Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A life verse for Calvary Chapel Churches

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! Zechariah 4:6-7 

When the nation of Israel came back from captivity they set to the task of rebuilding the temple. They realized that the worship of the one true God must be central to their existence. However as they began to build they became discouraged. They had successfully laid the foundation, but due to persecution and difficulty they quit and went back to building their own houses leaving the temple incomplete. The Lord then raised up His prophets Haggai and Zechariah to come along side of the people. Through their ministry the work of the temple resumed and was eventually completed. 
One of the encouraging words in the midst of the work was found here in Zechariah 4. It appears that Zerubbabel thought that the task before him had to be completed through his might, and power. It seemed as though a mountain stood before him that couldn't be removed. The Lord then told His servant that the work would be done through the Spirit. 

In many ways this verse has been a hallmark of the Calvary Chapel movement and its churches. Pastor Chuck always pointed us to the fact that the ministries we were involved with were in great need of the power of the Holy Spirit. You can have power, human ingenuity, even talented people,  but those things could never accomplish what the Spirit of God can accomplish. For many of us we set out to plant and pastor churches with this promise in mind. We were aware of our own inadequacy. We knew that apart from the Lord we could do nothing. A trust in God and His Word were the tools to build the church. The foundation was Jesus, and we just went for it. We came to find out that this promise is true. The Spirit of God can level the mountains that we could never move. The Lord can make a way in a community, or even another country. He isn't limited by anything. 

Yet as I reflect a little more on this passage of scripture I begin to think of the future of the Calvary Chapel churches. I believe we need a fresh reminder and discovery of this promise. I consider the many mountains that seem to surround us at the present time. I realize that they are too great for us to remove, but they are not too great for the LORD to remove. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I believe we must continue to stick to what we know. That we continue to faithfully teach the Word of God, chapter by chapter verse by verse declaring the whole council of God. That we remain dependent upon the power of the Spirit, and that our prayers are directed toward that end. Lord pour out Your Spirit in these last days. Bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Give us boldness to continue to proclaim the truth without compromise. 
I also feel that it is imperative that we don't look around at the way others are building, and how they are building in making comparisons. In each individual church we have enough to be held accountable for. Let's simply do our job to the best of our ability and let other people do theirs. God uses different churches to minister to different people. The gifts and the callings that He distributes are not the same for everyone. I want to use the talents I have been entrusted with in order to be a faithful steward before my master returns. Stay focused, be faithful, do your best, and leave the outcome to the Lord. 

I realize in my own life and ministry after 20 years of pastoral ministry I am still completely powerless and ineffective without Jesus. I know that apart from my savior and His Spirit I can do nothing. Like so many of my brothers across this world there is a desire to see a greater work of Gods Spirit. Let's not let up, let's not shrink back, let's press on, push forward, continue to advance in the Spiritual battle. And may the Lord grant us a greater measure of the outpouring of His Spirit in our churches in the coming year. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Watch, Wait, and See

LOOK among the nations and WATCH, be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you, Habakkuk 1:5
I will stand my WATCH and set myself on a rampart and WATCH to SEE what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Habakkuk 2:1

The prophet Habakkuk was informed that a work of God was about to begin. Yet the work that was to be done, Habakkuk wouldn't believe it even if he was informed in advance. Sometimes we think we have the Lord figured out. We imagine in our minds the way He will provide, or the doors He will open. We develop a predisposition as to how the will of God will unfold in our lives. But so often things don't go the way we planned. It is in those moments that we come to realize the Lord is much better at writing our story than we are. The Lord told Habakkuk to do three things, LOOK, WATCH and BE ASTOUNDED.  Habakkuk wasn't the one who would be doing the work, God was. The Lord was the one who would do the work that was going to amaze the prophet. The plan unfolding would surpass his ability to understand. At that moment Habakkuk made a decision, he would put himself in a place to wait,watch, and see what the Lord would do. He was going to have to live by faith and trust God. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

He has shown you

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Your God. Micah 6:8

When we go to the Word of God we do so with an expectation, or at least we should. We should desire and anticipate the Lord speaking to us. He speaks through His Word. Now I wish that I could say every morning was some amazing revelation and insight that I had never seen before, but that is not always the case. Sometimes I read and I know what the context is, I know what the background is, but I am struggling to find application for my life. Yet that doesn't mean the Lord isn't speaking. God's Word does not return void. Then there are times where we say, "Lord please show me something..." and the response is right here in Micah, "He has shown you..". The Lord has shown you, and now your either going to need to take a step of faith, or your gonna have to wait on Him to bring it to pass. In the mean time continue to do justly, love mercy, and especially walk in humility before God. As we do He will continue to unfold His plans and purpose for us. We have no idea whats around the corner, but we know the Lord has already gone before us. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Star Of Bethlehem

When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Matthew 2:10

This is the time of year when everyone is preparing for Christmas. Lights go up on the house, trees are decorated, and oh yes, Christmas cookies are made. You know, the sugar cookies decorated like snow men, trees, and candy canes? The ones with the sprinkles and frosting?  You get the idea. Christmas carols are sung, gifts are purchased and wrapped.  Yet its easy to loose the real meaning in all the activity isn't it?

In Luke chapter 2 we read of the arrival of the KING of KINGS and the LORD of LORDS, as Jesus was born in a stable. The Son of God became a man, so that we could one day become Sons of God. Angels sang His praises, shepherds came and worshipped Him. Yet Matthew is the only one who records what took place after the birth of Jesus. There was a group of wise men that were searching for the King who would be the Savior of the World. The Lord gave them a supernatural sign in creation of a star. That star led them right to Jesus. The Bible says that when they saw the star they rejoiced. Why? Because they were getting closer to Jesus. The closer they got the greater their joy became. Until when they finally saw Jesus they fell down and worshipped Him and presented their gifts to Him. 

Folks today there is no star pointing people to the Savior. We are now the ones who are to shine in the darkness of this world, directing people to Jesus. Jesus said we are the light of the world. We are like a city that is set upon a hill that cannot be hidden.We aren't to hide our light but to let it shine. Daniel put it this way, "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3 

May the Lord help us this Christmas season to shine brightly in the midst of the darkness. 

Link to the JOY OF CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: The Search is Over: Matthew 2