Monday, June 18, 2012

June 19, 2012

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."  Acts 2:42-47

I met with my Leadership Team earlier this evening and I shared this thought with them: "We often feel that something in our church needs to change but we can't always identify what it is that needs to change."

Usually, what needs to change is me.

That has been the case from the very beginning of the Church. Jesus had told them to launch out into the world to win converts and make disciples, but He told them to wait and pray until they received the Holy Spirit. So, they did. And they did!

Now, remember for a moment that these people had seen the Risen Savior following His resurrection! And they had been there to watch when He ascended into Heaven. Both of those had to be extremely exciting events. And while they were memorable, they weren't life-altering experiences.

What you or I might have thought would be life-defining was inspiring but not transformational. Similarly, it is easy to buy into the idea that a different worship-style, or a new worship leader, or an adjustment to the church building, or moving the starting times or SOMETHING different to jump-start the morale of the church.

Sometimes those adjustments do work. Sometimes they don't.

But the biggest adjustment needs to happen in your heart and in my heart. What we need most is the Holy Spirit. His power and His presence in our lives. What needs to change is our heart and mind. What needs to change is our attempts at religiously tyring to earn God's favor and simply enter into a fresh spiritual relationship with Him.

It is interesting that those who offer the most opposition to fundamental spiritual change in a church are those who fancy themsleves the most religious among us. That was the case with the First Church in Acts and that generally is the case today.

What needs to happen in most churches is not a drastic change in programs or a pastoral change or a different style of music, what they need is a series of personal pentescosts in the hearts of the people!

Does your church need a pentecost experience?

Will you allow it to begin with you?

When was the last time you really sincerely sought the infilling of the Holy Spirit?

If it has been a long time - that is the first thing to change!

June 18, 2012

'Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers" Psalm 1:1

If you want to be blessed by God you must find a place in God's will. This verse gives some insights on how to do that.

First, be careful who you believe - "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked ...."

It is hard to get good advice from bad people. You are not likely to get godly advice from and ungodly person. How can you get trustworthy counsel from a person you can't trust?

Before you believe something ask yourself, "What does the Bible say?"

Be careful who you listen to. Ask yourself, "What is their life like?"

What are you filling your mind with? Always ask, "Can God honor this?"

Second, be careful how you behave - "....or stand in the way that sinners take...."

The old saying is, "Birds of a feather flock together." You will be judged by the company you keep.

If you are committed to doing the right thing you will not want to spend time with the wrong people.

Are the people you spend the most time with lifting you up or are they pulling you down? Do they draw you closer to God or do they pull you away?

Sow a thought and you reap and act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

If the friends you spend the most time with can impact your destiny, what sort of friends should you choose? Are they exhibiting the sort of behavior God can bless? Are they helping or hindering your behavior?

Third, be careful who you have for buddys - "or sit in the company of mockers"

If you want God's blessing, why would you develop close friendships with people who God is not able to bless? Wouldn't you be better off finding friends who share your faith and your values?

The easiest thing in the world is to be negative, and cynical, and sarcastic. It doesn't take a spiritual giant to recognize problems, but it does take a person of faith and conviction to come with ideas to solve it. If you want to have a positive attitude and a positive perspective on life, why would you spend your time around cynical and negative people?

If you want to be blessed and delivered from the struggles with sin in your life, some things need to be done to help you live in God's will, and learn in God's Word, and love in God's way.

Get wise godly counsel so you will believe right. Get grounded in God's Word so you will behave right. Get godly friends who can encourage and edify you in your faith.

Who are you listening to?

What are you learning from?

Who are you hanging around with?