Previous month:
September 2008
Next month:
November 2008

Posts from October 2008

Mike The Pastor

I may not be updating The Journey this weekend. I'm doing my part to help my friends, John and Sarah, get elected this Tuesday. 

Mike The Pastor

I'm just about sick of all the political ads, but I did want to share my favorite ad of the year... I don't care who you are, the following ad from Youtube has to give you goose bumps!

If I Had One Wish Today...

I woke up early this morning thinking about the church. What are we doing right? What areas do we need to improve? Where have we come from? Where are we headed? What are the things that hinder our growth? What changes could we make that would have the greatest impact on our church? What is the church's greatest need? I am thankful for our church but never satisfied with our progress.

During my devotions I read of Solomon's encounter with God at Gibeon. What an amazing passage of scripture!

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." 1 Kings 3:5

I wondered what I would ask for if God were to make this amazing offer to me. Solomon, of course, made the right decision. He asked for wisdom and as a result he was blessed with so much more than just wisdom. I could definitely use more wisdom. All of the questions about the church that run through my mind so often could be answered with the kind of wisdom God granted Solomon.

If God were to ask me this question about the church, how would I answer Him? If He were to offer to me anything for the church, what would I ask for? Would it be better finances? Better Attendance? Better Facilities? If He would grant me one request for the church what would it be?

This morning, I'm leaning towards asking God for men. We have some really good men at Harvest. The problem is that word 'some'. We need more men who will stand up and be men of God. Men who love God with everything! We need men who are faithful to God, to their families, and to their church. Men who study their Bibles and pray. Men who share their faith with others. We need men who are willing to work in the church. Tough men who don't run from challenges. We need men who are victorious over the enemy

We need men like Enoch, who walked with God (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5). Men like Abraham who followed God by faith (Hebrews 11:8-10). We need men like Moses who chose to suffer with God's people rather than take it easy in Pharaoh's home (Hebrews 11:24-28). We need men like Aaron and Hur who held Moses' arms up when he was weary (Exodus 17:8-13). Men like Joshua who led his family to serve God regardless of what others did (Joshua 24:15). We need men like Daniel who purposed in his heart to stay pure (Daniel 1:8). We need men like Peter, Andrew, James, and John who realized there was a greater calling (Matthew 4:18-22). If I could ask God for one thing these days it would be men who are willing to become men of God.

Again, we have some really great men at Harvest! We need more. We have lots of good men, what we need is for those good men to follow Jesus and become great men. 


Would 10% Make A Difference?

Bushcowboy Politics is everywhere today. Television, radio, news print, and water cooler talk. I mentioned today that I wont tell you who to vote for, unless you meet me at Starbucks and buy me a cup of coffee. I do think there are some critical moral issues at stake this November and Christians need to step up and vote!

One of the things that I keep hearing is that John McCain voted with President Bush 90% of the time. My question is, how often was President Bush wrong? Obviously, Obama feels that Bush was wrong more than 10% of the time? Was he wrong 20% of the time, or 30%, or more? Or was the president wrong 10% of the time as McCain would suggest? What percentage of the time should McCain have voted differently that the President? Should he have only agreed with Bush 80% of the time or should he have opposed the President 100% of the time? Come on! I really doubt that Bush was wrong 100% of the time.

OK, enough politics for now...

Weight Watchers challenges their members to lose 10% of their body weight as a first step to improving their health. That 10% weight loss has a huge impact on a persons health! I wonder if just improving different areas in our churches by just 10% would move our churches from being average to good, or good to great.

Could a 10% improvement in our churches make a difference? What is the difference between good and great? What if our attendance increased by 10% each year? What if we saw 10% more conversions each year? What if people gave 10% more each year? What if the churches' income increased by 10% next month? What if 10% more church members became actively involved in ministry each year? What kind of difference would 10% make?

Peace Out!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

We are studying through the book of 1 Corinthians on Thursday nights. This past week on of the things that really stood out to me was that Paul was still thankful for the Corinthians even though they were a very troubled church. If Paul could be thankful for the Corinthian Church then by all means we should be able to be thankful for our churches. We should be able to look at one another even with our faults and be thankful!

I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4

Paul expressed his thankfulness for people often in his letters. Consider the following examples...

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. Ephesians 1:15-16

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:3

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 1 Thessalonians 1:2

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 2 Timothy 1:3

I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. Philemon 1:4-5

The thing that struck me this past week was, 'How thankful are we for one another and how often do we express it?'. The truth is there are probably people all around us who we are extremely thankful for and yet we never take the time to express that to them. We might be more effective in ministry if from time to time we would just express our gratitude for those we are called to serve. Paul writes a pretty strong letter to the Corinthian Church but he opens the letter by simply expressing to them, "I always thank my God for you...".

I received a phone call this past week from Joel Pratt. Joel and his wife Joan were part of our church during our storefront days. Joel was our first pianist at Harvest. There was a period of time that they drove over an hour every Sunday to help us plant this church. Eventually, Joel retired and moved to Iowa. I am forever grateful to Joel and Joan for their faithfulness and work here at Harvest. Here's the deal though, Joel called me to thank me! He thanked me for my prayers, for not giving up on them, and for sticking with Harvest all these years. It really did make me feel great! I've been thinking about this for a few days now and the reality is, I should be thanking them! I am thankful, but I need to express that to them. I want them to feel as great as I did when he thanked me! There will be a letter in the mail on Monday.

Do you know someone that you might take the time to express gratitude for?

Serving One Another

The Path To Greatness, originally uploaded by CalPastor.

Our worship service this past Sunday was very special. I spoke from John 13:1-17 where Jesus took time after supper to wash the disciples' feet and set an example of humility and service for the church.

At the close of the service I washed one of our men's feet and prayed for him. I started to wash a second man's feet when another man interrupted and asked if he could wash the second man's feet. He washed his feet and prayed for the man. A father stepped forward and washed his teenage daughter's feet telling her how much he loved her and how blessed he was to have her as his daughter. I had intended to wash feet but was blessed when one of our men came forward and asked to wash my feet and pray for me. This was a very touching and emotional service.

As Free Will Baptists, we follow Christ's example and accept the 'Washing Of The Saints Feet' as an ordinance just like Baptism and The Lord's Supper. It is very important that we don't just 'wash feet' though in a church service but that we live in a way consistent with the symbolic act. I have challenged our church to go out and practice acts of service this week, to humble ourselves and take on the role of servants.

I can't wait to hear testimonies this week of all that God has done in our hearts as we took on the role of servant.