SUNDAY – OCTOBER 19, 2014

Understanding the character of God causes a person to want to worship Him. That is why David wrote, “I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57:9-11)

The Bible record indicates that the practical nature of Adam’s race (i.e. human beings, people like you and me) is comparable to that of sheep. We, like sheep, have a natural tendency to want to go our own way in opposition to the shepherd, yet we end following the herd, the crowd. Wherever those in front are heading is where we come right along behind them. Most of us have a different opinion of ourselves than that, yet the Bible remains true. We are like sheep! That’s why all types of fads from clothing to electronics are so common among us.

Last week I wrote a short excerpt from Mr. A. W. Tozer, but here are a few words I didn’t include. “Faithful believers in Christ are not going to give up to the temptation to judge themselves according to what others are doing.” (From pages 66 and 67 in Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts.) Unfortunately the tendency is for churches to “copy” other “fads” that seem to be successful in the “leading churches.” This has been true for at least the last century and seems to be getting worse as time goes on. Every congregation must be careful to seek what the Lord Jesus Christ wants them to do.

In another of his books, Mr. Tozer wrote an illustration about this idea. In essence he wrote that 100 pianos in a room are more in tune with each other if they are each tuned to an objective tuning fork. His warning is that we should not try to tune our piano by another piano, but rather by the tuning fork. It seems to me that Paul indicated this in I Corinthians 12 with his words about “many members” but it is the “same Spirit” in each one. We want to tune ourselves to the Spirit of our Lord rather than the “spirit” of some other congregation. Let’s use Jesus as our “tuning fork”!

Tuning myself to Jesus,

Pastor Doug

 

 
 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 12, 2014

With gratitude we come to give thanks to the Lord for His boundless grace. As fellow pilgrims who stand in need of His grace, we extend the hand of fellowship and love to all who have come. We pray that we all will enter into the joy of the Lord as we worship and praise Him.

 

Brothers and sisters, we have a huge privilege and responsibility to serve our Lord by working to make Needmore Bible Church an active congregation bearing the fruit of His presence. Each of us has an important part. I want to challenge us with words from none other than A. W. Tozer. Oh, how my heart and mind are in total agreement with his understanding and sentiments expressed in the words that he wrote over a half-century ago.

     “Brethren, we fellowship here and mingle together and worship the Lord Christ as an assembly of the saints. We confess that all of the privileges and responsibilities rest upon us that once rested upon those believers at Pentecost. The plan and promises of God for His believing children have not diminished one little bit.

     “Nowhere in the Word of God is there any text or passage or line that can be twisted or tortured into teaching that the organic living church of Jesus Christ just prior to His return will not have every right and every power and every obligation that she knew in that early part of the book of Acts.

     “I am determined that we are not going to give up to the kind of times in which we live! There is such a thing as just getting tough about this, my brethren. There is such a thing as saying in the power of the Spirit, ‘I am not yielding and I will not give up to the times!’ This is something we can say to our Lord and to ourselves, and betimes, maybe, over our shoulder to the devil!

     “The faithful Body of Christ is not going to give up to the ways of the world or even to the more common ways of religion that we see all about us.

     “Faithful believers in Christ are not going to give up to the temptation to judge themselves according to what others are doing.

     “…They will be happy and continue to rejoice in the fact that they have taken the New Testament standard as their standard in their Christian fellowship.”

May we all be found by the Lord as faithful!

Pastor Doug
 
 
 
 
 

World Communion Sunday

October 5, 2014

“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment. His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4, 5)

Today we celebrate and remember what Jesus did for us on the cross by sharing the meal He shared with His disciples in the Upper Room. Millions of Christians around the world will be doing the same thing as we are with slight variations of music, language and traditions. There is, however, a mystical union, communion that happens between the saints because of the Holy Spirit Who lives within each of us. I pray that God will use this time to stretch our thinking beyond our own little place in this world. I pray that we will be connected with the work of God around the world.

     “Now, in our local church or assembly, we know that we are not an end in ourselves. We want to see the church, the Body of Christ, as a whole. If we are going to be what we ought to be in the local church, we must come to think of ourselves as a part of something more expansive, something larger that God is doing throughout the entire world.

     “There is an important sense here in which we find that we ‘belong’- belonging to something that God has brought into being, something that is worthy and valuable, and something that is going to last forever.

     “We do not have to be ashamed as redeemed men and women that we desire to belong to the work that God is doing through the church….

     “We are thinking together here about the whole church, the Body of Christ, and the fact that in our local congregation we have the joyful sense of belonging to an amazing fellowship of the redeemed throughout the world.”    (Tozer, A. W., Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, pages 58, 59)

Let’s rejoice that God has honored us to be a part of His world-wide church!

I’m thankful to belong,

Pastor Doug
 
 
 
 
 
 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:22-24) Let’s rejoice and celebrate God’s goodness to us all!

 

It’s not all the hubbub of “new” buildings and changing to a “new” spot that we want to focus on. We want to set our hearts and minds on seeking an experience of the Lord’s real presence. This will take effort on our part to fight off the natural distractions that surround us today. Mr. Tozer’s words will help to point us in the right direction.

 

     “I believe that it might be well for us if we just stopped all of our business and got quiet and worshiped God and waited on Him. It doesn’t make me popular when I remind you that we are a carnal bunch, but it is true, nevertheless, that the body of Christians is carnal. The Lord’s people ought to be a sanctified, pure, clean people, but we are a carnal crowd. We are carnal in our attitudes, in our tastes and carnal in many things. Our young people often are not reverent in our Christian services. We have so degraded our religious tastes that our Christian service is largely exhibitionism. We desperately need a divine visitation- for our situation will never be cured by sermons! It will never be cured until the Church of Christ has suddenly been confronted with what one man called the mysterium tremendium- the fearful mystery that is God, the fearful majesty that is God. This is what the Holy Spirit does. He brings the wonderful mystery that is God to us, and presents Him to the human spirit.”

 

I have written in another article that I have been visiting this “new” worship center to be alone and pray that God would visit us here in grace and power. Without His presence, this will be just another room. Let’s seek Him together as His church in this place!

 

Crying out to Jesus,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

 “I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:9-11) Our God is worthy to be praised and deserves our thanksgiving for all the benefits He has given to us.

 

This past Tuesday, our (the Elders and Deacons) devotional reading from A. W. Tozer was entitled A Purified Church. Much of what Mr. Tozer pointed out about the “modern” church over a half-century ago remains true and relevant today.

 

     “Our most pressing obligation today is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church. It is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them. Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest not a little better than but a little worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed….

     “To carry on these activities (evangelism, missions) scripturally the church should be walking in fullness of power, separated, purified and ready at any moment to give up everything, even life itself, for the greater glory of Christ. For a worldly, weak, decadent church to make converts is but to bring forth after her own kind and extend her weakness and decadence a bit further out….

     “So vitally important is spiritual quality that it is hardly too much to suggest that attempts to grow larger might well be suspended until we have become better.”

 

Our hearts cry out for our Lord to pour His Spirit upon us and revive our congregation! We do want to grow, but not at the expense of our Lord’s glory. We want Him to do His mighty work in our midst and produce fruit that will remain as a testimony of His great grace and power toward us all.

 

Praying for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 24, 2014

Let’s come together to worship our God with the thoughts of Psalm 84 in our minds. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Vv. 10-12)

 

God’s people, Israel often turned from whole-hearted devotion to God. They not only turned to idolatry, but they would practice unrighteousness and immorality in their businesses and relationships with other people. God usually responded to their unfaithfulness with some form of discipline by using or allowing a foreign nation to put them into bondage. God used His prophets to warn His people as well as to offer them a message of hope and redemption. One of those wonderfully compelling messages was sent by God through the prophet, Isaiah. The message is one that we need to hear again in our day!

     “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst (i.e. stop oppressing people), the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Paths to Dwell In.” (Isaiah 58:9-12)

 

Let’s repent of all our wickedness and turn to the Lord. God will send forth His light upon us and even those in darkness will see it. We can be used by God to bring restoration to our land! Send a revival to Your people and heal our land!

 

Crying out to the Lord,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 17, 2015

I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3

 

Today we welcome Kevin Robbins and his family to our fellowship. In response to the call of God, they are preparing to live in the country of Haiti and serve the pastors and people of Mission Par La Foi, a.k.a. Faith Mission. It is a great blessing for us to witness how God is working in their lives. Kevin is the third generation of Robbins who have been servants of the Lord.

 

It was a wonderful privilege for me to know Kevin’s grandfather and grandmother, Jack and Virginia Robbins. Jack and Virginia were missionaries that we supported for many years. I was fortunate to minister alongside Jack and Virginia on many occasions in the country of Haiti and here in the United States as well. Interestingly, Jack preached the dedication sermon for the building that we presently use for worship.

 

In addition to his grandparents, I have also known Kevin’s father, Tom Robbins. Many years ago, Tom was here at Needmore Bible Church for a weekend of special services during which he sang and preached.

 

I share all this to point simply to the Lord’s faithfulness. Throughout the Bible, there are promises that God would bless those who trust Him, as well as their children and children’s children. God wants to establish a heritage of our faith throughout succeeding generations. It is great joy to witness the fulfillment of His promises during our lifetimes.

 

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” Psalm 103:17-18

 

Trusting His faithfulness,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 10, 2014

“As God pursues worship for Himself from all nations, He’s also seeking to save us from the emptiness of false worship. He loves us and desires to bring us to the only thing that can truly satisfy- Himself. His glory is the delight of nations, the source of our deepest satisfaction.

“You can see this revealed in Psalm 96:

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.

 

“Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established;

 it shall never be moved; He will judge the people with equity.’

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice….” (Psalm 96:3-5, 10-11)

-From page 25 of The Finishers by Roger Hershey and Jason Weimer

 

Why do we place so much emphasis on “missions”? Why do we pray for missionaries? Why do we give financial support to missionaries? Why do we go to other places and countries and work with people we haven’t known and might never see in this life again? The answer is the same to all the questions. It is because Jesus Christ is Lord of the whole universe and most certainly our lives! Here’s something Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote:

     “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the happiest people in the Easter parade. Are we to listen to a cantata, join in singing ‘Up from the Grave He Arose,’ smell the lilies and go home and forget it? No, certainly not!

     “The resurrection of Jesus Christ lays hole on us with all the authority of sovereign obligation. It says that the Christian church is to go and make disciples- to go and make disciples of all nations. The moral obligation of the resurrection of Christ is the missionary obligation- the responsibility and privilege of personally carrying the message, of interceding for those who go, of being involved financially in the cause of world evangelization.”  (From Tragedy in the Church.)

 

Committed to His cause,

Pastor Doug
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SUNDAY – MAY 18, 2014

Let’s sing about our Lord, Jesus Christ as we will sing about Him in heaven. “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10) Wow! What a great and tremendous day that will be when all God’s children will lift their voices as one to glorify and exalt the Lord. May our worship today be a small foretaste of that glory that is to come!

 

Would it be right to attempt to drive a nail with a saw? Would it be right to attempt painting a car with a hammer? The obvious answer is “no” to both questions. This should remind us that tools are best used when they are used for the function they are designed to accomplish. Actually this is a foundational truth in all areas of life and especially applies to the work of God. The church will function best when it is “being used” to do the work that it has been designed to do. While the church might demonstrate God’s love in this world through many different activities, yet there seems to be an activity of highest priority.

 

Robertson McQuilkin wrote the following in his book, The Five Smooth Stones. “Is it too much to say the evangelistic purpose of the church is paramount? I trust in the chapters that follow we may discover this to be an accurate biblical assessment of priority. In summary, we hold that position because redemption is the theme of Scripture and the meaning of Christ’s incarnation. God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, and then his strategy was to commission all his other sons and daughters to complete the task he began at Calvary. All the other purposes of the church will be accomplished so much better in heaven, but this one can be accomplished only on earth! Thus I conclude this must be the paramount purpose of the church on earth. It is very sad that few congregations treat it that way.” (Page 112)

 

We might use tools for “work” that is not their specific assignment. We might attempt to use a knife as a screwdriver for example. Obviously a knife is best for cutting and a screwdriver is best for turning screws. Churches are best at telling the world that “Jesus alone saves!” Norman Lewis wrote, “A Christian unrelated to world evangelization is a pathetic and futile figure. His time is taken up with trifles. He is like a fish out of water. He is not in his true element.”

 

To the fields!

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

MOTHER’S DAY

MAY 11, 2014

Throughout eternity, God’s people will offer praise to God for all of His blessings, especially for His work of redeeming His people. We can practice that praise already! “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south…Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:1-3, 8, 9)

 

The Bible records and declares that the love God has for us is greater than all other love known by mankind. It is certain that most of humanity realizes that “family love,” particularly parental love, is the highest or most “perfect” love expressed and known by the human race. Often God chose to use the example of this love to compare His own love for us. David wrote in Psalm 27, “When my father and my mother forsake me, than the Lord will take care of me.” (v.10) David is presenting an expression that indicates that God’s loving concern for us is “more permanent” than our parent’s love. Some of the most exciting words from God that address this idea are found in the Book of Isaiah.

“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’

Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son

of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you!” (Is. 49: 14, 15)

 

God wants you to know that as highly as we might think of our own mother’s love for us His love is even higher and surer. Humans are not perfect and can sometimes fail us, even our mothers. God is perfect in all His ways and His love for us is as complete and eternal as He is. Today we celebrate the mothers that God has placed in our lives and their wonderful love for us. Yet more than our mothers’ love, we rejoice in the Love of our God and Savior!

 

Loved with a perfect love,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – MAY 4, 2014

It is a good thing to gather with God’s people for the purpose of worship. There are other places a person could choose to be, but there are none better than the fellowship of the saints in worship. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). Let’s rejoice in the goodness that we discover in The Lord’s presence.

 

Paul, the apostle wrote about how compelled he felt to preach the Gospel. “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16) W. E. Sangster wrote about the same theme as it applies to all believers.

 

     “For people who do believe in the Christian God, evangelism is a duty and privilege so plain, so incontrovertible, that all talk of ‘relevance’ is a half-vulgar intrusion of the utilitarian in a realm where it cannot apply. One could as soon enquire of a son concerning the ‘relevance’ of his love for his mother, or a lover for the beloved, or a great scientist for his devotion to truth….(There are) things which soar above utilitarian tests and are right in themselves and not simply because of ends they serve.

     “The proclamation of the gospel is such a task. It is right in itself….The preaching of the gospel has never seemed relevant to unbelievers…. But it has to be proclaimed! Not apologized for, or watered down, or twisted in the interests of immediate relevance, or half-altered to suit the ‘time-spirit’ or disguised to get it past an unbeliever’s guard. It has to be preached- in all its seeming irrelevance; above the cat-calls and sneers of those who hate or despise it; in the face, also, of the amused contempt of those whose vanity leads them to feel superior to it. ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth,’ said Christ, ‘will draw all men unto me.’

     “Let us life Him up, therefore! – in the atomic age, as in all others, and leave God to prove His relevance to those who will some day profit by our faith.”

 

The Church has the task of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world! Let’s do our part!

 

Looking on fields ready now for harvest,

Pastor Doug

 

 

EASTER SUNDAY

April 20, 2014

Welcome to this gathering of Resurrection-celebration! This is a place for the restoration of souls; where the weary, the hurting, and the discouraged can be healed and made new. The Living Christ will forgive, save and make whole!  Welcome to this haven of abundant and eternal life.

 

One of the constant cries of the human heart is the desire for forgiveness. All of us have experienced the pangs of guilt at some time during our lives. There is something inside each person that whispers, “That was wrong.”  It is our conscience that God put within each of us which makes the experience of guilt universal. Mankind has worked hard to find ways to “get rid” of our feelings of guilt, but it seems that all of man’s best efforts have not been able to totally free the minds of people from a guilty conscience.

 

The hope of forgiveness has been recorded throughout the Bible. In Psalm 32:1, David declared, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Isaiah, the prophet wrote, “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’” (Is. 1:18) All of this hope has been made a reality through the passion of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote, “Who Himself (i.e. Jesus) bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” (See I Peter 2:24.) Paul preached at Antioch in Pisidia, “…He whom God raised up underwent no decay. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 13:37, 38) Later, Paul wrote to the Romans, “It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God (i.e. provide our justification).” (Rom. 4:24, 25, NLT)

 

A present and wonderful blessing guaranteed by the resurrection is the forgiveness of our sin(s). The resurrection settles the fact that Christ’s death was sufficient for the penalty of our sin(s), and it also makes the freedom from our guilt and shame a present reality. That is justification, God looking at and treating us “just as if” we never sinned. Because Jesus lives, you and I can experience true forgiveness that gives peace to “guilty consciences.”

 

Forgiven,

Pastor Doug

 

PALM SUNDAY

APRIL 13, 2014

Welcome to the day that Christians around the world celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. This was the first day of the week in which Jesus Christ would go to Calvary bearing the cross to pay the penalty of our sins. Let’s enter this time of worship by thinking carefully about words from Psalm 118:24-29, some of which were quoted on that day by the multitudes hailing Jesus as The King.

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

We have blessed You from the house of the Lord.

God is the Lord, and He has given us light;

bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

 

We have heard the wonderful message of the salvation that Jesus Christ has provided for all who will receive it. He has accomplished the “work” that He was sent to do; He paid the debt of all sin so that you, I, and all people could be redeemed. Just think it was The King who did that “work!” Hallelujah!

This is “the light” that He has given to us and now we must respond to this knowledge. The words of Psalm 118 teach us at least three ways to respond. The first way is to “bind the sacrifice” to the altar. Every believer should “fix” their hope in God’s salvation and unashamedly declare to those around that they are trusting in nothing else but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

 

The second way is to utter words of praise that will exalt the name of our God and Savior. We should do this “all the time,” but certainly in the congregation of God’s people we must declare the “praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The third is to offer audible words of thanksgiving for all that our God has done for us. We will never be able to exhaust the list of what we are thankful for.

 

Let’s worship The King!

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 6, 2014

Because gratitude fills our hearts, we gather to give thanks to the Lord for His boundless grace. “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful….Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises to our God.” (Psalm 147:1, 7) Let’s open our hearts to the joy of the Lord so that we might be strengthened to live for His glory.

 

 We are praying for a “move of God’s Spirit” in our church and communities. We know that there is a “work” that only God can do, something that we could never do in our human strength. We know that God will do that miraculous work of salvation when we pray and call on Him. Here is a reminder of this fact from Mr. Tozer as it is found in Fellowship of the Burning Heart on pages 134 and 135.

 

     “Salvation can’t be taught. Salvation, among other things, brings an implantation of an unknown fact within the soul that impels us to holiness, and the true Christian cries out, ‘Abba Father,’ by an impulse of the Spirit. He doesn’t have to be taught, nobody says to the new Christian, now say, ‘Abba Father.’ He says it because the Spirit of the Son is in his heart compelling him to say it.

     “The biggest question before us is, has this happened to you? Have you received Him, believed on Him? Has He wrought in you that miracle, which impels you to want to do right, and that makes you grieve if you don’t? It’s most serious, my friends, that we ask the question and answer it. It’s most serious that we answer it in the affirmative, and be right about it. It would be a heartbreaking thing, or at least a very disheartening thing, if we are permitted to stand in front of the average church and be permitted to question each one that steps out and goes for his or her car: ‘Are you truly a Christian inside? By the miracle of the New Birth, do you have implanted in you that unknown factor, which God has named for us, His Laws? That makes you want to do righteousness, and hate sin, and love God and hate inequity. Are you yourself now this morning blessed with this inward factor that impels to holiness?’

     “If you could get an honest answer, it would be heartbreaking. Because there is no question about it, if all the people who go to churches in our communities had this unknown factor, this thing that impels them to righteousness, this would be a different city from what it is now, and Christianity would be quite some other thing than it is now in this town or any other town.”

 

Lord, pour out Your Spirit again!

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 30, 2014

We gather on this glorious day to remember the victory of our Lord over sin and death. Every time we gather, we do declare, “Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!” This is the shout of victory for believers since that day when His tomb was found empty. Let’s rejoice as we are renewed by the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. (Romans 8:11)

 

There is a theme of Christian “perfection” that can be found throughout the New Testament, especially in Paul’s letters. During last Sunday’s sermon, the theme was introduced from Philippians, chapter three, verses twelve through sixteen. In the midst of this passage, Paul used terms like “prize” and “upward call” to define the experience of Christian perfection. These terms imply that “perfection” is something to be desired and pursued. Andrew Murray wrote a book entitled “Be Perfect,” and from it we learn that he also believed that “Christian perfection” is something that all believers should want to attain. He wrote:

     “Jesus said, ‘If any man will do,…he shall know.’ The same principle holds good in all human attainment. It is only he who has accepted in adoring submission and obedience the command ‘Be perfect,’ who can hope to know what the perfection is that God asks and gives. Until the Church is seen prostrate before God, seeking this blessing as her highest good, it will be no wonder if the very word perfection, instead of being an attraction and a joy, is a cause of apprehension and anxiety, of division and offense. ‘God, increase the number of those who, in childlike humility, take the word from Your own lips, as a living seed, in the assurance that it will bring forth much fruit.’”

 

The great hymn, Higher Ground, is a joyful declaration of a believer pursuing perfection. “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day; still praying as I’m onward bound, ‘Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.’ …I want to live above the world, tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground.” Brothers and sisters, let’s press on to perfection! It is “higher ground!”

 

Pressing on,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 23, 2014

     David wrote, “I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.” (Psalm 138:1-3) Let’s come before Him with the confidence that His past blessings have given to our hearts. We can count on God!

Many of us have been more intentional in our prayers these past 18 days or so, as we have been participating in “Seek God for the City.” Many of us have been moved by God to pray for His Spirit to bring revival to the churches of our communities. We have been given a feeling of expectation and an excitement about knowing that God is going to do something out of the ordinary. Hope has been rising within us, and we know that our hope will “not disappoint” us. (See Romans 5:5.)

God gave a promise to the scattered nation of Israel during the Babylonian captivity.  It was a promise of restoration as a nation, not only geopolitically but especially spiritually and socially. We could use the same promise of spiritual and social restoration today! In fact, we are praying for God to do it again for His people in our time. He declared through Isaiah, “Arise, and shine! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is shining upon you. Darkness as black as night will cover all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine over you. All nations will come to your light. Mighty kings will come to see your radiance.

     “Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. Your eyes will shine, and your hearts will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you….

     “Though you were once despised and hated and rebuffed by all, you will be beautiful forever. You will be a joy to all generations, for I will make you so.” (Isaiah 60:1-5a, 15, NLT)

 

Think about what some of these promises mean. Think about what miraculous changes will take place when God answers our prayer for His glory to shine on us once again. Think about our “sons” and “daughters” coming home! Wow. That alone will be a great blessing!

 

Let’s keep on praying and believing.

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 16, 2014

The Psalmist wrote that the “heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord,” and His “faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints” would be declared. (See Psalm 89:5.) Then he wrote, “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long.” (Ps. 89:15-16a) The atmosphere of praise and worship is beneficial and will impart strength and joy to those who enter it.

 

Throughout the Bible there is a call for God’s people to “dwell together in unity.” (See Psalm 133.) As we look at the message that Paul sent to the church at Philippi, we see another call for believers to live in harmony and unity. Paul wrote, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2, NLT) Paul was already thankful and rejoicing over the Philippian church (Philippians 1:3-5), but he believed that he would be “happier” if they expressed greater unity. The good news is that greater unity is possible, not through human effort alone but through the supply and work of the Holy Spirit.

 

The “if” in verse 1 is not the “if” of doubt. It is used as part of an argument and assumes that the answer to each “if-question” is an affirmative. It might be better paraphrased as William MacDonald has written, “Since there is so much encouragement in Christ, since His love has such a tremendous persuasiveness, since the Holy Spirit brings us all together in such a wonderful fellowship, and since there is so much tender affection and mercy in Christianity, we should all be able to get along in happy harmony with one another.” Unity, that is, real spiritual unity, is the logical outcome of people being called together by Jesus Christ.

 

Through common devotion to Christ and common possession of the Holy Spirit, we can have unity of purpose, affection, and sympathy. We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord!

 

They’ll know we are Christians by our love,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 9, 2014

With gratitude, we gather to give thanks to the Lord for His boundless grace. “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful….Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God.” (Psalm 147:1, 7) Let’s open our hearts to the joy of the Lord so that we might be strengthened to live for His glory.

Recently a popular expression about things that a person wants to accomplish before he dies has become part of our language. People talk about their “bucket list” which frequently contains activities like skydiving, driving a racecar, visiting some exotic island, and many other out-of-the-ordinary items. Sometimes people just simply say, “That’s a bucket item.” People are reminded of human mortality almost every day and it forces them to think about what they would like to get done before they die.

 

How should believers, Christians think about the brevity of life and what they should attempt to accomplish before they die? Every believer needs to realize that they will not “cease to exist,” but they merely change their locations. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25) We also need to be reminded that we will spend a thousand years on this earth with the Lord Jesus Christ while He rules and reigns over the whole world. The details of the activities during those 1,000 years is not totally clear, but it is certain that believers will be here with Jesus and we will be able to “see” many things that we haven’t seen before we physically died. We must stop thinking that physical death is totally final, the end and we better “check off our ‘bucket’ items” before we die. That’s the way the world thinks because they have no hope.

 

More importantly, believers must choose to do the one thing we will not be able to do after we die. We must be busy “doing our Father’s business” of telling the lost the way of salvation. It is only now, while we are living this life, that we can share the Gospel and win souls for heaven. The Christian’s “bucket list” should be the names of lost individuals that can be told the Gospel!

 

Seeking the lost,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 2, 2014

 We have gathered to “set our minds on the Spirit, which is life and peace.” (See Romans 8:6b.) We can prepare for this time (and every time of worship) by praying this simple prayer: “If there is any hardness in our hearts today, Lord, please remove it. We want to be ready to receive Your Word and Your grace that will enable us to live in the Light. Amen.”

 

All Christians should realize the centrality of prayer in the life of the church. It is recorded that the church began their activity in a “prayer meeting.” In Acts 1:14 it is written, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” After the burst of life and power that happened on the Day of Pentecost, the believers began to minister to the city that surrounded them. This ministry caused a great deal of backlash from those who opposed them. Their response to the opposition was a “prayer meeting.” “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Acts 4:24) “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31) Prayer was the essential activity that empowered and fitted the church to accomplish great things for the advance of the Kingdom of God.

 

Revival. Renewal. Transformation. Holiness. These are words that express our vision and goal for the churches in our communities. We believe that we will see God produce all of these when we actually pray with one another. We are not interested in “just another program” that clutters our already busy schedule. We do not want to waste out time doing something that will not produce any real and lasting change in our world. We have seen far too much religious activity with no results. We believe that God is calling us (believers, Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ) back to the centrality of corporate, shared prayer.

 

Join many other believers by following the guide available to us for prayer during the 40 days of Lent, from Wednesday, March 5 to Palm Sunday, April 13. The booklet is titled Seek GOD for the CITY 2014 and is free to you if you plan to participate. Pray every day and also join us for the Saturday morning prayer walks that are scheduled throughout our communities. Let’s watch what God will do in response to our prayers!

 

Seeking God,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 23, 20014

Welcome to this gathering of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Under His orders, we try to be many things: a haven of rest and renewal for the heavy-hearted and burdened; a place of forgiveness for the guilty and shamed; a source of encouragement for the discouraged; an empowering fellowship for all who want to live godly lives for the Lord Jesus Christ and His glory. Join us in our journey of faith and growth in grace.

There are few experiences on earth that are much worse than attending a “dead” and “lifeless” church service. It is not our desire to create an “amusement-park” or “entertainment” type atmosphere at Needmore Bible Church, but we do expect to have an “experience” that is joyful and rewarding for all who come into our fellowship. We want people to encounter the real, manifest Presence of our living God. We expect that such an encounter could be a little uncomfortable for some, but it might also be invigorating to most. We want God to “pour out” the fire of the Holy Spirit upon us.

Author James S. Stewart wrote, “There is a Scottish paraphrase which declares that when the Holy Spirit comes He does two things, not one:  Your minds shall fill with sacred truth,  Your hearts with sacred fire.

Sometimes the Church has been so keen about the first, the quest of sacred truth, that it has rather tended to play down the second, the sacred fire of love. And when that happens, you are bound to get a Church inhibited and crippled, lacking verve and glow and warmth and spontaneity. ‘I baptize you with water,’ declared John the Baptist, ‘but He shall baptize you with fire.’ ‘Let you religion,’ cried G. K. Chesterton impatiently, ‘be less of a theory and more of a love affair!’ There was a day when Reverend Stanton, in his pulpit of St. Alban’s, Holborn, suddenly cried ‘Fire! Fire!- and then when the congregation was beginning to panic, he went on. ‘Everywhere, everywhere- except in the Church!’ Do let us remember that what the gospel gives is not a problem but a Person; not an –ism or an –ology, but the Word made flesh; not a metaphysic but a master-passion, a living Lord to love and be loved by forever.”

Oh, Lord, send the fire! Fill our hearts with Your love!

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 16, 2014

God has given wonderful promises to His people about the redemption/salvation that He is going to ultimately bring to them. In Jeremiah we read, “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance. And the young men and the old, together; for I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.” We look forward to a great Day of Salvation!

Recent days have caused many people to think on the subject of love. There is a great amount of interest in love since all of us really do enjoy being loved in some manner or another. Well of course, one great declaration of the Bible is that the very nature of our Creator God is love. Because of this nature of the One who gives us “breath and life,” we can experience love as we should. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4:7, 8) Love is an essential part of our relationship with God, and the good news is “…not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:10) Love brings us into relationship with God, and then once we are in that relationship, His love becomes part of our faith experience.

The “fruit” or “product” of our relationship with God is that we love other people who live around us. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (I John 4:20, 21) The love that God has for us and which He has expressed toward us and in us must have an outlet. It is impossible for us to “experience” God’s love without a “flow” of it through us. God’s love just doesn’t operate as a “pool” or “pond;” it only operates as a “stream” or “river.” We must open the “floodgates” and allow God’s love to flow through us. Oh, what a wonderful manifestation of God’s love we will all enjoy when we turn and show His love to others!

Loved with an everlasting love,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 9, 2014

Last Sunday, Brother Dan played and sang a composition that he wrote of Psalm 34. It’s a great way to call all us to a time of worship.”I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Vs. 1-3)

Just what can we expect God to do in and through His people, the Church? Should we accept a “cooled off” and “watered down” version of the church that we read about in the Book of Acts? I agree with A. W. Tozer and take my stand with him. Here are his words from An Assembly of Saints: Love Unity in the Spirit,” taken from Tragedy in the Church:The Missing Gifts.

     “Brethren, we fellowship here and mingle together and worship the Lord Christ as an assembly of the saints. We confess that all the privileges and responsibilities rest upon us that once rested upon those believers at Pentecost. The plan and promises of God for His believing children have not diminished one little bit.

     “Nowhere in the Word of God is there any text or passage or line that can be twisted or tortured into teaching that the organic living church of Jesus Christ just prior to His return will not have every right and every power and every obligation that she knew in that early part of the book of Acts.

     “I am determined that we are not going to give up to the kind of times in which we live! There is such a thing as just getting tough about this, my brethren. There is such a thing as saying in the power of the Spirit, ‘I am not yielding and I will not give up to the times!’ This is something we can say to our Lord and to ourselves, and betimes, maybe, over our shoulder to the devil!

     “The faithful Body of Christ is not going to give up to the ways of the world or even to the more common ways of religion that we see all about us.” (p. 66)

As the Holy Spirit infuses God’s enabling power into our individual lives and into our fellowship, we can expect to see God work in miraculous and wonderful ways. Let’s allow Him to make us into the church He wants us to be!

I love the Church,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 2, 2014

There is a passion in the hearts of those who know God, and it causes them to want to come to “church” and to encourage others to join them. The Psalmist expressed it this way: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” (Ps. 107:21, 22) God is good to all people! Let’s pray that all of our eyes will be open to see His wonderful works!

I can assure you that the men whom God has led to be appointed as the leadership of this congregation have one great desire. We all want to be “in line” with the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of His Body, the church. We want to “push when He pushes” and “pull when He pulls.” We are in agreement with A. W. Tozer on this point when he wrote the following in “An Assembly of Saints: Love Unity in the Spirit” in his book, Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts.

     “What a powerful message from the prophet to our own day. The curse of modern Christian leadership is the pattern of looking around and taking our spiritual bearing from what we see, rather than from what the Lord has said.

     “But what are we prone to do in church leadership? We are likely to listen carefully to see which way things are moving and then act accordingly. But the Spirit of God will never lead us into that mistake.

     “Led by the Spirit of God, the members of the Body of Christ will always be right in their spirit, right in their wisdom, and right in their judgment. They will not be judged nor will they allow themselves to be judged on the basis of what is currently taking place all around them.

     I believe God wants to do something new and blessed for every believer who has the inner desire to know Him better. I am aware of the fact that it takes a store of patience and persistence and a lot of courage to find and pursue the will of God in this day. There has been a reviving within the ranks of our own fellowship, and I see no reason why it should not flow out and down and over and up and around until we are all swimming in it.” (pp. 65-66)

We desperately want us all to be “swimming in it!” We hunger for the church to be totally in tune with her Master! We are expecting another outpouring of His Spirit on our fellowship!

I love the church,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 26, 2014

  The psalmist, David declared, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) He went on to describe that place of special fellowship as the place where “the Lord commands the blessing- life evermore.” (See verse 3.) Jesus came into this world to make abundant life available to us all! As we fix our attention and faith on Him, let’s open out hearts to receive the blessing He has for us today!

 Certainly we are “pressing on” in order to become the church that God wants us to become. Mr. Tozer challenges us with thoughts from “An Assembly of Saints: Love Unity in the Spirit” in his book, Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts.

     “No congregation or church group has the right to feel that it has finally arrived and is fully matured. Every congregation with a true desire for the knowledge of God must continually seek and reach out- determining its own needs and what it should be to be well pleasing to the Lord.

     “Any assembly of the saints must continue in the study of the Bible to determine what the Holy Spirit wants to do in the life of the church and how the Spirit will provide the power and special abilities to glorify Jesus Christ.

     “Let me here refer to words of the prophet Isaiah which I love very much. They are in Isaiah chapter 11: ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the  fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth’ (vv. 1-4a).

     “Now as you well know all of that was spoken by the prophet concerning Jesus, the One who was to come to Israel.

     “But don’t you think that description of spiritual life and ministry also should be true of all who are members of the Body of Christ?

     “Just as in the Old Testament when the oil of anointing was poured out on the high priest’s head and ran down to the skirt of his garment and on down to his feet, giving fragrance and sweetness to his whole body, so the mighty power that was poured upon the head of Jesus must flow and trickle down to every member of the body. What was true of Him, our Lord, can just as surely be true of those who minister His grace and truth.” (Pages 54-65.)

Let our cry be for an outpouring of His Spirit to give us a fresh anointing of understanding, wisdom and power!

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 19, 2014

A wonderful invitation is given to each one of us as we gather to worship our Creator. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6, 7) This is a time for changing and taking a “new direction” in our lives. God will help us in spite of all our wrong directions in the past. In mercy and with pardon, He will lead us in right paths! Hallelujah!

I believe the church is the greatest group of people on the earth (and in heaven). Mr. A. W. Tozer also had a very high regard for the church and wrote about it in Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts. I plan to share portions of a chapter entitled “An Assembly of Saints: Love Unity in the Spirit” over the next few weeks. I pray that you will be challenged and inspired by what you read here.

     “I know that there are people who attend churches where there is never any appeal or desire to engage in effectual prayer for others. They can tell you the name of their church and when it was organized and what part it plays in the ‘religious community.’

     “That’s not enough. Strictly speaking, you cannot bring a true segment of the Body of Christ into being by organizing.

     “Now I don’t want to be misquoted. I believe that within our Christian fellowship and in our efforts to evangelize there must of necessity be some proper organization freely exercised. Paul himself must have had this in mind as he wrote to Titus and told him to set things in order and to appoint men to tasks within the fellowship.

     “But I am saying that you cannot organize a Christian church in the same way that you would organize a baseball club. In baseball you need a captain, so many pitchers and so many catchers, outfielders and infielders and a number of coaches.

     “You can have an organized ball club with the right number of players and coaches and still not have a ball club, as a certain Chicago team has proven! (Tozer pastored an Alliance congregation in Chicago for many years.)

     “No, you cannot organize a true Christian church in that sense. Even after the adoption of a proper church constitution there may not actually be a New Testament church. Perhaps the church is within that organization- it is possible- but that organization is not the church, for the church is the assembly of the saints!”

More next week about how we might be sure to have “the church” within our organization.

I love the church,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 12, 2014

We come together to seek and experience the holy Presence of our Lord. We do this in the manner described by the writer of the book to Hebrews, chapter 10, and verses 19 through 22. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” We rejoice in the grace of God that makes it possible for us to come before Him in worship and praise!

One basic characteristic of sin is its tendency to separate. The fact is that sin separates us first from God, and then from one another coincidently. It is probable that wherever separation is observed, sin can be found at the root of it. This nature is totally contrary to the heart of God Who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4) God so loved everybody (the world) that He made it possible for everybody to believe and not perish. (John 3:16) The term that describes the process of removing separation is known as “reconciliation.” Paul wrote, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us (believers, followers of Jesus) the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:19) God has acted to eliminate the separation caused by sin and to make it possible for all people to be a part of His family.

The church is called to be an instrument of God in “bringing in” those who have been “cast out,” disenfranchised, and separated from His people. God’s great promise has been…”even to them (the outcasts) I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:5) We are called by the Lord Jesus to be reconciled to God and to one another. Let’s pray that God will use us to spread the word of reconciliation and build a fellowship at NBC that “fleshes out,” that manifests that reconciliation. Let’s pray and work to eliminate separation that does not reflect God’s love.

Reconciled by the blood of Jesus,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 5, 2014 

It is a good thing to gather with God’s people for the purpose of worship. There are other places a person could choose to be, but there are none better. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). Let’s rejoice in the good that we will discover in The Lord’s presence.

Throughout the Bible, there is a message that forgiveness and cleansing of sin comes through a blood sacrifice. From Genesis to Revelation, it is possible to find some mention of blood that can take away sin from our lives. Of course, the pinnacle of the story is reached when Jesus Christ is crucified and His blood is there “poured out” for the sins of the world. The Bible reveals that His blood has eternal power to “cover sin” and make a sinner able to stand forgiven in the presence of Almighty God. The power of His blood is “living” and ready to wash away sin at any present time. It is recorded in I John 1:7, “…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Frances Ridley Havergal wrote about I John 1:7 the following: “And so we may trust Him to cleanse us from all present defilement. Yes, all. If not, we take away from His most precious promise, and, by refusing to take it to its fullness, lose the fullness of its application and power. Then we limit God’s power to keep. We look at our frailty more than at His omnipotence.

     “Where is the line to be drawn beyond which He is not able? The very keeping implies total helplessness without it, and the very cleansing most distinctly defilement without it. It was the word ‘cleanseth’ which opened the door of glory and hope and joy to me.

     “I had never seen the force of the tense before, a continual present, always present tense, not a present which the next moment becomes a past. It goes on cleansing.

     “I have no words to tell how my heart rejoiced in it. Not a coming to be cleansed in the fountain only- but a remaining in the fountain so that it may go on cleansing.

     “One of the intensest moments of my life was when I saw the force of the word ‘cleanseth.’ The utterly unexpected and altogether unimagined sense of its fulfillment to me on simply believing in its fullness was indescribable. I expected nothing like it short of heaven.”

Let’s rejoice in the power of our Lord Jesus’ blood to keep us clean until we leave this sin-soaked world!

Washed in His blood,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – DECEMBER 29, 2013

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! May the joy we have just celebrated during Christmas and the wonderful love of our Savior stir up our hearts that we might know that we have been with the Lord. He has come to be with us in a very special and personal way.

The incarnation of God, God becoming human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ is the most unique and spectacular announcement the world could ever hear. Coming to a personal understanding of this historical fact is transformational, life-changing for all who believe. God wants all of us to meet Him in person! The following is what A. W. Tozer wrote about this truth over a half-century ago.

     “’He came.’ I confess that I am always struck with the wonder and the significance of the limitless meaning of those two words from John 1:11. In them is the confirmation of the Incarnation- God come in the flesh. Within them the whole scope of divine mercy and redeeming love is outlined.

     “All of the mercy God is capable of showing, all of the redeeming grace He could pour from His heart, all of the love and pity He is capable of feeling- all of these are at least suggested in the message ‘He came.’

     “Beyond that, all the hopes and longings and aspirations, all of the dreams of immortality that lie in the human breast- all had their fulfillment in the coming to earth of Jesus, the Christ and Redeemer.

     “The coming of Jesus Christ into this world represents a truth more profound than any philosophy. All of the great thinkers of the world together could never have produced anything even remotely approaching the wonder and profundity disclosed in the message of these words: ‘He came.’

     “The words are wiser than all learning. Understood in their high spiritual context, they are more beautiful than all art, more eloquent than all oratory, more lyric and moving than all music. They tell us that all of mankind, sitting in darkness, has been visited by the Light of the World!

     “We are too passive about what this really means. It’s the grandest story of the ages, yet many of us sit and listen, and then we yawn and inwardly confess, ‘I am bored.’

     “The reason?

     “We have heard it so many times that it no longer means to us what it should.”

I have a living and present Savior,

Pastor Doug

 

 

DECEMBER 22, 2013

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10

Christmas is a celebration of life, the life that God offers to all who will receive His Son, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus declared, “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This life is able to enrich us in this world, but more importantly give us life in the world to come. Jesus also said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent.” (John 17:3) A person receives this life the moment they believe on Jesus Christ and are born again. God breathes new life into the soul of all believers by His Holy Spirit and thus His life is placed within them.

The experience of this new life was explained by A. W. Tozer in the following words. “The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all, we step out of the world’s parade….We acquire a new view point; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.” All of this is a result of God living within us. Our life is not ours, but rather His. We are new creations in Christ Jesus and all things are becoming new by His presence and power within us. (II Corinthians 5:17) Emmanuel! God is with us and in us.

It is this life of God within the heart of all believers that makes the church the most uniquely living organism and powerful force for good in this world. Frederick William Faber wrote: “The Spirit came into the Church with His unfailing power; He is the Living Heart that beats within her at this hour.” Truly we celebrate life during this Christmas season!

I thank Him for Giving Life,

Pastor Doug

 

 

DECEMBER 15, 2013

The Third Sunday in Advent

We joyfully welcome all who have come to celebrate God’s best gift to us all, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Let every voice be lifted up in praise and singing as we focus on the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World! Let’s extend our hand in good will and fellowship as we greet one another. Let’s remember that “We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year that can cause mixed emotions and actions. On the one hand, there does seem to be more kindness and goodwill expressed throughout our world. Yet on the other hand, many people may seem to be very irritable and large numbers of folks seem under a lot of stress and strain. It is possible to hear greetings of holiday cheer and expressions of anger and frustration in the same conversations. This is to be a season of light, and yet despair leads many to the darkness of depression and even self-destruction. The challenge to those of us who know the Savior, the real reason for the season, is to “let our lights shine before men” so they can see the hope and joy we have in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible, there is a consistent message given to God’s people about their unique role in this world. The message can be summed up in the words, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.” (See Isaiah 52:11 and I Corinthians 6:17.) God’s people are to be different from the world around them. Christians should be distinct in their attitudes, behavior and words. Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (2:14, 15) We must not become irritable and depressed by the negative that exists in the world.

How is Christmas affecting you so far this year? Are you allowing yourself to be pushed by the winds and whims of the culture? Are commercialism, materialism and scrooge-ism impacting you? God is calling us to be different from the rest of the world, especially at this time of celebration. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and not become distracted by anything that does not add to the joy of Christmas!

 Looking unto Jesus,

Pastor Doug

 

 

The First Sunday in Advent

December 1, 2013

Welcome to this first Sunday in the 2013 season of Advent. Even though God had given many announcements about the coming of the Messiah, His first appearing seemed to come suddenly and with surprise. While we can and do expect God’s presence to bless our normal gatherings for times of worship, let’s look for an unexpected “appearing” of His presence during this special time of year.

 This year’s Advent theme is “Prepare the way of the Lord.” It is our intention to do everything in our power to make the Lord Jesus Christ welcome in our world. The manifestation of His Presence and our experience of His Presence will be more obvious to all of us as we make proper preparations. We should think about how we often get ready when we know that company is coming to visit. It is a common practice for individuals, families and even communities to put things in order for visitors, especially when the visitor happens to be a special dignitary. Isaiah was picturing the coming of the great King, the Messiah, and the Savior of the world as he wrote those words, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

 The prophet, Isaiah was quoted by John the Baptist in proclaiming the manner in which we can prepare the way for the Lord. The first step is to “fill up every valley.” We should examine our hearts to discover the “low places” that are empty and need filled in. We must fill in the gaps of our spiritual lives caused by indifference to the King and His agenda. It is very easy to put all our concern and energy in the trappings of this season and lose sight of our Lord.

The most important and a foundational item to take care of is being sure we want Him to come. Even if all outward and physical items are set in order, a visitor can detect whether or not the hosts really want him with them. In fact, a visitor can overlook many physical inconveniences if there is a genuine delight demonstrated in the hearts of the hosts. Certainly the Lord Jesus knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves. Jesus wants to be wanted! Let’s develop a hunger for His Presence.

 “Fill up the valleys” – fill in the gaps of our spiritual lives caused by indifference – TRUE HUNGER

Hungering for Him,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 24, 2013

The author of Psalm 42 wrote, “I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise.”(v. 4b) He remembered joining a crowd walking to the house of God “with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving.” May the same kind of joy be ours as we approach the throne of grace to worship our Creator. Let our voices resound with many thanksgivings today and always!

 

Throughout the history of our nation, many presidents have written proclamations of thanksgiving for our nation. Abraham Lincoln wrote one on October 3, 1863 which became the start of what we now know as our national holiday, Thanksgiving Day. He addressed this to the citizens of the United States and issued it as a call for a solemn assembly when all people in the nation would seek God through prayer. Here is a portion of that 1863 proclamation.

 

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

 

Oh, that God would call us back to Himself in such a clear manner that no citizen of this great nation could misunderstand. Let’s pray for God’s continued mercies and beg His forgiveness of our personal and “national” sins! May He send revival to our nation!

 

Very thankful,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 17, 2013

Understanding the character and nature of God causes a person to want to worship Him. That is why David wrote, “I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:9-11)

 

The biblical record demonstrates that God does not sit silently in the heavens. God has always been “speaking” to His creation, and especially to us who have been created in His image. He desires for us to hear His voice and to communicate with Him. The Bible declares, “God…at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1, 2) Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd Whom “…the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out…the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.” (John 10:3, 4) God is speaking. We must ask ourselves if we are listening.

 

Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote, “We may use the past tense properly to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be alive.” (According to Hebrews 4:12, Tozer is correct!)  Tozer also wrote, “If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing; it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God.”

 

Perhaps we should use the prayer that Tozer suggested: “Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, ‘Speak, for thy servant heareth.’” He also prayed, “Lord, let me hear Thee in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of thy speaking voice. Amen.”

 

When God’s people begin to listen carefully to the voice of God and respond to His leading, revival will happen.

 

Listening to Him,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 10, 2013

     David wrote, “I will praise You with my whole heart …and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth.”(Psalm 138:1, 2) We should gather with the same intention and motive- to offer whole-hearted worship to God. We come to experience His presence and learn His truth! Everyone is invited to join in!

 

We have often been warned to be careful about what we spend time looking at. Our visual intake does affect us in our soul. Jesus warned that the “light” that enters our eyes must not be “darkness,” because if it is, our “whole body will be filled with darkness.” Our “eye-gate” is often used in a powerful way to influence our thoughts, our appetites and our actions. We should discipline the gaze of our eyes in order to produce positive results in our lives, especially our spiritual lives.

 

Paul, the apostle instructed believers to “gaze” on Jesus. He wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18) J. Oswald Sanders wrote about his experience of hearing a plain preacher speak on this verse.

     “On one occasion I was holidaying at an isolated spot. When the Lord’s Day came, the only church service of any kind was conducted by a Salvation Army soldier, an illiterate farmer. His text was found at II Corinthians 3:18. He was not eloquent. He did not evidence deep learning. Some of his exegesis was questionable. But his reiteration of his text etched four words indelibly on the mind- ‘beholding, we are changed.’ His radiant face and obvious joy in the Lord were exemplification of the truth of his claim. ‘A glance of faith may save, but it is the gaze of faith which sanctifies,’ said Robert Murray McCheyne. A hurried glance of Christ snatched after lying on a deathbed too late will never effect a radical transformation of character.”

 

We have gathered to “fix our eyes” on Jesus! Let’s keep looking unto Him!

 

Looking for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 3, 2013

We are glad to have you join us today in praising God, in singing with David, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You have set Your glory above the heavens!”(Psalm 8:1) Let us express our worship through prayer, song, handclaps and shouts of joy! Our God is worthy of honor, glory and blessing!

 

Often people have used the words “I found it” to express the fact that they have entered into the experience of salvation. We understand what they are saying, but the reality is that God has always been the pursuer of people. God is the initiator of any relationship that we might “discover.” The words of A. W. Tozer might help us understand this more fully. He wrote, “The living God has been willing to reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, He would have us know and understand that He is all love and that those who trust Him need never know anything but that love.”  The Bible reveals this truth to us many times because God has always promised to “draw near” to those who seek Him.

 

Why do so many live without the reality of an experience of this loving relationship. It is never God’s fault! If we live “apart” from God, it is not because He has decided to turn away from us. The problem must be found in our own hearts which have “chased’ after” other things. God is always faithful to His promises and He will never turn away those who come to Him. Perhaps the following prayer written by Mr. Tozer can help us to discover a living relationship with our loving God.

     “O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ’s sake, Amen.”

 

Seeking revival,

 

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 27, 2013

It is a good thing to gather with God’s people for the purpose of worship. There are other places a person could choose to be, but there are none better. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). Let’s rejoice in the goodness that we will discover in The Lord’s presence.

 

Before anyone can offer a prognosis and a treatment plan, a diagnosis must be made. Sometimes the process of making a diagnosis can be difficult on the patient. When the diagnostic results are negative, it can be very uncomfortable giving the patient the “bad news.” Probably there are very few people who have any desire to offer a negative diagnosis, yet the hope of treatment and healing can only happen with the knowledge of the problem. This is the way it is with the most basic of mankind’s needs. All people have a problem that only God can remedy, but being told about the problem can be uncomfortable!

 

     “When you deal with a sinner you must begin with the fact of sin. One man said about a preacher’s emphasis upon sin, ‘That man knows nothing about grace at all.’ He replied, ‘I know something about grace but I tell you that one way I know about grace is that I know what an awful hell-bound, hell-deserving sinner I was and how God saved me from the torments of the damned in hell. There is no grace unless there is sin first.’

     “The Bible preachers preached against sin. Elijah hated sin. He slew the prophets of Baal. Jeremiah preached against sin. He preached the words of God and they were words of condemnation against sin.

     “John the Baptist preached REPENT! He called sinners a generation of vipers and he warned them to flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7-8). Jesus denounced sin saying, ‘you blind leaders of the blind, whited sepulchers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, serpents, generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell.’”    -John R. Rice

 

We must be honest with the world around us. We cannot “sugar coat” the truth about the wretched condition of the “natural man’s” heart. All have sinned! All are in need of repentance!

 

Let’s warn them,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 20, 2013

Welcome to this time of worship! The Lord’s presence is always with us, but He will “draw near” to those who seek Him through worship. Let’s call on His name and make a joyful noise with songs of praise and thanksgiving.

 

There are many “voices” in this world who claim to be speaking truth. Most of them are declaring that they are free, enlightened and open to all “new truth” as it is discovered. Many of these same “voices” want to reject the notion that truth is absolute and has already been revealed to us. The idea that “the old-time religion” could be truth is objectionable to these “modern minds.” They are offended when another dares to speak of “wrath,” “blood” and “salvation” as true and necessary for all mankind to respond to. How should we respond to these modern voices? Half of a century ago, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote about the “modern minds.”

 

     “We must go back to true authority, and that authority is to be found in this Apostle, a ‘called apostle,’ a man who was apprehended on the road to Damascus, and who says that the Gospel he preached was not given to him by men, neither was he taught it by men, but by the revelation of God; the one who does not hesitate to say, ‘If we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:8-9).

     “Let the moderns believe what they will. There is no Gospel apart from ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, ‘Set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood,’ God ‘making Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’ (II Corinthians 5:21).

    “That other teaching is not only entirely wrong; the Holy Spirit will not honour it. He cannot honour it. No one is ever converted by such preaching; and you will never get revival as the result of such preaching.” 

 

Let us hold to “the faith once delivered to the saints!” We will believe the Everlasting Gospel!

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 13, 2013

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day…” (Luke 4:16) Many of us have gathered here in the same way that Jesus “went to church” during His lifetime, to seek God and offer our worship to Him. Let’s not shirk this opportunity to grow closer to our God and closer to those of like-minded faith.

 

Let’s open our ears to the voice of the Savior as He calls us to follow Him. The call to follow Him is not for just a few, special individuals, but it is spoken clearly to everyone who will listen. During the ministry of Jesus that is recorded in all four gospels, the call of Jesus to salvation was always a call to follow Him. Jesus never gave two separate calls. Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote about the practice of some preachers who have made a distinction between Jesus’ call to salvation and His call to discipleship. Mr. Tozer wrote that this is an incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures.

 

     “Now, I have heard that a Christian brother has said, ‘Tozer doesn’t distinguish between discipleship and salvation. You can be a Christian without being a disciple.’

     “Just let me ask: Who said that you can be a Christian without being a disciple? I don’t think you can be a Christian without being a disciple. The idea that I can come to the Lord and by grace have all of my sins forgiven and have my name written in heaven, and have a carpenter go to work on a mansion in my Father’s house, and at the same time raise hell on my way to heaven is impossible and unscriptural. It cannot be found in the Bible.

     “We are never saved by our good works, but we are not saved apart from good works. Out of the saving faith in Jesus Christ, there springs immediately goodness and righteousness. Spring is not brought by flowers, but you cannot have spring without flowers. It isn’t my righteousness that saves, but the salvation I have received brings righteousness.”

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 makes this truth abundantly clear!

 

Crying out for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 6, 2013

World Communion Sunday

“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Psalm 98:1-3) God does His mighty acts so that the whole world can see and know Him!

 

God has always accomplished His plan in and through the lives of broken and imperfect people. He continues to do the same today. Paul wrote, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (II Cor. 4:7) The Lord is Himself building His church in spite of our weaknesses and failures. Bishop Stephen Neill, a Scottish missionary to India in the last century wrote:

     “What is the situation of the Church today? We look out on disobedient churches and an unfinished task. What of the past? It can be summed up in two phrases. It is the history of disobedient churches and of an unfinished task.

     “And yet God has used even those disobedient churches to do great things and has brought into being a universal Church. Missionaries have, on the whole, been a feeble folk, not very wise, not very holy, and not very patient. They have broken most of the commandments and fallen into every conceivable mistake.

     “And yet God has used their weaknesses to bring into existence a universal Church. Missionary societies and churches have run their affairs in a way that would have reduced any ordinary business firm to bankruptcy in a year. They have tolerated rivalry, overlapping, waste and imprudence. And yet God has taken them up, with all their follies, into His service for the creation of a universal Church.

     “Converts have been terribly disappointing. Some have lapsed, others have grown arrogant and unusable, and the majority has sunk down all too quickly into spiritual mediocrity. And yet, with all their failures, they have been God’s front line for winning of a universal Church. And so it goes on.”

 

Let’s celebrate the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the building of His Church universal!

 

I love His Church,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 22, 2013

When a person understands at least a small bit about the character and nature of God, he or she wants to worship Him. That is why David wrote, “I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57:9-11)

 

One definition of revival is “God in the midst of His people.” Leonard Ravenhill used to say, “Revival is when God comes down.” We understand that God is always everywhere, or omnipresent, so He is always “in the midst of His people” and He certainly doesn’t need to “come down” since He is already here. What then is meant by such statements as these two definitions of revival? A. W. Tozer wrote, “The Presence of God and the manifestation of the Presence are not the same. There can be the one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence.” When revival does occur, we will know that God is with us and we will experience His manifest presence.

 

Mr. Tozer also wrote, “God’s highest desire is that every one of His believing children should so love and so adore Him that we are continuously in His presence, in Spirit and in truth.” We ought to be honest enough to admit that we haven’t loved and adored God as much as possible. Let’s be in constant prayer for His help to love Him more. Elizabeth Prentiss wrote these words for a hymn, “More love to Thee, O Christ, More love to Thee! Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee. This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!” As our love for God increases and we express our devotion to Him more consistently, we will become more aware of His presence with us. God will draw near to us as we draw near to Him.

 

Oh, that we might experience a revival during which we live in His manifest presence!

I want revival,

 Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 15, 2013

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was praised with my tongue” (Psalm 66:16, 17). It is right and good when Christians use their mouth to speak of their God and declare to those who will hear what He has done for them. Let’s do no less than that right here “in church.”

 

It has been said that it is possible to argue with an argument, but you can’t argue with an experience. It is probable that one can argue even with this statement, but the notion that personal experience gives greater credence to any profession of truth should be obvious to all of us. This has been demonstrated by the words of the blind man whose miracle of receiving his sight is recorded in the ninth chapter of John. The following was written by James S. Stewart, a Scottish pastor, professor and author from early in the last century.

 

     “But the man himself was different. He refused to be intimidated or abashed, ‘All I know is this; once I was blind, now I can see.’ (John 9:25)

     “This was as much as to say- you can argue till Doomsday that nothing has happened. You can use all the syllogisms of your logic to demonstrate that the alleged power of Jesus is myth and moonshine and delusion. You can prove to your own satisfaction that I am nothing but the pathetic victim of an unintelligent hallucination. Talk of intelligence? It is you who are the unintelligent ones! Do you not know the difference between light and darkness? All your fine arguments are wrecked on this, ‘One thing I know, that whereas I was blind now I see.’

     “It is of course the unanswerable argument. If the Christian case were simply based on theory, it could doubtless by theory be demolished. If it were just a psychological phenomenon, the psychologists could tear it to shreds. But because it is based on actual events and history, on solid facts- lives redeemed, men made new, blindness turned to seeing- because of that, there is nothing that can shake it. It stands on its own.”

 

Share your personal testimony! Others might argue against it, but you will never be shaken when you know that you know!

 

Sure,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

Grandparents’ Day

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 8, 2013

“I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” (Psalm 101:1, 2)

 

Within these first two verses of Psalm 101, we read a lament from the psalmist, David. He cried out to the Lord to ask Him about His manifest presence in his life. David prayed, “When will You come to me?” Now, we know that that God is “present” everywhere at all times. We also know that we can live without an actual experience of His presence. We refer to the experience of God as the “manifest presence” of God. It is possible that many of us are living without the experience of His “manifest presence.” This is what David’s heart-cry is all about! He didn’t think God had moved away, but he was keenly aware that something was blocking an experience of God’s “manifest presence.”

 

The second thing that comes from David’s bold prayer is what seemed to be important to David at that time. The first thought that he expresses after the prayer is the fact that he would start “at home.” He said, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” We might normally think that the experience of God’s “manifest presence” is most likely to happen “at church.” It seems that David knew something important about the home. If one is not walking in God’s way in his or her family, then the likelihood is that he or she is not experiencing the “manifest presence” of God even though he or she is “in church.”

 

The first institution that God created was the home. God wants us to experience His “manifest presence” in an abiding way throughout our whole lives. Certainly the primary, foundational and most important part of our lives is our home. We must have homes that are consecrated to God. We must walk in the faith in our family lives. God “will come to us” when we make Him a part of our homes!

 

Seeking His “manifest presence,”

 

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

With gratitude we come to give thanks to the Lord for His boundless grace. As fellow pilgrims who stand in need of His grace, we extend the hand of fellowship and love to all who have come. We pray that we all will enter into the joy of the Lord as we worship and praise Him.

 

There should be great confidence that prayer is a very positive and dynamic activity for the church. We must continue to grow in our understanding and practice of prayer as a congregation of Christ followers. If we want to impact the world with the power of the gospel, we must pray more! The following story comes from the editor’s introduction of the May/June 2013 issue of PrayerConnect, on page 11.

 

     “I’m not sure I can adequately describe Joe, This very elderly, stooped-over Jewish man was rejected by his family when he became a follower of Jesus Christ. He was a bit quirky and had very few possessions. In fact, everything he owned fit into a suitcase. When Joe needed a ride, he would call and say he ‘needed a little fellowship.’ That meant you were to pick him up, take him to church, and then perhaps buy lunch for him on the way home.

     “My greatest appreciation for Joe came during times of prayer with him. He never missed a prayer gathering, and, in private, he prayed through the church directory every week, name by name.

     “I don’t remember how I joined a little prayer group with Joe and two other friends. But for a season, we prayed in what we called ‘the upper room.’ It was a tiny storage closet above the baptistery. We had to climb very steep stairs to get there and then duck to avoid hitting our heads once we were in the room. Getting Joe up there always presented a challenge, but it was a prayer time- nothing could deter him!

     “In that upper room, we prayed for the church. We prayed for the salvation of the lost. We prayed for broken families. We asked the Spirit to do a fresh work in our congregation. Perhaps we were repeating some of the same prayers of the early believers in the original upper room.

     “Obviously it was not the room itself that made this prayer time special. It was because four people had something in common- we longed for Jesus to be powerfully manifested in our lives, church, and nation. Now I can look back and understand that praying with Joe, in all his quirkiness, was a privilege because Joe was completely devoted to his Lord. Joe’s life was permeated with prayer. It was simply what he did, day after day, without fail.”

 

Let’s pray for revival!

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 25, 2013

“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.” (Psalm 66:1, 2) Joyful, honor, and glorious are three words that should direct our minds as we come together to worship our great and awesome God.

 

I have been preaching messages on the theme of consecration. Commitment and sacrifice are a part of this theme and they lead one to obedience. The test of our personal consecration is found in our obedience to the Lord’s commands. By commands, I am not referring to the laws of God such as the Ten Commandments or the law of forgiveness. I am referring to obeying the present leading of God in our personal lives.

 

Many years ago, I was asked if I would like to join Men for Missions. I was told I could join by answering just three questions properly. I asked for the questions. They were presented to me as, “Will you do whatever God asks you to do? Will you go wherever God asks you to go? Will you give whatever God asks you to give?” The essence of these questions concerns my willingness to be obedient to the Lord’s commands. We can easily settle the answer by an act of consecration.

 

Read the following testimony of J. Hudson Taylor’s personal consecration. “Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed. Though I was only a boy of fifteen, I remember stretching myself on the ground, and lying there silent before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy. For what service I was accepted I did not know; but a deep consciousness that I was no longer my own took possession of me, which has never since left me. Within a few months of this time of consecration the impression came into my souls that the Lord wanted me in China.”

 

The question that God asks of each of us is “Will you obey me?” Consecration requires a “yes” answer!

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 18, 2013

“I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” (Psalm 138:1, 2) We gather to worship the God whose character is impeccable; every word that He has spoken has been proven true. We can depend on all that He has promised us! Hallelujah!

 

Can you “handle the truth?” It is probable that most people would like to say “yes” to that question. The realities of this world seem to indicate that few people “can handle the truth” in all of the circumstances of their lives. Falsehoods, half-truths, lying and misrepresentation have all become a large part of the fabric of our society. Today in our world, there are large numbers of people who aren’t even sure that there is such a thing as truth! Even among Christians, the sad reality is that holding strongly to the “whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is becoming more and more rare. Jesus taught that the one of the distinguishing marks of His disciples is truth. He prayed, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:16, 17)

 

Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote in Man: The Dwelling Place of God, on page 17 the following:

     “What we need to restore power to the Christian testimony is not soft talk about brotherhood but an honest recognition that two human races occupy the earth simultaneously: a fallen race that sprang from the loins of Adam and a regenerate race that is born of the Spirit through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

     “To accept this truth requires a tough-mindedness and a spiritual maturity that modern Christians simply do not possess. To face up to it hardly contributes to that ‘peace of mind’ after which our religious weaklings blest so plaintively.

     “For myself, I long ago decided that I would rather know the truth than be happy in ignorance. I cannot have both truth and happiness, give me truth. We’ll have a long time to be happy in heaven.”

 

Brothers and sisters, we cannot have a revival without a renewed commitment to God’s Truth!

I want revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 11, 2013

“I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul” (Psalm 138:1-3). Let’s come into our time of worship with the same spirit that David expressed with these words.

 

Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). We must believe in the supreme ability of the gospel message to produce actual change, to bring real salvation into the lives of those who receive it. We must be confident in the gospel.

 

     “Living overseas doesn’t automatically make you faithful or bold. Even missionaries face the temptation to compromise or simply not talk about the Gospel. We can easily squander opportunities. We can be lazy in prayer and evangelism, while being diligent on secondary things like e-mail, planning, and Internet research. Meanwhile, people die without hearing the Gospel.

     “The Christian calling is quite simple: tell people the Gospel- the Good News of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We often think too hard about security or knowing the culture. For the Christian, disobedience is more painful than rejection. Will we do whatever it takes to reach people with the Gospel? We must ask ourselves, ‘How many people will hear the Gospel today in my city?’

     “Do we believe that something that sounds so ignorant, so naïve, so simple to some really has this transformational power? Or do we believe we must ask permission to share it or make it ‘more beautiful,’ as if that were possible? Jesus commanded us to go. Our mantra must simply be, ‘Just tell.’”

 

These words come from a missionary in East Asia and are recorded in Voices of the Faithful, BOOK 2. Our prayer must be “Lord, stir us and use us to tell Your Gospel to the world.”

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 4, 2013

We gather to worship in this one place, yet we have a vision for the whole world! David declared, “All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth. Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord” (Psalm 138:4, 5). It is a great privilege to “hear” the words of God. Let’s listen very attentively to His Word.

 

We have been preaching, praying and seeking revival from God. We know that when He makes His manifest presence known to us, we will experience the revival we desire. It is clearly taught in the Bible that knowing God is the essence of a relationship with Him. We want Christian to know Him more intimately, and unbelievers to know Him for the first time. Jesus spoke in prayer, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Jesus also taught that final judgment will be determined by the absence of His personal, intimate knowledge of those being judged. He said, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

 

The good news is that we can know God just as we know other people. A. W. Tozer stated, “God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene.” Mr. Tozer also wrote, “The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience.”

 

The only question that needs to be asked is “Do I know the Lord?” If you are not sure about your experience and knowledge of Him, simply ask Him to make Himself known to you. Since He wants you to know Him, He will reveal Himself to you so you no longer doubt.

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JULY 14, 2013

Let’s all continue to cry out wholeheartedly, “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved… Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80:7, 18b-19) We are seeking the manifest presence of God so that the church might be revived! Let us come boldly before His throne of grace!

 

One of the best known revivals in church history is the Welsh Revival that happened in the first decade of the twentieth century. Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote in Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival some very helpful descriptions.

 

     “The turn of the twentieth century was marked by an unusual concern for spiritual matters. Believers throughout the world were moved to pray for revival. In November 1904, the Spirit of God began to stir in an extraordinary way in the hearts of believers throughout the principality of Wales. What transpired over the next several months was nothing short of supernatural.

     “Bend the Church, and save the world!” was the cry that rang out through villages and towns, in the churches, and in the hearts of men, women, children, and young people throughout all of Wales.

     “Evan Roberts was one human instrument that God used in this season of revival. The fire of God burned in the heart of this twenty-six-year-old coal miner who had little formal education. Everywhere he went, Evan Roberts delivered a message that was simple, straightforward, and timeless. It became known as ‘The Four Points.’ Did God’s people desire an outpouring of His Spirit? Then four conditions must be observed:

·         Confess all known sin.

·         Put away all doubtful things and forgive everyone.

·         Obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

·         Publicly confess Christ as your Savior.”

 

The results of the Welsh Revival included 100,000 new converts within five months. Five years later, 80 percent of those who professed Christ were still going on in their faith. Modern evangelistic crusades (including Billy Graham’s ministry) have 10 percent or less after only one year continuing in their walk with the Lord. I hope you can see the definite need for a revival in the church. Let’s pray, Bend the Church, save the world!”

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JULY 7, 2013

Since we long for a true revival, let the cry of our hearts be the same as the Psalmist’s! “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved… Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80:7, 18b-19) Our only hope is a fresh work of God in our lives, our church, and our community.

 

The Bible teaches us that God is everywhere. In Psalm 139, David asks and answers several questions that are each similar in essence, “Where can I flee from Your presence?” The repeated answer is that God is anywhere David would go. You and I cannot go anywhere that we can escape His essential presence because He is omnipresent. Yet it is possible to experience God’s presence in different measures. When we experience His presence with great awareness, it is called His manifest presence. You probably understand that the majority of people do not live in the manifest presence of God even though His essential presence is wherever they are.

 

Manley Beasley once wrote, “The presence of God (i.e. His manifest presence) is hard to define, but His absence is easy to detect.” This has been attested to repeatedly through words like “God was really with us in church today.” What is meant by those words is that His essential presence was actually experienced by the people through His manifest presence. God allows us to have an experience of His living reality. This is the reality that Isaiah expressed by writing, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Is. 55:6) Obviously Isaiah was communicating that there are “special times” when we can actually experience God’s manifest presence.

 

One definition of revival is “God in the midst of His people.” Again, this is an expression concerning the manifest presence rather than God’s essential presence that is everywhere all the time. A. W. Tozer wrote, “The presence of God (i.e. His manifest presence) is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence.”

 

Let’s set our hearts on seeking the Lord’s presence!

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 30, 2013

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:1-3). A. W. Tozer wrote, “To penetrate, to push…into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.” Each of us should gather in this place with this purpose, and when we do, we will experience His powerful presence personally as well as corporately.

 

We are told to “prepare the way of the Lord” by the prophet, Isaiah. (Isaiah 40:3-5) The real and manifest Presence can actually be prepared for. We can open the way for God to reveal His glory in our lives and in the world around us. Last week, a command was presented to remove “mountains” and “high places” in order to remove obstacles between us and the Lord’s glory. Roadblocks caused by pride and self-centeredness must be eliminated so the “way of the Lord” can be prepared properly.

 

Today, we come to the final instruction for His highway’s preparation. Isaiah declared, “The crooked places shall be made straight.” (40:4b) Deception and dishonesty, error and confusion, cynicism and hypocrisy must be exposed. Probably the most common accusation against the church is that it is filled with hypocrites. It seems that unbelievers do agree with God on this one point. God hates hypocrisy as well. God loves honesty and truthfulness in the lives of His people. Even God will withdraw His presence from hypocritical worshipers. If we are going to straighten out the crooked places, we must align ourselves with the truth and righteousness revealed in God’s Word, the Bible. When we have our hearts and lives lined up with God’s Word, we create a “highway of holiness” for our God to enter upon.

 

Let’s build God a super-highway into our lives and our congregation. Let’s build it with the expectation of His coming in a manner that will reveal His glory to all flesh.

 

Seeking a revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 23, 2013

Jehoshaphat prayed, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You….’If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in Your presence…and will cry out to You in our distress and You will hear and save us.’” (II Chronicles 20:6, 9) We will look to God for the deliverance and help we long for!

 

We are told to “prepare the way of the Lord” by the prophet, Isaiah. (Isaiah 40:3-5) The real and manifest Presence can actually be prepared for. We can open the way for God to reveal His glory in our lives and in the world around us. Last week, a command was presented to “fill the valleys,” and we were encouraged to fill in the gaps caused by complacency and worldliness. We want to make “the ground level” so that we can prepare an “easy” entrance for God into our lives.

 

Today, Isaiah’s words for us are “every mountain and hill will be brought low.” We must remove every barrier, roadblock, and hindrance that might be found in the “highway for our God.” We must humble ourselves and deal with every issue of pride that causes God to “resist” us. (See James 4:6 and I Peter 5:5.) We must admit to roadblocks that are born out of our pride. There may be bitterness, envy and greed that puff us up against God and others who live and worship with us. The idols of our “high places” such as power, money, and pleasure must be “torn down” through true repentance. We must follow Paul’s exhortation to “cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” (II Corinthians 10:5) We don’t want anything to hinder our experience of the manifest presence of God!

 

As God leads us individually and corporately, let’s be obedient so that we might build a super-highway for the Lord to come into our fellowship.

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

 

 

SUNDAY- JUNE 16, 2013

FATHER’S DAY

We come before our God and cry out, “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Psalm 85:4-6).Our hope can be found only in the God of our salvation!

 

 In Isaiah 40:3, the prophet encourages us to “prepare the way of the Lord” by building “a highway for our God.” It is possible for us, Christians, to work together and actually prepare for the presence and power of God to be manifested in our lives, homes, churches, communities and nation. We can build a spiritual highway to open the way for God to reveal Himself to us in an extraordinary manner. Isaiah goes on to record at least three principles we can practice in order to build this super spiritual highway.

 

The first one is stated in the words, “Every valley shall be exalted.” (See verse 4.) The Amplified Bible records, “Every valley shall be lifted up and filled up.”  In the New Living Translation it is expressed as a command, “Fill the valleys!” We can understand the process that these words convey to us. We have seen roadways built over “valleys” and watched as either bridges or culverts lifted up the road bed to the height of both sides of the low ground. The “gaps,” gullies and ravines must be filled in.

 

The spiritual application might reveal some “low spots” in our own spiritual lives. There are possibly some “gaps” caused by complacency and misplaced priorities. We must “fill these in” if we want God to come into our lives in a special way. We need to develop a spiritual hunger and spend more time seeking His face in prayer. We need to spend time reading His Word, the Bible, and then waiting with open ears to hear what His Spirit wants to say to us. Unfortunately there are many, many “valleys” in our personal and corporate lives and God is announcing His desire to come to us and to reveal His glory among the nations. Let’s fill up the gullies so His highway to make level!

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

   

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 9, 2013

We must seek God with great humility. We cannot approach God with self-centered pride and pretentious religion. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). God will give grace to the humble, but He will also actively resist the proud!

 

Many of us believe that only a clear revelation of God to our culture can make the necessary impact to bring about transformation. We know that the “problems” of our culture cannot be “fixed” by human ingenuity and the limited strength of man. The only hope is that God will “reveal” Himself and “visit” us with grace and power. We have hope that this can happen because of the Word of the Lord that was spoken through Isaiah: “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:5). God has shown Himself to many individual believers throughout our history, but the need is for all flesh to see Him in His glory. During periods of revival, churches, communities and cultures have been transformed by the revelation of God’s glory to all flesh. Sometimes these times of visitation have been called an awakening or an out-pouring of God’s Spirit. We don’t care what you choose to call it; we only care that we will begin to seek another time when God is made known in real ways to a large number of people, believers and unbelievers alike.

 

In the Isaiah passage (Chapter 40), there is a condition that God gives in order for Him to reveal His glory. He said, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth, then…” God’s glory will be revealed. (Isaiah 40:3, 4) We must “prepare the way of the Lord.” We can learn about many activities that are a part of this preparation, but we must first realize that we have a responsibility to get things in order. We must develop a great hunger, a burning desire for another great awakening. When it starts in our hearts, we will be led to know the way to prepare. Do you believe that God can reveal Himself to all flesh? Do you want Him to?

 

We will be exploring how to prepare for several weeks. Don’t miss what God has in store for us all.

 

Seeking revival,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 2, 2013

In these days, may the cry of our hearts be the same as the Psalmist’s! “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved… Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80:7, 18b-19) Our real and lasting hope can only be found in God. Let’s pray like we believe that!

 

Here are just two definitions of revival. Stephen Olford wrote, “That strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessings.” Duncan Campbell stated, “Revival is a people saturated with God.”

 

Dale Schlafer wrote a summary about these definitions in Revival 101: Understanding How Christ Ignites His Church on page 12. “This is the outstanding feature of revival: Suddenly, without warning, God is present and people are brought face to face with God’s holiness and their sin. It seems that God is dealing with them alone so that whatever the spiritual state of the person, saved or unsaved, a mighty work of transformation occurs. The unsaved are brought to salvation (awakening), and the saved are brought to further holiness (revival).

     “But ‘preeminently, all true revival is about God bringing glory back to His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit through His church. …Yes, biblical revival is supremely Son-centered- it is utterly Christ dominated….We can only think rightly about revival when we think rightly about Christ’s place in revival’ (An Urgent Appeal, p. 19).

     “These definitions have a common thread running through them: God among people. He brings salvation to the lost, and He restores a love and passion for Jesus Christ.”

 

We are seeking a manifestation of God’s presence in our fellowship. We long for God to show up! Manley Beasley said, “The presence of God is hard to define, but His absence is easy to detect.”

 

Praying for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – MAY 26, 2013

In these days, may the cry of our hearts be the same as the Psalmist’s! “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved… Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (Psalm 80:7, 18b-19) Our real and lasting hope can only be found in God. Let’s pray like we believe that!

 

Byron Paulus shared the following in the May issue of Ignite, a report from Life Action Ministries.

 

“Almost four decades ago, historian J. Edwin Orr asked a conference of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and workers to specify the greatest need of the times. One said, ‘Surely the Great Commission to evangelize those who have never heard.’ Another insisted, ‘Sunday School. If we lose the coming generation, we have lost everything.’

“Another replied, ‘The training of the ministry.’ Yet another said, ‘Stewardship. The Lord’s work must have money.’ Another proposed, ‘Combating drug addiction and crime.’ And on and on the possible solutions went.

“Dr. Orr asked them, ‘Would tackling any one of these problems solve the others? Would promoting proper stewardship solve the problems of drug addiction? Would filling Sunday Schools automatically recruit missionaries? Is there anything that would make an impact on all the problems at once? THEY THOUGHT NOT.

“’Yes, there is!’ Orr exclaimed, ‘Revival, according to the records,

          Fills the churches,

              Crowds the Sunday Schools,

                  Raises up evangelists,

                        Calls pastors,

                            Recruits missionaries,

                                    Brings in funds,

                                          Reunites families,

                                                Delivers from addiction!’

“The same is true today. Every problem we face right now in our country has a spiritual solution. Spiritual awakening is the one thing that will produce change at every level of our society: political, economic, moral, educational, and social. This is the reason why revival is the most critical need of our time.”

 

Praying for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

MOTHER’S DAY

SUNDAY – MAY 12, 2013

We gather to celebrate the promise of God that He would make us His family. “Even to them I will give in My house and within my walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:5) Let’s welcome our brothers and sisters in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

One of the specific and important purposes of a family is to teach one another how to love with the love of God. The family is designed to remove selfishness from the heart and to direct it in love toward others. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, may we be reminded of God’s unselfish love He has for each of us, and may we be moved to truly love one another.

George F. Thomas wrote how romantic love between two people could be in danger of self-centeredness, and marriage could become “egoisme a deux,” which simply means egotism of two. “On the other hand, with the coming of children, husband and wife may be both drawn out of themselves into the widening interests of the family. They are called upon to subordinate their private desires to the interests of their children and even make sacrifices for them.

“In the process, their love for one another is not lost; it is purified and deepened. Moreover, as members of the larger community, parents are expected to advise and encourage their children in the process of adjusting themselves to the demands of the group. . . .Thus, from the time they decide to marry to the end of their lives they are led by the immanent logic of love step by step towards moral and spiritual maturity.”

God has designed the home to be the nursery, the laboratory where true love is birthed and nurtured to become an expression of His own love to this world.

I thank God for our homes,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 28, 2013

“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.”

Psalm 145:1

This past month as we have been talking about family discipleship, specifically the discipling of children, it is possible that two groups may have felt left out: those who don’t have parents to disciple them and those who don’t have children at home to be discipled. This bulletin insert is for you.

When Paul writes his final letter to Timothy, he reminds him of the faith that he received from his grandmother Lois and from his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). You see, Timothy’s father was a Greek and apparently did not disciple Timothy in the ways of God. So his grandmother stepped up to help his mother in the process.

I believe there will many people in heaven because of grandparents. I have heard many testimonies such as this, “I was not raised in a Christian family, but my grandparents took me to church every week. When I heard about Jesus, I got saved.” I am very thankful for the grandparents in our church who will do whatever they can to bring their grandchildren to church, AWANA, and youth!

I am also very thankful for those faithful, sacrificial volunteers who help with Sunday School, AWANA, youth, CEF, Bible Released Time, and CIA. There are so many children in our community who are hurting and need to know and experience Jesus’ love, and by God’s grace they can come to this place and meet an adult who loves Jesus and who loves them, who will take the time to teach them from the Bible and to pray with them.

The Bible clearly teaches that parents are the primary people responsible for discipling their children, but often they don’t. We want to give a shout out to all those who have stepped up to be surrogate spiritual parents for those who need them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a wonderful day it will be when we get to heaven and are thrilled and humbled by those children who have made it because we loved Jesus and we loved them!

Let’s keep pressing on in the work God has called us to do!

Your brother,

Aaron

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 21, 2013

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:56-57

 

In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, He prays these chilling words, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (v. 18) God has this habit of sending His children into the dark, abusive world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. He sent His eldest Son (Jesus) into the world, and now He sends His younger children (us) into the world, too. As we talk about training our children, one vital area of that training is teaching and showing them how to share the Gospel.

Greg Stier, the founder and leader of Dare-2-Share Ministries, tells about an awkward moment he had with his son in the grocery store. Right in the middle of an aisle on a busy shopping day, a woman mentioned to them that her dog just died. As Greg said, “I’m sorry,” and tried to get away, his five-year-old son piped up, “Lady, don’t cry. Your dog is in doggie heaven and you will see him again.” As people tried to scoot around them and pretended not to listen to this preacher kid, he charged right on, “Lady, you can go to heaven too if you just believe in Jesus.” Greg blushed because usually his gospel presentations have a little more of a transition than “you can see your dog someday in doggie heaven.” But his son wasn’t aware of the awkwardness and started through the “Gospel Hand,” a method of sharing the gospel he had learned in Sunday School: God loves me, I have sinned, Christ died for me, if I believe, I will go to heaven.

At this point the lady began to sob and practically screamed, “It’s not just my dog! I lost my son to cancer awhile ago! I am so mad at God right now!” With those words, Greg forgot about trying to hurry out of the store and the people maneuvering their carts around them. He focused in and started sharing the Gospel. When it was over, the lady collapsed into his arms and he prayed for her. It was a divine appointment.

Though it might have taken Greg a little while to get tuned in on that occasion, he had modeled a life of evangelism to his son, teaching and training him both at home, at church, and every where they went. His son was ready to be used by God.

Will our children be ready?

Your brother,

Aaron

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 14, 2013

 “I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O Lord, I will sing praises….I will walk within my house with a perfect heart….He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, that I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.” (Psalm 101:1, 2a, 7-8) Let’s commit ourselves to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

The biblical record makes it very clear that children are to be submissive to their parents’ instructions. The honor to parents that is required by the Fifth Commandment is best displayed by obedience. The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs are filled with admonitions to pay attention to and do what your parents tell you. Verses 8 and 9 of Chapter 1 record a typical example of this admonition: “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains (i.e. jewelry) about your neck.”

Solomon’s proverbs begin in Chapter 10, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.” Parents are best satisfied when children walk in the wisdom that God gives us. The Apostle John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (III John 4) We all must remember, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

Here are some questions for parents: “Do you want your children to be saved?” “Do you want your children to go to heaven and share eternal life with you?” I hope your answer to both questions is “yes.” Well if it is, than you must ask yourself whether or not you’re saved. The likelihood that your children will walk in wisdom and the light of salvation is much, much greater if you are also saved and walking with the Lord. The chances that they will be saved are drastically diminished if you are not saved also. Please, please, make the salvation and wisdom of your family the top priority of your life!

Gratefully saved,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 7, 2013

 “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1, 2). The Lord is worthy of our praise, and it is fitting that you and I should be the ones to declare it. Let’s do it!

All of us understand what it means to “trust” something or someone in our lives. We have learned to “trust” the brakes will work on our vehicle as we go down a mountain. We have learned to “trust” the chair to hold our weight when we sit down.  We have been forced to “trust” the good judgment of others such as doctors, mechanics and even other drivers on the highway. In essence, we can’t live very well without having some form of “trust.”

The Bible teaches us that “trusting” God is the most important confidence that we can experience. Jesus used much of His teaching to encourage us to “trust” the Heavenly Father. He summarized one important lesson on faith by saying, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) God wants us to trust Him to “take care of us” in this life and the one to come.

A small boy walking with his grandfather was gently being tested by the elderly man. “How far are we from home?” asked the grandfather. “I don’t know,” the child answered. “Well, where are you?” “I don’t know.” “Looks to me like you are lost. Doesn’t that worry you?” “No, Grandpa,” the boy responded, “I can’t be lost. I’m with you.” Grandpa chuckled and smiled. Then he gently patted the boy on the head.

Like the boy who felt safe with his grandfather, we are not spiritually lost when we are with God, for God knows the way. We can “trust” Him with our whole life!

A trusting son,

Pastor Doug

SUNDAY, March 31, 2013

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

                                                Col. 3:1

Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Let us exalt His name together!

                 Today is a wonderful day because more than any other day we celebrate the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead! But did you know that we actually celebrate that every Sunday? When the Bible talks about the Sabbath, it is actually talking about Saturday. The Jews met in the synagogue and in the Temple to do their “church” on Saturday. But an event so powerful that it could change over a thousand years of tradition happened: Jesus rose from the dead! And so the early Christians started to also meet on Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ life!

                But we shouldn’t celebrate the Resurrection just on Easter, or even just every Sunday. It is to be celebrated every moment of every day. Consider this question: what does it mean to you that Jesus is alive?

                There are lots of possible answers, but for Hudson Taylor (the famous missionary to China) it meant holiness. His life was changed when he heard about a passage from a book called “Christ Is All,” written by Henry Law. Mr. Law said, “The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete.”

                This past year I remember a guy in the youth group telling me, “You know, it’s silly that we put so much stock in having an accountability partner. Why do we care more about what another person thinks about us than about what God (who sees us constantly and knows our thoughts constantly) thinks about us?”

                May we live each day with the realization that Jesus is alive and is not only watching us at every moment, but living inside us through everything we choose to do.

 

Your brother,

Aaron

 

PALM SUNDAY – March 24, 2013

We come here today with a great hope in what our God has planned for this world. “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him shall praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:26-28) Let’s give honor and blessing to our great King!

 

This week, millions of Christians around the world will remember the events of Holy or Passion Week. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, there are several important and absolutely incredible actions of our Lord Jesus Christ that have impacted the entire scope of the Christian faith. E. Stanley Jones was in Jerusalem visiting and meditating in some of the places where those events happened. He was attempting to enter into a deeper understanding and experience of the Lord’s Passion. He was reading Matthew 26:46 under an olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. The following is what he learned.

 

     “….About midnight I reread the account of Gethsemane’s agony. But when I came to the last line, I nearly jumped to my feet: ‘Up, let us go forward’ (Matthew 26:46 NEB). Forward to what? To the cross?

     “So the meaning of Gethsemane dawned on me anew. It was not the prostrate form and the bloody drops of sweat and the asking if the cup should pass; no, it was this last line: ‘Up, let us go forward’ –going to meet whatever comes. Gethsemane was triumph, not tears. He at the end was perpendicular, not prostrate. His head was up, and his face set to meet and meet victoriously whatever comes.

     “As I have often said, he took the worst thing that could happen to him -the cross- and turned it into the best thing that could happen to the world- redemption. If you can take the worst and turn it into the best, you know how to live, if not on account of, then always in spite of. He was Lord of his own present- at Gethsemane and at Calvary. On the cross he was not resigned, he was regal. He dispensed forgiveness to his enemies, opened the gates of Paradise to a dying thief, cried, ‘It is finished,’ not ‘I am finished’- the thing I came to do, redeem mankind- ‘it is finished.’ He was Lord even when he was most victim.”

I worship the great King,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – March 17, 2013

“Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Psalm 28:6-7). Certainly God has helped each one of us this week, let’s lift our voices in grateful praise!

We are over halfway through the season of Lent. That means that we are closer to Easter and all the signs of springtime that come along with it. Many of us have been preparing for the celebration of Easter by spending extra time in prayer. It has been a time of seeking God’s presence and asking that His work be accomplished in our personal lives and in our community at large. Traditionally, Lent has been a time for Christians to look at themselves and eliminate things from their lives that might stand between them and God. It has been a common exercise for individual Christians to “give up” food items like ham or chocolate. Unfortunately this has even led to a light-hearted attitude, and a “poking fun” at such practices with the glib saying, “Oh, I gave it up for Lent.” Seeking God and practicing self-denial is a very serious exercise.

Many people are drawn to the church and God because they are lacking something or at least they feel their lives are empty. Often in these cases, the people begin to hunger for the “blessing” that God can give more than they hunger for God Himself. A. W. Tozer calls this “seeking for God and.” He goes on to say that one will never be truly satisfied until they eliminate the and. Perhaps Lent should help us to rid our hearts of those “things” or “blessings” that compete with the Lord in our own hearts. Maybe we should “give up” the and’s this season.

Hungry and thirsty for God,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – March 10, 2013

Certainly we experience personal benefits when we worship our God, but our genuine worship will reach far beyond ourselves. We want our worship to have a far-reaching impact. “I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:9-10). Let our praises sound forth to all the world!

Many of us have been spending more time in prayer than we normally do. We have been participating in the forty days of the Seek God for the City campaign which will take us up to Palm Sunday and the beginning of Passion Week. This season is traditionally called Lent and is generally a time for encouraging self-reflection and repentance, along with some sort of sacrificial self-discipline. It is good to examine ourselves, but we must not turn our eyes away from the Lord Jesus for too long.

The great revivalist, Charles Finney had a very disciplined prayer life and often spent entire days alone in prayer. He learned an important lesson as reported by writer, V. Raymond Edman. He wrote:

“In those early experiences of communion with God he (Finney) learned the mistake of looking into his own heart and examining his own feelings, as he and his neighbors were taught to do. By introspection he made no spiritual advance, but by turning his attention to the Lord Jesus Christ and letting the Spirit have His way, Finney found blessing, instruction and guidance so that he could say, ‘I found I could not live without enjoying the presence of God; and if at any time a cloud came over me, I could not rest, I could not study, I could not attend to anything with the least satisfaction or benefit, until the way was again cleared between my soul and God.’”

Let’s be sure that we are always “looking unto Jesus, the originator and perfecter of our faith.” Let’s be sure our eyes are fixed on Him!

He is my vision,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – March 3, 2013

“Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:1, 12, NASB) Let’s give honor and praise to the Savior and Lord of all!

There is an incredible and awesome amount of variety in nature. Whether we look at plant or animal life, we observe differences in shape, color and size. The oceans of this earth contain a large number of life forms that are seldom seen by most of the human population. Underwater photography has revealed thousands and thousands of forms of “sea life” that are stunningly beautiful. Is it possible to choose the “most beautiful” or our “favorite” one? Like a child going through a zoo for the first time, we can move from one interesting and fascinating creature to another and change our opinion of “our favorite” with each new discovery. God’s design in His creation is mind-boggling. He must be happy to watch us observe and ogle the wide variety that He created for His own and as well our delight.

How different God’s actions have been in the spiritual realm! While it is true that He is working to gather a wide “variety” of people into His family, yet He has chosen to provide only one way for individuals to be saved. Read carefully what John wrote about his vision of heaven: “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9, 10, NASB) There will be a group of people in heaven from all over the world. They will be a group of mixed colors, shapes and sizes. It will be a wonderfully beautiful group to behold, yet every single one of them will have been “purchased” by the blood of Jesus Christ. There will not be one single person in heaven who has not been “purchased” by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. There is no other way for people to get into heaven than through Jesus Christ.

There is only One Way!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – February 24, 2013

“Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of His name! Tell the world how glorious He is. Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds! Your enemies cringe before Your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship You; they will sing Your praises, shouting Your name in glorious songs.’” (Psalm 66:1-4, NLT) Certainly we all want to be a part of this global activity of declaring the praises of our great God!

Why do we exist as a congregation of Christian believers? What is the “paramount” purpose that we must give our attention to as a congregation? When we know the answer to this question, we will want to refocus our efforts to be sure that we are fulfilling our reason for existence.

In his book, the five smooth stones, Robertson McQuilkin provides a convincingly biblical argument that the answer is world-wide evangelism, world missions. He wrote:

“Is it too much to say the evangelistic purpose of the church is paramount? I trust in the chapters that follow we may discover this to be an accurate biblical assessment of priority. In summary, we hold that position because redemption is the theme of Scripture and the meaning of Christ’s incarnation. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, and then His strategy was to commission all His other sons and daughters to complete the task He began at Calvary. All the other purposes of the church will be accomplished so much better in heaven, but this one can be accomplished only on earth! Thus I conclude this must be the paramount purpose of the church-on-earth. But even for those who cannot accept such an evaluation, surely it must be one of the chief purposes of the church. It is very sad that few congregations treat it that way.” (Page 112)

I pray that our Lord will constantly remind us that NBC must be involved in “missions” if we are going to fulfill our purpose. God has a plan and it is our responsibility to find ourselves involved in His plan. I am very thankful that God has given us such privileges as we have had to be an active participant in His work of sharing the message of redemption with the world. It is a greater blessing to believe that He will use us more mightily in the future than in the days past.

Looking to the Master,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – February 17, 2013

We can find great delight in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father. “A single day in Your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than to live ‘the good life’ in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right. O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in You.” (Psalm 84:10-12, NLT) As we seek His Presence and worship Him, may His blessings fill each of our hearts.

Do you know that God loves you? Do you really understand and accept His love for you so that you experience that love in your life? In Ephesians 2:4, 5 we read, “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.” Earlier in the same epistle, we are told about “…the wonderful kindness He has poured out on us because we belong to His dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven.” (Eph. 1:6, 7) God wants each of us to know the love that He has for us.

Tony Dungy has attempted to explain why we might not know God’s love and acceptance. He wrote, “…We are continually bombarded with messages contrary to the message of grace. We are told to work harder, earn more, be thinner, look prettier, acquire more stuff, build bigger, be better, and on and on. Messages infused with the vocabulary of doing and earning and merit. Messages that say we have to accomplish this list of things before we can expect to be fully loved and fully accepted. Messages contrary to God’s empowering promise of grace.

“Here’s God’s message of grace: ’I love you!’

“Really. He says it to you and me. Every day, many times over. He says it to the person who society says is overweight, not very smart, not cool, not this, and not that. Bottom line? He says, ’No matter what others tell you, no matter if you don’t fit their idea of perfection, I love you.’ His grace is a promise He will never retract.”

Grateful to be loved,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – February 10, 2013

 There are instructions offered in the Word of God to those who desire to really worship God. “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’”(Psalm 70:4) Let’s give our attention to God and declare His glory in this place.

“Faith” is the first principle of living in the Kingdom of God. We must have faith to enter into the experience and reality of His kingdom because grace comes to us “through faith.” Jesus taught that great advances in the Kingdom happen when God’s children exercise “faith.” “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (see Hebrews 11:6), but “all things become possible to those who have faith” (see Mark 9:23).

Active, vital “faith” causes us to trust God in all experiences of our lives. Joseph Eliot wrote, ‘I find that while faith is steady nothing can disquiet me, and when faith totters nothing can establish me. If I ramble out among means and creatures, I am presently lost and can come to no end. But if I stay myself on God, and leave Him to work in His own way and time, I am at rest, and can lie down and sleep in a promise, though a thousand rise up against me.” This is what is meant by “living by faith.”

This living faith is expressed by continual prayer. If we believe God and are willing to trust ourselves to His work, then we will pray more deeply and more frequently. Again, Brother Eliot wrote, “Would men spend those hours they wear out in plots and devices in communion with God (i.e. in prayer), and leave all on Him by venturesome believing, they would have more peace and comfort.”

Lord, teach us to pray!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – February 3, 2013

We come to worship God in the manner that causes Him delight. “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart- these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:15-17). Let’s offer to God those things that please Him!

Several of our church leaders are using a daily devotional entitled Voices of the Faithful, Book 2. From the readings for the month of January, we are receiving great encouragement on the subject of prayer. I know that prayer is an important and indispensable part of God’s work in this world. We must continue to pray and pray with consistent fervency. At the end of the introduction, Kim P. Davis, the editor wrote, “Joe says, ’One of the great privileges of prayer is the ability to be a part of what God is doing. We may not know the people or the results of those prayers until we get to heaven, but what a glad day it will be when we meet them face-to-face.’

     “This month and, in fact, this year, God is calling you to a new journey of prayer for the nations, for missionaries, for lost people around you, and for yourself as you participate in kingdom work. He is giving you an opportunity to be part of what He is doing in our world today.”

I invite you to watch and listen for opportunities to join your brothers and sisters at NBC in the work of prayer. Two such opportunities will be to use the Lent booklet, Seek God for the City, and to join the Pastors’ Prayer Partners. Don’t miss out on the experience of seeing God answer in mighty ways!

Praying,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 27, 2013

Recently, our HX25 group finished a Bible study of Colossians 3:12-17. These verses written by the apostle Paul describe Christian virtues and attributes that we “as the elect of God” are to possess.

During the study, the question was asked, “What two things did people feel they needed in order to make one happy?” Everyone seemed to agree that in a world full of sin and corruption, riches and power would be the leading answers. However, in a devotional written for “Our Daily Bread,” David McCasland shared that studies by a number of psychologists showed it is not great riches that make people happy, but it is friends and forgiveness. Not the kind of response most would guess to be the answer to “What makes people happy?”

Then we began to look at Paul’s writing in Colossians 3:12-17. Paul had a different audience. He was writing to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae. He was writing to Christians. Remember Paul was probably a Primetimer (mid-60-years-of-age) when he wrote to the Colossae congregation from a Roman prison. Paul was reminding the brethren at Colossae how they were to act by “putting to death” their earthly nature, and taking on the new life that is available through Jesus Christ.

In verses 12 and 13, Paul reminded us that as a child of God we are to put on (or incorporate into our lives) virtues and attributes such as mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and long-suffering. We are also to forebear, forgive, and love one another. The apostle Paul knew what would make people truly happy. It is having a “quiver full” of friends and possessing the ability to forgive. David McCasland writes that “forgiveness is God’s command to us and is part of a life of love, peace, thankfulness and praise” (vv. 14-16).

So there you have it! As the elect of God, we are to develop and cultivate Christian virtues, develop friendships, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit and love of Christ, we are to forbear, be patient, and forgive one another. With the Lord’s help, we can do this.

Walt W. (Primetimer)

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 20, 2013

It is a good thing to gather with God’s people for the purpose of worship. There are other places a person could choose to be, but there are none better. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). Let’s rejoice in the goodness that we will discover in The Lord’s presence.

Christianity is meant to be a living, dynamic relationship with God. In fact, God always wanted people to worship Him and love Him in a personal, real and vital manner. God wants us to live and walk in the knowledge of His living presence in our lives. The unfortunate reality is that we are not always very good at keeping our relationships alive and fresh. Passionate actions directed by our love for God can easily become routine ritual. We are prone to practice much of our life out of habit rather than burning desire. When our faith falls into this pattern, we begin to practice religion more than experience living faith.

The people of God have frequently fallen into “religion” with which God is not pleased. Jesus quoted Isaiah’s indictment against Israel, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.’” (Matthew 15:7, 8) Years after Isaiah spoke those words, the prophet, Malachi, addressed the same issue when even the priesthood began to “serve God” just out of duty without any real passion. The charge was brought, “You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it.” (Malachi 1:13)

Oh, I pray that God will keep our hearts ablaze with zeal for His glory. I pray that our participation in “church” activities will be driven by our love for Him and our desire to see His glory fill this earth.

Drawing near with my heart,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 13, 2013

 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:1-4). When we do these things, we will be truly worshiping our great God!

What is your perspective? Some people keep looking back and remembering what they think were better days. When the remnant of Israel returned from the captivity, they began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Some looked back and declared that the “new” Temple was not as wonderful as the former one. Then the Lord changed their perspective. “’The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace’ declares the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:9) J. Vernon McGee wrote the following commentary on this passage of Scripture.

“Oh, that you and I might see our present circumstances in that same way! We need to look at them in the light of eternity and to look at them in light of God’s purpose for us. If God be for us, who can be against us? Hallelujah! Let’s not be overcome nor overwhelmed by the circumstances of the moment.

“I think of that preacher in Scotland who turned in his resignation at the end of the year. When the elders asked him why, he said, ‘Because we haven’t had any conversions this year except wee Bobbie Moffat.’ Well, my friend, that discouraged preacher couldn’t see that ‘wee Bobbie Moffat’ would become Robert Moffat, the great missionary to Africa, who probably did as much if not more than David Livingstone in opening Africa to Christian missions. That year which the preacher considered a failure, was probably the greatest year of his ministry. All of us need to see things in light of God’s plan and purpose for our lives.”

May the Lord keep us all looking in the right direction throughout this new year!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 6, 2013

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:1-4). When we do these things, we will be truly worshiping our great God!

What is your perspective? Some people keep looking back and remembering what they think were better days. When the remnant of Israel returned from the captivity, they began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Some looked back and declared that the “new” Temple was not as wonderful as the former one. Then the Lord changed their perspective. “’The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace’ declares the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:9) J. Vernon McGee wrote the following commentary on this passage of Scripture.

“Oh, that you and I might see our present circumstances in that same way! We need to look at them in the light of eternity and to look at them in light of God’s purpose for us. If God be for us, who can be against us? Hallelujah! Let’s not be overcome nor overwhelmed by the circumstances of the moment.

“I think of that preacher in Scotland who turned in his resignation at the end of the year. When the elders asked him why, he said, ‘Because we haven’t had any conversions this year except wee Bobbie Moffat.’ Well, my friend, that discouraged preacher couldn’t see that ‘wee Bobbie Moffat’ would become Robert Moffat, the great missionary to Africa, who probably did as much if not more than David Livingstone in opening Africa to Christian missions. That year which the preacher considered a failure, was probably the greatest year of his ministry. All of us need to see things in light of God’s plan and purpose for our lives.”

May the Lord keep us all looking in the right direction throughout this new year!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – DECEMBER 30, 2012

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10) Let’s prepare for the coming of the King!

A very clear and often-repeated promise of Jesus Christ is that He is going to return to the earth some day soon. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man,” but made it very clear that He knew that The “Son of Man” and the “King” is one and the same person. (See Matthew 25:31-34.) He repeated the instruction that we must be “busy” until He returns. He said, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44) He also said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) Jesus was urging His followers to be busy in order to accomplish as much of the work He has assigned us to do before His return.

The last two paragraphs from Tim Wildmon’s January editorial in the afaJournal should encourage us in the same way. He wrote: “But we, God’s people who love our country, must not give up! Ever! Even when we lose political races and we get depressed, we must not quit fighting for goodness; championing righteousness, including life, marriage and family; and defending freedom, the Constitution and the free enterprise system. Too many people- from our Founding Fathers to today’s conservative leaders- have sacrificed too much for us to give up. Besides, we serve a great and mighty God who can do miracles! We have had a First Great Awakening and a Second Great Awakening. We can have a Third Great Awakening!

“Like you, I am troubled for our country, but as a believer in Jesus Christ, I am not in despair. Pray. Work. Love. Educate. Encourage. Stand. Witness. Share. Proclaim. Vote.”

Let’s be about our Father’s business! Jesus is coming back to the earth someday soon!

I want to be ready,

Pastor Doug

 

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT

DECEMBER 23, 2012

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10

The wonderful passage recorded in Philippians 2:8-11 reveals to us the importance of the complete gospel story. It begins with The Son of God “coming in the likeness of men” and continues with His obedience “to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” The record ends with God having “exalted Him and given Him a name above every name.” Because of His exaltation, one day every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” As we worship the One who appeared in the manger, we must be sure that we are looking at Him in the proper manner.

Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote, “The Church that still gathers around the manger can only be weak and misty-eyed, mistaking sentimentality for the power of the Holy Spirit.

     “As there is now no babe in the manger at Bethlehem so there is no man on the cross at Jerusalem. To worship the babe in the manger or the man on the cross is to reverse the redemptive processes of God and turn the clock back on His eternal purposes. Let the Church place its major emphasis upon the cross and there can be only pessimism, gloom and fruitless remorse. Let a sick man die hugging a crucifix and what have we there? Two dead men in a bed, neither of which can help the other.

     “The glory of the Christian faith is that the Christ who died for our sins rose again for our justification. We should joyfully remember His birth and gratefully muse on His dying, but the crown of all our hopes is with Him at the Father’s right hand.”

     “Should the Church shift her emphasis from the weakness of the manger and the death of the cross to the life and power of the enthroned Christ, perhaps she might recapture her lost glory. It is worth a try.” (Taken from The Warfare of the Spirit.)

Let’s remember that Jesus Christ is the King of Glory who will return in the fullness of His power and majesty. Are we ready?

I worship and praise the King of Glory,

Pastor Doug

 

THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT

DECEMBER 16, 2012

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10

Seldom do people think about the Cross of Christ during this time of year. It is the time that we focus on celebrating His advent, His coming into this world in the form of flesh. There is no doubt that the Incarnation, the event of God appearing in flesh in the form of a man, was an absolutely necessary act of God on our behalf. We must remember, however, that the Incarnation in itself was not sufficient for our salvation. God needed to do more if He was going to save mankind. God needed to provide a way for our sin to be dealt with and He could have done one of two things. He could have come to destroy us and put away sin that way, or He could have come to provide a payment covering our sin in order to take sin from us. Let’s rejoice that He chose the second way. God chose not only to come into the world in the form of a human being, He also chose to pay for our sin through the death on the Cross.

The Cross was planned from the beginning and was already present in the mind and heart of God in the Incarnation. He knew what manner of death was ahead for the Infant, the only begotten Son lying in the manger. A. Simpson wrote: “He was always overshadowed by the cross which at last He bore on Calvary. His life was a life of humiliation and suffering from the manger to the tomb.

     “His birth was under a shadow of dishonor and shame. The shadow that fell upon the virgin mother could not be removed from her child, and even to this day only faith in a supernatural incarnation can explain away that reproach.”

Let’s remember that the Jesus Christ came into this world to go to the Cross. The Son of God appeared to “take away the sin of the world!”

I thank Him for the Cross,

Pastor Doug

 

SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

DECEMBER 9, 2012

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10

During this Advent season, I want to call people’s attention to the true identity of the One born in the stable in Bethlehem. While the sacred scenes of that stable birth we have created in our minds and portrayed in our art are very idyllic, there was something awesome and terrible that was taking place. Let’s remember that it was God, the Holy One of Israel that was invading this earth. Though He did set aside some of His glory when He came in the form of the Babe, He did not lay aside His holiness nor His righteousness. God was not compromising His character during His entrance into the human race. The surroundings were very humble and even base (after all animals and shepherds tended to stink a bit), but there was nothing profane about His incarnation. He was not born in sin! He was just as pure in the manger, as He was in heaven. Believe it or not, the entrance of One so clean into a world of uncleanness can tend to be a bit challenging, even irritating to those who did not share His same purity. It is not easy for sinners to receive Someone so morally superior! His entrance might not have been as peaceful in the heavenly places, in the spiritual realm as our pictures portray.

There has been conflict between good (God) and evil (the Devil) since the beginning of time. The Enemy of God (and us) was certainly very agitated when that Babe was born. If we could have seen the invisible realm surrounding that little town of Bethlehem, we would have seen violent activity. Certainly that same kind of activity is happening during this very season. The Devil is still trying to disrupt God’s work of salvation in the lives of mankind. The good news is that He will not be able to prevent God from entering our lives today any more than he was able to do it in Bethlehem. Hallelujah!

Let’s pray and set our hearts on making this Advent a very special time of spiritual victory for all of us. We also want it to be a time when others will be saved and join us in receiving and celebrating the appearing of God in our lives!

With my eyes wide open,

Pastor Doug

 

FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT

DECEMBER 2, 2012

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10

Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of the Messiah. It is a time to look back and remember all the prophecies that needed to be fulfilled to “prepare the way” for the King to first appear on the earth. The events that surrounded the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem were not coincidental happenings, they were planned and predicted occurrences. God wanted to declare beyond doubt that the Baby in the town of Bethlehem was indeed His Son sent to be the Savior of the world. The process of making Jesus’ identity known to us continued throughout His lifetime and even up to this present time. During this Advent season, we want to consider carefully the indicators that prove Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah sent to save the world.

Advent is also a time to think about the Second Coming of Jesus. The Bible reveals that the Messiah will return to the earth to ultimately establish His kingdom. Much of the work of the King has been accomplished, yet there is more that remains unfinished. Jesus Christ must return to the earth to finish the work that He began when He appeared the first time among mankind. During this Advent season, we want to remember that Jesus Christ is coming again! We want to prepare for His second appearing!

Let’s pray and set our hearts on making the Advent a very special time of spiritual preparation for all of us. We also want it to be a time when others will be saved and join us in waiting and looking for that glorious appearing of the Son of God.

Getting ready,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 25, 2012

We are indebted to the God who has made us and blessed us on our way; therefore we should heed the directions of the Psalmist. “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:1-3).

A common theme that surrounds the major holidays of our year is an attempt to encourage folks to maintain the spirit of the holiday throughout the year. Whether it is Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving, there are practices and attitudes that occur during the specific season which would be beneficial at all times. Since this is Thanksgiving weekend, it is gratitude that should be encouraged in our lives throughout the entire year.

     “It is Thanksgiving time again and those of us who have the traditional family dinner to cook are already elbow deep in preparations for the day. Where there is no family to cook for, there will be too much loneliness to be thankful, and those of us who are in the thick of excitement will be too busy to be thankful. Most of us have had for too long to know the depth of gratitude the Pilgrims felt on the first Thanksgiving Day.

     “There was a time in America when an extra loaf of bread was cause for gratitude. There are millions today who have very little reason to give thanks- unless one can be thankful for starvation.

     “Must we always need desperately before we can know how to feel gratitude for simple blessings? What does it mean to ‘in everything give thanks’? There is so little time for it on the one day we set aside for Thanksgiving.

     “I wonder if perhaps we could bake a little thanksgiving into our pies and cakes and fold a little thanksgiving into our beds when we make them up and iron some into our children’s clothes. We could express a little thanks in our testimonies and give a little of it in our offerings and make it a year-round project.”

Those words were written by Catherine D. Cattell and will hopefully encourage us to discover a daily, continual attitude of gratitude.

I’m forever grateful,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 18, 2012

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4, 5). This is the attitude with which we should “come to church” every week!

I know that living life as a Christian is the best possible way to live, but I also know that it can be difficult and sometimes complicated trying to convince unbelievers of this truth. This is the reason that I have often said, “I wish it could be put into a pill.” While reading my devotions, the following excerpt from A. W. Tozer was in the material. Mr. Tozer expressed some great truths very well.

     “I hear people testify that they give their tithe because God makes their nine-tenths go farther than the ten-tenths. That is not spirituality; that is just plain business. I insist that it is a dangerous thing to associate the working of God with our prosperity and success down here. I cannot promise that if you will follow the Lord you will soon experience financial prosperity, because that is not what He promised His disciples. Down through the years, following the Lord meant that we count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

     “’And don’t some Christians prosper?’ you ask.

     “We have many examples of Christian men whom God has been able to trust with unusual prosperity and, as they continue to follow the Lord, they give most of it back to Him. But they haven’t made Christianity just a technique of getting things.

     “I hear people testify about their search for the deeper Christian life, and it sounds as though they would like to be able to get it in pill form. It seems that it would have been much more convenient for them if God had arranged religion so they could take it like a pill with a glass of water. They buy books, hoping to get their religion by prescription. But there isn’t any such thing. There is a cross. There is a gallows. There is a man with bleeding stripes on His back. There is an apostle with no property, with a tradition of loneliness and weariness and rejection and glory- but there are no pills!”

I pray that we will pursue the “deeper life” found only in total surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. It will cost us to follow Him!

Taking up my cross,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 11, 2012

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Psalm 34:1-3)

Today is a day set aside to remember all who have served our country as a member of the Armed Services. As a nation, we have called today Veterans’ Day. We do appreciate and thank everyone one who has served in order to make our way of life safe and secure. As Abraham Lincoln stated in Gettysburg, “it is for us, the living, to be dedicated” to the same cause of liberty and freedom. The best way that we can do that as Christian citizens is to pray. Below are some examples of prayers offered by others who are participating in OneCry.

I pray that America will once again remember God. We have truly forgotten Him, and His Word reminds us over and over to remember Him and His ways, which are higher than our ways. I pray that righteousness would once again prevail in the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls, and I particularly pray that someone will begin to stand for righteousness among our government leaders and shine the light of truth on their hearts and minds. I praise You, Father, for Your faithfulness to us when I and so many have failed You in our daily walk. Thank You for Your love; thank You for being God who is mightier and greater than any others who claim to be gods. They cannot begin to compare to You, Lord! I praise You, Father! – Gerard and Sharon

I pray that God will raise up godly men and women to walk beside our younger generation in a way that will create in them a desire to seek the One these people follow. Change in America can begin in one heart at a time. We need a revival in this country, and it can begin in me. – Sandy

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come to the USA; Thy will be done on earth and in our personal lives as it is in heaven. That we, O Lord, may individually have a personal revival so we can bring about light to this nation. Help us, Lord! We need You, O Lord … not a new economic plan. Our nation needs the plan of Your salvation. I ask all this through Christ our Lord. – Monica

Father, my cry is for this country, which has been and still is a beacon in the world, a light to those living in unbelief. We the people of this country have sinned against You. Search Your people, O LORD, and know our hearts. Test us and know our wicked ways. See if there be any anxious thoughts, and lead us in the way everlasting. Renew Your people, and then draw to Your Son all those who do not know You. Open the eyes of the blind; dig up the fallow ground to receive the seed of Your Word. You wish none to perish, but You will punish all unrighteousness. Grant us all repentance, I ask. – Rebecca

 Let’s keep praying!

Pastor Doug

SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 4, 2012

We worship because we know God. We worship because we trust God above all others. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call” (Psalm 20:7-9).

Revival will not only bring us an experience of being closer to God, but it will also make us more like Him. We have been praying and as revival happens we will continue to pray even more fervently. When we pray we become most godlike. We read from Wesley Duewel’s Mighty Prevailing Prayer.

     “Our prayer travail, prayer groaning, and prayer agony can never compare with that of our Savior, but we have not followed Christ very closely or very far if we do not know in our own prayer experience times of deep prayer burden, prayer wrestling, and even perhaps prayer agony. Said Martin Luther, ‘I question if any believer can have the burden of souls upon him- a passion for souls- and not agonize in prayer.’

     “Charles Finney states, ‘Doubtless one great reason why God requires the exercise of this agonizing prayer is that it forms such a bond of union between Christ and the church. It creates such a sympathy between them. It is as if Christ comes and pours the overflowings of His own benevolent heart into His people, and leads them to sympathize and cooperate with Him as they never do in any other way.’

     “Yes, perhaps you are never more Christlike than when you are prevailing in prayer wrestling and prayer agony. Perhaps nothing endears you more to His heart than when you thus share His love, compassion, and burden for the world He longs so infinitely to save.” (pp. 225, 226)

 As we experience revival, our prayer life will grow more wonderful and exciting!

Your prayer partner,

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 28, 2012

Worship is our response to God’s revelation to us. When He displays His nature and character, it is impossible to ignore Him. The cry of the Psalmist was “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Ps. 85:6, 7). It is certain that a revelation of His goodness and salvation will excite us to praise Him.

Many of us are seeking an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to revive us in the work of God. We have been praying that God will “do a work” within us and through us. As we continue praying, we might experience what has been called a “prayer burden.” Consider what Wesley L. Duewel has written about this burden in his book, Mighty Prevailing Prayer.

     “We have discussed asking, seeking, knocking, and fasting. Now we consider the fifth level of prevailing prayer: interceding with a prayer burden. This level of intensity is marked by urgency, commitment to the priority of the need, and holy determination to pray until God answers. It is not only knocking at heaven’s gate but prevailing in the Spirit.

     “You prevail with prayer burden only by the enablement of the Holy Spirit. He summons you to prayer for the need, guides you in your praying, and fills you with holy desire so intense that it becomes not only a deep concern but a consuming spiritual passion to prevail with God and over Satan.

     “Prayer burden begins as an inner impression that you should pray for a known or unknown need. It is a gracious work of the Holy Spirit applying spiritual pressure upon your heart. It is God’s way to call you to intercession at a time when your prayer is needed by God who has ordained to work through the intercession of His children. It is needed and indeed demanded by a situation that cries for God’s answer. The burden is the Spirit’s personal call to you to intercede.” (pp. 194-195.)

Let’s press on in prayer!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 21, 2012

Warm greetings and Christian love are extended to each person who has come to share this time of worship. We are trusting God that He will help each of us to experience the warmth of Christian fellowship, the inspiration of genuine worship, and the peace that comes from an awareness of His presence.

Revival is a time in which we humble ourselves before our God and Savior. We want to view ourselves honestly in the light of His Word and repent whenever it is necessary for us to keep ourselves in His way. We want to be very sensitive to those attitudes and characteristics that come from our flesh and not from His Spirit within us. We want to continually mortify our flesh and surrender our lives to Him in order to bear the fruit of His Spirit in all that we do. We want to remember “…all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust off the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world” (I John 2:16).

Samuel Logan Brengle was a wonderful servant of the Lord who ministered as an officer in the Salvation Army. He was a bright and educated young man who turned many appealing offers in order to work with the Booth family in the Salvation Army. He was ridiculed by many for not accepting the call from several large and prominent churches in the United States. He was thought to be rather unwise to choose to work with the street bums, drunks, prostitutes and poor people in the London slums. His heart’s desire was to simply have “the mind of Christ” and be a servant of God. His following words should help all of us to continually walk in humility.

       “If I appear great in their eyes, the Lord is most graciously helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him and helping to keep me little in my own eyes. He does use me. But I am so conscious that He uses me, and that it is not of me that the work is done. The axe cannot boast of trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it, and the moment he throws it aside it becomes only old iron. Oh, that I may never lose sight of this! I must continually be humble and recognize the death from which He raised me, the rock from which He hewed me, and the pit from which He digged me.”

Let us remain humble!

Pastor Doug

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 14, 2012

Welcome to this gathering on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week. On this day we celebrate and remember the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We gather in the potential and possibilities that the power of His resurrection makes available to each one of us. Let us joyfully praise the One who is Lord over all! Let’s pray that we will be renewed by His Spirit to be prepared to live as His people throughout the rest of this week.

Do we really want to experience revival? Do we know the long-term effects of true revival? Are we hungry for a move of God’s Spirit that will shake us out of our comfortableness and move us into new territory of spiritual action? Consider the following accounts about revival that took place here in the United States under the ministry of Charles Finney in Rochester, New York in 1830.

     “A skeptic had a large, flourishing high school in Rochester. A number of the students attended the Finney meetings and became deeply convicted of their need for Christ. One morning after the meetings had continued for two weeks, the principal found so many students weeping over their sins in the classrooms that he sent for Finney to come and instruct them. Finney came, and the principal and almost every student were converted. More than forty of the male students and a number of the female students in time became ministers or missionaries.

     “One of the girls in that school became the wife of Titus Coan. The Coans went to Hawaii as missionaries, and seven years later they were leaders in the mighty revival that came in full tide in Hawaii. No doubt this was indirectly a result of the Finney revival in New York.” (p. 107, Revival Fire)

The following account taken from Revival Fire, p. 109, demonstrates the effect of revival on the life of the community.

     “The prosecuting attorney of the Rochester area was converted in the revival. He reported that in this fast-growing city, the population after the revival tripled but the crime rate decreased by two-thirds. Out of a population of ten thousand people, there were at least eight hundred conversions. Theaters were considered to be places of evil, and the Rochester Theater went out of business. Converts of the revival became community leaders.”

Revival will change us and the life of our community!

Hungry and praying for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

Sunday – October 7, 2012

“How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:11, 2). We gather as people who have a yearning to encounter the manifest presence of our God. We know that there is no greater or more wonderful experience than being enveloped by His love and peace. Let’s pray, anticipate, and hope for such an encounter today!

We have been preparing and planning for revival. We must be sure that we really want God to move in a way that it will be easily recognized as revival. This type of God’s working has been called spiritual awakening, spiritual renewal, the outpouring of the Spirit, as well as revival. It doesn’t matter what we call it, but we should have some understanding of what it will look like. We must know some description if we are to decide whether or not we really want it to happen again. I think that Wesley Duewel can help us with words that come from his introduction to Revival Fire.

     “Revival days are not normal days in the life of the church. They are supernormal, supernatural. They are the great days of the church when God manifests His presence in overwhelming reality. They leave you with a profound realization of God’s greatness and transcendence and of your own unworthiness and dependence on Him.

     “God’s presence and power are so mightily and extensively at work during revival that God accomplishes more in hours or days than usually results from years of faithful nonrevival ministry. Revival usually involves some preaching and evangelism. But revival is far more than evangelism. Man can evangelize; only God can give revival.

     “During revival people are moved toward Christ, people who can be moved in no other way. Many prayers that have gone unanswered for years are gloriously answered. Often the very atmosphere seems awesomely filled with God’s power. Christians recognize it as the holy presence of God. Sinners feel a fearsome awareness of God’s presence and their own sinfulness.”

Read those words several times. Ask God to give you a vision of revival so that it soon begins to be a constant thought that issues forth in your prayers. We must wantrevival in order to receive revival!

Yearning and praying for revival,

Pastor Doug

 

Sunday – September 30, 2012

As we gather for corporate worship, one of our definite purposes is to do what David wrote about in Psalm 89. “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, ‘Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens’” (vv. 1, 2). Let us rejoice with confidence in our God’s faithfulness to each one of us.

Revival is a time for returning to the Lord and renewing the basics of our faith. One morning I glanced at the top of our bedroom dresser and saw three different books and publications. One was a volume of J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible, another was a copy of Creation Journal, and the third was a copy of Wesley Duewel’s book, Touch the World through Prayer. I was struck by the idea that these three were representative of the basics to which God has been calling us as a congregation.

The Bible has always been the most important book to the life of our congregation. Our church’s theme verse is II Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” We are very excited that such a large number of our brothers and sisters are reading through the entire Bible this year. It is our goal to help as many people as possible to better understand and apply the Bible to their lives.

It is important for us to “defend” the Bible from the very first verse. We believe that “all” of the Bible is true and accurate. We can believe every aspect of the Bible as it records actual historical events. We know that creation was an actual historical occurrence and that God miraculously made this entire universe just as the first two chapters of Genesis reports.

We also know that there is power in prayer and God expects us to use that power in the work of sharing the gospel with the entire world. Without prayer, this ministry will not be able to accomplish any work of lasting and eternal value. Let’s keep praying!

I pray that we will never lose sight of the basics!

Pastor Doug

 

Sunday – September 23, 2012

Warm greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. He offers relief from the guilt of sin and from the fear of death. He causes us to find fresh meaning in His life by losing ourselves in caring for our neighbors in need, whether they be as far away as India, New Guinea and Thailand, or as near as next door. We praise God for the healing and wholeness His Son offers to all who surrender to Him.

There are many great privileges that are given to a child of God. Perhaps the greatest is the “open door” and free access into the throne room of heaven. Any child of God can approach the Father at any time. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Wesley L. Duewel helps us understand the significance of this privilege in his book, Touch the World through Prayer.

     “As a child of God you have full authority to contact God, the Sovereign of the universe, whenever you desire. He is always enthroned in heaven; yet, through prayer, you have as much access to His presence as any angel or archangel. You need not wait for an invitation; the invitation is already yours. You need not make a prior appointment; you are already authorized to approach God instantly. God is never too busy to listen to you; He is never too involved to answer you.

     “In prayer, you come to God as His child. You need not wait for an angel to introduce you. You need not try to make yourself more acceptable. You need not first prepare carefully what you want to say. You come just as you are, opening your heart and telling Him how you feel and what you desire. There is no one prayer posture which is more sacred than another. You are God’s child, and He is eager and willing to see you!” Pp. 21, 22.

Let’s confidently call on our Heavenly Father to help us!

With great confidence in the power of prayer,

Pastor Doug

 

Sunday – September 16, 2012

We are glad that you have come for this time of praise and worship. Let us fill this place with songs of praise for the Lord our God. Let us also feast on the riches of His Word and rejoice in His grace. May His peace and joy fill each of our hearts and minds today.

Everyone is looking for hope. We need to experience hope today as much as we have ever needed it. You and I ought to know what the real hope is for everyone in the world today. Pastor Ronnie Floyd wrote a book, Our Last Great Hope, about the Great Commission and in it he wrote:

     “Why all this talk about reality and honesty? I raise these questions for one reason. Take a good look around you, at the direction of the world. All things considered, would you say it’s a better or a worse place than a few years ago? Set the parameters of your evaluation any way that you choose: our nation, the international scene, popular culture, our economy, our ecology, our politics, our families. Most of us would answer that we are a generation in decline. Many Christians believe that Christ may return soon. Even nonbelievers sense that calamity awaits us in some form.

     “There is one last great hope- for our world, our nation, our children, and our churches. That hope only becomes visible when we become honest, when we define reality rightly. That hope lies in the person and power of Jesus Christ and in no one else, in no other path or possibility. We call it good news, even though there is nothing new about it, because every new moment, every new problem, every new sin, has already been conquered and forgiven through His suffering and death on our behalf and His resurrection from the dead on that Easter morning two thousand years ago. There is good news for whatever is ailing in your life; good news for whatever challenges confront you tomorrow and next week; good news for every single conceivable human problem we face today. But it is good news that must be delivered and then accepted.” Pp. 7, 8

Let each of us unashamedly declare our confidence and hope in Jesus Christ. We can sing and shout that we serve a risen Savior!

Filled with the hope of the gospel,

Pastor Doug

 

Sunday, September 12, 2012

Make no mistake about it; worship is a public statement concerning our faith and love for God. It is right to be so. David declared, “I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly” (Psalm 40:10). In response to his worship, David asked God, “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; let Your lovingkindness and Your truth preserve me” (Ps. 40:11). Let’s come to worship unashamed of our faith and trust in our God. Let’s expect His blessings to be poured on us today.

We are teaching, preaching and praying about revival. We earnestly desire God to do a work of renewal within us as individuals and corporately as His church. One evidence of revival will be greater devotion to God and His ways of living. We will stand up for His truth and rededicate ourselves to lives of holiness. People will have little difficulty discovering what we believe is right according to the Word of God. Yet another evidence that we certainly want to demonstrate is clearer expressions of Christian love. When revival comes, a new resurgence of Christ’s love will fill all of our lives.

Here is what Paul wrote to his “son” in the Lord. “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (II Timothy 2:24).  In another of his letters, Paul wrote, “Speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) 

Tozer wrote about the danger of standing for the right things with the wrong attitude. He wrote in The Dangers of a Shallow Faith on page 45: “We are not called to always to show a smile. Sometimes we are called to frown and rebuke with all long-suffering and doctrine. We must contend but not be contentious. We must preserve truth but injure no man. We must destroy error without harming people. In earlier times, when men were strong, they contended, and in contending, they became contentious. In an attempt to preserve truth, they destroyed those who held error. Let us preserve truth but injure no man.” 

If we live genuinely in the love of Jesus Christ and demonstrate it to those around us, we will know that true revival has come.

For His truth in His love,

Pastor Doug

 

 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

During this month, we are participating in the efforts of the OneCry Movement that is being encouraged by Life Action Ministries. We will be looking at passages from the Bible that teach the idea of “revival” and the work of God’s Spirit in the midst of His people. We will be having times of concentrated prayer in which we will ask God for His “refreshing” work to be accomplished in our lives at NBC. We will be asking and expecting God to send “the old-time power, the Pentecostal pow’r,” to the end “that sinners be converted and Thy name glorified!”

In order for God to answer us in the manner that we desire, we will need to develop certain understandings and attitudes. A. W. Tozer can help us with some proper understanding. The following is from The Dangers of a Shallow Faith.

“What we must remember is that only he who takes orders from Jesus Christ belongs to Him. The evangelical church is in the process of compromising this very thing and ignoring ‘thus saith the Lord.’ Yes, we want any benefits that Christ may confer upon us. We want His help, protection and guidance. We even get misty-eyed over His birth, life, death, teaching and example. The problem comes when we will not take orders from Him. Christ cannot save the one He cannot control. To claim to be saved while ignoring His commandments is to live in utter delusion.

“All is not lost, however. Help is available. An awakening is possible. In one flash of spiritual intelligence, God can make a man or woman know, in the deepest meaning of the word, more that matters to his soul for eternity than can be learned in 10 years of hard study. Yet it is also true that long meditation on divine truth and the habit of obedience to such truths as are known are the necessary conditions before such a flash is given. The Holy Spirit will not illuminate an irresponsible soul; or if once, than never again. He requires that we live in accord with our higher privileges.” (Pp.35-36)

It all boils down to a “surrendered heart” and a “submissive attitude.” Let’s cry out for revival!

Pastor Doug