Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Everything I have Is Yours."

In Luke fifteen, Jesus tells a story of a loving father and his two sons.  It is traditionally called, "The Prodigal Son."  In verse thirty-one there is an interesting verse.  The older son who did not disrespect his father by squandering his inheritance is angry at the party that is being thrown for the unwise, sinful son.  The father responds to the elder son by saying, "My son...you are always with me and everything I have is yours."

There are some followers of Jesus in this world who have passionately followed Christ for all of the life they can remember.  They have no testimony of being away from God.  I am not saying they have been perfect, no one is.  But, for those of you who have always loved the Lord and that love has translated into a life of clean, pure, and holy obedience to Christ, these words are for you.

There are two great comments from the heavenly Father to you.  First, he has noticed that you are always with him.  The greatest blessing is not being noticed, but knowing that the Father has always been with us.  There is something to be said about the peace and joy of a life that has always had the Father's presence.

Second, the father wants you to be reminded, that all he has is yours.  The longer we serve the Lord, the more constant his fulfillment of promises seems to be.  You have the blessing of enjoying your roots without any regret.  God forgives every sinner, but some sins create huge amounts of regret, and you don't have those regrets to overcome.  What a blessing!

If you have a testimony of never straying from the Lord, I encourage you to humbly cherish it today.  Think about the richness of that testimony.  If you are new to following Jesus Christ, stick with it!  One day, you will feel and see the power of a consistent walk with him.  You too will one day feel the strength, power and peace of the words of the Father, "My son...you are always with me and everything I have is yours."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Healthy Church

"The Healthy Church" is the title of the Wednesday night series of messages I am preaching. The title is from C. Peter Wagner who wrote a book with that title.  The concept is this, our church will accomplish its mission when the people in the church are spiritually healthy followers of Christ. Here are a few excerpts.

What the Church needs most is health. Spiritual health is measured by relationship with Christ.
--When a church has a few healthy believers it will be a little attractive.
--When a church has a lot of healthy believers it will be quite attractive.
--When a church has all healthy believers it will be irresistible!!!

"The church is a living organism and all living organisms grow. Living things either grow or die." (Rick Warren)
A church of healthy believers will be a growing church.
--A church with some healthy believers will grow some.
--A church with a lot of healthy believers will grow a lot.
--A church with all healthy believers will double quickly!!!


The church had been running 55 on Sunday mornings when I came to First AG Washington in 2003.  In 2009 we had consistently 134-136 worshiping on Sunday mornings.  Our growth has been slow and consistent each year.  Today, we are a church of about 210 on Sunday's.  Three days ago the attendance was 244.  Those numbers are good (praise the Lord!) but our truly healthy Christian core could be as few as 25.  That is alarming!  You can argue that there may not be a direct correlation between numeric growth and the number of healthy believers in a church, but I think there is.  By the way, if you want to know how I define healthy, attend Wednesday nights the next several weeks.

I want to challenge every person in our church to begin thinking about their relationship with Christ.  If you are faithful, you will be fruitful.  Your fruitfulness is your faithfulness to Christ.  If there is no fruit of harvest in your life, can you really say you are a faithful at the level Jesus wants to raise you?  I know that is hard for some to swallow and most will rationalize it away.  As your pastor, your spiritual life coach, it is my job to ask you the tough questions.  Then, I offer you hope because God can do anything in you if you allow him.

Please think about this.  What must you change in your attitude and schedule to be a healthy, fruitful, follower of Jesus Christ?  I love you all and want to help you.  Please let me know what you think would assist you in your spiritual health.  Perhaps some of the fault is mine, I am the Pastor.  Give me a call some time soon and let me know what you perceive as the need or obstacle for growth in your fruitfulness.  Now is a good time to communicate with me.  I am arranging my preaching schedule for 2014 and your comments will help me pray.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Missionary Faith Promise Victory

This year we set a goal of $25,800 for our missions giving faith promises.  Yesterday at our missions convention we received $27,228 in faith promises!  That is a record for our church.  We also have faith promises for Speed the Light at $4976 and Light For The Lost at $3316.

Thanks to all who have chosen to participate!  Now, let's put our faith into action and find out how good God can be to provide.  Faith promise cards without action are dead faith promise cards.  Sounds like the book of James.  God is going to do great things this year!

Our theme for 2014 is, "Our Best Year Ever."  This is a very good start.

Wake Up Early

I am convinced that if you want to have a great life, you have to start early.  Sure, it helps to start early, like when you are young.  But, what I mean today, is that you have to start each day early.  Here are some things that I think we have to do early.

1.  Pray early.  Prepare your day in prayer or you will repair your day in prayer.  The devil wants to own your morning.  Don't let him.  The name "Lucifer" in the Old Testament means, "morning star" or "son of the morning."  My goal is to pray at least one hour every day.  Sure you can pray any time, or even all day while you do other things.  What I mean is praying for one hour doing nothing else.  When you do, take a note pad along to write down thoughts and things to do.  Write them down so you don't forget and so that you can get back to praying.

2.  Read the Word of God early.  My goal is to read the Bible through as many times as I am years alive.  Each time, I read with a pen to take notes and underline.  When a Bible is too full of notes, I save it on a shelf.  I have two full Bibles like this now, and have a third in progress.  I am saving them as wedding gifts for my kids.

3.  Exercise early.  OK, this might not sound as spiritual.  But, the Bible says that, "physical exercise is of some value..."  If you don't exercise early, I think you will most likely not exercise at all.  For three months in 2011 I exercised every day, except the sabbath, at 4:00 in the afternoon.  It was fine for a season, but not sustainable when there are so many other things that need to be done at that time of day for kids, dinner, activities and meetings.

I am not perfect at these things by any means.  Sickness in the home, late night emergencies and various other odds and ends can knock this off schedule easily.  But, it is good to have a strong morning routine.

For you night owls, I know what you think, "I do my best work at night."  Well, I do pretty good work at night too.  I have written three books now, all at night.  But the morning is still important.  I bet if you get up at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday, pray, read, exercise and then get th kids up make them breakfaast and go to work, about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night the spirit of deliverance will set in, and you might go to bed early.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Augur's Keys to Success

Last week I challenged people at Life Stream Church to set some goals for 2014.  Here are some thoughts for being successful at accomplishing those goals.
 
Proverbs 30:24-28
 “Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise.”
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
Ants - Diligence
They are tiny creatures but always have enough through diligence.
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 6 says, "Look to the ant you sluggard and be wise, he has no overseer...yet gathers..."
Hard work and follow through will pay off!
Coneys - Accuracy
They are powerless with little to defend them, yet live in safety through accuracy.
Hebrews 12:13 says, “Make level paths for your feet.”  If you want to be successful, be accurate in your relationship with God, it is called holiness.  Always do your best.  Reach for a higher quality in everything and celebrate when you have done everything well.
Locusts - Unity
Though small individually, they advance in a field destroying everything through unity.
Psalm 133:1 says, “How good it is when brothers live together in unity!”  Some great things can not be accomplished alone.  We all need help and team work to reach goals that are bigger than we are.  Know when to get help and get good help.
The Lizard - Creativity
He is easy to catch, but is found in the most unusual places through wisdom.
Luke 21:12-15 says, “But before all this they will lay hands on you and persecute you.  They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.  This will result in your being witnesses to them.”  You never know where God might take you in fulfilling your goals for him.  Be ready and be creative to follow him.

Wednesday Canceled

We are canceling services tonight, 1-8-2014 due to ice and a water supply problem that will not be fixed till Thursday.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

COLD!

This cold weather has been quite an adventure!  I hate canceling church.  It is always more work than having church.  Then, add to that, your entire week is messed up.  Sunday morning church has always been the anchor of my weekly routine.  When ever I miss church my week never feels complete.  I love seeing church people each Sunday.  I missed you all.

Then today, we came into work to find that a pressure regulator in our water system had frozen just next to the water meeter.  It was working fine when I left Monday, it froze overnight even with the heat on in the building!  It sits close to the ground and too close to the exterior wall.  I thawed it out with a space heater to find that it now leaks and will have to be replaced.

Well, that is the ministry.  You go to Bible College and get a graduate degree in theology learning lofty ideas, languages, psychology, and history to use it as a plumber.

I am going to post a few extra devotional thoughts for this week.  Stay warm and safe.  Be richly blessed!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Think ahead for Christmas.

Christmas always brings up the horrible topic of procrastination.  Many of us have great gift ideas and procrastinate until it is too late to follow through with the shopping.  While you are thinking ahead to Christmas gifts and celebrations, you need to think ahead about some important things with God.

1.  Think ahead about your actions at family gatherings.  Make up your mind to reject temptation before you get to the party.  Christians will be mixing with their unsaved family again for the holidays and it often brings up the old family temptations.  Spending time with family is important.  But remember, believers have been born again, adopted into the family of God.  By faith you are an heir of Abraham.  Stand up and be different.  Be holy and pure.  Don't compromise God's word and your morals just to fit in with family.  Don't be wishy-washy, be a witness!

2.  Think ahead about how to bless others outside your normal gift list this year.  You may want to give to the Christmas benevolence project.  You may want to help shop or deliver items to a needy family at church.  You may want to contact an agency like Loving Hearts and adopt a family for Christmas.  To be a blessing you need to make up your mind ahead of time.

3.  Think ahead and talk with your family about creating fun Christmas traditions that can honor God and keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas.  There is so much pressure at Christmas to do so many things.  We have to plan gatherings, food, gifts, clothing, programs and travel.  In all that busyness, it is usually normal for Jesus to get pressed out of the celebration of his life.  Can you imagine your friends throwing you a birthday party, starting without you, and not realizing your absence until the party was almost over!  Think ahead and make a tradition that keeps Christ in your Christmas.

I hope that thinking ahead will make your Christmas more merry, more peaceful, and more meaningful that ever before!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Church Planting Victory!

We had another church planting victory for our church planters, JD and Angela Elleman!  Sunday was our grand opening, but it was their first missionary service as home missionary associates.  They have another service scheduled and several other pastors have indicated that they will be scheduled in their churches as well.

Please remember to join us for 3 on 3 prayer, the third Tuesday of every month at church.  Even if you only can attend for a few minutes, lets pray for Utah.  Also, remember our 5 on 5 initiative and lets pray five minutes for Utah every Friday, the fifth day of the week.  God answers prayer and a project of this size must be covered in prayer.  There are spiritual powers at work that we battle against and we will win if we apply ourselves to pray.

If you want to be a part of their prayer or financial support team, let me know.  You can post a comment here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grand Opening Weekend Rewind

This last weekend was our grand opening in the new location.  Huge thanks to all who helped out!  Saturday was a fun day for open house.  We met lots of new friends and had some great conversations.  Sunday was a beautiful service.  We had a new record attendance for our church with 277 people attending.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Back to Being The Pastor

After nine months of building project, I am going to try to get back to the blog and some normal things I want to do.  It has been an amazing ride this year, and there is more work to do still.  I have a budget meeting at 7:45 a.m. to figure out how to do phase two projects quickly in the morning.  There is always more to do when you work for the Lord of the entire universe.

Our moving day was absolutely great!  So many people worked hard to make it a great day.  I am very proud of all of you.  We have done a great thing and God is going to bless us in amazing ways.  Check out the photo show by Cindy Watterson.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Work That Energizes

Monday night, four people met with me to work on the new building in the evening.  It was great!  We were able to knock out some very important items that allow us to move forward Tuesday morning right away.

After a three hour work session like that, I am so energized!

Now, on Tuesday morning, I am still feeling that energy as I study and pray for Sunday's sermon.  I am putting the last touches on my study and then its off to work I go.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love University

 
I am having a great time preaching Love University: Summer Term.  The messages are so basic, but so important.  Don't miss this Sunday!  The sermon title is, "...as yourself..."  I want to talk to you about what the Bible says about loving yourself and seeing yourself like God sees you.

I encourage you to catch up on past sermons by listening to the podcast on our web site.  I especially urge you to listen to the message, "What's In A Name."  I will have it posted later this week.  If you have not heard the message describing our name change, you need to hear it before you enter the process of helping choose a new name.

Thanks to National Community Church and their team for cool logo for the series!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crazy Bits Of News

I have been so crazy busy with the building project and name change that my blog has fallen behind.  Sorry.

Here are some recent highlights and bits of news.
1.  We are working very hard to get everything done that is necessary for us to have our occupancy permit by August 4th.
2.  We are going to have more to finish after we move in.
3.  We desperately need workers who can paint and sand drywall in the next week.
4.  We are about ready to put down the new tile.  If you have any home experience with tile you will be a perfect helper.
5.  We have begun the process of changing the name of First Assembly of God.  You will get info in the mail this week!  Ballots will be received all week and at church this Sunday.  This is not a survey.  This is a vote.  Anyone 12 and older can vote.
6.  We are starting to plan for our public grand opening on September 8th!  Let's have at least 300 people at church that day!  Service at 10:00 a.m.
7.  The first night of MEGA Sports Camp was very good.  Go find more friends who can be there this week!  We have plenty of room.
8.  Plans have progressed wonderfully for youth camp and kids camp.  Our students are going to have great camping experiences with God this year.

It is a historic summer for our church.  I don't have time to contact each person and beg you to get involved.  So, jump in with confidence and help out and be involved in some great opportunities this year.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thank you Lord

There are times when we need to stop and just say thank you Lord.  God is faithful.  I am just feeling grateful today for God's goodness.  I am thankful for my wife and family.  I am thankful for the people of our church.  I am thankful for lots of friends.  I am thankful for the truth and the beauty of God's word.  I am trusting that this will be a very good day.