20 May 2016

engulf me in who YOU are

Father we are seeking You.  We long for Your presence.  There is none like You.  You are an awesome God.  Unmatched, unchanged, immovable.  We live in a world that is so lost and yet You aren't surprised.  You aren't surprised by anything Your creation has done, is doing or will do.  You know the beginning from the end and everything in between.  We try to fill the void in our lives with stuff ... yet You don't turn Your back on us.  You are always ready and willing to receive us unto Yourself.  There's an uncomfortability of waiting for You Lord.

An uneasiness that can only be explained by a longing desire to be in Your presence, to feel Your touch, to hear Your voice.  A deeper calling, a deeper yearning that can only be filled by You.  You call out to us and yet more times than not we hear nothing or at least give the impression that we hear nothing.  When in fact we do hear Your voice and do nothing about it.  The stirring within is the response to the Spirit You've deposited within each of us to commune with You; to walk with You in the light of day; to rest with You in the dark of night.

Stir this weary soul, grasp my heart, consume me, use these hands, these feet, this voice for Your glory.

Stir the stagnant waters of my soul
Merge me with Your river which springs life
I don't have all the right words
To say that will provoke You
To want me anymore than You already do
Won't You come

Come like You promised
Pour out Your Spirit
Pour out Your Spirit
Overcome the darkness of my night
Jesus be the strength of my life
Reaching past my hiding oh reach beyond my running
Oh Lord flood my soul with Your love
You love like a Father
You love like a brother
You love like a lion
Fierce like no other
You violently chase me down to embrace me
Engulf me in who You are
CCLI Song # 6096742

18 May 2016

Why am I here?

Perhaps the biggest question for everyone with a though ... Why am I here?

The answer is simply this ... fellowship and intimacy with God.

For those who don't have a relationship with Christ; you will continue to search, in vain mind you, for something to fill the empty void in your life.  You will think you've stumbled upon something whether it be (as the old saying goes) sex, drugs or rock and roll; however things of the world pale in comparison to that which lasts forever (fellowship and intimacy with God).

You might say then that isn't that what heaven is for ... the fellowship and intimacy with God (forever)? I would say yes that is what heaven is for, however I appeal to you that our fellowship and intimacy with God here is so that we can be so consumed with God, so full of God; that we begin to spill out over the world and they too can come to a place of fullness in the fellowship and intimacy with God.

17 May 2016

You were born for such a time as this

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, published over 60 children's books over the course of his long career. Though most were published under his well-known pseudonym, Dr. Seuss, he also authored over a dozen books as Theo. LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone. As one of the most popular children's authors of all time, Geisel's books have topped many bestseller lists, sold over 222 million copies, and been translated into more than 15 languages. One such book published January 22, 1990 – had a passage that read  You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go … -- Dr. Seuss in Oh the Places You’ll Go.
Have you ever given any thought as to why you are where you?  Why do you work where you work? Why do you live where you live? Why do you go to school where you go to school? Why do you go to church where you go to church? You do what you do because God has assigned you there - and here – “for such at time as this.” As we go on our journey in life to discover what we were created to do you’ll discover there are “pivot points” in history. Some aren’t as big as others … for instance chocolate or vanilla, leaded or unleaded, carpet or hardwood; but there are other pivot points in life that can affect the landscape of our world and set you on a course of sometimes irrevocable decisions. 
When I think of the things that are happening in our culture right now and anticipate the opportunities that lie ahead for our church then I believe that we are standing face to face with a pivot point. Presented before us today is what many of us have looked for … the chance to make a difference in the world.  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the opportunity of a lifetime.This morning I would like to present to you someone who also was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime; the decision of whether to do what God placed her there to do or not would shape the future of generations to come.  Let’s go to the book of Esther.

(ESTHER 4:1-14)
1When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. 3And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, 7and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews.8Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. 9And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11"All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days." 12And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

He’s calling wake up child, it’s your turn to shine, you were born for such a time as this.  Jesus has sounded the wake-up call; that it’s time to rise up without fear and intimidation and to stand for Christ at any cost.  There’s a battle between darkness and light that is happening in both the physical and spiritual realms.  We stand at the crux of a societal collapse in the natural; yet at the same time there is a field that is bursting with white from a more than ripe harvest. And God is asking (already knowing the answer) what are we going to do about it.  Are we going to be bringing in the sheaves or are we going to watch our world, our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods and communities, our neighbors, friends, loved ones be scooped up and harvested for another cause?  It's time we wake up, step up and snatch up the ready ones for the Kingdom.

As we prepare for the soon return of the King are our ears attuned to hearing the footsteps? Can you hear Him approaching behind you?  We’ve heard it for years; we know He’s returning soon, could today be the day? Listening for His footsteps, for His voice to call us to action … can you hear Him?  Think about John; as Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover, John who laid his head on the chest of our Savior was hearing His heartbeat … I believe that’s part of the reason John was able to hear the voice of God when it came time to write what He did. He knew what the Father wanted to say, he wrote what was told and shown him. In a nutshell this is the purpose of John's gospel – John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believeb that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

He forever had a longing to hear the heartbeat of Christ again and waited in anticipation for the Savior to return that He was able to hear the things he put to paper and wrote in this book so that we too might be able to hear His heartbeat, hear His footsteps, hear His voice as He calls to us to wake up child, it’s your turn to shine you were born for such a time as this.

Do you hear them … the footsteps of Jesus approaching; listen for them it’s time y’all.  God is calling each one of us, it’s time to hear the call, it’s time to forsake it all for the one thing that remains … this stuff don’t happen by spending an hour and a half a week with the King; it’s time to take some risks, it’s time to change the world …. BE VERY CAREFUL THEN HOW YOU LIVE, NOT AS UNWISE BUT AS WISE, MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY, BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL (Eph 5:15-16)

Jer 1 :4-5 (AMP) Then the word of the lord came to me (Jeremiah), saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew (and) approved of you (as My chosen instrument), and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; (and) I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you

Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

For about this past month God has been speaking to us and reminding us many things … You are loved by the Father, you are a child of God, your identity is in Christ … as you can see none of this is predicated on anything we’ve done  … Corrie ten Boom said, “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability that counts.”

Our response should be it’s time to wake up, I am royalty, I have destiny, I have been set free; I’m going to shape history; I’m going to change the world.

10 May 2016

Jesus is more than enough

If you have just enough faith to get to Him, you'll find that Jesus is more than enough -- Risky Faith --

Risks … the possibility that something bad or unpleasant (such as an injury or a loss) will happen.  I think at one point in each of our lives we all take a risk or two along the way.  I can think back on some of the risks, some I can’t talk about freely but others are right there … risk of rejection upon proposal of marriage, risk of the unknown when taking on foster children, coming out of the military, etc.
What about you; you know when you’ve done something or you are getting ready to do something risky.  
Risk; Do you sit back and “be safe” or do you just go for it?  In some aspects there’s even risk in trusting God. Letting go, surrendering all to follow and entrust everything to an invisible God.  Taking risks causes us to be vulnerable and uncomfortable; if it were so easy, everyone would be following Christ.  But when we take that risk and we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we find the reward in following Him.  I can’t promise you that every risk taken in God will feel good, because there’s going to be times where we don’t quite understand why this or that happens, but what I can guarantee is that He will always be there when we need Him and that if we stay by His side every step of the way; what happens at the end, will be worth it all. It’s when we get to Him that we have revealed to us that strong, perfect peace deposited within each of us by the Father.  It is a peace wrapped in faith. We discover things not only about ourselves but more so about the God we serve and that He's more than willing to free us from what holds us down, because when you have just enough faith to get to Him you’ll find that Jesus is more than enough.
So let's jump into the text and find out what taking a risk can produce, so please turn to Mark 5
GOD: Mark 5: 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
Jesus is on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter.  There’s something quite significant in this account because it is written about in three of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. So let’s find out who this woman is. We don’t have a significant contribution to tell us how old she is but from the text we can gather that she is old enough to be a wife but she’s not elderly either. So you could probably say she’s an average woman.  She could represent any of us.  While we are all special in the eyes of God when you look at each of us walking this earth, there isn’t much that separates us from each other.  We do know though that she has this thing going on with her blood for 12 years and she has been looking for a cure in all the wrong places.  She probably has lived half her life with this issue, but it doesn't matter.  Even in doing what she's doing she's risking ridicule and shame because she's a woman in this Jewish society with a blood problem.  Because of her condition, this woman was continuously unclean. She could not go to the temple to worship. She could not touch anyone or they would be unclean for the rest of the day. If she sat in a chair, it was unclean for the rest of the day, etc. So she was basically cut off from normal fellowship with others and with God; but she doesn't care Jesus is in the neighborhood and she's going to get hers.  Wouldn't you? While doctors and medical care are good and right, sometimes we’ve got to stop seeking man’s answers to our circumstances and allow God to move in our lives. Because when you have just enough faith to get to Him you’ll find that Jesus is more than enough  …
So how do we know that He’s more than enough, well let’s keep going through the text and see.
27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well."
So this woman has had enough of ridicule and disowning; she’s at a breaking point in her life.  Yet in the back of her mind she has this hope and her hope is kindled ever the more each time she hears about Jesus.  Something about that Name that stirs up hope for the hopeless.  Sometimes God allows us to get to the very end of ourselves so that we can begin to see Him.  And this is exactly where this woman is.  She’s done all she knows to do, she’s spent all of her money and has nothing left, but she has just enough hope because she has heard about Jesus.  Glory, I’m so glad that one day when I was spent, when I was at the end of me, when I didn’t think I could go on; someone told me about Jesus.  Someone told this woman about Jesus in fact I’d almost like to think that somehow she was around when Jesus had returned from freeing the demoniac; you know that she was around when she heard the leader of the synagogue for the healing of his daughter; being from this region you know she’s heard how Jesus healed a paralytic, a man with a shriveled hand, large crowds of disease, freed folks from demons, raise a centurion’s servant and even raising a widow’s son from the dead.  She’d probably heard about how others may have been healed by simply touching Jesus. In fact she probably has been going over the phrase "if I touch; I will be" over and over again. In fact she had enough faith to be the one doing the touching; she didn’t even need His touch … It had to be the driving force that pushed her out into the streets. She was an outcast, probably divorced because of the issue of blood; she had all the other baggage that went with it, but she didn’t care … I think in order to be healed you’ve got to be ok with revealing your weakness and be vulnerable. She was breaking all the social taboos, she even interrupted Jesus as He was on His way to heal the daughter of a very influential man. But that’s the other thing about Jesus.  He is no respecter of persons; no matter how you feel, just get to Jesus; no matter what is wrong with you, just get to Jesus; no matter what you are dealing with, just get to Jesus .... if we can find that we have just enough faith to get to Him, we’ll find that Jesus is more than enough.
And that’s exactly what this woman did … she touched Him
 29And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?' "
Are you serious? I can just imagine the disciples at this point.  Throng of people; whole lotta folks around Him. So, she gets to where He is and somehow touches the hem and immediately He knows it.  Why, because the essence of who He is has been affected by the faith of someone in the midst of huge adversity and when it happens Jesus wants to know who it is.  The disciples are struggling to figure out what Jesus means because of all the commotion and folks around.  When you walk in the Spirit you will know things and that’s what Jesus is doing here.  He knew in His spirit both her need and her touch.  It wasn’t just anyone who touched Jesus that received healing. I mean if you were anywhere close to Jesus on this day you couldn’t help but touch Him. But if you have just enough faith to get to Him you’ll find that Jesus is more than enough  …
32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
How many of us know that when Jesus asks a question, He doesn’t need an answer from us.  He already knows the answer, but He asks so that there can be some ownership, so there can be confirmation in verbalization and perhaps in a moment of Red Sea proportions the throngs of people probably not wanting anything to happen to them, separate and perhaps point the finger.  See even those who don't understand Jesus for who He is, don't even understand what He can do for them. Those that were unintentionally touching Him weren’t being healed, but this woman who purposed in her heart to get to the Man of God and touch Him for the specific reason of healing caused the stir.  So here goes Jesus going against everything customary to the Jewish culture and not only that but taking time away from getting to Jarius' daughter to heal her.  So as she has already been healed by her faith Jesus does something ever so quickly because the enemy loves to steal the blessings that we don't grasp firmly too, so Jesus confirms the healing and reminds the woman that it was her faith in not only what He could do but who He was.  Superstition said that power was in the robe of a great man, priest, rabbi, etc. Her belief was that touching the fabric would make her well. In fact, when she did touch His garment, she was healed. Because when you have just enough faith to get to Him you’ll find that Jesus is more than enough  …
What is that thing that has been plaguing you for so long that you just wish it would go away.  Something you may not like but you’ve grown comfortable with but you keep saying to yourself that you still want to get close to God.  In order to touch His garment you’ve got to get close.  You’ve got to press in, you’ve got to bump up against some things in your life that will try to keep you back, hold you down … remind you of who you are but whatever it takes just get to Jesus.

We’ve got to get to Jesus. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, we’ve just got to get to Jesus.  If we can just get close enough we can be made whole.  If we have just enough faith to get to Him we will find that Jesus is more than enough.

Quite some time ....

Well just the other day I was over at some dear friends home and their youngest son made mention of finding this blog.  I chuckled and thought WOW, I haven't posted anything in quite some time and that I needed to get back on the site.  So here I am.

Thanks Riley ... Another thing that hadn't quite noticed was that my daughter Yvonne had been peeping this blog, so she too has been an encouragement to me about blogging again (as well as Lysa and Deborah) ... thanks ladies.

Just as the blog is entitled it has never rang more true.  God is truly up to something and I haven't take the opportunity to share ... in the next few posts to appear on this will be some of what He's given me that I've shared with other but I need to post them on this site ... He led me to do this sometime ago, and I'm sorry that I've dropped the ball and have been OBE ... I will purpose to stay updated on this so keep your prayers flowing this way.

Buckle up and hold on ... there's more to come.