Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas from Your Church Staff

Merry Christmas from Your Church Staff

The theme of our Advent Season has been: “Simply Christmas.” We have been reminded to keep the focus of Christmas on the true meaning of the season and not get distracted by other things. It has been a wonderful season with many memories to share together. I wanted to represent our staff in saying thank you to all of your love and generosity. We are so blessed to be a part of a thriving church that has Jesus at the center of all that we do and say. Below you will see a picture of our annual Staff Christmas party held in my basement. We have a wonderful staff who are full of passion for Jesus.

Let me share with you a part of Paul’s prayer to the church of Philippi that we pray for our church.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”    — Philippians 1:9-11

Hope to see you on Christmas Eve at 4:00 or 6:00 p.m. Merry Christmas!

Pastor Mike




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

To Us a Child Is Born

To Us a Child Is Born

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

There aren’t many things in print from over 2,750 years ago that still captivate the hearts and minds of people like the words of Isaiah. It all boils down to the simple fact that it is the power of the Word of God. These ancient words still hold extraordinary meaning to us. Warren Wiersbe, a Bible Expositor for many years, writes, “Because he is Wonderful, life need never be dull. Because he is Counselor, we don’t have to be baffled by any decision required of us. Because he is the Mighty God, no demand we face is too much for him. Because he is the Everlasting Father, we can actually share in eternity. Because he is the Prince of Peace, we can have an inner calm no matter what storms come our way.”

In Isaiah’s day the world was not in good shape as we find it today. The cry for a better life has sounded throughout the centuries. And God certainly hasn’t disappointed those who trust in Him. His Son Jesus was all we could have asked for and more – so much more!

It was so good to be in our new Worship Center on Sunday. Everything really came together in a timely manner. There are so many people who worked extra hard to bring this dream to a reality. Sometime in the new year we will plan to have a dedication to thank so many people who went above and beyond the call of duty. We will also invite the community in for an open house.

Tonight is our Annual Christmas Concert, “Simply Christmas: A Concert Celebrating Christ.” Plan to come and enjoy the music of the season beginning with a Children’s Prelude at 6:40 p.m. Childcare is available for children 3 and under.

Take time to celebrate the names of Jesus during this advent. Oh what a Savior!

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

God's Right Hand

God's Right Hand

1 I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 138

Often times I have read David’s many Psalms and have felt the strength from his confident spirit. I just want to go on record and say that I am feeling the strength of the Lord even in the midst of many uncertain circumstances. I feel so blessed to be a part of a church that believes and lives prayer. There is strength in knowing that people are calling upon the Father in your behalf. It is amazing the many reminders the Lord sends during each day just to show that you are not alone and that He has not forgotten about you. There are no coincidences when it comes to the grace of God. Psalm 138 sums up my heart at this point in my life. I am content in knowing that God will preserve me and save me with His right hand. It is good to be in the center of His right hand. If you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, read Psalm 138 and cling on to God's right hand no matter where you find yourself.

I know many are wondering where we are with Cammi. She is home today and we are praising the Lord. A PET scan is scheduled for the end of December and the hopes are that it will show no more cancer activity. If that is the case, then she will undergo a stem cell transplant in January. She is doing well and appreciates all of your prayers.

This Sunday will be the first Sunday back in our Worship Center. Things are coming together and it is going to be a great service. Plan to attend and bring someone with you as we celebrate God's goodness to us during this Advent season. The choir will be singing, we will share in communion together, and hear the powerful Word of God. Can’t wait for Sunday to come.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tying or Unleashing

Tying or Unleashing
 
I was reading Mark 6 the other day and saw something that hit me like a ton of bricks. I can possibly tie Jesus’ hands and diminish the impact He wants to have in my life and the lives of others around me. You know the story. Jesus is in the heart of His ministry. Mark doesn’t mess around. He goes from Jesus’ baptism right into His full fledged ministry. Jesus is telling parables, calling disciples, healing the sick, submitting to the Father, telling more parables, and then He goes to His hometown. Things come to a crashing halt. Not because He wants them to, but because they are too familiar with Him and took offense at the things He was doing. Jesus said, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor” (Mark 6:4). They were not open to allow Jesus to be who He was called to be and they did not believe.
 
Don’t misread this passage. We do not have authority or power over Jesus. However, our faith does determine the outcome of some circumstances though. We can’t miss that. If it is God’s will and our faith is not in line with what He is doing, then we can tie His hands. Look at the next few verses. “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their lack of faith”(Mark 6:5-6). Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. They should have known better. So Jesus was forced to move on and perform miracles elsewhere.
 
There was another time Jesus was amazed. It is found in Luke 7:2-10. “Jesus was entering Capernaum and a centurion’s servant was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.” This time Jesus is amazed at such great faith. The result was Jesus being able to perform miracles.
 
Tell me, which do you want to be known for? Do you want to tie God’s hands or unleash Him this Christmas? It is pretty plain that we have a role to play this Christmas. You may not be up on stage in the spotlight for all to see. But God is watching. He is looking for faith-filled people so He can do miracles in our midst. Just think, there is someone primed and ready to receive some type of miracle this season and you may be the one who holds a key element. The miracle may be hearts turning to God. Imagine . . .
 
Our first Sunday to be in our newly renovated Worship Center will be on December 13. It is going to be a great day with our choir singing, communion, and the Word of God proclaimed. Have I told you that I have really enjoyed worshipping in our Family Life Center? I really have. Our Worship Team and our people in general are so flexible. Our FLC space has remarkably been transformed into a great worship atmosphere. I love this church and everyone who attends. There is an excitement in the air. This Sunday is the Children’s Musical during the second service. The first service will be a regular service. Come with great anticipation as we bring in the second Sunday of Advent. Remember, through your faith, you unleash Jesus in the room. What a thought!
 
Joy in Jesus!
 
Pastor Mike

www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Spirit and Attitude of Jesus

The Spirit and Attitude of Jesus

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.       — Philippians 4:4-11

Philippians is a letter written to the church of Philippi. Paul pours his heart out to these believers by encouraging them to do whatever it took to know Christ more and share in His suffering. It appears that there were many spiritually mature Christians in their ranks. There were signs of revival in the air. Paul seems to be talking to them as a brother and sister in the faith and reminding them of the state of mind they should always be in. He talks about contentment, about how things that happen to you are for the purpose of furthering the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, and that our attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus. You can’t help but see the theme of “rejoicing always” throughout the whole book. Let me encourage you to read Philippians this week. As you gather around the table at Thanksgiving, allow the spirit and attitude of Jesus to come spilling through every word that comes from your mouth. There is no time to get caught up in the ways of the world. Let the God of peace fill you with everything you need to thrive this Thanksgiving.

We are praising the Lord that Lee Burgard’s battle with cancer is over. His faith has become sight. What an impact his life has made on this church. We will forever remember his servant attitude in everything he did.

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Come prepared to usher in this Christmas season as we celebrate Jesus and His presence in our life. We are excited to reveal our Christmas project this year. I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Obedient to Christ

Obedient to Christ

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”   2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Learning to capture every thought and make it obedient to Jesus Christ is an indispensable tool for believers to use in pursuing their spiritual aspirations. This process involves consciously bringing the presence of Jesus into various settings and asking whether our thoughts and actions are truly honoring Him.

My heart is saddened by the passing of Brad and Kathy Meyers' son. This is a time to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I can’t imagine the pain that is ripping through the family. The enemy of our soul is going to do whatever he can to destroy the temple of God. The Scripture says that he is the father of lies. Let’s pray for the Lord to minister in the midst of this pain. Their son has two sons of his own that we will need to pray for.

I spent a few minutes sitting down and talking with one of the carpet layers this afternoon. He is in the midst of chemotherapy treatments and I was able to share about Cammi and the hope we have. If you think about it, pray for our construction workers who are on the job site. We all need Jesus. My prayer is that they will feel the tug of the Holy Spirit as we pray in the Spirit in all occasions. There are many opportunities to take captive every thought and discussion and make it obedient to Christ.

The renovations are moving full steam ahead. Lots of things to do but it is all going well. We will update you on Sunday.

May God bless you as you follow God’s Word with all your heart.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When I Think About the Lord

When I Think About the Lord

Jason Breland wrote a song entitled, “When I Think About the Lord.” In the midst of “stuff” going on today, I have been drawn to just think about the Lord today. Practicing the presence of the Lord is one thing that will pick you up from where you are and encourage your heart. I believe that is what the Book of Psalms is all about. Spending time focusing on and praising the Lord in the midst of whatever situation you find yourself, is good for the soul. So today I am going to put the words to this song before you as you turn to Him.

When I think about the Lord. How He saved me. How He raised me. How He filled me with the Holy Ghost. How He healed me to the uttermost. When I think about the Lord. How He picked me up, and turned me around. How He placed my feet, on solid ground.

{1} When I think about the Lord. How He saved me. How me raised me. How He filled me with the Holy Ghost. How He healed me to the uttermost.

{2} When I think about the Lord. How He picked me up, and turned me around. How He placed my feet, on solid ground.

{Chorus} It makes me wanna shout, Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus. Lord you're worthy. Of all the Glory. And all the Honor. And all the praise. It makes me wanna shout. Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus. Lord you're worthy. Of all the Glory. And all the Honor. And all the praise.

Remain as close as possible to the Shepherd today. He will never fail you. He is both our protection and blessing.

I was telling someone the other day that I have been enjoying worshipping in the Family Life Center. God is doing some wonderful things in the life of our church. Come this Sunday anticipating the Lord to do miraculous things.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

PS. Pray for Upward Basketball Evaluations. This is the last evaluation night. Come on out and help if you are available. We have had several come out and help during this evaluation. We are so blessed to be able to spread the love of Jesus to our community through this ministry.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Just Tell Me, Lord

Just Tell Me, Lord

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “If God would just tell me what to do, I’d do it!” In Jeremiah 41-43 there was a group of survivors who said that very same thing. Look at what they said to Jeremiah, “Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do” Jeremiah 42:3. They continued, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God” Jeremiah 42:5-6. It sounds like they are making a promise and are truly seeking the will of God in their life.

Ten days later the word of God came to Jeremiah, and it wasn’t something they wanted to hear. They said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there’” Jeremiah 43:2. Unfortunately, this response led to their demise.

Could that be a reflection of the tendency we fall into? One minute we are saying, “Lord, just tell me which direction to go; show me what to do?” Then we don’t like the direction the Lord is taking us and we go the way we wanted to go in the first place. Our predetermined agendas get in the way of what God desires us to do. When does God speak to you the most? For me, it is when I am experiencing a “revival” in my spirit. When I put Him first in all things and have kept true to His word, those are the times I hear the Holy Spirit the most. When He speaks, I am only to respond and follow with my whole heart.

If there is ever anyone who would question the direction of their life, it would be Joni Eareckson Tada. At the young age of 17, she dove into Chesapeake Bay after misjudging the shallowness of the water. A fracture in her lower cervical area caused her to become paralyzed from the shoulders down. After the first two years of therapy, she experienced every emotion you could experience. Eventually she learned how to paint with a brush between her teeth, and her ministry began from there. Today she has written several books, has a radio program, is happily married, an advocate for the disabled and the list goes on and on. In 2010 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is doing well after treatment. Needless to say, she is a miracle of God.

In her book, Glorious Intruder, Joni writes, “You may wish the road Jesus sent you on had a turnaround. Maybe you’ve even been tempted to shift into reverse and back away from His direction. Listen. Just take those road hazards – the potholes, ruts, detours, and all the rest – as evidence that you’re on the right route. It’s when you find yourself on that big, broad, easy road that you ought to worry.”

Simple obedience is the key to living a fulfilling, God fearing life. Serve Him blindly and He will take you to places you never thought possible.

Enjoy the summer weather in November. Maybe this will be a year of opposites. We will experience Florida weather and Florida will experience Ohio weather. Ok, maybe not. But we can enjoy it while it is here.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  – Philippians 4:6

Corrie ten Boom tells a story about the power of prayer in her book, Not I, But Christ: “A missionary was in great danger and one evening was alone in his house. Enemies wanted to kill him, but nothing happened. The next day one of the men came to him and said, ‘Last night we intended to kill you, but we could not. There were only four of us and about seventeen men stood around your house.’ The missionary wrote this to his friends at home. They came to the conclusion that on this particular night they had had a prayer meeting – seventeen had come to pray. Seventeen believers prayed at home. Seventeen angels stood around the missionary’s house.”

What a great reminder of the magnitude of prayer. Prayer is the heart and soul of every great movement of God. Why is it that we have a tendency to make prayer our last resort? Getting caught up in discussing prayer rather than actually going to our knees and crying out to the Lord seems to be our first response.

I have personally seen many answers to prayer in recent days concerning the renovation and many other situations happening in the church. When I talk about answers, I am not talking about things going the way that I prayed them to, but things working together to glorify our Father in heaven. Answers to prayer do not always go the way you want them to. The posture of prayer is bowing humbly before God and wanting what He wants. When the answer comes or develops, then we submit to the wisdom and direction the Lord sets.

I am so grateful for the prayer focus on Wednesday and throughout the week. I believe we are experiencing what we are because of prayer. It is amazing to see God’s hand at work in and through the church. We are a blessed people.

Well, the renovation is under way and things are moving right along. It is exciting to see the progress that is being made. I also have some great news concerning our chairs for our new worship area. Are you ready for it? Maybe I’ll wait untill Sunday to tell you. Okay, I’ll tell you. We have reached our goal of 400! This week we have all the chairs purchased. Praise the Lord! We have many things to celebrate as we move forward infaith.

Remember, Sunday we will worship in the Family Life Center. Come prepared to worship the Lord together and celebrate His presence.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Priceless Treasure

Priceless Treasure

I am excited about what God is doing in the hearts of people in our church. Revived believers who practice the presence of the Living Word also take delight in the written Word because there is no difference. Jesus Himself, who always was, became flesh so He could show us that we too could become living, breathing, testimonies of the presence of the Living Word. Sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit is crucial, but placing great value on knowing the truths of Scripture is a priceless treasure. I am encouraged to see hungry people come together to respond to the One and Only. It is like we are coming corporately wanting to hear God speak to us so we know where to go from here.

Look with me at the longest chapter in the Bible – Psalm 119. It is an acrostic psalm, an alphabet of prayers and reflections on the Word of God, giving each Hebrew letter its turn to introduce different verses on the subject of cherishing the Word of God for what it is. It was done that way in order to aid in the area of memory. Many of us would say, “I need all the help I can get in that area.” It was also used to show that the subject was going to be covered from “A to Z.” This chapter is rich on placing the Word of God in the center of everything.

Look at a few verses dispersed among many moving thoughts:

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119:9-11.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” 
Psalm 119:18.

“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” Psalm 119:44-45.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws” Psalm 119:105-106.

“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them” Psalm 119:140.

“I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands” Psalm 119:174-176.

The mood in which these verses were written is meditative. Take these verses and put them to memory, pray them in your spirit, meditate on them day and night, and allow your thoughts to be overcome by the Living Word who has come to fill you and take you to greater depths.

I am looking forward to our last worship service in the sanctuary before it is transformed into our new worship center. There have been good memories that have been formed in these walls but we are not going to let those define who we are in Christ. Change is not easy but following the Change Maker is the best ride we could ever experience. Let’s have a record attendance in both of our services as we prepare for greater days ahead.

If anyone wants to help us unbolt the pews, clean out the racks, move furniture out of our classrooms, or participate in many odd jobs in cleaning out the area for the work crews, then join us on Sunday at 4 p.m. There is something for everyone.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

PS. Come and join us for the revival tonight. Supper is at 5:45 in the Family Life Center and service is at 6:30 in the Sanctuary. Come to both or just come for service. It’s all GOOD!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Remaining

Remaining

This past weekend it was good to have Stephen Manley at our men’s retreat. He always reminds you that Jesus should be your only source in life. When you put aside all the things you depend on, there is only one thing worth keeping at the center of your life – Jesus. That is the type of relationship Jesus had with the Heavenly Father. In John 15:1-17, Jesus compares this close relationship in the picture of a vine and the branches. Take the time to read it today during some down time you may have. By all means, don’t do it while driving down the road. Go to a park if you are bound to your car and take a few moments to saturate in the concept of the vine and the branches.

The famous American abolitionist and writer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, lived in the 1800s. She was famous for her novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” written in 1852. It showed the lives of African-Americans who were slaves and was instrumental in turning people’s hearts against slavery. Many plays were written from this famous book. Many people don’t know that along with the many other books she is famous for, she also wrote a small booklet entitled, “How to Live on Christ.” It is not as popular as her other works, but it is powerful. She writes, “How does the branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; it simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union, and blossoms and fruit appear as of spontaneous growth. How then, shall a Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles? No: there must be a complete surrender of the whole being to Him; a constant looking to Him for grace.”

It is simple, the secret of a close and vibrant relationship with Jesus is remaining. Remaining in Him for every need, temporal or spiritual. We are to be in Jesus all the time and Jesus is to be in us. That is what we call truly remaining in Him. Whatever doesn’t rub Jesus wrong, doesn’t rub me wrong. That is when revival is unleashed in our lives. The spirit and attitude of Jesus permeates my every thought and action.

Let me reach back to an ancient hymn written in 1872 entitled, “I Need Thee Every Hour.” If you know the tune then sing it while you read it. If you don’t know the tune, make one up and worship the Lord as you are reminded how much you need Him. There is no magic in the tune, the words are just rich and true.

I Need Thee Every Hour
Verse 1
I need Thee ev’ry hour, Most gracious Lord; No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
(Chorus)
I need Thee; O I need Thee! Ev’ry hour I need Thee! O Bless me now, my Savior; I come to Thee!

Verse 2
I need Thee ev’ry hour; stay Thou nearby, temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh. (Chorus)

Verse 3
I need Thee ev’ry hour, in joy or pain; come quickly and abide, or life is in vain. (Chorus)

Verse 4
I need Thee ev’ry hour, most Holy One. O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son! (Chorus)

Revival begins this Sunday. It is going to be a powerful time together. Be sure to pick up a flyer from the bulletin and invite someone to come with you. Meals will be provided before each service Monday through Wednesday. Our children will have a special emphasis on Sunday and Wednesday. There is something for the whole family. Make a priority to attend now before your schedule gets filled. It will be worth it all.

May you remain in the Lord today and be reminded that He will remain in you.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fueled by Praise

Fueled by Praise

Have you ever felt that things were going in the wrong direction and God was nowhere to be found? I think that was what David was experiencing when he wrote Psalm 63 while in the Desert of Judah. His son Absalom was putting plans together to take the throne. David decided to flee for his life. It was in the midst of this trial that David learned a very important lesson. When you are in the middle of uncontrollable times, begin to recount the faithfulness of God and worship Him with all your heart. When you do, the presence of God falls on you. Revival will begin to break out and the joy of the Lord will mark your ways. What is true for the individual is also true for the church. Our church matures in worship as we prepare for a season of the Lord’s presence. It is in the midst of getting caught up together in worship that we prepare for another spiritual awakening. It is in the middle of seeking for revival that we experience revival.

How about you? Do you need to fuel up? Read Psalm 63 and allow the Lord to renew your spirit. The enemy is going to do all he can to keep you from realizing the truth about your situation. Bring it to the Lord and believe He wants to bring everything captive in His Name.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. 10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.11 But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.  --Psalm 63

Last Sunday was a great day in worship followed by some rich fellowship. Grandparent’s Day is exceptional each year. I think our grandparents are worth the effort. We have so many who have paved a good road for their families to follow.

Have I told you lately that I love our church? I have heard over and over from many people how they love to worship the Lord together on Sundays. You never know what you are going to miss when you are not here. As for me and my house…

Have a blessed day and be encouraged because those who walk in Jesus today are the victors.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Rhythm of Life

The Rhythm of Life

What a powerful service on Sunday. I believe the Lord is moving as a direct result of our prayers on Wednesday morning and throughout the week as we lift up our church before the Father.

Today I want to bring our attention to a rhythm that needs to be actively exercised in our life. As I was praying this morning, the Lord reminded me that the enemy wants to distract us and remove any type of positive momentum in our life. Did you know that finding a godly rhythm will enable you to flow in the grace of God like no other time in your life?

Consider a solar water heater where the sunlight heats water piped through collectors. The heated water is pumped into a storage tank and then to its final destination – your faucet. The system works well but under certain extremes there can be problems.

Too much sunlight can heat the water too hot to safely use. So the system needs to mix in some cooler water for safer temperatures. On the flip side, when the weather gets below freezing, the system needs to pump warm water from the storage tank to protect the pipes and collectors from freezing. No matter the temperature or the amount of sunlight, the right temperature has to be pumped to its final destination.

When applying this principle to life, living in a good rhythm of prayer acts like a valve that mixes in cool and warm water when needed. God can take our heat – our anger, frustration, resentment – and mix it with His mercy, compassion, and wisdom so that we and others aren’t burned by what we say or think or do. When we feel the numbing cold of distrust, grief, or pain, God can warm us with His reservoir of grace, strength, and love. In either case, we ultimately receive the grace to do whatever it takes to glorify the name of Jesus.

If you want to live in despair, there are plenty of things you can attach to that will result in hopeless living. But if you want to live in victory, then get in the rhythm of life that will allow the Lord to bless. Set aside time each day to pray and saturate in the Word of God — seeking first His kingdom. Building in times of worship and service will create margin for the Lord to work in ways we can only imagine.

Consider making Wednesday morning at 6:30 part of your rhythm as we pray for our nation, our community, our church, and our families. Desperate times call for desperate corporate prayer.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Victim or Victor?

Victim or Victor?

Did you know it is not a sin to be tempted? Being tempted only reminds us that we are living in a world that is not totally dependent on God. Temptation is something we have to learn to deal with. Even Jesus was tempted when He was physically on the earth. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, Satan tried to trip Him up. If Satan has the guts to tempt Jesus, then no one will be spared when it comes to temptation. Sometimes it comes on strong and other times it is a just a fleeting moment.

Last week we touched on Matthew 4. I would like to make that our focus again this week.

From your experience, what provides better joy: giving in to temptation or overcoming it by resisting it? You would think people’s answer would be giving in since that is what a lot of people do every day. Many people just settle in and embrace temptation to the point it goes away because they are living in it.

Regardless of your age or position in life, if you have a heartbeat, Satan will do his best to tempt you. He is relentless. The question is how to maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord in spite of the fact that the enemy tries his best to destroy it.

First of all, go to Matthew 4:1-11 and read it. Look at how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus was tempted right where He was living. Read it, saturate on this passage and see how Jesus used the very words of God to resist the devil and his conniving schemes. The enemy's plan is to thwart God’s plan for your life. He is wanting to stir up every relationship that represents God’s presence and provision in your life.

The only one who knows you more than yourself is God. So take the knowledge you have of yourself and put a plan together that will help you be the victor in the face of temptation. Ask yourself the question: How am I going to respond the next time I am tempted? Look up a verse that relates to the area of your life Satan has been attacking. Memorize it so you can quickly bring to mind God’s thoughts at any given moment. For example, when someone pushes your buttons to the point of explosion, bring Proverbs 15:1 to mind: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

When you are in the midst of temptation, stick to what you have decided ahead of time. Don’t let anything convince you of another course of action that you already determined to do. The moment you begin to compromise is the moment you put into jeopardy everything you value in life. Continuing to yield to temptation is deciding to push your relationship with your spouse, your best friend, or the Lord to the back burner. There is no room for regret. Take control of your next encounter with temptation. Plan ahead. It will hit you when you least expect it.

May your day today be filled with victory. May it be defined with your choices that are God honoring. May you live in the consequences of the Love of God to the glory of God.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stay Away From the Skunk

Stay Away From the Skunk

The other night I was lying awake in bed with my windows open. Soon the smell of a skunk began to permeate my room. It was so strong that I thought the foul animal was spraying outside my window. It was bad. After a while, the smell either left or I got used to it.

I began to think how Satan is like a big spiritual “skunk” who is constantly trying to “stink” up our relationship with the Lord. He doesn’t want there to be Christians in the first place, but when people believe in Jesus with their whole heart, he doesn’t just give up. Instead, he tries to drag believers back into sin again. He promises more than what he can produce while wearing a sign, “I promise not to spray anybody.” Unfortunately many Christians believe him!

In Genesis 3, the enemy of our souls took the form of a serpent – a little more frightening than a skunk. He got into conversation with Adam and Eve and questioned their relationship with the Lord. He didn’t say it was all bad, just planted some seeds of doubt while undermining the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He was very clever. Can I say that today he is just as clever if not more?

Do you remember singing the song, “Shut de door, keep out de debil. Shut de door keep the debil in the night. Light de candle everyting’s all right.” It is a great song with deep meaning in a simple way. The words are true. We need to shut the devil out of our lives by making our relationship with the Lord our highest priority. When we put God first in all things, the enemy will have little opportunity to trip you up. It is like driving down the road and seeing evidence of a skunk in the road and swerving to miss so the smell does not touch any part of your car. You may smell that it was present, but you didn’t get any of it on you.

Go to Matthew 4 and see how Jesus quickly diminished the devil’s suggestions and instead brought to mind what God said. Our relationship with Jesus needs to be protected at all costs. Notice how quickly the encounter ended between Jesus and Satan. Some have been hanging around the temptation way too long. The longer we listen to the crafty manipulator of our soul, the more likely we will get used to the smell and fall to his ways. Be on alert today!

Last Sunday we discussed the upcoming renovation starting on October 26. All of the details are in the foyer for the next few weeks. It’s exciting to see this project come together. So far 286 chairs have been committed. Just think of the people’s lives these chairs represent. Exciting days ahead!

Remember that several people gathered this morning on the front row and prayed for you today. I have really enjoyed our time of prayer on Wednesday mornings. May the Lord bless you today as you seek Him with all of your heart.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fed By the Word

Fed By the Word

Nehemiah 8:2-18

In this passage, we see the Word of God being placed as a priority in the lives of the people. There was respect and reverence for the Law of God. It says the people listened attentively. As Ezra opened the Word of God, the people stood up, lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. It brought much emotion to the people as they were having the Word explained to them so they would understand.

There is a big difference between going to God’s Word for a blessing and choosing to let it influence the way you live. The people listened intently to Ezra as he opened the Word and were focused on obeying what they heard. They were serious about placing the Word of God as number one in their lives.

We have the same need today for a greater sense of urgency and conviction when it comes to God’s Word. We must make it a priority to come to the house of the Lord with a worshipful and teachable attitude. Not only do we need this in our present day, but the next generation needs to see it modeled in our lives. The result will be great joy, just like it is described in Nehemiah 8. Let me encourage you to take the time to read this chapter. Follow the example set before us to make the things of God our number one priority.

I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday. We will be unfolding our plans for the renovation, celebrating new life through baptism, and continuing our series, “End Times: What Does Jesus Say?” Invite a friend and continue to pray for the Lord to fill our new chairs with people to hear the message of hope in this fallen world.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

War Room

War Room

This past Friday, there were several from our church who went to the movie theatre to see, “War Room.” We were not disappointed. It is a must see. If you need a reminder of how powerful fervent prayer is, then you will need to go and see it. Take as many people with you as you can.

I received an email from Provident Films remarking on the success of this movie.

Everyone's Talking About WAR ROOM
What do you say when the No. 1 new movie in all the land is about prayer?
What do you say when a prayer circle forms in the lobby of the local Cineplex after the movie?
What do you say when the No. 2 movie overall is a faith-filled reminder that God still touches lives and He’s still in control?
What do you say when people share on Facebook about loved ones coming to faith in Christ after seeing the movie?
What do you say when closets are becoming prayer rooms, spouses are asking for forgiveness, and parents are praying for their kids in ways they never have before?
What do you say? You say what Miss Clara says in WAR ROOM: “You’ve done it again, Lord. You’ve done it again!”

And You Say Thank You!
The Kendrick Brothers are in awe like all of us . . . only God could have done what He did this weekend. Director Alex Kendrick took a couple of minutes to say thank you and to celebrate some of the incredible things that have happened since WAR ROOM opened in theaters on Friday. We will see that response on Sunday during our Worship Services.

Every Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. our church is entering the War Room by coming to the “Front Row” in the sanctuary for prayer. I am excited about what the Lord is doing during our prayer time. I believe that the things we see happening are a direct result of the prayer that happens on Wednesday morning. The War Room’s success, changed lives, healed marriages, encouraged better fathers and mothers, is a direct result of fervent, desperate, believing prayer. Keep it up church, there is a new day on the horizon. We are on holy ground.

I would also like to invite people to join us on Sunday morning for prayer at 8:00 a.m. We gather across from the office in room 202 and pray for the services and the discipleship hour. Come and be a part of the “Front Row” ministries.

I read Psalm 81 in our prayer time this morning. I want to bring your attention to verses 8-14.

Hear Me, my people, and I will warn you—if you would only listen to Me, Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than Me. 10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But My people would not listen to Me; Israel would not submit to Me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If My people would only listen to Me, if Israel would only follow My ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!"

If we listen and follow the ways of the Lord, He will quickly turn against the enemy. That is the real enemy of our souls. Many times we spend time fighting against the wrong enemy. Let’s gather in our war rooms and let the light shine over all the darkness.

Those who are interested in being baptized on September 13, need to come to a 30-minute class tonight (Wednesday) at 6:00 p.m. It will be held in room 204 on the north side of the worship center.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just What We Need

Just What We Need

I have been contemplating the many revivals we have had since I have been pastor of this church. We have seen many lives revived and changed for the better. All in all, lives have been impacted by intentionally setting aside time to allow God to move in our hearts. Someone came to Billy Sunday, a famous evangelist, and was talking about the impact of revival. They said that revivals don’t last. His quick response was, “Neither does a bath, but it’s helpful.”

In Nehemiah 13, we see that the revival (rebuilding the walls) experience was short lived in some of the people’s lives because they fell back in their old ways. But it did make a difference. God was able to move them to a different level.

There are often times in our lives where we experience exponential growth. We may not be able to sustain the intensity but we will forever be changed. My prayer for our church is that we will experience all that God has for us in this season of our life and not expect to repeat a past move of the Spirit. I am praying for a fresh filling that will last as long as God allows. God, give us what we need to stay current, passionate, and contagious.

Have a blessed day and expect God to move in a fresh new way…

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When the Enemy Stirs

When the Enemy Stirs

As I look at the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, I am amazed at how the Lord moved on Nehemiah’s heart to accomplish this great task in 52 days. If you have time to read Nehemiah, it will increase your faith in the God of the impossible. Nehemiah inspected the walls and saw the how desolate it was. This renovation, or rebuilding project, would guarantee the security of the city and could provide a focal point for the Jewish community that had been scattered all over Judah.

Nehemiah had a strong personal faith because prayer was his first response to every situation (Nehemiah 1:4-11; 2:4). He had to overcome hostility and intimidation from powerful neighboring authorities (Nehemiah 4:1-9; 6:1-14). He also was concerned for the maintenance of the temple worship. He realized that Judah needed at its heart a religious emphasis and that making God the priority, it would bring political stability. I am thinking that it would be good to elect a Nehemiah as president in our day.

We have been praying on Wednesday morning for Nehemiah-sized miracles. The walls of our nation need to be built up again in every way. As we get serious and pray as it depends on us, there will come opposition. Let’s look at what Charles Spurgeon once wrote over 120 years ago:

“Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience that Satan hinders us. Satan will direct his engines against that very virtue for which you are the most famous. If you have been hitherto a firm believer, your faith will ere long be attacked; if you have been meek as Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips. The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah begin to labor, Sanballat and Tobiah are stirred up to hinder them. What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hindereth us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side, and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we shall win the victory, and triumph over our adversary.”

This is so relevant even today. God still intercedes and we live in victory. The road may be difficult and trying, but I would not want to be on any other road than the one that leads to the Father in heaven.

Again, who wants to join us on the “Front Row” on Wednesday mornings at 6:30 a.m?Tonight we will be kicking our Boost off with prayer in the sanctuary. Come and join us as we pray together. In the foyer, you will have an opportunity to sign up for the Boost class that will start the following week.

I want to thank our people for the love that was shown to Paul Fry’s family and friends. We are so blessed as a church to have so many who want to serve the Lord by serving others. I realize that this is continually going on throughout the week in many different instances. Sometimes it really comes to the forefront at different times. Thank you for being the church, the healing body of Christ wherever God calls you to lend a loving hand.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On the Front Row

On the Front Row

I am so excited about how our Wednesday morning prayer time is developing. For the past two weeks we have gathered in the sanctuary to pray from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. God is helping us as we gather to call upon the One who can do the impossible. We are praying as if our nation, our church, our communities, and our families won’t make it another day unless we corporately gather and agree together in prayer.

There is power when two or three gather together and pray in the name of Jesus. I believe that our services will be saturated with the Spirit of God when we pray together in one place at the same time. I also believe many breakthroughs can happen as a result of our prayer time together. God responds to desperate, soul stirring prayers. He longs for us to pray like we say we believe. I don’t want to take anything away from our personal times of prayer. God has called each of us to set aside a time each day to personally go before the Father. But God also calls us to come together corporately as well.

Solomon prayed for wisdom and became the wisest man to live, or at least one of the wisest. Elijah prayed and fire fell from heaven at Mt. Carmel. Elijah prayed that it would not rain for three years and it didn't. Daniel prayed and God delivered him from a den of lions. The church prayed in Acts 12 that Peter would be delivered from jail and while the group was praying, Peter was delivered and came to the door of the house where they were assembled. Cornelius prayed that he might hear the Word and be saved, and God sent Peter to preach and tell him how to be saved. Throughout Scripture are many instances where people prayed and believed. When they would simply do what God asked them to do, then the power and authority of Jesus would come and change things to line up with what God wanted.

I remember on one of our first Haiti trips we felt like we were in over our head. Our prayer was that God would help us and show us what role we were to take in the big scheme of things. I remember thinking, “If God doesn’t show up then we are toast.” God showed up and each trip we have taken has been a blessing beyond what words can describe.

Many times in church, the front rows are always empty. We can get into the reasons for that but I don’t think we can count them all. When I visit a church on vacation, I do the same thing. I usually sit more toward the back rather than sit on the front row. It is interesting that the seats are a little more padded for some reason on the front row. The view is also different. If you are the curious type, then you are not as distracted visually as you are when many are sitting in front of you.

The reason why I am talking about the front row is because we have started a front row ministry on Wednesday morning at 6:30. It is giving us a new perspective by seeing things better from a better view. These rows come at a premium price. You may have to rearrange your schedule in order to be here. But paying a premium price receives premium results. I believe our nation will be better, our church will be better, our marriages will be better, and our effectiveness will reach into the the eternal realm.

Hope to see you on the front row each week. The view is divine…

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Front Row Seats

Front Row Seats

In Matthew 15:29-39, we see a familiar passage of Jesus feeding the four thousand. Many know this story well. I want to focus on the first part. It all started when Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee. He sat down on a mountainside and people began to gather around Him. Jesus’ popularity began to grow and people started to bring the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and laid them before Jesus. The Bible says that He healed them. They were there for three days. It was like this extended revival. People were getting help and they didn’t want to leave. That is why there was a big meal. They were out in the middle of nowhere and it was time to eat. When Jesus is the center of attention and He has His way, lost and needy people will show up to find purpose, fulfillment, and healing. Actually, there were over 10,000 people there. People are doing things they had never done before. The blind are seeing, the lame are walking, the deaf are hearing, and the crippled made well. It was an incredible three days. But that isn’t the only miracle that happened.

Jesus gives the disciples baskets of food to disperse among the crowds. They were nervous because Jesus only had seven loaves of bread and a few small fish to work with. They ended up having more than enough. When Jesus is the source of the food, you always have more than enough.

I believe people are in need of Jesus to be the center point of their life. The enemy has done a good job in getting people to settle for second best and give up hope to ever find the peace of Christ. There are addictions that people need to be freed from, some have been blinded by the ways of the world, some are crippled with the weight of sin that has a hold of them, and some do not think they can ever live a life pleasing to God any longer. Yes, there are people in Findlay, Ohio, just surviving. We need to be a church that passionately offers Jesus to this lost world. I don’t want to grow as a church because it is the thing to do. I want to grow because Jesus is Lord and that He is moving in this place. The Bible says that when people feast on Jesus, they get filled. Our prayer ought to be that no one leaves Findlay First Naz empty. We can look at it this way: Jesus is the Chef and we are the waiters serving people. We are serving up Jesus and people are filled to completeness. Our church can be on the front seat of what God is doing in our community.

While we are out sharing with and serving people, we need people willing to be devoted in prayer to make all of our efforts saturated with power from on high.

Have you ever attended a sporting event or a play, and you could only afford the cheap seats? Perhaps you were late in getting a ticket and you had to settle for the seats in the back. Whatever the case, when you sit in the nose bleed section of an arena, you only see people the size of ants performing on a stage or playing a sport in an arena. I have sat so far away from the action that I felt like I needed to call someone sitting closer to find out the score.

Now if you ever have a friend give you tickets for a game and they just so happened to be on the front row, then you are ruined for life. You can actually see the game and hear the noise from all of the action. When you experience the front row, you are never satisfied with the back row again. Did you know that they have waiters and waitresses near the front row? It’s a different world down there. Average people like you and I don’t get to experience that very often. A premium view costs a premium price.

So often in life, we are willing to pay cheap seat prices but expect premium price results. In marriage, if you settle for paying a cheap price, you will get cheap results. I want a front row view of what God is doing so I want to pay the price to live in the front row. I owe that to my wife and kids. I want a front row seat with what God is doing around the world and in our community. I owe my life to God, so paying a high price is the least I can do. When I get out of my comfort zone and routine, then God is unleashed to do miracles.

We just started a front row ministry on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. Would you join us and expect God to show us how to be involved in the front row of what He is doing all around us? Once you get a taste of front row ministry, then you will never want to go back to the back row of compromise and convenience in life. God is calling us to the front row on Wednesday from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. to unite in prayer for our nation, our community, our church, and our families. Would you join me?

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike


www.findlayfirstnaz.org