Tuesday, August 25, 2009

They Were Not Always This Way

Revelation 3:14-19 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

When someone says 'Laodicea', what usually comes to your mind? Well, I would bet you are just like me and you think of the passage of Scripture listed above. Laodicea, to us today, represents everything that is wrong with modern Christianity. Most American churches have been resting in a rut for so long that below average now seems like the average. I cannot remember who said it, but it was once said that, "a rut is nothing more than a coffin with the ends kicked out."

The Laodicean church, and the Laodicean church age of today, is neither on fire for the Lord, or just plain cold. Instead, it is lukewarm. I like hot coffee (black, no cream or sugar) and I like cold coffee (iced mocha's are nice, and I have been on a Starbucks frappuccino mocha kick here recently), but I cannot stand lukewarm coffee, i.e. the coffee that started out hot but has cooled to room temperature over time.

So, for something to be lukewarm, means that it must have first been hot. Well, you ask, is there any Bible reference to the church of Laodicea ever being hot, or on fire for the Lord? I'm glad you asked! Look at this verse:

Colossians 4:13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.

As Paul is making his closing remarks in Colossians, he reminds them of the love and service of Epaphras. And in doing so, he mentions that those in Laodicea had the same zeal.

What does all of this mean when we compare Scripture with Scripture? It means that Laodicea once had a great zeal for God and the saints of God, but became lukewarm in the abundance of their blessings. Many of you who are reading this may be saying to yourself, "Well, I am not lukewarm for Christ, but I have a great zeal for serving God and His saints." And I will commend you for it, with this word of caution: If it could happen to Laodicea, it could happen to us.

Guard your faith and your fervency for the Lord lest your fire burns out and you too become lukewarm.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peace After Prayer

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As I was reading Paul's letter to the saints of Philippi, one word stood out to me when I came to these two verses: the word "And" found at the beginning of verse 7. A lot of people like to quote verse 7, but never properly tie it in with verse 6. The only way we can truly have the peace of God is to first be careful for nothing and pray about everything.

When Christians lack peace, it is often because they lack prayer. I am afraid many born-again believers have no peace because they have no prayer.

Where can you begin to find the peace of God? In your personal prayer closet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

God Was Not Well Pleased

1 Corinthians 10:1-5 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Here's a quick thought for you today: You can have God's blessing and yet He still not be pleased with you. Think about all that Israel had experienced under the leadership of Moses, and yet they still rebelled and God was not pleased with them.

We live in a results oriented society, and many born-again believers have taken this concept and married it with their Christian faith. They think that as long as nothing bad has happened, then God is pleased with them. Lets not judge our life based on circumstantial blessings, but based on obedience to God's Word.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Last Day: Make it Count!

The Lord has been very good to us this week with lasting, eternal decisions being made for him. Please play as we finish everything up tonight.

While it was disappointing to not have the special music group that was lined up to be here this week, I believe the Lord has reminded us that while music is a great tool, He doesn't need it to speak to people. Evangelist Jayson Godsey - www.evangelistjaysongodsey.com - has been a tremendous help and blessing to our church. If you are a pastor who is reading this, let me recommend him to you. His expository-style preaching not only has the Bible content that many preachers lack these days, but it has the fire that sparks a spiritual decisions in the hearts of the hearers.

The VBS kids, and my wife, are looking forward to the special event of the evening. We have had a penny war all week at VBS between the boys (represented by me) and the girls (represented by my wife Darci). After all the pennies are turned in, we put both buckets on the balancing scale to see who is the heaviest. And by the end of the week, whichever group won the most days, their leader would get to "slime" the other one's leader.

Well, it hasn't been pretty this week - 4 days and 4 wins for the girls. So after church I will be getting "Slimmed." No pictures, please?!

Please pray for our final night, and if you are in the Westland/Detroit area, come by and participate @7pm - 1033 S. Wildwood, Westland, MI 48186.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 2: "Can he do that?!?"

2 Chronicles 34:7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

Last night the VBS lesson was on King Josiah. One of the aspects of his life we covered was the fact that he destroyed the idols that the people were worshiping instead of God. Well, I thought, "You know what would be awesome - I am going to smash some idols on stage for all the kids to see!" So then I go to the dollar store and buy two porcelain statues to bust up.

When I get to that part of the lesson, I take out my hammer and smash them right on the stage. Now, just before I do that, there is that still, small voice inside of me saying, "Maybe this is not such a good idea..." And so as I smash these figurines, porcelain pieces begin to fly everywhere, including my face. I quickly glance up and see two things:
  • #1 - The kids are loving it, and none of them got hit!
  • #2 - My workers are looking at me like I am crazy!
Not the first time they have looked at me like that, so I continue on. But I forgot to turn on the fan and it was hot and humid on the stage, so I am sweating pretty good by now. I go to wipe my forehead and I hear one of the kids on the front row say, "You're bleeding!"

Sure enough, one of those pieces did hit someone - me! It was just a small, surface cut - but blood none the less!
I thought a little more about it this morning and it occurred to me: I bet most of Israel looked at King Josiah the same way some of my workers were looking at me. While I am sure some of Israel was angry, I can imagine most just stunned. Often times, when you serve the Lord, there will be moments when you follow God and all you get is some stunned looks. Have faith in God and His plan, and just press forward.

Continue to pray for our meetings this week. Kids were down a little bit last night, but the reports I received back from the Tent Meeting were positive again. The people are really connecting and responding to Evangelist Jayson Godsey (http://www.evangelistjaysongodsey.com/) and are coming away encouraged and challenged to do more for Christ.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One down, Four more to go!

Well, it was an "interesting" start to the week. Music group canceled on me on the day of the beginning of the meeting, had a little girl fall and bump her head on the concrete and blacked out (she checked out perfectly at the ER after precautionary CAT scan), and the normal "kar-razy-ness" that goes on at a VBS and Tent Meeting.

But the Lord was gracious to us and gave us a good number of folks in both meetings and great responses. It was only one night, but the children did a better job listening and behaving than they have ever done in the past.

And from the reports I received, the adults responded and connected well with Evangelist Jayson Godsey (http://www.evangelistjaysongodsey.com/). Praying for more folks to come, and for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit it in the lives of those hearing the Gospel this week.

Will you pray with us - James 5:16 ...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Monday, August 10, 2009

VBS and Tent Meeting Starting Tonight

Sorry it has been SOOOO long since I have posted. Just been a little swamped with vacation, then VBS/Tent meeting prep work. We are starting tonight, so please pray that we can reach some families with the Gospel. Will try to post some updates throughout the week.