This past week has been full of opportunities to see the ministering presence of the Spirit released into the lives of different individuals. Much of my time this past week was spent with people in hospitals, nursing homes, and sadly even a funeral home. Those moments of interaction served to remind me that life does present to us some very challenging situations in which we are in need of a power that is far greater than our own power or ability. I personally witnessed the strength of God bring people through major surgical procedures with very positive results. I also witnessed the Spirit bring comfort and hope to a room full of individuals who were in deep grief over the the tragic death of their loved one and friend. I am still blessed and encouraged as I am able to point people to the ever-present Savior who is willing to meet people at their point of need. It is no wonder that I share the message of the Gospel with fervency and enthusiasm. I believe that the message of the Kingdom of God is worthy of declaration and worthy of our participation. I do not have to hang my head in despair or embarrassment as I stand week after week and point people to Jesus Christ. I am convinced that Christ is still the Hope for each and every individual that lives on this earth. I am even more committed to the declaration of the life-changing message of the Gospel as I continue to see the effect that Christ has in the lives of individuals. Each of us carry our own unique set of burdens and concerns yet Christ invites all of us to bring them to the Lord. And in doing we are given the opportunity to exchange our burdens for the rest that we can find in and through Jesus Christ. You do not have to travel the road of life alone; there is someone who cares about you and all of the situations that you are facing. Take some time today and share your burdens with the Lord; you will not be disappointed with the response of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I would like to send my apology to Pastor Roseboro and the Greater Vision Worship Center congregation. Due to some Ministerial duties I was unable to fulfill my commitment to be one of the speakers for the Pastoral Anniversary Celebration. I am sure that the meeting continues to be a wonderful success and we sincerely regret our inability to participate. We pray blessings on Pastor Roseboro, the local church leadership and the entire church body. We pray that your future will be greater and more highly anointed than your past.
We are also in prayer for Stayce Hazell as she deals with the death of her son, Gage. Gage was a senior at North Hardin High School in Radcliff, Kentucky. We are also praying for the friends of Gage as they deal with the issues of his tragic and untimely death. It is during times such as this that we need the Savior who is able to sense and feel the grief that each of feel as we face the death of a loved one or the death of a friend.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I do not want to sound redundant or repetitive when I write about the presence of God when I discuss the weekend services at New River Worship Center. Is it not true that God desires to fellowship with His family as they gather to offer praise, adoration, worship and heartfelt thanksgiving? Should we expect anything less from God as we open the eyes of our heart toward Heaven and receive His direction for our lives? The lack of the presence of God in our midst may be directly related to our lack of hunger/passion for more of God (at least in my sincere opinion). The songs on Sunday, the testimonies, and the declaration of the Word of God kept pointing us to the promises of God. The promises of God reveal to us the continued presence of God in our daily lives. The presence of God continues to remind us that we are not alone on our journey through life. We must continue to desire more of the presence of God in our lives and we must remain committed to offer our lives a living sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. Take a moment and recognize His presence today and you will find yourselves encouraged as you remember that God has not forgotten about you or the situations that you are facing!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Blaine Morris is only 2 years old, and his vocabulary is limited. But when his family passes the church, he knows what it is and shouts, "More God! More God!" That should be the cry of the whole world—"More God!" That is what we need—not more money, not more weapons and not more industry. We need more God. This illustration speaks to what I sense in my heart on a day basis as well as the message that I am constantly sharing in the ministry venues that God provides. We are in great need of "more of God." I truly believe that God is calling each of us to draw near to His presence and in doing so we open the door for the Spirit to perform His work in our lives. The work of the Spirit should be the daily longing/hunger of our soul. Let each of us cry out for more of God as we gather in our local churches this coming Sunday. Let us open our hearts to God on a daily basis and allow Him to transform our lives as He so desires. Our individual transformation will position us to see the release of the Kingdom of God in this world. The world needs to recognize the Kingdom of God at work in our heart and life!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
James 1:2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of you faith develops perseverance." (NIV)
As I read this passage this morning, two phrases grabbed my attention very quickly. The phrase, "consider it pure joy, and the testing of your faith" challenged me to reconsider my approach to the daily challenges of life. I remembered that there have been many times in which the trials I was facing did everything but bring joy into my life. It was during those trials that I was looking for anything but the principle of perseverance rather I was looking for immediate deliverance and victory. I was more interested in receiving the blessing that I needed rather than the training and development that God had in mind. I am constantly amazed at my inability to fully comprehend the lessons that the challenges of life seek to teach me. I am writing these thoughts from the point of view of what some people may deem as a "seasoned believer." Yet, I still struggle at times when my faith is truly being tested. I am more interested in facing those challenges and moving through them as quickly as possible. I desire an immediate victory so that I can bounce back into church the next Sunday and have a stirring testimony of victory. But I must remember that Christ is interested in me completing the journey with Him and there are times that I am more interested in living for the moment. This does not mean that Christ is not interested in the daily moments in our lives but He has a long term plan for our life which will ultimately place us in His presence for eternity. I have the tendency to look at the temporal and the plan of God focuses on the eternal. Some of you are facing the "fiery" trials that the Apostle Peter referenced in his writings but rest assured that Christ has not lost you nor forgotten you in the midst of your trial. Christ is working His eternal plan in each of our lives and we must be prepared to persevere regardless of the circumstances that may seek to hinder our walk with Him. I realize that the previous statement can be challenging to receive but I do believe that it is the right statement to receive. God does have an eternal plan for each of our lives!
Monday, October 17, 2011
It is always a great privilege and honor to share the Word of God with a group of people who are desiring to grow in their relationship with Christ. I was able to sense that this weekend as I shared what I felt the Lord had placed on my heart. The previous statement in and of itself is such a daily challenge to me. Do I truly place the "heart of God" above my own agenda and plans? It is easy to develop an attitude of "I know what the people need to hear" but as a spiritual leader I must have an attitude of hearing from God. That same attitude/desire needs to permeate the heart of each and every sincere believer. It is easy to go to church and just "listen" but do I go to church and "pay attention?" I used to hear my parents say, "Michael, are you paying attention?" Is it possible that our Heavenly Father often says, "Are you paying attention to what I am saying?" It is possible to go to church and give a nod of our head or a hearty "Amen" to what is being said and never fully comprehend the heart of the message that is being released in the service? I desire to move beyond the proverbial nod of the head to Christ. It is easier to bow our head than bow our heart to God and His Word for our lives. I desire to have a heart that sincerely longs to listen closely to the directions, encouragement, discipline, caution, etc. that the Spirit is sharing. The previously mentioned attitude will certainly propel us out of the status quo into a more passionate desire to follow after God in obedience and surrender. The moderator in yesterday's service reminded us that we are called to be a follower of Christ and not just a fan of Christ. Followers develop listening ears and obedient hearts as they respond to the heart of God that is full of compassion and love. Lamentations 3: 22-23, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." (NKJV)
Thursday, October 13, 2011
We are living in a world that is facing our own set of unique challenges. The words "things are changing around here" have become very commonplace is all spectrum's of life. I know and believe that all change is not bad but in a world of instability and confusion we need to have a strong and steady spiritual foundation. The Psalmist David reminded us that he went "to the Rock" when his heart was overwhelmed by the circumstances that was surrounding him. It is a source of strength and encouragement to know that we can have spiritual stability through the revelation of God that we find contained in the Holy Scriptures. We may feel and sense a feeling of unsteadiness as we look at all of the challenges that we are facing in our nation and world yet we can remain confident in God who has promised never to change. God is unaffected by all of the changing circumstances of our society.
I felt led to share some passages of scripture that I believe can give you a strong sense of stability in the midst of our changing and challenging world.
Revelation 21:6, "He said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give him to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life."
Psalm 40:2, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
Psalm 18:2, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
I Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen"
In the midst of an unstable world we can have peace, hope, comfort, and salvation through the promises of God!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
John 10:19, "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!" (NIV)
There are some situations of my life that I more easily release into the Hands of God. But there are also those challenging moments in which I know that I need to place that situation in the Hands of God but I struggle with a control issue. I feel better if I can just keep the situation close to me so that I can help God handle whatever needs to be handled. I don't mean to take this action but I want to be prepared to assist God if necessary. Now I already know that God does not need my assistance but I want to be prepared to provide any help that He might need. Have you ever prayed for a certain request and made sure that you included your desired answer for that request in your prayer? I know that I have been guilty of offering that type of assistance to God. But the true peace of God affords us the opportunity to place our full assurance and confidence in the fact that God is working His will and way for my life. I may not always feel and see His hands in action but I can trust His heart that reveals His love for me.
I must not allow my desire to be in control of my life hinder the work and process of God. The peace of God allows me to release those stressful moments into the Hands of God and realize that He has the power and ability to meet the need that I am facing. I must stop grasping for control of my life. My desire to be in control of my life can be very counterproductive to the plan that God has outlined for me. The more I manipulate and grasp for control, the more anxious I become. The more anxious that I become, the more I look for man-made solutions to the circumstances. The more I look for man-made solutions, the more my decisions are driven by the flesh and not led by the Spirit. I must resist the temptation to walk in the strength of the flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to release direction into my daily life. Trusting in the flesh may provide some temporary solutions to our difficulties but we must continue to seek for God's directives to be accomplished in our life. Instead of grasping for control of our lives we must be willing to open our hands to God and release the matters of our life into His Hands. God also asks us to open our mind and heart to Him so that He can speak the peace that we need. The opening of our heart and mind to God allows us to become aware of the presence of God. The recognition of the presence of God allows us to receive the peace of God that will bring the rest and assurance that we need. We need to take the approach to God much the same way that a young child takes the approach to grasping the hand of their parents. The young child places his/her small hand into the larger hand of their parents and in doing so they express confidence in their parents. Rest assured you can place your confidence in God!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
"Peace, Peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above..." are words from a song that may be very familiar to us. I can remember singing that song on many occasions throughout my Christian life. I am glad to report that the song is more than just words that flow from my mouth but I have seen the peace of God truly manifested at various moments and in various situations in my walk with Christ. The peace of God is more than a myth; the peace of God is a definite revelation of the manifest presence of Christ! Listen to the words of Jesus to the disciples who had scattered after the death of their Leader and supposed Savior. They were afraid, discouraged, overwhelmed, and disappointed just to name a few of the emotions that they were feeling. John 10:19, "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!" (NIV)
First, notice that the doors were locked. Remember that no situation can stop Christ from drawing near to His children. Haven't we all faced those situations when the enemy sought to convince us that Christ was unaware of the needs that we were facing? Fear did not stop Christ from making His appearance to His disciples. The fears that each of us face will not hinder the appearance of Christ to us as we face those moments that "peace" seems such a distant friend. Second, notice that Christ stood among them. He could have spoken peace to them from a distance; after all He had performed other miracles from a distance for His followers. Yet we find Christ in the midst of the disciples whose lives had been captured and somewhat controlled by fear. Remember the words of Paul in Romans 8 as he reminded us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. I truly believe that Christ will walk into the midst of our situation and pronounce the peace that we need at that moment. The disciples did not need a "long distance" miracle they needed the intimate presence of their friend, mentor, and Savior. Jesus enters through closed doors, stands in the midst of their fears, and makes this announcement; "Peace be with you!"
Today Christ stands in the midst of your difficult moments whatever they may be and declares once more "Peace be with you!" Make sure you take the time to hear His loving voice and remember that you are not alone.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The weekend services at New River Worship Center were very inspirational and encouraging. I still stand amazed at the loving presence of God after all of my years as a Gospel Minister. I still rejoice when I see individuals respond to the call and leading of the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that God stands ready to minister to our needs regardless what these needs may entail. God does not take a step back from us when we face our set of challenging circumstances but he still chooses to draw near to us and minister to our lives. Yesterday we were able to witness one of the children of our Children's Ministry make a public profession of her faith in Christ through the sacrament of Water Baptism. This baptism was special because her father was in attendance. Her father's attendance was special because he is preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan in a few days and she desired for her father to witness her baptism before his deployment began. We were also able to witness her father come forward for prayer during the time of invitation. God still arranges the lives of His people in such a manner that we are in the right place at the right time. I thank God that I was able to participate in that awesome service which gave us a fresh revelation of the love of God.
Sunday night was a time of Worship and Intercessory Prayer at New River. Once again the scripture became real to our lives; James 4:8a, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." (NKJV) God still rewards those who diligently seek Him and we were able to witness the fulfillment of that blessing last night. We saw the presence of God revealed through the songs that were shared during the worship time. We used Proverbs 3:5-8 as our prayer map. It is time for the modern day church to recognize and acknowledge the leadership of Christ and allow Him to direct our paths. I could say much about the time of prayer as I heard different individuals lifting their hearts in prayer, praise, and intercession. But toward the end of the prayer time the Spirit raised up a moment of divine encouragement. I felt led to ask people to read the passage in the Bible that God had used or was using at that particular moment to encourage them. My heart was melted as I listened to various individuals read with such passion, tenderness, tears, compassion, encouragement, hope, faith, etc. I can not attest to what others felt in that portion of the meeting but I KNOW that God spoke strength and courage into my spirit. I still believe that God responds to the cry of our heart. I still believe that God is interested in the needs of His children. I still believe that God cares about fallen mankind. I still believe the the Word of God offers hope and solutions to the needs of our daily lives. I can testify that I was both blessed and encouraged by the presence of the Lord that was evident in the services this weekend at New River Worship Center. I start this new week with a renewed desire to walk after the heart of God in obedience and surrender.
Remember to pray for the Internet Revival. Read Friday's post for more information regarding your participation in this revival meeting.
Friday, October 7, 2011
I have been asked to participate in a new and interesting Gospel outreach. Evangelist Leroy and Betty Curry of Greenpond, Alabama have felt led of the Spirit to try something that is definitely out of the religious box. They are leading an Internet Revival during the week of October 9-16, 2011. I have been given the opportunity to serve as the Evangelist for this meeting. I will be preparing the sermon (written) for each of the daily services. Bro. & Sis. Curry already have a large group of believers that are connected through the Daily Chapel Ministry. This Ministry already provides a daily devotional as well as an Intercessory Prayer Ministry for requests that are sent to them from around the United States as well as some countries of the world. You can contact the Curry's at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being a part of these revival services. I also ask that you pray that this effort of the Daily Chapel Ministry will be an effective tool to share the message of the Gospel. The Curry's have a great desire to see this effort become a great blessing to those who receive the messages and music.
Let us join together in prayer for every church as they gather to lift up the name of Christ this weekend through their individual worship services. America is in need of a Spiritual Awakening and I believe that God is hearing the prayers of His people. In the past few days I have received reports of answered prayers from several different individuals regarding needs that they are facing. Feel free to email me any prayer request that you may have. We are having a special Prayer Gathering on Sunday night, October 9th. We would be honored to be able to pray for your request at New River Worship Center.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I wrote on Tuesday about the opportunity to share the eulogy/message of the gentleman who passed away after his battle with cancer. I shared that eulogy last night at his home-going celebration. The post that I wrote on Tuesday became the basis of the thoughts that I shared with those in attendance. I sincerely feel that God is dealing with my heart concerning the need to recognize and appreciate the life that God provides for us on a daily basis. Could it be possible that we are so consumed with looking for a "better life" that we fail to identify those important and rich blessings that God has placed in our lives? I believe in looking forward and planning for the future and I also believe in looking back and remembering the blessings of yesterday. But we must also develop the attitude of appreciation for those blessings that God has placed in our lives at this present moment. I sense an urgency to remind you of the need to take a moment and look around at all of the good things that God has placed in your life. I know that I am being challenged to do that very thing in my life. It is so easy to become discouraged by the challenges that we face that we fail to appreciate all of the blessings that God has provided for us.
I must learn to accept the day that God has given to me and in doing so I learn to look for God in every situation that I face. I have been guilty of wasting my time and energy desiring a different set of circumstances or opportunities. I will miss what God is wanting to do in my life if I am always looking for something different rather than choosing to learn the lesson that God is teaching me on that particular day. Once again I remind you that I am not advocating a "lazy" approach to life that does not set goals or make plans to improve our lives. Rather I am saying that we need to cherish each day regardless of whether we call it a "bad day" or a "good day." Many of my "bad days" became the initial stages of growth and opportunity as the plan of God unfolded in front of me. We may need to take the mentality of Joseph who faced his own set of unique circumstances but refused to believe that he was trapped and defined by those circumstances. Joseph faced the wrath of his jealous brothers who sold him into slavery. Joseph faced the lies of Potiphar's wife that landed him in prison under a false charge. Joseph faced the problem of being "forgotten" and allowed to remain in prison even after God has used him to be a blessing to others in his life. Listen to a portion of the words that Joseph shared with those same brothers as God brought full restoration to their relationship and a revelation of the plan of God that had begun in a pit that led to slavery and a false imprisonment. Genesis 50:20, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (NKJV) The key words in this passage may be "in order". We must remember that God can bring order out of chaos and disorder (read the story of creation). The plan of God always triumphs over the plans of satan and the plans of man. You may be living in one of those "in order" days in which you are waiting on the full revelation of God's plan. I truly believe that I am personally living in one of those days at this moment; I am earnestly waiting on the fulfillment of the promises of God. But as I "wait" (with action, hope, and service to Christ) I will appreciate the daily blessings that God is placing in my life. I encourage you to take the same approach to your situation today. Do not give up on the promises and provisions of God!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Psalm 118:24, "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (NIV)
I have been asked to share the sermon/eulogy this week of a man who passed away in his early fifties. He has been facing a battle with cancer and has fought that battle very bravely from my point of view. The death of an individual always causes us to reflect on our life. We all recognize the brevity of life. The Bible teaches that our life is as a vapor that is here for a while and then it vanishes away. We often think of this passage when someone passes away and we reflect on how young they were when they passed. The death of a family member or friend brings to each of us a reality check concerning our own humanity. We actually can be here today and gone tomorrow. I do not mean for this comment to sound cold or morbid; I just believe that we need to examine our lives and appreciate the time that God has given to us. After all, God knows the end of our life from the very beginning. He told Jeremiah that He knew him even when he was in his mother's womb. We do not know how many days God may give to us but we need to cherish each and everyone of them.
I felt the Spirit encourage me to take a moment for some personal inventory concerning the "day" in which I am living. What will I do with this day that God has given to me? Will I live in anticipation of another "day" and because of that I will not squeeze life out of this day? Is it possible that we can become trapped in waiting on a "better day" that we fail to rejoice in the one that God has given to us? I am not desiring for these comments to sound harsh or judgmental. I just sense the unction of the Spirit causing me to look deep into my heart concerning my approach to life. Is it possible that we can become so captured through the mental activity of waiting on tomorrow that we never take the time to enjoy today? I truly believe in living with hope and expectation for the opportunities of my tomorrow but not at the expense of missing the blessings and opportunities of today. I live with dreams, visions, hopes, plans, and expectations but I also live with the reality that I do not know the number of tomorrows that I am promised. My tomorrows are in the Hands of God but He has given me another day and I want to live life to the fullest measure that I can. I do not want to miss what God has planned for me to experience today. Today is full of endless possibilities; take a moment and fully receive into your life those things that God has planned to reveal. Tell your family that you love them. Tell your friends that their friendship is a source of strength and encouragement to you. Yes, dream and plan about tomorrow but enjoy the day that God has given to you. I plan on applying that principle to my life throughout this day.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Although I am a man that uses many words on a daily basis I still stand amazed at the revelation of the presence of God. I have tried to describe the manifest presence of God on many occasions yet I still find myself speechless when it comes to the description of the presence of the Love of God. The Sunday morning service at New River Worship Center was one of those occasions. We could sense the presence of God from the very beginning of the service. A young college student who attends our local fellowship shared her song and her heart in the Call to Worship. We then entered the blessing of Holy Communion with the family of God and the fresh revelation of the love and grace of God captured our hearts. It is amazing how God will reveal Himself when people gather in His Name and stay focused on the purpose of exalting Christ. The corporate time of Worship was highly anointed as we declared our confidence and hope is in God. Once again the family of God must regain our boldness and declare that our trust is in the Lord and in Him ALONE! Needless to say the Spirit continued to minister to us as the Truth of God was declared. There is freedom and deliverance in the Truth of God; we must constantly seek to hear the Voice of our Heavenly Father. The ultimate celebration came as people responded to the call of the Spirit to come forward for prayer. Needs were met and lives were touched as we opened our hearts to God. I have gone into this much detail because I am convinced that God is revealing Himself to people who are willing to surrender their lives in complete obedience. I truly desire to be one of those people. I want to place my life in the hands of God and offer my service to Him. I encourage you to keep your heart open to God and allow Him to direct your path.