Sunday, January 31, 2016

Living on the edge....

Pt.4   Living on the Edge

Proverbs 4:10-19

My son, listen. Accept what I say. Then you will live for many years. I instruct you in the way of wisdom. I lead you along straight paths. When you walk, nothing will slow you down. When you run, you won’t trip and fall. Hold on to my teaching and don’t let it go. Guard it well, because it is your life. Don’t take the path of evil people. Don’t live the way sinners do. Stay away from their path and don’t travel on it. Turn away from it and go on your way. Sinners can’t rest until they do what is evil. They can’t sleep until they make someone sin. They do evil just as easily as they eat food. They hurt others as easily as they drink wine. The path of those who do right is like the sun in the morning.  It shines brighter and brighter until the full light of day.  But the way of those who do what is wrong is like deep darkness. They don’t know what makes them trip and fall.                                                                                                                                                                                      Proverbs 4:10-19

Opening:  Today is the closing message in the teaching series HOW TO EAT AN ELEPHANT.  We missed one message due to the ice and frigid weather, creating a safety risk for last week.  I really want to close this series with a practical message about holiness. Holiness is perhaps one of the most misunderstood terms of our time. A study by The Barna Group reveals that though the Bible talks a lot about holiness, most people are confused and even apprehensive about what it means.

Pastor Ray Stedman observed, “Most of us associate [holiness] with some kind of grimness or solemnity. We think holy people are those who look as if they have been steeped in vinegar or soaked in embalming fluid.”

 No wonder few Christians aspire to be holy. We have been talking about holiness as a pursuit of God in an area of your life. The Proverb we read talks about applying wisdom to our life to pursue holiness.

God is Holy and calls us to be Holy. As we have discussed since the first of this year – our lives are often filled with guilt, shame, regrets and failures in trying to pursue holiness.  We are discovering that through repentance and redemption we can pursue God in discovering Holiness.

Try your best to live in peace with everyone. Try hard to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.                                                                                                      Hebrews 12:14

In his book: Why Holiness Matters – author Tyler Baum states that   Holiness is not new behaviors. Holiness is new affections. He goes on: “We cannot view Holiness simply as a piety, worked out in private and never shared in the day to day of our lives.”

I believe that true Holiness is a work of God, though His Holy Spirit – enhancing God’s Word and wisdom in us – influencing how we live each moment of every day.

ILL: Larry was excited about serving Jesus. He was saved at the revival in his church a few months prior. Larry’s attitude was changed. Now Larry was a completely new person. Everyone knew that something had happened to Larry (examples)… If anyone had ever been saved, you knew Larry had. But Larry began to sense that something was missing. He knew with certainty that he wanted to follow Jesus, but there was often a struggle inside Larry. He struggled to do what was right while also being pulled away to do what was wrong. Often, Larry failed to do the right thing and would have to repent. Also, something about his faith began to turn mechanical. Larry still wanted to serve God, but he was often distracted by his friends and relatives who couldn’t understand his new outlook on life. Sometimes that would build up and build pressure to where he wasn’t sure that he wanted people to know about the difference God made in his life. Why was this happening to Larry?

We become discontented when we lose spiritual focus; when we live on the moral edge of life. Living on the edge is living with a personal instance of doing what I want. 

Here are 2 questions to help you determine if you’re living too close to the edge:

1. Is there any tension inside of me about how I am living?

2. Are you satisfied with the level of sin in your life right now?

If we emphasize living on the moral edge, we are really describing distance from God.         A sign of this is when we find ourselves trying to rationalize our decisions and behavior.

Oswald Chambers: “God has one destined end for mankind – holiness!    His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men. He did not come to save men out of pity. He came to   save men because He had created them to be holy.”

Living too close to the moral edge is rules without relationship, emphasizing standards more than the Savior and laws more than love. It produces futility instead of freedom. God has created us to be holy!

 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.                                                                                                                   Proverbs 14:12 NKJV

Would you agree that people are dangerous decision makers?

A Test:  Words on the screens – shout out the color of each word:

A caution I give is when we reach a place in our spiritual life that we think we have mastered Biblical principles – I know enough to be good.  When we stop pursuing holiness – we grow stagnate in our spiritual life and we step further and further away from God. 

To start being wise you must first get wisdom. No matter what it costs, get understanding.                                                                                                                              Proverbs 4:7

I want you to know that wisdom is like honey for you. If you find it, there is hope for you tomorrow.                                 So your hope will not be cut off.                                            Proverbs 24:14

As Ralph Cudworth (1617 – 26 June 1688) explained many years ago, “I do not mean by holiness the mere performance of outward duties of religion, coldly acted over, as a task; not our habitual prayings, hearings, fastings, multiplied one upon another, even though these are all good, they are subservient to a higher end. I mean cultivating the principle of intimacy with Jesus, the principle of being renewed to His image and character, hating what He hates and loving what He loves.”


My son, listen. Accept what I say. Then you will live for many years. I instruct you in the way of wisdom. I lead you along straight paths. When you walk, nothing will slow you down. When you run, you won’t trip and fall. Hold on to my teaching and don’t let it go. Guard it well, because    it is your life. Don’t take the path of evil people. Don’t live the way sinners do. Stay away from their path and don’t travel on it. Turn away from it and go on your way. Sinners can’t rest until they do what is evil. They can’t sleep until they make someone sin. They do evil just as easily as they eat food. They hurt others as easily as they drink wine. The path of those who do right is like the sun in the morning.  It shines brighter and brighter until the full light of day.  But the way of those who do what is wrong is like deep darkness. They don’t know what makes them trip and fall.                                                                                                                    Proverbs 4:10-19

Make a Plan to Stay in God’s Wisdom.

- Our Daily Bread      - A chapter of Proverbs a day

Following our worship together today we have a membership vote taking place.  Here is a sample ballot for those in attendance to vote today:

Election of the Membership
North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene
January 31, 2016

1. We agree to allow the church board of the North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene to negotiate the sale of the church property, in conjunction with and with the approval from the District Advisory Board. 
q YES              q NO

2. We agree to authorize the church board of the North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene to refinance the church mortgage in conjunction with and   with the approval of the District Advisory Board. 
q YES              q NO

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Preparing for worship on Sunday January 31, 2016

Last week was unique in that we had to cancel our worship service due to ice and frigid weather.   The conditional of the church parking lot was described as a "sheet of ice".  Tomorrow is going to be an awesome day as we gather in the worship center to sing our praise unto the Lord and gather with those we love and care for. I am especially excited about the message God has placed in my heart to bring the current teaching series on Holiness to a close - or - a beginning - it depends on what God is saying to you.

Here is the order of worship we have panned for this Sunday.  Come with your heart prepared for worship:

The pursuit of holiness is about conforming ourselves to Jesus. In order to do that, we have to make decisions less like people and more like God.      God’s wisdom is what takes us in the right direction in terms of our decision-making and Proverbs leads the way. If we want to be more like Jesus, we have to be in passionate pursuit of God’s best for us. We need God’s wisdom to change the way we think and act so that we can stay on the path toward His holiness.

Let us follow the pattern of worship given to us from 1 Chronicles 16:29 -  Let us give unto the Lord the glory due His Holy Name!  We come before HIS Presence and worship Him -Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!

We did not receive an offering last week and need a double offering to bring our ministry expense in line with our financial responsibility. Let us give generously and with thanksgiving to the LORD today!

Do you really want to withhold from the LORD?

Following our time of worship we will meet for an important informational meeting regarding property and financial issues.  All of the church family is invited to remain for this historic meeting.  At the close of the meeting we will pray together and then the membership will cast their votes regarding the decisions to be made.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Common Idols in churches today!

Hezekiah is affirmed in Scripture as doing “what was right in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 18:3). The next verse details what Hezekiah did: “He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time” (2 Kings 18:4).

Surely people understood a strong, spiritual leader removing the idols (the high places and the Asherah poles) that grabbed the hearts of the people and stole worship from the Lord. They would expect their spiritual leader to insist they stop worshiping other gods. But what Hezekiah did next must have been really unexpected and really controversial. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses made—intentionally. Not by accident. Not “I was carrying it and it fell.” To break bronze takes some effort.

Eliminating pagan idols is one thing, but “that was the snake Moses made!” It was the bronze snake God told Moses to make, the one people looked at to be delivered from their snakebites (Numbers 21).

Hezekiah broke the snake because the people were burning incense to it. They were worshiping a bronze snake. Tools for transformation can become objects of worship. In our sinfulness, we can make an idol of just about anything. In our sinfulness, we tend to make idols of things that are important to us. Thus, a bronze snake that God used to bring healing, held by the leader of God’s people during their liberation from slavery, became an object of worship.

Today is not altogether different. God’s people still struggle with taking tools for transformation and making them objects of worship. Here are three common idols in churches:

1. The Place

Because the Lord does a great work in the hearts of His people when they gather, the places of gathering can move from a tool for transformation to an object of worship. Thus, if a leader mentions “relocation,” the leader is essentially threatening to cut a bronze snake into pieces. We must remind people that the building is not the church, that His people are the church. God does not live in the place where we gather; He lives in the hearts of His people.

2. The Past

Because the Lord worked in amazing ways in the past, the past can become an idol where people long for the past more than they long for the Lord. Being grateful for the past is one thing, and worshiping it is quite another. If “former days” were great, they were only great because of the Lord.

3. The Programs

Because God changed lives through a program or event, people can elevate a program to an unhealthy place. Programs can become ends in themselves and not tools used in a church’s discipleship process. When this happens, they exist as modern-day bronze snakes.

How can leaders be like Hezekiah? 

How can modern-day bronze snakes be removed?

Leaders must constantly point people to the person of Jesus. Only He is worthy of our worship and only He can transform hearts. When we help people see the greatness of Jesus, idols look less attractive. As we turn our eyes on Jesus and look full in His wonderful face, the things of this world (place, past and programs included) grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Leaders must also continually remind people of the purpose of the church. (Yes, I know it is another “p,” but it fits.) 

A church exists to make disciples. When a church embraces the mission of making disciples, programs are viewed as tools and not as ends in themselves. When making disciples is what a church is all about, the place is rightly seen as merely a place to help make disciples.

Though the Lord instructed the snake to be made, the Lord affirmed its destruction. 

And of Hezekiah, the Scripture says:

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him (2 Kings 18:5)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 - 2 thumbs up!

On Tuesday January 25, 2016 Sharron and I had the opportunity to view a preview of the movie: God's Not Dead 2.  I plan to give a full review after the film is released on April 1, 2016.

Here are my initial thoughts.

First - I have fond memories as Sharron and I took our grand daughter Alyse to see God's Not Dead in a local theater in Indian Trail, NC. Her sister and parents were away on a special day and decided to take Alyse to see this PG rated film.  We were surprised to be the only people in the theater for an early day showing.  As the film unfolded we noticed our 9 year old grand daughter becoming upset about the dialog she was hearing. It created an awesome discussion with her about the view of God in our home and of course the view of God in our culture. At the close of the film the Newsboys were singing  God's Not Dead He's Surely Alive...... and our precious Alyse jumped up and ran down the aisle of the theater shouting at the top of her voice - God's Not Dead! God's Not Dead!   This action is usually deemed inappropriate public behavior - but under the circumstance - it brought tears of delight to me and Sharron!

I now own a personal copy of God's Not Dead!

Second:  Sharron and I both agreed - God's Not Dead 2 is even better than the first. 

Here is a synopsis of the story taken from the God's Not Dead 2 blog:

  GOD’S NOT DEAD 2, we meet Grace Wesley (played by Melissa Joan Hart). Grace is an AP History teacher at a public school. Her life exudes her love of Christ: we see it in how she teaches, how she impacts the lives of her students, and in the loving care she provides for elderly grandfather (played by Pat Boone).

But as we’re seeing more and more in culture, because she works in a “secular” environment, Grace’s faith in Christ is an issue. It comes to a head when one of her students asks an honest question about the life of Jesus and Grace finds herself in deep trouble after her reasoned response.  Is it time for Christians to take a stand? As GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 asks: If Christians don’t take a stand today, will we even have the choice tomorrow?

I highly endorse and recommend this film.  Plan now to purchase your tickets and go on the opening weekend to see God's Not Dead 2.  I

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Preparing for Prayer this evening - five things to do while waiting...

As we prepare to gather in the Fireside Room this evening at NRN for our time of prayer - Here is a little primer about our time together.  Plan now to join us at 7:00pm.

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NLT, second edition)

When God has you in a waiting period, don’t put your life on hold. Instead, imitate the habits that grow strong faith.
The Bible says there are five things you should keep on doing even in the waiting period.

  1. Keep on praying. The Bible says,“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NLT, second edition). Keep on praying, and you will get your answer.
  2. Keep on serving. Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Don’t worry about having a significant ministry. Just make your ministry significant.
  3. Keep on going to small group. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together …. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer” (TEV).
  4. Keep on sowing. Ecclesiastes 11:6 says, “Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow —perhaps it all will” (TLB).
  5. Keep on believing. The Bible says, “You must keep on believing the things you have been taught. You know they are true” (2 Timothy 3:14).
The point is this: Stay active. Don’t be passive. God cannot steer a parked car! 

Don’t tell God you’re waiting on him. Turn on the ignition, and just start driving. Where? 

Anywhere! Get involved in a ministry. Get involved in service. Get involved with small group.

 Do the things you know you could be doing to develop your skills and habits and become

 more like Jesus.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Peyton Manning - the "Sheriff"

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning prevailed in a three-hour, 29 minute Championship Game on Sunday January 24, 2016. This was the most momentous and possibly the last of the 17 Tom Brady-Peyton Manning meetings. 

The world knew the Carolina Panthers would play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at the final whistle of the NFC Championship, but one man had no idea who he was playing. Cam Newton found out Peyton Manning was waiting for him during his postgame interview in which he called Manning "The Sheriff." This wasn't a homespun nickname by Cam, "The Sheriff" has been Manning's nickname for a while.


The nickname first came to prominence in 2009 during a Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins. ESPN's Jon Gruden first used it, saying that Manning "lays down the law" in opposing teams' stadiums. He continued to use this sheriff analogy by describing how Manning manipulates his offense at the line of scrimmage through his audibles. This was perpetuated by Ron Jaworski, who throughout the game continued to refer to Manning as "The Sheriff" after Gruden made his comments.


Before Cam Newton was drafted he sat down with Jon Gruden for his yearly rookie quarterback camp for ESPN. Gruden once again called Manning "The Sheriff" as he showed a then 21-year-old Newton footage of the Colts quarterback.

It seems Cam Newton remembered the nickname he heard from Gruden years before, because "The Sheriff" isn't a commonly used nickname, but people are aware of it. Truth be told, Gruden has invented dozens of nicknames over the years on Monday Night Football and the vast majority of them never stick. 

However, by telling Newton that Manning is "The Sheriff" back in 2011 it may have solidified the nickname for years to come.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Dose of Humor!

A charter member of our church -      Faith Carlton - continues to show me her deep faith in God - her servant spirit and her Godly humor.  

She sent an email to me recently.  Here is a portion of the content of that email. 


A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, "I know what the Bible means!"
His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?
The son replied, "I do know!"
"Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?"
"That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly," It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.' (This one is my favorite)


There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
"Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk.
"Only the Ten Commandments." answered the lady.


"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning."


A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.
Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses."
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."


There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."


While driving in Pennsylvania, a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign... "Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."


A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"
A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.
"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.
"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven..."


A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."
The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."


People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.


Last, but not least, a great one:

The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!


Just saying - When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache..... When you open it, he collapses..... When he sees you reading it, he faints..... When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees..... And when you are about to forward this message.... He will try and discourage you... I just defeated him!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Humor - dealing with a touch of cabin fever

Since we had to cancel church due to the icy roads - I thought I would share a few thoughts about how to deal with cabin fever.  When the record snow fell in the Northern Va. area, many of my friends living in that area made the best of the situation.  The mountain areas of NC received a significant snowfall and people enjoyed the snow.  Here are a few examples:

Hope this brought a smile to your face! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Services CANCELLED at NRN for Sunday January 24, 2016

Today I reached out to a number of people in leadership at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene requesting their thoughts about our gathering tomorrow. Due to increasing power outages, ice-covered parking lot, overnight frigid temperatures, and the unknown road conditions for tomorrow, we have decided to cancel our worship services for Sunday January 24, 2016.  

The expectation of black ice conditions on the roadways creates a safety risk and our desire is for you to be safe and plan to join us on Wednesday evening for Prayer Encounter at 7:00pm and next Sunday for the conclusion of the teaching series on Eating an Elephant - a journey towards holiness. 

Preparing for worship on January 24 2016

On this cold day with ice and snow on the ground I am prayerfully considering if we need to cancel our time together tomorrow. The Governor of North Carolina just requested that we stay off the roads until Sunday afternoon. Thousands of accidents throughout the state, hundreds have taken place here in the Triangle. Sharron and I ventured out yesterday and decided with ice falling and the temperature remaining at 32 or below, we should stay indoors. RDU International Airport remains closed today.

Looking outside my front door and looking at the secondary road in front of my house - I think it is a great day to stay safe and warm in our home today.

In a few hours I will email  an number of leaders in the church to make the decision about our time together tomorrow. When that decision is made I will communicate it through this blog; on Facebook; through an mass email and running the announcement on WRAL TV.

I value your suggestions - do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts regarding our time together tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

How are you feeling?

A farmer named Clyde had a tractor accident. In court, the trucking company's fancy hot shot lawyer, was questioning Clyde. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine,'?" asked the lawyer.
Clyde responded, "Well, I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite cow, Bessie, into the..."

"I didn't ask for any details", the lawyer interrupted. "Just answer the question, ...please. Did you, or did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'?"
Clyde said, "Well, I had just got Bessie into the trailer behind the tractor and I was driving down the road...."
The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Your Honor, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."
By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Clyde's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite cow, Bessie".
Clyde thanked the Judge and proceeded. "Well, as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite cow, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my John Deer Tractor right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting, real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear old Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans.
Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning, so he went over to her. After he looked at her, and saw her fatal condition, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road, gun still in hand, looked at me, and said, "How are you feeling?"
"Now tell me, what the heck would you say?"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

He who honors God

One of my all time favorite films.  Chariots of Fire is a British film released in 1981. 

Written ,by Colin Welland and directed by Hugh Hudson, it is based on the true story of 

British athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Powerful Prayer

Tonight we gather at 7:00pm for our weekly Prayer Encounter at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.  As we gather this evening I am excited about our time tonight.  I look forward to sharing what God is revealing in my heart about the power of prayer.

A Powerful Prayer:

Prayer of Jabez:

“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” 
                              – 1 Chronicles 4:10

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A review of the message today at NRN

Here is the clip I showed today about living your life free from the past.

Need another example of the transforming power of Jesus Christ?

Are you living your life the way you WERE - or the way you ARE in Christ?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Preparing for Worship on January 17 2016

Tomorrow as we gather at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene I hop we come together with a sense of expectation and anticipation for a supernatural visitation of the Holy Spirit!

Today has been a blessed day as we bid farewell to our dear brother in Christ- Dean Kenny. The day has been filled with emotions as the tears have flowed form our eyes and laughter has filled the vacant silence. It is amazing to celebrate the life if one who loved Jesus so much and loved others. 

Here is the order of worship for tomorrow: 

 Come join us tomorrow and bring a friend.

Everyone makes mistakes and struggles with regrets about their past. Come hear how your past can be forgiven and you can be given the power and the freedom to live each new day to the fullest! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A life transformed

This past week has been filled with ministry responsibilities and my posting on this blog has taken a back seat.  I have made a commitment to post each day this week.  In order to fulfill this commitment I now post after the date - however - feel this is very important as we consider the message this coming Sunday.  I hope you find it better late then never:

This is a trustworthy testimony of a life transformed by Jesus Christ!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The G.O.S.P.E.L.

From the G to the L, this video explains the gospel in four minutes.

 Amazing word’s put in a simple and easy to understand format.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My prayer for NRN this year

Here are 5 things I am praying for family of North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene for this year:

:: More people reached with the love and good news of Jesus.

:: Greater impact through selfless, sacrificial service.

:: More authentic relationships seen in love, unity and accountability.

:: Increasingly deeper intimacy with God.

:: Increased Prayer...truly be a people of prayer.

- "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray

 and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from 

heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be 

open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place." 

                                                                      2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Join us this evening at 6:30 for a time of prayer and encountering God! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Secret of Contentment

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.                    Philippians 4:12-13

The founder of a large newspaper used to put the following statement on his editorial page: "There is no hope for the satisfied man." He was right, for most of the achievements of the past century have come because someone was dissatisfied, not willing to accept things as they were. Someone believed that things could be better. Almost all of the achievements of medicine, science, literature, and the arts have come because people were dissatisfied with the status quo.

Satisfaction is the enemy of progress, but notice that being dissatisfied and being discontented are two entirely different matters. Most of the time we think of a person who is discontented with something as being dissatisfied, but that is not necessarily true. You can be dissatisfied with things as they are and try to improve them while you are still content and at peace with yourself and God in an imperfect world.

Is it possible? I believe that it is. Let me show you how. Paul, the writer of 13 New Testament books, and the one to whom we owe a great debt spiritually, was one of the history's most dissatisfied individuals, yet he had an emotional and spiritual equilibrium that kept him from breaking under the stress and pressures of life. Anyone who studies his life will agree that Paul was often a dissatisfied person. In his letter to the church at Philippi he said, literally, "Look, I have not arrived; I am not perfect, but I am going to do this very thing, namely, forgetting the things that are past, I'm going to press on towards my goal which is in Christ Jesus." He was also dissatisfied with his personal life--he constantly wanted to do better. He often felt that his best wasn't good enough.

In his letter to the Philippians he tells of the things that he could boast of-- his family background, his educational achievements, his prestige in the world, his intellect, yet he says, "Every advantage that I have gained, I consider loss for the sake of Christ." His dissatisfaction with himself and the world around him motivated him to press on, to do more, to take one more trip. But the big question is: "In a less than perfect world, is it possible to be content?" Paul says it is.

In the same letter that he spoke of his dissatisfaction, he said, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty." From the standpoint of logic, dissatisfaction and contentment just do not go together.

Paul himself tells us how to cope. In the very next sentence Paul said, "I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me." There it is: discontent with negative circumstance, yet content in the circumstances because of the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ. Paul spoke of this secret--if we could call it that--when he wrote to the Galatians, "I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20-21).

Two prepositions make the difference--with and in. When bad things happen, you are unhappy with the circumstances--the people who disappoint you, the tough breaks and disappointments, yet you can be content in times of distress and difficulty, knowing that your faith reaches beyond your disappointment, and that you see beyond the heartache which causes headaches and nervous breakdowns. This was Paul's secret; it can be yours as well.