Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How to Face the Future with Confidence

On this New Year's Eve - I wish you all a great and happy New Year! 
How to Face the Future with Confidence
BY: Greg Laurie
 C. S. Lewis once said, "The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."
Some people fear the future. Others may even find themselves at a point of despair over the future, thinking that God has forgotten them. Perhaps God hasn't done what they hoped He would. Maybe they had certain plans, certain expectations from God, or certain goals they had hoped to reach at a particular stage of their lives, but they haven't reached them.
If ever you've felt as though God has forgotten you or that God was against you, or if ever you've been frightened about your future, then the words God spoke to the Israelites so many years ago during the Babylonian captivity apply to you as well:
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11–13 NKJV)
These words are directed toward the person who has put his or her faith in God. Only the one who has a relationship with the Lord, which is only possible through Jesus Christ, can claim these words personally. Notice that God does not say in verse 11, "I know the thoughts that I have thought toward you," which is past tense. Rather, He says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you." It's present tense. Thinking about His people isn't something God has done only in the past. It's something He is doing in the present and will continue to do in the future.
Although God is always thinking about you, His thoughts are not necessarily your thoughts, and His ways are not necessarily your ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). Sometimes God doesn't work the way you want Him to. He may lead you in a path you didn't expect. That's where faith comes in. That's when you must fall back on the love of God and remember that whatever He does in your life — or fails to do, in your estimation — is based on His love. Maybe you thought the Lord was going to do a certain thing in your life. You're saying, "It's obviously not going to happen. I'm getting on in years. It's too late." But is it?
Moses didn't really get going until he was 80 years old, an age when most would be slowing down. But God said, in effect, "I just got you whipped into shape. It took me a long time. You're ready to go now." Who knows what the Lord will do? It isn't over until He says it is. God may have been preparing you all of this time for something yet in your future. You may be thinking, "It's too late. My friends have already reached these goals." But you are not your friends. You are you. God has a plan for you — something specific in mind just for you.
There is a future for each of us when God says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." That word future could be translated "an expected end" or "a ground of hope" or "things hoped for." There will be an outcome, a completion, in your life. God will tie up the loose ends.
I know there are things you don't understand — things that have happened in your life that don't make sense. I don't have all the answers for you, but one day, you will stand before the One who does. Until then, you must believe that God's thoughts toward you are good. His plans for you are good. He has an expected end in mind.
For the Jews living in Babylon, their "expected end" was to find deliverance from the control of a pagan nation and return to their homeland to worship God. For us, ultimately, it's to be free from the effects of sin and to live forever in the presence of God Almighty. What it means specifically on a day-to-day basis, time will tell. Whatever His plan is, it's better than anything you could plan for yourself. God has a future for you. Don't be afraid to commit your life to Him. Never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you do know who holds tomorrow: it's your Father, who has a perfect plan for your life. So commit this new year to God. You will be glad you did.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Preparing for a New Year

Begin the preparation for a new year with these words of encouragement.  Plan to join us at NRN on Sunday January 5, 2014 as I begin a new teaching series for the New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Preparing for 2014 - Reflection of a life story....

Really appreciated hearing Gary's life story today at church.  I believe everyone has a story.

Here is an excellent example of how to being the new year but reflection upon your story:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Preparing for Worship on the last Sunday of 2013 - December 29

As we prepare for worship for the last Sunday of the year 2013, I am honored to introduce our special guest today- Pastor Gary Narron.

Gary and Elaine Narron were accepted into membership of North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene in September of this year.   Gary was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene in 2008.  Gary and Elaine were married in 1966.  He is a 1968 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree as an electrical engineer.  His professional career took them to locations around the world. Sensing a call into ministry he graduated from Nazarene Bible College in in 2006.  Gary served as the founding pastor of Living Water Church of the Nazarene in Glen Allen, Va. Gary and Elaine have now retired to the Raleigh NC area and are a part of our church family.
Gary has recently accepted the position as Director of FIT Ministry at NRN.  This is the First Impression Team of NRN.


A change of song:

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe:

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Friday, December 27, 2013

Four Reasons to Face the New Year without Fear

Four Reasons to Face the New Year without Fear
God's Word brings us a comforting promise, along with an insightful command as we face a new year: "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

We can live this coming year without fear if we apply these four incredibly wonderful truths to our lives and root them deep into our hearts.
The Contentment of His Provision

Contentment is not getting what you want, but it is wanting what you already have. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content." If you know Jesus Christ, you have contentment. If you've got clothes on your back, something to eat, and Jesus Christ in your heart, you're rich!

Do you know why we have fear? Because we think our needs or the needs of someone we love are not going to be met. Or we fear that the things we think are meeting our needs are going to be taken away from us. The deepest need of your heart can only be met in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Companionship of His Presence
I don't know what I'm going to face next year. But there's one thing I know, He will never leave me. Are you a child of God? He will never leave you either. Isn't that wonderful!

What's another reason we may fear in the coming year? Because we're afraid we're going to have to face something we don't understand, and we're going to have to face it alone.

When God's Word promises that God will never forsake you, it literally means that He will never abandon you. He will not give up on you. We need to practice the presence of the Lord this coming year. When the devil comes and knocks at you heart's door, you can simply say, "Jesus, please go answer the door."

The Confidence of His Promise
We're going to zero in on a little phrase in our verses in Hebrews, "He hath said." A promise is no better than the one who makes it. Who says, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee"? It is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. This is the confidence of His promise.

In the coming year, when you say, "God, I just don't have the strength." The omnipotent God will answer, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." When you say, "God, I'm afraid of what is going to happen." The omnipresent God says, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." And when you say, "God, I don't know what to do." The omniscient God will respond, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." He himself hath said it.

The Comfort of His Protection
Hebrews 13:6 promises, "So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Now, put that with verse 5, which says, "He hath said."

Like I said earlier, I don't know what you're going to go through this coming year. But I know you can boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, so I will not fear what man shall do to me." When you find your contentment, companionship, and confidence in Jesus. Then, you'll find your comfort and courage in Jesus.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Scale

This is the clip I used this evening as part of my message for the Christmas Eve Worship at NRN.

 I hope it ministers to your soul:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

The Birth of Jesus   -  Luke 2:2-20

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I was greatly encouraged this year by the video from the General Superintendents of The Church of the Nazarene.  I thought it would be a blessing to you also. Enjoy:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Worship begins at 5:00pm this evening

Tonight we gather for our annual Christmas Eve Worship at 5:00pm  

This is the invite slide we have used the past two weeks:

WHO will you bring to worship with us this evening?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The 12 Crazy Days of Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas Clips I used last year at church but do not plan to use it this year.  Enjoy:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Our church - more than an AARP family!

This morning there were people in our Sunday Connection Classes and several people enjoying a time for fellowship around the Connection Café . There was a small mummer that three different babies born over the last few months were with their families at church.  I ran to get my phone to catch a picture:  

Following the worship today I was in conversation with a return visitor to our church.  He commented that when he first looked at our congregation it seemed to be an AARP crowd.  He said to me, "Wow - things are changing at our church."  There is an excitement as we welcome new families each week and are on the verge of launching a new phase of ministry.  Though I mourn the loss of several families who have recently left the church, I am amazed how God is bringing new people who are looking to be involved in ministry.   I look forward to posting on my blog in 2014 about the moving of God at our church - and - in my life!  

A reflection of my message today at NRN

Today I concluded our Advent teaching series:

It is important to understand the importance of affirming the incarnation of Jesus Christ:

Some other thoughts I shared:

“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.”  D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers

Plan to join us this coming Tuesday evening for our annual CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Preparing for worship on the 4th Sunday of Advent - Dec. 22, 2013

This is the last Sunday before Christmas 2013.   I am very excited about the message God has laid upon my heart,  I am praying for a great attendance this Sunday and expecting to welcome many first time guest.  I plan to extend an invitation for people to experience God's love and forgiveness at the close of my message.  This Sunday we conclude the Advent teaching series:

We are going to really enjoy the songs we sing in worship!

We begin our worship with a welcome and lighting the candles on the Advent Wreath

Now, we lift our voices in worship:

We continue in our worship by bringing our offerings to the Lord.  We give because He first gave!
I am trusting the Lord to meet our financial needs as a church according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!  Here is the song planned for the time of offering:

The Power of Christmas “Presence”

The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel.     Isaiah 7:14b
ʿimmānûʾēl - “with us” “God”


Friday, December 20, 2013

When Love Came Down to Earth

This coming Sunday at NRN I plan to conclude the current Advent Teaching Series.   I plan to present the message of the incarnation is a unique way.  As I prepared for this Sunday, I found the following expression of affirmation of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  I hope you enjoy it:

When love came down to earth
And made His home with men
The hopeless found a hope
The sinner found a friend
Not to the powerful
But to the poor He came
And humble hungry hearts
Were satisfied again

What joy what peace has come to us
What hope what help what love

When every unclean thought
And every sinful deed
Was scourged upon His back
And hammered through His feet
The Innocent is cursed
The guilty are released
The punishment of God
On God has brought me peace

Come lay your heavy load
Down at the Master's feet
Your shame will be removed
Your joy will be complete
Come crucify your pride
And enter as a child
For those who bow down low
He'll lift up to His side

Stuart Townend     Copyright © Thankyou Music 2002

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What could stop a mall filled with busy holiday shoppers?

What could stop a mall filled with busy holiday shoppers?

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."                                                                                        - Isaiah 9:6

Join us this Sunday at NRN as we sing favorite Christmas carols to the Glory of God!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The value of persistant prayer with faith and action.

This evening at 6:30 we gather for Corporate Prayer at NRN.  I am so thankful for a faithful group of people that join me in prayer each week.  We share life experiences and laugh together.  Then we quiet our hearts and go to the Lord in prayer.  Each Wednesday this year I have attempted to post on my blog a primer on prayer in preparation for our time together. We have established a prayer request box in the lobby of the church and now each week we have request for prayer.

Tonight is the last Corporate Prayer time of this year.  Next Wednesday is Christmas Day, followed by New Year's Day.  We plan to resume our Wednesday evening time of prayer on Wednesday January 8, 2014.  This does not mean that we are not praying. We are to pray without ceasing.

Today I am thinking of the importance of adding faith to our prayer.  And faith without works is dead.  Here is a moving story of how a simple act of faith and generosity can change a persons life.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Christmas Shoes

Considering we are just a few days away from Christmas I really wanted to upload this music video... The song is by the group - Newsong. 

This is a beautiful song and video about a young boy who's mother is dying and he wants to buy her a beautiful pare of shoes so that she will look beautiful when she meets Jesus.

This Christmas, make the commitment not to get too wrapped up in the horrible materialism that the season tends to bring... It tends to take away the meaning of the holiday. 

Jesus would of never wanted people to celebrate his birth by putting themselves into debt and depression... Christmas is supposed to be time for families to spend together... 'Gift Exchange' is the general key... not who can buy the most and look the richest.  The best gift at Christmas... is the gift of giving.

Just spend some well deserved time with your family... it's what everyone deserves... 

Don't let hot headedness get in the way... Is there ever a guarantee you will all be together again next Christmas?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Two of my favorite Christmas songs that we will not sing at our church this year

Two of my favorite Christmas songs that we will not sing at our church this year. 

These are songs I love to listen to in my time with the Lord.  Enjoy:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Christmas Devotional - The Wonder of all Wonders

The Wonder of All Wonders
God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.

Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety--that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly...God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

That...is the unrecognized mystery of this world: Jesus Christ. That this Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, was himself the Lord of glory: that was the mystery of God. It was a mystery because God became poor, low, lowly, and weak out of love for humankind, because God became a human being like us, so that we would become divine, and because he came to us so that we would come to him. God as the one who becomes low for our sakes, God in Jesus of Nazareth —that is the secret, hidden wisdom... that "no eye has seen nor ear heard nor the human heart conceived" (1 Cor. 2:9)...That is the depth of the Deity, whom we worship as mystery and comprehend as mystery.                -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"-- "these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."                                                                                     1 Corinthians 2:8—10

Excerpted from:  God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas                                         
By: Dietrich Bonhoeffer  WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX PRESS / 2012

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Preparing for Worship at NRN on December 15 2013 - The third Sunday of Advent

Tomorrow at NRN we gather for a great time of worship.  Our special guest is Dr. Greg Mason and his wife Elaine.  Dr. Mason was recently appointed as District Superintendent of the North Carolina District of the Church of the Nazarene.   Tomorrow will mark his first official visit to our church.

Here is the planned songs of worship:

We pause for the lighting of the candles on the Advent Wreath.

We plan to enter into a time of prayer and then move into a time to receive new members into our church.  As we present our offerings I pray for a moving of generosity and faithfulness as we trust God for a significant offering this Sunday.  As we present our offerings in faith we sing:

Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace

We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord I bring an offering to you

The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love
There is no shadow in your presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your blood
It's only through Your mercy
Lord, I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, I bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you, Jesus

We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, we bring an offering to you

O Lord, we bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you