Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Work Was Done By God

Nehemiah 6:15-16 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 

God was the One Who had done the work. This does not mean that Nehemiah and his men and the people of Jerusalem sat around and did nothing. On the contrary they worked with all their heart. The people had a heart to work. (4.6) They started work a the first light of dawn and worked until the stars came out. (4.21)

This was an amazing feat. That the work too place at all was amazing but if that was not enough it was completed in in 52 days!

Nehemiah had a vision of what needed to be done. Visions can be symbolic or they can be realistic. Sometimes God shows in a dream the finished product (Brooklyn Tabernacle/Carol Cymbala)

He heard about the pitiful situation of Jerusalem from his brother: Nehemiah 1:3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  Later he would appoint his brother, governor over the rebuilt city. (7.2)

This was difficult work in and of itself. Rebuilding is often more difficult than building something new. Renovations are more challenging at times than new construction. From all the way to the excitement that accompanies brand new construction to the field being cleared and ready for materials to be brought in.

Nehemiah encountered opposition as soon as he arrived. Sanballet and Tobiah went to great lengths to disuade him from thr work.

He had problems within the workers.
I have heard some things about the decision with the Spanish Church. I may have failed in communicating this to you properly.
1. They are not taking over. We still hold the deed to this church and property. We can terminate the agreement anytime we wish with a 90 day notice.
2. No one is moving into the parsonage with me. The house owned by the church as wel is ours. I will be moving my study completely back to 1312 Pine Acres Blvd. 
3. We will continue to worship upstairs at 10am. The Bible Studies will continue at their regular time. 
4. The Spanish Church will completely take care of our building, grounds and expenses in this building. For instance they have several roofers in their congregation and the roof will be repaired by them at no cost to us.
5. I fully expect both congregations to flourish. Already movement has begun... I stopped in last evening on a group of half a dozen young adults who will begin to minister to the needy in the downtown Bay Shore area soon. More to come. December 11th... invite people to come to this dinner.
Catered by Exit 42 Deli...

There were even attempts to take him out- to kill him.

How is the work of God  done? Zechariah 4:6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. 

It was the LORD Who had brought Nehemiah into a position in the Court of the King. Just like Moses and Joseph and Daniel and Esther, the LORD brings HIs people to a place where they can deliver thei people.

It was the LORD in answer to Nehemiah's prayers along with fastings for 4 months that moved the heart of King Artaxerses to let Nehemiah go and send him with letters for materials for the rebuilding.

It was the LORD Who gave the people a heart to work.

It is His Work and with Him doing it through us certain things happen.

1. We see it.

What did Nehemiah see?

He saw God answer prayer as he went before King Artaxerses. He had prayed for 4 months. 
He saw God open the door for him to speak.

He saw God open the heart of the king to allow  him to go.

He saw God open heaven and pour out blessing through the king for materials for the wall.

He saw the people work.

He heard the opposiition and continued with the work.

He listened to and acted upon the people's complaint. 

He saw the work completed.
He kept his focus on why he went to Jerusalem in the first place. It is easy to lose sight of the goal if we pay attention to the disturbances and annoyances. 

He remained very humble before the LORD.

We have been thinking of rebuilding a lot around here. It is amazing to me to see the plan of the LORD unfold. We began a year ago this September with rebuilding the house of God in Haiti and here. Both buildings have been worked on. More work will come... the roof will be done by the Spanish Church- they have roofers in their church! 

The spiritual rebuilding has begun. We are thinking more about the future of our fellowship. The danger is now that we have relief financially we are tempted to relax. Let us turn the prayers for help with the finances  to giving thanks for answering this prayer and then asking the Holy Spirit to continue now to bring in a harvest of souls. Let us seek the LORD to be all He desires for this portion of the Island. Opportunities abound!!! So does His grace and his Spirit! 
John 7:38-39 Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. 

It is crucial for us to allow the Spirit to flow freely from our lives to others. So many Christians have the Holy Spirit all bottled up inside of them. Let Him gush forth!

2. We colabor with the LORD.

This is a way of God.

This is how He works.

He wants us involved.

He wants others to join in. 

He is building up His family.




3. The enemies of God see it!

They perceive it=to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider, discern, distinguish, give attention to.

Things that are said by our enemies about the work of God before it is done:
*How will they ever do this?
*Who do they think they are?
*They will never be able to this!
*This has never been done before.

"Anything God has ever done, He can do now. Anything God has ever done anywhere, He can do here. Anything God has ever done for anyone, He can do for you." - A.W. Tozer

After it is done:
Nehemiah 6:15-16 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 
Acts 4:14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dedication To The Work of God

Nehemiah 5:14-19 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land. Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people. 

I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work..

Nehemiah and those with him were dedicated to the work of God. He was clear in his mission. He went there to  rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and restore its gates. There were 12 gates. The walls were over 2 miles in length. Today the walls are 40 feet high and several feet thick.

Nehemiah 4:6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. 

Nehemiah had a clear mission. He knew why he went to Jerusalem and what he was to do. He was like the men of Issachar, I Chronicles 12:32 men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do... They had a specific mission. What is our mission as a church? We are here to be light in the world, the salt of the earth. God has us here to be a lighthouse. Now we cannot be that unless we love each other, pray, stay in His Word... He wants us to be fruitful fishers of men.

Rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem would enable them to be the city God intended them to be. Look at what was said concerning Jerusalem in the Psalms of Ascents:

Psalm 122
Psalm 125:1-2 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people both now and forevermore. 
Psalm 128:5 May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. 
Psalm 137:5-6 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. 

Jerusalem in Nehemiah's time was the center of worship, in the Temple the place of the Golden Lampstand burning to proclaim they were the light for the world.

Now it is in ruins, its walls are broken down and its gates burned. Nehemiah has come to rebuild and restore it.

As I have mentioned this was very difficult work. The debris and rubble from the destruction of Jerusalem was in the way at times. They were working on a mountain, making it much more challenging. Jerusalem is dry and at times hot. Not much rainfall or even cloud cover. Yet as we just read, at this point in Nehemiah,  they rebuilt the wall to half its height. Amazing to see the progress God brings about on projects for His glory. When a building is going up dedicated to the LORD, and you have qualified people directing it and willing workers, miracles happen.

This book serves as a guidebook for anyone wanting to serve the LORD. It is a classic on the subject of personal service for Christ and the kingdom. It shows how to dedicate oneself to the work of God.

Serving Christ today is a challenge. It requires total dedication. Too many approach the work of God with a careless atttitude, not with the passion we ought to have for it. We let other things interefere. 

1. Dedication to the Work of God requires sacrifice.

Work for the LORD costs us something.

For Nehemiah he left the comfortable position of cupbearer to King Artexerxes and the beauty of the palce of the Persian Empire to go to the city of Jerusalem which lied in ruins. He gave up many creature comforts. Are we willing to do that?

It also can mean ridicule by the enemy. There is a spiriutal battle we take on when we begin to do spiritual work. There are spiritual battles that every worker for the LORD will encounter as he or she seeks to do the Work of God. This can only be fought through prayer.

A deep prayer life means sacrifice. 
Sleep was even sacrificed.
Pleasure- look at Nehemiah's personal testimony of this!

2. Dedication to the Work of God requires reverence.

It is a holy work.

It is His Work.

It is the most important work.
We will live with our involvement in it for eternity.
Storing up riches in heaven... as Jesus spoke about in Matthew 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 

We  are His Workmanship. Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them

3. Dedication to the Work of God reveals character.

What an example Nehemiah was!

He refused the luxuries. Moses did this as well. 
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward

If we are dedicated to the LORD we are going to have to reject the country club Christianity of America. We are going to have to seek His Kingdom above all else.

Nehemiah refused the luxuries. He embraced the work. He faced the opposition and did all he could to complete the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem and restoring its gates.

Our church is going through some restoration. We have prayed for help with the finances and the LORD has answered. December 6th the Spanish Church we began in 1990 will return to share the facilities with us. They will shoulder the cost of the church. The long struggle of trying to pay bills is finally over. This will give us enormous freedom. There will be changes. The biggest change immediately will be our service time. We will move it to 10am on Sunday Mornings beginning December 6th. Let me say a few words... it will mean an adjustment. I am even asking more than half an hour from some of us. I really need you all here upstairs ready to worship at 10 sharp. It will take effort but we can do it. 

It is my hope that we will work together with them and they with us. For instance in talking to Pastor Mauricio we discovered that next year his oldest daughter and my oldest grandson will attend Gardiner Manor School together. This is a new time. A new generation emerging. Way back in the early 1990s our youth group had a significant impact on the schools and when Billy Graham was here a number of their friends came to Christ. I am looking for the LORD to do something like that again!

If we look at this whole package as the Spanish Church bailing us out we will not only miss a great blessing but a golden opportunity. We simply cannot continue as we are. We will fall into a hole financially we never get out of. Something must change. God is freeing us up to be sent out, to be free from a great deal of stuff of maintanence and so giving time to ministry. We can and should flourish.

A number of years ago a Chinese Church had me come and share with their young people once a month. The youth wanted their service in English. Then every three months they would combine the two groups of adults who spoke Mandarin Chinese and the young people who prefered English. They rented a Lutheran Church in Hicksville. I told them that they had a great opprtunity... to share the gospel  without having to care for a church. their priority could be like the early church... we are being handed that today! This is a gift.

They will be meeting around our schedule and us around theirs. Our Bible Studies will continue. Our service and fellowship time as well. Knowing that there is no perfect solution to any problem we will face issues that arise with sharing the facilities with love and grace. 

Bay Shore is changing. Today 45% of our community is White American. 30% is Spanish. This population will continue to increase.  We are going to reflect the change here. We are going to flourish in the change! God will help us!

Martin Luther King spoke these words in 1967 in New York City:

"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. 

President Ronaold Reagan:
Ronald Reagan

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

We have a rendezvous with destiny. It is the future of the Bay Shore Church of the Nazarene. If we continue with our current situation and make no change we will go under, if we seek to maintain or just survive we will fail. If we look at this as an answer to prayer and a gift from God and change our thinking and look to the fields that are ripe for harvest then more prayers will be answered, prayers our youth are praying, that God would bring this church into a new day, fill it to overflowing with souls.

Moses said to Israel: Deuteronomy 11:26-28 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. 
Let us go with God. Let us look at the opportunity we have been given. Let us seize this time and make a difference in this portion of the Island and to the uttermost parts of the earth for the sake of the Kingdom of God and for His glory. With God before us who can stand against us?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hand of My God Upon Me

Nehemiah 2:8-9 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. 

Walls and gates of cities mean nothing today but in Bible times they meant almost everything. Torn down walls left the people open to attack and plundering by vicious neighbors. The walls of the city were its security, protection, pride and honor. They were synonymous to locks on our doors and radar in our country to detect an incoming attack.

With this understanding, Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house,the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain, takes on even greater meaning.

The walls of Jerusalem were not only significant to the the city itself, but since the city was the place the LORD had chosen for the temple and worship of Him there, since it was the city David captured for that purpose, and that it was the seat of governent for the nation under its kings, the walls knocked down put the city in disgrace and all these things with it.

This news moved Nehemiah to his depths. Whenever the Name of God, the holy things or the people of God are in disgrace we should react the same as Nehemiah did. It hurts deeply when I hear of moral failure among God's people. It hurts when the Word of God is mocked by unbelievers- deepy upsets my soul. When I read of His people in need I want to respond in whatever way I can, even if it seems insignificant. 

Nehemiah heard the news. He prayed and waited upon God. Then when the opportunity came he acted fully. God gave him great success (not without opposition) because of Good Hand of His God upon him. There are two Hebrew words for hand. One means closed hand. The word used here is the one which means Open Hand. When the Hand of God is open and upon us we can expect to receive one blessing after another.

It is important to draw a disticntion and it is a huge distinction between personal blessings of God and the blessings of God which are to be given directly to others, in which we are channels, conduits, transmitters. In one way all blessings come under this umbrella. They all come from God and are His. Perhaps it can be better understood as those blessings He gives us the choice to use as we desire (all for His glory) and those blessings which in which we are His Hand extended to others. Those have a specific purpose and we are being entrusted to us to see that they are delivered to the ones God intends for them to go to.

The good Hand of God upon Nehemiah was not for personal gain or pleasure. It was not like winning Lotto or a prize or even a windfall. It was for him to accomplish the will of God in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. The good Hand of his God was upon him to do a work for the glory of God. It was about the kingdom of God.  The Good Hand of our God upon us to work through us and do wonders to help others in need.

When the Open Hand of our God is upon us we discover...

1. The Hand of God is a Gracious Hand. -v.8
 Good, Gracious= beautiful, bountiful, glad, joyful, prosperity 

To sense His Hand upon you is an awesome thing!

To experience the blessings that come from and see how they are blessing others is often beyond words.

His good Hand is:
-Beautiful. There is a holy beauty that comes from the Hand of God upon His servant. The wall that Nehemiah built was beautiful. There was even a gate called this, the one Jesus rode through. In a way Nehemiah was preparing the way for the LORD... literally through the gate which was built. That is part of what I was trying to say last week... through planting seeds, watering where others have planted, through our good deeds, we are preparing a heart to receive the LORD. His work on these walls prepared the nation and the world for the presentation of the Messiah.

God is a God of abundance. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine.
He is God of miracles and wonders!
When His Hand is upon us He works wonders.
It is expressed here in Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. 

The results of Gods Hand being upon Nehemiah and Ezra brought great joy to Jerusalem. The temple and the walls around the city were rebuilt. 
Psalm 126:1-3 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter,our tongues with songs of joy.Then it was said among the nations,“The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us,and we are filled with joy. 
The accounts in Ezra and Nehemiah tell of the joy of the people as the work was completed and dedicated.

2. The Hand of God is Mighty.
The throne of God is more powerful than any throne or kingdom on earth (Ephesians 1.15-23)

Deuteronomy 4:34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 

Deuteronomy 11:2-3 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm; the signs He performed and the things He did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; 

You saw them! You have seen the Hand of God upon things, His mighty Hand! Let your faith rise up and push away doubt in your life today! Remember wonderful answers to prayer you have received! Keep those victories in mind, meditate upon His wonderful works (Psalm 77.12)

The name for God here is what we translate Almighty God.
Remember today the things He has done! 
In His Word
In Your Life
In Answer to your prayers

We are in a season of Thanksgiving. Part of Thanksgiving is remembering. 
We give thanks for the blessings of today.
We are also thankful for the goodness of God in the past.
-He has been with us.
-He has protected us.
-He has helped us.
There have been times in all of our lives when we wondered how we were going to make it, perhaps even if we were going to make it, but here we are!!!

3. The Hand of God is Provisional.
Philippians 4.19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

He provided for Nehemiah.
He even used King Artarxeres. 

He is providing for us.

He will provide for you!

4. The Hand of God is Precise.

Deuteronomy 11:4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. 

His Timing is perfect.
Just as the army of Pharaoh gto in the middle of the Red Sea God let it go. Perfect timing. We balk at times about why God is not intervening.... why Jesus does not come back today... 
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 

His Touch is Divine.
The good hand of My God upon me... this is one of the ways heaven connects with earth. With precison design He causes all things to work together for my good. He is working all things together for His glory.

Nehemiah experienced the good Hand of His God upon him and he was able to accomplish the impossible for the Glory of God. 

II Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rebuilding Spiritually

Ezra 9. 1-15

The building was complete but sin was great within Judah. They had missed the mark in a very importanrt part of keeping their lives right before the LORD.

The building of the temple was done and services were held each day... all things appeared to be going well... on the surface. But there was a huge problem. 

Intermarrying was what got them in trouble in the first place. Solomon...

The leaders and officials were at fault. 
Ezra 9:2 They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.” 

They should have been good examples.
Exodus 34.2-
Deuteronomy 7.1-4

Greater fault.
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 

The sin of Solomon  ( I Kings 11.1-8) stayed with the people long after he and his generation were gone. I pray for pastors today. I pray for those who lead flocks. We are example to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2-3 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 

Examples= The mark of a stroke or a blow, the figure formed by an impression.
The pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made.
Men worthy of imitation.

Ezra saw the need to rebuild spiritually. We are rebuilding physically in Bellevue, Haiti. How exciting to see the retaining wall completed this week. I feel like my study in part is like the situation room in the White House... I sit and see things being done in another country and am amazed!

We have done work on the church property. The parking lot has been patched, the steps have been repaired, new tables to replace the old ones that were falling apart have been given. The main thing we need to complete is the roof on the northside.  But our greatest need is to rebuild spiritually. It is not that there is any gross outward sin here. It is more inward. We need to become a soul winning station again, to see baptisms here, to see new Christians growing in their faith among us.

It was not just the leaders although they were responsible it was everyone. Ezra realized that these mixed marriages were acts of disobedience to God's law and that it was because of these acts of disobedience that thye were exiled to Babylon in the first place. They forsook the basic law of God, the  thing that in part ensured them of being a Holy Nation.

Two churches in the New Testament has this problem. One was a loss of its first love. One was a lack of dependence upon Christ.

Revelation 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 

Revelation 3:19-20 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 
When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem the situation he found there made him heartsick. The same thing happened to Nehemiah. It needs to happen to us!

We need
A sense of missing the mark/ A deep sense of the righteousness and grace of God.
No believer can see fruitlessness in the church and remain unmoved.
Reformation Sunday. Martin Luther pointed out the places where the church in his day was failing and called for correction.

There are two places where God wants us to help us where are failing. 

1. Our attitude toward the future of this church.

We cannot overestimate the power of our atttiudes.
On ourselves.
On others.
On people we do not even realize we are having influence... many times!

We cannot look down. We must look up! We must look to Jesus!

Will you join me in prayer for renewal and a harvest among us?...

2. Our heart with the Great Comission.
I love that word comission. It means has the same idea of cooperating. 

We are not alone. That is one thing Jesus made abundantly clear when He sent out the disciples. He would be with them.

*We are colaborers with the Holy Spirit.
He is the Hound of Heaven.

*We are joint venture partners with the God of Heaven.
He wants to see everyone come to faith in Christ.
He does not want anyone to perish.
He wants to work with us.

Luke 11:33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 

Do you see?
Do you see?
All the people sinking down?
Don't you care?
Don't you care?
Are you gonna let them drown?

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done

"oh, bless me, lord!
Bless me, lord!"
You know, it's all I ever hear!
No one aches,
No one hurts,
No one even sheds one tear
But, he cries,
He weeps,
He bleeds,
And he cares for your needs
And you just lay back,
And keep soaking it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
'cause he brings people to your door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"god bless you!
Be at peace!"
And all heaven just weep,
'cause Jesus came to your door,
You left him out on the streets

Open up! open up!
And give yourself away
You see the need,
You hear the cries,
So how can you delay?!
God is calling,
And you are the one
But like Jonah, you run
He told you to speak, 
But you keep holding it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
The world is sleeping in the dark, 
That the church just can't fight,
'cause it's asleep in the light!
How can you be so dead?!
When you've been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave,
And you!
You can't even get out of bed!
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead!
Come on, get out of your bed!

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done!
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done!
Don't close your eyes,
Don't pretend the job is done

Come away! come away!
Come away with me, my love!
Come away from this mess,
Come away with me, my love!
Come away from this mess!
Come away with me, my love!
Come away,
Come away with me my love!

Join me in prayer for our church to become a soul saving station, a place and people of redemption!

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, Lord,that I may rely on your faithfulness;give me an undivided heart,that I may fear your name. 

Ezra and Nehemiah were supported by a foreign nation in the work they were doing in their own land. The enemy, a foreigner,  was being used by God to provide for them so that the worlk of God coud go on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What We Need In These Days

1 Chronicles 12:32 from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command; 

The statistics are alarming today. Churches are closing all over the country. Sociologists are trying to figure this out. It is the thing that is driving denominational leaders crazy.

Here are a few facts:
* 4,000 churches close their doors every year in the United States, that is well over 300 per month.
* 3,500 people leave the church every single day.
* Since 1950 there are 1/3 fewer churches in the U.S.
This is far different from the advent of television around that time which closed 5,000 movie theaters in America, yet there are similarities 

There is a rise of spectacular new churches popping up. We give thanks to the LORD for the people coming to know Christ through them, or returning to the faith. Kenny in Peter Pan last Sunday evening when Pastor Mark Kiesel and I prayed.
Yet the bottom line is 50% of the people in those churches have left other churches. I have chased some back in recently to where they left from.

Why do I share these things?

1. We need to be aware of what is going on in our nation.
2. We need to understand what is happening in our church here.
3. We need to change some things and keep some things just as they are.

Look at this verse again in I Chronicles 12.32 The men of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel should do.

We need to be like them!
We need to understand the times. The End of the World as we know it...
The word understand means knowledge, meaning, wisdom

What is going on:
The end of the world as we know it.

What is happening here... a brief history lesson is in order of our church.
1970 I was attracted to this church because of the large youth group.
1984 Not a single young person here!
31 years ago chosen to become pastor here
More people on our board born outside the US than in it. 
People have moved. People have died. We are all getting older.

On July 15, 1960 while I was sleeping after my fourth birthday celebration, on the other side of the country in the Los Angeles Coliseum, a young 43 year old American by he name of John F. Kennedy was giving his acceptance speech for the nomination of his party for President of the United States. In it he said: Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do.

What is up ahead: challenges we must address.

What aill not change:
His Word and our commitment to it.
Sunday and Bible Studies.
Praying church.
The love we share.
Our work in Haiti.

What will change:
We need to make room for the technology. I know some of you hate it. I am not asking you to love it, just allow it and do not complain about it. 
Example Haiti would not be happening if it were not for our Group on FB. Theresas idea... we need to listen to Kevin and Joseph more.
Crude example: Target Self Serve

We must do some changes.
Minor having the Christmas Dinner on December 11th in the evening.
Cafe look downstairs.

We need to add to what we are doing.
We need to know what must be done.

Youth and children

Alternatives... Connection Cafe in Maryland
My moms church
Bridge Church in Malverne
Bud Reedy in York

We need to understand the times and what we as the people of God, the Church of Christ should do.

Story of Mission Revolutions
Paul, the apostle
Hudson Taylor
Bob Pierce
Our existence can be traced to Paul, the church at Rome.
Haiti is what Hudson Taylor did.
We are sending out shoe boxes put together with our hands.
All of these people were thought to be out of their minds and made fun of by their contemporaries. 

We need to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus as well as our hearts open to the Holy Spirit. He will lead us and guide us. The past few years have brought great financial challenge. Now God is answering prayers, not the way we had envisoned He would but in a completely different way.

The focus has been on survival monetarily speaking. We talked way too much about this. It has nearly consumed us. As we began to pray God answered. 

The Hand of God was upon Ezra. You read it this week:
Ezra 7
The Hand of God:
* A Providing Hand 7.6; 8.18
* A Protecting Hand 8.22; 31
* An Encouraging Hand 7.28
* A Guiding Hand 7.9

His Hand is upon us today. It has been upon us in Haiti.

Now we need turn our attention to ministry and mission here... 
With His Hand upon us we need to turn our hands to the spiritual work before us.

John F Kennedy concluded his speech with these words:
As we face the coming challenge, we too shall wait upon the LORD, and ask that He renew our strength. Then shall we be equal to the test. Then we shall not be weary. And we shall prevail.

Luke 5:37-39 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”