Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ASK THE PASTOR- Assemblies of God History

The beginnings of the Pentecostal Revival at the turn of the last century (1906)can really be attributed to a movement of the Holy Spirit- and not to the work of a founder or president.

Videos can be found here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fasting- are you up for it?

It seems that God is directing us toward an extended fast. As I have been praying, I hear God saying "21 days". That is a rather extended time of fasting. I am hoping that you will join with me in the fast. I anticipate the first 21 days of 2009 will be the timing of the event. Can you join with me? If you need to think through it keep reading.

When is fasting valuable?
(1) Fasting may be beneficial in times of mourning. David and his men mourned and fasted upon hearing of the death of Saul (2 Samuel 1:12), and Nehemiah did also when he was informed of Jerusalem’s poor condition (Nehemiah 1:4). Fasting and prayer is fitting when a loved one is critically ill (2 Samuel 12:16).

(2) Fasting frequently accompanied repentance as an outward and genuine sign of sorrow for rebellion (1 Samuel 7:6). Even the pagan people of Nineveh proclaimed a fast when face with their sins (Jonah 3:5).

(3) Fasting was practiced in connection with great and important spiritual moments. Moses fasted during that period when he was receiving the Law (Exodus 34:28). Christ fasted prior to his encounter with Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). The church fasted before sending Barnabas and Saul on that perilous first missionary campaign (Acts 13:2-3). Fasting was certainly a component in the dynamic ministry of Paul (2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27). It is seemingly preparatory

Fasting can, however, be abused. It is never a replacement for personal godly living. Isaiah rebukes very strongly those who fasted improperly(Isaiah 58). Fsating cannot be an occasion for being proud. The Pharisees were guilty of 'wearing their fast' (Matthew 6:16-18).

Consider these thoughts as you fast;

(1) The Scriptures teach that God honors fasting when performed as a token of deep and sincere dedication.

(2) Doctors tell us that moderate fasting can be a benefit to health, having the effect of allowing our systems to occasionally cleanse themselves.

(3) The mind is more accutely aware during periods of fasting.

(4) Fasting trains us to be self-disciplined.

(5) Fasting also teaches us to be thankful for what we have.

Friday, November 07, 2008

national sins

If we are to begin a time of prayer and repentance for our country (per Joel 2.15) then we must list the sins of our nation.

1. Adultery and fornication: It has been reported that fifty to sixty percent of married couples admit to adultery. The rapid spread of Sexually Transmitted diseases is astonishing and terrifying!(5% of Americans have an STD and 63% are younger than 25)

2. Rape: A Harris poll sets the figure at 380,000 rapes or sexual assaults that took place back in 1993. The Justice Department says that eight percent of all American women will be victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.

3. Pornography: Every second - $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography

4. Abortion: Fifty-two percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 33 percent of all abortions, and teenagers obtain 19 percent. 1.29 million abortions were performed last year.

5. Theft: It is estimated theft costs the country $500 billion each year.

6. Greed: Focus on the Family revealed that Americans now visit casinos more often than they attend professional sporting events. Collectively, they lose in excess of $50 billion each year to lotteries, horse and dog tracks, casinos, and the various other gambling venues.

7. Rebellion: against authority- irrespective of its source.

8. Murder: 16,500 murders in 2006 in the US

9. Gluttony: One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, while the average American uses four hundred to six hundred liters of water a day.
Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under age five dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14 percent of the food we purchase. Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world does on all goods

10: Drunkenness: Billions are spent on the societal effects of misuse of alcohol.

11. Hypocrisy: The Barna Research Group found that sixty-two percent of Americans profess to be Christians, while the book, The Day America Told the Truth said that ninety-one percent lie regularly.

That is a start anyway!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Prayer for the President Elect

Gracious Father, we thank you for the priviledge to have a voice in the selection of our leaders in this country. We a re truly blessed with freedom. We are confident that, as the Scripture teaches (Rom 13.1-7), you are in the process of "establishing" this government. Teach your church to submit and support to the governing authorities in our land. May we choose your way over and against the ways of this world.

We pray for the transition of President Obama. We pray that you will protect him and his family. We pray that the office of the President of this United States will be graced with dignity and propriety and that you will strengthen the back of our president to handle the weight of the office.

We pray that you will forgive this nation for aborting its young; for cheapening life's value and for sacrificing the next generation on the altar of convenience. We pray that poor will be remembered and that, more than a hand out they will be given opportunities to work and find the dignity again of employment. We pray for our troops, may they be protected and helped in their duties of protecting and establishing democracy.

This prayer is the first of many that we will pray for our new president and the cabinet he chooses; for the congress and the leadership of this state. Give these men and women YOUR divine guidance- interrupt their sleep with your divine voice; speak to the hearts of our leadership- change those hearts as a water course. We recognize that evil doesn't sleep- and is already stirring against your purposes- make us diligent to pray continually.

We ask that the gospel will go forth without threat and will reach many in these coming years. We humbly pray that you will bless this nation with greatness, and your church with the continued favor from heaven. Amen.

Ask the Pastor- Other Preachers?

Someone recently asked...

Question: Is it wrong to listen to other preacher podcasts? TV shows? Attend services that are available during the week?

On the one hand I would say that it is definitely not wrong (ie., sinful) to listen to other preachers via podcasts, radio, TV or other media. There is some good teaching available to us. It is truly one of the blessings of this technical age! This is certainly helpful to those who are working or driving and cannot attend church in the midweek. Also, there are folks that are sick and bedridden or stuck in their house and cannot make it to a service- what a great blessing for them.

On the other hand, discernment is called for in our choice of media. There will always be doctrinal differences between various factions of the church, some of these have caused great confusion in the minds of young believers in the past. I have had puzzled christians come to me to ask about confusing teaching that varied with what Scripture says on issues of spiritual gifts, on the security of the believer, on ehaling and prosperity, etc. The list goes on and on.

Another danger is that often we choose to be entertained by preaching of the Word rather than reading the Word and praying it into our own lives. Listening to a sermon is never a substitute for personal time with God. The podcast of a service was designed for that particular church... and while it may have much that is universally applicable there are some specifics that are divinely inspired for that particular moment. Some ministries are driven to ask for funds and the discerning believer needs to assure himself that the millions that are often spent broadcasting are in line with the believers own sense of propriety.

Midweek services are often the times for discipleship and kids clubs. Often a tired parent would rather sit in his own home and listen to the radio occassionally. As parents we need to be mindful of the strengthed faith for our whole family that comes when we attend midweek services together. Here at CLC Youth and Children have opportunities to worship with their own age levels and receive important and practical teaching in the Word. This is develpmental in the life of a child. I often encourages a parent to attend rather than substitue a real life experience in Church with a podcast.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Spirit Filled Worship

What is Spirit filled worship? I mean I think I have my own definition of what it means to worship in a spirit filled church but... what does it mean to you? what does it mean scripturally?

I have enjoyed the moving of the Spirit of God in uptempo songs and celebratory dances at times. But I have also seen the Spirit of God move with candles and responsive reading. There have been moments of dramatic silence in our worship that seem to be spirit driven; and moments where silence was the sign of death.

I know that the song service (yuk - hate that term!) has to be participatory. I remember I was at an E. Free church on vacation one year and they sang a song that we do at CLC- but there was little participation by the congregation- AND it seemed like it was tolerated, not enjoyed.

If your reading this, I'd be interested in hearing your take on the question of what spirit filled worship is- or maybe a story of how it ministered to you at one time.