#blessed?

#blessed?

“Blessed are you…”

 MATTHEW 5:11 (NIV)

 

Welcome to worship! We pray that you will know the love of Jesus in a tangible way as you experience His presence today. He’s so good to us!

What do you think of when you hear the word “blessed”? It is a term used by people of nearly every social, political, or spiritual background. For those who follow Jesus, it is an important word, as our Lord used it in the most famous sermon ever preached—The Sermon on The Mount. If you asked a shopper at a local store what it means to be blessed, you might hear about reduced prices on groceries or prescription medications. If you asked a starving child in war-torn Aleppo, Syria what it means to be blessed they would likely be speechless. After all, it’s hard to describe something you’re not experiencing.

In the world today, it seems that being blessed has a lot more to do with money, or what money can buy than it does anything else. Is that what Jesus meant when He used the word repeatedly in The Sermon on The Mount? Let’s consider that question in some detail…

In interpreting Scripture, Rule #1 is: Context is King. In other words, it is possible to apply a verse of Scripture without understanding its proper interpretation. In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus is speaking mostly to Jews living under Roman occupation. They worked, bought, and sold to supply what the Roman government demanded first before they could provide for themselves or their families. When they heard Jesus use the word “bless” [Greek: makarios], money or what it could buy was not what crossed their minds. What they craved was freedom and security. Jesus, the Author of Wisdom, spoke to those very needs.

Over the last several years, American pastors and churches have put Jesus words from Matthew 5 into a “spin” cycle. If you read their books or listen to their teaching, you’d believe that Jesus was promising wealth, health, and career advancement to anyone who would demonstrate the characteristics He spoke about. Not so. Not even close…

Jesus came to earth to teach us and show us how to be “blessed”: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV). “The thief” is the devil. He’s been stealing, killing, and destroying ever since Eden. Ponder these words: “life…to the full.” The Greek word for “full” is “perissos” meaning: superabundant in quantity; superior in quality; beyond measure; over and above; limitless. Almost every Jewish person wanted what Jesus offered: a life superior in quality and superabundant in quantity, a limitless life. 2,000 years later, what do people all over the world crave? Life…to the full”! Are you living God’s Dream (borrowed from Dan Wilmoth) ? Are you really and truly “blessed”?

Here’s an oft-quoted Jewish story:

An old Rabbi said, “In olden days there were men who saw the face of God.”
“Why don’t they any more?” a young student asked.
“Because, nowadays no one stoops so low,” he replied.

Being blessed has nothing to do with material things. Being blessed is about the favor of God, the face of God, the approval of God. Job 5:17 reads, “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” In this context, we’re blessed when God corrects us. Ouch! The Psalmist says, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5). Hallelujah!

The greatest freedom one could ever experience is to know beyond a doubt that they are loved unconditionally, will be provided for faithfully, and were planned for intentionally. That’s what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on The Mount. In Matthew 19:16-30, we clearly see that Jesus promised rewards in heaven, not on this earth. Being blessed is about so much more than money and possessions.  Thank God!

Do you want to be blessed today?

Will you meet me on the floor?

Wouldn’t you agree that we need to see the face of God? Let’s stoop low. In God’s Kingdom, the only way UP is down. Let us humble ourselves at the feet of Jesus and see what He wants to do for those who stoop low.

May you be BLESSED today as you draw near to His heart. I’m sure that He has something amazing planned for each person here this morning!

Never Forget: JESUS LOVES YOU!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Work

Welcome! There is nothing more refreshing to a follower of Jesus than experiencing the pleasure of His presence. Today, we pray that you’ll be overwhelmed His grace, His love, and His precious, priceless, peace!

A few years ago, I heard a radio interview with noted author, Jim Collins. He was answering questions from callers about his best-selling book entitled, Good To Great. One particular caller wanted to “correct” Collins’ view on “the gift of work.” The caller stated that work was NOT a gift, but rather a judgment from God resulting from man’s disobedience in Eden. The caller asserted that if Adam had successfully resisted the devil’s temptation, he would never have had to work at all. Collins read Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” He read a definition of “tend” (Hebrew: abad) which means: to labor, to till or plow until sweat accumulates on one’s brow. The author made this statement: “It is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” Collins then pointed out the obvious — that Genesis 2 precedes Genesis 3 (the story of The Fall of Man), concluding that the gift of work preceded Adam and Eve’s failure. In other words, “the gift of work” was always  God’s design for mankind.

On this Labor Day weekend, let’s refocus on what God’s Word says to those of us who areprivileged to work. After all, 1 Corinthians 3:9 states, “For we are co-workers in God’s service…” Could any human being ever receive a higher calling or enjoy a greater honor?

Saul of Tarsus labored for years as an up and coming “Junior Pharisee”. He studied under the man regarded as Israel’s greatest rabbinical scholar, Gamaliel. Saul gained notoriety for devotion to his studies and to the legal system which served Jewish society. [You may know him better as “Paul”, the name by which he was known as after encountering the Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road.] Afterward this experience, Paul became a tireless laborer for Christ! He wrote to the saints in Thessalonica: “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8). Paul knew that his rewards would far outweigh what he would have enjoyed had he graduated to a seat in the Sanhedrin (Israel’s supreme court).

Paul felt honored to sacrifice whatever necessary for the cause of Christ. To the Church in Ephesus, he wrote, “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all these things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:34-35). That is the mindset of someone who loves his work!

Are you that kind of laborer? What does your “work” reveal about your character?

Friend, thank you for setting a positive example for those who work with you. If you are involved in ministry, we honor and celebrate you for your faithfulness to Christ and to His eternal Kingdom. We trust that when this life is over and when Believers are rewarded, you will hear the words: “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23). We pray that you will enjoy a meaningful life as you steward “the gift of work” given to us all by our Heavenly Father. What a privilege it is to work for His fame and glory!

 

Never Forget: YOU Are Loved!!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Where Is The Love?

The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 1 JOHN 4:8 (AMPLIFIED)

Hello! Thank you for joining us for worship this morning. We pray that being in God’s presence enriches each of our lives immeasurably!

What a time to be alive! News headlines are barren of anything constructive. Entertainment is a plunge into bizarre fantasies and escapism. Naked and Afraid in a Louisiana swamp? Who created, or watches, this? Much of what passes for popular music is riddled with filthy words and is demonic. Recently, my grandsons were playing a song from YouTube which I overheard. I asked them if they understood what the “artist” was saying (I only picked up a word or two). Ethan said, “No, but we like the music.” Unfortunately, there was no way to erase the words [glorifying rebellion and violence]. I suggested switching to a song they learned at Youth Camp to which they agreed, alleviating my concerns, at least for the moment. So, really…WHERE IS THE LOVE?
 
A primary characteristic of one who follows Jesus Christ is relentless, genuine love. Anyone who is awake would admit that this world’s

“love tank” is drying up very quickly. Stories emerge every day about man’s inhumanity to man. We are more educated than ever, yet more barbaric than ever. What can we do? What should we do?

Holy Scripture demonstrates time and time again that God achieves His sovereign plan and perfect will in His people by placing them in circumstances they would never have chosen. Think about the pit our world is sinking into. Treachery, deceit, lies, and betrayal are common fare these days—and not just on TV shows. Families are frayed —if not fractured—by the horror of divorce. A mother brainwashes her children to hate their “deadbeat” dad. The father repays his ex-wife by threatening her life in front of their kids, who eventually need chemical assistance just to cope. Broken hearts, broken dreams, broken lives.
 
Ever heard of a church-split? It’s like a banana-split, but a lot less fun. Isn’t it astonishing how people who called each other “brother” or “sister” can get to a place where they detest the sight of one another. I’m sure that Jesus is thrilled by another “house of worship” that wasn’t His idea at all. He hates division and church wars. He made sure that before He left planet earth, He showed His closest friends what real love looks like.
 

What comes into your mind when you hear the name, JUDAS? Are you getting any warm fuzzies? Betrayal is the cruelest of all offenses. Betrayal is when a person who enjoys the complete trust of another cashes in their relationship for personal gain. In Judas’s case, he got 30 pieces of silver for his “kiss and tell” act. If you were Jesus, how would you have dealt with that? Jesus dealt with Judas’s betrayal BEFORE it happened. Jesus washed the feet of His betrayer—knowing fully what Judas was going to do. How and why did He do that?

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48 NLT). Jesus said these words—and He lived
these words. That is our assignment, too.
 
Our challenge is to love people whether they are kind or cruel. After all, that’s how God loves us. Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness, grace, and love! Lord, help us to love like You do!!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann


Shine

Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land. –PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15 (THE VOICE)

 

Good morning! We pray that you’ll experience the presence and peace of God as you worship Him today. We’re so glad you’re here!

 

If you watch, listen to, or read “the news”, I have a question for you: “How Are You NOT On Prozac By Now?” Seriously, only the stout-hearted among us can tolerate “the news” these days. If I were a person responsible for keeping people informed, I’d need a mind and/or mood-altering drug to cope with the evil and confusion of this world. Wouldn’t you? Here’s another important question: “How is a follower of Jesus Christ supposed to survive the darkness of this age?”

 

First, it’s important to remember that darkness (as a metaphor for evil) has been in the world since the devil deceived our original parents. The consequences of that failure are being felt even to this day. Every broken home, broken heart, and wounded soul is fallout from that catastrophe. Second, it is vital to remember that God has chosen to seed His eternal Kingdom into this world like leaven into bread. The loaf dwarfs the yeast initially, but over time the impact of the yeast is undeniable! As the quote by Francis Bacon above indicates,

DARKNESS is the perfect backdrop for LIGHT. God always knows what He’s doing!

 

Let me share an example from Scripture about how God’s will preempts darkness. Do you remember Joseph (or as Disney presented him, The Prince of Egypt)? Jacob’s favorite son was a dreamer, to say the least. God gave Joseph his dreams, and, he did what any teenager would’ve done: He blabbed it to his brothers, who became horribly jealous! If you’re familiar with Joseph’s story, you know where I’m going with this…

 

Where did God send Joseph? The “birthing chamber” for the fulfillment of Joseph’s (and God’s)
dreams was not a luxurious palace where servants waited on him hand and foot. His “entry-level position” was as a servant to one of the Pharaoh’s highest ranking officials—Potiphar. While serving there, Mrs. Potiphar did her dead-level best to entrap young Joseph, using her body as bait. Falsely accused by this treasonous tramp, Joseph was sent to prison, paying the time for a crime he did not commit. How in the world did Joseph endure this situation?
 
It gets worse. While in prison, Joseph prospered because the hand of the Lord was upon him. In the process of time, he came across two men who served the Pharaoh—his chief butler and chief baker—until they were thrown into prison for displeasing him. While in prison, both men had dreams which Joseph interpreted. He asked them to remember him, if and when, they were freed. The chief butler was released, but, “forgot” Joseph (Genesis 40:23), so Joseph stayed in prison for two more years!!

 

Pharaoh had a dream which his “magicians” and “wise men” could not interpret. Lo and behold, the chief butler remembered Joseph…

finally! He was summoned to appear before the Pharaoh and accurately interpreted his dream. As a result, Joseph went from the pit to the palace. If you’d asked Joseph how well his dreams were working out before this particular day, I doubt he’d have found a silver lining in his dark clouds. However, in the DARKNESS of prison, the LIGHT of Joseph’s character shined like a star!

 

Joseph served and honored his Lord, Who turned his darkness into light. We are the prized possessions of that same Sovereign God. He does for us just what He did for Joseph. He allows—or even arranges—dark situations that we would never choose. God always knows what He’s doing! Thank God for DARKNESS; He uses it to display His LIGHT through us. Today, “Shine like stars across the land.”
When time is no more, we will surely say, as did Joseph, that it was worth it all! To God be all the Glory!!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann


The Church

As the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body, so it is with the body of Christ. For we were all baptised by the Spirit into one body, whether we were Jews, Gentiles, slaves or free men, and we have all had experience of the same Spirit. – ICORINTHIANS 12:12-13 (PHILLIPS) 

 

Good morning and welcome to worship. We are so happy that YOU are here today! Believe it or not—you’re absence (or any other person’s here) would make a world of difference. Will you read on for a few minutes?

 

When I first met Jesus in October 1984, I had decades of anti-Church lies and fears to overcome. I grew up in an anti-Christian cult who did all in its power to defame the Body of Christ. Even after the Lord gloriously redeemed me, I was terrified of “the Church” because of the poisonous lies I grew up hearing and believing. Only one thing was strong enough to break through my barrier of resistance: My Children.

 

A few weeks after giving my heart to Christ, our daughter, Melissa (7), and son, Jarrod (3), were preparing for their parts in a Christmas program. My wife, Diann, had been taking them with her to church. The kids asked me to come to their performance. I was 27 years old, and had no idea how I would be received by the congregation at Plainview Baptist Church in Tarrant, AL. The Sunday before Christmas (Dec. 22, 1984) I stepped into a room full of strangers, I thought. I was trying hard to avoid suspicion, to watch the Christmas program, and hopefully, make it home without issue or incident. But something very strange happened that night…I MET LOVE!

Everything about my life changed that day. Instead of blank stares and cold shoulders, I encountered people who loved me before
they met me. I’ll never forget them! I fell in love with Jesus on October 28th. I fell in love with His Bride—the Church—on December 22nd.
 
Can you relate?

 

One of the things I realized immediately is how much Satan despises the Church (not a particular building—the Body universal). He leaves no stone unturned in his relentless attacks on the Bride of Christ. He’s the author of lies, slander, and ridicule. He stirs up dissension, disunity, and division. Why? He understands an ancient principle of war—DIVIDE and CONQUER. That is why UNITY in Christ’s Body is so critical, and why the Holy Spirit made certain to include injunctions in both Old and New Testaments about the value of unity. Consider just a couple:

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! – PSALM 133:1 (NKJV)

 

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
EPHESIANS 4:1-3 (NKJV)

 

Today, you and I will worship alongside people of all types of backgrounds, and life experiences. Yet, miraculously, they’re more a brother or sister than our flesh-and-blood kin. The Holy Spirit baptized each one of us into the Body of Christ. Each of those parts, “despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body…” How can this be? Paul reveals that it’s because “we have all had experience of the same Spirit.” Hallelujah!

 

I am so thankful for Y-O-U! Before any one of us were born, the Lord set His love upon us. He desired our love and fellowship. As members of His Body, He has placed each one of us together for this moment in time. Because of His grace, we have the privilege of serving and worshipping together, and the honor of loving together! Just in case you haven’t heard it lately, let me remind you: You Are Loved; You Are Valuable; You Are Powerful; You are ROYALTY! Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom of God on Sand Mountain and beyond!

 

Never Forget: You Are Loved!!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



The Most High God

God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times:Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done

PSALM 62:11-12 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)

 

Good morning! May the Lord bless you, strengthen you, and give you abundant grace and peace. Our God delights in blessing His children!

In a world going mad, it is vital to focus upon the character and nature of our Most High God. All who love and trust their Maker are supposed to live above stress and depression. Believers who place their faith in Jesus have no reason to dwell on negatives. Peter wrote,
“…To all of you that are in Christ Jesus (the Messiah), may there be peace (every kind of peace and blessing, especially peace with God, and freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts)”  (I Peter 5:14 Amplified). I can think of a lot of folks who really need that kind of peace and blessing. Can’t you?
 
A dear sister in Christ once shared with me about her torment trying to sleep for most of her adult life. She said two hours of sleep—off and on, mostly off—was her “normal” FOR FIFTEEN YEARS! She would doze off and then hear screams, see things, and awaken in terror. Her husband had all he could take, and divorced her. Her daughter moved in with her grandmother so she could rest normally and be prepared for school each morning. Even with the house empty, the torment continued…until…
 
A co-worker invited this lady to a Revival service. The minister spoke on Psalm 127:2 that night—a night that changed Jolene’s life
forever!
 
That verse reads:  “It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” The minister prayed over and anointed with oil all present who suffered from anxiety when they tried to sleep. When Jolene went home, she slept and slept and slept. In fact, Jolene didn’t wake up until 4:30 the following afternoon (nearly 16 hours!). As she shared this testimony, she said during her “Rip Van Winkle” experience, the Lord spoke this to her: “I am all-powerful. I know your needs, your wants, and your fears. When will you finally trust Me to work on your behalf while you rest?” Jolene got free that night. That’s what truly trusting God does!
 
Do you know El Elyon, The Most High God? Do you know, and trust, the God to Whom ALL POWER belongs? Does your soul rejoice in the assurance that your heavenly Father works in your behalf while you rest? If not, how’s that anxiety and worry thing working out for you?
 
We live in a culture of stressed out, adrenalin junkies who barely sleep at all. Some of them acclaim to be Christians. In counseling, I have heard people talk about issues that limit their ability to rest and rejuvenate. Some people want help to break through every barrier affecting their life, health, home, and happiness. Others talk and talk, but have no plans to fully trust in the God to Whom all power belongs. How tragic!
 
I love Scriptures that exalt The Most High God. They are highlighted in my devotional Bible, reminding me of God’s promises to care for, to defend, and to bless His own. Psalm 68:1 says, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, And let those who hate Him flee before Him.” It is time for those who know their God to stop hiding in fear. We must “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”
(Ephesians 6:10). Followers of Christ must drop the neurosis of “insecurity” we’re plagued with. Instead, we must stand upon God’s infallible Word, including His promises to take care of us and ours. NOW IS THE TIME!
 
Today, resign from the spirit of fear! Give your all to Jesus. POWER belongs to God—and He, in turn, gives it to us. This power by proxy is intended to be utilized against the darkness of this age. Be anxious for nothing.

Trust El Elyon! Demons tremble at the mention of His name. So witness, work, and win souls for Christ. At the end of the day, sleep in sweet peace while God works in your behalf. HE IS FAITHFUL!!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann

 



America

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. –PSALM 33:12 (NKJV)
 
Thank you for joining us for worship on the eve of Independence Day, 2016. We pray that our Lord, Jesus, will reveal His love, His grace, and His mercies to you in a new and fresh way today!
 
Obviously we desperately need repentance and revival. How would America’s Founding Fathers respond if they could experience the present culture of the nation they helped to establish? Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd President, and Drafter and Signer of The Declaration of Independence, said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
[Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.]
 
Of the truths President Jefferson spoke, this harrowing line stands out: “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever;…” What would he think of our current climate? Just last week, I saw people celebrating the “right” of women in the United States to murder a child they are carrying in their wombs. It looked like they had won a billion dollars or two! Lord, help us now!!
 
Will you read these words from one of our nation’s finest statesmen? Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” America’s greatest threat is not foreign armies, demonically inspired men developing nuclear warheads or sinister geopolitical forces. As alarming as our national deficit is, that is not our greatest liability, either. Our greatest threat was foreseen by our 16th President. Abraham Lincoln’s words are being fulfilled right before our eyes. It’s enough to break your heart and drown all hope. or is it?
 
On July 4th, I’ll be praying for the United States of America. I hope you will, too. I’m not praying for Republicans or Democrats. I’m not praying for residents of the White House, for tycoons on Wall Street, or for the mercenaries on Madison Avenue. I’ll be lifting up the Church of Jesus. I still believe that the Church is the only entity standing between the rotting corpse we are becoming and the resurrection life we crave. Although the promise made in 2 Chronicles 7:14 was given to Solomon at the dedication of the temple he built for God, it is a “representative” promise—meaning that whoever abides by it’s principles will receive the benefits offered, as if they were the original recipient. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reads: “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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Will you pray with me?
 
“Gracious Father, we humble ourselves today. We acknowledge our sinful ways. We ask You to break our hearts over the wickedness we’ve flaunted in Your face. Though we certainly merit judgment, we ask You to hear us from heaven. We repent of the evil in our hearts. We beg Your forgiveness. We thank You for the blood shed in our behalf by Your Son, Jesus. We throw ourselves completely upon Your mercy. We confess that You alone are our only hope. Lord, raise up a remnant in America who adore You, who will separate themselves from the filth of our depraved culture and who will walk uprightly before You. God, send a revival that shakes our nation from sea to shining sea. Leave no stone unturned. Start in my house, and move from there to the White House. Remove every hardened heart that defies Your laws and Lordship. Give us God-fearing leaders, judges, pastors, school teachers, and families. Revive Your people, Lord! In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.”

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA . . . AGAIN!

 



The Kingdom of God!

 
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” MATTHEW 6:9-13 (NEW KING JAMES VERSION)
 
Welcome to Crossroads! We trust that the Lord will bless, encourage, and challenge us today as we worship Him and seek His wisdom!
 
As you read the New Testament you’ll see the word “kingdom” often. The phrase, “kingdom of God” appears 68 times; the phrase “kingdom of heaven” occurs 31 times (all in Matthew’s Gospel), while “kingdom of Christ” is found once. Obviously, this term should be very important to any serious student of Scripture. As Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He included this plea: “Your kingdom come.”
What did He actually mean?
 
Jesus described life in God’s kingdom as an “inside job”! Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you] (Luke 17:20-21 AMP). God’s eternal kingdom begins within—but then overflows the boundaries of our hearts, spilling out into our homes, families, and communities. Like leaven, what begins almost invisibly expands until it can no longer be ignored.
 
Can that be said about the way YOU live for Christ? Is His Kingdom changing you, rearranging your priorities, as it overflows the boundaries of your sanctified heart? Many believers fail to experience all that Christ has made available to His own. Paul addressed this issue with the saints in Corinth, writing, Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
(II Corinthians 6:11-13 The Message). What a challenge!
 
Is it possible that we’ve settled for fragments instead of receiving our full inheritance as joint-heirs with Christ? Paul tried to awaken a hunger within the hearts of “sleeping saints.” He longed for them to destroy the boundaries limiting their experience in the kingdom of God. Instead of living a “wide-open, spacious life”, they had accepted a “smallness…from within.” He declares, “Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way.” If Paul were able to visit Crossroads and spend some time with each one of us, would he salute our audacious faith and unrestrained boldness, or would he say, “Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively”? Would he see the kingdom of God at work in our lives, or would he be broken hearted at our “smallness…from within”?
 
Friend, may I encourage you to be honest with yourself? Every once in a while, we need a “come to Jesus” meeting. We need to stop going through the motions of fruitless, frustrating ministry, and allow the Holy Spirit to expose the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about us. As frightening as that may sound, I believe it is necessary, and sooner rather than later. As a matter of fact, I’ve been praying for this experience to happen here TODAY. I’ve asked the Lord to break down our mental fences, to show us a glimpse of what He has made possible in our lives, creating a hunger for more like we have

never experienced in our lives!

Today, we welcome an anointed minister of the Gospel from Ghana. Dr. Emmanuel Fiagbedzi is quite familiar with mental, social, economic, and spiritual fences. He also knows that one word from Almighty God can obliterate what seemed insurmountable! Dr. Fiagbedzi knows that when the Lord gives His child a vision of what is possible in their life, He’s already made PRO
vision for it, regardless of circumstances.
 
May your heart be open, your mind be alert, and your spirit be enlarged as you receive the Word of the Lord. I’m praying that your sleep will be interrupted by dreams, visions, and revelations from heaven in coming days. If there was ever a time to release the kingdom of God within us, to stretch our faith, and to dare to dream again, IT IS NOW!

Never Forget: YOU ARE LOVED!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



By Example!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

“I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” —GENESIS  18:19 (NLT)

 

Welcome to Crossroads! If you’re a Dad reading this, you know all too well the weight of the responsibilities which you bear daily. Working to provide for your family is challenging enough, but your work doesn’t end with “bringing home the bacon.” As a spiritual man, you see what most of your peers don’t, and, more importantly, realize that the rewards you’re striving for aren’t printed in green ink and marked “U.S. Currency.” In other words, you’re A LOT like Father Abraham!

Consider for a moment Genesis 18:19. The God of the Universe says something about Abraham that is absolutely astonishing. Yahweh says, “I have singled him out…” WOW! What greater honor could anyone ever experience than being singled out by God? However, notice the qualifier: “so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.” DID YOU SEE THAT?

The impact of Abraham’s paternity couldn’t be measured in his natural lifetime alone. His possessions and property, though vast, were negligible when compared to HIS SEED. What’s the point, you ask? Just this: If the greatest “blessing” you, or I, leave our children, grandchildren, or other heirs is a financial inheritance upon our deaths, there’s a term for that: EPIC FAIL! Fathers, you and I have the greatest potential in the universe: To forge an impression of God’s character and His ways in the hearts and souls of our sons and daughters that can never be erased!

How do we accomplish that, Dads? The answer to that question takes just seven words:

“by doing what is right and just.” Dads, as powerful as our words are; as infectious as our dedication to excellence in our career may be; as critical as it is to keep our marriage vow until death parts us from the wife of our youth; there is nothing on earth more important than those seven words: “by doing what is right and just.” And here’s why…

The graphic at the beginning of this article reminds us of a vital truth that has been all but obliterated in the last few years; a truth Christian dads are called to resurrect and “live out” daily. Albert Schweitzer wrote: “There are only three ways to teach a child. The first is by example, the second is by example, the third is by example.” Schweitzer had but one child, but he understood the impact of his example upon his daughter’s life. He was a was a French-German theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician. His writings were considered “ground-breaking” by his contemporaries. He was so moved by the lack of medical care available to natives of West Central Africa that he studied medicine in order to build a hospital to serve those who couldn’t possibly pay for his services. My friend, THAT’S teaching by example, and I can prove it!

Schweitzer’s daughter, Rhena, followed in her father’s footsteps, and spent all of her adult life serving the underprivileged. In fact, she married a man who shared her and her dad’s passion for serving. They traveled the world together offering medical assistance in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam and Yemen. David and Rhena Miller continued the legacy of sacrificial service first modeled to them by her father. Think about that for a moment or two…

Dad, YOU are crafting a legacy daily by your choices. As much as we may try to deny it, the truth is that our children don’t do what
THEY’RE TOLD (much of the time), but they do what THEY SEE! My question for reflection today is: Dad, are you content with the pattern you will leave behind for your children, grandchildren, and future generations?
 
My prayer for every father reading these words is that, like Abraham, we will direct our children—and their families
—to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. The only way to do that is by living a consistent, God honoring life. The Holy Spirit lives in every godly man’s heart, making the impossible, possible. Guys, we can do this!

 

Happy Father’s Day, Men of God!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann



IT TAKES A WHOLE CHURCH!

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it. PROVERBS 22:9 (AMPLIFIED)
 
Welcome to Crossroads! This week is a special one for all who love Crossroads. For most summers of our existence, we’ve offered Vacation Bible School to our families and community. Perhaps, you have memories from days gone by of your experiences at Vacation Bible School. I’ve heard many such stories, ranging from the incredibly funny to the spiritually profound. That’s the reason for this article—to remind us that what happens at VBS may be unforgettable, whether for a child, or an adult. As Proverbs 22:9 reminds us, whatever a child is shaped by during his or her formative years WILL  come back to their memory, eventually. Aren’t you thankful for that promise? I sure am!
 
Years ago, Diann and I served as pastors in Butler, Missouri. During a Men’s Ministry breakfast one day, an elderly gentleman from the church shared his testimony. He spoke fondly of his parents and their efforts to raise him in the Christian faith. As a businessman, he forsook the faith of his youth, and went all out in pursuit of “the almighty dollar”, as he called it. He eventually married, and had two daughters. Not only did he not go to church, he even forbade his wife or girls from going. His conscience was seared. He only cared about one thing in life—MONEY! Then, a funny thing happened to him on his highway to hell…

 

A local Assembly of God church in Kansas City was in the middle of its VBS activities, and sent out buses and vans into local neighborhoods to pick up children who needed a ride. The van pulled up at the same time this man arrived home—in time to see his daughters getting on board. He marched inside his home to confront his wife about letting “his” girls go to VBS. His wife told him that “their” daughters had given their hearts to Jesus the night before and were being baptized that night. Flustered, the man asked his wife,

“Why didn’t they tell me about it?” Her response changed his life forever: “They were afraid you’d be mad at them like you’re mad at God.”  He was stunned, hurt, and ashamed, he said.

 

That night, Bill and Louise rushed to VBS at Sheffield Assembly in Kansas City. They arrived just in time to see their daughters get baptized. Bill was a wreck! A river of tears covered his face. Finally, an usher asked if he could help him. Bill asked if he could speak with the pastor, George Westlake. That night, Bill repented of his sins, asked his wife and daughters to forgive him for his failure as a husband and father, and pledged to live for Jesus for the rest of his life. Bill kept his promise!

 

What would have happened if Sheffield Assembly decided that what they offered for children was “good enough” and that VBS was too much work for their folks? What would’ve happened if the van drivers, ushers, teachers, nursery attendants, kitchen staff, and pastors took the summer off (like most churches do)? Bill, Louise, and their daughters are glad they didn’t! Bill started a radio station in Butler, Missouri in 1962. He wrote and shared a devotional on air during “drive time” each day. Over the years,

hundreds of listeners have called in to the radio station to tell Bill that they’ve given their hearts to Jesus as he prayed at the conclusion of his time on air. And all THIS because of VBS!

 

This week, we will host someone’s daughter or son. We will love on them as if they were the only person for whom Jesus died. We will serve them as if they were the only person we’ll ever meet. People will cook, clean, drive, serve, sing, do crafts, and a dozen other things as we strive to minister to people. Could we take the summer off? We do “enough” already with CrossKids and Children’s Church, don’t we? Don’t we?

 

As long as there are broken hearts and hurting people, we must seize opportunities to offer The Solution—JESUS! He still saves, heals, loves, and restores! Maybe this week, another “Bill” will meet Jesus as we serve during VBS. Only God knows the impact made by one person as they surrender their life to Christ. Please pray that our efforts will make an eternal  difference. Thank you for serving, for loving, and for praying!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann




Blog 5.3.15
 

You Are God’s Masterpiece                                            MAX LUCADO

To see sin without grace is despair. To see grace without sin is arrogance.  To see them in tandem is conversion.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (GALATIANS 2:20)

   Christ is on the move, aggressively budging you from graceless to grace-shaped living. The gift-given giving gifts. God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen.

   He will do with you what Vik Muniz did with the garbage pickers of Gramacho. Jardim Gramacho is the largest landfill in the world, the Godzilla of garbage dumps. What Rio de Janeiro discards, Gramacho takes. And what Gramacho takes, catadores scavenge. About 3.000 garbage pickers scrape a living out of the rubbish, salvaging 200 tons of recyclable scraps daily. They trail the never-ending convoy of trucks, trudging up the mountains of garbage and sliding down the other side, snagging scraps along the way. Plastic bottles, tubes, wires, and paper are sorted and sold to wholesalers who stand on the edge of the dump.

   Across the bay the Christ the Redeemer statue extends his arms toward Rio’s South Zone and its million-dollar beachfront apartments. Tourists flock there; no one comes to Gramacho. No one except Vik Muniz.

   This Brazilian-born artist convinced 5 garbage workers to pose for individual portraits. Suelem, an 18-year-old mother of 2, has worked the garbage since the age of 7. Isis is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Zumbi reads every book he finds in the trash. Irma cooks discarded produce in a large pot over an open fire and sells it. Tiao has organized the workers into an association.

    Muniz took photos of their faces, then enlarged the images to the size of a basketball court. He and the 5 catadores outlined the facial features with trash. Bottle tops became eyebrows. Cardboard boxes became chin lines. Rubber tires overlaid shadows. Images gradually emerged from the trash. Muniz climbed onto a thirty-foot-tall platform and took new photos.

   The result? The second-most-popular art exhibit in Brazilian history, exceeded only by the works of Picasso. Muniz donated the profits to the local garbage pickers’ association. You might say he treated Gramacho with grace.

   Grace does this. God does this. Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in His eye and an offer that’s hard to resist. “Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.” Believe this promise. Trust it. Cling like a barnacle to every hope and covenant.

   Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us.

   Grace comes after you. It rewires you.

   From insecure to God secure.

   From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it.

   From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly.

I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never  think of them again. (ISAIAH 43:25)

 

 
 
Blog 4.19.15
 

Worry Is Worthless: God Takes Care of You

CHUCK SWINDOLL

My soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. (Psalm 57:1)

    Worry is a complete waste of energy. It solves nothing. That is why Jesus asked, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span” (Matthew 6:27)?

    In essence He was saying, “You go to bed tonight and fret and fuss because you’re not five feet, eleven inches; you’re only five feet, nine inches. But when you wake up in the morning, you’re still going to be five feet, nine inches.”

    Worry will never make you stretch! And it won’t solve that anxiety on your mind either. Let me be completely candid. Do you know why we worry? We have a quiet, hidden, love for worry. We enjoy it! When one worry is gone, we replace it with another. There’s always a line of worries waiting to get in the door. So as one goes out the back door, we usher in the next one through the front door. We enjoy entertaining them.

    Worries are our mental and emotional companions. But Jesus says, in effect, that they’re worthless!

    Worry erases the promises of God from your mind. Jesus implies this when He says, “O men of little faith. Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves’
(Matthew 6:31).

    The promise of God is that He will not allow His children to beg for bread. He will care for our needs and that’s the promise you can claim. Since He took care of our greatest need at Calvary by giving us Christ, then you can be sure He will take care of everything else He considers important for us.

 

 
 
blog 4.12.15
 
 

GOD’S POWER WHEN IT MATTERS MOST

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

I CORINTHIANS 10:13 (AMPLIFIED)

    Good morning! Last Sunday, we celebrated the triumph of Jesus over death. What a celebration it was! Most of us are familiar with Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Cross. We realize that Jesus could have avoided all of those experiences if He had chosen to. Have you ever thought about the first temptation that Jesus experienced? It is so interesting that, according to Luke 4:1, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where the temptations would occur. WHY?

    A wise man once said, “A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.”  Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the process of temptation and refuse the false promises of temptation in order to experience the power of God when it mattered most. Our Lord suffered the same temptations that you and I do, yet remained faithful to His Father. Even though we’ll face trials and temptations during our time on earth, Jesus left an example of how to overcome every evil attack! “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV). Notice that Jesus “…suffered, being tempted” ! Jesus revealed a life key that gives me courage every day: God never said it would be easy. He said that it would be worth it! So, the next time you find yourself in a battle, remember: Satan tempts us to get the WORST out of us; God tests us to get the BEST out of us. Friend, this week, I hope that you will experience God’s Power When It Matters Most!

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann

 

 
Love your enemies
 
 

Even From the Cross: Love Those Who Hate

Dear Jesus,

   Sometimes it’s really hard to love people, particularly when You ask me to love those who hate You and do evil things. Please show me. How can I hate evil and still love the haters?

   Isn’t that what Paul did when he was in prison? In the worst of circumstances, he hated evil but continued to love. And You did the same, Jesus. When You were beaten, mocked, and crucified, You asked God to forgive Your enemies because they didn’t know what they were doing. That is pure love.

   Jesus, You are always in my heart, guiding me and leading me to be more like You. And for that reason, I have to pray for those who hate You and do evil things. I don’t love what they do, Lord — but I want them to know You, so I pray for them. I love them enough to ask that You will save them. Please, Lord Jesus, come into their hearts. Open their eyes to see You. They need You so much.

* * *

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. — Matthew 5:43–44

When Jesus was on the cross, He prayed for His enemies and asked God to forgive them. Can you love someone who hates the Lord or who willingly inflicts suffering? Love doesn’t mean that you accept acts of hatred and evil, but love requires that you pray for those most in need of salvation. Remember them when you pray.

Excerpted with permission from Jesus, I Need You: Devotions from Your Heart to His, copyright Zondervan 2015.

 

 
 
 
blog
 

CHILDREN OF THE BURNING HEART

 

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” LUKE 24:32 (NKJV)

     Have you ever heard of a chronic condition ENJOYED by followers of the Lord Jesus, called “Holy Heartburn”? As A. W. Tozer writes, there is a passion for more of God that only those who know Him best understand. We were sharing Fifty Things The Holy Spirit Does last Wednesday night. Discussing Who the Holy Spirit is and describing the things He does in and through us pushed me to the breaking point. I was about to jump out of my skin! I sensed an insatiable hunger for the Glory of God shared by all who were present. We were all, “Children of The Burning Heart”!

     Friend, I encourage you to begin experiencing “Holy Heartburn” today. God’s Word is alive! Every page of Holy Scripture is like liquid fire setting hearts ablaze and renewing the minds of its readers. As we worship today and next Wednesday night, make it your aim to be fully engaged. When we make God Himself the object and focus of worship, He responds in ways that makes us realize that our pursuit of Him brings Him great pleasure and delight. Our hearts overflow with a joy the likes of which no earthly pursuit or experience can ever remotely compare!

     Today, will you open your heart, clear your mind of clutter, and worship King Jesus with reckless abandon? This week, will you set aside time each day to soak in God’s presence and meditate on His Word? If so, you might want to buy a bottle of Pepcid. Holy Heartburn is on the way!

 

 
 
 
 
3.15.15
 
 

Tragedy Turned Into Eternal Triumph

 

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how He  died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (MARK 15:39)

    Mark’s account of Jesus’ death is an agonizing record of what seems to be a total failure. A mock trial, a brutal crucifixion, cruel taunts, a hurried burial. And for three days hope died in the disciples’ hearts.
A.W. Tozer explains how failure in the eyes of the world may be success in God’s eyes: “The current mania of people seeking to succeed in the world is a good thing perverted. The desire to fulfill the purpose for which we were created is, of course, a gift from God. But sin has twisted this impulse about and turned it into a selfish lust for first place and top honors.

    “When we come to Christ, we enter a different realm, one infinitely higher than and altogether contrary to that of the world. Our Lord died an apparent failure, discredited by the leaders of established religion, rejected by society, and forsaken by his friends. It took the resurrection to demonstrate how gloriously Christ had triumphed and how tragically the world had failed. The resurrection demonstrated once and for all who won and who lost.”

    There is no greater success story than the resurrection, for apparent tragedy was transformed into eternal triumph. That would be good news enough. But there is more! Christ’s resurrection makes a similar success story possible in the lives of Christians who know the truth of this verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).

    That’s a success story with brand new chapters being written every day. One of those chapters is reserved just for you. How will today’s page read?

Excerpted with permission from Once-a-Day Walk with Jesus Devotional, copyright Zondervan.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Valentines
 

Communicating Love and Respect in Marriage      Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Excerpted with permission from Love and Respect for a Lifetime by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, © Thomas Nelson.  

  God’s way of communicating in marriage is to talk with words of unconditional love and respect.

  “If,” comments a wife, “I’m in the middle of a conversation with my husband that has the potential to become heated and a negative thought about my husband enters my mind, I remember the simple advice in Love and Respect that when I communicate with my husband, I need respectful words, a respectful tone of voice, and a respectful countenance. I also remember the simple advice that I need to think respectful thoughts about my husband because he is created in the image of God, and God commands me to respect him.”

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds            persuasiveness to his lips. (Proverbs 16:23)

  I also teach “my response is my responsibility.” When my spouse and I get on the Crazy Cycle, my unloving words are my responsibility. My wife, Sarah, does not cause my unloving words, and I must always ask myself before I speak, “Is that which I am about to say going to sound loving or unloving to Sarah?”

  A husband comments, “Our relationship changed from frequent nagging and fighting when I realized that my response is my responsibility. I find myself constantly going back to that [truth] in every situation that gets heated. Our relationship has gradually gotten better and better as I try to speak lovingly.”
 

    It would be easy enough to deduce that communication is the key to marriage, but I don’t agree. To say that communication is the key to marriage is to assume that both spouses speak the same language. After more than three decades of pastoring, counseling married couples, and conducting marriage conferences, I’ve learned that, in fact, the wife speaks a “love language” and the husband speaks a “respect language.” They don’t realize this, of course, but because he is speaking one kind of language (respect) and she is speaking another (love), there is little or no understanding and little or no communication.

    Your words are a very good indication of what is going on in your heart — and your spouse knows it. Just about every couple knows what it is like to get into a conflict that escalates into a full-blown argument and they are not sure why it happened. Spouses tend to write off these kinds of arguments, saying, “If only she weren’t so sensitive” or “If only he weren’t so touchy.” But those aren’t the real issues at all.

    Conflict inevitably happens when spouses focus on their own needs and overlook the needs of the other. That’s when the issues arise. The wife needs love; she is not trying to be disrespectful. The husband needs respect; he is not trying to be unloving. Once the Love and Respect couple grasps a basic principle — that the apparent issue is not the real issue at all — they are on their way to cracking the communication code.

    Conflict is inevitable; it is simply part of living together. The key to keeping conflict from escalating is to choose to practice love or respect. When a husband speaks with a loving tone during a conflict, which may range from a mild argument to a more serious disagreement, his wife will feel one with him. When a wife softens her facial expressions and comes across more respectfully during those times of friction, the husband will feel one with her.

    Will the disagreement be solved? Perhaps, but more than likely it will still be there. Yet husband and wife can feel oneness because nobody has to win and nobody has to lose. Oneness is, and it is gained when the wife feels loved by her husband and the husband feels respected by his wife. They bond with each other; two, indeed, become one.

 

 

 
 
Love
 

I CORINTHIANS 13 (THE MESSAGE)

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

 

10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

 

 
 
 
Keep my mouth shut

“Help me, Lord, to keep my mouth shut and my lips sealed.”

PSALM 141:3 (THE LIVING BIBLE)

    Good morning! I’m not going to bother asking how many times you’ve wished you had prayed the words recorded by King David in Psalm 141:3. At least a dozen or two, right? Me, too! As you see on the front cover, an incredible prayer is recorded in Psalm 19:14. Years ago, I began praying that prayer before I left for each day’s activities. Being mindful of the huge impact of my words has saved me countless apologies and salvaged many vital relationships. If I’d only known this truth sooner! Can you relate?

    Over the first month of 2015, we’ve talked about the priority of setting a positive, spiritual atmosphere. It would be spiritual malpractice NOT to deal with the matter of our speech before moving forward. Today, we consider the power of our words. King Solomon writes, The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences

(Proverbs 18:21). As the Holy Spirit ministers to us, let’s allow Him to expose areas of speech that may cause Him grief, that maims our souls, or that wounds the hearts of those we love. This will be time well spent, even if it brings pain. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening —it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11 NLT). Let’s do whatever it takes to reap a harvest of right living in 2015. God Bless You!

 

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Know Christ
 

 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (EPHESIANS 3:19 NKJV)

Possessing the Fullness of Christ                                 Francis Frangipane

    We have instructed the Church in nearly everything but becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. We have filled the people with doctrines instead of Deity; we have given them manuals instead of Emmanuel. It is not difficult to recognize someone from Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic or other traditional church backgrounds. Nearly every congregation seems to develop a particular slant or system of traditions, some of which ultimately obscures the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. We can honor our traditions, but we must not be limited by them. For us, they will never be enough. We are seeking to be like Jesus, not men. We want the kingdom of God, not typical American Christianity.

    Thus, as a man of God, I must be vigilant to submit myself, above all things, to the Spirit and words of the Lord Jesus, incessantly reaching for the holy standards of the kingdom of God. I consider that any focus or goal other than Christ Himself in fullness will become a source of deception in the days ahead.

    Look at what Jesus did with common people. In just 3 1/2  years average men and women were transformed into fearless disciples, literally filled with the Spirit of God. They did not wince at suffering; they did not withdraw from sacrifice. These once ordinary people were equipped with spiritual authority over demons and exercised power over illnesses. They were the actual living proof that Christ transforms people.

Three and a half years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what it did in them: THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
 

The first disciples were just as average and human as we are. The difference between them and us is Jesus. He is the only difference. One may argue that this occurred two thousand years ago. True, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

    You may say, “But they actually heard Jesus speak; they saw His miracles!” The same Spirit that worked through Jesus in the first century is poured out upon us today! The Holy Spirit has not grown old and feeble; He is still being poured out today. The words Jesus uttered in the first century are still “living and active” today (Hebrews 4:12), even to the “end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We have no excuses. The eternal One who established His kingdom in men two millennia ago is fully capable of producing it in us today. All we need is undiluted, uninhibited Jesus. All we need are hearts that will not be satisfied with something or someone other than Him.

    Thus the pattern for leadership in the years ahead is simple: Leaders must be individuals whose burning passion is conformity to Jesus Christ. Is this not the highest passion of your heart—to possess the likeness of Christ? Heaven’s concern is: Will we become people who are seeking hard after Christ?
 

God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your  strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!   My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a  breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

PSALM 63:1-4 (THE MESSAGE)

 

 
 
  
   Lion
 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-140

     I want you to picture your heart, that powerful machine pumping inside your chest. Believe it or not, it’s about the size of your fist and weighs less than a half a pound. Yet in less than twelve hours, it does enough work to lift 65 tons off the ground!

     And not only that, but if you were to line up the veins, arteries, and capillaries of the average adult end-to-end, they would stretch over 60,000 miles. That’s nearly 2½ times around the world!

    Three millennia ago, before any of these facts would’ve been known, the psalmist said we are fearfully and wonderfully made. How can any rational person look at the human body and not see a divine hand in its design?

You are created by God, not in a factory, but custom-made unlike any other person in the world!

    God made creation. He constructed light years upon light years of universe. Yet that very same God also knit you together in your mother’s womb. He intricately crafted you before you even took your first breath as a newborn baby.

    You have significance. You are NOT the product of an accident. God Himself created you; He sustains you; and He loves you. Yes, YOU! Praise Him today for that amazing truth!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 Blog Pic
In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope  and love. But the greatest of them is love.

I CORINTHIANS 13:13 (PHILLIPS)

 

   Good Morning! Can you believe that there are only 17 shopping days left until Christmas? [I’ll make sure you’re informed from now until Christmas week!] Last week, we shared about the power of faith. I hope that article was an encouragement to you. And speaking of hope…

   The second link of this “life link” shared in I Corinthians 13 is the lasting quality of hope! What comes to mind when you consider this rich word? In my mind’s eye, I see three links of a chain. On one end is the quality of faith. On the other end is the quality of love. Smack dab in the middle of these qualities is the enduring, undeniable link of HOPE! An author/poet from a century ago, G. K. Chesterton once said, “Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” Powerful, huh?

   As we remember the birth of Jesus, history shows that it was a very difficult period. Rome ruled the world, forcing the servitude of people living in conquered nations. Rome owned it all and there was nothing anyone could do about it…apparently. But God!

   God sent hope to planet earth in the form of a newborn baby. During His time here, Jesus preached hope, gave hope, and fulfilled hope. And He’s still doing the same some 2,000 years later.

   Nothing you can buy online or in a store can supply what the lasting quality of hope provides. Only Jesus can do that. HOPE: That’s what Christmas is really all about!

Hope Works!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Nov 23-0

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

3 Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

5 For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

PSALM 100 (AMPLIFIED)

This Thanksgiving, Be Sure to Count Your Blessings!