Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. (1 Thes 5:16-18)

Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. (1 Thes 5:16-18)

Rejoice (be glad....Attitude). Pray (Don’t give up looking up. Fortitude). Give Thanks (Understand that God is redeeming everything. “Oh, Thank God!! [a sign of relief and letting go of a worry] Acknowledging a benefit. Aptitude). This is God’s will for you.


manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, esp. of the mind:


position or posture of the body appropriate to or expressive of an action, emotion, etc.: a threatening attitude; a relaxed attitude.


[fawr-ti-tood, -tyood] pastedGraphic.pdf Show IPA


mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously: Never once did her fortitude waver during that long illness.



capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something;readiness or quickness in learning; intelligence: the state or quality of being apt; special fitness.

Definition of GLAD


archaic : having a cheerful or happy nature

b : made pleased, satisfied, or grateful —often used with of glad of their help; very willing <glad to do it>

a : marked by, expressive of, or caused by happiness and joy glad shout>

Paul Had Great Spiritual Joy

Paul maintained this Christ-centered faith during at least four years of suffering as a prisoner of the Roman government, first in Caesarea and then in Rome, possibly in other places as well. During his imprisonment, Paul wrote four letters that survive in our New Testament. They are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. We, living almost 2,000 years later, are fortunate to have these letters to teach us the inspiring truths of God. We are the beneficiaries of Paul’s spiritual wisdom forged in the crucible of personal suffering. These four letters are among the most hopeful and encouraging Paul wrote.

Key Passages on Thanksgiving:

Psalm 50:14
Offer to God thanksgiving,And pay your vows to the Most High.
Psalm 50:13-15 (in Context) Psalm 50 (Whole Chapter)

Nehemiah 12:31
So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate.
Nehemiah 12:30-32 (in Context) Nehemiah 12 (Whole Chapter)

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Philippians 4:5-7 (in Context) Philippians 4 (Whole Chapter)

PAG’s thoughts on Thanksgiving:

  • In scripture, God is always above (mountain, sky, throne). This is meant to cause us to look up and to know that our help and source is from another realm ~ outside ourselves/outside our realm.
  • When human can peer thru the distractions/troubles/spiritual battles/spiritual realms and see the reality of blesses God.
  • Praise/Thanksgiving shows that a heart can track God’s whereabouts. A person who loves to praise can tell you where God is!
  • A heart of praise is trained...(Psalm 4 & 5) talk about seeking God at night upon our bed and seeking Him every morning.
  • Eyes that can make out God is this present darkness & send and impulse to the mind and body to actually celebrate God’s goodness~ is a sign of spiritual depth
  • Angels saw God and abandoned their posts, ignoring His goodness and vastness only because they “perceived” opportunity. We have never seen God’s face, yet we trust, love and celebrate Him. This brings spiritual authority!
  • God doesn’t want to be invisible. Sin clouds our eyes ~ This is why scripture says that the pure in heart shall see God. We know our hearts are pure if when tragedy and hardship hits us and we rejoice. This is a heart that is God’s home!

→What are you willing to sacrifice in order to allow the Holy Spirit to train your heart to be thankful?

→What will a thankful heart do for your relationship with God that is non-existent now?

→Remember: praise/thanksgiving are significantly beneficial to you and God!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Close To The Edge: The Sin of A Marginal Life

Close To The Edge: The Sin of Marginal Living

Matt 25:1-13

15Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." Luke 12.15

Margin: an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary: to allow a margin for error.

  1. A limit in condition, capacity, etc., beyond or below which something ceases to exist, be desirable, or be possible

  • We are part of a society that doesn’t respect boundaries...

  • We live AT or BEYOND our means
    • We overspend & under-save
    • We overeat & and under-exercise
    • We over promise & under-deliver
    • We overcommit & just merely don’t show up

⇔We live to close to our limits...this means:

    • we almost always overdraw our account
    • We live from crisis to crisis
    • We on edge because we’re on the edge

⇔Are we mismanaging and mis-budgeting our lives?

We think we can have it all!! (Willy Wonka movie...)

⇔When business finds there is no margin in a product it is discontinued

⇔When a leader’s life lacks margin:

  • prayerlessness results
  • become too locked up to be poured into (i.e. a closed fist)
  • running on empty, which = your own strength & ability

⇔When do you know you’re running on empty?

(Refer to margins article)

  • sickness/poor health
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • irrational behavior

⇔Jesus had an internal alarm, he was bad because he would get away from the crowds to be alone (John 6.22):

  • He was going to heal Jairus’ daughter when the Bleeding Woman touched him

  • He had enough time to do ministry when he encountered the funeral progression in Nain.

  • He had enough time and energy to train his successors

  • He catered a wedding...or at least made a wine run

  • My soul is exceedingly sorrowful until death...wait here will I go pray (Matt 26.38)
    • He resurfaced with the statement, not my will but yours be done
      • he acquired the margin to obey the Father and save us!!

⇔A Margin-less life has no room for delay gratification. Why?

    • It needs excitement now! because the already-full life is so painful & empty

⇔So...layway has morphed into Instant Credit, or... “rent-a-life

⇔We’re so full, that we neglect....

  • We neglect our marriages (they require trust, time and work)
  • We neglect our children (children require energy, attention and wisdom)
  • We neglect our health (emotionally, spiritually and physically)


  • Joy (you’ll appreciate what you have)
  • Vacation (stay-cation or day-cation)...sacrifice and save
  • Set a reasonable bedtime
  • Find margin for a hobby or past-time that refreshes you
  • Sabbath!
    • Was designed to build margin into faith
    • was designed to keep spiritually vibrant
    • was designed to remind us we aren’t little gods


We seem afraid to rest

We seem afraid to vacation

We seem too tense to relax

We’re “on” all the time.

Oftentimes, God doesn’t turn ON until we turn OFF (2 Cor 12.10)

⇔If we don’t....

  • Our rushed lives will soon slow us down
  • Our full plates will soon starve us...and empty us out
  • Too many dreams will cause us nightmares

And if you should be “LUCKY” enough to GET IT ALL...

You’ll quickly find you can’t HANDLE IT ALL

You’ll risk LOSING IT ALL

And You’ll die empty & LEAVING IT ALL BEHIND!!


22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless. 24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, Ecc 2:22-24 NIV

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Iron Men, Too!

Iron Men, Too (Father’s Day 2010)

13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. [a] So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself [b] with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (Mal 2:13-16)

5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (Mal 4:5-6)

Insights: Relationships would be the cornerstone of the new Kingdom initiative.

    • Malachi speaks of at least 4 failures (All of which disrespect Father God)
      • failure of the impatient people to bring good gifts to God (Mal 1:6-14)
      • failure of the priests to exercise & excellence in offering these lazy, maimed gifts to God. (Mal 2:1-9
      • failure of home covenants (Mal 2:10-14) (Divorce & remarriage to foreigners/God wants Godly children)
      • failure of tithes & supporting God’s spirtual and national work (Mal 3)
      • God would restore all of this by restoring relationships (Mal 4)
  • Relationships with each other would be reflect our relationship with God.
  • God’s wants kid who’ll change the world and kids who are wounded because the father’s won’t get it together.
  • God means that thing!
  • Men play a key role in God’s new Kingdom order

Challenge: We’re called to save society. We reverse what Onan did & father children who aren’t our own.

  • Men need a challenge. Father’s are men.
  • Church needs to be a place were men/father’s are equipped to serve
  • Society will change when men are secure. The Church should specialize in pointing men to God for security
  • Relax: Secure men do not abuse power nor do they hold it over the heads of strong women!
  • We must restore God’s dignity in the Church and in society!!

Hearing Hard Lessons

Positioning Ourselves Appropriately: (Set-Up of Sermon)

Are you in the right place, waiting for the blessing of the Lord?

Location is everything in cases where Jesus has arranged it....

    • he told the disciples to meet him in jerusalem after his death
    • God told Abraham to leave his father’s country (Gen 12.1)
    • 1 Kings 17
      • Kerith Ravine (A place where I have commanded a Raven to feed you)
      • Zarephath (A place where I have commanded a widow to serve you)

2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." 1 Kings 17

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 1 Kings 17

4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. (Acts 1.4)

  • Sometimes the location sometimes positions you to be a blessing to someone else. Blessings are not just for us. They are not meant to be a dead end!

As believers, we want to position ourselves for the blessing of being deputized (duly authorized and being blessed & anointed to be sent for and by Jesus).


Hard Lessons from Jesus: John 6 (Learning Hard Lessons)

  • The crowds followed because they wanted to see more miracles (entertainment) in Galilee.

  • This was passover season & Jesus did a miracle with the bread
    • bread had true significance (so did manna)

  • They wanted to make Jesus a king because of his provision (This is that prophet)
    • He went up into the mountain again

  • Jesus walked on the water toward Capernaum

  • People sailed to where Jesus did the bread miracle and didn’t find him there. They then sailed further to find him. (v. 23-25)

  • Jesus isn’t impressed when they find him (v. 26...ya’ll didn’t come for a true came for bread).

[We do all this searching for Jesus...but it isn't earnest. We seek a Jesus we can manipulate and not a Jesus who will mold and reshape us]

“what is the sign that you will give us?” Manna?

What will you do in order to earn our praise and allegiance?

  1. 38 “ I didn’t come from Heaven to do what I want. I came to do what the Father wants”

  • God’s will & work= believe on Jesus. (This is your job description)

* People are used to free entertainment without committing to anything!

So...Jesus started messing with their heroes...and their theology

  • My Father gave you better bread than Moses

  • I am the Bread of Life. No hunger and no thirst.

  • You’ve seen me...but you have not believed ( although they’ve traveled far to see miracles).

This is the will of the one who sent me: Belief in ME & that I would give eternal life

Jews were mad ‘cause he spoke of coming down from heaven

  • I am the bread of life (2x) & I am the living bread that came down form heaven.

If the people are already upset...why would Jesus keep on talking?

55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Many disciples murmured. This is too hard to understand (v. 60)

You can’t come to me unless the Father draws you (v. 66). The people got angrier!

No man can come to Jesus unless his father draws them.

  • Many disciples left and walked with Jesus no more
    • what do you turn to when you turn from Jesus?

The people didn’t like Jesus assertions about Himself because his assertions clashed with their own view...and need for Jesus.

Not ALL the disciples left...just some.

Scripture is full of hard saying that people had to understand and obey....

  • Sell what you have
  • Sacrifice your son
  • Rise, slay and eat
  • Seek the Shalom of your city
  • Preach to the Gentile
  • Take this cup and drink it (to Jesus in Gethsemane)

*The point is not WHY this is a hard saying... it WAS hard and many left Jesus because of it.

  • they didn’t crucify him....they just stopped walking with him
  • they didn’t betray him...they just stopped walking with him

Sitting At Jesus' Feet (I did't get to preach this message due to the move of the Spirit, but here are my notes)

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet


  • The posture of submission
    • it may initially look like one is waiting to serve, however
      • It really is the posture of one waiting to be served by the Lord.

  • Sitting is a passive posture <> crouching, stooping, standing, leaning, etc.

  • Feet symbolize authority:
    • Deut 2.5; 11.24; Josh 1.3; Ps 122.2

To fall at someone’s feet means reverence: 1Sam 25.24; 2 Sam 22.39; Esther 8.3; Acts 10:25

Rev19:10; Acts 22.8 Angel refuses to let John fall at his feet because he was not worthy of worship

Demonic man was found sitting at Jesus’ feet

There’s a place in God’s heart for those who look as tho’ they want a blessing:

  • Jacob was really a swindler..but he got the blessing of Isaac.
    • Gen 27 & Heb 11.20

Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob [a] ? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" Gen 27.36

Romans 9:12-14 (New International Version)

12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[a] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[b]

  • The Shrewd manager was scandalous, but the Lord commended him.

  • Elisha (2 Kings 2):

Verse 3

Mary therefore took a pound of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Pure nard ...

Spikenard was a perfume highly prized by the ancients, and was produced from Nardostachys jatamansi, a small plant (which is) a native of the Himalaya Mountains.
F4 The high cost derived partly from the transportation of it thousands of miles from India to Jerusalem. There were "cut" varieties of it, but this was expensive pure nard itself.

  • Mary’s understanding/epiphany of who Jesus really was, caused her to sacrifice & serve

Sitting at Jesus’ feet makes us deadly to the plans of the enemy:

  • Mary’s devotion to Jesus caused her to position herself thusly
    • Others jostled Jesus as they jockeyed for position
      • Mary wanted Him....They wanted to be connect with Him.

  • Her posture showed that she understood both His Lordship and her servanthood

  • Her posture caused her to observe things that others were too busy to notice

  • Her devotion to Christ did not begin with the miracle of Lazarus.
    • Her devotion → serious choices
      • Financially (nard was imported 1K miles away from India) = Annual Salary
      • Socially= It was inappropriate for her to take her hair down to was Jesus feet. This would change the way others viewed her.

Mary was extravagant with her faith and devotion!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Assemby Required: The Power of Agreement

Power of Agreement = Harmony. Accord.

forsake not the assembling of yourselves... (Heb 10:23-24)

23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:23-25).

Ancient teachers from Greek philosophers to Qumran's founding teacher established communities of followers to perpetuate their teachings...

  • Bin Laden
  • Charles Manson
  • These men’s adherents should be viewed just a suspiciously as their leaders...why isn’t that the case with Christians?

  • I want to teach FoLifers to embrace the Body of Christ

  • My family taught me that we ALWAYS side with family.
    • You never fight publicly
    • You always defend family
    • If one of us was not welcome in a place, none of were
    • if one of you gets jumped unfairly...or the other relative is losing this’d best jump in or you’d have a “fight” when you got home.

Hebrews was likely written to Hellenistic Jews who were facing persecution...

(Paul explains what that might’ve looked like in Act 26.9-11).

These strong believers wanted to be encouraged as they were being challenged to die for their faith...

  • be
  • spur each other on to good works...who?
  • continue meeting together!!
  • The author of Hebrews said what AA, NA, SA advocates have been saying for years... go to your meeting!!

What can coming to the house of the Lord can do?

  • reflect on the past week and prepare for the upcoming week
  • confess sin/ hear testimony/ experience artistic expression of faith/ silence
  • study the faith of ancient believers/ hear a message that contradicts the voices of mainstream america
  • praying & being in the company of people who are trying to do all these things.

Watchman Nee (Famous Chinese Author):

The Lord revealed to me that He desired to build up local churches in various places to manifest Himself and to bear the testimony of unity on the ground of the local churches. In this way, each saint [believer] is able to function in the church and live the church life. What God wants is not individuals trying to be victorious or spiritual; He wants a corporate glorious church presented to Himself.


  • Talk about co-signing
  • Talk about exchange
    • my relationship with presbyterians

  • Our attitude is wrong...gathering is about seeing God (direction); worshiping God (empowerment for service & witness); encouraging others (family time)

  • Why was the church so hard on sin?
    • it destroyed community
      • inappropriate dress
      • inappropriate conversations & propositions
      • schisms
      • you don’t crap in the water you drink from

Acts 12

Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison

5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him...

12When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

Where do I want to end up?

  • Explain that the sense of isolation and disconnection from others has been a huge part of the sin problem

    • Adam’s sin was incubated in the fact that he didn’t think about how his actions would impact others...and God.

  • Community is where we spur others on to faith and good works

  • Each time you see a powerful outpouring of God’s Spirit in the Book of Acts, it was when a great unifying event had taken place.


  • Ask for volunteers for a First Sunday Fellowship
  • Use purple forms this week to write a note of encouragement for the any member of the ministry team (children, youth, music, set-up, janitorial, sound/video, ushers, etc.)
  • Make a point of hanging back for a few minutes after service each week in order to meet a new person each Sunday.

God’s view of the POWERFUL local church:

  • settle disputes & avoid the courtroom (...You and your sister fought at school?!)
  • put people out of church if they wouldn’t live/act right
  • reinstate people when they got right

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Will Be You God and You Will Be My People (Sermon)

Sermon: I Will Be Your God and You Will Be My People

Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.

(Brian Tracy)

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to [d] them, [e] " declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Recap: God frees Israel from Egyptian Bondage in order to given them liberty and a relationship with a real God.

  • Following God Almighty whole-heartedly requires a total break for former gods
    • fear, comfort, selfishness, greed, hatred

  • God’s presence was revealed...God’s character is taught (they didn’t know God)

  • A full-break with the old god is required in order to clearly see God Almighty

  • Israel needed to be retrained (spiritually, attitudinally, emotionally) before they could handle the Promised Land.

  • God is certainly with the destitute...but at some point, God expects the destitute to have a hand in bringing other broken people to God.

Today: We fast forward to Jeremiah: (Jere 31:31-34)

  • He prophesies because Israel forgot or ignored what happened in Egypt, Sinai and Canaan

  • He prophesied that Jerusalem should surrender to Babylonian powers

  • He further prophesies of a New Covenant and points to Calvary

Where I want to end up:

  • Israel often felt like an orphan, a nomad or an refugee.... Neither had roots or stability!

      • God offered them a promise to be their God and they’s be the people of God
      • Become a people was dependent upon having a leader (God)

  • God wants to renew our minds and give us new character that will beckon his continued presence in, and pleasure with, our lives.


  • Do you find yourself feeling alienated from the plan of God and the center of that will?

  • As a believer, Is God an after thought in your life?

  • How is the New Covenant working for you?

  • How do you follow the presence of God to a place where the Holy Spirit can begin to write the truths of God into the fiber of your being?

  • The Lord God Almighty is willing to be your God...are you willing to be God’s People?


  • When we fail to pursue the God Who is pursuing us; we find that we have fallen prey to a lesser god that has been desiring to pursue us in order to devour us.

  • It’s is God’s character that ushers the Presence of God into our midst