see the

face of one of the elders.  There was genuine concern in his eyes.

There was a warmth in his touch.  He helped the young preacher to

his feet.  “Are you alright?” he whispered.  The pastor nodded his

head that he was.  “Maybe you should stop now,”  he continued.

The pastor shook his head “no.”  The elder looked at him and urged,

“We knew this was more than you could do.  You should have been

listening to us.  We knew what we are talking about.”  The pastor

was struck by his words.  It wasn’t a burden of concern for himself or

the expectation of others that had brought him to his knees.  It was one

of sorrow.  Jesus must have felt that sorrow, too, only in volume too

great for even he to imagine.  Jesus hadn’t died of His physical wounds

no matter how severe.  He died of a broken heart.  His spirit was never

broken, however, and neither would the spirit of the young preacher. 

He looked deep into the elder’s eyes with all the compassion

he possessed and smiled.  But, the focus of the elder did not change. 

“Why do you persist in preaching the same sermon each Sunday?” he

asked in a voice too low for anyone but the two of them to hear.  The

pastor lowered his head for a moment and then returned his gaze

to the elder’s eyes.  He put his hand on the shoulder of this seeker

and declared, “When you have done what He has asked you to do

the first time, then we can go on to the next lesson.” 

 

The elder stepped back speechless.  He was now caught in clear view

of the crowd.  All eyes were on him.  He saw those who started coming

since the preacher arrived filled with love and joy.  There was such a

peace in them.  He looked at those whom he had known for some time

but never really knew except by reputation.  They, too, had a peace

about them but he didn’t understand it was from the forgiveness they

received through God’s Word.  How could he know?  He didn’t really

take the time to know them before.  How could he understand their joy

now when he didn’t know their pain then?  Then he saw those whom he

had grown up with and now served with as elders of the church.  He

didn’t see the same love or joy or peace as in the others.  He saw

confusion and doubt.  He stepped forward because he cared about the

preacher.  Did they think that he was “taking care” of the preacher now

and being their representative of setting him straight?  He looked back

at the pastor with tears in his eyes.  He was undone.  The words of the

weekly sermon now rushed to the front of his mind. He considered them

all from the familiar psalm of David’s trust in God to guide him and meet

his every need.  It went to the words of John proclaiming God’s unfailing

love in Jesus the Christ who died that he might live as one with the Father. 

It went to the words of Paul urging the Christians in Philippi against those

leaders who saw only their own agenda and his desire to safeguard them so

they might grow in faith toward God.  Was all of this for him?  It couldn’t

have been, he thought, look at all of these people who are here.  They are

hearing something in this Word that is just for them as much as it is just for

me.  The pastor leaned in to the elder and whispered, “Let he who has ears

to hear, hear!”  The elder embraced the young pastor in reply “Thank you

for helping me to hear.”  The pastor reminded him it was all about what

God wants to do, “He will say it again and again until we listen and obey. 

He loves us, and you, that much.  His love never fails.”  With that the

young preacher stepped from chancel and sat with those who had come

to worship.

 

The elder stepped to the pulpit and found the final text just as it had been

for each of these Sundays.  The Bible was already turned to the closing

scripture the pastor had offered each time.  He lifted up the Bible, looked

into the eyes of the eagerly waiting hearers and said “I am glad to say it

again for you today.”  He began to read, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in

the Lord….”

 

(…continued in you and through you to all the world starting

  today.  Let those with ears to hear, hear.)

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For those who will lead God’s people in worship this weekend

*  For Josh Tittle in a battle with adrenal cortical cancer; it is at stage

    4 and only a miracle can save his earthly life; support Josh and his

    family with prayer

*  For the Netanyahu government in Israel that no person become a

    barrier to peace

*  For those who bear the burden of education, may they be equally

     yoked

*  For Charles’ positive doctor’s report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]

*  For hearing ears and seeing eyes


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Continued revelations as to meaning and purpose that can lead

    correction, healing and restoration

*  To be of use and service

*  For ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart to be broken for healing

 


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Lord, Your Word is perfect and righteous altogether.  Pour out

Your spirit on these mighty men who have shared in this Word

this week.  May they be safeguarded and led by that Spirit which

has a peace that surpasses all understanding.  It is a peace that

is shared in faith, hope and love.  Brothers, let us rejoice in the

Lord.  AMEN.

“Say It Again” part 5

March 26, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                            Philippians 3. 1                                            

 

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!  It is no trouble for me

  to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for

  you.”

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

But not all the sheep were content.  Sometimes it is difficult for

a few shepherds to first understand that the prerequisite for spiritual

leadership is to take your place as one of the flock.  Sheep made

sheep, not shepherds.  While Jesus called His disciples to become

fishers of men he knew they had to be plucked out of the sea first.

Who would know better the needs of fish than fish.  Every good

fisherman knew this.  It was important for the fisher to be able to

think like a fish.  It wasn’t any different for David.  He was a

shepherd long before he was a king.  He led people just as he had

led his sheep.  But, of course, they weren’t really his sheep.  Those

sheep belonged to his father.  He was their guardian and protector

because he honored the trust of his father.  He learned this from his

father who had learned it from his father.  He would pass it on to

his sons.  Not all of them would understand or accept this teaching.

Those who didn’t became as wolves.  Solomon, on the other hand,

understood how important it was to be a follower before ever truly

accepting the place of leader.  In fact, the proverbs that he penned

were actually lessons he was giving to his son.  He did what he

could do.  It would be up to those who listened to that wisdom to

decide for themselves if they would accept it as a guide for their

own lives.  Was it any different today?  The names had changed.

The pasture certainly looked a bit different from the days of David

and the nation of Israel.  But, the truth remains the truth.  It, like

God, was and is and will always be.

 

The young preacher gathered himself once again.  He saw the

shifting feet of the elders.  They were like sheep filled with

anxiety as if they felt the presence of a wolf stalking them from

somewhere just beyond their sight.  They were afraid.  Things

were changing.  This was, of course, what they had prayed for

when they asked God to bring them the right man for the job.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for, God just might

be listening and give it to you.  But, this was not what they had in

mind.  Suddenly things were beyond their control.  They were far

away from their vision of still waters and green pastures.  The

pastor sensed their nervousness and fear.  This was the valley of

the shadow of death David had sung to the nation of Israel when

he was king.  The road to renewal was never going to be a simple

journey.  But, the sheep had to be encouraged and calmed.  They

could not do it themselves.  They needed a shepherd to guide them

through the difficult times as well as through the good times.  This

shepherd knew what was on their minds.  They were asking each

other, “Why is he preaching the same sermon once again?  Didn’t

he understand what we were asking him?  We said we would be

glad to help him with his other duties so he could come up with

a different sermon.  I guess he didn’t think we were serious.  Or

is this the best he can do?”  Yet, despite what he knew he had to

remain faithful to what he believed.  He was doing what God had

asked him to do.  He couldn’t change his course any more than

Jesus could alter the events that night which led to his arrest and

crucifixion as he prayed in the garden.  He uttered quietly, “Not

my will but Thine be done.”

 

(completed tomorrow)

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For those who will lead God’s people in worship this weekend

*  For those who are seeking answers that they may discover the

    the truth in the presence of God

*  For sheep and shepherds

*  For our state politicians deciding how best to inform the instruction

    science so that it represents an effort of integrity in response to all

    concerns

*  For Charles’ positive doctors report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  For the sun that followed the rain and the beauty of the earth it

    has brought forth at God’s command

*  Lessons taught and learned passed from generation to generation,

    father to son to friend

 


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Oh Lord, You are our shepherd.  We have nothing really that we

should want as the sheep of Your pasture and the mighty men of

Your hand.  May our desires be for the continuing revelation of

Your Word through Jesus our Christ.  Let that truth be a seed of

plenty planted in our heart, soul and mind.  May Your Spirit be

our strength.  Let the lessons we learn today become opportunities

to teach tomorrow in His name.  AMEN.

“Say It Again” part 4

HIS Word for Today:                                            Philippians 3. 1                                            

 

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!  It is no trouble for me

  to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for

  you.”

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

The Spring morning brought bright sunshine and a brilliant blue

sky.  Everything seemed more alive today.  The leaves and grass

were a true green.  Flowers of every color and hue blossomed with

faces turned toward the sun.  Even the birds would not hush their

singing and added their songs to the ones that were pouring out of

the open windows from the little church house.  It was as if the

whole of nature itself was called to worship.  And it was a good

thing that the day was so fair and the windows were open because

there was no room inside for everyone to gather.  The pastor was

overwhelmed with the vibrancy that filled the room.  He could

feel the hair raising up on the back of his neck with the electricity

of the moment.  He looked across the room and thought, “Surely

God must be in this place.”  He invited everyone who was not

standing to join those who were and led them in singing.  Even

those who had not been in church before appeared to know the

song.  The roof raised with the praise, “This is my Father’s

world and to my listening ears all nature sings and round me

rings….”

 

The music never seemed to end.  One song led to another and in

the midst of the singing you could see this person or that person

well up in tears and sit down.  Immediately those who were near

them laid hands on them and started praying.  Here was a true

community of faith in a spontaneous combustion of love and

mercy.  Different walks of life had come to this small intersection

and stopped.  No one wanted to go further along the road.  Here

was an oasis of hope in a desert of despair.  It wasn’t just the

“place” to be because it was Sunday morning, it was “thee” place

to be.  Mourning was turned to laughter.  Sorrow turned to praise.

Burdens were light.  Yokes were shared.  The pastor watched as

so many people were becoming a part of the priesthood of all

believers by God’s invitation alone.  He mused, “I shouldn’t be

surprised, God is the miracle worker.  Give God a chance and

He comes through every time.”  He smiled as he waved his hands

to signal it was time to stop singing and sit down.  Those who

could did.  Eyes were searching for those who needed to sit and

seats were offered to them as a true sign of sacrifice and care.

When there was finally a semblance of calm, the pastor began.

 

“The world is Mine and all that is in it, declared the psalmist

David.  He was talking about how God saw the world He had

created.  No matter how much the people of the world believed

they were in control, the world and all that is in it still belonged

to God.  He is telling us today, as He does each and every day,

we are His sheep, the people of His pasture.”  The pastor stopped

to catch his breath as his heart pounded.  As if on cue, the people

picked up the now familiar line, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall

not want.”  As they completed the 23rd Psalm, he watched how

the presence of God was moving among them.  The words of the

psalm were spoken but it was the living out of those words that

humbled him.  He was motionless as if held by the Spirit.  Those

who had already been shepherded were now shepherding others. 

 

(continued tomorrow)

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For those who declare themselves leaders that they may truly

    be so

*  For those who have not yet discovered they are leaders may

    they do so

*  For those who have built fences to keep people out instead of

    opportunities to build up positive living

*  For those who are suffering from hunger and thirst that they

    be forever quenched through the efforts of the sons of

    righteousness

*  For Al’s Charles’ positive doctors report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]

*  For daughter, Sarah, and many others who suffered damage

    from the Spring thunderstorm with large hail, may their

    brokenness be mended


Prayer Celebrations 
(where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Al has returned home after double-knee surgery

*  Others have returned home from their visits to places of healing

*  Still others have gone home having received their ultimate healing

*  God’s Word is alive

 


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Lord, this is Your world and all that is in it.  We pause with listening

ears to hear Your world speaking to us and through us.  Bless these

mighty men who share this story not only as it is written on a page

but as they find it written in their hearts.  May You receive all praise,

glory and honor.  AMEN.

 

 

 

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“Say It Again” part 3

March 25, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                            Philippians 3. 1                                            

 

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!  It is no trouble for me

  to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for

  you.”

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

Sunday morning didn’t come any earlier than usual.  The rooster crowed.

The sun rose.  The smell of breakfast cooking filled the whole house as

praise and worship music swelled in joyous crescendo.  By all appearances

it was just a normal Sunday.  But, for the young pastor this would be one

of those days you only want to dream about.  He sat at the dining room

table with his wife and young son who was enjoying playing with his

breakfast.  He was unaware of what this day was.  It was just like every

other day to him and why shouldn’t it be.  In the heart and mind of a child

every day is a good day filled with joy and learning moments.  He took

his cue from his parents.  He was a reflection of them.  Except, if they ever

had one of those down moments, he would first try to get them to laugh

and play.  It is always better to a child to enjoy life instead of resent it.

Children have to learn how to regret something; that is the joy of innocence.

His father looked at him and took his cue from his laughter.  He thought to

himself, “I am a child of God.  What does God want for me to do today?”

He bowed his head and prayed “Your will be done gladly for this is a day

which only You could have made.  What we make of it is our choice.  I

pray we choose wisely this day to say best whose we are.  In Jesus’ name.”

 

As it had in the weeks previous, the anticipation of worship in the small

community church didn’t come any earlier than usual.  It started when

that particular person who needed God, whether they knew Him or not,

woke up and looked at his or her world.  Worship for some people was

not always a joyous time.  Too many people seem to wake up on the

wrong side of the bed and hit the wall early.  The voice they raise is not

a voice of praise.  They have forgotten or never even knew that they, too,

were a child of God blessed with every reason to get the most out of life

and enjoy it to the fullest. 

 

But, in the past weeks since the young pastor’s arrival and first sermon

there was a different feeling.  The walls of doubt and fear had started

coming down for so many.  The windows of their souls were opening

wide to see the world as it was, is and will be.  Some thought it was

because of the pastor.  They were the first ones to enter the church when

the door was opened.  The moved straight to the front where so few had

sat before.  They wanted to sit close to this man who had made such a

difference in their lives.  They were becoming reflections of his outward-

ness.  They hadn’t grasped the whole of the truth but were drawing nearer

to the kingdom.  They wanted this good life. Others were already into the

wrestling with the words of this young man.  They felt the truth in them

as well as the challenge it represented to their lives.  He wasn’t asking for

them to change, they knew that, but something was and that was what

they were coming back to find out.  They were all kinds of people from

all walks of life.  Some of those walks had been dead ends or cliffhangers.

They were the turn-around group that would benefit from the comfort of

repentence.  Like the others, some of them had never been to church.  The

word was out and they found themselves drawn to a hope that had been

lost long ago.

 

By the time the regulars showed up they found the parking lot full and

the streets lined with cars.  Worship hadn’t officially started but it was

already in full force as people they didn’t even know greeted them and

shook their hands.  Some even said, “God bless you.”  The pastor stood

on the front step taking time to greet each one as they entered.  He

watched as the elders were gathering together.  He wanted it to be a

time of prayer and thanksgiving for them.  Somehow, he knew it was

a different kind of “preying” that troubled them.  They were be gnawed

at and eaten by their own challenges.  He looked to heaven and prayed,

“Your will be done.”

 

(continued tomorrow)

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For the reshaping of the Israeli government and a hope that is

    finds focus on the kingdom instead of just a nation

*  For those who have built fences to keep people out instead of

    opportunities to build up positive living

*  For those who are suffering from hunger and thirst that they

    be forever quenched through the efforts of the sons of

    righteousness

*  For Al’s recovery and Charles’ positive doctors report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  For the ability to be strategic and the opportunity to represent the

    place of value and honor in education and the workplace

*  For another round of gentle rain

*  For this day which the Lord has made and all it will provide to

    praise and serve God better

 


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Lord, it is with great anticipation that we greet this day.  We know

it is filled with wonder and surprise, blessing and opportunity.  May

our worship and our service be as one today so that we truly reflect

the oneness we have in You.  May we invite another one to join with

us as we share and honor Your Word with our lives as Your mighty

men.  AMEN.

“Say It Again” part 2

March 24, 2009

HIS Word for Today:                                            Philippians 3. 1                                            

 

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!  It is no trouble for me

  to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for

  you.”

 


Reflecting in HIS Word: 

 

The young pastor watched as each of the elders turned down the

street talking to each other.  As they disappeared one by one into

their cars and drove away, he bowed his head and prayed, “Your

will be done.”  Inside, the singing and laughter continued without

him.  He was glad.  This is what he thought worship should be all

about.  It wasn’t something he caused to happen.  It was something

that happened when God’s Word was discovered, shared and

celebrated.  He just loved being in the midst of the happening.  If

he could help open a door for someone when life had closed one

for them, then he was content.  If it meant opening a window to

let the breath of God flow in like a refreshing breeze when the

captured air of a troubled life began to suffocate their hope, then

he was grateful for the strength to do so.  It was all he really ever

wanted to do.  It worked not because of his doing but because he

allowed God to do it through him.  It made life worthwhile.  But,

there were those times when he could feel the world closing in on

him, too.  He knew this had been one of those times.  As he turned

to the house he prayed again, “Your will be done.” 

 

Throughout the week, he met people who were excited about his

being in the community.  He listened as they said he had brought

a sense of liveliness to their town.  He nodded with appreciation

but was quick to point out that only God can give life.  He was

glad to be able to share the joy of life with them.  He wondered to

himself if they truly understood what he was saying or if it was

about the confidence they saw in him and the ease with which he

practiced his faith.  He knew it wasn’t really about what he was

doing or had done or what he was about to do.  He didn’t even

know exactly what he was about to do.  Only God knew that and

he trusted God to be there with him and for him when it happened.

What was left for him to do at all times was to be prepared and

ready for whatever the day provided.  He didn’t need to worry

about it.  It didn’t help anyway.  The day would be full of trouble

all by itself.  It certainly didn’t need his help.  But, if it wasn’t

about the doing of God’s work what was it that made it all so

different?  That is what he wanted the people to know and also

understand.  What makes the difference is not what you do but

who you are.  What you do is an expression of who you are, for

better for worse.  Actions are reflections of the soul.  All he ever

wanted was for people to see God alive in him and to know that

God wants to be alive in them, too.  If by his example, whether

it was in good times or in bad, he could give them some hope for

their own lives that God was always there for them, then it would

all be worthwhile.  It hadn’t always been easy.  While he was glad

to see these times of joy and prosperity, he knew that there had

been those troubling days, too, when joy seemed squeezed out of

his life like juice from an orange.  Bitter and sweet.  What would

tomorrow bring?  He didn’t know exactly.  All he knew was that

he had to remain in the midst of God’s will for his life.  Let

Sunday bring what it may.  He would bring himself before God

and his God before the people.

 

(continued tomorrow)

 

 

Prayer Concerns (we bear one another up before God):

 

*  For those who are seeking to make peace that they be known

    as sons of God

*  For those who are suffering from hunger and thirst that they

    be forever quenched through the efforts of the sons of

    righteousness

*  For Al’s recovery and Charles’ positive doctors report

*  For the “Lead Like Jesus” study series and all those who are

    participating as leaders and followers [if you have not signed

    up for the study, then I encourage you to do so but only if you

    truly desire to be changed to lead like Jesus!]

*  For those who put their hopes more on the good news of the

    temporal world than in the eternal kingdom

*  For those whose loved ones were killed in the tragic airplane

    crash in Montana

*  For those in Alaska and surrounding territories as the ash of

    Redoubt continues to fill the air


Prayer Celebrations (where we are see Him at work in the world):

 

*  For the tearing down and building up of God’s Word and His

    desire that others,  as it is for me, be better leaders and followers

    of His Faith, Hope and Love

 


Abiding in HIS Presence through Prayer:

 

Lord, we regret that there is still doubt in us.  Would that we could

be purged and embrace life by total faith.  But, thank you for bearing

with us and bearing us as we allow ourselves to be reclaimed, reshaped

and renewed by Your love.  May today’s lesson not take as long to sink

in as others.  May we not hurry through the process which You have

made for us this day to discover and declare Your Will for the lives of

Your mighty men.  AMEN.

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