Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stay Awake...

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and, I also hope you spent some time thanking those (men and women of our armed forces) who make this nation so great and gave us the very freedom we enjoy.

Now, my typical “blogs” are usually highlights or outlines of messages I have spoken on Wednesdays at Renovate. But today, I want to just encourage you to… Stay Awake… and Pray!

Mark 14: 37-41 says, “Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

Wow, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to found “sleeping”, when Christ has asked us to “watch & pray”. All of us have something in our lives that needs God to intervene in. Something only He can help with. With so much going on around us, now is the time to “stay awake” and talk to God about these situations.

This Friday evening (May 29th) beginning at 8PM at our church offices, our student ministry (Renovate) is hosting a 24 hour pray time. Students are going to coming throughout the night and day praying for various things. But most importantly, I hope, they will be drawing closer to God! Believe me, there were some puzzled looks as if to ask, “Are you kidding?” when we first announced this idea. Then I posed this question, and maybe you should ask yourself this as well, “What are you willing to give up to see God do something miraculous in your life, or the life of someone around you, your favorite TV program, your nap time, your favorite book or even plans you have made with your friends?” For an adult, that is though, but imagine what is being asked of a student. God has called us to do just that…

So, as we pray for our nation, families, church and needs around us this week, I want to encourage you to find some time to push away from your “normal routine” and “watch and pray”. Remember, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Be strong and allow God to meet your every need.

May God bless you and everyone around you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Going to Gethsemane... a Call to Prayer

Luke 11:1, “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

How many of you have ever felt as though you didn’t know how to pray? Ever asked yourself, “What do I say?” or “How do I say it?” It’s ok, even the disciples needed help.
I sometimes feel as though we, as Christians, “pray” just enough to say we did. To somehow make us feel good about our “walk”. But, unfortunately, that is not good enough. I believe God is calling us to “Go to Gethsemane”…

Read Mark 14:32-42

Jesus became “troubled and deeply distressed”. He said that His “soul is exceedingly sorrowful”. The same story in the book of Luke tells us that “His sweat became as great drops of blood…” But even so, Luke 22:44 also tells us that Jesus “prayed more earnestly”. So, I wonder… when is the last time we truly got on our face and prayed, “troubled and deeply distressed” over a situation or a person in our lives? When is the last time we had a Gethsemane experience? How many of us have actually prayed and grabbed a hold of God just like Jacob did and said, “I am not going to let go until you bless me?”
Mark 14:38 says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” God is “willing” to bless us and meet our needs. However, we are the ones who are “weak” and usually give up too soon. We must grab hold and not let go until we hear from God!

James 5:16, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Listen, prayer is as important to our lives as breathing. We must have it! Prayer is not an option for a Christian…

Allow me to leave you with one last truth…
John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” We all like the “ask what you desire” part of this scripture. But look what Jesus says… “abide in Me”. We must first, Live for Christ!

So, take a trip to Gethsemane and turn up your prayer life and see what God begins to do in your life!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Facebook...Building Integrity

How many of us use Facebook? Facebook is awesome. I sometimes catch myself spending hours looking through page after page. I find it a wonderful place to catch up with old friends, and new friends. I like looking at all the pictures and profiles. The profiles tell me a lot about a person, their likes, dislikes even their hobbies. They tell me exactly who they are.
God wants to ask us that very question… “Who are you?”
Read Luke 11:37-41
As Christians, our lives are kind of like a Facebook profile that people are looking at to see who we really are, what we really believe and, like it or not, they watch how we act.
With that said, God wants us to live a life of integrity, a life committed to Christ, both publicly and privately! Integrity is who we are when no one is around to see us.
Titus 2:7 says, “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing integrity, reverence and incorruptibility…”
One thing that I have noticed is most non-Christians have more integrity than we Christians. Let me explain… I have seen their Facebook profiles and seen how they live their lives. It is like they are saying, “What you see is what you get!” They don’t try to hide anything. They don’t just tell me what I want to hear. As Christians, we must live what we say! The world is dying to see authentic followers of Jesus!
2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “…do not grow weary in doing good…”
So, “Who are you?” What do people see when they look at your life, when they see your “Spiritual Facebook Profile”?
Ephesians 4:1 tells us to, “…walk worthy of the calling…”

Be careful how you live and what you "post" because the world is watching!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Broken... But Not Out!

Read John 4:7-26

This woman had a life of "Broken Relatioships". When she spoke with Jesus, He pointed out the fact that she needed to focus primarily on her relationship with God.

Have you been trying to find permanent satisfaction in others when you should have been pursuing your relationship with God instead?

There are 5 keys to be seen in this passage of scripture about how we are to handle our relationship with God...

1) God loves you, no matter who you are! (John 4:9)

2) This relationship is for WHOEVER! (John 4:14)

3) It is up to you... your choice! (John 4:15)

4) Jesus knows where you are in your life and He understands! (John 4:16-18)

5) Our main focus should be on worshipping God the Father! (John 4:23)

Sometimes we feel Broken, or that all of our relationships seem Broken... But remember, we are never out!

Read Psalms 31:9-12, let King David's prayer be your prayer today!

Broken (Relationship with Christ)

The most important relationship we can have is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Alot of us, because of sin, have broken that relationship with Him.

Read Joshua 7:10-26

Wow, I'm glad God is more merciful today than in the days of the Old Testiment because of His Son Jesus Christ!
The good news is that we can repair that broken relationship by doing three things...

1) Doing Away With The Sin - address it and deal with it. God can not even be near sin. So if we don't deal with it, it makes it impossible to be near God!

2) Prove Our Love For God - James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."

3) Have Self-Control and Resist The Devil - The self-control we need to fight temptation is to submit to God everyday. If we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. He will cleanse us of all of our sins if we submit to Him.

James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded;" Let's draw closer to God than ever before. Because, let's be honest, all He wants is to have a closer relationship with you!!!

Marked: Living In Satan's Crosshairs

Luke 22:31

For those of us who love the Lord and walk according to His plan, we are "Marked" by the devil... The Bible says he wants to "sift you as wheat". That means he is out to "steal, kill and destroy" us (John 10:10). But there is GOOD NEWS! Luke 22:32... The One who conquered death, hell and the grave is praying for you! And the awesome thing is that we are also "Marked" by the Lord. We are "Marked" for...

1) Victory (1 Corinthians 15:57)

2) Greatness (Mark 16:15-18)

3) Eternity (2 Corinthians 6:18)

So, take joy if you have been "Marked" by the enemy, when you have made his hit list, for you have become a threat to him! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Christ gives the strength to overcome the devil's attacks! Focus on Christ, trust Him and follow after Him, He alone can give you the victory!