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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SHREK the SHEEP... Away from the Shepherd

This short essay I found on iBibleVerses on Facebook.  I thought it was extremely encouraging and wanted to share it with you.  ENJOY!
This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When God's Spirit Moves

Sunday evening, I had the opportunity to visit one of our Church's Community Groups.  As we had a great time of visiting, laughing, great food, and enjoying our spiritual family, the host invited us all into the living room.

Conversation quickly turned to what God had done in the church service earlier that morning.  At the close of the service there was such a visitation of the Holy Spirit, and a hunger/thirst of God's people that the altars were flooded with those seeking a fresh move of God's Spirit.  We invited folks to jump into the "deep-end" of God's presence.

It was here at the Community Group that our host asked the question, "What would a move of God's Spirit look like?"  This powerful question got me thinking.  

Below I've listed some thoughts in response to this question that I hope might challenge your spiritual paradigms and move your spiritual temperature, and influence your daily activities.  

1. IT IS ALWAYS SUPERNATURAL:  When God visit a person or a group of people the most natural thing to say is that His presence, through the person of the Holy Spirit, is supernatural.  We should not be surprised that when the wind God's Spirit begins to "blow" among us that something different, sometime supernatural occurs.  In fact, when the uncontainable nature of God's presence rests upon our limited nature, we should be more surprised that something supernatural doesn't occur.  Even a fallen King of Israel (Saul) begins to supernaturally prophecy when in God's presence.  We should naturally expect the supernatural if we believe God is among us.  

2. IT IS RARELY EVER DUPLICATED:  When looking at the record of Modern Day Revivals such as the Azuza Street Revival, the Great Awakening, or the Welsh Revival (a revival is a prolonged move of God with a specific people group, nation, etc... often times marked by supernatural occurrences that become the norm), or Biblical accounts, God always moves in very unique ways.  In fact even as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is being poured out in the 1st Century church, each time it happen different with the same outcome.

  • Acts 2:1-4, 120 people were in a prayer meeting when wind and fire precede the Baptism of God's Spirit.
  • Acts 4:13-31, A prayer meeting gathered due to persecuted and the place they were meeting was physically shaken. 
  • Acts 10:34-48, A Gentile God-fearing man calls for people and while Peter is still sharing (preaching) God's Spirit baptizes those that were there (no one praying or laying hands on them). 
  • Acts 19, The Apostle Paul was at Ephesus, and as he laid hands on people they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It also describes the miracles that were occurring. 
God's outpouring in the 1st Century church was the same ministry of the Holy Spirit, but it occurred different each time.  Never try to duplicate a previous move of God's Spirit.  He is a unique Lord and allow him to operate as He sees fit.  

3. IT ALWAYS INCLUDES SOUND TEACHING & PRAYER:  These 2 are indispensable and undeniable elements of God's Spirit moving.  Prayer marks people who are longing for more of God.  It is the atmosphere that invites and allows God's Spirit to have His way.  Sound teaching is then confirmed by signs and wonders of God's Spirit (Mark 16:20).  He is after all the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). The spiritual temperature of a church can always been seen in her prayer meetings.  This is true of both the church and the individual.

4. IT ALWAYS MOVES US PAST THE WALLS OF CHURCH:  While I don't believe that a move of God's Spirit is limited to what we term church "meetings on Sundays in a building," I do believe that outpouring of God's Spirit gather the Body of Christ together.  However, God meets, heals, reveals Himself, manifests His word, demonstrates His power, etc... not just so that we can feel good, go home and say "wow, let's do that again next week."  The Holy Spirit shares the mission of Christ as He magnifies Jesus... "To Seek and Save the Lost."  So... When God's Spirit moves, so should you!

Now I'm sure this is not an exhaustive list of attributes, but I do believe it is a good beginning.  The only other thing I would add is that great moves of God are sovereign.  In other words, they are God initiated and God sustained.  Man cannot conjure or manipulate a real move of God.  What we can do is cultivate the atmosphere in our hearts and meetings to invite and allow the Spirit of God to have his way.  

I love what Leonard Ravenhill says of a move of God's Spirit, "You never have to advertise a fire.  Everyone comes running when there's a fire.  Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it.  The community will already know."

Not a sermon, just some thoughts :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Through It All Andrae Crouch

So if you never grew up listening to Andrae Crouch (July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015), he was not a perfect man, but he was certainly an anointed man. You don't have to wait until you're perfect before you offer your gifts and abilities to the Lord.  Enjoy this song, the story behind it, and allow it to minister to your soul.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Life Lessons Learned from Stuart Scott

Just two days ago we learned of the passing of a great sports anchor Stuart Scott at the age of 49.  Most people knew him for his on the field interviews or his desk commentary on ESPN.  His catchphrases gave us another reason to love watching Sports News.  From "Boo-Yah!" to "As cool as the other side of the pillow" to "He must be the bus driver cuz he was takin'n them to school," became iconic sports language.  

Ironically, many people were surprised at his passing. While they knew who he was most did not know the struggles he encountered and the disease he battled. Below are some life lessons we could each learned from our best friend on ESPN, Stuart Scott, as well as his award speech. 

1. You never know what someone is going through.  As many were shocked unaware of Stuart's battle with cancer, it's a good reminder that most of us do not know what others are going through. It's a good reminder for us to always lead with compassion and gentleness. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt.

2. The successful road is not always an easy road.  The battles we each must fight in order to reach our goals and to fulfill our God-given potential is always laced with difficulty.  The focus must not be on the difficulties, button how you handle them as they come your way.

3. Family is the most important.  At the recent ESPY awards he shared that his daughters were his inspiration to keep fighting cancer as it continued to return.  He wasn't fighting for his television friends, the athletes he covered, or even the coworkers he loved. When we face the end-of-life each of us are reminded of who is most important. The most important relationships on earth are found with our family.

4. Make the most of every opportunity.  At age 49 most would consider Stuart's final days to be premature. We would consider that much of his life went on the lived.   However, from his early days on ESPN2 through his national notoriety, Stewart never waited until "Someday" or "Next Year". None of us are guaranteed tomorrow so make the most of the days you were given.

5. Finally, the most important lesson we can learn is this life is short.  Whether we are given 16 years, 49 years, or 85 years, our life here on the earth is like a breath or missed that fades away very quickly.  Conclusion: prepare for eternity, cause it's a long time.  

Stuart Scott will be missed by his family and all his fans. Let's learn a thing or two from his life. 

To end with one of his quotes, "Like gravy on a biscuit, it's all good!"

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tyler Perry's words for a New Year!

I don't know much about Tyler Perry or his personal beliefs.  However, I have seen a positive message through the years come from his direction.  He posted this video recently and I thought it was worth sharing.

His basic message is the answer to the question:  How did you make it?
- Give glory to God
- Plant the Seed and water that 1 seed
- Don't stop Believing & trust God for the Increase