Just in case

Just in case you missed the live-feeds of Dr. Warrick yesterday, here’s a brief synopsis…..

Reverend Warrick began our REVIVAL services yesterday with a simple question. 

“How big is your God?” 

That seemed like a relatively easy question to answer, until we started to think about and he continued talking.  How big IS your God?  Is He big enough to handle the day to day problems you face?  What about the crises that come into your life?  Is He big enough to change your life?  That one is up to you.

Rev. Warrick reminded us that we serve a God who is immeasurable.  There is no one greater!  He is the God of the impossible.  He created everything! 

The next statement that grabbed everyone’s attention was even bolder.

“We are all exactly where we want to be in our walk with God.”

WHAT?  How is that possible?  Dr. Warrick went on to explain using Matt. 5:6 –

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 

Are you hungry?  Are you thirsty?  Then you are on the right path.

If you have lost your appetite then Dr. Warrick maintains you are one of three things.  You are: 

                        1.  Sick

                        2.  Dying

                        3.  Dead

If you are “all good with God” then you belong in one of those three categories.  You are sick, dying or already dead in the Lord.  You have hardened your heart, closed your ears, your eyes and your mind to God.  You have sealed off your soul.  While this might be a comfortable place to be right now, today, it’s not a wise place to be when weighed against eternity.

The wise place to be is that in which God is first in all things.  First in your thoughts when you wake, first in your conversation each day and first in your mind as you go out into the world for whatever your schedule holds.  When God is first, all else will follow.  He has promised that in His Word and He never ever breaks His Word.

If you want MORE of what God has for you, if you want Him to have MORE of you, please join us tonight at 6:30 p.m. as Dr. Warrick continues his message of REVIVAL for Cove Church of the Nazarene.

REVIVAL

This is just a quick reminder that REVIVAL starts tomorrow morning. Please join us at 10:55 to hear from Dr. J.K. Warrick. He will be speaking to us again at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Monday through Wednesday evenings Dr. Warrick will be bringing us the Good News at 6:30 p.m.

When we no longer feel that we desperately need God, He can no longer use us as He wills. Look into your heart. If you aren’t feeling that urgent need, perhaps you’ve become too comfortable, or are relying on something or someone other than God. While comfort is a nice place to visit, its not always a good place to live. Think about David and how the ease of palace life disrupted his life.

REVIVAL services are an effective way of bringing us back to the hunger for Him that we need to be feeling. Please pray earnestly for a true revival in our church and then come hear what God has given Dr. Warrick to share with us.

Who Told You?

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.” —John 1:35-37

I recently read that currently 2.2 billion people worldwide identify themselves as Christians. That is an impressive number, especially considering the many Christians that have previously walked this earth and have gone on to glory in the last 2,000 plus years. However, one must remember that even though Christianity began with a small following, prompted by the Holy Spirit and by word of mouth, followers of Jesus passed on the good news about Him being the Messiah to the people who crossed their paths. 

In John 1:35-51, John the Baptist points two of his own disciples to Jesus as Jesus passed by. These two men, Andrew and John, decided to follow Him to where He was staying.

After spending several hours with Jesus, they were both convinced He was the Messiah and that nothing would be the same ever again.

Soon after, the first thing Andrew did was to tell his brother Peter about his encounter with Jesus. Later, Jesus also met with Phillip, who went on to tell his friend Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew) about Jesus. These five men (Andrew, John, Peter, Phillip, and Nathanael) were the first disciples of Jesus.

As we see in Scripture, the men who followed Jesus simply told their family and friends about Him. They knew that something about Jesus had changed their lives, and they wanted other people around them to have that experience as well. All they did was to simply invite, “Come, see for yourself” (v. 46, NLT).

This simple task of spreading the Good News is as effective today as it was for Andrew and John. Now, regardless of the many resources available to spread the gospel at a faster pace, modern-day Christians sometimes fail to take up this task consistently and seriously. We make excuses and shy away from sharing the story of our Savior with others. We worry about inappropriateness in certain settings, inconvenience, and lack of receptivity from our listeners. In a way, by focusing on our comforts, aren’t we wasting opportunities to share the Good News with the people we encounter daily?

The apostle Peter reminds followers of Christ to have a sense of urgency when it comes to telling others the hope they have in Jesus (see 1 Peter 3:15).

Who is the first person that told you about Jesus Christ? I remember the days my mom would sit with me at the kitchen table sharing the love of Jesus. Those conversations are etched in my memory. She did this with me in the same way her father (my grandfather) did it with her. The knowledge and understanding of who I am in Christ and my life’s purpose is the greatest treasure I could have. I am eternally thankful to my mother for carrying on the tradition of sharing faith.

Sadly, many people have never had these types of intimate conversations with anyone. The body of believers has the opportunity to fill this void. Cross-generational relationships in the church can help encourage evangelism and discipleship—small but important actions that are desperately needed for those who may not know the truth about Jesus.

Sending someone a note, extending a phone conversation, or taking him or her to lunch is a great way to make a Kingdom impact in that person’s life. Some might say these are basic ideas, and I agree—but the key is to follow through. “Knowing” and “doing” are two different aspects. So, seize the day! A genuine interest in another person’s life and family is an important step to sharing Jesus’ love.

Do you remember the person who introduced you to Jesus? Do you truly understand what this person did for you when he or she shared Jesus’ love with you? Make an effort to be that person for someone else today. Could you and I be an Andrew, a John, a Peter, a Phillip, or a Nathanael? It can make all the difference in the kingdom of God!

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for the person (or persons) who told me about you. Today, I pray that you would put someone on my heart to whom I can tell about you. Guide and direct me as I intentionally invest in another person’s life, so that person would know how much Jesus loves and cares. Amen.

Bob Buck is senior pastor of Liberty Church of the Nazarene in Liberty, MO, USA.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.

Stop! Fast! Pray!

No, don’t stop fast and pray. 

What do you do to while away your free time?  Our time wasters are often things we don’t even give conscious thought to.  Most of us check out social media, talk or text on the phone, play video games, watch t.v., read, eat, nap, and find other ways to fill space in our days.  Sometimes that space is just a few minutes of down time.  Sometimes it can be hours that get sucked away.

What if you stopped that time sucker for a time?  Just give it up and walk away from it for a short or long period that you determine.  Another way to say this would be to fast from this activity.  Fasting is one of those terms that scares most folks enough that they stop listening  when its mentioned.  Or panic, like I do. 

Fasting is a very old term.  Most of us feel hunger pangs just hearing the word.  But it doesn’t always mean you have to give up food.  It does mean giving something up and replacing it with something more important.  It does mean you have to choose to give up something that is important to you.  So, if social media is what you enjoy spending time doing, that would be what you choose to give up.  Don’t panic.  It’s not forever.  Most fasts are for a set period of time, with a specific goal in mind. 

In this case, the goal of the fast would be to replace the time killer with specific prayer for revival and renewal of Jesus’ church.  Hopefully you already have a prayer time in your day.

Pastor Ann has been teaching on Keys of the Kingdom: forgiveness, humility and prayer.  This week she’ll be bringing us a message about how the Key of fasting works.  Find out what she has to say on Sunday morning at 10:55.  In the meantime, please pray for revival in Jesus’ church.

Keys of Effective Prayer

This week Pastor Ann will continue her series on the Kingdom of God.  She will be expanding on the Key of prayer as she takes us back to 1 John.   As we learn about prayer we discover that there are some basic rules for our prayers to be effective.  Prayer is an extremely powerful tool.  It is one of the keys that can open or shut the door of heaven, as Jesus said in Matt 16:19. 

There are two Keys we need in place to strengthen the Key of prayer.  The first is the Key of forgiveness.  Pastor Ann reminded us of the Lord’s prayer which says in part “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” Matt. 6:12.  If we are unwilling to forgive others, or to seek forgiveness from others, our Father isn’t going to forgive us. 

The second Key is humility.  This is a difficult one for most of us.  Our culture no longer teaches this attribute as something desirable.  Humility  involves letting go of our pride and giving all the glory to God whenever we win. 

When we have forgiveness in our hearts alongside humility, our prayers become what they were meant to be.  Potent.  Powerful.  Pleasing to God.  They work to impact life on earth as we beg God to do something.  They release our dominion to Him, that “His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10.

Pastor Ann will be bringing His message at the 10:55 worship service.  Please consider joining us in the sanctuary or on FB live-stream. 

Doorkeepers

What comes to your mind when someone says doorkeeper?  I see a middle aged gentleman in uniform, complete with cap and white gloves.  You know that image.  They are bastions in every large city, whether they stand at the door of an apartment/condo building or a fine hotel.  They guard the door.  They open it for those who should enter or wish to leave and bar it from those who are not recognized as belonging.

If you followed Pastor Ann’s sermon last Sunday, you’ll see right away where my imaginary doorman is wrong.  Can you see what might be right with that image?

WE, believers in Christ, are doorkeepers. This is an amazing, frightening prospect.  We hold the key to open or close the door to Jesus’ Kingdom.  This key is prayer.  When we pray, according to His will, we open the door and invite Him into the world.  We keep the door closed if prayer isn’t part of what we do.

We have the key.  We have access to the door.   We can choose to change the world by using that key, or we can continue to watch it disintegrate before our eyes. 

What choice will you make today?

What about prayer?

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t know how to pray “out loud.”  It’s made me wonder if they know how to pray at all.  Prayer based in faith is one of the most powerful tools we are given.  With prayer comes forgiveness, healing, growth, wisdom and peace.  Most of the folks I’ve met would like at least one of these, if not all.  I want them.

We need to learn what prayer is, when to pray, how to pray and why we pray.  Prayer is honest, heartfelt communication with God.  It is seeking Him.  Prayer can be praise for His creation, for His blessings, for His being.  It can be a request for something that we or another need.  Prayer can be private or corporate. We should pray when we’re celebrating and when we’re mourning.  We should pray when we get up and go to bed.  We should pray throughout our day as we consider all that is around us.

What prayer cannot be is empty words.  Jesus taught about prayer in Matthew 6. He stated plainly that shouting on the street corners and meaningless repetition were not the way to reach God.  Prayer that is without faith, without love of the Lord will not be heard, will not be answered.  Mark 11:22 tells us plainly what Jesus said. “Have faith in God.” In verse 24, He continues: “For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

For further learning and clarification on the meaning and purpose of prayer, I encourage you to join us Sunday morning as Pastor Ann continues her sermon series on the Kingdom Keys.  If you can’t make it into the sanctuary, please consider the Facebook live-stream.

You Are Not Your Own

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In the contemporary world, the phrase “you are not your own” sounds almost offensive to many people from the post-modern culture. Advertisements keep telling us that we are the owners of our lives, we have to choose the best for ourselves first, and that nobody is allowed to tell us what to do with our bodies or our lives.

What is the apostle Paul trying to tell us in his epistle to the Corinthians and particularly in these verses? Why should we lose some of our freedom and trust our lives completely to God?

Often, people do not want to admit in the first place that they received their lives from God. The reason we exist, live, and breathe is because of the will of God. Even those who do not believe in God live on this planet because of His prevenient grace extended to the whole of creation. When Paul writes to the Corinthians, he reminds them that through the new covenant with God, they become a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This means that Christians become a part of something much bigger than their individual lives.

In the Spirit, we are united with the rest of Christ’s body in this world.

In some sense, the Spirit creates an invisible net, connecting us to each other and guiding us toward the same goal, which God has ordained for the whole of humanity. When we live as if we are “not our own,” we allow God to use us as vehicles of His grace in this world to bring healing and restoration. 

Metaphorically speaking, we live in a spiritual ecosystem where the lives of all people are interrelated and interconnected. This system does not function as it was supposed to at the moment of creation because it is infected by sin. Through our united actions and prayers in His name, God transforms this world. The truth that we are “not our own” means we belong to the community of believers united by Christ, who bought us at a precious “price”; we belong to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us; we belong to God the Father who loves us.

Therefore, “not our own” actually means that we are not alone in this world. God cares for us, protects us, provides for us, and makes our lives meaningful. He helps us to join His mission and to understand the purpose for which we were created by Him: to bless all nations and bring them to God.

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding us that we belong to You. Thank You for protecting us in this world. Thank You for guiding us and filling us with Your Spirit. May Your will be done in our homes, in our churches, and in our countries. Show us the areas of our lives that need improvement, and lead us closer to You. Make us vehicles of Your grace. Amen.

Olga Druzhinina is a lecturer in theology for European Nazarene College and M-Power volunteer in Riga, Latvia.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.