Saturday, February 28, 2015

Preparing for Worship on March 1 2015

On this cold Saturday - the snow has fallen and now the sun has returned to melt away the slush and melting snow to clear the roads to make our way to church tomorrow.  I am very excited about what God is going to do in our midst. My only concern is that once again we will gather and forget to invite or bring others with us. A disease of today's church is that we settle with our efforts to just make it to church.  We should be intentionally inviting others to join us.

As we gather in the House of the Lord tomorrow we will focus our worship upon Jesus - King of Kings and Lord or Lords - our Savior - Mighty Warrior - Almighty Creator God of the Universe.

Here is our planned order of worship - we make our plans - but God has the last word!


The countdown will come to a close and Pastor Jordan will give words of welcome as we stand to sing our Hallelujahs to the Lord!




 







Today’s Message: Pt. 2    

The Deepest Place of Worship
                          
 



In Psalm 130, King David cries out his need for mercy, mercy for his sins, sins for which he alone is responsible. David knows, within himself, escape from the pit, a pit of his own making, is hopeless. In verses 4, 7, and 8; David’s hope is in GOD alone. In HIM there is assurance that we are forgiven, lifted out of our own pit. To the sinner who acknowledges, owns, and confesses; GOD transforms that person to love others, empowering the person with HIS Holiness to live the teachings of Jesus Christ.




















Friday, February 27, 2015

Sow Generously to Reap Generosity


Sow Generously to Reap Generosity

By Rick Warren

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV)
 
 
 
 
 
 

If a farmer goes out with a trailer load of beans, and he plants them in a barren field, what fruit does he expect to bear? Watermelon? Cucumbers? No. He’s going to get beans. He doesn’t doubt it. He doesn’t question it. Because whatever you plant is what you’re going to get back.

This is the law of reproduction, and it applies to every single area of your life — especially in your finances.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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” (NIV).

This can work either positively or negatively in your life. If you’re planting seeds of kindness, you know what? People are going to be kind to you. If you forgive others, they are going to be forgiving of you. If you’re generous, people are going to be generous with you.

But if you are angry all the time, people are going to respond in anger. If you cheat other people, people are going to cheat you. If you gossip about other people, guess what? People are going to gossip about you.

The law of reproduction says you reap what you sow, but the principle of multiplication says you will also always reap more than you sow.

When you put one kernel of corn in the ground, you don’t get one kernel of corn back. You get a cornstalk with multiple ears on it and hundreds of kernels on each of those ears. This is the exponential power that God has established the universe to handle. You always get more out of it than you put into it.

It’s why I never, ever attack my attackers. Why? I don’t want to get caught in the chain. No matter what anybody says to me, I don’t want to say anything bad back to them because if I do, I’m going to reap more than I sowed. What  I choose to do is the exact opposite. I want to bless them. I want to pray for them. Why? Because that’s what I want to receive, and I always reap more than I sow.

Proverbs 11:24 says, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller” (MSG).

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another song dedicated to my friends in Kansas - the Farm Bros



A parody music video of the song, "All I Do is Win," by DJ Khaled done by the Peterson Farm Bros (Greg, Nathan, and Kendal)!




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5 Bible Verses to Pray When You Go to Bed Worried

Each night I look forward to a very sound sleep.  Usually I am blessed to close my eyes and be asleep within moments.  Then eight hours later, my eyes open and I am ready to face the day.  However, there have been many times in over the years I have woke up during the night to hear my wife Sharron praying, crying and quoting  Psalm 53:3   When I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Here is an article I read recently and felt it would bring encouragement to you:



Instead of counting sheep, turn to God’s Word for comfort and peace at night

 
 
 
 
It’s 2:00 AM. You went to bed hours ago, but all you’ve been able to do is toss and turn, winding the sheets into a twisted mess. You’ve gotten up to get a drink of water, read a book, counted backwards from 100. But the real reason you can’t sleep is that you’re worried.

Maybe you’re scared that you’re going to lose your job. Perhaps you’re facing financial problems, and you can’t stop recalculating numbers to find a way to make your paycheck stretch just a little bit farther. It could be that you are having trouble with relationships—your marriage might be strained or a loved one is sick.

Whatever your stress may be, the Bible contains promises that bring comfort and peace. The next time that you can’t fall asleep because of worry, meditate on these verses to remind you of that God is with you in the midst of your difficult circumstances.

1.     God will give you strength.
"I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me." — Philippians 4:13

2.     God is a safe place of refuge.
"God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; even if the seas roar and rage, and the hills are shaken by the violence." — Psalm 46:1-3 (GNTD)

3.     God can be trusted with your worries.
"Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus." — Philippians 4:6, 7

4.     Nothing can separate you from God’s love.
"For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord." — Romans 8:38, 39 (GNTD)

5.     God is with you.
"Do not be afraid — I am with you! I am your God — let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you." — Isaiah 41:10 (GNTD)

 A sure way to be prepared for a good night's sleep this evening is to join us at 6:30 this evening for our weekly Prayer Encounter at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.  Being in the presence of the Lord during a time of prayer gives comfort throughout the night. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Love beyond saying "I love you."


Saying "I love you" is easy. Its three little words. What's hard is going beyond that, going deeper than that. Expressing how you really feel.




That's why Hallmark asked real-life couples to answer simple questions about their partner without using the word "love" and captured their comments on video. We found that by removing that one little word, couples revealed how they truly felt and were better prepared to put their heart to paper.

Watch what happens when you go beyond “I love you.”

Bob and Kim have been together for 56 years and still love each other more with every passing day.

In this video, the couple was asked to describe their feelings for each other without using the word “love.”

“We found that by removing that one little word, couples revealed how they truly felt and were better prepared to put their heart to paper,”

Bob really sums it all up perfectly:

“When all is said and done; when all the music is gone and the noise is gone and the conversations are gone, there’s still that bond between us.”

Bob and Kim are a beautiful example of two that have become one in every way possible way.
 
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

What Is a Clever Way to Engage a Spiritual Conversation on Monday With a Stranger?


All Christians should be looking for ways to engage in spiritual conversation with others with hopes to talk about the gospel. Yet, many struggle to see when those doors are open or how to try to open them. 
 
 
 
Here is one easy way to engage others in a possible spiritual conversation that I was taught many years ago and has proven quite effective when asked at the right time. The only caveat is it has to get asked on Monday. The question is …

“What was the sermon about yesterday?”

You would be amazed at some of the responses I have gotten over the years. Responses have varied from a joyful response of a good, fruitful sermon heard by a grocery clerk to a tearful confession of skipping church from a bank teller. There is the common reaction of the awkward silence of shock from someone blindsided by the question. Of course, if you try to engage this way, you will eventually be asked the same question back and you’d better be ready to respond. Pastors, you have no excuse not to remember the sermon you just preached the day before.

So then, if you read this post in time, try it today. You may experience a very encouraging conversation with a fellow believer in Christ. You may remind a straying church member of their disobedience of forsaking the assembly (Heb. 10:25). Who knows, God by His grace may just open a chance to share the gospel with someone as you recount the faithful word preached to you or by you the previous Lord’s Day.  
 
 
Brian Croft is senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Brian blogs regularly at Practical Shepherding. More from Brian Croft or visit Brian at http://practicalshepherding.com/
 
 
 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Part 1 of Awakening - Invitation to Sing -- My message today at NRN




 
 
Pt. 1 An Invitation to SING
 
Intro: It seems that very few Christians know much about true worship. Charles Stanley once said that he believed that most Christians in most churches have never worshiped God. We go to church, but we don’t worship. We sing songs, but we don’t worship. We listen to sermons, but we don’t worship. All of these things are elements of worship but they are not worship in and of themselves which means that you can do all of them and yet have failed to truly worship God. We Christians often mistake the means of worship for worship itself.

A man told a story about the time his son’s sixth birthday was approaching. He had mentioned he wouldn’t mind a party, and as his son usually was very specific about the kind of presents he liked so the dad asked him what he could get him. Bill expected a well-planned reply, such as “I’d like a baseball glove; you can find it at Toys-R-Us, aisle 6, below the batting helmets, or a Parcheesi board; the games are in alphabetical order in aisle 1; it’s between the Pac Man and Pay Day.” But his son’s request was a bit different. He said, “Dad, I’d like a ball to play with for my birthday.” Bill said, “Great, what kind of ball?” “Oh, I don’t know, either a football or a soccer ball.” “Well, which would you want more?” He said, “Well, and thought about it. Then he said, “If you have some time to play ball with me this year, I’d really like a football so we could throw it back and forth in the back yard.  But if you’re gonna be real busy this year, maybe you just better get me a soccer ball, because I can play soccer with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.” The dad thought about this and said, “Let me surprise you. How does that sound?” And the little boy smiled and said, “Oh that would be great Dad. I really love you.” Then Bill went in and shared this little encounter with his wife and together they agreed, their son was not so much interested in the gift. He was interested in the giver.


 True worship is not interested in the created but the Creator 

I understand that there is power in ritual. This is comfort – an anchor we can count on – But I am concerned that we have lost our sense of the AWE of the God we worship. We live days, maybe even weeks, without wonder and amazement. We walk through the situations and locations of our daily lives without an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We don't notice the glory display that is all around us that points us to the one glory that is truly glorious; the glory of God. We follow a simple routine and find ourselves in church today.  Some ask questions like -- Did I like the sermon /service/ music? I submit these are the wrong kind of questions. The right question is: Did God like it?   The goal of this series if to regain the AWE of the god we worship.  Each week will have a foundational passage to draw us into authentic worship.   Today we turn to Psalm 147.
 Praise the Lord!

How good it is to sing praises to our God!

    How pleasant and right it is to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem.

    He gathers the scattered people of Israel.


He heals those who have broken hearts.


    He takes care of their wounds.

He decides how many stars there should be.
    He gives each one of them a name.
Great is our Lord. His power is mighty.
    There is no limit to his understanding
.
Sing to the Lord and give him grateful praise.
    Make music to our God on the harp.

11 The Lord takes delight in those who have respect for him. They put their hope in his faithful love.  
 
20 Praise the Lord!                                   Psalm 147

 

Praise the Lord!   The word: Hallelujah

a.   “halle -  BOAST     VALUE


b.  “lujah” - (YAH) YAHWEH   JEHOVAH  LORD”strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am”.

This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance, forgiveness and guidance.

c.  We are to BOAST   in THE  LORD !


The Lord says,

“Do not let wise people brag about how wise they are.
 Do not let strong people boast about how strong they are.

Do not let rich people brag about how rich they are.                                                         Jeremiah 9:23

 When we sing – we Hallelujah!  God didn't call us to lead music or to perform worship services for the people's enjoyment. God called us to engage people in the experience of expressing their worship and praise to God.   Why don’t we sing more hymns”?  A hymn is a song that expresses praise to God.  I think what people are asking me is really – Why can’t we sing familiar songs – songs I remember from my early Christian walk – songs that we used to sing in MY church. Most denominational hymnal contains about 600 songs with most churches selecting their favorite 100-150 songs.  A core value in worship at NRN is to sing to the Lord songs that are celebrative and relevant. I encourage you to sing along with our songs that they may become familiar to you.

Check my blog each Saturday to prepare for our time together and listen to each song in advance.  We will never be able to sing ALL YOUR list of familiar songs, so we attempt to sing songs that are celebrative and relevant. Even in The Revelation of John – when we gather around the throne of God we will sing a “New Song”.

 The Lamb was surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes. The eyes stand for the seven spirits of God, which are sent out into all the earth. The Lamb went and took the scroll. He took it from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. Then the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one had a harp. They were holding golden bowls full of incense. They stand for the prayers of God’s people. Here is the new song they sang.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and break open its seals.
You are worthy because you were put to death.
    With your blood you bought people for God.
    They come from every tribe, people and nation,
    no matter what language they speak.
10 You have made them members of a royal family.
    You have made them priests to serve our God.
    They will rule on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of millions and millions of angels. They surrounded the throne. They surrounded the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying,

“The Lamb, who was put to death, is worthy!
    He is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength!
    He is worthy to receive honor and glory and praise!”

13 All creatures in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and on the sea were speaking. The whole creation was speaking. I heard all of them say,

“Praise and honor belong
    to the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!
Glory and power belong to God for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.                                          Revelation 5: 6-14

 The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

 What are we to Hallelujah? 

Ø  The BEAUTY  of God

I’m asking the Lord for only one thing.
    Here is what I want.
I want to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life.
I want to look at the beauty of the Lord.
    I want to worship him in his temple.
When I’m in trouble,
    he will keep me safe in his house.
He will hide me in the safety of his holy tent.
    He will put me on a rock that is very high.
Then I will win the battle
    over my enemies who are all around me.
At his holy tent I will offer my sacrifice with shouts of joy.
    I will sing and make music to the Lord. Psalm 27:4-6


 

Ø The STRENGTH  of God

The Lord gives strength to those who aren’t proud.
    But he throws evil people down to the ground.

He doesn’t take pleasure in the strength of horses.
    He doesn’t take delight in the strong legs of warriors.
 The Lord takes delight in those who have respect for him.
    They put their hope in his faithful love.      

                                                             Psalm 147:6, 10-11

 

Ø The FAITHFULNESS  of God

 The Lord takes delight in those who have respect for him.
    They put their hope in his faithful love.    
Psalm 147:11
 
        God has said, “I will never leave you.
            I will never desert you.” Hebrews13:5 (Deuteronomy 31:6)



Let us stand and proclaim our Halluejah in song to the Lord!   Let us worship the Lord in the Spirit of Holiness :
 
 



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Preparing for worship at NRN on February 22 2014


Tomorrow at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene is going to be a great day of worship in the presence of the Almighty God!  I am so excited about the new teaching series God is laying upon my heart. 
 
I must admit it is with a little fear and trembling that I completed my manuscript for the message.  I pray our church is ready for the message I am responsible to preach tomorrow.   Come ready to meet with God and wear those "steel toed boots" because I think this message may step on a few feet. I hit me hard as I prepared.
 
Here is the order of worship we have revised and planned for tomorrow.  It is a little different than the norm:
 
 We make our plans - but God has the last word.
 
 As soon as the countdown ends - we will break out into song before the Lord!  Be ready to sing.....
 
 
 


 


Now, we pause to be reminded of opportunities to serve and Lord, come together in fellowship and grow in our relationship with Jesus.  These are the announcements for the Body of Christ at NRN!  Then we sing again about the amazing love of our God!




A New teaching series:

  Today’s Message: 
An Invitation to Sing

Today we launch a new teaching series on the importance of worship! 



 We are invited to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving and celebrate the goodness of God. Hallelujah, in Hebrew, means to greatly boast in the LORD, to joyfully praise the LORD.

An experience of value and significance, that all humans crave, accompanies the act of praising GOD. “Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”                                             Psalm 147:1


At the close of today's message - we will place the message into application by standing to sing unto the Lord!








We now pause to bring our request to our faithful and loving God in prayer.



We conclude our time of worship today by giving honor to God with our giving. 



May God receive the glory due His name! Let us worship Him with our whole heart.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I hope to see you at this evening's Annual Winter Gala beginning at 5:30!   It is going to be fun!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Another version of "From the Land of Kansas"

I just can't keep my self from posting another song from Kanas  - in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Agriculture:





This is a parody video to the song "Y.M.C.A." by Village People. It was done in association with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to promote the new "From the Land of Kansas" trademark program.

"From the Land of Kansas" is our state's agricultural trademark program, facilitated by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, that helps to brand, support and celebrate Kansas agricultural products and services from the farm all the way to the fork.

To find out more, please visit: http://www.fromthelandofkansas.com

Lyrics:
In Kansas, we've got that sunflower pride
In Kansas, we want to help you provide
In Kansas, we're all on the same side
That's why here we are so happy.

Kansans, we've got a membership deal
I said, Kansans, we'll show you that it's for real
And then you will see the awesome appeal
That it gives to Kansas people.

It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas
It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas

It has everything, that a person could need,
Fuel and crops, food and machinery.

It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas
It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas

We need to work as a team, that is the Kansas dream,
Join this movement and you'll see what I mean!

Kansans, are you listening to me?
I said, Kansans, check out this opportunity!
Our program wants to help your company
with marketing and development.

Producers, we'll connect you with stores,
hotels, restaurants, food services and more,
Consumers, we'll help you open the door
To all sorts of Kansas products!

That are made From the Land of Kansas!
It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas

We have everything, that a person could need,
Fuel and crops, food and machinery.

Land of Kansas
It's fun to be From the Land of Kansas

We need to work as a team, that is the Kansas dream,
Join this movement and you'll see what I mean!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The 90/20 Rule of Working and Why You Should Try It…



The 90/20 Rule of Working and Why You Should Try It…

Have you ever noticed how some hours you’re absolutely cranking out work, whereas during other parts of the day you have to summon all your will just to focus for five measly minutes?
 
 
Bestselling author Tony Schwartz suggests making use of our ultradian rhythms, natural cycles in our days. He works in 90-minute intervals, and then takes 20-minute breaks. Schwartz explains why in a Harvard Business

I typically get more work done during those 90 minutes, and feel more satisfied with my output, than I do for any comparable period of time the rest of the day. It can be tough on some days to fully focus for 90 minutes, but I always have a clear stopping time, which makes it easier.

I launched this practice because I long ago discovered that my energy, my will, and my capacity for intense focus diminish as the day wears on. Anything really challenging that I put off tends not to get done, and it’s the most difficult work that tends to generate the greatest enduring value.

Schwartz’s advice boils down to a simple principle: go with the natural rhythm of your body by doing focused work in spurts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Join us this evening at 6:30 for worship and prayer



Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the         40-day period (excluding Sundays) that ends with Easter Sunday.



Across the land, Christians from various denominations will commemorate the day by fasting, praying or participating in ceremonies in which ashes are crossed on their foreheads. Many will abstain from a particular food, beverage or activity until Easter, in recognition of Jesus' great sacrifice.

These rituals symbolize our connection to God and our acknowledgment that despite being created in His image, we are mere mortals who sin and mess up more often than we get it right.

What I enjoy most about this season is the opportunity it gives us to publicly embrace our shortcomings, or at least recognize the fact that we often don't measure up, faith wise.

In our "survival of the fittest," "may the best man (or woman) win" society, it's not easy to admit that you're not perfect.

Most of us know that perfection is impossible in human form, but let the tabloids, news magazine shows and celebrity profiles tell it, perfection can be bought in a bottle or Botox needle, discovered in a therapist's chair or molded on a personal trainer's gym floor mat.  It can be acquired at an elite university or in some of the boardrooms of the most powerful companies across the globe.

The truth is, if we were perfect we might not feel a need for God.  And surely we wouldn't give a second thought to Lent. Then, where would we find ourselves?

Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.                                James 4: 8-10 (New Living Translation)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Get ready to laugh - courtesy of 3 guys from Kansas

These three brothers from Kansas are proud to be farmers—and they made a hilarious video to show you just how proud, in the form of a spectacularly made parody of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

They deserve some serious kudos for the hysterical lyrics (“‘Cause I am a farmer, and they wanna see me cho-oh-oh-oh-ore!”), and their vocal talent will floor you. I have so much respect for these country fellas, and they’re giving Katy Perry a run for her money.                 (The song starts at 0:37).


Monday, February 16, 2015

A featured dessert at our Birthday Fellowship - You will love it!


This cake was featured last evening at our first Birthday Fellowship of 2015.  A great time was had by all who attended. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 (3.4 oz) packages Vanilla Instant Pudding mix, dry
  • 3½ cups whole milk
  • 12 oz. cool whip
  • 2 (14.4) oz packages graham crackers
  • - FROSTING -
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


Instructions

1.      Blend milk and vanilla pudding packets for about 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.

2.      In a 9x13 pan, Layer graham crackers to cover entire bottom of pan. You may need to cut and shape the crackers to fit nicely.

3.      Pour half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level.

4.      Put another layer of graham crackers to cover entire surface. Cut and shape crackers accordingly.

5.      Put the second half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level.

6.      Put the final layer of graham crackers on top with bumpy side down. This will help the top look smoother when you go to put the frosting on top. Once again, cut and shape crackers accordingly to avoid pits and cracks.

7.      FOR THE FROSTING: Microwave butter and milk just enough so that they are melted together. You do not need to boil it. Add cocoa and powdered sugar and blend together. This will be a runnier frosting/glaze. Pour over top of graham crackers and smooth out nicely.                                           (I usually double the frosting recipe)

8.      Refrigerate overnight and Dig in!