Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Experience Church Growth

The early church was a growing church. It is the will of God for the church to continue to grow. Acts 2:47 “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 4:4 “Many of them which heard the word believed and the number of the men was about five thousand,” Acts 5:14 “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” Acts 6:7 “And the word of God increased: and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

What hinders the church being added to daily? Some say it is opposition. The early church faced opposition, too. Therefore, to answer the question we must determine what the early church did to yield results and compare if we are doing similar to yield a similar harvest.

Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The early church was steadfast in doctrine. They realized the importance of fellowship together or assembling themselves together. They enjoyed meals together and prayed together. The early church accomplished these things together. In summary, the early church was a praying and fellowshipping ministry. Despite opposition it was steadfast. This type church will surmount every obstacle and conquer every foe.

Today people are more concerned with selfish desires. More attention is given to bodies than souls. Some are more concerned with saving a dollar than saving a soul. Entertaining services are more appealing than those with anointing. Too much emphasis is placed upon self and not enough on others.

The church is more skillful and organized than ever. These ingredients should add to the church and not hinder. They should never be ingredients taking the place of fellowship, breaking bread and prayer. Yet they should be tools to facilitate fellowship breaking bread, and prayer. Often we try to exist on skill, organization, and talent and omit the vertical experience of prayer. The Spirit of God or anointing is a necessary ingredient. Human relationships will never be stronger than our relationship with the Creator of humanity.

The harvest is greater than one can imagine. Vertical relationships must increase to allow for the swell of the horizontal relationships. In order to experience the results of the early church we must do as the early church did. We must continue steadfastly.

Steadfast: fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person; unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc.; firmly established, firmly fixed in place or position

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beware: Isolation/Separation

Often people deal with a problem by choosing isolation or separation. Having been a Pastor’s wife for almost 20 years now I recognize the symptom. When a distance in someone’s marriage occurs I know soon to come is a separation or divorce unless a miracle occurs. Likewise, when isolation or separation begins in an individual within the church the person backslides or changes churches. Often the later occurs then if the problem isn’t resolved within the individual he eventually backslides.

Each weekday morning I receive a devotional email written by Terry Davidson, Superintendent of Comanche Public Schools in Oklahoma. Once I told Mr. Davidson I think he missed his calling of being a minister. Today his devotional deals with my aforementioned paragraph.

“Because I've battled problems with my back for many years, I've learned that, when lifting something, it is important to keep it close to me. Some of the injuries to my back have occurred when I was lifting something while wearing my good clothes. I would try to keep from getting my clothes dirty by holding the load out away from me.

Whether physically, emotionally, or mentally, we all have loads that need to be picked up sometimes. Sometimes the burden is heavy and sometimes it is dirty. The natural tendency is to try and distance ourselves from the burden.

It won't go away by itself. At some point, it has to be lifted. We might as well get close to it and lift it - - - even if we get our clothes dirty.”

Terry Davidson, Superintendent
Comanche Public Schools

"I must do something" always solves more problems than "Something must be done." - Author Unknown

Thanks, Mr. Davidson, for another thought provoking email. I don’t want to be more concerned with getting my ‘clothes’ dirty or distancing myself from burdens and injure myself in the process. Suits can easily be replaced if torn or stained but an injured spirit is more difficult to deal with.

Anyone having a hard time dealing with a wounded spirit should get a copy of Bro. Shatwell’s message “The Wounded Spirit” preached @ Texas Men’s Conference 2010.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Joy for the Journey thru the Word

Sometimes life is a little bumpy or even has too many curves. During those time we still need to praise and worship God. The joy of the Lord comes as we worship and praise Him. In turn the joy gives strength for our journey of life. It is amazing the strength I find in praying the Word. Praying the Word puts me in the very presence of God. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Psalm 18:1-3 (KJV)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,> I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalm 24:1-10 (KJV)
A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Psalm 47:1-9 (KJV)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Psalm 89:1-18 (KJV)
Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I

Psalm 89:1-18 (KJV) cont’d
establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm. The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fullness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Psalm 92:1-9 (KJV)
A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.

Psalm 93:1-5 (KJV)
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

Psalm 95:1-9 (KJV)
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Psalm 96:1-13 (KJV)
O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth.

Psalm 113:1-6 (NKJV)
Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down The LORD's name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

Psalm 99:1-6 (NKJV)
The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name -- He is holy. The King's strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool -- He is holy. Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the LORD, and He answered them.

Psalm 104:1-9 (NKJV)
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. You who laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; They went down into the valleys, To the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, That they may not return to cover the earth.

Psalm 145:1-13 (NKJV)
I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

I Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 4:8 (NKJV)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"

Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."