Monday, March 9, 2015

All Authority

Every sermon seems to have one extra special nugget of truth for me.  Yesterday there was one.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples..."  Why is his statement of all authority so important?
1.  Jesus has the authority to give us a command to action.  Jesus can tell you what to do.
2.  Jesus has authority to tell us to get involved in others' lives.  Today in our overly tolerant world, Christians are often told, "Stay out of my life."  Jesus says, go get in.
3.  Jesus has authority to tell the Jewish disciples to break their old traditions which limited their contact with other types of people.  Jesus has authority to break the Old Testament regulations and traditions that limited contact and involvement with non-Jews.  Break the racial and political boundaries of our world to share Jesus.
4.  Jesus has authority to tell his disciples to break through geographical boundaries to carry the good news to people.  What if a nation says that it is illegal to share information about Jesus in their land?  They have some authority.  Jesus has all authority and says go.

Let's be under the authority of Jesus who said "go," rather than the authority of culture and the world that says, "be quiet."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Missions Giving Saves Lives!

Last week, our missionary to Papua New Guinea gave me a native arrow.  Because it was long, narrow, wood tipped and seemingly light I asked, "Is it for shooting birds?"

"No, its for shooting people." he replied.  The owner/creator did not need it anymore and sold it for some quick cash.

When we give to missions, we are sometimes giving to those who are preaching the gospel in places where people are killing each other.  The gospel can turn people killing each other into people who are saving each other.  This is true of our missionaries serving in Ukraine today too!  They are in serious peril this year and have had to relocate their home four times in 12 months due to the war with Russian fighters there.  In the worst of times and in times of peace, missionaries save souls, but they also save lives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Worship Today

We recently finished a short series of messages on worship.  As a follow-up, let me encourage you to worship God today.  Find reasons to give God thanks or praise for what he has done for you.  Point your mind toward God and consider all the reasons that you love him.  Even when your day is going the wrong way and you may be receiving bad news, worship God.  Your perspective on your trouble changes toward optimism and faith when you worship God.  If your day is going just fine, enjoy it with God.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17 (NIV).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Annual Missions Convention

Our annual missions convention is coming up January 25th!  Sunday morning, we have two excellent missionaries with us.  We have been supporting Phil & Kim Rojack, missionaries to the islands of the South Pacific for years!  I can't wait to hear more about what God is doing through them and our support.  They will be sharing in the worship service and in our children's ministries.  We have also been supporting Carrol & Gayle Deal, missionaries to the nations of Africa for decades.  He is an amazing missionary speaker!  You will not want to miss his message on Sunday morning.  Sunday evening, David & Zenetta Hewkin, missionaries in Eastern Europe, will share with us at 4:00 p.m.  If you miss the a.m. service due to work, don't miss the 4:00 p.m. service.

We will also be making our 2015 faith promises for missions giving.  This year, we have already had the children and youth make their pledges to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) and Speed the Light (STL).  The youth have already pledged to raise several thousands for STL in 2015.  Last year, we asked everyone to give to these programs.  This year, the kids want to do it on their own!  So, adults, let's come prepared to make a faith promise for missionary giving in 2015 that will build the kingdom of God through missionaries we already support, ones who need a raise, and new missionaries who desperately depend on a church's help!

Every time we have missionaries, we receive an offering for them on the day of their visit.  That offering does not go toward our regular monthly support of missionaries.  It is a way to bless them for their time and ministry and to cover their travel costs as well.  Please attend our missionary services with a heart to give and be prepared to do our best for the missionary and be a blessing to those who serve.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Called to Ministry

If you are called to ministry, I have a sermon for you.  Go to and visit the sermon page.  Listen to the message, "Living Life in Jars of Clay."  Pastor Ron Pettet has some great insight and great testimonies about moving from point A to point B with God.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What A Great Day!

Sunday was a great day!
1.  Several people visited for the first time.
2.  I spoke with four people who were returning for their second visit.
3.  The message was on the topic of worship, and God moved!
4.  We closed with a very meaningful time of worship around communion.
5.  After church there was a productive Missions Team meeting.
6.  After church the Financial Fitness class met for their 2nd week.
7.  After church the cast from the Christmas program had a celebration party.
8.  After the celebration lunch I met with the fine arts worship team for 90 minutes of practice.
9.  We experienced no weather problems all day!

The greatest moment of all was when four people responded to the Lord working in their lives and made commitments to follow Jesus as savior.  I hope that you will be expecting great things with God next Sunday.

A good day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Getting Married

Who you marry has eternal rewards and consequences.

This morning, I bumped into a pastor friend here in town.  We talked about pre-marital counseling for a few minutes and I was reminded that marriage is not eternal.  Jesus said that in eternity, we will neither marry or be given in marriage.  That does not mean that marriage has less meaning.  It just means that, like everything else in this life, your marriage will have eternal rewards and consequences.

One, your marriage is intended to exemplify and practice of unconditional love like the love of God for us.  Two, your marriage includes two people working through and growing past imperfections requiring grace and mercy.  Three, your marriage may produce children who have eternal destinies.  Four, God will teach you about provision and trust in your marriage.  Five, the sexual and emotional fidelity of marriage is intended to be a picture of the perfect faithfulness of God to you.  Six, when two believers work together, their ministry for God is multiplied.  Seven, your spouse will either promote your faithfulness to Christ or hold it back.  Eight, your spouse will either promote your children's faithfulness to God or erode it.

It is no wonder God commanded that believers be equally yoked in First Corinthians.  If you are thinking of getting married, make sure you marry a person who will pull you forward in Christ, not hold you back.  I want your marriage to have eternal rewards not consequences.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Little Things Matter!

Sunday a man drove into the parking lot and asked a parking lot attendant, "When is church?"  The attendant said, "10:00, come on in."  He did!

Every job at church matters more than you think.  Your love and invitation can change a person's life, the future of our church and eternity!  Whatever you do at Life Stream Church, do it with excellence and for the glory of God.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Say "Yes" to Ministry.

Last night I watched two videos that I shared on Facebook.  The first was an interview with Dr. Stanley Horton, the most prominent Pentecostal theologian of the 20th century.  The second was a sermon by C.M. Ward, the speaker for the Assembly of God radio broadcast Revivaltime, which aired across the nation and around the world on hundreds of radio stations, until the early 1990s.

In both videos by great leaders of the church in one of its fastest growing seasons, the same encouragement was given.  If you are called to ministry or if you want to get closer to God, start serving in your local church.

Dr. Horton, like many other great ministry scholars I have befriended over the years, was not only a vocational minister or scholar.  He was a Sunday school teacher in many of the local churches he attended in the course of his life.  Dr. David Bundrick (Adult class), Dr. Richard Hammar (4th Grade Sunday School), and Dr. Charles Harris (Sr. Adult Class) are all great academic ministry leaders who I have observed as they volunteer in their local church.

If you want God to use your life, start letting him use you now.  Lead a small group or be willing to teach kids classes.  Say yes to everything your church needs and God will begin to develop a gigantic leader within you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July.

Today I am reminded that freedom is not free.  Men and women have fought for their freedom over the last 238 years.  The freedoms they secured have been handed to us.  Every generation is granted the right and responsibility to guard and enrich those freedoms as Americans.  Some fought on the shores of foreign lands.  Their willingness to sacrifice all deserves my thanks today.  Others have fought battles at home in factories, city councils, pulpits and in courts to keep their, and our, individual liberties.

Let's remember that there are three battles for freedom that every generation must fight.  The physical battle to defeat the enemies of freedom that threaten our safety.  The intellectual battle to maintain a society that builds upon our freedoms rather than using freedom as an opportunity for laziness or wickedness.  The spiritual battle we fight in prayer to overcome the powers of Satan that threaten us from without and from within. 

As we fight for individual liberty, we must also fight for individual safety, individual productivity and individual goodness in the eyes of God.  Happy 4th of July to you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Called to Ministry

Are you called to ministry?  I will be using the blog to communicate with a number of people in our church who fell God's call to full-time, vocational ministry.  I will be posting entries that focus on ministry because your calling is important.  I want you to have ministry input from your pastor.

If you are called to any type of ministry, you are called to preach, teach, proclaim, and dispense the Word of God.  If God called you to rodeo ministry, are you called to rope, leather, cows and belt buckles?  No, but you might love those things a lot.  Military chaplains are not called to guns, helicopters and rockets.  Kids ministers are not called to games and water balloons.  Youth pastors are not called to car washes.  Disaster relief missionaries are not called to trucks, water filters and MREs.

When you are called to ministry you are called to encourage people to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.  To accomplish your mission, no matter what your calling, you have to know the Word of God.  You will use the tools that pertain to your specific calling; a motor cycle missionary better have a bike.  But more importantly, he better know the Word.

If you are called to ministry, I challenge you to become a serious student of the Word of God.  First, read it.  Its that simple.  Every person called by God should read the Bible through every year at least one time.  If you are a student, use this summer to get started.  Second, look for ways to study the Bible.  If you will get serious about your calling, I will get you the Bible study materials you need.  I can get correspondence courses, and online video studies to you.  Please ask.

Many of you at LSC are called to ministry.  I want you to make a huge impact on your world.  I am prying for you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

God Loves You

I was thinking this morning about difficult things that people are going through.  Surgery.  Sickness.  Loss of a family member.  Trouble at work.  The list of things that I find myself praying about concerning others is getting very long.  What would I need in any of these types of troubles?  The most important thing is the most foundational thing.  I need to know that God loves me. 

You need to know today, that God loves you.  You may have messed up, making your situation worse with poor choices, God still loves you.  You may be sinning in your reaction to your problems, God still loves you.  You may be totally confused by trouble you had not part in creating, God still loves you.

God loves you and has a plan for your life to be purposeful and full of his powerful presence.  We miss the mark a lot, but God's love still stands firm for you and me.  Do your best to follow God today.  If you strive for anything, strive for perfection and understanding of his Word.  Why?  Because you have to earn God's love?  No!  Because no matter what happens, no matter what, God will always love you.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Back to the Blog

I have been out of touch with the blog!  For the last 18 months our church has been in a relocation process.  Since relocation, we have become very busy with some very blessed new growth.  I am thankful.  With a new level of growth and work, I will begin using the blog for further discipleship training and training for people who feel called to ministry.  This has been heavy on my heart for months.  This blog will be a good use of an old tool to get information to people who want to grow in Christ or grow in ministry.  I will try to focus the blog in these two directions in the near future.

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 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 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.