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April 27, 2017, 5:00 AM

How can you make an impact where God has you planted? 

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

How can you make an impact where God has you planted?  We all search for purpose and meaning in life.  What really is the point of each day and the daily struggles I face? Is this really what God designed me for? It seems like a momentous event when someone finally ‘figures out’ what God wanted them to do with their life.  As if one day, they woke up with the answer from God.  For me, it was not that way.  I wanted to feel like I was living out the God ordained plan for my life daily. If I am honest, I really struggled with knowing if God had really pushed me in the right direction?


Our job and purpose as Christians is to share the word of God and the impact that being a follower of Christ has on our everyday lives. We are not all called to be scholars who have the entire Bible memorized.  Sometimes we worry too much that our knowledge of God’s story is going to impede our status as a ‘good’ Christian.  We tend to think that all of us who believe in Jesus should have every character in the Bible, every historical event, and everything of scripture figured out completely.  Here’s a secret, I don’t.    I completely admit that I’m not a perfect person and I certainly have a lot to work on. But as I experience this journey together with God, I find that God gives the opportunity I need to grow in the knowledge I need for myself and for others He brings into my life.


What makes me a Christ follower is that I am committed to and excited about learning more. I don’t have to know every detail of the Bible and have every scripture memorized (those aren’t bad things).  All I have to do is be able to explain to the people God brings into my life how following Jesus has impacted my own life and why I choose to live in the truth of the Gospel.  My example of living my life in Christ should spur others to ask questions.  Questions like, why is he like this? And what is all that Jesus stuff really about?


What part of your story do you need to share with those around you? My story comes from where God has planted me today, not from where I want to be once I have everything figured out, or when I finally get everything straight.  God wants to use me right where I am and with the skills that I have. He takes me completely out of my comfort zone, and I come alive, energized, and enthusiastic about what God created me for. He created me to love what He called me to do and to use that love to spur others toward knowing Him.


How does living a life for Christ set you apart in your city?  How can the example your life provide the inspiration that your friends, family, or coworkers may need to be curious about your faith?  How can you share your enthusiasm for the impact that the Gospel has had on your own life?


This is my Prayer: God, thank you for giving me a purpose right where I am.  Lord open my eyes to see those around me.   Jesus when I share my life with them, give me the courage to share my story and the hope I have found in You. God reveal to me the things I need to know in order to bring myself and other closer to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

April 26, 2017, 5:00 AM

We have something that is amazing, it’s an opportunity to have a personal and intimate relationship with the God of the universe and to spend time talking to Him. 

So today we’re gonna wrap up our discussion on prayer.  We have been looking at Jeremiah 33:3” Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  We talked about this point before, but I want to end on it.  Prayer requires us to listen.  God can’t speak to us if we’re the one doing all the talking.  God give us the invitation to call on Him, the assurance that He will answer us, and the promise of reveal things to us, but if we are not listening to Him we won’t hear the invitation, the answer, or the revelation.  


I am convinced that one of the reasons that people never get their prayers answered is because they are never quite enough to listen.  Sometimes His Word doesn’t become clear to us until we are quiet and prayerfully listening.  Sometimes we just need to grab our Bibles, go somewhere quiet and secluded, and seek the Father.  How many times in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do we read about Jesus going off somewhere to seek the Father?  We always find Jesus returning from somewhere or going somewhere away from the crowd to seek His Father’s face.  If Jesus needed to do that, how much more do we.  It’s important for us to shut off everything, and yes I mean everything (including our phones), find a secluded and quiet place for us to get away from all the noise, and seek God’s face.   In that seeking it also requires us to realize that we shouldn’t do all the talking.


I can tell you that there are times that I have to do that.  I have to turn everything off and just sit.  There are times where I don’t even say anything.  I just focus all my attention on seeking the face of the Father.  Sometimes, nothing is said at all and it’s just good to be quiet and sit at the feet of my God.  Other times, God might put someone’s on my heart to pray for, a scripture might be speaking to my heart, or He may even just simply remind of how He is at work in my life. Some time He reminds me what good is being accomplished that I can’t see, and how the future will be better even though it seems impossible right now.  Sometime He has things that He’s reveals to me, about me, things that deal with were my heart and mind is at.


Prayer is what’s necessary to receive those things in my life.  It’s is a conversation between me and God.  It’s how we get to a place of having a deep, personal, and intimate relationship with Him. Prayer is always available to us. Nothing can keep us from approaching God in prayer except our own choices.  We have something that is amazing, it’s an opportunity to have a personal and intimate relationship with the God of the universe and to spend time talking to Him.  If you’re ready to do that, then you’re ready to pray!


This is my Prayer: God thank You for the Invitation to call upon You, the assurance that You will hear me and answer me, and for the revelation into my life.  Lord please continue showing me the hidden things in my heart and life.  Jesus I long to know all that You have to reveal to me.  Lord, help me to faithfully respond to those convictions, comforts, and guidance You give me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 25, 2017, 5:00 AM

This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer God will tell us things about ourselves.

You ever met someone that just happened to know everything about everything?  Is that person you?  Well, I’m sorry (no I’m not) to tell you, but there are something that you don’t know.  And a lot of it is about you. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Jeremiah 33:3 This is a promise of personal illumination.  That means that there are things that God is going to reveal to me that He’s not going to reveal to anyone else.  God is going to show me things in my life that are just between Him and me.  God revealed things to Daniel, Moses, Paul, and even John, that He never revealed to anyone else. See, that tells me that there are things He’s going to reveal to me and about me that He’s not going to reveal to anyone else.


“I will tell you hidden things”, that tells me there are things that I’m going to be in the dark about until God reveals them to me.  There are certain things that God’s dealing with me about today that He didn’t deal with me on when I first called upon Him as Lord.  Why?  There were things that I hadn’t even realized that I had hidden in my heart.  Attitudes that need to be changed, pride that needs to be broken, unforgiveness that needs to be given, and things that I haven’t been able to let go of or forgive.  Then there’s a whole other side to things that are being revealed to me through my answering His call on my life to be a pastor. 


I can tell you that we are never going to reach a place where we have nothing left to learn.    Think about Paul’s declaration, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”.  Philippians 3:8  He counted all that he knew as rubbish and the only thing he desired was to know God on a deeper and more intimate level. 


Paul was the Pharisee of the Pharisees’.  He knew the tradition, the rituals, the law, and the ancient scriptures all of them.  I believe Paul was a man of great knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and he admitted that even with all he knew that he hadn’t attained anything.  Paul even prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be opened, and that God would reveal the full array of His love to us.  “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”  Ephesians 1:18  


It was Paul to whom God revealed the mystery of the true gospel to.  God revealed to Paul justification by faith, the ministry of reconciliation, and yet Paul felt that he could’ve known more.  Paul had a lot of things illuminated to him, but he also spent a lot of time in prayer.  He sought a word from God and the presence of God, and as a result he received so much revelation.  So there are many, many things that God is going to want to illuminate and reveal to us in our lives.  Let me say this, the majority of the time God is going to speak to you about you.  This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer God will tell us things about ourselves.  It’s an opportunity for you to get to know the real you, what you were created for, and what your future holds. Prayer is a conversation in which we should expect God to speak directly to us.   What’s God telling you about you? 


This is my Prayer: God I come to You today seeking a word from You.  Lord please illuminate my life with Your word.  Lord show me the things I need to change, the things I need to quit, and the things I need to go deeper in,  so that I may grow closer to You.   Jesus help me to focus on hearing You and to apply what I hear.  Lord flood my heart with Your light, so that I can understand the hope I have in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 24, 2017, 5:00 AM

 I’m never going to understand God’s plan for my life if I never ask Him about it. 

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 3:33.    God’s desire is for all of us to grow and mature.  He wants us to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.  Don’t believe me?  Read through the Book of Proverbs.  Count how many times it talks about getting wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.   “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold, and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 16:16 “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7  Those are things that we should be constantly seeking for more of when we pray.  Just as we need to grow in faith, hope, and love, so too do we need to add more knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. 


Friends, that’s really what prayer is all about. Coming to Him in all situations and circumstances where we need wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and leaning not to lean upon our own but constantly seeking His.  That’s what Proverbs 3:5-6 is all about, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  It’s about getting ourselves out of His way, so He can lead and direct our paths.  Let’s think about Jeremiah here for a minute.  Jeremiah’s audience was heavily involved in idol worship. They were into deception and debauchery. God’s people were fully engaged in this blatant rejection of God. This is as clear as it gets: If something is going on in your life today and you’re wondering about God’s character, “If God really is ________, then why is _______happening?” The answer to that dilemma is prayer. God says, “Call to Me, (in that moment) and I will tell you great things you don’t know.”


When we’re in a moment were something is going on in our lives we have two choices.  We can either try to deal with it on our own, or we can bring it to God.  I can either use my own limited wisdom or I can seek God’s unlimited wisdom.  The answer to the situations and circumstances in our lives is prayer, why?  Because we’re relying upon God and not ourselves.  You see it doesn’t matter if you’re going through something in your family, your career, or whatever.  It the time to go to God and say, “I’m not seeing it, Lord. I’m not feeling it. Why would You allow me to go through this?”   God will provide an answer, but the insight you need to understand what’s happening and why its happening will only come from talking to Him!  And that called prayer!  I’m never going to understand God’s plan for my life if I never ask Him about it. 


This is my Prayer: God I thank You for the opportunity to come to You and gain wisdom and understanding.  Lord I need You to show me that I can trust You with the things that look impossible to understand or to endure. Jesus I need You to teach me that You will always be with me, even when I don’t understand.  Help me to have patience and persevere in the times when You ask me to wait, and to trust that You always have my best interests in mind.  Lord, show me Your glory and help me to see You at work in my life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 23, 2017, 5:00 AM

God's talking are you listening?

So we’ve been talking about prayer and looking at what prayer is.  I believe it’s simply, us being real and just simply seeking God from a place that’s real.  God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.  So in reality what God’s saying is that He already knows we need something from Him, that He wants us to seek what we need from Him, and assures us that not only can we come to Him, but that He will answer us when we do.


Do you know of any other god that not only offers that kind of invitation, but the assurance that they will hear their servants?   No.  There isn’t.  Our God is the only God who can invite us to talk to Him, assure us that He will hear us, and as a result of hearing us provide what we need. “Call to Me” is the invitation.  “I will answer” is the assurance that we’re not speaking to air, but to a living God who is very much interested in everything in our lives.  There isn’t one area of our lives that God isn’t interested in, and the fact that He provides both the invitation and the assurance is something that we can't ignore.


How do you think God will, “show you great and mighty things, which you do not know?”  Everything in our walk with God is initiated by Him.  He draws us to Him by His spirit, and it’s up to us to respond to His voice, but most of us have a difficult time hearing His voice because we crowd it out with so much of the world. The thing that produces faith is a word from God, the living word.  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 But there’s a big difference between receiving information from the Bible and receiving something spoken to your heart personally from God.  I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating that I’ve read and heard many times that God loves me, but the day God Himself spoke to my heart that He loved me and that I was His, that changed my life.  When God speaks to you, that’s different because it’s no longer something you’ve read or heard from someone else, it’s something that you heard directly from God Himself.


That’s one of those things that happens in prayer.  So many of us think that prayer is us talking away, giving a laundry list of things we want, thanking Him for His many blessings, asking forgiveness for our sins, and asking Him to bless and watch over our loved ones.  That is part of prayer, but there’s a whole side of prayer that many of us miss, because we talk too much.  That’s rarely talked about, even in the part where we shut up and listen.  If we’re really going to talk with God or “have prayer”, then we need to get real, get honest, and have a two way conversation with God.   Really think about it, if faith comes by hearing, how can we hear from God if we are too busy running our mouths.   Jesus continually reminds us in Mark 4 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. 


As the old saying goes, “There’s a reason for God creating us with two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”   That is especially true when we are communicating with Him.  God has much to say to us and because He is the all-wise and sovereign God, it is important us to listen carefully.  You see we are prone to be distracted and drawn away with other things, even with good things.  So when’s the last time you heard from God?  Has He been speaking to you, but you couldn’t Him over yourself?  What great and mighty things is trying to tell you about?


This is my Prayer:  God thank You for Your invitation to call on You, and thank You for the assurance that You will answer me.  Most of all Lord I am thankful that You speak to me and show me great and mighty things.  But Lord I need Your help to listen, please give me ears to hear.  Jesus want my prayer life to be a two way conversation, like Yours was.  Help me not to get distracted with my own things and to listen.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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