Friday, July 25, 2008

Christopher Laurie

Statement on the Passing of Christopher Laurie, Son of Pastor Greg Laurie
July 24, 2008
Christopher Laurie, son of Pastor Greg Laurie and Cathe Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, died Thursday morning in a car accident. A resident of Huntington Beach, Laurie, 33, served as the art director at Harvest Christian Fellowship for the past three years.

In addition to his parents, Christopher is survived by his wife, Brittany, and daughter, Stella, as well as his brother Jonathan. Christopher and his wife are expecting another daughter in November.

Memorial plans for Christopher are pending. More information will be posted to the Harvest website as details become available. You may pass along condolences and thoughts for the Laurie family by posting a comment on Pastor Greg's blog by clicking here.

In lieu of flowers, Harvest Christian Fellowship has established the Christopher Laurie Memorial Fund in memory of our friend, co-worker, family member, and brother in Christ. Proceeds from the fund will go to Brittany Laurie, Stella Laurie, and the soon-to-be daughter in order to assist them financially.

To make a donation to the Christopher Laurie Memorial Fund, you may make a credit card donation by clicking here. You can also make out a check to Harvest Christian Fellowship with the notation "Christopher Laurie Memorial Fund" on the memo line.

Personal Revolution: A Teaching on Revival

Churchgoers often lack a world view. We see our religion as being within four walls on Sunday morning. We fail to think about the reason why we are saved -- to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world! Most churches have annual revivals. These are week-long church services that typically have a theme of spiritual renewal. The problem is... in my experience... the renewal lasts no longer than the end of the service.

Some think of revival as an annual week of worship services. I see it as more. I consider revival to be something we should engage in on a daily basis. Why? Because sin occurs in our lives on a daily basis. And the need to share the gospel is in front of us on a daily basis.

Sin Occurs in Our Lives on a Daily Basis

I remember being on vacation... alone in a new city. While exploring the area surrounding my hotel, I noticed that there were a plethora of... shall we say... sinful establishments. Well, a man of God should not even consider going into such a place -- but I did. Why? That old sin nature comes creeping back when we least expect it. At first, I blew it off and continued with sightseeing. But after driving past several times... I had to stop and go inside to see what was what.

It didn’t take long before I found myself taking a trip to the spiritual woodshed... the Holy Spirit awakened me to my “Casual Christian” behavior and warned me to straighten up and fly right. I was grateful that the Lord caught me before I fell completely over the deep end -- and I marveled at how easy it was for me to dip my toe into the water and then take a big belly flop into the center of the pool!

The Lord reminded me that satan never sleeps... and his demons are continually working to get us to fall asleep spiritually so that our flesh can have its way. Now I understand the reason why the Lord Jesus said:

And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [[a]disown himself, [b]forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, [c]refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [[d]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [[e]from the penalty of eternal death].
Luke 9:23-24 (Amplified Bible)

Denying ourselves can be something as simple as giving up food or television for a season... or shutting in to seek God in prayer and study of His word. But I believe that we also need to deny those sins and weights that so easily beset us. To deny ourselves is to die to self. As Jesus died on the cross, we must take up our cross (spiritually speaking) and die to the lusts and sins and hatred and anger and temper tantrums that so easily beset us. And, as Jesus said in Luke chapter nine, it is something that should be done DAILY.

The Need to Share the Gospel Daily

Taking up our cross on a daily basis is necessary because we encounter temptation on a daily basis. It is also necessary because we encounter people every day and, for some, it may be their last moment on earth. I watched the execution of Saddam Hussein and thought --- wow, his soul is now in eternity. Whatever state he was in when that rope went around his neck, that will be the state in which he stands before the Almighty.

Not every person will walk handcuffed and shackled to a gallows. Some people will lay down and never rise again. Others will get into their automobile and wind up on a slab with a toe tag. Regardless of whether they live for a minute or a decade or more... they need to know about Jesus. We should be diligent to pray for boldness to not only tell them but also to show them by our lifestyles.

When I notice how easily a lie will slip out of my mouth... that is when I go before the Lord and pray Psalm 39:1 and Psalm 141:3-4. When I notice my temper flaring or my eyes wandering, I will seek the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit and pray Psalm 19:13-14 and Psalm 51:10-11. I want people to see Jesus in my actions... to hear Jesus in my words... and to feel Jesus as they interact with me.

We Die So That We May Live

It is very important for us to die to ourselves - to die to selfishness - so that we can be alive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As we die to self, we die to sin. And we are alive to fulfilling God’s plan for this world.

How often do we shrink away from God because we fear that He will ask us something that we don’t want to do. I am reminded of a Christian Comedy song “Please Don’t Send Me to Africa” by Scott Wesley Brown:

O Lord I’m your willing servant
You know that I have been for years
I’m here in this pew every Sunday and Wednesday
I’ve stained it with many a tear
I’ve given you years of my service
I’ve always given my best
And I’ve never asked you for anything much
So Lord I deserve this request

Please don’t send me to Africa
I don’t think I’ve got what it takes
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan
Don’t like lions, or rivers, or snakes
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don’t send me out in the bush
Where the natives are restless at night

I’ll see that the money is gathered
I’ll see that the money is sent
I’ll wash and stack the communion cups
I’ll tithe 11 percent
I’ll volunteer for the nursery
I’ll go on the youth retreat
I’ll usher, I’ll deacon, I’ll go door to door
Just let me keep warming this seat

Sometimes, that is the case. But we should not fear the leading and guidance from Above. I recall the story of a woman who was called to the mission field but she prayed that the Lord first give her a husband. Finally, she gave in to God’s will and went... only to find the man of her dreams was there on the mission field awaiting her arrival. Going overseas was not an imposition for this young woman. It was a great blessing. She just had to have her attitude adjusted.

Serving God is not a prison sentence. Don’t believe the lie that you should have fun first... and then lay it all down and serve God. The fact is, you will have the most fun and achieve the highest satisfaction when you are committed and submitted into the service of the King. After all, didn’t Jesus Himself tell us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light?

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ([a]relief and ease and refreshment and [b]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.(A) For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [c]good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
Matthew 11:29-30 (Amplified Bible)

The Myth of the Bacardi Party

God is not the way the world portrays Him. The world wants you to think that the devil gives you fun with parties... drunkenness... and “sexual freedom.” But John 10:10 tells us that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life in abundance, to the full, until it overflows. But why do people believe the opposite?

Look at the television commercials where people are having so much fun partying with their beer and wine coolers. The commercials fail to show those folks hour later, with their face in the toilet after puking their guts out.

Then, we see the advertisements that show people having so much fun smoking cigarettes. Forget the fact that the first puff will make you go blind for a second as your lungs clamp shut and your body goes into coughing convulsions. Eventually you’ll get use to it... at least, until they have to go in and remove a lung.

It is true that parties may be fun... until you look at your wallet and realize you have spent all your money. Getting drunk may be fun until the hangover comes. Having lots of sex without restriction may be fun until the doctor gives you a diagnosis of HIV positive.

God has a better plan for your life

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (Amplified Bible)

In the Four Spiritual Laws, we learn that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. We should add a fifth law. The devil hates you and has a horrible plan for your life! This would debunk the myth of the Bacardi party!

The Price of Freedom

God only wants you to have and enjoy life in abundance, to the full, until it overflows (see John 10:10). However, there is a price to pay.

We must be willing to live the life of holiness that He requires. And remember, it is not a heavy burden but, rather, freedom. Yet, for freedom to be born into your life... for anything to be born for that matter... there is labor. Our labor is to repent from our sins, our selfishness, our hatred and anger and desire for revenge. When our heart is broken before God, He will surely hear us.

My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17 AMP)

This means that we can’t be like religious hypocrites who stick their noses in the air and feel “holier than thou.” These are people who feel that they can march right into heaven and God will slap them on the back and say, “Atta boy!” No... we should maintain a humble, broken and contrite spirit as we realize how far we fall from God’s commands. Just like when I was tempted to go back and visit some of the things of the flesh... I had to turn away from that and humbly submit to the commandments of the Lord.

For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.
Isaiah 66:2 (Amplified Bible)

Humble Spirit Brings God Closer to You

When we humble ourselves, God sees and hears us. He has regard toward us.

For thus says the high and lofty One--He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].
Isaiah 57:15 (Amplified Bible)

God not only dwells billions of miles away in the heavens... he also is Jehovah Shammah, the God who is right there with the one who is of a thoroughly penitent heart. Do you have a humble and penitent heart? Then God is right with you at this very moment!

If you humble yourself and have an attitude of sorrow for your sins, God dwells with you. Read Psalm 91 to see all of the wonderful benefits of dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.

Humble Spirit Brings Blessings to You

Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous--[c]with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
Matthew 5:3 (Amplified Bible)

When we have that daily revival, we will find ourselves blessed, happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation -- regardless of the outward conditions of life. This happens when we humble ourselves... come down from our “holier than thou” high towers... and realize that we are sinful flesh, earthen vessels, in need of a Savior.

However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.
2nd Corinthians 4:7 (Amplified Bible)

How is God glorified? By our transcending our human weakness and frailness to be vessels of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Make it a point every day to get yourself right with God, and then be always ready to share the Gospel with others.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ben Stein's Testimony

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a church, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, tho u shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards.
Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Amen, Ben!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beyond Tabloids and TMZ... God's Judgment

Nothing is [so closely] covered up that it will not be revealed, or hidden that it will not be known. Whatever you have spoken in the darkness shall be heard and listened to in the light, and what you have whispered in [people's] ears and behind closed doors will be proclaimed upon the housetops. I tell you, My friends, do not dread and be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do.

Luke 12:2-4 (Amplified Bible)

There was a lot of buzz about some inappropriate photograps featuring Hannah Montana star, Miley Cyrus. She apologized for photos of her in her underwear, and in frisky poses. She also recanted the infamous photo shoot done with photographer Annie Leibovitz. But that isn’t the end for young Miss Cyrus.

The latest buzz on the internet is that Miley’s cell phone contained some rather salacious photographs... and that the phone was hacked by some cyber bandit who posted those photos all over the internet.

I guess what the Bible says is right... what is done in secret will soon be proclaimed. However, it is not as simple as somebody hacking your phone.

Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Romans 14:9-11 (Amplified Bible)

Man may hack your phone, but man is not the ultimate judge. God is. Standing before the press and news media is one thing... but standing before God’s judgment seat is no joke.

We hope that you have your life right with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, why whom we are saved. If not, ask Jesus to come into your heart as Savior and Lord. You may still be hounded by phone hackers... but you will be safe from the hounds of hell.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What If There Is a Hell?

Note: This article comes from Acts International

Hell! Not a popular topic by any stretch of the imagination. And these days it isn’t a popular or politically correct topic to preach, write or talk about as if it were a reality. For many, hell is a place they hope doesn’t exist and if it does, they don’t expect to go there. For others, hell is a figment of the imagination from outdated folklore, or a place to curse people to whom you don’t like. Many believe that death ends all.

Think of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina that caused the city of New Orleans to be hopelessly flooded so that thousands were stranded and many lost their lives. How unthinkable it would have been had the city known about the impending disaster and not warned the people to evacuate the city. How tragic it was for those who could have left but failed to heed the repeated warning. How much greater the tragedy not to let people know about the warning that God’s Word has clearly given for all to flee from the wrath of hell to come.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than Hell … but it has the full support of Scripture and specifically of Jesus’ very own words.” In fact, Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven. He said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”1

The Bible describes hell as a place of utter darkness … also as a lake of fire that burns day and night forever. Whether this is literal or figurative I do not know. What we do know is that Jesus described hell as a place of eternal torment. It is a place that was prepared for the devil and his fallen angels/demons—a place to where those who have never received forgiveness for their sins will be banned forever. It’s not that God sends us to hell but that we send ourselves there when we don’t heed God’s warning and receive his forgiveness for all our sins and his gift of eternal life.

Eugene P. Harder shared how, “In his book titled, To Hell and Back, Cardiologist Maurice Rawlings recounts the startling near-death experience of a patient taking a cardio stress test on a treadmill.

“The patient became breathless and began to sweat profusely. The monitor showed a dangerous rapid heartbeat. This was followed by a long pause in the beat and then by a flat line. Charlie’s heart had stopped, his eyes rolled up in his head and he fell.

“One of the nurses breathed ‘the kiss of life into Charlie’s lungs.’ Another nurse started the IV but the heart would not beat properly. A temporary pacemaker was needed. Whenever Dr. Rawlings stopped pushing Charlie’s chest to adjust the pacemaker, his heart would stop. Charlie’s eyes would roll up and he would turn blue.

“This time when Charlie’s heart re-started he was screaming the words, ‘I’m in hell! I’m in hell!’ Hallucinations, Dr. Rawlings thought. Most victims scream, ‘take your big hands off me, you’re breaking my ribs.’

“But Charlie was saying the opposite: ‘Don’t stop! Don’t stop. Every time you let go I’m back in hell!’

“When conscious, Charlie begged the Doctor to pray for him. Dr. Rawlings said, ‘I felt downright insulted. In fact, I told him to shut up. I said I was a doctor, not a minister and not a psychiatrist. The nurses looked at me as if to say, “Do something!’”

“So I composed this make-believe prayer to keep Charlie off my back. ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God, keep me out of hell. If I live, I’m on the hook. I’m yours. Say it Charlie!’

“Charlie said the prayer and then a very strange thing happened that changed both the Doctor’s and Charlie’s lives. Dr. Rawlings said, ‘A religious conversion experience took place. I had never witnessed one before. Charlie was no longer the wild-eyed, screaming, combative lunatic who had been fighting me for his life. He was relaxed and calm and cooperative. “

“‘It frightened me. I was shaken by the events. Not only had that make-believe prayer saved Charlie McKaig, but it got me too. It was a conviction that to this day I cannot explain. Since then, Charlie has outlived three permanent pacemakers. It’s difficult to believe that my simple prayer opened the road to both Charlie’s and my own salvation.’

“Dr. Rawlings [not a crackpot by any means] was a specialist in cardiovascular diseases at the Diagnostic Center and area hospitals of Chattanooga. He served in both the Army and the Navy and became chief of cardiology at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. He was the personal physician at the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which included Generals Marshall, Bradley, Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower. In civilian life Dr. Rawlings was appointed to the National Teaching Faculty of the American Heart Association, specializing in teaching methods for the retrieval of patients from sudden death.”2

A study of near-death cases by Dr. Rawlings was also reported in Omni magazine. “It is no longer unusual to hear about people who have almost died who speak of seeing a bright light, lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives and experiencing a deep sense of peace. However, Dr. Rawlings obtained additional information from his patients by interviewing them immediately following resuscitation while they were very much in touch with their experience.

“Dr. Rawlings says that nearly fifty percent of the 300 people that he has interviewed have reported lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell. Rawlings says that these people later change their story because they don’t want to admit where they’ve been, not even to their families. ‘Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life,' claims Dr. Rawlings. ’there is a life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die.’3

Of one thing we can be certain and that is that death happens to us all as nobody gets out of this place alive. Life can be dreadfully uncertain. A friend’s husband was on his motorbike when a dog ran out at him. Trying to dodge the dog he fell from his bike and was killed. Last month another friend’s 49-year-old wife died of cancer. Last week a long-term friend of my wife’s died suddenly of a heart attack. Two months ago my oldest sister died. I wrote today to another friend whose husband died suddenly in his sleep. He was in his early to mid-40s.

How foolish it is to make all sorts of preparation for this life but none for the next. Time and again God has warned us in his word that there is a heaven for all who have accepted God’s forgiveness and a hell for all who haven’t. As Jesus said, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”4 And, “If anyone’s name was not found written in [God’s] book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”5

As God warned ancient Israel, his word also applies to us today: “Prepare to meet your God.”6 God’s Word also reminds us that, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”7Also, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”8

It’s not God’s will that anyone should go to hell—whatever and wherever it may be. We know that heaven is where God is so we can be certain that hell is where God—the author of all love and life—isn’t. He has given his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins so we can be freely forgiven and delivered from hell. So whatever you do don’t neglect God’s warning regarding the terrible doom of hell for all who have never accepted Jesus as their Savior, and God’s forgiveness and gift of eternal life.

Accepting Jesus as your Savior and God’s forgiveness is God’s “passport into heaven.” Whatever you do don’t leave earth without it. And don’t leave it until it is too late to “apply for it.” You can receive your “passport for heaven” today by accepting God’s invitation to come to him by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. For assistance to do this click here.

1. Matthew 10:28, (NIV). 2. Eugene P. Harder, "Positive Praying for People in Danger Pastor," Sermon, April 20, 1996. New Hope Community Church, 3. Aaron Burgess. “Winning the Lost," Sermon,, 4. Matthew 13:49-50, (NIV). 5. Revelation 20:15, (NIV). 6. Amos 4:12, (NIV). 7. Hebrews 9:27, (NKJV). 8. 2 Peter 3:9, (NKJV).

By Richard (Dick) Innes

Family Feud

“For it has been declared... that there are contentions among you... each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
(1st Corinthians 1:11-13 and 3:3)

i used to be a Catholic
Go to mass each week
i’d sit for 15 minutes
hear the father speak
i’d see all the heretics
i thought that they were blind
i’d just say, “forget them”
now, it’s “Miller Time!”

You ain’t a Christian
if you don’t do what i do
Put up your fists then
it’s time for Family Feud

i used to be a Baptist
on the mourners bench
we’d hear the word for hours
(and) then go ride the fence
i’d see all the Methodists
“Hey man, you are so blind!
Y’better come to my church.
Pastor’s wife is fine!”

You ain’t a Christian
if you don’t do what i do
Put up your fists then
it’s time for Family Feud

i was a Charismatic
danced and jumped the pew
we’d carry on till sunset
we would bind and loose
scorned the cold, dead churches
(they) never call The Name
they can’t speak in tongues... oh,
what a crying shame!

You ain’t a Christian
if you don’t do what i do
Put up your fists then
it’s time for Family Feud

Now i follow Jesus
and the gospel way
no more criticism
there’s no more selfish hate
i don’t preach religion
or my own belief
i give the Spirit freedom
never cause Him grief

You ain’t a Christian
if you fuss and fight and feud
Let’s walk in love then
Let’s put on Jesus’ shoes

If you’re forgiven
you have the same to do
Let’s not be carnal
give up the Family Feud!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Starvation Diet

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
(Matthew 5:6)

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
(Hebrews 5:14)

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth...”
(Colossians 3:5)

i’ve been starving the sprit… i was fasting the wrong man…
i gave place to the devil… opened up to the strong man

Was an ignorant fool, and didn’t yield to the Spirit
closed my ears to His word, and i tried hard not to hear it

Got so fat in my flesh, I was in danger of dying
then i heard an alarm (say) “Boy, you gonna be frying”

So i cried out to Jesus and i turned from my sin
like a baby, i’ve stumbled since i’ve been born again

But now, i fast the flesh no more starving the spirit
listen close to His word and i always will hear it

Gonna be a true victor in this war against sin
No more fasting my spirit Dedicate it to Him

No more fasting the spirit no more starving the new man
gonna be like my Jesus crucifying the old man

gonna be like my Jesus crucifying the old man

gonna be like my Jesus crucifying the old man

now dead to sin, I’m outta here...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Word from Pastor Rick

We received the following message from Pastor Rick von Eye of The Way of Christ Ministry. We thought we would share Pastor Rick’s inspirational words with everybody:

Isaiah 54:17 (CEV)

Weapons made to attack you
won't be successful;
words spoken against you
won't hurt at all.
My servants, Jerusalem is yours!
I, the LORD, promise
to bless you with victory.

Jeremiah 15:20 (CEV)

because I am making you strong,
like a bronze wall.
They are evil and violent,
but when they attack,

Romans 8:37 (CEV)

In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.

God’s promise to Isaiah and Jeremiah carries over to us today. When you dedicate your heart to serve God in whatever way you are capable of and in turn strive for the heart of a servant that Jesus Christ had toward us, then you will see in your life evidence of the heritage of a servant of the LORD. You will see God’s deliverance & protection, and His providence to you is your witness to the world that our God has made you in all things more than a conqueror because you serve Him.

Isaiah 42:13 (CEV)

The LORD is marching out
like an angry soldier,
shouting with all his might
while attacking his enemies.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

It Is Enough

Let us consider Gideon, a man of faith, who the Spirit of the Lord was upon to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Medianites. With an army of just 300 men, God gave him victory over all his enemies and through him reconciled all Israel unto Himself (see Judges, chapters 6, 7, 8 & 9). And, also, there was the faith of Samson, the “Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily,” and he, with only the jawbone of a dead donkey, slew one thousand of his enemies. Consider the deadness of his weapon, certainly there was no power in it; yet, by grace working through faith, God gave him the victory (see Judges 15:14-15).

And there was David, a shepherd boy, whom God had chosen to be victorious over Goliath and to be king over all Israel. David knew, by faith, he had a covenant with the one and only true God. He bore the sign of that covenant in his body, the circumcision of the unclean flesh. See the faith of David as he removed the armor of Saul and picked five stones to slay the giants of the Philistine armies. Why did David pick five stones? Goliath had four brothers and David knew that God would deliver them all into his hand; thus he picked one stone for each giant (see 2nd Samuel 21:22).

And again, witness the faith of David as he spoke to Goliath and the Philistine army saying, “--‘You come to me with a sword and a spear, and a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1st Samuel 17:45-47)

The Spirit of grace was upon David and God delivered Goliath into his hands (see 1st Samuel 17:1-54).

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of host. What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become like a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it’!” (Zechariah 4:6ff-7)

Not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of grace working through faith the mountains before God’s children become like a plain; victory belongs to God’s covenant people.

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ And they said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one. For I tell you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me. ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’, for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’ And they said, ’Lord, look, here are two swords; And He said to them, ‘IT IS ENOUGH’.” (Luke 22:35-38)

Here, Jesus is telling His disciples that circumstances are about to change from a somewhat peaceful surroundings to a more hostile environment. The attitudes of the peoples are about to be much different than when He sent them out without any provisions. As His followers they would not be received kindly, but they must remember as it was before when He sent them out, they would not lack in anything. He is telling them to be prepared to meet the enemy.

Jesus does not want those of us who love Him to feel helpless, but yet, He does not want us relying upon our own earthy treasures and weapons; for their treasures and weapons are useless against the evil powers of the spiritual forces. The battle is His and He will give His people the victory. His love ones only need to be strong in Him and the strength of His might; to “stand firm” in the things He has taught us, and to exchange our robe of the flesh for the robe of the Spirit; which is the “full armor of God.” He desires that we pray for one another, “be on the alert” and have faith in Him. And it is of utmost importance that we remember to gird up our loins with the truth and set our minds on the things of the Spirit and not on the things of the flesh. Also remembering to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and walk in the truth and in the gentleness and kindness that His peace brings. Take up the shield of faith and put on the breastplate of righteousness for the preserving of life, and wear the helmet of salvation for the securing of the soul (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Just as Gideon and his army of only 300 men, Samson, with the jawbone of a donkey, David and his five stones overcame their enemies, likewise, those who wear the armor of God will overcome, “not by might, nor by power,” but by two living and active weapons; “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” and by the prayer of faith; --two swords---IT IS ENOUGH!!!

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world---our faith.” (1st John 5:4)

James C Sanford

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
(Luke 14:33)

One year ago
i wanted to be known
For all my talents and my gifts

to be recognized and praised
by the people

and receive the fruits
sown by my flesh

That was oh, so long ago
an eternity it seems

Now that Jesus is true Lord
i gave away my dreams

Oh, yes

all my dreams just fade away like dust
in the light of
true commitment to the God i trust

One year ago
i wanted to be lord
over my life and wear a crown

and give God a little place
in the corner

where I’d visit Him
from time to time

That was not so long ago
only yesterday, it seems

But today i serve the Lord
submit to Him, my King

Oh, yes

all my dreams just fade away like dust
(in the light of)
true commitment to the God i trust