He Knew Me, He Consecrated Me, He Called Me

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Jeremiah 1:5
(ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

The words of the Lord are so amazing! The Lord says "Before I formed you...I knew you" then He says "I consecrated you" and finally He says "I appointed you". These words bring joy to my soul, especially when I keep them in this order. He knows me, or loves me just because! Then he claims me as His very own. And then, because He loves me and has claimed me, He provides a place for me to serve Him.

One of the great dangers in ministry is forgetting that God knew you before He called you. Don't forget that God knew you and loved you long before you took on your current ministry role and He will love you regardless of how successful you feel or how long you serve in that position. Are you cultivating your relationship with the Lord? Are you taking time out of your busy schedule to simply be with the God who knew you, consecrated you, and called you? Is it time for you to take a morning off and spend it alone with God over a cup of coffee, your Bible, and a journal? Let us not be guilty of pointing people to a God we have neglected to spend time with ourselves.

1 Corinthians 9:26–27 (The Message) — 26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.


The Pastor's Wife

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My wife and I spent an evening this past week doing a little counseling with another married couple. During the course of our conversation I mentioned to them that couples should never stop dating each other. Married couples need to set aside time each week to go out. I mentioned that when they go out they should ask each other what they needed to do to be a better husband or a better wife. Who better to tell you how to be a better husband than your own wife? Who better to tell you how to be a better wife than your husband? The truth is we might be surprised by our mate's answers.

I've been thinking about that conversation for the last few days. There are lot's of people who offer up opinions on what makes a great pastor's wife. The Bible says nothing really about the role of 'Pastor's Wife' but it is very clear about what a wife should be. I think the best person to define what makes a great pastor's wife might be the pastor.

God has blessed me with a wonderful wife. I can't imagine doing ministry without her by my side. What is expected of her as the pastor's wife? It's very simple really, just be my wife. She fulfills that role expertly. She is my best friend, my counselor, my honey, my confidant, the mother of my children, she is my everything. I'm sure that she is very special, there is no doubt in my mind that God gives special grace to some women that enables them to be great pastor's wives.

A few days ago I woke around 6:00 a.m. to the sound of quiet voices. Kathy and Beth were huddled near the wall furnace outside our bedroom door reading the scripture and praying. A warm feeling came over me as I listened to my wife gracefully fulfill her role as 'the pastor's wife'. Later that night we went for a drive and grabbed a cup of coffee and I shared some burdens I was carrying. She lovingly assured me that God would show me what to do and would make a way. Again, she was fulfilling the role of 'pastor's wife' and doing a great job.

It is very important that we understand that the pastor's wife is just that, she is the pastor's wife not the churches' wife. Pastor's must passionately protect their wives from being pulled in too many directions. God gave our wives to us and we are to love and protect them. Our ministry must never come at the expense of our wife or family.


We Need More Male Models In The Church

Zoolander_001_copyThis past week, Kathy and I went to PANERA BREAD in Vacaville one morning to pray and plan. We were both doing our thing in the scriptures. I let out a frustrated sigh and said, "This is ticking me off!". I have been reading about King David and his mighty men and it is very good stuff, but I was getting frustrated trying to figure out who the three were, the thirty were, who the commanders were, the captains, and the chiefs. It was early and I had only had one cup of coffee.

She lovingly looked at me and asked, "What's wrong?" I explained. She then asked very inquisitively, "So, you're mad at the Bible?" "Yes...kind of...it's just confusing me right now". She looks at me, touches my hand gently, looks me in the eyes, and says, "You do know that God wrote that book, right?" I excused myself to go retrieve another cup of coffee.

ANYWAY...

Then the spirit came upon Amasai, [who was] chief of the captains, [and he said], Thine [are we], David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace [be] unto thee, and peace [be] to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band. (1 Chronicles 12:18 KJV)

The English Standard Version reads, "The Spirit of the Lord clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty..."

What does it look like to be clothed with the Spirit of the Lord? I'm sure we would all look much better dressed in the Holy Spirit! Clothing does several things for us. Clothes cover our imperfections and make us look better. I'm all for covering up this earthly vessel. Clothes protect us from the elements keeping us warm when the world around is is cold and covered when the sun beats down on us. Only in the Garden of Eden would the environment have been gentle enough for this wimp to run around exposed. Clothes also keep this world a lot more um...um...CLEAN! LESS GROSS! We'll just leave it at that.

Being clothed with the Holy Spirit does the same things for us on a spiritual level. When we are clothed with the Holy Spirit our imperfections just don't seem to stand out as bad. They are still there, but the Holy Spirit does such a great job of covering. When we are clothed with the Holy Spirit we are kept warm when the world around us is hot or cold. We are insulated by the Holy Spirit. When we are clothed with the Holy Spirit the world is just a cleaner, less sickening place. God please clothe us today with your Holy Spirit.

What do these clothes look like? Look at Amasai after he is clothed buy the Spirit of the Lord.

  1. He is COMMITTED, "THINE ARE WE" he says to David. I'm convinced that when people are covered with the Holy Spirit they have no problem being committed. Committed to Christ. Committed to one another. Committed to the Church. Committed!
  2. He is COOPERATIVE, "On thy side" he tells David. When we are clothed with the Holy Spirit we are willing to work with and for the Lord. We cooperate with Him to fulfill His great commission. Jesus said that we would either be "with him" or "against him".
  3. He is CONSIDERATE, "Peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers". When people are covered in the Holy Spirit they not only love the KING, they love HIS helpers. John said we CANNOT love God and hate our brothers.

If we want to be mighty men, like the men that helped David ascend to his throne, then we must be clothed with the Spirit of the Lord. Let's all be models of the Holy Spirit's line of clothing!

(Someone just asked if the picture in this post was me without a beard...WHAT? I'm not sure quite how to take that, but for the record it is Ben Stiller's character, Zoolander)


My Radar For 2007

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There are several things on my radar for the new year. I'm very excited about the future here at Harvest! Here's a quick list of stuff I'm excited about as we launch into 2007...

  • Increased Emphasis On Outreach (We are missionaries to our culture!)
  • Financial Peace University (I'm tired of seeing families beat down by debt!)
  • Better Communication (Website, Newsletter, Sermon CDs)
  • Harvest Cafe (This will be a cool place for small group studies!)
  • New Member's Class (Discovering what it means to be a member at Harvest.)
  • Teacher Training Classes (Equiping God's people to serve!)
  • Five Star Church (God's House should be The House!)

You ready to rock and roll? Let's make 2007 the best year ever for Harvest!


"Smiles, Everyone, Smiles"

Happyface_happyface_smiley_2400x2400_2 Is it just me or does it seem like smiles are few and far between these days? Is it the stress of the holiday season, the turning economy, or the war in Iraq that has robbed us of our smiles? I am a people watcher. I could sit in Starbucks and just watch people all day. I spent a couple hours this week studying in our newest Starbucks and that's what I noticed. Very few people smile anymore.

Smiles are contagious! Even the silly little smiley face makes me smile as I'm writing this. The next time you go out, make it a point to smile at people. Most people will smile right back at you, some will think you are up to something and get away from you. Not bad, the happy people will smile back and the grumpy people will get out of the way. Worth experimenting.

If we're not smiling it's assumed that we're not happy. I know that's not always accurate, but like it or not, that's the assumption. Then the questions start. Who are we mad at? What are we sad about? What's bothering us? On and on they go. If we're happy, then why not show it? If we're not, then why not fix it? One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy! As believers we should display outwardly the joy that we have inwardly so that others will be drawn to Christ. We used to sing a song in Sunday School  that said "If You're Happy and You Know It..." clap your hands, stomp your feet, say amen. Here's an idea! If Fantasyislandc10042195_1you're happy and you know it...SMILE!

I want all of our staff at Harvest to smile this Sunday! Smile big! Smile proud! So many people come to church beat down and worn out by this world and I think they deserve a smiling face meeting them at the door, sitting next to them in the pew, looking out at them from the platform.

I may even wear a white suit like Mr. Roarke and say, "Smiles, Everyone, Smiles".


We Need Leaders!

Davidheadgoliath Today was awesome! One of the highlights of my day was watching, Bambi, one of our newest Christians host a birthday party for her little girl. It is so exciting to see people enjoy the abundant life that Christ has given them.

I continued my series of messages entitled 'The Colors of Christmas'. The first week I spoke on depression, "Avoiding a Blue Christmas" today I spoke about materialism, "Getting The Green Out Of Christmas", and next week I will speak on keeping romance in marriage, "How To Have A Red Christmas". It's been fun using some unusual Christmas songs with each message, 'Blue Christmas', 'Santa Baby', and who knows what we might hear this Sunday?

I had a blast speaking to our teens tonight. I think I got a little too excited during the message and strained my voice. I spoke about David and Goliath. Teens are facing giants all the time and we have some victorious teens at Harvest. Many of our young people are actively involved in the ministry. 

Three words come to mind when I think of David and his conflict with Goliath.

  1. Interest - David took an interest in what was happening at the front lines of the battle. He took notice of Goliath and his taunting challenge. We need young people who are aware of what is going on around them. Teens that will take an interest in the lives of other teens. Leadership begins by getting interested.
  2. Involvement - David got involved! He could not stand idly by while the enemy ravaged the armies of Israel. We need young people to get involved in reaching out and ministering to young people. It's easy to just go to youth group and not get involved, but when we get involved God uses us to accomplish great things. Giants are defeated when we get involved.
  3. Influence - David was an influencer not influenced. We need young people to step up and be a positive influence to others. John Maxwell once defined leadership as influence. When David defeated Goliath he influenced the entire army of Israel. Soldiers who were previously hiding behind rocks and bushes, shouted and pursued the Philistines.

Well, there you have it! This was my message to Harvest's youth tonight. I had a blast speaking to them. It is exciting to dream about what God will do with these young people in the years to come.