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Monday
Jun032019

June 2019

Our theme is prayer.  Our text is James 5:16b

CJB -- The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

PHILLIPS -- Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer.

NCV -- When a believing person prays, great things happen.

NLV -- The prayer from the heart of a man right with God has much power.

TPT -- ... tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!

Aren’t these words an inspiring incentive to pray?  These words probe our spiritual life and plumb the depth of our soul.  Are we praying? A Christian prays just as naturally as a human being breathes.  When one ceases to breathe, one ceases to live. A Christian who prays haphazardly or sporadically forfeits the abundant life and nullifies the coming of the kingdom.

Isn’t this verse sobering in its simplicity?  Are we praying with passion – with a holy fire in our soul?  The snare is for prayer to become routine – or a duty. True prayer is spirit-talk with our Heavenly Father.  It kindles a fiery love for God and for others; a love that leads to greater and more fervent times of prayer.

Are we praying in faith for answers that will advance the kingdom and bring glory to God?   Think of Jesus and his prayer in the garden: Not my will, but Your will be done.  Jesus was praying for the strength to fulfill his mission on earth – which was the will of God.  Far from meeting our earthly needs, prayer engages us and enables us to powerfully participate in God’s coming kingdom.  This is your call to prayer!

~ Pastor John


 

Wednesday
May012019

May 2019

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray ...”  - Luke 11:1 (NIV)

There’s so much to write about this time of year. As I reviewed last year’s article, I felt the “nudge” of God’s Spirit to take up the truth of prayer once again.

Don’t you find it absolutely amazing? This disciple could have asked Jesus to teach preaching, healing ... so many other things. But his desire for himself and the other disciples was the need to be a person of prayer. And I think this unnamed disciple discerned the key to all the other things that could have been considered – that being prayer. What empowers preaching? Prayer. What facilitates healing? Prayer. What energizes ministry? Prayer. I believe whatever category of spiritual life you can think of, at its very foundation you must have prayer. Prayer deepens our personal relationship with the Lord. Prayer is prominent in the coming of the kingdom here on this earth. Prayer is principal in God supplying our needs. Prayer is the lynchpin of receiving and extending forgiveness. Prayer brings the power that fits us for spiritual warfare. Prayer is acknowledgment that life isn’t about us – it’s about the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen!

Church, do you want to see sinners converted? Pray. Do you want to see people healed? Pray! Do you want a Spirit-filled revival to break out? Pray!! Do you want to see the kingdom of God come in power and glory? Pray!!!

Oswald Chambers says this of prayer: Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work. Truly, Lord … Teach us to pray!

~ Pastor John

Tuesday
Apr022019

April 2019

Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too.

This is why we are to yearn for all that is above,

for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place

of all power, honor, and authority!

 Colossians 3:1 (TPT)

Church, very soon we will come together to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.  We will rejoice in the victory Christ won on the Cross – a victory over death, hell, and the grave!  When the dust of the day has settled, are we any better off? Are our lives any different at all? Or, was Easter just a day to “cut loose” spiritually – then it’s back to the same old way of living?

I want you to seriously consider the truth that’s presented here:  Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too.  Jesus lived into the fullness of the resurrected life.  Isn’t that our challenge as well? Now, I realize Christ was the perfect melding of divinity and humanity.  You and me? Not so much – but that’s no excuse. The power that raised Christ from the dead lies latent within every Christian.  And this power has the potential to transform every Christian! So, will we submit to God and allow the resurrection life of Christ to revolutionize us?

It happens when we yearn for all that is above.  Another translation says set your heart on what is in heaven (CEV).  And therein is the secret.  What we yearn for will possess us.  Our desires will rule over us. If our heart is enthralled with the world, our lives will be incredibly empty.  If we are taken with the things of the kingdom, the blessings of the kingdom come in their fullness. The power, honor, and authority of Christ are infused into fragile flesh.  And His resurrection happens again – through you and me. May it be so!

~ Pastor John


Tuesday
Apr022019

March 2019

When he had finished speaking, [Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” - Luke 5:4 (NIV)

This verse literally means what it says – but it’s also an image of spiritual life.  And if we are honest, most (if not all) of our lives is spent in the safety of shallow spirituality (Amen?).  I wonder what would happen if faithful (and faith-filled) followers of Christ went “all in” for these words of the Lord?

Jesus gives two commands. They aren’t orders barked out by a drill instructor with the recruits following in fear.  No, Jesus speaks with a compelling authority – words leading to obedience. Simon’s reluctance bows to Jesus’ certainty, and submission results in a miracle!

So, how will we respond to these commands?  What will we do when Jesus tells us: Put out into deep water?  It would be easy to make excuses ...  Jesus, I really need to be able to see the land.  Lord, it’s probably not safe to go that far – we don’t know what’s out there!  And the answer to our dithering?  Ahoy, mates.  Stow the excuses!  Hoist the anchor and set sail for open water.  Let the adventure begin!  (I hope that motivates you!)

Will our faith be such that we let down the nets for a catch?  Again, we could waver:  It’s not the right time … place … conditions.  And that’s through human eyes.  Eyes of faith will discern and defer to the Lord.  People of faith will follow Jesus’ directions precisely.  And hesitant-but-obedient disciples will find themselves on the business end of a stunning miracle – much more than they could have accomplished themselves!

So, what do you say?  Let’s go fishing with Jesus!

~ Pastor John


 

Saturday
Feb162019

February 2019

Hey Guys and Gals ... the month of love is upon us.  So don’t forget to express your love for that special person in your life!  Oh ... and speaking of “expressions of love” – what about this one:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!                     - 1 John 3:1a (NIV)

When I read this verse, I think of a companion verse, 1 John 4:19:  We love because he first loved us.  Folks, love begins with God.  If we leave love on strictly human terms, we will find that this type of love is incredibly fickle and wholly inadequate to meet our most basic need.  We need so much more.  And it is available to us!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us:  John calls upon us to use our powers of observation with respects to God’s love.  His love is evident – not cloaked or obscured.  It’s on display for all to see!  And this is no ordinary love – John describes God’s love as a great love.  We encounter the New Testament love-word agape here.  It’s not a love conditioned by requirements.  No, it’s an unconditional “no-strings-attached” love; a love freely given, expecting nothing in return.  It’s not a love tethered to feelings – a love that grows and then wanes.  It’s a godly love that seeks the highest and best for another person.  It’s this kind of love that God has lavished on us.  God isn’t stingy with His love.  No, God is over the top in His love for you and me!

That last part of the verse is very descriptive:  ... that we should be called children of God!  The love of God is like the love a Father has for his children.  It’s a tender love, the love a strong Father shows to vulnerable children.  It’s a compassionate love, revealed in a Father who cares for and meets the needs of his child.  It’s a holy love.  A Father’s love commands respect, desires devotion, and expects obedience.  And it’s a love that binds two people together in relationship.  Think about it.  Even though we have been adopted into the heavenly family, God’s love for us isn’t any less!  May we bask and rejoice in the lavish love of our Father!

~ Pastor John