Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beyond Our Comprehension

Beyond Our Comprehension

Psalm 113
Praise the Lord. Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
He seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

I have been in Indianapolis to represent our Northwestern Ohio District for the International Church of the Nazarene’s Quadrennial General Assembly. I have been hearing reports about how the Lord is moving through our church in over 159 world areas. The church now has 20,041 organized Churches and 8,089 ready to be organized. The membership continues to grow and is now 2,150,883. The Church of the Nazarene is alive and well.

Hearing the stories of people’s salvation and growth in sanctification have been the highlight of our time together. Yes, we are in the process of voting in 2 more general superintendents, voting and discussing Biblical stances that will never falter concerning human sexuality, marriage between a man and woman, and the inerrancy of God’s Word, but the stories of new life continue to ring loud and clear.

While in Indianapolis, I have been trying to set up a meeting with someone to discuss a future mission trip. It has been like pulling teeth. Responsibility can have different effects on people. Some handle it better than others. This particular person has become less and less available seen in the missed phone calls and emails. I finally was able to sit down with him and I forgot all the questions I wanted to ask him. I felt like I was in the Doctor’s office. You’ve been there before. You get frustrated because it took you a long time to get in and then you go blank. I even wrote down my questions but I forgot my paper.

I am so glad God is not affected in this way. He is God and is more majestic and powerful than we can comprehend. His responsibility exceeds that of anyone. Yet He still desires to help us – to lift us “up from the ash heap.”

This beautiful Psalm reminds us that God is beyond our comprehension. God is “high and above all nations.” Both earthly and heavenly powers are subject to Him. God’s nature and character are such that God is not only concerned with the powerful and mighty, He is concerned about the helpless and the needy. “He raises the helpless from the dust; He lifts the needy from the ash heap to seat them with princes, with the princes of His people” (Psalm 113:7-8).

I am proud to announce that the Church of the Nazarene is about meeting the needs of the poor, the helpless, and the needy. We serve a big God who is blessing our Church. Let us do all we can do to allow the Holy Spirit to use us as we further His Kingdom.

I am excited to come back to Ohio and get back to a normal routine and worship with our local church. Just a few more days and the meetings will be done for four more years. Hallelujah!

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


In Psalm 26, we see David asking the Lord to examine his life and see where his heart is. When I think of it, it sounds like David is asking the Lord to reveal to him where his heart is. For God already knows all things and that includes the state and passions of our heart. Look with me at this revealing Psalm:
“Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” Psalm 26:1-3

He goes on to say that he does not hang around deceitful, hypocritical or wicked people. He is faithful in spreading the good news of Jesus and loves to spend time in the house of the Lord. He is opening himself up for God to reveal what state he is in. It is a time of reflection.

When is the last time you have reflected? I just attended the funeral service of Larry Niswander’s brother, Terry. Each time you attend a service like that you are invited to reflect and examine. Why is it that so many wait to do that during a funeral? David didn’t wait on a funeral. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was constantly reflecting and asking God to help him examine his heart and mind.

John Wesley would reflect on his life daily to see if there was any departure from the law of love and ask the Lord to forgive him when he found himself waivering. Here are two questions he would ask himself:
1.       Have I (after doing what He requires me to do about them) left all future things totally to God’s handling?
2.       Have I resumed my claim to my body, soul, friends, fame, or fortune after I gave it to God?

Part of reflecting is not only examining past actions, but it is examining future motives. It is seeing if I have taken back anything I have given to the Lord.

Why not take some time and reflect on your life? Be completely honest with yourself and ask the Lord for his holy assistance. He wants to guide and direct your life unto everlasting blessings.

What a great day it was on Sunday to fellowship at the Fun Fest following the service. It turned out to be a beautiful day and part of what made it that way was all the people who worked together to make it happen. Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom of God.

This Sunday we continue our series called, “Going Deeper,” as we look at the life of Moses and his close relationship to the Lord. We look forward to meeting Rao Yi, Ronglan, and Rao Yana as they join us in ministry. We will also be praying for our Work and Witness team who will go to Indianapolis for “One Heart, Many Hands.” This mission emphasis will take place before our Nazarene General Assembly that takes place once every four years.

Great things are happening! See you on Sunday!

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pursuing Righteousness

Pursuing Righteousness

At the end of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Paul gives Timothy a final charge. He says, 
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Paul was mentoring Timothy and training him up to be a faithful leader for God’s kingdom. He was telling him not to waiver in his faith but to have a single focus on pursuing righteous living. There has to be a shutting down of the things around us in order to pursue God with all of our heart.

This week I have been attending one of the four Backyard Bible Adventures our church is putting on in our neighborhoods. Instead of having it at the church, we are going out to where kids would have a better opportunity to attend. Last night I spotted a young man, about 13 years old, in attendance. He brought a few of his friends who decided this was beneath them. But this young man stayed. He was participating and doing the motions of the song. Some of his friends came back and started to make fun of him for attending but that did not faze him at all. He continued to participate. A girl came up and asked if he would join them elsewhere and he said he wouldn’t be done until 8:00 p.m.

I have to admit that I was praying for this boy to be able to stand up against the peer pressure. I was so excited when he stayed the whole entire time. I walked over and asked the group of three to join us but it was clear that this was not something they wanted to be a part of. They eventually left.

Please continue to pray for these Backyard Bible Adventures. You never know when an evangelist will be raised up all because people prayed and responded by going into the neighborhood and preaching the gospel.

I have a friend named Greg Mason who is from Springfield, Ohio. He was a bus kid who came to church. His father was an alcoholic and his parents did not attend church. His life was changed because a church loved him and delivered the saving power of Jesus Christ through His word. He accepted the Lord as his personal savior and is now serving as a District Superintendent on the Louisiana District of the Church of the Nazarene.

As a youth pastor in Cleveland, Ohio, I ministered to a teenager whose father was an alcoholic. He accepted Jesus Christ and went to Mount Vernon Nazarene University. I just shared a condensed version. The road was long but well worth the effort. He is now a faithful Christian and Sunday School teacher in Delaware and managing a Donato's Pizza store. He and his family attend church every week and his children love church.

God is faithful! You never know when someone will rise to the call of God in their life and go on to impact the world for Christ.

This Sunday we are celebrating our Backyard Bible Adventures. The first service will be in the sanctuary and we will see highlights from the week. The second service will be held in the Family Life Center with songs by the children and a recap of the entire week.

Following the second service we'll gather for our first monthly summer picnic on the lawn under a tent. Hot dogs, hamburgers, condiments, and drinks will be provided and we are asking that everyone bring a food item/dish to share. There will also be snow cones, cotton candy, and other treats available.

We are calling the entire day our Backyard Bible Adventure Fest - complete with games, wagon rides, inflatable games (jump houses, water slide and obstacle course, joust, and more), corn hole, special presentations in the "theater," and a time to relax under a tent or in the shade. Come and volunteer for something. The events will run until 3:30 p.m. Fun for the whole family. Invite someone to attend.

It’s going to be a great day on Sunday

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike