Thoughts and Musings Posts tagged #extraordinaryinfluence

30
Jun
26
Mar

Faithful in Fear

Christ is faithful even when we think ourselves faithless. Fear and failure, friend, are faithful teachers of exemplary courage. ;-{)

This morning as I remember you in prayer, I think of the face of a friend recently when I asked how I could pray for them. Shock responded. Their face was incredulous that I would pray for them. “What me? I am living in horrible mistaken moments and imperfect obedience (my definition for sin). You would pray for me? God would listen to me and my mess?” It was written all over the face.

Too often we pray for our mistakes instead of praying for our success. Pray for success. Pray for standing on the mountain top instead of wallowing in the shadow of a weeping willow.

Elijah was a man of like passions to us. I love the stories of Elijah. One of the greatest miracle workers of all history found himself at the footstool of fear and failure.

1 Kings 19: 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

The story goes on and he finds his footing again in faith and courage and goes on to serve for many more years in power and success.

Let’s Pray: Father, sometimes we find ourselves standing on the rickety footstool of failure and fear. But we don’t live there. That is not our home. Our strength and courage lie in faith and faithfulness. You are faithful. You are full of strength and courage. Let us embrace that and move to higher ground.

04
Mar

MOSAICS Immigrant – Migrant – Transitory

Lent is a season of introspection, confession, and repentance. It is a good time to review our intentions and motivations as individuals and as a nation.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
As we begin the introspection let’s be honest. Much of what we hear in the media and from pulpits is focused on the law not on Christ.   That is a falling away from grace.  Let’s be sensitive.  Persecution of the children brought illegally into the states and persecution of families is something not on God’s agenda.  He is greatly opposed to such action.
Exodus 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
God took strangers, illegal immigrants and made them into the nation of Israel. Seems like He has a soft spot.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  
God places strangers, travelers, in our society as messengers.  We need to distinguish between those He sends and arranges and those that just happen and those sent of an enemy.
So given these three premises, let’s take a look at our world.
Migrants:  Migrants are people who come and go into and out of a culture or area.  We have a migratory population in the church.  People come and go.  They “come to Jesus” and then return to their normal chaos and personal control. We have a migratory population in our nation.  People come and go.  They are here for a season to do a job or visit, but have no intention of staying for a lifetime.  In the church and in our nation, we need a place for these people to exist, thrive, and have free return to their world.  They can contribute fellowship and friendship for a season.
Immigrants:  Immigrants are those that come to merge into a culture or area. We have an immigrant population in the church.  People come and stay.  They come and commit to the Lordship of Christ and grow into disciples in support, attendance, prayer, worship, fellowship, study and life.  Sometimes they come in with questions and concerns and don’t know that they are going to stay and then they change, they commit.  We have an immigrant population in our nation.  People come and stay. Sometimes they come through an initial illegal means.  They have questions and concerns and then they change, they commit.  They become us.
Transitory:  Transitory people can be dangerous.  They come dangerous.  They come to take, to abuse, and to vilify others.  These are not migrants. There are transitory people in the church.  They are predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do damage.  They gossip and slander and undermine unity.  They need to be rooted out.  There are transitory people in our nation.  They live in the dark shadows of crime and abuse.  They capture women and force them into human traffic situations.  They abuse. They steal, kill, and destroy.  They need to be rooted out.
When my father was without parents, another family took him in.  He was a migrant,an orphan. At birth and later when his mother was killed. He was a migrant.  A man named George Ollie took him into his home for a season and raised him.  George was an immigrant.  At ten years old, George hid on a boat from Syria to Mexico.  His father was working on the boat.  George was left in Mexico for a year and then his father brought him into the states.  They became citizens.  My father was raised by a Middle Eastern stowaway smuggled in from Mexico.  A migrant become immigrant.  Sometimes strangers become angels.  George was my father’s angel and mine.
Our summation:
Be sensitive in the church and in the neighborhood to who is with us and why.
Stay clear of being too engaged in the pure legal definitions.  You might miss your greatest blessing.
Remember you were a migrant when you came into the church and became an immigrant.
30
Nov

Know Yourself

Each of us grow.  God invests gifts in us and we grow in them to bless others.  This quick assessment will help the pastoral leadership team help you grow even more.  We grow as we use who we are and what we have.

Take the asessment at Church Growth and then Email a copy to me.

Right Now Click

28
Nov

Why Let This Year Pass Without Taking Care of Your Family?

What makes Hope Church a different kind of family church? 

 

Members of the Gainesville community tell me there are 116 churches in the area.  Why do we need another church? Making the right decision for the future of your family is important. Is something missing? You judge.

  • Interdenominational:  That means your background is accepted. No matter if you grew up Methodist, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, or have never been affiliated with any church, you are welcome and wanted at Hope Church. John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
  • Full Gospel:  Salvation in Jesus applies to your physical health, mental health, spiritual health, and relational health. Jesus came to restore us to connected peace with God, the Creator. All that came with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the beginning years of the church of Jesus Christ is still available. Nothing goes away until He returns. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
  • Power Prayer:  When we pray, we expect answers. We do see miracles and physical healing along with spiritual and mental and relational. We do experience a tangible presence of God in services. God shifted His entire being to do good on behalf of those that accept forgiveness in Jesus and join His forever family.  Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory;No good thing will He withhold from those who walk His path.
  • Balance:  Fellowship with other members and other churches, friendships that are healthy and fun, family with joy and strength,faith in Jesus that is eternal in consequence. We need all four. No one should spend their life at church. No one should spend their life without a church family in which they participate. Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the coming together of ourselves, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
  • Expression: Dedication to God and His design for life means loving Him and loving others in belief and action. We mean it and we do it. Though we are tiny in number, we have supported Community Transformation Initiative in graduating 105 Cooke County citizens on probation from Life Skills and Parenting,we have hosted hundreds at free community family events from concerts to Easter Egg hunts to cookouts, we have given hundreds of toys and school supplies to kids in Mexico, and we are developing an open Celebrate Recovery so people in pain of grief, loss, abuse, addiction, and other hurts, habits, and hang-ups can live a better life forward. We are an action church. Matthew 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
  • Opportunity:  All are welcome to come. How can you understand unless you come and hear and experience. No matter how many times you have failed to live up to His plan, no matter how long you have lived apart from God’s perfect plan, you are welcome and wanted at Hope Church. God’s eternal offer of joining His family is open to you. Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
  • Sacrifice: Yes,sacrifice. When you receive the free gift of forgiveness from wrong living and accept the free gift of eternal life in Christ, you are now His. You have surrendered your life for His life. I tis an exchange. In that exchange, He calls you to a higher and better life. He empowers and expects you to grow out of the old and into the new. Faith understands and finds it easy to obey and give of time, talent, and treasure to see the family grow. We are a family. Every member does their part that none would be overburdened. 1 John 2: 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
  • Solid:  The faith we offer is over 2000 years in the making. God created mankind. Mankind rebels and chooses their own path. The choice separates us from God. Separation from God is a spiritual death that mankind cannot solve. Unresolved, it results in eternal separation from God, Hell. God loves us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus, to live in full obedience and take our punishment for us. Jesus lived,died, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and will come again. If we admit we can’t do it and receive Jesus gift of forgiveness and eternal life, we become members of God’s family forever. He offers full empowerment of His Holy Spirit to equip us to live free from mistaken living (sin) and enter into a life of miracles, signs, and wonders. Obedience means living as a disciple of Christ inside a local church body where you can grow and be mentored (discipled). Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever

 

Is that what you want for you and your family?  Whether you are a family of one or many, come on Sunday at 11am or Sunday at 5pm and get started. I want to meet you and welcome you into Hope Church. Pastor Phil

19
Aug

Testing The Words of Instruction

pastorsinprayer

How do I know that what I am being taught is solid and dependable?  That is a good question.  When someone speaks as a teacher or leader in the Kingdom of God, we need to know if we can follow their words.

Interpreting scripture is a skill and a Spirit empowered exercise.  Understanding all of Scripture in a global sense helps us make extractions to apply to our lives.

  1. As Paul told Timothy, Scripture is for living.  It is for correction, reproof, and building up of our knowledge.
  2. As Solomon revealed, Scripture is for living.  It is for wisdom to make daily decisions and navigate relationships.
  3. As is evident throughout, Scripture is for living.  It is for revelation of God’s will to give us peace and strength and security that we are following His right path.
  4. Clear scripture interprets and clarifies unclear scripture.  Each of us wants to find something no one else has found.  There is nothing new under the sun.  When it is something no one else has seen, it is probably bunk and a diversion.
  5. When it is important, God makes it clear. We don’t have to guess.

 

So with all that in mind, I’ll answer the question of testing prophecy or teaching we have heard?

  1. Is it consistent with the whole of Scripture? God does not contradict Himself. He is not a man that He should lie.
  2. Does it bring strength, clarify direction, and cause another comfort? 1 Cor 13: 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men
  3. Does it glorify God? 2 Peter 1:21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Does it promote love? 1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  5. Does it happen? Does what they say in the past happen? Jeremiah 14:14 And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them.’
  6. Did it come from someone whose life is faithful to God? Men and women can prophesy and teach according to gift and have a wrong heart. Following them will take you into a place of destruction.  They are not falsely prophesying but abusing a gift to abuse you.  Deut 13 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
  7. Again what is the spirit of the person, who is talking? What is the evidence of their life? Are they balanced in God and in unity with the Church?  1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  8. Is the one prophesying or teaching of good reputation in the kingdom and acknowledged by others of good reputation? Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
  9. Does it witness with proven men and women, whom God has put in my life? Whether one or one hundred agree with the words of a prophesy is meaningless. People agree all the time with what they do not understand. God surrounds us with wise counsel and leadership knowledgeable of the things of the Spirit to keep us protected.  Hebrews 13:17New King James Version (NKJV) Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
  10.  Am I in right alignment with the leadership God has given me in order to receive from them clearly?  This is one of the most important items of a good disciple of Christ.  To receive the truth of God’s direction whether through my personal study or a teacher or a minister or a word of prophesy requires right alignment.  Is there a clear path between me and God?  Am I living faithfully as a witness of Christ, presenting myself as a living sacrifice, worshipping Him and Him alone, honoring His local church through giving time, talent, and treasure, speaking well of others, faithful in prayer, faithful in honest repentance, and studying to show myself approved to rightly divide the word of truth.  Galatians 6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
  11. All of this being written, God is in charge.  He can use a donkey to speak a word of direction to an unrepentant, misaligned person to get them into right focus. A pastor last week told me how he had become disillusioned and decided to go get drunk.  He was not a drinker, so when he went to a bar, he asked to have what the person next to him was drinking.  That person was drunk.  After it was served, the drunk began to say to him, “Man of God, what are you doing here. Get back to living like you are supposed to live.”  The drunk began to prophesy his situation and his solution. The minister left the bar and the drunk took his drink and continued to get more drunk. But typically, he uses one of His trusted sources.