Pastor Bill's Blog

Communicating with you makes my day!

October 2011 - Posts

 

Let us Pray...

 

Heavenly Father, I praise You for who You are and what You have done.

Primarily for the giving of your Son Jesus Christ to die for my many sins.

I ask Your forgiveness for my sins, my attitudes, my thoughts and my actions.

They are direct assaults against Your holiness and Your love for me.

Please forgive me.

 

I thank You for all I have and all I am. You are the provider of all things.

Forgive me for my lack of thanksgiving and selfishness.

Help me to see Your work in me and Your love for me clearly.

Help me to live my life to revolve around You.

It's all about You.

 

Fill me completely with Your Holy Spirit.

Help me allow Him totally authority in my life so He can do His work in me.

I repent of my sins and the sin of doing it on my own and not by Your Spirit.

I promise to allow Him total leadership and freedom in my life.

 

I commit to You this coming week as a good steward.

I will not allow anything to stand in my way and restrict Your blessings in my life.

I will be obedient to You now and always.

I AM YOURS.  Do what You wish.  I trust You.

Use me as an avenue to bring dieing souls to You that they may have life.

Open my eyes to those who need Your salvation.

I will open my mouth and speak about You to my family and friends.

I will do all I can to stir revival;

First in me, then in others, so that it would spread everywhere.

 

I Love You!

 

In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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Sacrifice...

 

Luke 9:23 says, "Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  To be a true disciple, to be in close proximity and follow within speaking, hearing and seeing distance of Christ, it takes sacrifice.

 

I often wonder what it would have been like to follow in the pack that constantly surrounded Jesus.  As you read through the gospels, you soon find out that people were always around Him.  Most of them did so for reasons of need.  What would it have been like to be in the inner sanctum - with Him daily?  Watching Him eat, sleep, preach and communicate.  To talk to Him one on one.  WOW!  Now that would have been awesome.  He only chose a select few - 12 to be exact - to be in that close circle of friends.  Oh, to be one of those 12 men.  What an experience that would have been.

 

All of those men that followed Him left all: jobs, families, fortunes, lifestyles.  Because, remember, "The Son of Man has no place to lay His head".  He had no property yet He owned the cattle of a thousand hills.  He didn't own a boat though the waves were at His command.  He left no earthly inheritance yet He calls us to be joint-heirs with Him and all He owns in Heaven.  O, What a Savior.  What a friend we have in Jesus. 

 

Romans 8:29 says, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son..."  God's desire is that we be like Jesus.  Philippians 2:8 says, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."  To be like Christ involves being willing to sacrifice all now for something far greater and better later.  That's what Jesus was willing to do and He did.  Yes, sacrifice even our own lives here on earth in martyrdom if that's what He wants.

 

Let me give you a very innocent example so you can see where I'm going.  I remember years ago when I was very young going to a lot of Revivals.  We had them constantly.  Some revivals continued for weeks.  Once, here in Columbus at the First FWB Church where I'm from, we had a revival that ran for 11 weeks.  Every night at 7:30 p.m.  Service would last over an hour.  Many people were saved and rededicated their lives to Christ.  My mom would make me take my school homework to church with me (as many of the parents did) and I would sit in the pew beside mom doing my homework.  My wife and I did the same with our daughters on many occasions. 

 

When I think back on that, I realize that my mom and dad were teaching us what was important.  Hey, and it didn't hurt me a bit.  I actually did graduate high school and I can't help but believe that much of what was said in the sermons did sink in. 

 

I choose to do what is a priority even if it means a small sacrifice.  Following Christ demands sacrifice.  For most of us, the gas we use to attend the revival may not be a big deal but to some of you, it may be a sacrifice.  It may mean rearranging your schedule so you can participate and sacrificing a business deal, meeting or sale.  It may mean you'll have to put off an event or leisure activity. It may mean a game or performance is missed. Are you willing to sacrifice for Christ?  For this revival?  Take a moment to prayerfully look at your priority list and see what's important.  It is only then you will be able to make a sacrificial decision. 

 

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Suppressing your need...

 

I have never run my car out of gas.  I have come very close but, as of yet, have never become stranded on the side of the road because I forgot to fuel-up.  Years ago, people did not have the luxury of a low fuel indicator like we have today.  A gauge was all they had.  Now days, when our fuel is low, that small yellow light beside the "E" on the fuel gauge catches the attention of our peripheral vision.  It's called a WARNING LIGHT and it's there for a reason.  It let's me know that if I don't get fuel soon, my car cannot continue to operate.

 

The Christian is fueled by the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, many are low on His presence to fuel their lives and they are not aware of the impending sorrow and trouble that is coming their way.  It is He, the Holy Spirit of God that breathes in us, moves in us and keeps us alive.  He is the One who made us alive when we were saved and it is He that keeps us that way.  WE NEED HIM DESPERATELY!

 

I see so many Christians stranded beside lifes road - completely powerless; susceptible to the dangers that lurk in the dark and unprotected.  Many lose their families, their fortunes, their mind and their joy simply because they substitute the One fuel with other fuels that are of the world: money, pleasure, power, prominence, prestige and a "It's All For Me" attitude.  Let me promise you - let me guarantee you.  Once fueled with the hi-octane liquid of the Holy Spirit, any substitute leads to spiritual lethargy and, eventually, in need of resuscitation.

 

You need to determine your fuel level spiritually.  A good time to do that is now.  With revival in our midst, look at your fuel indicator.  "Why do you not care?  Why are you not affected?  Why doesn't is matter?"  If these, and similar questions, express your opinion of revival, your fuel indictor is telling you that you are dangerously low.  Are you not spending personal time with Jesus in prayer?  Are you lax in reading His word for you?  You are at the point where your spiritual engine is spitting and sputtering and is eventually going to die.  What should you do?

 

Psalm 139:23-24 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."  Allow God to do a "Spring cleaning" of your soul.  Let Him search thoroughly - every room, every nook and cranny, behind every locked door, underneath every stone.  Allow Him to GRIP you.  That's right; GRIP.  In most every sport, grip is essential. Imagine playing softball and, with bat in hand, you swing but do not grip the bat.  The bat will fly out of your hand.  It's the same in golf, football, fishing and many others.  Let God's Holy Spirit get hold of you - grip you and deeply impact your life.  Let the Holy Spirit reprove you and ignite you. It is only by being thoroughly consumed by Him that you will have meaning and peace in your life.

 

Many people see the warning light and unwisely think they can go just a little bit farther.  If your warning light is on, stop at this exit in front of you called revival.  Don't try to make it to the next one.  It's further away and you're lower on fuel than you think.  Now is the time.  Don't miss it.  Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit would come.  They waited - all 120 of them and He did come.  Any one who left before He came missed out.  Don't miss out.  Don't suppress God's Spirit by ignoring the indicators.  The time for revival is now.  I urge you to grasp this wave of God and "Fill 'er up!"

 

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Prayer Changes People...

 

You've heard, as I have, the saying "Prayer Changes Things".  Agreed.  But I'll go one better than that: "PRAYER CHANGES PEOPLE!' and that's what brings true revival. 

 

Revival comes when we understand the singular thread that runs through its fabric: "It's All About Him".  It's not a grasping of this concept but a total change of our mind, thoughts, heart and actions.  You see, we focus way to much on ourselves and what we want.  We focus too much on our own expectations of revival.  We should look to the past to see how God has blessed and moved in historic revivals.  But, too often, our focus is on the feelings revival brings; especially, the good feelings.  As I tried to intimate yesterday, revival begins with a contrite spirit not a "Yee-Haw" attitude. 

 

I assume we should be excited that we're going to have a revival but, in reality, revival usually begins with sorrowful rather than joyous emotions.  The feeling of victory comes but only after the tears.  A.W. Tozer, pastor and author of such Christian classics as The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy said, "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply."  No one wants to be hurt deeply but it is this sacrificial path that leads to spectacular personal revival.

 

Our next step in preparing for a true, long lasting revival is prayer.  It's been said but can't be said too much: This Is The Singular Greatest Weakness Of Christians!  I am in some great company such as Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham and others in trying to understand this spiritual phenomenon.  Why is it so hard for the children of God the Father to pray unless we are in deep distress or trouble?  We call on Abba (daddy) when we're in a pickle.  Why is it so hard to consistently honor Him with our presence at His throne?  The Bible is full of numerous passages that encourage and reprove us about prayer.  A few (without references): "Ask and it shall be given; seek and you will find; knock and it shall be opened."  "Come boldly to the throne of grace."  "You have not because you ask not."  I could go on and on.  Even with all the begging God does to bring us into His presence relationally, we don't pray.

 

Here's my commentary and it's succinct: We do not pray because we do not feel we have a need to.  This strikes at the heart of our Father and at Proverbs 3:5 when it says to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."  Prayer demonstrates dependence and we are not dependent on God.  Let's be honest - we live like we don't need God.  We pray like we don't need God.  The absence of time with God tells more about our dependence than our words do.  None of us would say, "I don't need God except for my salvation" but our actions speak louder than our words.  Do a little test.  If you're married, spend a day of total silence toward your spouse and see how they handle it.  All kidding aside, I guarantee you they wouldn't like it and it would put a strain on your relationship.  Do you understand that by not communicating to the Godhead through prayer puts a strain on your relationship?  He speaks to you every day through creation, His word and the Holy Spirit.  Talk back - please!  Say something.  Cry out in apologetic sorrow for the selfish and proud attitude of not praying because we lack dependence on Him.

 

Let me say this loud and clear: REVIVAL WILL NOT COME WITHOUT PRAYER and a lot of it.  We ALL must to swallow our pride and this religious rebellion.  It is essential and is a deal breaker.  Please commit to prayer NOW.  Along with me, would you promise, as God is your witness, to pray daily - especially for the revival?  Not that we would feel good but that we would allow God to do whatever it takes to stir a great revival in our hearts personally?  If we do that, it will spill over into the whole church.  If you are willing to make this commitment, do it publicly.  Comment your affirmation on this blog and let the whole world know, "I want true revival - NOW!"      

 

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One Step Ahead...

 

We are kidding ourselves and being disrespectful to the holiness of God if we expect God to bless, answer prayer, provide, etc... when we willfully & knowingly sin.  That goes against the grain of Biblical doctrine and the very nature of God.  As well, it would be impossible to expect God to bring revival to our church or any church where the membership lives under the shroud of unconfessed sin.

 

Sin is a separator.  It distances us from the grace of God and blocks His blessings and spiritual action among us.  It's like putting water on fire or in a gas tank.  It disables the properties that cause combustion.  The Bible calls this quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Why would we want to resist the One who is on our side?  Why would we want to disable the One who has all power and loves us unconditionally?  We do this through a lack of repentance.

 

Repentance is a natural & necessary ingredient of revival.  If there is revival, there is repentance.  It begins with those close to God who realize its necessity and goes down the line to the sinner who walks through our doors.  What I want us to understand is this.  In order to be one step ahead and see God do tremendous things as He actuates revival within us, it is better if this essential component of revival start now rather than later. 

 

I have seen revival services where God has gotten hold of people in a tremendous way and repentance occurs.  I have seen revival where preparation is made prior to the revival services where repentance begins before the scheduled services begin.  In my observation, the latter is always more lasting than the former.  If we enter this time of revival repentant, we can expect God to do marvelous things and see sinners become repentant and accept Christ.

 

Repentance begins with remorse over your sins.  Isaiah 57:15 says, "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."  Contrite, (from the Latin contritus 'ground to pieces, crushed by guilt) is sincere and complete remorse (i.e. regret with guilt) for sins one has committed. The remorseful person is said to be contrite.  It is understanding that our sins are not mistakes but direct assaults and insults toward the God who saved us.  Would you ever imagine spitting in the face of our Savior Jesus as He hung on the cross?  In a sense, that is a perfect analogy of a sinning Christian who sins and thinks nothing of it.

 

Repentance means to confess our sin to God and turn from it - quit doing it!  When we are remorseful for our godless attitude toward sin, it will result in forgiveness which leads to revival.  Let's be one step ahead in preparation for revival by taking care of this now rather than later.

 

Pray with me.

Heavenly Father, I am SO SORRY for the sins I have committed and that I keep on committing.  I have grown accustomed to and justified sin in my life.  Now, I recognize the intense pain it causes you.  It is for the remission of sin that you came.  I am sorry for my sins.  I confess my sins to you and ask for your forgiveness.  I also ask for help in allowing your Holy Spirit full control of my life as I endeavor to never fall into the state of willful sin again.

 

In Jesus' name, Amen.

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"Si quiere ver lo que nunca ha visto, tiene que hacer lo que nunca ha hecho."

 

This is a statement on a wall in one of our churches in Costa Rica.  Our 2011 Hillview Mission Trip Team had this printed on their shirts for their trip to El Salvador.  It grabbed my attention when I heard the translation.  In English, it says, "If you want to see what you've never seen, then do what you've never done."

 

As I look back over the years and the numerous revivals I have attended, success during those times came from making this statement a reality.  God wants to do tremendous, awe inspiring things among His people.  He wants them to experience His power and His Holy Spirit in a way that causes them to desire more!!! - More of Him.  That is exactly what He wants.  He wants us to want Him and a deep, meaningful relationship with Him.  That's the bottom line.  That's what it's all about.

 

Our desire for Him must surpass the desire for an emotional high.  It must supersede all relationships.  It must eclipse even the passion for ministry and service that many of us feed off of.  Better than a good sermon, an accomplishment for Him, or feeding 5,000 people is the passion to "know Him" (Philippians 3:10). 

 

We need revival more than we need food.  Psalm 84:10a says, "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand..."  That's what we need.  That's what I need - to passionately desire to be in God's presence to the point that it is more important than food.  In Job 23:12b, Job says, "...I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food."  That's it.  That's what we need and that's what revival will bring.

 

When I fly in an airplane, about 30 minutes prior to landing, the pilot will come on the loud speaker and tell us that we are beginning our final descent.  You feel the jet engines cut back in power and the plane slowing down.  Then you feel the plane begin to gradually go down.  Excitement mounts as you get closer to your destination.  That's the feeling I have now.  Six days from now, it begins - or does it?  Pastor Kyle said yesterday in service it needs to begin now - and I agree.  The services begin in six days but revival needs to begin now.

 

Pray with me...

Lord, give me passion, desire and excitement - not for things; even Your things.  Give me a glimpse of You that my heart will stir within me.  May I be so consumed by You and thoughts of You that NOTHING else matters.  Forge in me a true heart that yearns for you and can't eat or sleep until I am totally consumed by your Spirit.  May what I do as it pertains to You and the building of our relationship cause me to see what I've never seen.  Give me a fresh glimpse of your glory.  Give me REVIVAL!

In Jesus' name,

Amen. 

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