Friday, January 11, 2019

Dad, Can we go to Church?

We did a follow-up on a family we visited and shared the gospel with a few weeks ago.  Immediately, the two children were excited to see us.  But the kicker was the youngest who asked the father "Dad, can we go to church?"  (repeatedly asked dad) As thoughtful and encouraging this question is, my question is "is that really the end result?"  Do we really want more people to go to church?

My Baptist instinct for years has been this mantra, "go to church."  And, obviously, get more into church.  But that has caused this HUGE spiritual problem in American Christianity.  We haven't truly seen spiritual growth, we have witnessed masses of people attending church.  We have forgotten that the gospel message leads people into a relationship with Jesus to change their lives.  Away from the selfish life of serving sin and turning to Jesus to follow him all the days of our lives, forgiven, redeemed and transformed.  

The pressure among most churches on it's staff would be to see numerical growth so that financial growth can happen, so that we can buy more stuff and hire more staff and put on more programs.  We have forgotten the "person".  The individual who needs Jesus.  The person that needs to be taught and needs to learn what a relationship with Christ is like.  Why have we left behind the person to feed the machine and to keep the machine running?  We are called to witness to people.  To share the gospel so that can know the Jesus we know.  To experience transformation like we have.  To worship a Risen Savior who is worthy of our worship.  

I pray that this Dad and kids would know Jesus.  That they would believe in Jesus and see their lives transformed because of their repentance and confession.  I pray that this Dad would not be introduced to the American Machine of Church, but know a loving fellowship of believers, a true Body of Christ, that are way more concerned with his spiritual growth and well being.  That he would know others that would walk through life with him, hold him up in prayer and help him in the good times and bad.  This is my prayer for this dad and for the church I serve.....that we don't forget about each person that God has placed in front of us.  God Bless, Brian            

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Holy Spirit....Do work!

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The Power of the Holy Spirit.  A phrase most Baptists would run from.  It's almost like we are afraid of this wonderful power that Jesus has given to us.  We don't want to be labelled too Pentecostal though.  The Holy Spirit has been accused of stirring peoples emotions, making them raise their hands in worship and much more.  We think of other happenstances because He is greatly misunderstood. 

What about Holy Spirit given divine appointments?  A divine appointment is a meeting with another person that has been specifically and unmistakably ordered by God. Yet I sometimes wonder how many of these supernaturally scheduled meetings I’ve missed because I didn’t have my spiritual radar turned on.  The Scriptures say, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23 After decades of walking (off and on, but mostly on) with God, I can tell you that seeing God set up these “appointments” is a thrill that is beyond comparison.  ( - definition of "divine appointment")

We pray before we go into the harvest on Sunday afternoons for the Holy Spirit to go before us and make divine appointments that God wants us to have.  Such as driving up to a court in Allen and meeting a dad with his two kids playing as we park and get out of the car to talk to them.  I shared the gospel with Dad and older child (12 yo) and they graciously listened.  6 knocked doors later, I get to share the gospel with a 20 yo, who is intent on listening to what I have to say.

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit uses these words.  My prayer is that the Holy Spirit convicts the heart of the listener.  My prayer is that the Acts 1:8 power of the Holy Spirit will empower me to share the gospel and be the witness that God wants me to be.  It's for the glory of Christ!  For the kingdom!  I just want to be faithful in sharing the gospel.  I'll keep looking for divine appointments that the Holy Spirit has for me and I pray that I will notice them and be ready to share.

God Bless, Pastor Brian        

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Power of Prayer

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The caption in this image is true!  When we go out into the harvest, the first thing we do when someone answers the door is ask folks if we can pray with them.  What is amazing is the response from church goers...(not necessarily believers).  "I'm good.  I went to church today."  "No thanks.  I have a prayer group at church."  "I went to church.  I've already done that." Prayer is not religion or religious.  It's our lifeline to the Lord.  It's our communication with the Almighty.  We are gifted with the Spirit to be able to pray to God.  ONE Prayer CHANGES everything!! 

If we follow the model of prayer in Matthew 6,
there would be some personal questions about prayer: 
Do we really pray to worship God and to revere His name? 
(Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name),
for life change/transformation because of God's will? 
(your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven),
for daily provision mainly to strengthen our faith in Him?
(give us this daily our daily bread)
for confession of sin?
(forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors )
for standing against the world, sin and it's temptations?
(do not lead us into temptation and deliver us from evil) 

Don't let prayer be a single check mark for the day.  Our prayer life should be humbling, vibrant, connecting, transforming...not religious or meaningless!  ONE prayer CHANGES everything!  It's true and I cannot live without it!  Many times a day!  Talk to the Father!  Confess to the Savior!  Discern what's next in your life by the power of the Holy Spirit!

God Bless, Pastor Brian  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Forgiveness possesses transforming power

Sunday night, as usual, we gather and separate in teams to go into the harvest close to the church facilities.  We meet a lovely young lady that allows us to pray with her and seems the visit is pleasant.  She is allowing the conversation to be spiritual and is open to what we are saying.  All of the sudden, as I was presenting the 3 circles, I get to SIN which separates us from God and ask her to define sin for me.  She immediately walked away saying "NO THANK YOU!"  A full shutdown.

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" (Ephesians 1:7).

There cannot be forgiveness of sin without Jesus shedding his blood for our sin.  1 Peter writes, "Christ died for us to bring us to God."  Paul writes, "In him, we are redeemed" - through his blood where there is forgiveness of sin.  The rejection, sometimes painful to see, is of Jesus, not me.  It breaks my heart, but I won't stop praying for C as she walked back into the house probably bothered.  I pray that one small seed would enter her heart to reflect the visit we had and the small amount of gospel that was shared.  I pray that she would see the need for Jesus in her life.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Great Assault

Why is it that when I keep getting closer to the Lord, the old slew foot, the devil tries his hardest to knock me down?  I feel like I am getting assaulted at times.  I mean a full on attack.  I am not whining.  I am not complaining.  It sounds like it.  Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy, my use of time, my wandering thoughts, and my devotion to the wrong things at times.

When I went to outreach training in August, the attacks really began.  My time management became a major issue.  The distractions increased.  It was clear that my need for prayer and being in the Word was critical.  I was about to change some things in my life that would bring me closer to the Lord by obeying the Great Commission even more.  However, I forgot something of great importance.

Matthew 28:20:  "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  The end of Matthew's Gospel has such great significance.  I recently heard the term "Great Commission DNA" and that these words from Jesus are a part of my DNA.  Part of who I am.  Part of what I do.  It's in my soul.  It's in my heart.   

I need to remind myself everyday of this truth.  Multiple times a day.  It's such a wonderful verse, why wouldn't I want to share it with others.  I can stand up to these assaults.  I can strengthen my faith through them because Jesus is with me ALWAYS!

God Bless, Pastor Brian

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Was the Fruit a Test?

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Considering the weight and cost of my sin today as I do when I pray daily leading to my repentance even though I am forgiven. I repent daily. I am very thankful that Christ saved me from my sin and an eternity separated from Him. I am thankful for forgiveness through Jesus. Many folks, however, believe that Satan was the one that brought sin into this world. Or that God created sin because He created forgiveness through His Son.

Romans 5:12a: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" This truth will enlighten us to understand the TRUE author of sin.....MAN! Adam, to be specific. Dr. Tony Evans writes, "The presence of this tree was a test of Adam and Eve's obedience, and a reminder of the Creator/creature distinction..."

Every time we are faced with a choice, it is a test of obedience to God, a test of faith in Him. It's when we turn to ourselves, we turn to pride and selfishness, that we reflect the character of Adam. It's when we live by faith and when we walk by faith that we are obeying God. This includes following His commands.

There are always choices to make. In the garden of Eden, there was one tree that was forbidden but many others to enjoy. In following Christ, in faith and obedience, there is always the right choice, the right road to walk. Sin leads us down the wrong path. Everyday, we face this. Everyday, the evil one tries to sway us to the forbidden tree to enjoy the taste of sin instead of living by faith in Christ.

Hopefully, you may know this...but how are you doing with the application of this?
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

REPENTANCE...what do we do with that word?

Luke 24:45-47 "45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Repentance is defined by many biblical scholars as a "change of mind", not a turning from sin.  It is understood that a changing of your mind also brings a turn away from the love of sin.  The Hebrew word in the Old Testament is nacham, which means "relent, repent or be sorry, change the mind."

Dr. John MacArthur writes, "Repentance is no more a meritorious work than its counterpart, faith. It is an inward response. Genuine repentance pleads with the Lord to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and the fear of judgment and hell. It is the attitude of the publican who, fearful of even looking toward heaven, smote his breast and cried, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" (Luke 18:13). Repentance is not merely behavior reform. But because true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose, it inevitably results in a change of behavior."

Jesus says in Luke 24:47 that "repentance for the forgiveness of sin will be preached in his name." Repentance is truly the first word of the Gospel.  Being convicted of sin and changing your mind about your love of sin, to asking forgiveness of sin in your life.  Henry Blackaby states in the foreward of Richard Owen Roberts book Repentance (which I highly recommend that every believer read) that "Repentance by God's people is our only hope for any future generation."

Here is the challenge today:  1.  What is your view of sin?  the seriousness of sin?  Your sin? 2.  What is your view of Scripture and truth talking about sin, repentance and forgiveness?  This will have a direct effect of your view of sin.  3.  Is your pastor, preacher, Bible Study teacher preaching or teaching on this?  The disciples are told to here in Luke 24, so should we obey.

Blessings, Pastor Brian