Saturday, November 24, 2012

Preparing for Sunday November 25, 2012

It was awesome to enjoy a family Thanksgiving at Hudgens' Haven.  On Friday the afternoon was filled with shopping and enjoying a meal together.  The stores were crowded and there were great deals to be found.  I concluded my Black Friday shopping late last night sitting in the comfort of my home with the ease of my computer.
We've all heard of Black Friday, and now there's even Cyber Monday. But what about Small Business Saturday?  Today  shoppers are encouraged to hit the streets in search of great deals – only at locally owned businesses.  You can check out the small business specials in the Raleigh area HERE.

As I prepare for worship at NRN tomorrow I am filled with excitement about our time together.  I plan to bring a preview message of the Advent 2012 teaching series.

Here is the order of songs as part of our worship for tomorrow:

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Isaiah 9:2). The coming of Jesus to the world was the dawning of the true light. In this teaching series I plan to explore the impact of that light upon the world and upon us.  Join us tomorrow for a preview of this series and plan to be with us each Sunday of December for this series.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks Message 2012

Here is the clip I shared yesterday during the introduction of my message
 on Giving Thanks:

“Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving.”                             Psalm 95:1-2a (NLT)

The Thankful Samaritan
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”                                Luke 17:11-19 (NLT)

You can go to our church ( North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene)  website to hear the podcast of the message.  I concluded with a clip that I thought you would like to see:

Let us come to him with thanksgiving...   Psalm 95:2a (NLT)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Preparing for worship on Sunday Nov 18th

The morning has past quickly today as I have been praying and fasting for the worship tomorrow at NRN.  It is the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I am so excited about the message I will share tomorrow. I have several prayer request for tomorrow however, my heart request is for the presence of the Lord to invade our space and move upon our hearts.

The worship song set is prepared.  Be blessed as you sing along and open your heart to the Lord:

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.                    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How To Know If You're a Generous Person

I read this following blog posting this morning from Chip Ingram and felt I must share it following the comments I made last Sunday at church:

If I asked the question, “Do you consider yourself to be a generous person? Yes or no?” most of us would say, “Yes.” If I asked, “Why?” many of us would probably justify our responses by explaining that we give what we can to people in need, or we might proudly admit to faithfully tithing 10% our income for 20 years.

Now what if I were to tell you that these criteria alone aren’t good indicators of being a generous person? What if we’re actually missing the point of what it really means to be generous?
The fact is, many of us do not even know if whether we’re really a generous person in God’s eyes. Thankfully, God, through His Word, has provided clear criteria for knowing whether we’re a generous person and how we can become one.

The Bible gives us some characteristics of generosity:

Genuine generosity gives the first and the best to God. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “honor the Lord with your wealth with the first fruit.” When truly generous people get the first of their paycheck, the first blessing, the first opportunity, they come to God and say, “I recognize all I have belongs to you, I want to give you the first and the best.” From God’s perspective, these people are generous.

Genuine generosity is systematic and regular. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to the Corinthian church and says, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up…” (16:2) This shows us that we are to give regularly and systematically. Being generous is not about having “ooey-gooey” feelings or because it’s near Christmas or this person has a need and we gave them a couple hundred bucks. Being generous is a lifestyle.

Genuine generosity is proportional to our income. The tithe (10% of our income) is a good marker or starting point when it comes to the amount we should give. But Jesus was clear that the amount should not be limited to a particular number. We are encouraged to give more or less in proportion to our income.

Genuine generosity is sacrificial. Remember, God never measures the amount that we give; rather, God measures the amount of the sacrifice. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about how God gave grace to the Macedonian church to give sacrificially in the midst of their poverty and trials. We don’t often think of generosity coming out of trials and poverty, do we?

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Cor. 8:2) Then he says, For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” (v. 3)

Genuine generosity is thoughtful, voluntary, and worshipful. It isn’t just thinking with our heart, but also with our mind. And it’s an act of worship. We shouldn’t give grudgingly, but as a voluntary act of worship. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

So how do we actually live out genuine generosity? The key to becoming a generous person is faith. We need faith to believe and trust that God and His Word are true.

And the truth is, God blesses generous people. Numerous passages throughout the Bible attest to this. But the Bible doesn’t give us a formula or a promise for financial prosperity. That’s because God’s desire and promise is to bless us in every way, in order that we can continue to be a blessing to others. A quote from Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle, says it best: “God prospers me to raise my standard of giving, not just my standard of living.”

This week, we’ll start the series, The Genius of Generosity....  Read more

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Preparing for Worship on Nov. 11 2012

Tomorrow at NRN is going to be a great day of worship! The message God has laid upon my heart is SEEKING INTIMACY WITH GOD.

I look forward to sharing about my best friend. I have a relationship with God that is more than just knowing about Him. I know him, and I don’t say that pride fully, because it’s all about His grace. And I am confident that He wants you to know him very well, too.  It is a privilege to know God. And the good thing is – He wants to be known.  God tells us in His Word:

I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity..."                Jeremiah 29:11, 13-14a

Here are the songs we plan to sing to the Lord:

We plan to enter into a time of prayer and communion......

Many times I have shared about how to have a closer relationship with God.  In the past I have spoken with passion about the importance of bending the knee and bowing the head in reverence to God; opening His Word and drawing the spiritual food that we need to grow as a Christian. Today as I pray, God has spoken to my heart that though those things are important - God longs for relationship with us.  It is not based on what we do - but what He has done and is doing today in our lives. My sole desire in preaching tomorrow is to encourage every Christian to seek the Lord.  My prayer is that God will Help us to draw near to Him and experience His love. To help us that we will not settle for anything less than an intimate relationship with Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The election is history - THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN

November 7th:                  THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN

Barack Obama handily won the American presidential election, gaining an expected 332 electoral-college votes to Mitt Romney's 206, and taking about 50% of the popular vote to the Republican's 49.9% .

In the end, Mr Romney only managed to turn Indiana and North Carolina from blue to red. Florida was the closest race; Mr Obama's margin of victory there was only about 0.6 of a percentage point. He won Ohio by two points, and Colorado and Virginia by three. But he did even better in the crucial Midwest, a region that Mr Romney had to make a big dent in to stand any chance of victory.

Mr Obama won Michigan and Wisconsin (Paul Ryan's home state) by seven, and Iowa by six. The president's re-election was assured once the results started coming in from those counties in the swing states that the campaigns fought over the hardest.

I followed the reporting into the early morning and until the concession speech by Mitt Romney.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012 - Will the Redskin Rule hold true?

My first posting regarding the Redskins Rule came on November 3, 2008.  You can read that posting by clicking on   With elections taking place today I thought I should once again draw our attention to this trend.  Here is the information gleaned from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Redskins Rule is a trend involving National Football League games and United States presidential elections. Briefly stated, there is a high correlation between the outcome of the last Washington Redskins home football game prior to the U.S. Presidential Election and the outcome of the election: when the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins the electoral vote for the White House; when the Redskins lose, the non-incumbent party wins. This coincidence has been noted by many sports and political commentators and has held true in every election since 1940, except for that of 2004.

In 2008, the Redskins lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, thereby predicting a win for Illinois Senator Barack Obama over Arizona Senator John McCain because George W. Bush won the popular vote in 2004.

On November 4, 2012, the Redskins lost against the Carolina Panthers. It was the last home game for the Redskins before the 2012 Presidential Election, which will take place on November 6. If the Redskins Rule holds true in the upcoming election, it predicts a loss for incumbent Barack Obama against challenger Mitt Romney.

The record speaks for itself:

YearPresidential Election
Win or Lose?
Incumbent Party
Win or Lose?
Vote Won
2012TBDRedskins 13Carolina Panthers 21loseTBDTBDTBD
2008Obama defeats McCainRedskins 6Pittsburgh Steelers 23loselosesyesObama
2004Bush defeats KerryRedskins 14Green Bay Packers 28losewinsyes*Bush
2000Bush defeats GoreRedskins 21Tennessee Titans 27loselosesyesGore
1996Clinton defeats DoleRedskins 31Indianapolis Colts 16winwinsyesClinton
1992Clinton defeats BushRedskins 7New York Giants 24loselosesyesClinton
1988Bush defeats DukakisRedskins 27New Orleans Saints 24winwinsyesBush
1984Reagan defeats MondaleRedskins 27Atlanta Falcons 14winwinsyesReagan
1980Reagan defeats CarterRedskins 14Minnesota Vikings 39loselosesyesReagan
1976Carter defeats FordRedskins 7Dallas Cowboys 20loselosesyesCarter
1972Nixon defeats McGovernRedskins 24Dallas Cowboys 20winwinsyesNixon
1968Nixon defeats HumphreyRedskins 10New York Giants 13loselosesyesNixon
1964Johnson defeats GoldwaterRedskins 27Chicago Bears 20winwinsyesJohnson
1960Kennedy defeats NixonRedskins 10Cleveland Browns 31loselosesyesKennedy
1956Eisenhower defeats StevensonRedskins 20Cleveland Browns 9winwinsyesEisenhower
1952Eisenhower defeats StevensonRedskins 23Pittsburgh Steelers 24loselosesyesEisenhower
1948Truman defeats DeweyRedskins 59Boston Yanks 21winwinsyesTruman
1944Roosevelt defeats DeweyRedskins 14Cleveland Rams 10winwinsyesRoosevelt
1940Roosevelt defeats WillkieRedskins 37Pittsburgh Steelers 10winwinsyesRoosevelt

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cast your vote

From the desk of Franklin Graham

Experts are reporting that this year’s election could be decided by the turnout of the Evangelical community.
Perhaps never before in our lifetime has it been more important to vote for candidates at all levels who support the biblical principles we hold dear: the sanctity of life, God’s definition of marriage between a man and a woman, and preserving the religious freedom upon which the United States was founded.
I urge you to please go to the polls and cast your vote. Please call a Christian friend and ask them to do the same.
May God bless you—and may God bless the United States of America.
Franklin Graham
I think this is a great reminder to all and also a trustworthy saying.  PR

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Preparing for worship at NRN on Nov 4 2012

This has been an awesome week full of great new memories.  The Trunk N Treat event at NRN was well attended and fun for all.  Sharron and I traveled to Charlotte following the event and enjoyed a birthday dinner with our daughters and their families.  I plan to post more about this soon.

Right now I am preparing for tomorrow's worship at NRN.  First - let me remind you of something important you need to do this evening to prepare for worship tomorrow:

Here is the worship set planned for tomorrow:

Our special guest tomorrow will be Joshu and Paige Stines.  They have completed their term of service in Poland with Mission Corps of the Church of the Nazarene.  It was an honor for our church family to join in partnership with them.  Tomorrow I plan to allow them to share about their ministry in Poland and we will pray for them as they begin the next chapter of their ministry.  Joshua and Paige are faithful servants of the Lord and God is using them in a great way.