Event Calendar

December 2017
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31EC

Upcoming Events

Pages

Archives

Categories

Meta

2402

August 20, 2017

Let us be the BEST we have ever been as 2017 mighty men!

HIS WORD for TODAY

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.'”  (Philippians 1. 21)

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I was brought back around to this passage of God’s Word from a different angle.  In truth, I was surprised as this scripture spoke in my head.  I am not sure why I should be surprised.  God knew it was needed for today’s conversation after worship.  He knew I needed to be prepared for it so that a further connection could be made.  Indeed, God is fully aware of what we need.  He doesn’t respond to our need reactively.  He responds proactively.  We are the ones who spend more time reacting to the events we experience in the world.  As mighty men of God we need to spend more time preparing ourselves and to be prepared by God through His Holy Spirit given to us.  This is what helps to identify us as God’s mighty men.  Instead of living in the past or living in spite of our past, we should spend each day with the eye to “our” future.  Remember that while God calls us as individuals, He sees us as a body of believers empowered by faith and motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, let me take this moment to share that “wow, that is what it means, too?” experience I had today.  During the lesson today the Holy Spirit prompted me to think upon Jesus’ teaching to the disciples in the upper room before His arrest, conviction and crucifixion.  In that teaching, Jesus declared His oneness with God and man.  He spoke boldly that He and the Father were one just as He and the disciples were one.  The logical and spiritual extension of this declaration is that we and the Father are one.  We do not stand alone before God.  Christ stands with us and so, too, does our band of brothers.  It doesn’t mean that we become invisible to God in light of the many.  It does mean that we each are accountable before God for our part serving as a member of the Body of Christ.

Mighty men, if we live apart from Christ then we are sure to experience the everlasting death.  Even though Christ died for all our sins so that we may experience eternal life as a promised reality, it still depends on each person to accept that truth, that gift and that opportunity to share love with both the gift and the truth.  Jesus did that expressly in His ministry which lead up to and through His arrest, conviction and crucifixion.  Think about it.  We are called to be one in the Body of Christ with Christ as our head.  The Christ is Messiah.  The Church is the messianic expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.  When we become a part of the Church, the body of Christ, we are participating in the messianic community.  Step away from that picture for a moment and see a different facet of what Paul declared as Jesus had lived out.

John reminds us of Jesus’ words “I did not come into the world to condemn the world but that through me all the world can be saved.”  We also know that Jesus did not invite the disciples and followers to become one in the body of Jesus.  That would be an impossibility (as perhaps Nicodemus was to learn about being reborn.)  We are not born into the old body.  We are in a new body.  It is not the body of Jesus but rather the body of Christ.  So, then Jesus was the body of God (fully man and fully God) with God as His head.  He could be Messiah in no other way.  He could do it because He had no sin.  He was, in a manner of speaking, the epitome of the Temple.  Those who worshipped God served the Temple and the God who was the head of it.  But, Jewish followers had a difficult time keeping this concept a reality.  Why?  Because they were sinners fallen short of the glory of God.  The temple was not supposed to be reflection of God but a projection.  They failed miserably as do we if we do not have Jesus as the Christ.

It was there that the Spirit brought to mind Paul’s admonition to the mighty men of Philippi “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”  We may not be able to choose the way in which we will die.  However, we can certainly choose the way in which we will live.  Choosing to live in Christ transforms death from a loss to a gain, a liability to an asset, from a defeat to a win.  How would we characterize our lives so far?  Do we measure by what we haven’t done or by what we have done.  Do we dwell on what could have been or what has been and is yet to be?  Do we define ourselves by the standards of the world corrupted by sin or by the kingdom empowered by righteousness?

Mighty men, let us keep our perspective on Jesus (the man of God) Christ (the righteousness of God).  It is as a man born in the world that we exist but not as man alone.  It is as one in Christ born into the Kingdom of God that we exist.  The two are as one because that is the resurrected reality for all believers.  And, I suppose now with a smile, that it is not just the “two are one” but “three in one”- the trinity of a mighty man in the world just as Christ is “three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit”- the Holy Trinity.

* Let’s review the story of our lives and strengthen it with the witness of our faith in Christ and God’s love for us through Christ.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service today
* For the victims and the families of the victims of this latest rash of killings across the world that they may have peace and comfort in their time of grief
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, NECC (and their service to the education community of 31 campuses)  and the people of Nicaragua
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom- especially for Tom Jensen; for needs of my family mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually; wisdom to know the truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation and wise counsel in seeking the proper doctor to diagnose my condition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* We have a loving God who speaks to us in all seasons of life reminding us we should do the same to Him
* God continues to provide prosperity at 5226 as I trust Him in so doing and give thanks praying for sufficient and proficient employees and the wisdom to meld a team spirit by staying humble before God and co-workers
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions to learn to walk more humbly and in peace; has given us relief in my health
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, Your love is so amazing.  By Your love we are changed from a loss to a gain, from a defeat to a glory.   With Your love we go now into the world to share the truth that can set all men free.  Let this witness be powerful and transforming, affirming and empowering in the name of Jesus by whom we pray, live and worship here on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN.

2083

December 23, 2015

HIS WORD for TODAY: The Fourth Week of Advent 2015- LOVE!

John 21. 15-17

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,” he said, ‘you know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed My lambs.’
Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of My sheep.’ The third time He said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ He said, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed My sheep.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Let’s continue our love investigation for Advent. Today, our third question is rendered by Jesus’ asking Peter again “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” We may think Jesus is operating under the principle of “third time is a charm” but there is more to this question that meets the English-reading eye. In Jesus’ first two questions of Peter, He uses (as recorded in the Greek) ‘agape’ as the verb ‘to love.’ To love ‘agape style” is to love others as God loves us. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Jesus taught on the greatest commandment not being one of the ten given to Moses but the one which reflects the essential element behind the commandments themselves. It says, as we are familiar with, “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. There is a truth to go with this- love your neighbor as yourself.” Twice Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me with God love?” Whether it was asking him if he loved Jesus more than he loved his fellow disciples or whether he loved Jesus more than the disciples loved Jesus, doesn’t matter. Neither did it matter if Jesus was asking Peter if he truly loved Jesus as God loved Him? Well, of course it mattered! Jesus begged the question of Peter to get him to walk back through his very decision to be a disciple. He loved Jesus because Jesus had loved him. Jesus did not love Peter because Peter loved Him as the first truth. The first truth is that Jesus loved Peter with agape love. He loved his heart, mind, soul and strength. Peter longed to be loved this way as do we all.

But, along the way of Jesus loving Peter as a child of God the relationship grew. It wasn’t just a God-thing it was a human thing. Jesus was both God and man- perfectly both and perfectly one. It was important for us that God expressed His love in this manner. It was personal not just professional. How often have we said “Well, you are supposed to love me; God says so.” But, the question and the hope is “Do you love me, the me that is wounded and weary and broken and hurting and grieving and failing and struggling and imperfect? Do you me for me? Just as I am?” It is a matter of “Do you love me more than just because you are supposed to love me?” Don’t we all want that kind of love relationship in our lives and for our lives? Did we ever think Jesus might have wanted that as well? Or God?

Heresy? I think not. God not only has given us the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ which is the forgiveness of our sins and the opportunity to be called sons and daughters of the Most High, He has given us free will. Free will is a love gift. It is giving us the right to choose for ourselves. God surely couldn’t give us something that didn’t belong to Him first. God will choose, by the way. It will be a painful choice in the end when He separates the sheep from the goats, the believers from the unbelievers. It will grieve Him mightily because He chose to love us not because He has to. God wants to love us. He isn’t commanded to love us. He desires to love us. He wants to have more than just a God down to man relationship. God wants us to walk with Him and talk with Him and hear He is our own just as much as we ought to want the same from Him. Just as Jesus was honored and glorified by Peter’s confession on the mountaintop “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” Jesus knew there had to be something more. Now, by the seaside, where they first met Jesus asked Peter “Do you love Me as a man, a brother, a friend?” Oh, this is so much more! Don’t we want to have that personal relationship with God? We can in Jesus Christ, God’s mighty man and the mighty man’s God. To be a true follower we have to give our all just as God gave His all. God wants to love all of us personally and corporately. And He does.

And at Christmas, in this Advent season of love, we dare not forget the personal reality and truth which Jesus represents in the world. As John began his gospel rendering “And the Word became flesh to dwell among us.” God became one with us so that we would remember we are one with Him. Do you love Him and others because you have to? Or do you love because you want to? And not just any love will do. It must be true love that accepts, forgives, holds accountable and transforms at the level of the heart, mind, soul and strength of who we are with Christ.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For love to be the greatest gift shared in this season of celebration- true love, God’s love modeled through Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior and Friend
* For those citizens of impoverished and regime-torn countries seeking escape into freedom to be safeguarded and easily identified apart from those seeking to destroy freedom
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Eritrea
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; and courage to be a mighty man against all odds

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* We have the Star of Bethlehem to focus upon and keep us in the season for the right reason: God’s love for us and all the world
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may we let go of our inhibition and preconceptions today so that we can accept You love us and that we can have that loving, personal, relationship with You in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

December 23, 2012

Fourth Week of Advent is the Season of Love!

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

1 Corinthians 13.13

“And now these three [gifts] remain: faith, hope and love with love being the greatest of these.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Paul taught the mighty men in Corinth that if they did not have true love in the hearts, minds, spirit, works and worship then there was nothing they could do to truly improve the condition of man and honor
God. They could mimic tongues, feign healings, proclaim future knowledge, give generously and philanthropically but if they did not have love as the filter through which they understood the need of the people, the desire of God and the purpose of their lives then they were only short-term goal-minded and self-serving. Self-love is a sin. God-love is a blessing and the fullest measure of living life. For Paul faith, hope and love were the quintessential gifts beyond which there is nothing. If there is nothing beyond them then they are of God. These are God’s greatest gifts to all of creation as they speak of His character, nature and purpose. Without faith, hope and love there is nothing because there is no God. Imagine confronting atheists and agnostics with this truth for they have faith in only what they can see and control. That is why they dare not believe in God’s existence or in the specificity of only one God.

But, God’s mighty men know there is but one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Imagine the trinity with triune giftings. When one is faith, the other is hope and the other is love. Embrace this vision of Father love, Son love, Spirit love; Father faith, Son faith, Spirit faith; and Father hope, Son hope, Spirit Hope. These are the quintessential gifts of God and fully represent the nature, character and purpose of our relationship with the Holy Trinity. As Paul described the gifts in numerous letters to the mighty men in the churces of Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East he knew their day would come to an end because when Christ returned the Church would then have reached the full measure and stature of the body of Christ with Christ as its head. But, when the purpose of those gifts and therefore those gifts had passed away, the triumphant gifts of faith, hope and love would forever remain because they are the foundation- the heighth, width, depth and breadth of God’s reality. They are the measure of God’s kingdom fulfilled.

As we have absorbed the Advent gifts of hope, peace, joy and now love let us remember to define them by the purest expressions found in what Paul knew was the baseline understanding of God- faith, hope and love with the greatest of the supernal and eternal gifts being love, God’s love. Let us keep one another’s consciousness held in accountability by proclaiming God’s ultimate reality- LOVE.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For safe journeys and travels over the holiday season
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully to declare a Year of Jubilee by President Obama and Senator Boehner.
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Namibia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from flu; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For a nation that can come together when the darkness tries to rule; now if they can come together when the darkness flees
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, as You have loved us, we shall love one another. It is the greatest gift we can give to one another in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

March 5, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Psalm 25.8

“Good and upright is the Lord; there He instructs sinners in His ways.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

When the rich young ruler sought to gain Jesus’ attention, he spoke out, “Good teacher.” Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good when no one is good except the Father?” Strange words indeed when we consider that Jesus is the Son of the Father, the living God, who is, as the psalmist declares, “good and upright.” But, isn’t Jesus good and upright, too? Is He not without sin as well and therefore the worthy sacrifice and atonement for the sins of God’s children in every generation? Why then does He defer the status of “good teacher”?

1) It was not because He was a bad teacher. Jesus was an engaging, inspired and respected teacher of the Law and the Righteousness of God. But, we know He did not defer the title “good teacher” on these grounds because His response showed deference to God who also instructs sinners in His ways.
2) It was not because He was not good. He was without sin. His spiritual discipline and life demonstrated the goodness of his character and the depth of His soul. He would not transgress the Law nor impede the acts of righteousness. Most of all, He was the servant of all and defended the outcast calling even the most righteous of Israel into accountability before God.
3) Was it because God was “better” than Jesus since He was the Son of the Father? Jesus was not “better” than God because He was God. He taught His disciples that He and the Father were one; that He was in the Father and the Father in Him. He shared the same identity and relationship with the Holy Spirit. His response was not about better or worse.

Jesus deferred to God as an act of righteousness. There can be only one God and that is a truth we cannot live without. Jesus knew that the Father, God Almighty, was in control of all creation. He is the beginning and the end of all things. Yet, while Jesus was on earth, God was everything. He, in His nature, was very God while being very man. However, Jesus took on the image of man so that we might seen God. Jesus never stepped out of character and maintained His focus on doing God’s will which is perfect. He had become a part of God’s design and doing so modeled the “God first” mentality that was critical to His success and ours as God’s mighty men. God being good meant God was purposeful, intentional and without question. Jesus knew this and become God’s instruction to sinners so that we might learn His Way, His Truth and His Life. Jesus, like God’s mighty men, was seeking to be good by honoring God who is Good.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will fast for strength and righteousness that they may see God
* For those impacted by the deadly storms across the Midwest on Wednesday and Friday; the
loss of life and property challenges us all to keep the faith
* For protection of our children at school and the healing of troubled minds by simple words of
greeting and recognition; remembering the families of the victims as well as the family of the
shooter and all those impacted in the school and community
* For the violence to stop in Syria and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may
begin
* For peace and a new job placement for a brother in Christ, healing and wisdom for a
colleague’s family in crisis
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran as Iran expands the revelation of their nuclear technology
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Liechtenstein

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For test preparations and assessment success
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, let Your goodness flow through us like cleansing water and inform our heart, mind and soul of our purpose today and Your believe in our success today in Jesus’ name. AMEN.