Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day 2010. Yesterday at NRN I shared a message about the importance of memorials in our life. We also took time to honor the men and women of our armed forces. It was a moving time in our worhsip experience as we paused to remember those who have given their life in defense of our nation.

Here is the clip:


video

In the closing moments of my message - I shared these comments form my manuscript:



We have built memorials in the church:

a. Communion: Remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – His shed blood, death, burial and Resurrection.

b. Baptism – Displaying the inward work and cleansing of God in our life by the outward expression of baptism by water.

c. Church Membership – Standing before others stating that we agree in doctrine and make a commitment to support the ministry of the local church.


We need to build personal memorials: Here are some practical ways….

1. Church Attendance – displays our priorities in life and commitment to God

2. Tithing – Showing God has first place in our life and with our finances.

3. Prayer in the home (meals; bedtime; family devotions (praying with others)
This is being intentional in Practicing the Presence of God.

"You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." I Peter 2:5

"You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:"
2 Corinthians 3:2

Remember the faithfulness of God to you – BUILD A MEMORIAL!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Practice of the Presence of God Part 2

Last Sunday I shared about the Practice of the Presence of the God. As the worship experience came to a close God brought to my mind a simple example of how to daily practice the presence of God.

A few years ago I was suffering for some medical issues which took me to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Sharron and I were there for 27 days and each day the doctors met with us they told us that I possibly had cancer. To the glory of God - cancer was never found in my body - and except for a thyroid problem was pronounced very healthy. The first few days at Mayo were very trying. One test that was taken was to wear a blood pressure cuff on my arm and have the "leads" taped to my chest to record my heart and blood pressure. I wore this apparatus for 24 hours. As I would walk from one department for teat - to another - I would feel the blood pressure cuff begin to apply pressure and I would simply STOP and allow the test to take place.

As Sharron and I would walk to my scheduled appointments we would notice other people walking alone who would suddenly just stop and stand in place. They would pause for a moment, then go on their way. I understood this because I too would follow that procedure to have my blood pressure taken.

This is a simply example of how to go about our daily, busy lives but take moments along the way to simply stop - pause and sense the presence of God. Take a pause that refreshes and practice the presence of God in your life. I encourage you to think about this example and try it for yourself.

This week I have been encouraged by listening to one of my favorite Christian artist - Keith Green. Here is a clip of him singing a song that ministered to me this week. It carries a great message.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Practice the Presence of the Lord Pt. 1

Tomorrow morning at NRN I will be be sharing a message about how to Practice the Presence of the Lord. The notes from my sermon are from the writings of Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a monk in France during the 1600’s. He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his book “Maxims”, Brother Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. He also said: "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. He said: "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Together, God and Brother Lawrence cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world.

First published around 1699, four conversations and fifteen letters from this Carmelite lay brother were published in a little book titled, The Practice of the Presence of God. John Wesley is thought to be the first person to bring 'The Practice of the Presence of God' to the US when he made his first visit to Georgia. In it we learn how to engage in a continuous conversation with God - a way of faith, love, humility, and simplicity that anyone can practice anywhere at any time.

To live moment by moment conscious of the Lord's presence is the key to Christian living – this is the KEY to a growing personal relationship with God in the midst of the busyness of life. But how do we practice God's presence throughout the day? Plan to join us tomorrow at NRN at 10:45am as we enter into a worship experience and practice the presence of the Lord.

Here is an introduction to the teachings of Brother Lawrence:



Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Mayonnaise Jar

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
when 24 hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and starts to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again
if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded
with a unanimous ‘yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things - God, family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions
Things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car...

The sand is everything else --
The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
you will never have room for the things that are
important to you.

So...

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

'Take care of the golf balls first --
The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.

'I'm glad you asked'.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Please share this with other "Golf Balls"

I just did......

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A life changing message - My house shall be called a house of prayer

On Sunday over 40 people made commitments about their prayer life at the close of the worship experience at NRN. This evening a group of people met in the worship center for a time of prayer. As the hour came to a close we gathered in a circle - holding hands in unity to conclude our time of prayer. Tears flowed as we prayed for Spirit of God to invade our presence and a true atmosphere of prayer would be evident in our church.

Below is the entire message viewed at NRN this past Sunday. The speaker is Jim Cymbala, founder and pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC. Before you view this message I encourage you prepare for a moving of God. Block out one hour to view the message and have a short time of prayer at the close. I believe God will use this message in a powerful way. Be sure and comment about any decision you make.


Monday, May 17, 2010

A house of prayer Part One

Yesterday at NRN we continued in our teaching about prayer. I presented a message by Jim Cymbala entitled "My house shall be a house of prayer." In the closing moments of the worship experience I shared that I would place a portion of the message on my blog each day of this week as a primer for a time of prayer.
At the close of the service there were many people who came to the altar seeking an answer from the Lord and making decisions about their prayer life. I recommended the following decisions:


1. Pray at lest 10 minutes a day.
2. Begin to journal your prayer life.
3. Join us at 6:30pm each Wednesday for a corporate time of prayer in the worship center.
4. Other - What is God speaking to you about your prayer life?

It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,
’but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Luke 19:46


Donkeys braying, birds chirping, people rushing about, voices crying, “Best deals here! Change your money at my booth! Finest animals for sacrifice!” Activity everywhere, all focused on commerce, on making a buck. Perhaps there was a contest among the moneychangers that day – who can squeeze the most money from the pilgrims today? Who’s the best swindler? They were a den of robbers.

Our Lord’s words were not soft; nor was his response gentle. With a whip he drove them out. He cried against them, “This is a house of prayer! You have made it a place of desecration, a den of robbers!”

What about today’s house of prayer, what is its condition? People sometimes are too quick to make the leap from temple to church, calling the church a house of prayer. But consider what the New Testament has told us in passages like 1 Corinthians 3:16, Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? From the day of Pentecost onward, the temple is found in the people of God. You and I are the house of prayer.

What are you doing to drive the robbers out of the house of prayer? How are you keeping it pure and holy and focused on its true business, leading people in the worship and exaltation of God? We know that God is at work to purify his people. What will Jesus be driving out of your life to make you a holy house of prayer? Is your life so filled with noise – traffic, television, work, school, games – that you bear little resemblance to a house of prayer?


Here is the first clip as I promised as the beginning of the message:



Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Citation from the Chief

On Wednesday May 12th Sharron and I attended a special event at the Police and Fire Training Academy in Charlotte, NC as our son in law - Joshua was awarded a special citation by the Chief of Police.

I was able to move through the crowd and find a seat up front to take this picture of Josh and members of his unit receiving their awards:


In 2009 the North Tryon Division invested in the Priority Offender Strategy Team program to reduce crime in Charlotte by identifying a group of chronic offenders in order to cease their criminal activity. They have helped the North Tryon Division reduce crime by double digits over the past two years.


Following the ceremony was a time for pictures of Josh and his family. This was the first major out of house excursion for Stephanie following her c-section to give birth to Breeley.


We are very proud of Josh. He is an outstanding police officer; the best son in law I could ever ask for; a faithful and caring husband to Stephanie and a fantastic and loving dad to Alyse and Breeley. Sharron and I have known Josh since he was in high school in Strugis, Michigan. He has grown as a man and as the Christian we prayed for to be the spouse of Stephanie since she was a baby.

Proud Papa

The last few days it have been like a whirlwind. Following the birth of Breeley May, Sharron and I have been here in Charlotte to assist Stephanie. To say the least - Mother's Day 2010 will always be special for us. Well - a picture tells a thousand words:




On the left is my grand son Jordan Richard Bolder and on the right is my newborn grand daughter Breeley May. In the middle is the proud papa....

On Monday Sharron, Alyse and I welcomed Stephanie, Josh and Breeley home.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Breeley has arrived!

On Thursday May 6th Sharron and I were taking care of Alyse as Stephanie and Josh were attending a special event at their church. I took a quick picture of them right before they left for the evening.




Sharron commented to me as they left that Stephanie would be going to the hospital before the end of the night. As we prepared to lay Alyse down to sleep Stephanie called and told us she was on the way to the hospital. Sharron and I were very excited as Josh and Stephanie headed to Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. The call in the night came and Sharron and I rejoiced!








Breeley May
Born May 7th, 2010 at 1:25 AM
8lbs 4 oz
20.5 Inches long
Sharron, Alyse, Danielle and I arrived later in the morning. It was a day of joy. As Sharron, Alyse and I headed home for the evening Alyse made a comment about how much fun she had.. I said "Alyse, was it a good day?" She replied, "It was a great day!" We agreed.
Stephanie is doing so well. Breeley did really well over night. As they weighed her early this morning she is 7 lbs. 11 oz.
We have great anticipation for Mother's Day 2010. I am so thankful for my wife Sharron - the mother of our children. This year we will celebrate with Danielle and her son Jordan - and Stephanie and her children Aylse and Breeley.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer at NRN


Today - Thursday May 6, 2010 is the National Day of Prayer. Across the United States groups are meeting to join in prayer.

Tonight beginning at 7:00pm there will be a Concert of Prayer at
NRN. This is the only church location in Raleigh NC noted on the National Day of Prayer website. As Sharron and I are in Charlotte with family responsibilities - I am thankful for Pastor Jordan Unfried for coordinating this event tonight at the church.
I believe there will be some people from our community at the service this evening. My desire is that NRN will be a known as a house of prayer this evening.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moved by the posting on her blog

Today Sharron and I are in Charlotte with our daughter Stephanie and her family. We are waiting with great anticipation for the arrival of baby Breeley. It is such a time of refreshment as I hear the laughter from Alyse as we play.

We enjoyed a fun meal and Josh was at work to make the last preparations in Breeley's room. I anticipate that soon Stephanie will blog - but at this time I am on line with her computer in the family room. I took a few moments tonight to go to her blog - which I love to read. Stephanie is an excellent writer and so creative in her blog. Of course, I always love her pictures. When I went to her blog this evening I was moved by her posting. You may want to pause and go to her blog as see for yourself.

I was so moved by the words - and then the song - I could not help but comment on it and provide a version of the song with words as it will minister to your soul.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Presidential Proclamation - A Day of Prayer


A PROCLAMATION

Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer. In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad.

On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation. Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences. Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid. Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders. Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place. As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day. Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness. Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA


In conjunction with the National Day of Prayer - a CONCERT OF PRAYER - will take place in the worship center of NRN this coming Thursday May 6th beginning at 7:00pm.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My duck is dead - a classic

A woman brought a very limp duck to the veterinarian’s office. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, “I’m so sorry, your pet duck Cuddles has passed away.”


The distressed owner wailed, “Are you sure?”


“Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead,” he replied.


“How can you be so sure,” she protested. “I mean, you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”


The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever.





As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.


The vet patted the lab and led it out of the exam room. He returned a few moments later with a cat.


The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.


The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. She screamed, “$150.00!” “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged. “I’m sorry. If you’d taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $150.00.”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A New Chapter of Ministry at NRN



Today at NRN was an awesome worship experience as we opened our arms and our heart to welcome our daughter congregation of the International Evangelical Church of the Nazarene (IECON).



Over 300 people gathered for the multi-cultural event. A new chapter of ministry has taken place at NRN. I believe this was truly a historical day for our church.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Preparing for a new chapter of ministry at NRN


On Sunday May 2, 2010 we begin a new chapter of ministry at NRN as we initiate our new partnership with the International Evangelical Church of the Nazarene (IECON). The multi-cultural worship experience will begin at 10:30am this Sunday!

Here is a snapshot of their history as a church: On September 15, 2003 under the leadership of Pastor Andre’ Bouassa, this French African congregation officially became a member of the Church of the Nazarene. Since 2005, Pastor Caleb Buna has served as the senior pastor. The vision of this church is to “build a strong and mature body of believers where everyone will find a place to worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit and truth through knowledge, understanding and
fellowship with others”.

We call this a new chapter of ministry as we not only open our facilities for use by IECON, but we open our arms and our hearts to welcome this group of people into our family here at NRN!

Though we shall strive to maintain our own identity as churches, we will be in cooperative ministries. On Sunday, May 9th we will welcome the children and students from IECON into our ministries. A worship service for IECON will take place in the community room beginning at 10:30am on each Sunday beginning May 9th.

We anticipate a season of transition, but believe God is opening a door of opportunity for both our churches to begin a new chapter of ministry. These are exciting days to be part of the growing ministries of NRN and IECON!

A carry-in meal will be enjoyed by all following our worship experience on Sunday. I am very excited as we prepare to sense the presence of the Lord in this multi-cultural service!