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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We Have Much To Be Thankful For

This weekend I will be starting a mini-series entitled “We Have Much To Thank God For”. This mini-series was inspired from our Wednesday night bible study lesson taught by Pastor Payne out of John MacArthur’s book “The Master’s Plan For The Church – The Internal Structure: THANKFULNESS”.

The point of these sermons is to challenge our membership to become thankful Christians based on things eternal and not on earthly temporal things. I believe the thankfulness of your heart will dictate your worship life and style. Therefore, if we worship primarily for houses, cars, a new job, a promotion, winning the lottery, a good marriage, well behaved children, etc then our worship life/style is exciting and wonderful. The flipside is that when things in life take a turn for the worse our worship life becomes dull, stagnant, un-exciting, and boring. We come to church with our heads hung low, heart heavy, and an unrealistic expectation of the pastor to preach something to make you feel good. Or, expect the choir to sing a song that makes you feel good. What a waste of time!

I want the members of our church to be true sincere worshippers that worships God with a heart of thanksgiving based on things of eternal significance.

I resist the temptation to preach on the goodness, grace, and mercy of God because I believe we, Christians, minimize God’s goodness, grace, and mercy to deliverance from trials, struggles, and pain. However, the passages I’ve selected will in one way or another cover all three (3).

Mini-series sermon outline:

- We have much to be thankful for in DANIEL 2:23 - Wisdom and Strength

"I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king's demand."

- We have much to be thankful for in Romans 1:8 – Be thankful for those who hang in there

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

- We have much to be thankful for in Romans 6:17-18 – Changed Lives

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

- We have much to be thankful for in 1 Corinthians 15:57 – Victory over death

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

- We have much to be thankful for in Revelations 11:15-17 – The Return of Christ

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.


May God create within us a heart of thankfulness on things eternal!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back To School Budget Shopping

(1) Take an inventory of your child's closet

(2) distinguish between wants/needs

(3) Spread Your spending - no need for sweaters in the summer

(4) Don't allow peer pressure to dictate your spending

(5) If all else fails be honest with your child and tell them you don't have it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lift Leadership in Prayer

Let me briefly walk you through the story here in Exodus 17 and then we will draw from it principles to practice.

On the journey to Sinai, the events taking place illustrate the Israelites need for Law. They complain angrily about food; yet God supplies meat and manna (Exodus 16:1-35). They quarrel with Moses and question God’s commitment yet God supplies water (Exodus 17:1-7).

Now Moses and children of Israel is faced with another challenge, the attack of Amalekites. This is the first fight on their way to the land of promise. The Amalekites seem to have attacked the Israelites in the same way and through the same motives that the wandering Arabs attack caravans which annually pass through the same desert. It does not appear that the Israelites provoked any reason for the attack, it seems that Amalekite army attacked them merely through hopes of plunder (to steal from them). In the most treacherous and dastardly manner, for they came from behind them to attack this weary and feeble group of believers. Attacking every person in the camp (children, women, young and old) taking all that they possess.

Isn’t life just like that sometimes, when the enemy comes to attack you’re not looking and unaware. He comes up from behind and attacks to steal your joy, your self esteem, your faith, your emotions, your money, your family, your children, your job, your success, your mind, and your zeal for God. He attacks you when your already struggling with God’s presence, power, and participation in your life. You’re wondering where is God in the midst of this? It’s at that moment when the enemy comes up from behind and attacks you.

Moses tells Joshua to choose several men and go out and fight the Amalekites. While in battle, Moses assures Joshua that he would be on the mountain with the rod of God in his hand. While Moses hands were lifted the Israelites were winning but when his dropped they started loosing. Hands lifted they’re winning, hands lowered they’re losing.

I do not understand, in a literal sense, how the lifting and letting down of Moses hands influenced the battle with the Amalekites, humanly speaking. It is, however, likely that he held up the rod of God in his hand as a banner to the people. It is recorded in the Exodus chapter 9 that hands lifted and spread out is a posture of prayer and supplication. The Jerusalem Targum says, “When Moses held up his hands in prayer, the house of Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hands from prayer, the house of Amalek prevailed.”

The lifting of Moses hands in the battle signifies Moses spiritual strength to pray over the people of God while in a battle for their lives. However, what’s troubling in the story is that Moses’ hands become heavy and starts to drop signifying Moses physical and spiritual weakness.

The text says; “Moses’ hands became heavy!” Heavy meaning burdensome. The heavy is explained in various portions of OT passage as being described in the following:

- “…for the famine was severe in the land” – Genesis 12:10

- “So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe.” _ Genesis 41:31
- “Now the famine was severe in the land” – Genesis 43:1

Moses hands becoming heavy was like a famine hitting the land, no more, it’s all gone! Here lies the reality of leadership, Moses had no more in him. Meaning there are times when leadership has reached its point where every part of his spiritual being has been exhausted.

Here’s something you need to understand about leadership, when God uses his power to touch lives with his power, it often leaves his servant drained and vulnerable.

Pastoral leadership is an endangered species and every pastor is at risk. Why, you ask?

Pastors have more responsibility
Pastors are more subject to temptation
Pastors are the biggest target for spiritual warfare
Pastors have more influence on others
Pastors have more visibility

Pastoral leadership is at risk and we’re seeing the attack on leadership greater today than ever before. Pastors are falling be the wayside. Losing their lives, families, money, ministry, self-esteem, credibility, and pulpit/personal influence because of the attack of the enemy when they’re weak and vulnerable.

Pastors are at risk and something must be done!.

This text provides the solution for a burden, vulnerable, and spiritually zapped leader, here it is:

LIFT LEADERSHIP IN PRAYER!

The text says that when Moses’ hands were heavy, Aaron and Hur came alongside of him, sat him on a stone, and stood to the left and to the right they lifted his hands.

What a beautiful scene! Pastor Moses is being lifted by the church. Translation, pray for your pastor!

Several years age while at Mt Sinai, Pastor H.B Charles taught a lesson in our Tuesday night bible study entitled; “The Responsibility of the Flock to its Shepherd”. It was a lesson instructing the members of the church to pray for their pastor. While studying this passage of scripture his outline came to mind and I want to use the same outline today to instruct the members of this church to pray for your pastor.

Let’s consider five (5) ways you can be a prayer shield for your pastor.

Ask God to give you respect for the office of pastor.

1 Thes. 5:12-13 (NKJV)
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, [13] and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

1 Tim. 5:17 (NKJV)
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV)
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.


Petition God to help your pastor be faithful to his divine calling


2a. Pastors are called to oversee the congregation

Acts 20:28 (NKJV)
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

2b. Pastors are called to set an example of godliness

Philip. 3:17 (NKJV)
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

2c. Pastors are called to preach and teach the bible.

2 Tim. 4:2 (NKJV)
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

2d. Pastors are called to develop godly members

2 Tim. 2:2 (NKJV)
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2e. Pastors are called to nurture the members of the congregation

1 Thes. 2:17 (NKJV)
But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.


Pray that your pastor will use the right ministry tools

- True ministry is done with prayer

- True ministry is done with the Word of God

Acts 6:2-3 (NKJV)
Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. [3] Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;


Pray for the ministry team that supports the pastor

There are four (4) things that will sabotage a man’s ministry:

Ministerial laziness

A neglect of personal holiness

A Non-supportive wife

A uncooperative team of leaders


Pray for the specific needs your pastor has


™ Pray for his personal concerns

Brethren, pray for us – 1 Thess. 5:25


™ Pray for his family life

If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? – 1 Timothy 3:5


™ Pray for his physical/spiritual health

Meditate on these things; give yourself to them, that your progress may be evident to all – 1 Timothy 4:15


™ Pray for his pulpit ministry

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. – Acts 20:26-27


™ Pray for his pastoral leadership

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our suffering is from God – 2 Corinthians 3:4-5


What was the result of Moses hand being lifted by Aaron and Hur? The result is found in verse 13, “So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword”.

Victory is given to the church when we keep our leader lifted in prayer.