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Posts tagged ‘Denominations’

{ Day 362 }.


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Self-control. We encourage people to “dial down,” both emotionally and physically, as they go to pray for others. If you are being outwardly and manifestly influenced at the moment and involved in an uncontrollable experience with the Spirit, then seek to stay in a receiving mode and wait until you can calm down to get into a giving mode. We must recognize that the danger exists of unwittingly manipulating others by putting a wrong pressure on them to respond to us if we violate this principle. There are exceptions to this general rule. One is if a person specifically asks you to pray for them while you are in such a state. Another could be if the other person is a friend and you know that they would welcome such an experience. And there may be others.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, in my intercession for others, help me to “dial down” as I enter Your presence and to have a calm, receiving spirit that allows Your Spirit to direct my prayers for others.

We encourage people to “dial down,” both emotionally
and physically, as they go to pray for others.

By MIKE BICKLE.

3 Ways to Keep Your Fire Burning in Hard Times.


Kathy Gray
Kathy Gray is co-pastor of World Revival Church in Kansas City, Mo.

There are two kinds of fire in life—the good Holy Spirit fire that helps us burn for the Lord and the fire of afflictionadversitypain and sorrow. For some, fiery trials can be fire-quenchers, squelching your godly fire out. For others, trials can strengthen the very fiber of your being.

You can go through the trials and come out with your Holy Spirit fire burning bright, or you can allow the fires of adversity to snuff out any smoldering wick you may have left. You have to decide that trial and tribulation will not rob you of your calling and yourhope.

This year has been a difficult one for me, with the loss of one parent and learning to provide care for the other, but it’s also been a year of growth. I am stronger now than I’ve ever been. I have determined that nothing can separate me from God’s love and all He has for me.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned in the fire:

1. Fix your eyes on what is eternal and invisible. Don’t look at the circumstances; don’t look at the people. Set your mind and your affections on what is above, and you’ll be able to manage what’s happening below.

2. Process the pain and don’t ignore it. Oppression, stress, adversity—you can’t be an ostrich Christian and stick your head in the sand when tribulation comes your way. Face the facts and process the hurts, but don’t stay in them. You can say, “I’ll process it, but I won’t live in it.”

3. Pray and press in. Hold firmly to your faith! Go to the throne of grace and find help and mercy in your time of need.

Jesus was tempted through the fire, but He did not sin. He faced the pressure and didn’t give in. He knows how you’re feeling in the midst of adversity. You can run to Him in times of trouble. (See Hebrews 4:14-16.)

Overall, don’t let your fire go out when you go through the fire. Let the Word of God be your declaration of faith:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18, emphasis added).

In the face of the most intense fire of your life, I pray the fire of the Holy Spirit would gird you up to stand firm in the Lord. Do not lose heart!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Kathy Gray is co-pastor of World Revival Church in Kansas City, Mo. Gray is an author and dynamic speaker who has served in the ministry for more than 30 years.

The greatest love…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” 
-1 John 3:1a

There are so many misunderstandings about what the word love means.

When we hear that God loves us, it can create some problems. The love of God is the most foundational, important thing in understanding all spirituality, all theology, all doctrine. The most important concept to know and to understand is the immeasurable, limitless, and boundless love of God for His sons and daughters.

And not just the love of God for the church as a collective group, but for you – for you the son, the daughter of God, for each one of us to know that God loves us individually just as a parent with many children individually loves his or her children. That the love of God, the boundless, unending, perfect love of God is the source of all great spirituality, of all perfect doctrine, of all growth.

We must understand that God’s love surpasses everything. There’s nothing you can do, even if you hate God, there’s no sin you can commit, no filth you can have in your life, nothing you can do to ever remove God’s adoration and love for you. God’s love is the greatest love of all.

Prayer: Father in heaven, I come to you hurting, broken, wounded, lonely, and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that you actually love me. But your love abides. Amen.

Devotion: How have you felt God’s love at work in your life?

Thankful for every day…


By Bobby Schuller, Crystal Cathedral Pastor

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 
-Job 1:21

We place unreasonable expectations on our friends and loved ones. We expect them to drop everything they’re doing, answer the phone, and come hang out with us, or go out to dinner, or go see a ballgame. And all of these things that we do diminish happiness and gratitude in our lives, and that’s not what the kingdom of God is about. It’s not about entitlement, it’s not about assumption, it’s not about having all outcomes the way we want them all the time.

What about reasonable expectations? Can we give up believing that “I will wake up healthy tomorrow”? Or, “My spouse will always be with me”? Or, “I’ll always have this house”? What if we were to give up those expectations?

Instead, we could wake up and say, “God, another day? Another gift from you that, today, I can live?” Imagine what our lives would look like. We would be people thankful for every day we’re given, experiencing each one as a gift from God.

Prayer: Creator God, thank you for today’s reminder to diminish my expectations. I know that if I do this, I will grow closer to you and experience the blessings I now overlook. Amen.

Reflection: What positive growth can you imagine you will experience in your life as you lower you expectations and raise your gratefulness to God?

{ Day 327 }.


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent—Psalm 22:1-2

God’s silence or inactivity at a time when we desperately want God to act or speak serves to reveal the spiritual maturity of both the people and the prophet. Each believer must go through the struggle of learning to walk with God when He is silent. It’s an inescapable part of spiritual growth, and a prophetic minister must understand God’s strategy of silence. As one who supposedly speaks for God, a prophetic minister must understand that God does not always speak, even in the most desperate of situations. If he cannot grasp this, he will inevitably manufacture words for people when God’s specific purpose is for him to say nothing. Regardless of his well-intentioned efforts to make God look good, he becomes a stumbling block for those whom he seeks to help.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Teach me to understand the silence when I cannot hear Your voice. May I never manufacture words to speak for You. I would rather say nothing than to become a stumbling block to others.

Each believer must go through the struggle of
learning to walk with God when He is silent.

By MIKE BICKLE.

The greatest treasure…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
-Isaiah 54:10

You can’t earn God’s love. You can’t wear a special suit or be successful in business, or be sinless, or do anything to earn God’s love. There’s nothing you can do, no appeal you can make to have God‘s love. It’s already there! God’s love is for you and, yes, just you, right where you are. God’s love is there for you all the time. You don’t have to earn it; you don’t have to be afraid. God’s thinking about you, God loves you, and God wants to be near you. This is the source and the root of all healthy spirituality.

God wants you just the way you are. He made you that way and he loves you. You’re the treasure of His heart. Do you believe that? You’re God’s beloved. It’s not what you do, it’s not what you have, it’s not what people say about you, it’s not how successful you are. None of these things matter to God. He simply loves you because you’re His kid.

The love of God is the greatest treasure any man can have. It is greater than any bank account, any 401k, any amount of jewels, any amount of praise. The love of God is the greatest and most wonderful treasure. It brings meaning to life. It brings a calling. It brings clarity. It brings life. The love of God is the fullness of what it means to be a human being. The love of God fills and fills again. The love of God reaches to the deepest, emptiest, totally void chasms of the human heart and fills it with life and living water and goodness.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your unending love. It is my greatest treasure. Amen.

Reflection: When you think of God’s love as a treasure, to what would you compare it?

“Impossible” Jerry Mcauley Opened Rescue Mission.


"Impossible" Jerry Mcauley Opened Rescue MissionJerry McAuley was a bad lot through and through, the kind of person we call “impossible.” Born in Ireland in 1839 he was raised by a grandma because his mother could not or would not care for him. Who his father was, he did not know. The grandma cursed him when he threw clods at her while she prayed her rosary.Eventually she shunted him off to relatives in New York. He ran away from this home and lived by stealing–drifting in and out of prison. When he was nineteen, authorities, only too happy to get him off the street, convicted him on trumped up robbery charges. He was sentenced to fifteen years in Sing Sing prison. For the first time in his life, Jerry found himself obeying rules. He saw it as his one chance to regain freedom. He learned to read.

The event that transformed him from an “impossible” case to a soul winner was the testimony of a former pal who had become a Christian. Jerry wanted the hope he saw in Orville Gardner. He began reading the Bible and tried desperately to pray. Finally one night a supernatural presence appeared in his cell and a voice seemed to say, “Son, your sins which are many are forgiven.” McAuley did not change all at once. He still drank too much and fought. But that night he was converted.

Pardoned by Governor Horatio Seymour, he went free on March 8, 1864. After a renewal of his faith, Jerry McAuley began to work for God. He saved money and on this day, October 8, 1871,opened the Water Street mission in New York City to reclaim men like himself. Set in an old dance hall, it was the first rescue mission in the United States, the forerunner of many more.

Hundreds of men were turned from lives of sin and misery to hope in Christ. Jerry also inspired Emma Mott Whittemore to begin her Door of Hope mission for fallen women. Jerry’s life demonstrates the power of God to do the impossible: to change lives that are rotten to the core.

Bibliography:

  1. Offord, R. M., editor. Jerry MacAuley; an apostle to the lost. New York: American Tract Society, 1907, 1885.
  2. “McAuley, Jeremiah.” Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner, 1958-1964.
  3. Whittemore, Emma M. Records of Modern Miracles. F. A. Robinson, editor. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Missions Of Biblical Education, 1947.

Last updated April, 2007.

By Christanity.com

5 Ways to Guard Your Heart Against Bitterness.


 

woman crying
(© Chepko iStockphoto.com)

Can Christ overcome our mind-consuming battles with bitterness? Why is it that it’s easy for us to bring the “big stuff” to God—cancer, broken marriages, financial problems—but when it comes to matters of the heart, we try to handle it ourselves.
We think, “God, I’ve got this. These heart problems are just things that I struggle with. I shouldn’t still be hurting over something as simple as bitterness, so I’m going to pretend that I’m not. Or I’m just going to wait it out and hope these nasty feelings go away. God would be ashamed of me if I told Him I was still battling this.”
Here are some practical barriers we must put in place to guard against this sneaky, consuming beast!
1. Pray that God will overcome it. Continue praying that He will until He does. The problem with bitterness is it is consuming, it comes out of left field, and it has the tenacity to take us out. It speaks loudly and constantly, and it’s a voice that feels impossible to shut out—but I promise you, friend, it is not impossible. Praise God!
Pray not only for your own heart but also for the person that hurt you. Pray specific good things—the very hardest thing to pray for them—and watch what God does.
2. Our view of God must be bigger and viewed with higher respect than what’s frustrating us.  God and what matters to God should consume our minds first. God and His view of me and how He wants me to view things should be the filter by which I see the world.
3. Focus and say out loud your blessings and the good things God is doing in your life. Because we’re sinful, when these ugly feelings present themselves, we like to bask in them.
I’m a Southern girl, and in the South, we use the term waller. Even though we know the proper way to say it is wallow, wallow doesn’t correctly explain our sick relationship with these ugly feelings. We wallerin them. We get filthy. There is nothing dainty or cute about it.
These ugly feelings can cause us to make idiots of ourselves when they drive our mouths to say things that are better left unsaid. Can you relate with me here? There have been times in my life that I have been caught muddy from head to toe from all the ugly wallering I’ve done.
4. Don’t let your frustrations define you. The things that cause bitterness also try to claim they define us.
    • Your job
    • Your relationships (family members, friendships, an estranged child, co-workers)
    • Financial struggles
    • Car problems
    • Infertility
    • Singleness
You do not begin and end with these things. When we place all of our focus on one of these things, we have allowed our heartache to become our idol. Anything that we give the power to steal our focus from God becomes our idol.
5. God’s plan for you is bigger than what is momentarily hurting you. When we focus on our bitterness (anger, frustration, hurt), it blinds us to where God is at work in our lives, and we miss the blessings He has in store for the heart surrendered to following Him.
The enemy wants to steal that joy and replace it with bitterness.
Today, if that sneaky snake of bitterness tries to worm its way into our hearts, let’s refuse to let him win this battle! May we choose instead to make Philippians 4:4-8 our battle cry against bitterness!
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.
Reprinted with permission from © Missional Women. Melissa Bradley is married with two small children. She serves at a church plant in Hendersonville, N.C. The passion of her heart is to live every day missionally. Check out Melissa’s blog at Beautiful Mommy Feet.

10 Diseases That Make Churches Unhealthy.


Stomach-pain-smaller

From what diseases are your church suffering?

In the 1990s, Peter Wagner published The Healthy Church, a book describing several diseases that churches sometimes exhibit. Some of his descriptions are quite helpful (e.g., koinonitis = excessive, inward fellowship), and the list itself challenges readers to come up with their own descriptions.

Here are 10 diseases I see as I consult with unhealthy churches around the country:

1. Community Disconnect Disease. Churches with this disease meet within a given community, but they do not know that community. Often, church members drive to the church building, meet as “church,” and then drive home—without ever taking note of a changing community around them. In fact, I’ve seen church members with this disease lock their doors as they drive through the community where their congregation gathers.

2. Methodological Arthritis. I give credit to my former student, Kevin Minchey, for naming this condition. The name says it all: this church is stuck in doing things the way they’ve always done them. Change (that is, movement) is painful, and it’s seemingly easier not to take a step forward. What these churches often don’t recognize is that standing still is also risky. Eventually, they will not move at all.

3. The “Grass is Greener” Syndrome. This syndrome is a malady of leaders who are always looking for the next church leadership position. They establish no roots, and their current congregation is only a stepping-stone to the next place. Because they are always looking elsewhere, they miss the present tense blessings of their ministry. And, though leaders think otherwise, a church often recognizes when its leader has this syndrome.

4. Professional Wrestling Sickness. I grew up watching professional wrestling (with my Church of God grandma, no less). Professional wrestling is hero vs. villain, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil—but it’s all fake. The church with PWS talks a good game in standing for righteousness, but hypocrisy is everywhere. And, as in professional wrestling, most spectators watching the show know it’s fake, too.

5. Program Nausea. Churches with Program Nausea try a program, toss it soon, and then quickly try the next one. They never have a settled “organizational stomach” and direction. Members of this kind of diseased church are so accustomed to change that they seldom invest in any program. Why should they invest in what will soon be spit out, too?

6. Baby Believer Malady. This congregation is doing evangelism well, but they have no strategy to grow new believers. Their unwritten, and wrong, assumption is, “As long as you show up for our small groups and worship service, you’ll grow.”  This church disciples poorly and often elevates leaders on the basis of attendance rather than spiritual maturity.

7. Theological Self-Deception Ailment. I am cautious here, lest I leave the impression that theology does not matter. No church with an unbiblical theology can be healthy. TSDA, on the other hand, is characterized by a belief that teaching theology is all that is required to be a healthy church. Teaching theology is critical, but a theology that does not lead to intentional evangelism, disciplemaking, and global missions is not biblical. Indeed, TSDA congregations tend to be classrooms more than New Testament churches.

8. “Unrecoverable Void” Syndrome.  Church leaders and laypersons alike suffer from this syndrome, characterized by statements like, “This church will close its doors after I’m gone.” Symptoms include spiritual arrogance and self-righteous anger, though they may also include hyper-spiritual speech  (“This is God’s church, and we’ll see what He does when I shake the dust off my feet”). Church members with UVS fail to realize that God’s church will go on without any of us.

9. Talking in Your Sleep Disease. You may recognize this church. They go through the motions, but the motions lack energy. They meet for worship, yet the singing is lifeless. Even the preaching is lackluster, as if the speaker is monotonously only meeting his obligation. Here is one way to recognize the church with TIYSD: many of the attenders really ARE sleeping!

10. Congregational Myopia. The congregation with this condition is nearsighted, focusing on themselves only. They have no vision for the future, and they fail to see that their current direction will likely lead to further disease and decline. Ask the leaders what their hope is for the church five years from now, and their description will sound strangely like the church in its current state.

What other diseases come to mind for you?.

Written by Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless currently serves as professor of evangelism and missions and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

The bigger picture…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
-Philippians 2:3-4

Living and flourishing in the kingdom of God – whether as an attorney, a teacher, a doctor, a business owner, an office worker, unemployed, or whatever our vocation is – means that everything – we do is not about being rich or poor. That doesn’t matter. It’s great to be rich; it’s sometimes even okay to be poor; but it’s not about that. It’s about always thinking in terms of the bigger picture. How is this meaningful? How does this fit into what God is doing? How does this help people? Change lives? Make the world a better place? How do I use what God has given me to see the kingdom of God thrive? To see God’s goals met?

This is how we change from the people we currently are – afraid, lonely, sinful, all the things that we think about ourselves – to seeing ourselves the way God sees us. We must examine our lives in the way that God examines our lives.

You may say, “Oh, that would make me feel guilty.” Well, you probably already feel guilty. But, when you see yourself the way that God sees you, you no longer feel guilty as you feel inspired. You now see the potential that God sees in you. It’s a loving Father seeing the potential in his child, even when the child makes mistakes. See yourself as God sees you and a world of possibilities opens up to you as you begin to live his calling in your life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, show me the way to fit into what you are doing, to help people, to make the world a better place, to help the kingdom of God thrive, to see you goals met in my life and in the lives I touch each day. Amen.

Reflection: How is God using you in the world today?

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