Sunday, November 30, 2014

The message I preached today at NRN

A reflection from my message this morning at North Raleigh church of hte Nazarene.  Here is the manuscript I preached from: 

“The Pause for Hope - Mary”
Luke 1:26-38

INTRO: When you look at the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, what do you see? Do you see stress and busyness, a list that needs to be checked off, parties that need to be attended, presents that need to be bought? Are you getting exhausted just thinking about December? If so, you need to press “pause.” We need to pause and really experience what Christmas is all about. And it is about preparing our hearts to welcome Jesus. How do you need to prepare your heart for Christmas? Today we look at the pause for hope in the life of Mary. Mary’s hope is our hope:

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will
never end.”  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,”   Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.   Luke 1:26-38

 Christmas Sequence of Events:
·       Angel appears to Zechariah
·       Angel appears to Mary
·       Mary travels to home of Elizabeth
·       John the Baptist is born
·       Joseph plans to divorce Mary
·       Angel appeared to Joseph
·       Joseph married Mary
·       Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem:  Jesus is born
·       Angels appeared to Shepherds
·       Simeon and Anna in the Temple
·       Magi visit

The Elements of Hope 

1. Hope is rooted in promise:   BELIEVE

Mary’s promises of hope: Luke 1:31-38 – the visit from the angel...
• You will be with child; you will give birth to a son (31)
• Call his name Jesus (31)
• He will be great, Son of the Most High (32)
• The Lord will give him the throne of David (32)
• His kingdom will never end (33)
• Holy Spirit will overshadow you; child will be Son of God (35)
• Elizabeth is six months pregnant (36)

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”                                                                                        Luke 1:38

2. Hope is strengthened by testimony:   WATCH

Elizabeth:  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? … Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”                                              Luke 1:42-45
Shepherds: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord...”                                                             Luke 2:11

Simeon and Anna: “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”                                                            Luke 2:30-32

Magi:  “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”                        Matthew 2:1

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
                                                                                    Romans 8:16

3. Hope is tested by adversity: ENDURE

Divorce - Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.                                                                                     Matthew 1:19  

Threat - …an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”                                                                                                                        Matthew 2:13

Death - “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”    Luke 2:35

4. Hope is realized in time: WAIT

Mary’s experiences: 

             Temple incident (Luke 2:41-52);

               Cana Wedding (John 2:1-11);

               Request for meeting (Luke 8:19-21);

                Crucifixion (John 19:25-27);

                    Upper Room (Acts 1:14).

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.                                                   Hebrews 11:39-40

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not  yet have, we wait for it patiently.                                                                                    Romans 8:24

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…                                              Titus 2:11-13

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Preparing for worship on November 30 2014 - The First Sunday of Advent

As we prepare for worship at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene on the first Sunday of Advent 2014 - it is important to realize that the most wonderful time of the year is upon us.

I am very psyched to begin this new teaching series for the remainder of the calendar year.

 Invite your friends to join you as we discover the need to pause and embrace the message of Christmas this year.

Here is the planned order of worship for tomorrow:

When the countdown comes to a close we plan to extend a warm welcome to everyone present and invite them to stand in worship to our Great God as we sing a familiar song of the season:

As this song concludes we will be seated for the lighting of the first candle of Advent.  The candle of HOPE.  Then we stand again to sing:

We now go before the Lord in prayer as an act of faith and trust.  We are excited about the opportunities to gather for fellowship and service during this month.  We hear the announcements to remind us that each of us play a vital role in the life and vitality of our ministry.  Now we bring our offerings to the LORD!

Now the preaching of God's Word in this new teaching series for the remainder of this calendar year.

Today’s Message: 
       “The Pause for Hope - Mary”
Luke 1:26-38

When you look at the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, what do you see? Do you see stress and busyness, a list that needs to be checked off, parties that need to be attended, presents that need to be bought? Are you getting exhausted just thinking about December? 

If so, you need to press “pause.” We need to pause and really experience what Christmas is all about. And it is about preparing our hearts to welcome Jesus. How do you need to prepare your heart for Christmas? 

Tomorrow, we look at the pause for hope in the life of Mary. Mary’s hope is our hope: A hope rooted in promise we believe. A hope strengthened by testimony from others that we watch for. A hope that is sweetened by the adversity that we endure. And a hope still to be realized, for which we wait.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day after Thanksgiving 2014 - Still Thankful!

The day after Thanksgiving  often known as Black Friday.  My thought today is that I am still thankful:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2014 - Consider this

On this Thanksgiving day - my question          for you is:  Is your heart filled with 
thanksgiving to One who created you and provides all you need?   

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? 

Consider this on this day of thanks...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson and the Cross

Ferguson and the Cross

In August, Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white policeman, in Ferguson, Missouri. Tonight, we learned that the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson on any charges related to the event.

In the months since the shooting, the world has watched closely to see how America faces its racial issues. We may wish we lived in a post-white/post-black world, but recent events affirm that we do not.

While we may never know all the details of what went down in Ferguson, we do know that black Christians and white Christians interpret these types of situations very differently. According to a recent CNN poll, “Fifty-four percent of nonwhites––including blacks, Latinos and Asians––say Wilson should be charged with murder, while just 23 percent of whites agree.”

So inside the church and outside the church, it appears that black people (and other minorities) and white people see events like the tragedy in Ferguson from totally different perspectives.

As a pastor of an intentionally multiethnic, multiclass church, I believe Jesus’ church can bring healing to the deep wounds in our country by being a testimony of how the cross and blood of Jesus can bring about reconciliation and justice.

What if black and white Christians, as well as other minorities, were members of multiethnic churches instead of segregated ones? Nearly 90 percent of churches in America are homogenous, meaning one ethnic group makes up more than 80 percent of the church. Sometimes geographic demographics cause this, but often it is a choice we make to remain segregated as Christians. 

If we worshiped side-by-side in the body of Christ, could we address racism, oppression, and injustice together? We could move towards being one (John 17:21, 23).

If we worshiped side-by-side in the body of Christ, could we address racism, oppression, and injustice together?

In the first century, the churches the apostle Paul planted had their own version of ethnic strife. In Christ, former enemies became co-worshipers in the same multiethnic local churches.

What if black and white Christians shared life with each other in a local church community and heard each other’s stories and walked in each other’s shoes?
“For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death” (Eph. 2:14–16, NLT).

This reconciliation is not just for first-century Jews and Gentiles. It is for all humanity. The reason the church is segregated is that we don’t believe deeply enough in the power of the cross. It seems to me that Christians seem to not really believe that the cross of Christ has anything to do with racism and injustice.
But the gospel-reality is that “Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death” (Eph. 2:16, NLT)

Put. To. Death.

Be an Ambassador

Do you wake in the morning with a sense of urgency every day? I hope you do. As the firestorm in Ferguson reveals, the stakes are high. Listen to Romans 5:10–11, ESV,

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Outside of association and allegiance to Jesus, humanity is an enemy of God. This is why ambassadors of Jesus wake knowing deeply that our time, talents, and treasure are to be leveraged so that God’s enemies can be reconciled to him through Jesus. Reconciliation means that through Jesus, enemies of God become friends of God. It also means that in Christ we are unified into one body, a new man (Eph. 2:15).

When you signed up to follow Jesus, he gave you the ministry of reconciliation. Your life is a bridge over which people walk from death to life.

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:18–21, ESV).

God has entrusted you and me, his church, with the message of reconciliation. Are you giving that message away? God pleads with people to become his friends through our lives.

Are we only sharing that message with people who look like us or have the same socioeconomic status we do?

Are we only sharing that message with people who look like us or have the same socioeconomic status we do?

There is a hurting world that needs to know Jesus became what God hates most––sin––so that they could become what he loves most––his children. When we sit in segregated churches we loudly proclaim that we love some of his children more than we love others.

For all eternity, followers of Jesus will enjoy Jesus and each other. But we will not share the message of reconciliation. There will be no need to. But there is a need today! That’s why Jesus left us here as his ambassadors to announce that the kingdom of God has come and that salvation belongs to our God.
So are we just going to scream “Racism” and “Injustice” from behind our segregated church walls, or are we going to start building multiethnic communities that embody what God’s desire is for the world to be
I’m thankful for the courageous local churches in Ferguson who are calling for peace and reconciliation.

Church, this is a pivotal time in history. Will we rise to the occasion?

Marinate on that.

This article is courtesy of my friend: Pastor Derwin Gray

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Secret of Spiritual Consistency

The Secret of Spiritual Consistency

God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…
                           —Galatians 6:14

When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in his life. The apostle Paul had a strong and steady underlying consistency in his life. Consequently, he could let his external life change without internal distress because he was rooted and grounded in God. 

Most of us are not consistent spiritually because we are more concerned about being consistent externally. In the external expression of things, Paul lived in the basement, while his critics lived on the upper level. And these two levels do not begin to touch each other. But Paul’s consistency was down deep in the fundamentals. The great basis of his consistency was the agony of God in the redemption of the world, namely, the Cross of Christ.

State your beliefs to yourself again. Get back to the foundation of the Cross of Christ, doing away with any belief not based on it. In secular history the Cross is an infinitesimally small thing, but from the biblical perspective it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. 

If we get away from dwelling on the tragedy of God on the Cross in our preaching, our preaching produces nothing. It will not transmit the energy of God to man; it may be interesting, but it will have no power. 

However, when we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released. “…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe…we preach Christ crucified…”                 (1 Corinthians 1:21, 23).

Written by Oswald Chambers ... My Utmost for His Highest.. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Most Amazing 'Ask Amy' Response You'll Ever Read

Dear Amy:

Every Fall, my sister, cousins and a cousin's sister-in-law have a weekend shopping excursion in our home city. We stay in a hotel, treat ourselves, shop for your children and go out for lunches and dinners. It is a great time to reconnect.

I have a sister "Wendy," whom we do not invite. She is offended to the point of tears when she finds we have not invited her. My two sisters and I are very close in age, but Wendy hasn't been as close to this set of cousins as my sister and I have been through the years.

We are all married stay-at-home moms. Wendy is a divorced, working mom with one young child.

There are several reasons we do not include her. We know she doesn't have very much money for such an outing. She also does not have many of the same interests as we do. We're all very active churchgoers, while she only sporadically attends services. Plain and simple, she does not really fit in with us anymore.

She takes it very personally, and last year even came over to my home unannounced crying about it, which upset my children and caused my husband to threaten to call the police if she did not leave.

Now she barely speaks to me and has told our relatives that I am a horrible person (even though I've helped her).

How can we get her to understand that she should perhaps find another set of friends whose lives and interests align more closely with hers?
                                                                                           -SAD SISTER

Dear Sad: 

First, let's establish that I agree with your sister: You are a horrible person.
Obviously, you can do whatever you want and associate with—or exclude—whomever you want, but you don't get to do this and also blame the person you are excluding for not "fitting in."

The only way your sister would ever fit in would be fore you to make room for her. You are unwilling to do that, and that is your choice. 

But her being upset is completely justified, and you'll just have to live with that. Perhaps this is something you could ponder from your church pew, because despite your regular attendance, you don't seem to have learned much.

Amy Dickinson is a world famous advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune, a best-selling author, and a contributor to NPR.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My message from today at NRN - 4 Ways to Give Thanks at Thanksgiving

Here is the manuscript from my message today at NRN - an interactive message of thanksgiving:

On Thursday of this week we are going to celebrate a National Holiday called Thanksgiving.  The irony of that is - that very little thanks are given on that day.  In fact, that day is usually very busy with all the preparation - cooking - watching football - resting after the big meal - entertaining - and reading the sales flyers for the next day!  Many other activities - yet very little thanks is given - except for the words of thanks when you sit down for the big meal.  Today, I want to show you how to make Thanksgiving more meaningful.  The Bible says that there are 4 ways to express thanks to God:  We are going to talk about them today - we are going to do them today - and I hope you will do these 4 things on Thursday of this week.  



        Sing out your thanks to him; sing praises to our God ...”                                                                                      Psalm 147:7 (LB)

“Shout with joy to the Lord.  Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his ...  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and bless his name ...  For the Lord is good.   His unfailing love continues forever...                                  Psalm 100

Nothing makes you more aware of God’s presence than singing to Him!  When you sing praise to God you sense His presence.  I know what some of you are thinking - I can’t sing-   The good news is : you don’t have too - the Bible says “Make a joyful noise”  You can do that - even pigs can do that.

Do you realize that Christianity is a “singing” faith?  There are more songs about Jesus Christ than any other subject - even love.  You need to learn to sing your praise and thanks to God.  You need the emotional expression of singing to God.  You need not only impressions from the worship service - but you also need “expressions” of your faith in God.  This is a core value of our church that we express our faith about God in the form of “celebrative worship”. 

Friend - when I don’t feel like singing - is the time I need to sing - Through singing to God your heart is warmed and encouraged.  If you are feeling a little down or hassled this morning - I encourage you to sing with gusto.  Let’s stand together and sing our praise to the Lord:

        “Give thanks to the Lord and pray to him.”   Psalm 105:1

        “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”                                                Phil. 4:6-7

This verse tells us to pray with thanksgiving.  Thank God for all He has done!  You parents would not like it if your children constantly made request of you (give me/ give me/ give me)   and never said thank you.  God is the same way - He wants us to ask (over 20 times in the NT the scriptures say ASK) BUT we are also to give thanks in our prayers!  Ask with thanksgiving.    Make a list of what you are thankful for and express it to God.  What are you thankful for today?  When we offer our prayers to thanks to the Lord - the Bible tells us that God inhabits the praise of His people. 

I realize that life runs of 2 tracks.  There are good things and bad things going on in your life at the same time.  Today, I want to pray for those of you who are going through a tough time  -  difficulties  -   (out of work - separated from a love one - grieving the loss of a loved one - need a miracle in your life -  financial difficulties  -  health crisis - hurts.

Tell Jesus your problem - your greatest need (hurt, worry, fear, broken heart , ...)

Now, with gratitude - thank Him for His care and his help

With your request - give your thanks.   
         If you have a hurt - burden - stand   (PRAYER *)

 This is the prayer I prepared:
* Prayer: “Father, as a church family we pray for these who are standing, who have special needs in their lives.  We do not fully know what the need or the burden is - but You do.  And you knew their need even before they made the request.  We thank you that you are so keenly aware of our needs.  I pray that these individuals will sense the love and care of their church family around them.  You know our hurts; you know our struggles and our sins.  You know our heartaches, our grief and our physical pain.  May those who are hurting this morning experience relief.  For those who are in conflict with loved ones, may they sense reconciliation.  For those who are lonely, may they know your love for them and sense your presence with them.  For those who can’t break a habit - may they experience release.  For those who are depressed - may they experience your peace.  For those who need direction and don’t know what to do please guide their life and show them the way.  For anyone who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior, may they experience your love and find salvation and peace in their life.  We make these requests with a thankful heart and in great gratitude.  We thank you in advance for the answers that are already on the way - even as we are praying.  We ask this in Jesus name – AMEN


        “Give an offering to show thanks to God.
         Give him what you promised.”     Psalm 50:14

        “ . . . your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”                                                                                                2 Cor. 9:11

Thanks and Giving go together.

“Celebrate the Harvest Festival, to honor the Lord your God by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing He has given you.  Be joyful in the Lord’s presence...”                                                   Deut. 16:10-11

About 350 years ago a group of individuals known as the Pilgrims decided to set aside a day - in the fall - and enjoy a time of food and fellowship and give thanks to the Lord.   We remember that as Thanksgiving - and on Thursday we celebrate that as a national holiday. BUT - about 3,000 years before that - God told His people - the true believers of God - to set aside a day in the fall - Called the Feast of Weeks - or - the Harvest Festival and they would bring an offering unto the Lord -   express their thanks to God - and enjoy a banquet or a meal together. 

Today - we are doing what God called his believers to do: we are joining together this morning in singing our thanks and praise to the Lord - going to Him in faith and prayer - and bringing an offering to Him.  Last week, I shared we need to bring the tithe up to date.  Today is a day to bring a thank offering to the Lord.

When they gave, they did not give out of a reluctant heart.  They did not give under pressure or begging - They gave from hearts of gratitude.  When you give with a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude it is worship pleasing to the Lord.

“Now, our God, we thank you ... These things did not really come from me and my people.  Everything comes from you; we have only given you back what you gave us ... Lord, we have gathered all this to build your Temple.  But everything has come from you and everything belongs to you.  You test people’s hearts and you are happy when people do what is right.  I am happy to give all these things, and I gave with an honest heart.  And your people gathered here are happy to give to you too, and we rejoice to see their giving.”                           1 Chronicles 29:13-16 (NCV)

        The giving of our Offerings to the Lord...   


“Thank the Lord!  Praise his name!  Tell the world about his wondrous love and how mighty he is!”                                                            Isa. 12:4

“Be very careful to never forget what you've seen God doing for you.  May his miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives!  Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles he did.”                                                        Deut. 4:9 (LB)

Let us now tell others of the faithfulness of our great God... Testimony time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Preparing for worship at NRN on November 23 2014

Tomorrow at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene is going to be an awesome day of worship.  The sermon tomorrow will be an interactive message.  I encourage you to be right on time at 10:45am to view the introduction clip of my message and I begin preaching before the worship team leads us in a song.  this is to help us understand the reason why we sing and express our worship to God on Sunday mornings.  

I look forward to seeing you.

Here is the order of worship we have planned:

A countdown clip focusing on thanksgiving....followed by a warm welcome and a roll in clip for my message - and the preaching begins.  At the close of the first point of a four point message we stand and sing to the Lord:

Now we hear the Word of the Lord as I present the second point of my message following by a time of prayer:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”                     Phil. 4:6-7

The third point of my message:

As we present our offering to the Lord we do so as instructed in the Word:

        “Give an offering to show thanks to God.
         Give him what you promised.”     Psalm 50:14

The worship team will lead us in a song of thanksgiving:

As the last point of my message provides a time to share your testimonies of the faithfulness and compassion of the Lord.

“Be very careful to never forget  what you've seen God doing for you.  May his miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives!  Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles he did.”         Deut. 4:9 (LB)

Let's share together the stories of His Faithfulness! 

Be sure and sign up to help with DECK THE HALLS ! This Sunday beginning at 3:30!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Funnies - Where is God?

A little something to make you smile.... enjoy: 

A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved.

The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons' behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman.

The husband said, 'We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!' The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8 year old went to meet with him first. 
The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly,' Where is God?'

The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, 'Where is God?' Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face, 'WHERE IS GOD?'

At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and asked what had happened. 

The younger brother replied, 'We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it.' 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preparing our hearts to give thanks

One week from today is Thanksgiving Day. As we prepare for a day of thanks with family and friends you will be given a time to share a testimony of God's faithfulness during the past 12 months!  It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord!  

Here is a short primer to prepare our hearts to be thankful....

If someone who was starving approached you on the street and asked you to share your food, would you oblige?
In a new social experiment conducted by OCK TV, two men — ET and Dennis — set out to see if strangers in NYC will do just that. And guess what? They fail at all three attempts. 
Not one person will budge. 

Moments later, ET and another person on the team purchase an entire pizza pie and give it to a homeless man, who — by the way — looks happier than any of the other individuals you meet before him.
Shortly after that, Dennis disguises himself as a homeless person and sits next to the man with the pizza. He tells him he’s hungry and asks if he has an extra slice. Without hesitation, the homeless man happily shares his meal.
And what happens next brought tears to my eyes.

Watch the video below. 
It may change the way you think — and the way you treat other people. At the end of the day, we’re all people — homeless or not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Unrivaled Power of Prayer

Wisdom from Oswald Chambers

To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful than he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.”                                                          From: The Shadow of an Agony

The Unrivaled Power of Prayer

We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
                                                                     —Romans 8:26

We realize that we are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer; and we know what it is to pray in accordance with the Spirit; but we don’t often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself prays prayers in us which we cannot utter ourselves. When we are born again of God and are indwelt by the Spirit of God, He expresses for us the unutterable.

“He,” the Holy Spirit in you, “makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). And God searches your heart, not to know what your conscious prayers are, but to find out what the prayer of the Holy Spirit is.
The Spirit of God uses the nature of the believer as a temple in which to offer His prayers of intercession. “…your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Jesus Christ cleansed the temple, “…He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple” (Mark 11:16). 

The Spirit of God will not allow you to use your body for your own convenience. Jesus ruthlessly cast out everyone who bought and sold in the temple, and said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer…. But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’ ” (Mark 11:17).

Have we come to realize that our “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”?

 If so, we must be careful to keep it undefiled for Him. We have to remember that our conscious life, even though only a small part of our total person, is to be regarded by us as a “temple of the Holy Spirit.”

 He will be responsible for the unconscious part which we don’t know, but we must pay careful attention to and guard the conscious part for which we are responsible.