Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holy Spirit Filled

Holy Spirit Filled

There was a committee of ministers meeting many years ago in a certain city talking about the possibility of having D.L. Moody come for a city-wide revival. One minister who did not want to invite Moody stood up and said, “Why Moody? Does he have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?”

There was silence. Then an old, godly minister spoke up, “No, he does not have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D.L. Moody.”

That pretty much says it all. Does the Holy Spirit have a monopoly on you? How much does the Holy Spirit have? Is He content with just part of us?

In John 14:16-18 and 16:5-15 Jesus begins to get very specific in His description of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He says that His ministry will look just like His, except that He will indwell all believers at the same time. He says that if we let Him, He will empower those same believers to live and look like Jesus as well. With this in mind, why is it that we settle with living in a mediocre fashion by relying on our human strength?

Look at the last words Jesus said to His disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Are you living in the power of the Holy Spirit? A.W. Tozer, a theologian in the early 1900s who was born into poverty and was self-educated due to his home situation, said, “Though every believer has the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit does not have every believer.”

For the power of the Holy Spirit to be active in your life, you need to empty yourself of this world in order to be filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. We don’t give the Holy Spirit something to work with, we give Him a dependent heart so He can move freely. The Holy Spirit not only desires to indwell you, He wants to live through you; to not only be in you but be on you, in power. He is a person like Jesus, who has a mind, will, and emotions and wants to gift and enable every Christian for supernatural living.

Pray for this to be so in your life. Read the Words of God and allow them to fill your mind and heart. We can do this because God has planned to be this in our life.

I’m Looking forward to a great day on Sunday.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Intent of Prayer

The Intent of Prayer

Today I want to bring our attention to prayer. We are called to pray each day to the Lord. Many are so busy we forget the awesome privilege we have in calling on the name of the Lord. In Ephesians 6:18 it says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

The most common Greek word translated “prayer” in the New Testament is the word proseuche. It is used over 127 times.

The first part of the Greek word is pros which means a sense of closeness. It is the same word John uses to describe the relationship of the trinity in John 1:1. It is also used in Ephesians 6:12 to describe our close contact with unseen evil spirits that are warring against our soul. The second part is euche. It describes a wish or a vow. It is like the vow that Hannah made with the Lord if He would grant her a child in 1 Samuel 1:11. If God blessed her with a son, then she would dedicate her son to Him and he would be devoted to the work of the ministry the rest of his life. She gave her most valued and prized possession in exchange for answered prayer. God granted her request and then we have the story of Samuel unfold.

In Greek culture, before prayer was verbalized and offered to a “god,” an altar was set up and thanksgiving was offered on that altar. This is what Hannah did. She vowed before the Lord even before there was an answer. The person would promise that once the prayer was answered, they would be back to give additional thanksgiving to God. It was well thought out and planned. I look at that and look at how busy our lives get and wonder what God thinks about our feeble attempts to come to Him and call upon His name in prayer. Hannah showed the Lord that she was serious about her petition. It was an outward sign of what was going on in her heart.

Please know that the majority of Paul’s readers understood the full meaning of this word. So every time they read it, they would automatically think of prayer being a face to face encounter with a living God. A close encounter and intimate relationship with the Almighty God. They would also think of the sacrificial element that accompanied prayer. The person engaging in prayer was willing to surrender everything he owned in exchange for answered prayer. The life of the believer was totally consecrated to God.

God never forces us to surrender our lives to Him. He will never take anything by force from us. This word for prayer tells of a place of decision, a place of totally giving things over to God freely in exchange for His life. Because we have been given this opportunity to pray by God, this tells us that He wants to do more than just bless us – He wants to change us! He wants us to come to a place of consecration where we meet with Him face to face and surrender everything to Him and He does not disappoint us. He comes and exchanges our sacrifice for His power and presence. I am getting blessed just thinking about it. So therefore, I have this urge to thank Him in advance for hearing and answering my prayer.

Can you see that the word “prayer” is more than simply a prayer request or a routine we begin our day with? It demands surrender, consecration, and great effort. God wants to have that time with us each and every day. I encourage you to comb the New Testament and see for yourself. Better yet, be engaged in prayer as the Greek word proseuche describes. It will transform your days and fill it up with Spirit-driven living. There is no comparison.

May the God who is always present lead you through this adventurous day as you put Him first in all things.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Do You Value?

What Do You Value?

I’m back! Yes, I have been in the office this week catching up on what I missed. I look forward to being back in our church on Sunday. Just think, I have 7 weeks of sermons built up in my loins. Boy is it going to be a long day (NOT!).

As I spent some time emptying out things in my mind and heart, I started seeing things from a different perspective. It’s amazing what happens when you get away from the daily routine. It reminds me of a poem I read once from an unknown author,

 I counted dollars, while God counted crosses.
I counted gains, while He counted losses.
I counted my worth, my things gained in store,
And He sized me up by the scars that I bore.
I counted honors and sought degrees,
He counted the hours that I spent on my knees.
I never knew until one day by the grave,
How vain are the things we spend life to save.

When life slows down a bit and you have time to do some deep spiritual processing, you quickly begin to see what you value – what truly is important to you. Values are the things in life that are most important to you. They are guideposts and convictions that ought to shape your decisions and your lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are times in life when things get so busy and full that the obvious does not appear as obvious anymore. You’ve heard the phrase, “Can't see the forest for the trees.”

In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus addresses the heart of the issue:
 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

It is good to get away and get a fresh perspective. Values are an issue of the heart. When you put your focus on things that matter most then you set yourself up to make an eternal impact on people and situations under your watch.

I am so glad you don’t have to go on an extended leave to receive a new perspective from the Lord. God wants to help us to value what matters most in view of eternity.

It’s going to be a great day on Sunday. Let’s anticipate a Spirit of renewal.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Anticipating God's Action

Anticipating God's Action

By Ronglan Huang-Rao
Inter-generational Director

Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”     2 Chronicles 14:11 NIV

The author of Chronicles portrays God as an actor on the human scene and in individual lives. Through describing the kings of Judah, the writer occasionally indicates God’s involvement in human life. It does not matter that God acts out in the form of natural forces or supernaturally; the chronicler wants to affirm that God is alive, present, and active in the nation of Israel. We should expect Him to work in our lives.

When Tim Watson, Brian, Bash and Kevin Sertell told Yi they would like to have a fellowship with the Chinese group, we were so surprised. Because we have never thought God answered our prayer so quick. We did pray for young adults in our church to become somewhat involved in the international student ministry. It was so precious that the Chinese group could spend time at Brian & Nichole Bash’s house. The five-minute “life story” which was shared by Kevin brought tears to some Chinese ladies. The students’ parents who just arrived in the States three days ago came to us and told us they were so grateful that their children can join the church where these young adults were members. One mother even said she would like to know more about our faith. What a SURPRISE!

One mistake we often make in our lives has been to simply look back and give God thanks for what we can see He has done instead of living in anticipation of what He is going to do. We live in a most significant moment in human history. Every barrier to the gospel either has been broken down or is permeable. The great missionaries such as David Livingstone would have loved to have the opportunities and the open doors that we have. God is at work in the world, and the opportunities are everywhere. The devil wants us to be blind so we won’t take part in the greatest move of the gospel ever.

God is at work in the world, and HE wants to use you and me to accomplish HIS purpose. Are you anticipating Him today?