Friday, October 25, 2013

Week #4 Fast Guidlines (Lord Have Mercy Fast): Only liquids!!!!!

Week #4 Lawd Ha’ Mercy Fast (Liquids)
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
FOL is a ministry that has been called to join God in bringing hope, help and healing to our community and and the world. Being “Missional” means that we understand that this is not extra-credit.  This is what it means to be the people of God.

This week is the toughest of each of the fasts. We are avoiding solid foods all week. This fast will push us to remain focused while our stomachs attempt to distract us. As we are focusing on hungering after God and God’s plan for the Church and society, I would like to offer the following as a reading and praying guide:

(Read the story of Jesus evangelizing the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42)

Monday: What is this story telling us about the cross-cultural reach of the gospel message? What is God saying to you?

Tuesday: What does the nature of the woman’s marital status tell us about the reach of the gospel? What is God saying to you?

Wednesday: Pray today that FOL and area churches would see unsaved people as an opportunity to live out the gospel.

Thursday: Think in agricultural terms...what happens when crops ripen? What is the response to ripened crops by farmers? What is Jesus saying to the readers in this passage?  What is he saying us?

Friday: (Question) When is the last time you shared your faith with someone? When is the last time you testified of God’s goodness to you? What needs to happen in order for that to occur regularly?

Saturday: (Question) How regularly do you pray for the people closest to you to be reached by the gospel? Can you begin to set time aside to pray for those who are not connecting with Jesus?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beautiful Temple ~ Broken People

Acts 3 sermon on the purpose of the Church
Oct 12, 2013

Message Set-up:

  • Beautifully ornate temple building. Designed & visited by God Almighty
  • In disarray because a few month’s prior it’s Holy Corridor was desecrated
  • Worth millions but defunct because it lacked purpose, passion & God’s presence
  • Lame man laid before its gates because he wasn’t allowed inside✫
  • Godly well-dressed leaders stepped over this man daily to enter this facility
  • Luke wrote about a similar scenario in Luke 10 (Good Samaritan)
  • Two uneducated fishermen who had been deeply touched by the Holy Spirit walked to temple...reflecting upon the purpose of Christ and his desire for hurting society..

The Turn:

  • This story is meant to strike the heart of every church leaders and sincere believer
  • Our religious endeavors have become more important than our godly entreaties
    • Our pace has co-opted our passion
    • Our calling has taken a back seat to our “culling” (sorting thru and sifting/rejecting things due to their inferiority)
    • Our agendas are comfort
    • Our mantra is now!
    • Our unholy trinity is me, myself & I (the cause of every demise)

  • The man represents society...The temple represents the attitudes of God’s people...A miracle is needed in order to re-establish AWE in the House (Church) of God that it used to have.

  • The miracle lies in the interaction of God’s standing people and God’s crippled people...because they need each other, badly!!

Key thoughts that I hear in this passage: 

  • A witnessing presence
  • A  witnessing power
  • A  witnessing compassion 
  • A  witnessing worship, 

We have reduced “witnessing” to an act and not a lifestyle.

We have to rethink what a witness can do:

  • This man only saw these two men in a transactional lens. 
  • When they said look on us… They had seen each other before… 
    • Where had the man been looking?
    • Sometimes you have to get in the dirt so that people can look on you!!

  • But Peter and John had new power and this man had a new opportunity.

We are not called to witness for the Lord in the sense we merely discuss him…

  • We are called to be a witness in that we bring people into the presence of God right where we are!

✫The man never had access to the temple. He didn’t need the needed him!!

The temple which is been so routine and religious now had a bona fide miracle and it's midst and it redefined worship.

✫We need a evangelism so that the new converts can remind us of the fresh fire and power of God that changed us. We need a evangelism to bring new people man to reinvigorate I worship.
The birth of the church was the father's restoration of what he had hoped to establish in Eden with those with whom he shared dominion

History of God’s Housing Situation...

  • When Tabernacle was built to God’s specification, His Glory fell! (2 Chr 5)
  • When Temple was completed to God’s specification, His Glory fell (Ex 40)
  • When His Temple within human hearts were unified..His Glory fell (Acts 2, 8 & 10)
  • When we unify...God shows up!! His Glory is revealed...
  • ...But not until we love unconditionally

Christians like damning American culture and society. We blame it for the trouble in the world. 


For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? I Peter 4.17 NIV
*Remember being the oldest child left in charge???
  • Who got in trouble if the younger child misbehaved?

According to Congregational Mission Professor, Craig Van Gelder

➢The Church is about human behavior that is being transformed by God’s redeeming* power...which will be used for his redemptive purposes

➢The Church is God’s personal presence in the world through the Spirit
➢The Church is a social organization (human community of people in interaction with each other...not a social agency) & spiritual community.
➢ The Church is called to live fully in the Reign of God’s Almighty
➢ The Church does not have a is God’s mission!!!

  • How is God redeeming you for His great purpose in the world?
  • In what ways do you help/hinder the Church in meeting its purpose?
  • Do you want really to be a part of God’s solution in the world?
  • Who is lame and sitting at your door?

  • Pray for the Church to fulfill God’s intended purpose
  • Pray for the Power of the Holy Spirit to control the Church
  • Rethink’re not the lame man in this’re either Peter/John or you’re the people inside the temple going through the motions.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Church For Sale (Not Being Co-Opted!)

*This section of Luke talks about Discipleship
  • Standing up for God by standing up for godliness...even under persecution
  • Avoid dependence on anything that rivals God
  • Discipleship is fearing (reverencing) God and putting God’s values and instructions first.
  • We are accountable to God

Greed: An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth

*Greed is a great impediment to spiritual growth!

(I suspect that this was the case, because Christ takes occasion from it to warn against covetousness, pleonexia—a desire of having more, more than God in his providence has allotted us. It was not a lawful desire of getting his own, but a sinful desire of getting more than his own.)
“Greed never rests from the acquiring of more” Ancient historian, Plutarch

Why is greed problematic? 
  • It make you marketable. Sellable. Manipulable. Usable. Vulnerable. Buyable.
    • Being Sellable. Manipulable. Usable. Vulnerable. Buyable makes us self-sufficient (pride) ...which means that we operate in a sphere where God is our outsider...a combatant. 

  • We leave God with no other choice

My crops. My farm. My grain. My goods. My barn. Myself!

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. (Mantra or theme-song of hedonism. [fasting will uncover this addiction to pleasure, comfort and self-determination])

he·don·ism  (hpastedGraphic.pdfdpastedGraphic_1.pdfn-pastedGraphic_2.pdfzpastedGraphic_3.pdfpastedGraphic_4.pdfm)
1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good.
3. Psychology The doctrine holding that behavior is motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.


Why does God call this man a fool?
  • He goes from rich and famous to dead, poor and departed!

What does it mean that our lives are required of us?
  • The fool undervalued God and valued his own capabilities.

The man was rich in the world and poor concerning God.

➣Greed isn’t wealth. Greed is our attitude towards wealth and possessions.

°We become short-sighted. Now is all there is without God and after life.
°Absence of God leaves us only dependent upon right now. Desperate.
°Life can’t be reduced to here and now: The now can’t satisfy. We can’t “afford” to become our own God.
  • Stress over life
  • Worry
  • Comparison

Society in 1st century church:
  • He held back grain
  • He is keeping prices very high (this serves him...not good for the poor)

“Life is more than food and wealth” ~ Jesus

This life is where/how we break into eternity...

*‘God to Israel: “you’re rich, overfed and unconcerned” (Ezek 16:49-50)

This passage in Luke 12 isn’t about money; it is about priorities.

“Thou Fool!” ~ (audible head-slap) You don’t get it. You’re not acting like me. You’re not concerned for the hurting among you. The gospel would address their issues if it would first manifest in our lives.

The man’s actions clashed with the very values of Heaven and of God.

Name your wealth!

Why is this sermon necessary?
  • This parable captures the attitudes of society
  • This attitude is not checked at the door at our conversion
  • Hence, it has been spiritualized
  • The Church is to model a level discipleship and care that confronts this prevalent attitude.

Key points from passage:

  1. Reverence God more than popularity & self-indulgences. MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
  2. Jesus can tell a lot about you by what subjects you broach with Him when you have an audience with him.
  3. Fools focus on themselves and are not rich towards God via their treatment of others
  4. Seek His Kingdom...the place where He guides, defines, equips & values. Don’t fear lack
  5. Sell your possessions and serve the poor. (See yourself as resourced!!)
    1. Make purses in Heaven

  • Who owns you?

  • Name your wealth
  • Change your dialogue with Jesus
  • Ask for new eyes which a result of a changed heart.
  • FOL, let’s work with God is getting the attention of the hurting by serving their needs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jesus Deals With Distractions (Week #1 Media Fast)

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22-26 NIV)
This one of Jesus’ strangest miracles.

This interesting healing has several strange twists: Jesus leads the blind man outside the village before praying for him; Jesus spits on the man’s eyes to heal him; and the man seemingly isn’t healed until Jesus prays a second time; Jesus instructs the man to not enter his village again.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus took the man outside this village?

Perhaps Jesus had something to give this man that couldn’t be received in his village.

Perhaps Jesus knew that the man was distracted by the overstimulation of the impressions, expectations, noises, conversations and conversationalists of his community.

Perhaps Jesus didn’t feel like competing with the clammer of this man’s mind.

Perhaps Jesus had to heal the man’s distractions before he could heal the man’s eyes.

Jesus did both.

Week #1 Fast Focus is the media fast

Purpose: The power of distraction is its unnoticeableness! It creeps up on us and overwhelms us without our perceiving it. Therefore, believers need to be strategic in uncovering this stealth enemy. Our distraction is actually the loss of focus upon our God. The loss of the focus upon our God can be compared to a scuba diver being disconnected from their air supply. Distraction is not only harmful because of the lack of the focus it causes; it is harmful because it makes God jealous of what we focus on. Let’s use this fast to identify and avoid subtle things that distract us from hearing, seeing and discerning God’s will for our lives and our community. Use this extra time wisely to hear God in fresh new ways. Allow Jesus to touch you a second time this week. Allow Jesus to heal your distractions and allow you to experience him in new ways.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel! ”Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3.10)