Thursday, April 30, 2015

Don't judge a book by it's cover

We've all been in line at the grocery and felt frustrated because the line is moving so slow. And, that's exactly how this guy felt standing in line at Food Lion. But what he didn't know...well, it will surprise you. Read how this man, through his own mistake, became a small town hero.

At a Food Lion grocery store, a man standing behind me in the long line snorted "Some people!" (insinuating the young girl ahead of us in line was slowing the process down)

"You would think the manager of this store would pay attention and open another line," said a woman in a irritated manner.

I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a very clean and nice looking, young woman trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.
The annoyed man standing behind me said "It’s one of them welfare card things. Dang people need to get a job like everyone else."

 The young woman turned around to see who had made the ugly comment. And the rude man said, "It was me," he said, pointing to himself.

The young lady’s face began to change expression. From very red to almost in tears, she then dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the Food Lion.
Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. She then got in and drove away.


A few moments, later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if he had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away.

"Why would she do that?" he asked. Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the ugly remark and pointed at him.

 "I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using. Something I shouldn’t have said. I’m truly sorry," said the man.

 "Well, that’s bad, real bad, in fact. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She’s twenty years-old, single, and now has three children to support," he said in a very firm voice.
"I’m really truly sorry. I didn’t know," he replied, shaking both his hands about.

 The young man asked, "Are these paid for?" pointing to the young girl's shopping cart full of groceries. "No sir, It wouldn’t take her card," the clerk told him.

 "Do you know where she lives?" asked the man who had made the rude comment.

"Yes, she goes to our church."

 "Excuse me," he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, "Please use my card!" The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman’s groceries.

 "Hold on," said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included. "Come on people. We've got three children to help feed!" he told everyone in line.

 Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt. A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts. "Go back and get three big turkeys," yelled a heavyset woman, as she looked at the man.
"NO!" yelled the man. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds. "Five turkeys," yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work.

 When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,756.67 for all the groceries people had piled onto the counter. He then walked over to the side, pulled out his check book, and began writing a check using the bags of dog food piled near the front of the store for a writing surface. He turned around and handed the check to the young man. "She will need a freezer for all this food and a few other things as well," he told the man.
The young man looked at the check and said, "This is really very generous of you."

 "No," said the man. "Her brother was the generous one."

 Everyone drove home that day feeling very American.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Prayer Encounter at 6:30pm this evening - Someone is praying for you.

My friends - a loyal group of prayer warriors will be gathering this evening at 6:30 to cry out to God!  Give your request to the Lord - He hears the prayers of His people.  As we pray - the answers are already on the way.

Here is a primer for the prayer time this evening.  If you are in the Raleigh NC area - join us at 6:30 at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene - 9200 Strickland Rd  Raleigh NC 27615 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Always Assume the Best

Have you noticed how humans tend to process difficult conversations and negative interactions, giving                       a play-by-play post-encounter analysis?

Occasionally we process it up. Most of the time, we process it down. 

We walk away and start stewing:
"What did she MEAN by that?"
"I wonder what he was thinking!"
"Did you notice his body language?"
"It's what she DIDN'T say that bothers me!"

Cooking conversations after the fact is like overcooked spaghetti -- a tangled gob of mush with a stench.

The problem with processing conversations downhill is our inclination to make false assumptions.  An incomplete perspective, fueled by emotion and imagination blows everything out of proportion like a reflections in the carnival funny mirror.

Here's a good rule of thumb: always assume the best.

Whenever we suspect and impute motives onto people, we end up going down a dark trail of negativity, breeding mistrust. Most of the time, we assume things are worse than they really are. We "fill in the blanks" with monsters of our own imaginings.

If you're going to read between the lines, how about doing this? Read good into it! Read the silent blessings! Assume the very best! Process it up!

If they meant you well, they will be encouraged.
If they meant you harm, they will be astounded.

Either way, you both win!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Who Are Your Church's Customers?

"Congregations have two types of customers.   Primary customers are the ones who are not yet part of the congregation because they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  Secondary customers are the disciples who are alrady involved in the congregation.  

These secondary customers are developed to reproduce more primary customers.  When that order is reversed, of if a congregation loses sight of its primary customers, a leader will passionately do everything possible to right that situation -- even it if costs friends and relationships.  A leader is passionate about what to do, with whom to work and how to expend limited resources."  --

Paul D. Bordon in Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The message from today at NRN - When to take a stand!

When to take a stand

INTRODUCTION:  Have you ever had to stand up for something you believe in? When we stand, it’s normally because there is some sort of opposition facing us. So we have to muster up the courage and take action to stand against that opposition. 

When I’m trying to lose weight, I have to take a stand against Friendly’s ice cream.    I can’t walk down a certain aisle at Food Lion because Friendly‘s Chocolate Almond Ice Cream calls my name. All of my life I have had an affinity with Krispy Kreme donuts. When I was a child my uncle was a baker at Krispy Kreme and brought home a dozen donuts every day. Today, I try to enjoy one Krispy Kreme donuts on my birthday if the “red” light is on. I can’t just go to the donut shop because I’ll have to rebuke the enemy. Get behind me, Satan! Don’t buy that glazed donut, Rick. When I’m spending time alone with Jesus reading His Word and praying, I have to take a stand against my cell phone because it’s constantly buzzing and dinging with updates! 

Our world is polluted with so many images that aren’t Christ like, and I have to daily take a stand for purity and holiness. I can’t let garbage into my mind and heart. I have to take a stand against anything that would hinder my relationship with God. See, we all have weaknesses and temptations, and we will also face moments in our faith where we have to take a stand against things that try to hinder where God desires us to be. The only way we can live a God-honoring life is by taking a stand.

Tonight’s episode of AD The Bible Continues takes us to Acts chapter 4, where we see Peter and John taking a stand for Christ. Through God’s power, they healed a man, and the Sadducees (religious people) didn’t like this or the message they were preaching, so they arrested Peter and John and put them on trial. But during the trial, the court realized they had no legal right to keep them. Before they let Peter and John go, they threatened them. Let’s look at the threat and Peter and John’s response.

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’”  Acts 4:18-20

The religious men told Peter and John to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. They told them to bow down and denounce their faith in Christ. They told them to stop living out the very purpose of their being, and in this moment after just being arrested, Peter and John stood up for Christ. Even though they were facing threats, they took a stand and told the leaders they would keep preaching and teaching Christ!

In life, we may face people or things that try to get us to stop living for Christ. This could be caused by a temptation from the evil one, a relationship, a family member, a job, a friend, or even a tragic and unexpected event.

This is why Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (nlt).

Paul wouldn’t use this verbiage if we weren’t going to face opposition—people, places, and things that will try to get us to back down instead of to stand up.

Peter and John faced major opposition. They were arrested, put in prison, and threatened, but they continued to stand for Christ. So let’s look at what happened with them in Acts 4 and learn how we can stand for Christ no matter what life brings our way.

Today, I want to give you three truths to help you stand firm in your faith when life comes at you at full force.

1. Jesus is our foundation.

In Acts 4, we see Peter and John take a strong stand for Christ in the face of people who wanted to throw them in prison and even destroy their lives. One key reason Peter and John were able to stand firm in their faith is because Jesus was their foundation. Their lives were built on the solid rock of Christ. 

Look at Acts 4:8-12: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Peter believed that Jesus is the cornerstone. Jesus was his everything. Jesus was his foundation. They were walking and talking in the name of Jesus Christ. They knew that salvation was found in no one else. Their lives were all about Jesus. He was their foundation. 

When Jesus is our cornerstone, no matter what we face in life, we have a firm foundation to stand on. We can stand on Him, for Him, and we can walk in His strength, talk in His strength, and live in His strength. Everything we are and do is all about Him!

We all face trouble and opposition, but we can take a stand when we make Jesus our foundation. Jesus is a cornerstone and foundation that will never crack or grow weary. He’s a cornerstone that makes a solid foundation for us to stand on seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day! When the storms of life come, Jesus is our firm foundation.  Just like Peter and John, we must make Jesus our foundation, the cornerstone we build our life on.

2. We have to obey God in the midst of opposition.

Facing opposition isn’t a matter of “if” but “when,” which means we will have many opportunities to obey or disobey. God hasn’t called us to just believe—our faith must be a vibrant, active faith that we live out. Peter and John had a vibrant, active faith.

Look at Acts 4:18-20 again: “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’”

This came down to whether Peter and John would stand and obey God or bow down and give in to their fears, logic, and doubt.  See, it’s easy to fall into the trap where we know a lot but do little with what we know, especially in the face of opposition.

Peter and John not only listened to God, but they also obeyed and did what God told  them at the risk of their own lives! To stand firm in our faith, we have to do what James tells us. He says we can’t just be hearers of the word; we also must be doers of the word regardless of the opposition we face (James 1:22).

We must put feet to our faith and keep walking even through the valley of the shadow of death. We must keep walking through the rough terrain of the mountains of life, and we must keep walking when the storms of life come against us. 

I’ve found that one of the main challenges to obeying God in the midst of opposition is that we can begin to wonder about the outcome: Will God help us? Will God come through in the way we hope He will? Will we have to suffer for standing firm?

We know that if God doesn’t show up the way we want Him to, this could get real ugly really quick. Oftentimes, we have to battle our flesh and common sense to stand firm. For Peter and John, common sense would’ve been to keep a little quieter about Jesus so that they weren’t thrown in prison, beaten, or, even worse, killed. Our flesh tells us to back up and back down. Our flesh says, “Just go with the crowd. Be popular. Don’t ruffle anyone’s feathers.”

But a major part of obeying God is standing firm and trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Peter and John trusted God with all their hearts, and they didn’t lean on their own understanding. They were “all in” for Jesus, no matter the cost.

Living for Christ isn’t always easy. We will face opposition. But we must obey God in the midst of opposition and stand firm because He is worthy! Because He died for us, the least we can do is live for Him. We must take a stand by being obedient.

3. When we stand for Jesus, He shines through us.

It’s powerful to watch what happens when Peter and John stand firm in their faith.

Acts 4:4 says, “But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.”

Because they stood firm, many people heard the message of Christ and believed. Many people were snatched out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light because two men stood firm in their faith in the face of opposition.

When we stand, people see Jesus in us and God will use our boldness to bring people into a relationship with Him. These men stood firm in their faith, and the number of men grew to five thousand. Wow! Powerful things happen when we stand firm. When we stand firm in our faith, God will use our resolve to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine!

I want to show you another way God shines through us when we stand for Him.

Acts 4:13 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

We also see that people who hadn’t yet crossed the line of faith were amazed and astonished by the courage and boldness of Peter and John. People who didn’t even know Jesus were impacted by His Gospel through the lives of two men who stood firm. The seed of the Gospel was planted into the hearts of unbelievers because two men took a stand. I think it’s safe to say that some of these people ended up accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. And it all began because of the boldness of two men who came under attack. We must stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ because every time we do, the seed of the Gospel is planted into hearts.

When we stand firm, we’re standing on the cornerstone and Jesus is shining brightly through our lives. Our courage will encourage and astonish people as we point them to Jesus by standing firm on the foundation of Christ Jesus.

When we stand for Jesus, He will also shine through our conversations and words.

Acts 4:31 says, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

When we stand firm and then we pray, the power of God is released upon our lives in a powerful way. God’s power then gives us the courage to speak the Word of God boldly.

I encourage you to stand firm in your faith and watch Jesus shine through your words and your life!

Lastly, notice what happens in Acts 4:32-37:

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

When we stand firm for God and pray to Him, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to stand together and let our light shine. God builds His Church through people who stand firm on the solid foundation of Christ, who pray, who are filled with the Spirit, and who stand together in faith. This is how God built the early church, and this is how God is still building His Church today. He’s looking for men and women who will stand for Him. No matter the opposition, we must stand for God so that He can shine through us.

APPLICATION:  It’s vitally important to me that you understand you will face opposition in life as you surrender your life to Christ. The enemy of your soul, Satan, wants to do everything possible to oppose you and hinder you from coming to Christ.

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I want to encourage you to press past any opposition and to give your life to Christ. Peter and John left everything to follow Jesus, and once Jesus became their foundation, God used them to do mighty things that have literally impacted millions and millions of people. When you surrender your life to Christ, not only will He forgive you but He will also give you a new purpose for living and begin to use your life to advance His kingdom. 

After you make the decision to give your life to Christ, stand with both feet firmly planted on Jesus. And as you stand on the solid rock of Christ, be committed to praying and reading God’s Word, the Bible. As you pray to God and follow His Word, He will give you the strength, direction, and peace to make it through any challenge you face. He helped Peter and John, and He will help you. And not only will He help you, but He will shine brightly through your life and use you to impact your family, friends, and coworkers. He will use you to be salt and light to the world around you.

Every day for the rest of our lives, we will face circumstances and situations where we have to choose whether we will stand for Christ. Peter and John had every reason in the world to not stand for Christ. They were imprisoned, threatened, and their lives endangered, but they chose to stand—and God did powerful things in and through their lives. They were bright lights for Jesus. God wants you to be a bright light for Jesus.  

At work, stand firm in your faith. At school, stand firm in your faith. Around your family, stand firm in your faith. When no one is watching, stand firm in your faith. In public, stand firm in your faith. In the face of opposition, adversity, when all hell is breaking loose, stand firm in your faith. God is faithful and wants us to be a light everywhere we go. Remember that when we stand firm in our faith, God’s light shines brightly through us.


First, some of you here may be wavering in your faith. If that’s you, God says, “Fear not, trust in Me.” Jesus has overcome the world, and He will help you overcome whatever you’re facing. Stand firm in Christ today. God is with you. You aren’t alone. We all face challenges, and together God wants us to stand firm, to obey Him, to grow in Him, and to let Him shine through our lives.

Second, there may be some of you who haven’t ever surrendered your life to Christ. I want you to know today that Jesus wants to be the cornerstone of your life. He died on the cross and rose again so that you could trust Him with your life. He did all this because He loves you. He wants to forgive you and be the cornerstone of your life.

I want to give you an opportunity to start a relationship with Him today. You don’t need to have everything figured out. Today, just decide to surrender your life to Christ and make Him your cornerstone, and He will help you clean up your life. Jesus died and three days later rose from the dead so that we can be forgiven, born again, and made into a new creation. He loves you, and there is nothing more that He wants right now than to have a relationship with you. So if that’s you and you’re ready to start a relationship with Jesus Christ, I’m going to count to three, and I just want you to raise your hand. When you raise your hand, you’re saying to God, “I want a relationship with You.”

So if that’s you, just raise your hand and I’m going to lead you in a prayer. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Preparing for worship on Sunday April 26 2015 - Get ready for an encounter with God!

Tomorrow at NRN is going to be an awesome day!   I am so psyched about preaching from Acts Chapter 4 as Peter and John display for us When to take a stand!    I hope you are making every effort to be with us for church tomorrow and have made the call to invite a friend - neighbor - work associate to join you.

Let's prepare our heart now - for a time of worship!
At the close of a five minute countdown - the worship team begins to play and we join in lifting our voices in adoration to our Great God!

We then greet one another as we welcome every person who have gathered in our worship center to meet with God.  We especially welcome our first time guest.  I look forward to extending a welcome and invitation for us to sing and offer our loud praise to God.  It is time for us to be His witnesses - and proclaim the message of Jesus - the Nazarene!

We cry out to God for His presence and to show Himself faithful as we worship Him in Spirit and Truth.  God is good and inclines His ear to hear the prayers of His people.

We continue in our songs of worship to God:

We pause to hear about the opportunities to gather in service to our King!
You are invited to consider moving from spectator to participant in the worship of our God! 

The purpose of tithing is to teach us to always put God first in our lives. God doesn't need our money. He wants what it represents: our gratitude, our priorities and our faith.

Now look at these verses in Proverbs 3. Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10 HCSB)

Do you see where it says, “Honor the Lord by giving him the leftovers of all your income”? You can see that’s NOT what it says at all.

It says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest ….” We give to God first, before anyone else, right off the top of our income.
And here is the promise: “Then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
You and I are called to give back to God in gratitude, but also as a demonstration of our priorities. And it is a demonstration of our faith in his promises.

In Malachi 3:10, God says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse ….”That means the place where you worship. Then God says, “Put me to the test!” In a sense, he says, “Test me and see how I will bless you for your obedience.”

God says he will provide all that you need. He doesn’t say he’ll provide all that we greed, but all that we need.

As we give back to God a portion that He has entrusted to us - we sing....

Now it is time for the message:

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Secret to Being a Likeable Person

The Secret to Being a Likeable Person

By Rick Warren

“Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner. Soon Potiphar realized that the LORD was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did. Potiphar  liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant.”     (Genesis 39:2-4a CEV)

If you want to stand out at work, you need to be likeable. If people don’t like you, they’re not going to trust you, and they certainly won’t promote you.
A lot of people think that likeability is just a matter of personality. You’re either a likable person or you’re not.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Likeability is not personality; it’s character. It’s behavior. It’s how you choose to relate to other people. Likeability is possessing the attractive attitudes — and those are choices — and the relational skills that cause others to want to work with you.

Do you want to be liked by other people? Here’s the big secret: Like them. That’s it. If you like people, guess what? They’re going to like you. If you don’t like people, they’re not going to like you. To be likeable you just have to like people. You have to genuinely enjoy them. You have to choose to be interested in others and think less about yourself.

Joseph is a good example of likeability in Genesis 39:2-4: “Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner. Soon Potiphar realized that the LORD was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did. Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant” (CEV).

Potiphar took a guy who started off as a slave and promoted him to the manager of his household because he noticed he was a good person, and he liked him.

What are the attractive attitudes that make someone likeable? How about humility?

Would you rather be around someone who is arrogant or someone who is humble?

How about cheerfulness? Would you rather be around somebody who’s cheerful or grouchy?

How about empathy? When you tell others that you’re not feeling well, would you rather they respond, “That’s too bad” or “I’m really sorry. What’s going on?” When you’re empathetic with someone who is hurting, guess what? You’re likeable. Bosses like people who are empathetic to their stress, who understand, who look at a situation from somebody else’s viewpoint.

When you help somebody else succeed, then you’re going to be likeable. And when you’re likeable, you’re going to go far.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Change in the Wind

Change in the Wind
  by Rick Chromey

Spring has truly sprung. Everywhere you look, trees bud, grass greens, and birds nest. As the days warm, there’s the promise of better days ahead. The dark, cold winter is history.

Spring is about hope, change, and new life.

But change isn’t easy. Change has the power to hurt, halt, and humble. Change also redirects, reorients, and replaces. As I write this, I’m moving to a new city, and I have both fears and hopes. I know the move is right. I also know it’ll cost me money and time I don’t feel I have. And I’ll have to adjust to life in a new place.

Nevertheless, when the vision for change is stronger than the present reality, change (even if it hurts momentarily) is always welcomed.

That’s why we can’t get too comfortable. Change is going to happen. Culture is always evolving. Churches must relevantly interact with their culture or become obsolete. In fact, every church building has a date of origination that communicates hidden messages to its community. A building advertises values and vision. It reveals priorities, prejudices, and promises. A facility is the face…the first thing a visitor sees of physical importance.

Have you noticed how the steeple has gone the way of the stegosaurus? At one time steeples were the first physical things people saw from afar, announcing a church was ahead. Church bells marked the time, announced services, celebrated special events, and even warned the community of danger. Today steeples and bells are irrelevant. Change happens.

The question isn’t why things change, but will you?

Currently the church faces the greatest cultural shift since the Renaissance. We’ve become pretty comfortable in our Gutenberg and clock culture (two inventions that revolutionized modern culture). We like our time and space. In fact, we’ve largely defined church as time and space. We say we “went to church” (translation: We attended a certain space at a particular time).

But as with spring, new cultural buds are blossoming, and spiritual breezes are blowing. In the past quarter-century, a whole new cyber, digital, postmodern world has emerged that’s spelling change to all institutions, organizations, and communities.

What does it mean?

  • Worship will likely move from a “service” to an “experience.” Post moderns thrive on sensory situations and embrace spiritual spaces that make them feel closer to God. If your church services are “sit and soak,” then you’re on a death march to irrelevance. 

  •  Preaching will likely become more interactive and brief.       Post moderns process information visually, and that means the monologue is history…at least long sermons. Think YouTube and Twitter. Or Sight Bites. Messages must create friendships. Pastors must move from me to we and design messages that get people talking with each other.
  • Churches will likely become spiritual health centers. Some futurists predict that by 2020 most people won’t attend a church. In fact, many former church buildings are already now coffee shops, homes, and bars. The frame exists, but the purpose has been reimagined. Tomorrow’s church will likely be a 24/7/365 spiritual health center. We need to repurpose our facilities away from performances and events and toward opportunities to stretch spiritual muscles.

Our culture has changed, and, like a bear in spring, the church needs to emerge from its winter slumber to embrace and enjoy a new world. Not everyone will like the changes. We’ll no doubt fail as we find our legs in this new world.

Nevertheless, spring is a season of hope, change, and new life.

I believe tomorrow’s church will thrive, but only when we reimagine our methods and messages within experiential, interactive, and visual ways.
The post Change in the Wind appeared first on Refresh The Church.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Come Holy Spirit - Heavenly Dove

Blessed this morning to ponder this beautiful consecration hymn by Isaac Watts, Come Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove: 

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all Thy quick’ning powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.

Look how we grovel here below,
Fond of these trifling toys;
Our souls can neither fly nor go
To reach eternal joys.

In vain we tune our formal songs,
In vain we strive to rise;
Hosannas languish on our tongues,
And our devotion dies.

Dear Lord! and shall we ever live
At this poor dying rate?
Our love so faint, so cold to Thee,
And Thine to us so great?

Come, Holy Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With all Thy quick’ning powers;
Come, shed abroad the Savior’s love
And that shall kindle ours.
Join us this evening at 6:30pm for our Corporate Prayer Encounter and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Sharron!

Happy Birthday to Sharron

The first time I saw you I was drawn to your beautiful eyes and big smile. It did not take long to fall in love. I love you with all my heart and cannot imagine my life without you. You bring joy to my soul.

Our marriage has weathered the storms of life as we stand together, hand in hand, trusting in the Lord. I hope today is filled with joy and happiness!

I love you,,,,,,Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand children are a blessing!

Yesterday, following an awesome day at church, Sharron and I made our way south to connect with Danielle and her family.  We especially enjoyed celebrating a meal to honor our grandson - Jordan Richard Bolder - for his 5th birthday.  He choose the restaurant - Cracker Barrel - and I chose the Chocolate Coke Cake.  We enjoy laughter and a fun time....

 Sharron and I made the difficult decision to depart a loved ministry position in Kansas to relocate to my childhood home of North Carolina in 2007 to be close to family.  Today we celebrate our growing family and our 5 grandchildren!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

AD - The Bible Continues - Don't miss it!

AD - The Bible Continues.   This is the foundation of the current teaching series I am preaching this Spring.  If you have not jumped into watching the series - it's not too late.  Over 7 million people viewed last Sunday's episode.

Here is a primer for you to consider:

Join us today at NRN as I preach from the book of Acts this Sunday - about the Power of the Holy Spirit!  Invite your friends to join you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Preparing for worship on April 19 2015 Pt 2 in the AD teaching series

As we prepare for worship tomorrow at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene      I am very excited about the message God has placed within my heart. Last Sunday as I viewed the 2nd episode of AD I was moved by the closing scene as Jesus ascended into Heaven. 

His last words to the Disciples challenged me for this past week. "All authority has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."  

The book of Luke records what happened next: The disciples worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  

I look forward to coming to church tomorrow to worship Him and then depart in great joy to live my life to the praise of His glory!  

Church is so important to my Christian walk!

We begin with a welcome and Scriptural Call to Worship in the form of a responsive reading.  Then we stand to sing our praises to the Lord!

We go before the Lord in prayer. 

Then we hear the announcements about opportunities for us to serve and also gather for community.  

Part 3 in the teaching series:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

As we bring our financial offerings to the Lord we sing one final song before we depart to serve the Lord. 

We need to welcome the Holy Spirit to do his work in our midst. 
All other desires must take second place. 
We must yield to his purposes in order to please him
 and accomplish his mission in our world.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do you believe?

Over the past 2 Sundays I have asked the same question:  Do You Believe?

God is moving in our midst -  Do you see Him?

Check out this movie:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Be a Prayer Warrior

Edward Payson said, “Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to a minister. Pray, then, my dear brother: pray, pray, pray.”

 Isaiah 55:6, Matthew 7:7-12 and Philippians 4:6 we read that men are to pray – to pray for the advancement of God's kingdom, their lives and their family.

People often ask, “Is prayer really necessary? Will my prayer really make a difference? Does the sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, all present God really need me to pray?”

E. M. Bounds said, “Prayer is the keynote of the most sanctified life, of the holiest ministry.  He does the most for God who is the highest skilled in prayer.  Jesus Christ exercised His ministry after this order”.

 The Word of God instructs us to pray, however, many Christians do not see the importance of prayer simply because they lack sufficient knowledge on the subject of prayer. Prayer puts God in full force in the earth it releases Him to move in the earth on our behalf. To a prayerful man God is always present in realized force; to a prayerful church God is truly present in glorious power throughout the earth.

 E. M. Bounds said “…It is only when the whole heart is gripped with the passion of prayer that the life-giving fire descends, for none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God.” 

 Hebrews 11:33-40 “…Men of old who were strong in faith and in prayer, subdued kingdoms, produced righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

 Why can’t we be those men today? All we need is to be strong in faith and strong in prayer.

  What is Prayer

We see from Psalm 5:1-3; 19:14; Matthew 6:6 and Acts 10:1-2 that when we are praying we are communicating with God.

 Robert Hall said, “…The prayer of faith is the only power in the universe to which the great Jehovah yields. Prayer is the sovereign remedy.”

 There are two things that must be attended to in prayer (i) That it be in every time, season, or opportunity; (ii) That it should be in or through the Spirit – that the heart should be engaged in it, and that its infirmities should be helped by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer must always be two ways

 In Psalm 10:17 and 65:2 we read that God the Father hears us when we speak. We read in Psalm 99:6-9 that Our Father not only hears our prayers he actually answers those prayers. In Isaiah 58:9 we read that when we call God will answer.

Prayer should be daily

Psalm 5:3 the psalmist says that he will lift up his voice in the morning and God will hear him. Psalm 143:8 the psalmist encourages us to not only speak to God in the morning but also to listen to him. Prayer should flow from a desire within us to attain a new level of spiritual aptitude or fellowship. Prayer should be daily fellowship with our heavenly Father springing out of our love for him.

Prayer is a lifestyle
ifestyle consists of a choice we make to live a certain way. We choose to love our wife, husband, and family etc. we need to choose to pray daily.

Prayer should be without ceasing
Colossians 4:2 tells us to continue (the Greek means to continue perseveringly) in prayer.