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Posts tagged ‘HolySpirit’

A parent’s love…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“Which one of you, if your son would ask for a loaf of bread, would give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, you would give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you whom he loves?”
-Luke 11:11

When I became a dad, I realized what God’s love could mean for me.

I take great pleasure in my two kids. I do not take pleasure in them because they merit it. It’s not as if they do good works for me. They don’t have to finish a list of good things before I say, “Oh, I take so much pleasure in them and love them so because of what they did for me.” I would never say that and I would be a bad father if I did.

I’ve looked at my children since the day they were born and, with real pleasure, I say I love them. I see my daughter sleeping in her bed and I think she’s just so beautiful. I adore her so much. I see my sweet son, and I just want to kiss his chubby cheeks.

Do my children do something in order to earn my love? Do I see them as horrible, barely hanging on and, because of that, I allow them to stay in my house, eat my food, and sleep under my roof? No. I adore them with all my heart. I cherish them. I know that, even as they become adults, if they were to fall and walk away, even then I would still adore them. With all my heart, I would want them to do the right thing because I love them and want them to have happy lives.

This is how becoming a parent has helped me understand God’s love towards me and towards you, as well.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am your child. I am loved by you in even greater ways that a parent loves his or her offspring. I open my heart to receive your perfect love. Amen.

Reflection: How does your perception of God’s love change when you compare it to a selfless parent’s love?

Driven by love…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
-1 John 4:7-8

It is a shame that many Christians are guilt driven. We often beat ourselves up, hate ourselves, and then project that on other people through judgment.

That’s not at all that Jesus wants. In fact, the only people Jesus appears to condemn in scripture are the self-righteous people, the Pharisees. They’re the ones that really frustrate Jesus.

To have power in God’s goodness and grace means to be driven by his love and his favor. God really does love you, takes pleasure in you, and is putting in every effort to win your soul for his kingdom. He believes that, if only you would believe in him, all of history could be different.

God passionately loves you and cares for you. God believes you can be filled with his fullness and life. God sees the best in you. God believes you can do impossible things.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am so blessed to be empowered by your goodness and grace. May I always be driven by your love to do the impossible. Amen.

Reflection: What emotion most often drives your behavior? How would your life be different if you were only driven by love?

Swords Into Plowshares.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4

Recommended Reading
Isaiah 2:1-4 [ ]

In the garden of the United Nations in New York City, a dramatic sculpture — a 1959 gift from the old Soviet Union — bears the words of Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” The sculpture shows the figure of a man holding a hammer in one hand, and in the other, a sword that he is beating into a plow. It expresses the great aspiration for world peace.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ]

But here’s the problem: Isaiah 2:4 has a first part to the verse. It begins: “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people.” Isaiah 2 is about the Second Coming of Christ and the establishing of His millennial reign. Without the Prince of Peace, there can be no lasting peace on earth; for the hearts of humanity are evil. Christ alone can usher in a period of global peace. Pray for peace on earth, but also pray: “Your kingdom come.” Only when Christ returns will there be lasting peace. We can’t imagine how wonderful that peace will be, but we can pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

When Christ returns, and only then, will the angel’s message to the shepherds be totally fulfilled: Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
David Jeremiah

Deuteronomy 16-19

By David Jeremiah

Joy to the World!

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Psalm 98:4

Recommended Reading
Psalm 98 [ ]

It might surprise you to know that when Isaac Watts wrote “Joy to the World,” he wasn’t thinking of Christmas. He had been studying Psalm 98 and contemplating the millennial reign of Christ. When Jesus comes again, He will establish a thousand-year reign on earth, and heaven and nature will sing. Fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains will repeat the sounding joy. Only during the Millennium, which comes after the second advent of Christ, will the words to “Joy to the World” really be fulfilled. The Millennium will be an earthly foretaste of the New Heavens and New Earth, which will be our eternal home.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ ]

If you want to know what the Millennium will be like, read passages like Revelation 20 and Isaiah 11. This is earth’s future. When you hear now of wars and rumors of war, and when you despair over the coarsening of society, and when you worry about global issues, remember: He will come to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found — a joy for earth and a foretaste of heaven.

He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove, the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.
Isaac Watts

Deuteronomy 12-15

By David Jeremiah

Full Circle.

Cursed is the ground… And there shall be no more curse.
Genesis 3:17; Revelation 22:3

Recommended Reading
Philippians 1:20-26 [ ]

In a well-crafted novel, a problem is usually introduced in the opening pages, often involving life-and-death matters. A plot then unfolds with twists and turns, all connected with a heroic protagonist. Then the story climaxes and concludes in a way that satisfies the reader.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ ]

The Bible isn’t a novel, but it  is  inspired by a Master Author. In its opening pages we’re introduced to a set of terrible problems. The plot unfolds with twists and turns, centered around one heroic personage — Jesus Christ. The book concludes with the story coming full circle in a satisfying way.

In Genesis 1-3, humanity is separated from God by a serpent and by sin, and a curse falls over creation. In Revelation 19-22, sin is dealt with, the serpent condemned, paradise restored, and God’s people eternally satisfied. In the New Earth, the curse of sin will be reversed, revealing once again the beauty God designed for us. No curse will spoil the new creation, and no dullness will dim our eyesight. So we will see it. How wonderful to read God’s Book, knowing it is all written for us to claim!

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
C. S. Lewis, in  Mere Christianity

Deuteronomy 9-11

By David Jeremiah.

Give Up for Lent.

M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

When I was in grade school, as the season of Lent would draw near each year, the children in my primarily Catholic community would start asking what others had “given up for Lent.” I always thought it such a strange custom. I had been raised in a protestant home and giving up something for Lent, especially since the family income was stretched for the necessities as it was, giving up something that would not be attainable anyway seemed so ridiculous. We had what we needed and sometimes not much more. Giving up chocolates or candy, ice cream, potato chips, soda pop, Saturday movies, seemed too trivial for the season that was at hand.

As I grew older a truer meaning of the season came about. Along with church teaching, the dictionary states Penitence, as implying sorrow over having sinned or done wrong, but it is still too negative for me. Must it be? Yes, we are to be penitent, however, that should be an every day thing, asking forgiveness for the wrongs done during the day. What can we do to make Lent special besides giving up something and still be penitent in nature?

I agree change is needed, however, must we always reflect on what is wrong with us even after we have repented and asked forgiveness? If change for the better is needed, repentance of those wrongs is needed, then look forward. Jesus looked forward, always moved forward for Jerusalem and what was coming, good and bad. I too must look forward to what is coming and do what I can to make something good of the time spent at this particular season and also for my life. This should be a time of reflection, a time of repentance, a time of release, a time of going forward to something new and better. A change, if you will, of conscience and will, and the 40 days of Lent allow me the time to form new habits, new ways of doing things, that are not only better for myself but is to the betterment of those around me. And for those of you who think this is going too far the other way, think of it as giving up a bad habit for a good one. Does that make it easier to understand?

Titus, a young man and helpful companion during Paul’s ministry, is the one who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem: acceptance of Titus, who was a Gentile, as a Christian without circumcision was crucial to Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. Titus worked with Paul in Ephesus, and Corinth and at the time of Paul’s first release from Roman prison Titus met him at Nicopolis in Greece. Titus went on to Dalmatia (modern Yugoslavia) and when this letter was writte …

Saved by grace…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
-Romans 3:24

In Christianity, “We are saved by grace through faith.” But to say we are saved by grace does not mean we are saved by mercy or forgiveness through faith, although that is, of course, a piece of it. We’re sinners and we need forgiveness.

But more than that, we are saved by the pleasure, beauty, goodness, joy, and delight of God by faith. It’s by believing that God loves us, cares for us, wants the best for us, and has called us to something bigger than ourselves.

When we have faith in that belief and in the life of Jesus, himself, we are saved.

Prayer: Dear Lord, by accepting your unmerited grace and by accepting Jesus as my Savior, I know without a doubt that I will be spending eternity with you. Help me to answer your call to minister to others in ways I never could have dreamed. Amen.

Reflection: When Bobby says, “We are saved by the pleasure, beauty, goodness, joy, and delight of God by faith,” how does that apply to you?

Fuel for the fire…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to humankind by which we must be saved.”
-Acts 4:12

Many of us find ourselves caught in this idea that “salvation” means that God has just barely accepted me. I was hanging by a string over a fiery furnace and God just barely rescued me from that fire. But that’s not the truth.

When we’ve received salvation, when we’re saved by grace, it means that from the moment you were born, God took pleasure in you, God smiled upon you and said, “That’s my kid! I love my kid! He/she’s wonderful, so wonderful to me.”

Even as you have sinned, made mistakes, God wants desperately for you to turn and live in the fullness of his life. His grace means living in the total joy, rapture, and delight of God’s good pleasure.

Grace is fuel for the Christian fire.

Prayer: Dear Lord, knowing that you look at me through eyes of fatherly love lifts me up and encourages me to live fully the life you have given me. With that love in my heart, I am emboldened to share your love with others, especially with those who do not yet know you. Amen.

Reflection: With the fuel of God’s grace in your life, what is your picture of living “the fullness of his life”?

Defining grace…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
-1 Peter 5:10b

“Grace” has always meant to me, for whatever reason, “mercy” or “forgiveness.” When I think about grace, I think about God forgiving me of my sin, or justifying me even though I don’t deserve it. But, did you know that’s not at all what grace means?

Grace includes forgiveness, but it has a much broader meaning. The root word for grace is the word “charis.” It is also the root for the words “charisma” and “charity.”

Here is the definition for grace found in the seminary-approved lexicon agreed upon by all evangelicals. Are you ready? Grace means, “That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, good will, favor, and loving kindness.”

Grace is God’s love, God’s favor, God’s pleasure!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your mercy and forgiveness when I have stumbled. Every day your grace affords me love, pleasure, and favor in your eyes. Amen.

Reflection: Like Bobby, is the meaning of God’s grace bigger now than you have believed in the past?

5 Mistakes We Make in Our Sermons.

There are a multitude of mistakes that can be made in the delivery of a sermon. We can proof-text an idea or completely miss the point of a passage altogether. For the purpose of this post, I will not address the content of your expository work. Instead, I want to address the stuff that surrounds it and can help people hear the core of your message better. Here are five mistakes that we make and some encouragement about how to fix them.

1. Not preparing the introduction. A common mistake is to craft a great message and a great conclusion but stumble to get it all started. Oftentimes, we want to leave room to transition the congregation from the worship music we’ve been singing into the sermon. It is a good idea, so work with your worship leader to plan it out. Many of us have a standard opening that the church is accustomed to hearing and that works as well. Whatever is your comfort level, plan out something so that you are not fumbling with notes and searching for a transition in the moment.

2. Poorly planned illustrations. An illustration is only as great as its delivery. We’ve all found a great story or illustration, thought about it for a few moments, and written it into our notes. The problem is that we never thought about it again until the moment it needed to be said out loud in the sermon. With every illustration, you need to practice the delivery. Illustrations normally have a pivot point where you take people from the illustration to how it helps them apply the scriptural truth to their lives. Make sure you verbally work your way through it in your preparation.

3. Allowing your voice to fry. Recently, I had my voice go out on me about two-thirds of the way through my sermon. It is awful. I felt it coming on, and there was nothing I could do about it. But there is a way around it. Warm up your voice before the service. Don’t strain your voice while singing. And, for me, a significant key is to begin my message with a conversational tone. Whenever I start out with an uptight, overly-excitable, on-the-verge-of-shouting tone, then my voice is not going to make it. So… calm down.

4. Uh. Well. You see. If filler words and phrases are not the lowest form of communication, then they are in a close second to grunting. As you review your messages (and you should review the audio of them each week), discover why you tend to use filler sounds like uh, umm, and well. Make sure you mentally prepare for the transitions between points so you are not forced to make a grunt while searching for a transitional statement. It will also help if you will limit the number of last-minute edits you make to your notes. If you will finalize your notes in time to do a verbal run-through during the week, it will limit your filler words. Finally, don’t be afraid of a moment of silence. You don’t want it to be awkward, but there is also no need to create a continuous onslaught of sound with no audio break for the entire message.

5. Asking insulting rhetorical questions. Any time a speaker says “Do you hear what I’m saying?” or “Do you understand what I mean?” then the fault is most likely with the speaker. Of course they hear you. You’re standing right there talking. Of course they understand what you are saying. They are reasonably intelligent people. As speakers, we normally use such phrases when we are not getting the feedback we’re hoping to receive. It is more of a sign of insecurity than anything. To counteract it, plan out your statements and rhetorical questions that will draw the church into discovery rather than push them toward a defensive posture.

I am sure that there are many of verbal miscues that we make while delivering our messages. As I stated earlier, take time to listen to your messages each week. If your church does not record them, then use an app on your smart phone or a digital recorder. Preaching is a sacred and spiritual endeavor but that does not limit us from being disciplined in honing our craft.

by Philip Nation

This article was used with permission from


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