Wednesday, May 25, 2016

24 Hours to Live!

I thought I would share a devotional I received yesterday in an email from Dr. Jerry Porter, one of six General Superintendent’s in the Church of the Nazarene. My prayer is that this will sharpen our awareness of the things the Lord wants us to be about today. It was good to dedicate three babies in church last Sunday. Let’s pray and seek the Lord this week as we prepare for an outpouring of God’s Spirit this Sunday as we gather together in Spirit and in Truth.
24 Hours to Live!
By Jerry D. Porter

Earlier this year I was hospitalized because of anemia brought on by medications that gave me stomach ulcers. I also suffered from a rapid heart rate (atrial fibrillation - AFIB). Recently when I was preparing a message for a funeral celebration, I was captured by two questions: What if I only had 24 hours to live? What if the Lord was coming back today?

As I ask myself those probing questions, my attitudes and actions are changing!

When someone is rude or irritating, I turn the other cheek and pray for him or her ... knowing that I might be standing before the Lord tomorrow!

When I think I am too busy to pray or study God’s Word, I affirm my total dependence on God, and I remember that an intimate conversation with Jesus is my number one priority.

When I have opportunity to be with my wife or family, I jump at the chance to spend quality time with my “inner circle” people.

When I walk through the airport, my heart is moved to compassion for each person, and I pray for these strangers. I am also not so quick to push to the front of the line to board the plane!

When temptation comes my way, the enemy’s sly deceit loses its luster in light of the realization that I could soon be standing before my Lord for my final accounting.

When I am with a pre-Christian friend, I feel the urgent need to share a word of hope in Christ with him or her, even at the risk of being embarrassed or rejected.

When I am with a hurting person, I immediately take a few minutes to pray for that one rather than simply promising to pray.

This simple question is changing me to live in the reality of maranatha: “Our Lord is coming soon.” I am discovering that my life priority is my relationship with God, my family, and my neighbors.

“Make it clear ... to all you meet that you’re on their side ... Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute” (Philippians 4:5, MSG).

“‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14–16, NIV).

What if I knew that I only had 24 hours to live?

“Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8, NIV). “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12, NIV) and live a no-regrets life, to the glory of God!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jesus’ Prayer in John 17

Jesus’ Prayer in John 17

This morning as we gathered to pray, I read Jesus’ prayer found in John 17. Take the time to look it up on your smart phone or your hard copy of the Written Word of God. I would like for us to saturate on these verses for the next few weeks as we look to the heart of Jesus.

Jesus came into a Jewish world that had developed a distant view of God, one that needed angels to carry messages. The people had ceased to use the name of God for fear of taking his name in vain, just like the Prodigal Son, who could speak of “heaven” but not use the name of God (Luke 15:18, 21). Into this context of speaking to God at a distance, Jesus came and called God his Father. What is more interesting is that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father” (Matt 6:9) in the Lord’s Prayer. For the Jews of that day such a personal view of God was very degrading of God and bordered blasphemy (John5:18). Yet in spite of his personal sense of the Father’s presence, Jesus modeled for his disciples how to honor and glorify God through consistent obedience to the will of the Father. In this chapter, we see the personal relationship Jesus has with God. There are only a few passages of Scripture that reveal the heart of Jesus like these 26 verses.

As you read, you will begin to see three sections in this prayer. The first deals with Jesus finishing His mission in a hostile world (vs. 1-8). The next section shows Jesus’ concern for the disciples’ well being and effectiveness (vs. 9-19). The last section looks to the future as Jesus prays for the ones who will receive and accept the gospel message (vs. 20-26). Within this prayer the verb form, “give,” is used 11 times; and the verb, “send,” is used seven times. This highlights the fact that Jesus wanted His mission continued in the context of a community that would believe and obey.

Take the time to saturate in this passage and for the next few weeks, we will unfold different aspects of Jesus’ prayer.

This Sunday is Baby Day. We celebrate our babies who are under two years old and offer our prayer support for the task of raising them up in the Lord. I will also be preaching on Heaven. So in essence, we will be looking at all of life, from the cradle to eternity. It is going to be a great Sunday to worship together.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Glimpse of Revival

A Glimpse of Revival

When I look at the world in which we live, I can’t help but think of our need for a revival. I’m talking a time when the Holy Spirit comes down and shakes us up like what happened at Pentecost in Acts 2. I believe that one of Satan’s chief tactics is to play on people’s fears. Knowing that revival spells big trouble for him, Satan does everything he can to cause us to avoid it. “Revival? You mean where they do all that whooping and hollering? If that’s what you are talking about then don’t count me in. They’ll be picking up snakes next.” I know, I just read your mind. I have that ability you know – not!

Jesus said in John 8:44, while talking with some hard headed Jews, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” That was a great line from the Master Himself.

Some people, for whom being in control is very important, tremble at the thought of losing that control. The truth is that they’re really not that thrilled about being in a setting where there’s an overwhelming sense of the presence of the Lord. The possibility of exposure of hidden sins is perceived as a huge threat. They certainly don’t want anyone messing around in their past – including God. If God wants to deal with an issue, by all means He can do it at home when no one else is around. Again, this is listening to the father of lies who is good at what he does. Now let me pour a little Scripture on the matter.

Psalm 1 is a well-loved Hebrew poem. It is a word picture of personal revival. As you look at it you can’t help but picture a great fruit-bearing tree planted by streams of water. But a closer look reveals this tree to be a picture of living in the Lord’s presence as He watches over the way of the righteous. Nothing to be afraid of here. It’s actually quite drawing.

Now let’s move to another portion of Scripture found in Psalm 42:4.It says, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” This time we’re looking at a delightful celebration. People are praising God on their way to the house of God. Can you hear the shouts of joy on the lips of grateful worshippers? As you look closer you will see that it is another revival picture. The writer is recalling an earlier experience back in Jerusalem, and he wants the opportunity to relive it. Instead of being frightened, he is intrigued and pulled in.

There are more places like this in Scripture. It’s so freeing to be able to visit the Word of God and set the record straight about revival. Let me challenge you to search the Bible for more encounters with a revival from upon high.

This Sunday we will be looking at what Pentecost is all about. I look forward to seeing God move on this church and every relationship inside and outside of our walls as a direct result of the Spirit filling power of God.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer

On Thursday, May 5, people will be praying all across this Nation. It was started in 1952, although there were days of fasting and prayer observed many years prior to making it an official day on the calendar. Everyone is asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation. This morning in our prayer time at the church, I read 2 Chronicles 7:14 where the Lord says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” What a rich promise directly from the lips of God.

I want to include a prayer from the 2016 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, Dr. Tony Evans. It is powerful and to the point.

Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land; blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.

This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.

It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.

Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.
In Jesus’ name we pray.

There will be a time of prayer in downtown Findlay at Dorney Plaza on Thursday at noon. Plan to attend this time with your community. More info is available at

Tonight at Boost we will be exploring the book, “When God’s People Pray” from Jim Cymbala. Jim is the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. He will share how prayer has turned his tiny, struggling inner-city church into a vital, thriving community of believers who pray with passion, focus, and faith. Come and be encouraged to pray more and believe that God wants to do above and beyond your prayers. It will be a powerful time of testimony and encouragement. Join us in room 204 (office hallway) at 6:45 p.m.

Remember that Sunday will be Mother’s Day. We have a special gift for every mother who attends church on Sunday. It’s going to be a great day of worship together.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike