Sunday, September 14, 2014

Repair On the House of The LORD

Nehemiah 1-2

What we saw in Haiti on the LORD's Day was beyond description. The church I was invited to speak in was in ruins. It got hit hard by the earthquake in January 2013. The roof caved in. There is little left of the walls. A tarp keeps the sun off most of the people. It was hot by the middle of the service, unbearably hot by the end,  in the sun. One side has no wall at all. New cinder blocks have been brought in for reconstruction. 

Adly and I arrived first behind Pastor Joes. When things got underway there was not a seat left. The pews had been destroyed and they brought in  school desks for the people to sit in.

The worship was outstanding. No instruments, except for some tambourines and a bass drum, but the voices of the Haitian people singing from their hearts went up the heavens.

 Had it rained, like it did that afternoon, they would have all been soaked for the tarp has holes in it.

Adly's testimony - feelings and thoughts of what he saw at that church last Sunday morning.

Adly said to me a number of times that it hurt him to see the House of the LORD in such a predicament.

We sit here very comfortably this morning. We are in padded pews. We are protected from the elements. Yet there is work that needs to be done on this physical structure. The north side of our roof needs to be repaired as does our parking lot. This can be done relatively easily. It needs to be done this fall. After that we will turn our attention to Haiti and the church there. 

Look at the scripture we just read:

1. Any Work, Even Physical Labor, Begins With A Prayer Burden- 
Chapter One

We hear the news.
Nehemiah inquired.
I took an exploratory trip to Haiti.

Our hearts are touched.

I see the spirit of Moses in Nehemiah.  We are told (Hebrews 11.24-26).
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward."

Nehemiah could have gone on in a  very comfortable position in another land while his brothers suffered but his heart and his conscience would not allow it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer could have left Germany under Hitler and come to America permanently but he said that if he did not share in its suffering he would have no right to share in its rebuilding. 

Some discouraged and mocked Nehemiah. Several spoke of concern of me going to Haiti. My own mother asked, "Why do you have to go?" I had an answer for that. Because Jesus wants me to. Then she asked, "Why does He want you to?" I didn't have an answer for that until last Sunday. Now I know. 

Nehemiah got so distraught it showed up on his face. King Artaterxes noticed it.

We call upon God for help, believing He will help us.
Te first thing to do is pray. Pray to the LORD. Confess your sins, ask for help.
Pray for our church, pray for the The Evangelical Church of God in Belle Vue, Haiti, pray for the work of the LORD around the world. He is at work.

2. We Wait and then Work

Nehemiah could not just take off, although he wanted to. 

He needed permission and provision from the King.
We need the same from our King.
Plans and praying precede work.

God will supply for us and them. 
II Corinthians 9. 10 Now May He Who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food  supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness while you are enriched in every thing for all liberality which cause thanksgiving through us to God. 

Waiting is:
preparing our hearts
getting into God's time frame
Letting Him get things in order for us

John 4:38 The words of Jesus, "I sent you to reap for that which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labors."

We have a church here which was built mostly by people now in heaven, with the exception of a few folks. We are reaping the benefits of their labor, wonderful benefits. To build what we have been given would be astronomical. We have a gift today from heaven through those folks who gave and watched God do some miracles. 

There is a church in Haiti which we did not build. It has a good foundation. It need to be rebuilt. We are going to enter into the labors who did the hard work. Whether you stay here and pray or get on the plane and fly with us or give gifts for us to bring we are all in this together. We need prayer more than anything else for this endeavor.

The three most important things to do right now is pray,  pray and pray.

3. The LORD will lead us and Grant us Success! 
He was with Nehemiah. 

He is with us as He puts desires in our heart concerning His work on the earth.
We are His Hands and His feet.
He commands us to go then tells us to wait for His Spirit.

Being led by His Spirit is most exciting. 
It is not without its challenges.
It can bring us into some hard times but blessed at the same times.

There are sometimes battles within our own minds. 

Adly's testimony of the school his brother, Loll runs.

Let us begin this good work. Let's get our building and grounds up to par and then head to Haiti and help them. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Message For The Evangelical Church of God, Belle Vue Haiti

Adly and I came here knowing the LORD was in this trip. Pastors laid their hands on me the day before I left and one told be I would be speaking in a church on the LORD's Day. Here we are!

Loll, Adly's brother, told him of your church and we told our church last Sunday. After meeting with you pastor last evening I contacted my church to pray for us this morning. Later this morning you pray for them, please.

Thank you so much Pastor Joes for inviting me to speak. It is an honor!

Look in Habbakuk with me this morning
Habbakuk 1.1-5

1. Look at the nations and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told. 
September 1992 a pastor in heaven told me that verse was for me. If you had told me then that I would be in Haiti this morning and speaking in a church there I would not believe it!

If God told you the things He has in store for your life, for this church, for Pastor Joes, you would not believe it! Amazing wonderful works He wants to do.

The LORD works in wondrous ways. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

The LORD has wonderful plans for this church, The Evangelical Church of God!

2.Jesus said, "I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not overcome it!

He is building His church.
Earthquakes can't wipe it out! You are living proof.
All the plans of the enemy cannot overcome it.

Sometimes He builds it in ways different than we plan. He is the Architect! He is the Cornerstone. We are living stones being fitted together by Him to rise into a beautiful edifice for His glory!

Someone asked me how big my church is this past week before I flew here. I told them it is hard to count.
I have been in my church as its pastor for 30 years. In that time we have helped 2 Spanish speaking churches and a French speaking Haitian church get started. They all have their own buildings now. We are getting ready to begin another Spanish speaking church. When I came there 30 years ago I never would have imagined this! The young man who is taking care of the church in my absence is 30 years old. He grew up in our church, but he almost died from leukemia when he was a boy. he is now studying to become a pastor. 
Jesus is building His Church. The pastor speaking at my church is a Cuban pastor who was imprisoned in Cuba for preaching the Gospel. He is building His church!

I have three daughters, all in their 30's, married and mothers of children, my grandchildren. Two of them recently came to me and said, "Dad we want to help run the preschool." They prayed about it and they began working there last month. If God had told me that was going to happen a year ago I would have not believed it!

He has good plans for you, building plans. He knows how we are going to get this church rebuilt physically. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills... chorus Iearned as a little boy. 
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine,
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell
He is my Father so there mine as well
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
I know that He will care for me!!!


3. Psalm 133.1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity. Young man Palo Mark Stephens anointed today as he joined the church.

I just met your pastor last night. I heard about him last week and your church. 10 days ago I did not know you guys existed. You are my family!
Pastor Joes and I are brothers!
He was born in Haiti. I was born in the United States. He is my younger brother. We need a translator to speak words but last night his beautiful smile spoke to my heart before we began to converse. We grew up with different foods (although now having eaten at Loll's home I have come to love Haitian food! He played soccer. I played baseball. We are different, yet we are brothers.

We have our Father in Heaven.
We have been born from above, born again.
We have been washed in the blood of Jesus, filled with His Spirit.
Our names are written down in heaven.
When we get there we will speak the same language! We won't need Adly to translate! 

It is so good and pleasant for us this day to share together and now we will be praying for each other!

I just became Uncle Larry to 7 beautiful children! I have another 7 nieces and nephews today! God is so good!

Look at the nations (including USA) and be utterly amazed. God is going to something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told!

Jesus is building His Church in such a marvelous way! And the gates of hell will not overcome it!

Good and pleasant things are going to happen here, they are happening this morning. God is working out His plan. He is working out His purposes. He is working all things together for our good. Some wonderful things are happening this moment in both of our churches and we are just getting started on a journey together!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Separation of Church and State

II Kings 12.2
Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 

There is a lot of confusion today over the issue of the Separation of Church and State. It was not that our founding fathers wanted the new nation to be free from the influence of the church, on the contrary. They just did not want to have a State Religion established. That is what they left England over.

Look where we are: The church and public schools used to share the same building,  now the public schools do not even let the church in.

The founding fathers would be appalled at where we are in this relationship today. It is so far from their intention! 

A little history lesson is in order:
Children's and Young People's Civic Groups have had Christian Influence

in 1844 Twenty-two-year-old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw. He joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.

Boy Scout Oath (or Promise)
On my honor I will do my best 
To do my duty to God and my country 
and to obey the Scout Law; 
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, 
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Girl Scouts Promise:
 On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Little League Promise: 
I trust in God 
I love my country 
And will respect its laws 
I will play fair 
And strive to win 
But win or lose 
I will always do my best.

Young Jehoash was blessed to have Jehoiada as his counselor. This priest was the husband of the woman who saved his life. Jehoiada gave the child king God's Word and taught him how to obey it. The secret of success in any venture for God is to honor His Word (Joshua 1.8)

As long as Jehoiada was alive, serving as his counselor, Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. The influence of this priest resulted in a reign which the LORD was acknowledged and obeyed.

The influence of the church in America has been huge, beyond imagination. It  has effected the nation in many ways.

1. The Moral Influence The Church Has on The Nation.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. 

The Ten Commandments:
Marital Law
Family Structure
Property Rights
Sanctity of Human Life
The work week (Sabbath)

By keeping these laws we have had a blessing on this nation like no other since Israel during David's reign. We have inherited the promise: Deuteronomy 6:2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 

The moral guidelines the United States has had have come from the Word of God and it being lived out in the lives of God's people. The salt and light has been extremely noticeable.  

2. The Spiritual Influence The Church Has on The Nation.

We are instructed: 1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

In this present time of terror threats and national decline, the church ought to be first and foremost leading the way spiritually. Washington, DC and Albany do not have the true solutions for our problems. The answer is in the Word of God. Calling out to Him in repentance and looking to His Word for guidance.

We are in contact with heaven. Through our influence the nation ought to know there is a God in heaven.

I heard Jim Cymbala say, "We are trying to get prayer back in the schools when it is hardly in the church these days."

We should lead the way in prayer for our leaders. We should effect the government with our prayers.

3. The Ethical Influence The Church Has on the Government.

Why is the term "Coverup" so distasteful to Americans? What makes it so abhorrent? It is because we have been lied to, we have been deceived, the truth kept from us. What defines falsehood- the Bible!

What does the President place his hand upon when he is sworn in? The Bible
Oath of Office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So Help me God.

We expect our leaders to be held to a high standard. Even unbelievers expect that. Where did this standard come from?  Why are we different from China? From Middle Eastern nations? Who wrote the rule of law we live under?

The church has set the ethical standard based on God's Word for our nation. 
Labor Day itself is an expression of human rights.

We pray for America this Labor Day Weekend. How it has changed in just a generation! How it has slid into such a place spiritually in the past 50 years.

But the need of the hour is for us as followers of Christ to pray for our nation, the world and that His kingdom would come. 

The haunting question of the hour in this land of the free and the brave, in this land of liberty and justice for all is this, the Word of Jesus: Luke 18:7-8 And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doing What is Right In The Eyes of The LORD

II Kings 10.30 The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in My eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 

One of the most troubling verses in the Word of God is the last verse of Judges.  Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.  NKJV

People without the Word of God planted deeply in their lives, without fellowship with other believers end up doing what is right in their own eyes, as they see fit.
I need the Word of God given to me each day and with other believers. I need to pray by myself each day and with groups throughout the week. Pastor Johnson told me after our prayer group this week, "You know I get up early and pray each day, but there is something about coming together with a group of believing men and praying together that is very special."

The collective conscience of the church is needed. What gets to my heart may be different from someone else's.

Many who have a knowledge of the Truth but are not followers of the LORD are doing what is right in their own eyes.

Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. 

Jehu was commended at this point for "doing well in accomplishing what was right in the eyes of the LORD." He had obeyed the LORD in the mission God gave him to do.

1. God is Looking Down From Heaven.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD go throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 

What an encouragement to know that the LORD is looking down from heaven. From His position of being high and lifted up, exalted above all the earth, He looks down. He sees everything.

Not only that but He strengthens those whose heart is fully committed to Him.
He speaks through His Word.
He comes to our hearts and overflows us with His Spirit.
He leads us.
*encourage Romans 15:5-6 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
*make bold Acts 4:29 Now, LORD, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 
*prevail Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 
*sustain Mark 13.13 All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 
Hebrews 4.13

2. It Is Possible to Please the LORD.

1 Thessalonians 4:1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

We can have friendship with Jesus, be a friend of God!
James 2:23-24 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 

It is possible only by maintaining a walk with Him. It is not complicated:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6.8
Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 

It is not complicated to understand but it is not easy to live.

I Peter 3.17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 
John 16.33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

3. We Will Be Rewarded One Day.

For serving
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25.21

For remaining Faithful 
Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 

For overcoming temptation
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the LORD has promised to those who love Him. 

Watch out for these things:
Mark 4.19 
1-the worries of this life, 
2-the deceitfulness of wealth 
3-and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Watch out for these temptations!

We close with Paul the apostle's last words:
II Timothy 4.6-8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.