Year: 2006

It must be the Holiday Season

Seams like we are watching a lot of movies.

last night we watched “World Trade Center” on DVD. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. I went back and forth from wanting to burst into tears and wanting to fight

The movie really focuses on the heroism and selflessnes of the first responders. However it really pointed up to me the complete evil that attacked us on September 11th. And I mean us.

Kim and I have been there and stayed at the Marriott World Trade Center and had been to Windows on the World. I know many people who worked in those towers. Fortunately everyone got out except Steven Mulderry. I spoke of him in an earlier post.

I don’t know what I am trying to say other than we must take this threat seriously and believe that these people want us dead. I don’t care what there reasons are. There premise makes it impossible to approach them with any other purpose than to defeat them.

American Thinker has an interesting series of articles called Pacifism and the Sword. It presents a pretty good argument.
part one

part two

part three

part four

part five

part six

part seven

I did not plan to go here and I don’t intend this space to be a political BLOG there are plenty of people much better at that than I am. I guess I just needed to vent.

Thank you for indulging me.

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Posted by Gary in Personal

Messianic Prophecy

Last night we saw the Nativity Story for the 2nd time.

I cried through most of it the first time and last night I got to really think about the whole story. It was done so well, aside from a couple of minor things. Like the wimpy little angel.

I thought of so many things like did Mary and Joseph know about the prophecies? I know that they were looking for a Messiah but did they know all of the OT prophecies. So I started looking and found some great stuff. This is my fovorite stat concerning Messianic Prophecy:

Messianic Prophecy Odds Without God

1. Jesus would be a descendant of David. 104 (1 in 10,000)

2. Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. 105 (1 in 100,000)

3. Jesus would be a miracle worker. 105 (1 in 100,000)

4. Jesus would present Himself as King
riding on a donkey. 106 (1 in 1,000,000)

5. Jesus would be betrayed by a friend
for 30 pieces of silver. 106 (1 in 1,000,000)

6. Jesus would be crucified. 106 (1 in 1,000,000)

7. Jesus would first present Himself as
King 173,880 days from the decree of
Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem. 106 (1 in 1,000,000)

Total Probability (without God) 1038 (1 in a 100 billion, billion, billion, billion)

Thank God that His word is true and His council is perfect. We are so blessed.

Source: Messianic Prophecy

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Cycling with KJ

I can’t wait for good riding weather this spring. I won’t be riding alone. KJ is getting this for Christmas:

It’s a Specialized Dolce, and it’s very purple!

It’s going to be a great year.

Link to Gregg’s Cycles

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Posted by Gary in Bicycling, Personal

The Promises are yours.

The other day I opened my bible to Galatians and starting reading. Before I knew it I was finished and God opened things up to me again.

Chapter 3 got me so excited.

Vs. 6-9 says:

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

Then 13 & 14 says:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I got so excited being reminded that through faith we are sons of Abraham and heirs of the promise (Gal 3:29) and vs 13 & 14 say that Christ has redeemed us from the curse. So when you read Deuteronomy 28; the blessings apply (1-14) and the curses (15-68) do not. Provided we are “of the faith” and appropriating the promises through faith.

Vs 18 reminds us that it is through the covenant promises of God not anything we do, except believe, that makes the blessings and promises of God alive in us. Also 5:6 says that Faith working through love is what makes the difference.

Then Paul finishes up by talking about sharing one anothers burdens, being generous, doing good, and to glory only in the cross. He caps everything off by saying in 6:16,

And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

I love that Paul calls us the Israel of God.

This Christmas remember that the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12:1-3, Gen 15) says we are blessed to be a blessing and that all of the promises of God are “yes and amen”. (2 Cor 1:20).

And they apply to you!

Merry Christmas.

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The Prayer Life of a Worshiper

This is something I picked up at a conference a long time ago and it had a great impact on me. I hope you enjoy it.

By: Brian Anderson

I. Worship is a lifestyle, not just a few minutes on Sundays!

I Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

“We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God” A.W. Tozier Body Soul & Spirit are to be used in Worship.

II. A worshiper needs to develop a strong prayer life!

A. first book translated in another language is Mark (a short gospel) the second book translated is Psalms (songs & prayers)

B. Worship & Prayer are closely tied together. They both have to do with connecting with God In an intimate way and communicating with Him.

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Harps represent Worship
Incense represents Prayer

Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

C. Prayer in the Jerusalem Church

Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 6:4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

III. Why don’t we pray much?

A. We haven’t seen the importance of prayer in the lives of major New Testament Characters.

Paul.
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I Thessalonians 5:17 pray continually;
Phillipians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Jesus
Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Luke 6:12-13 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

B. We don’t expect anything to happen.

1. One of the greatest deceptions the enemy wants to pull on us is that our prayers don’t work.

2. That’s why the word of God constantly exhorts us about the necessity persevering in prayer. (Satan doesn’t want us to communicate with God because then we will see things happen)

Luke 11:5-13 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him. “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything. I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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?”
Matt 7:7-11 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Is 62:6-7 6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled;

Real faith is praying even when it looks like it will never happen. Things that won’t work any other way will start working if we start praying about them.

James 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

A common attitude among people is “ I want to get started on the days work” That’s the problem right there! Most people don’t see prayer as a good portion of the days work.

If you see prayer as a religious duty (“I’m putting in my time with God”) over and against an activity that changes the outcome of events, you’ll end up not praying much! We are not that disciplined! But;

if we realize that that our prayer will change our world we will pray !

C. We rely on our personal strengths: (I’ll never quit)

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1.. Gifted people can get a lot of “ministry” done in the kingdom of God just through their personal giftedness.

2. The problem is we then tend to rely on our personal giftedness to get the “Ministry” accomplished, and often times a lot gets accomplished! But not in comparison. When we work “we” work but when we pray God works. E.M. Bounds

D. Time Pressures

1. In life there are lots of things trying to eat up your time. (work, family, ministry, friends, activities, relaxation, TV, etc.)

2. The most important time commitment you can make is an appointment with God every day.

a. We all know that intellectually when the time crunch comes what we will let go of. And the time crunch will come.

b. Guard that time commitment as if your life depends on it. (because it does). Don’t ever give it to anyone or anything else. It belongs to God. Sacrifice sleep, relaxation, TV, yes even Ministry if you have to.

3. Find out how much Grace you’ve been given for prayer time.

Grace is Gods empowering of you to be who He created you to be.

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

We were created differently so we have different amounts of Grace. Don’t compare yourself with others.

II Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

IV. Why we should pray

A. To seek Gods face

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.

God’s greatest desire from us is for us to love Him.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. We only seek God’s face out of a heart of love and that’s pleasing to Him. II Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

It would be shame to do ministry for God all of our lives and never come to know Him.

B. It’s part of developing a “secret history” with God.

1. Everything else in ministry flows out of this. If you’re in ministry it’s probably because you fell in love with Him & formed a relationship…… time has taken the shine off if we don’t keep it up.

2. In life often times you will be overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand. When that happens, there is only one place to go….the prayer room and seek His face.

3. Pastor Cho- “Pray and Obey” ( 50,000 home churches)

C. To receive wisdom & revelation from God

1. Gods communication with us.

Psalm 103:7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel

2. The difference between knowing someone as a friend and knowing someone because you have their resume’

D. Direction & vision in ministry

Proverbs 14:12 there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

1. We can’t rely on our own intelligence.

E. In dealing with people.

1. As we pray God will give us direction in dealing with people with boldness & compassion. Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

F. For impartation from God to be released among the people you are leading.

1. Preaching and or teaching by itself will not bring change in peoples lives to a great degree.

a. It takes more than a command to produce fruit.

2. Authority in prayer and laboring in the secret place over people will produce more lasting fruit in their lives than teaching on it for years.

a. Pray that God will raise up the people you need in specific places.

3. God creates and imparts more things through prayer than by any other means! Prayer has more power to make things happen than preaching, organization, administration, programs, music, personalities, etc………

G. To receive direction from God.

1. The most significant things that God has done with us have come in the place of prayer.

2. God will direct us to things and away from things when we are devoted to prayer.

H. Spiritual Warfare

Daniel 10:12-14 “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

1. Prayer is the beginning of spiritual warfare

2. The battle of spiritual warfare is won through persevering in prayer.

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Posted by Gary in Intimacy W/God, Pastoral Care, Practical, Worship

Where is your faith?

Why were the disciples often rebuked for there lack of faith when a Roman Centurion a syrophoenician woman and others who did not walk with Jesus get what they asked because of there faith.

Was it because of familiarity? arrogance? They were uneducated men so it shouldn’t have been to much head knowledge although Luke was a physician which assumes some education.

It strikes me as odd that the men who saw Jesus heal the sick, cast out the demons in the demoniac when they couldn’t, feed five thousand and four thousand, walk on water, raise people from the dead, were rebuked for there lack of faith. When those who probably only had a second hand knowledge of these things were full of faith.

In Matt 8:10 Jesus said of the centurion “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Isreal!” The centurion certainly wasn’t following Jesus around he had surely only heard of the things Jesus was doing.

In Matt 17:20 when the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demons Jesus answered “because of your unbelief”.

I would love to hear your thoughts. I have to go to work so I will pick this up later.

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Posted by Gary in Faith

Beyond Self-Centred Worship

Found this by accident and thought it was relevant. Enjoy.

Beyond Self-Centred Worship

Geoff Bullock

Geoff Bullock served as music pastor at Hills Christian Life Centre, Sydney.

_________________________________

True worship is much more than

singing songs we like to sing

_________________________________

Have you ever wondered how Paul and Silas could sing praises in a Philippian gaol after being stripped, flogged and clamped in the stocks? Or how Jesus could sing a hymn on the eve of his arrest, knowing everything that was about to happen to him? Or how Paul could describe worship with the spine-tingling phrase ‘living sacrifice’?

It was because their worship was not based on what they liked. It was based on who they loved.

There is an explosion of worship in the church today. The buzz word is ‘contemporary’ and the aim is to ‘enter into God’s presence’ and enjoy a sense of closeness with him. The music, the setting, the lyrics must all help create a fulfilling worship ‘experience’.

But I am absolutely convinced that it’s not the worship that God wants us to enjoy. It’s him.

Christians have often felt that worship has to suit their tastes. Many times churches have been built based on people’s preferences in worship style. We want to choose how we will worship.

We’ve made worship self-centred instead of God-centred. We lobby for what we want: ‘I don’t like the songs’, ‘I don’t like the volume’. It’s as if we’re worshipping worship instead of worshipping God.

Imagine conducting your relationship with your spouse on the basis of only relating to them in certain circumstances. In marriage you can’t love demanding an answer; you have to love selflessly. You don’t say, ‘As long as I get everything I want out of this relationship I’ll commit myself.’ But that’s the attitude we often have to worship. We say: ‘You musicians, singers and pastors do your tricks, then we’ll be happy.’

Worship is not a musical experience. Musicians, singers and worship leaders can no more create a worship experience than an evangelist can create a salvation experience. Both worship and salvation are decisions – decisions that only individuals can make.

When we allow someone else to take responsibility for our decisions we place human interests in front of God’s. If my worship depends on others creating an atmosphere, I am allowing them to make my decision to worship for me.

Worship is not a result of how good the music is or whether my favourite songs are sung. It is not a consequence of whether I stand or sit, lift my hands or kneel. My worship must be an expression of my relationship with God – in song, in shouts and whispers, sitting, walking, or driving the car. Worship is my response to God.

If worship is a decision, then the greatest worship happens when someone who doesn’t like a church’s music or liturgical style prays, ‘Not my will but yours be done, God – I’ll worship you in spite of it.’

Your gifts aren’t the issue

There’s another way in which we worship worship instead of worshipping God. Let me come at it by a round-about route.

Consider two ways of understanding why the church exists. The first is that it exists to equip the saints for the work of ministry. So part of our teaching and worship must be aimed at equipping the saints.

But there is a danger in this first perspective. It could lead us to think that people are in a church so that the church can release their individual gifts and ministries. This is back-to-front. People are actually in a church with their gifts to release the ministry of the church.

It’s far more important to know where you are called than what you are called to do.

Let me give a practical example. My hands write songs by accident; they just happen to be attached to the rest of my body and I’m a songwriter. In the same way, I’m a songwriter at Hills Christian Life Centre more because I’m ‘attached’ to a worshipping, song-writing church than because Hills Christian Life Centre has a songwriter who writes songs. The call is on the church, and my talent as a songwriter helps the church fulfil its call.

This is a the second way to understand the church’s existence: It exists to fulfil God’s call on its life. To live out God’s vision. And the people in a church don’t so much need to own that vision as to be owned by it. Once that happens, the various facets of its life are given shape according to what God has called the church to be and do.

This has a profound effect on worship. It takes the focus away from what we want and replaces it with what is needed to fulfil the vision. It really doesn’t matter whether we like the worship style or not; it’s whether the style is consistent with the call and vision. Unless we think this way, we’re in danger of creating our own entertainment – and hence of worshipping worship again.

Worship and the will of God

In other words, for our worship to be a response to God, an expression of our love and devotion, it must be a reflection of his will in and through our lives. For me to express my love for my wife Janine, I must do more than say ‘I love you”. I must mow the lawn, pick up my socks, wash the car, share her dreams and visions and goals – I must be a partner to her, working to be a team that expresses mutual love to each other selflessly.

In this I discover that the best intimacy is the intimacy that forces you to get up in the morning after making love with your wife the night before and go and mow the lawns, fix the kitchen door, paint the shed – to do those things that are produced out of love.

It’s the same in our relationship with God. I can’t sing, ‘I love you, Lord’, ‘I’ll worship you’, ‘Be exalted’ without being a partner in his will and vision.

What is God’s vision, his expectations? Is it that we hold nice, comfortable worship services with three praise songs, two worship songs, one prophecy, one offering, one message, two altar calls and a closing hymn? Is his expectation our comfort, our enjoyment, our tradition?

No. God’s vision is that the world will know his Son. The Lord’s expectation of us is crystal clear in Matthew 28:19-20: ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

God has called us into his contemporary world to make disciples. Our worship central in our decision to meet this commission.

Of course we must sing and dance and praise the Lord. But if while we sing and dance and praise we either ignore God’s commission or create a culture that alienates those whom God has called us to reach, are we really worshipping God at all? Or are we, yet again, worshiping the worship instead of him?

Communication is more than words

The church I’m part of is a middle-income, yuppie, contemporary church of baby boomers and their children. That’s who we are, and that’s whom God has called us to reach. So that’s what we look and sound like. Other churches have different calls – perhaps to the elderly. In that case people will have to get used to singing hymns.

If every church became ‘modern contemporary’ in music and we all played Crowded House and Dire Straits, what would happen to churches in Vaucluse in Sydney or St Kilda in Melbourne, which need a totally different touch?

To put it in marketing terms, once we understand our mission (to make disciples), we need to find our market place (the people that God want us to reach). That will then give us our methodology.

We have to find and use the language of our market place. At Youth Alive rallies, for example, where 10-12,000 people cram into the Sydney Entertainment Centre, we know that ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ aren’t going to work with some 15-year-old home boy with his cap on backwards who’s into the basketball culture. So we sing songs like ‘Jump into the Jam with the Great I Am’ – songs that reflect our passion for Jesus and our love and vitality for life in their language. In this way we reclaim their music to glorify God and open a window to Christian experience in language they can understand.

When I say ‘language’ I don’t just mean terminology, words. People can go to a Madonna concert in Japan and not understand a word she says but still feel part of what she’s doing because they understand the whole language – the visual communication, the sound, the music.

We need to speak people’s language – not just in our music but in our newsletters and graphics and decor and preaching and dress.

When the church forgets this and loses sight of its mission and market place, it locks itself into its own culture. Anyone who comes in from outside has to undergo a cultural revolution, before they can get to our answer. In the end the only people we reach are ourselves. That’s scandalous. We’re called to be light in darkness, not light in light.

I’m not saying that all worship must be directed toward attracting non-believers – far from it. Worship is an individual’s adoration of God. Our worship attention must be on intimacy with God led by the Spirit. So we must not make it so relevant that we lose the intimacy.

You won’t reach your marketplace until you equip the saints, and you won’t equip the saints by just speaking the language of the marketplace. You have to teach them to speak the language of the marketplace. There’s a transition. So there must be a balance between equipping the saints and reaching the marketplace.

Sometimes, however, the saints bet lost in enjoying the ‘showers of blessings’ that come through their relationship with God. When we go to church to stand under the shower of blessings, our worship involves that experience.

But life is more than standing under the shower. Life is also getting dressed and going to work. Our worship should translate into the outcome of our lives.

For the believer, an effect of worship is like a remedial massage at half-time to get us back on the field. It’s healing for injuries so we can keep playing. It’s the coach at half-time saying toa tired team, ‘You can win’ – and sending them out to turn the game around.

Worship, then, is refocussing. It’s re-equipping. It’s realigning yourself with the passion of God and realising that you have to say, ‘Not my will but yours be done’.

Worship doesn’t end with ‘I exalt you’. It goes on to say, ‘I must go out and take the experience to others.’ I believe that God is changing the face of Christian worship today because he is trying to align us again with him and his vision.

We can’t worship God truly and remain unchanged. When we worship, we push into God’s heart. Older married couples can sometimes sit in a room together for an hour and a half and not speak to each other and yet communicate, because they’ve grown together and they understand each other’s heart. It’s like that with God. As we worship him we come to understand his heart, and we start to share his passion. Then his vision comes our vision.

______________________________________________________________

(c) On Being, February 1995, 2 Denham Street, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122.

Used with permission.

Renewal Journal #6 (1995:2), Brisbane, Australia, pp. 8-11.

http://www.renewaljournal.com/

Reproduction is allowed as long as the copyright remains intact with the text.

Source: http://www.pastornet.net.au/renewal/journal6/bullock.html

Posted by Gary in Worship

Faith

The other day while I was reading Hebrews 11 I ran across this quote from Warren Wiersbe:

“Life is built on character, character is built on decisions, decisions are based on values, and values must be accepted by faith.”*

Hebrews 11:24-29

Just something to think about.

* Wiersbe, W.W. (1996, c 1989) The bible Exposition Commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament Comprising the entire “BE” Series” – Jkt. (Lk 6:20). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books

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Releasing the Provision

I have been away awhile but God has been showing me so much.

I was thinking about the fact that God has pre-ordained our lives. For example:

Ps 139:16

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

Strongs #3335

to frame, pre-ordain, plan (fig. of divine) purpose of a situation) to be predetermined, be pre-ordained

And:

Eph 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

I started thinking that if God pre-planned our lives and our calling then He surely would prepare the provision for the plan. Then I saw this:

Eccl 3:15

That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past

Strongs #01245

to desire, demand, to require, exact, to ask, request

This speaks of stewardship of something given. Then I thought of this:

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

Strongs #2222

of the absolute fulness of life, life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted, to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world

So I came to some conclusions:

If God has already pre-planned the path of our lives and if God has already laid up the resource we need to accomplish what He has spoken over us;

If we have lack it is because of one of three things:

1. what we are doing, or not doing, (Joshua 7:7-11, Matt 13:22)

2. something we have authority over, (Matt 28 18-20, Eph 1&2)

3. something we must contend for. (Dan 10:12-13, Gen 25:20)

The other thing we can do is to sow:

Gen 8:22

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer,

And day and night Shall not cease.”

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

2 Cor 9:6-12

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

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, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,

However our heart behind the gift must be right.

Phil 4:17-18

Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

1 Cor 13:3

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

There is more but this is a good start.

What do you think?

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Accounts from the South Tower

I will never forget that day.

I was driving to work in Burwell that cloudy fall Nebraska day and normally I listen to the radio on the way; but on this day I was listening to a worship CD when my phone rang. It was Kim and right away I knew something was very wrong, through tears she said “Are you listening to the news?”. I hadn’t been so I turned the radio on and listened simultaneously to the news and to her describing what she was seeing on Fox News.

Stunned doesn’t begin to expain how I felt. I new dozens of people who worked in those buildings. Having sold Mutual Funds for over 6 years I had dealt with people in those buildings for a long time. Even though I had only met a few of them I felt they were personal friends.

I Immediately got off of I-80 at Cozad and tried to call Oppenheimer funds in New York, when there was no answer I called the office in Denver. A somber and shaken receptionist told me that they didn’t know anything either.

Not knowing what to do I drove on to the bank wondering if there was a Wall Street, did Oppenheimer Funds even exist anymore? What was I going to tell my clients? Were my friends in the tower ok? Then as the news continued to come in I had visions of “Red Dawn”. I was so confused. This can’t be happening in America.

Stephen had since left Oppenheimer Funds as an inside wholesaler and gotten a job trading bonds at Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods on the 89th Floor. I didn’t find out that he had died until weeks later. My new inside wholesaler was telling me how that day had impacted him, his co-workers and family. Then he remembered “You knew Stephen didn’t you?”

I will never forget that day.

My feelings went from complete disbelief, to scared, to sadness, to steely resolve. When those planes hit the towers, the pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field they attacked all of us. Even in the middle of Nebraska I felt the attack in a very personal way. Even before I knew that I had lost a friend.

This is the greatest country in the world and I know we will be ok. I am confident that we will do whatever it takes to defeat this enemy, as we have all the others, and many years from now we will be stronger than ever.

I will never forget that day.

89TH FLOOR
Stephen Mulderry, victim
Keefe, Bruyette and Woods
Portraits of Grief: Family and Basketball
Mr. Mulderry called from a conference room on the 87th floor, where he was apparently with about 12 other people. His brother, Peter, spoke to him. Here is his account:
I called over to his office. One of his colleagues picked up. He said, “Yeah, we’re okay, but my God.” Then Stephen came back to his desk. He said, “What’s up, brother?” — his usual salutation. “Are you all right?” I asked. He said, “Yeah, I was just over at the window, but my God, I don’t know if people were falling or jumping, but I saw people falling to their death.” I said, “Oh, my God.” He said, “They’re human beings.” Then he said, “I gotta go. The lights are ringing and the market is going to open.” In the background, I can hear the public address system, which I later learned was saying there has been an accident, the safest place is here.
[While they are off the phone, the second tower is hit; Peter can’t get through to Stephen; he calls other family members; they haven’t been able to get through either.]
I would try intermittently. My girlfriend was working at CNN as a producer, and I spoke to her, and she said, “Isn’t Stephen in that building?” It was very tense. The phone rang about 20 minutes before Tower 2 fell. He said, “Hey brother.”
I let out a real big groan of relief.
“Thank God, you’re okay.”
He said, “I’m really not.”
“You’re not out?”
He said, “We’ve tried everything. We tried to go up. We tried to get down. It’s just too hot and it’s too much smoke. We’ve found a room, a conference room, and we found a phone that works.”
There was one phone, I came to understand, and he was having his time with it.
He said, “I need Mom’s number.” My mother had recently moved to a new home and none of us had really committed her number to memory.
I asked, “Are you sure there’s no way out of that room?”
He said, “No. Like I told you, we tried everything. We’re just going to wait for the firemen to come get us. But it’s a long way for them to come, and the smoke’s really bad. Some people are talking about throwing the fire extinguisher through the window, but I know that will be the end of us. But if someone panics and does it, there’s nothing I can do.”
Then he said, “I really gotta call Mom. In case I don’t get out, I love you brother.” He wasn’t crying. I said, “I love you, too.”
He got through to my mother on her answering machine.
I haven’t heard the tape. [The essence of the message is:] A plane has hit the building, I don’t have much…I just want to tell you I love you. No matter what, I’m going to be okay.
[Stephen also called a friend and left a message on her tape.] “He got her answering machine. He told her, whatever happens, he was going to be okay. He had said all the prayers his mother had taught him and he was going to be fine.”
I think there were 12 other people in the room; it was on the 87th floor, a New York State office, and a conference room. Mainly it was men from the trading room — mainly college athletes.
I feel pretty strongly that people had passed out in the room before the end.
Stephen did say, “We tried to get to the roof.”
Interview by Jim Dwyer

Source: Accounts from the South Tower

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