Saturday, September 5, 2015

Shortcuts

For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36

Shortcut: an accelerated way of doing or achieving something.
Driving  down the street this morning I noticed a group of people riding bicycles. They weren't riding Huffy Beach cruisers like I used to have, no they were riding road bikes. They wore bike shorts and bike shirts and had aerodynamic bike helmets. As I sat at the stoplight I watched the bikers approach a steep hill, and as they pedalled forward, no one was getting off their bikes. None of them were going to stop, they were going to the top. Then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, I saw a lady on a motorized bicycle pass them all, quickly going up the hill. It made me laugh as I heard one of the bikers say out loud, "No Fair!" The motorized bicyclist found a shortcut. 
Its seems that we are always looking for shortcuts in life. Cliff-notes instead of the whole book, diet pills instead of exercise. We want instant gratification, instead of patient persistence. Although there are times when a shortcut might be okay, there are somethings in life that you have to simply press through. In those seasons we might look at someone else who isn't struggling and think, "it isn't fair." We may face the temptation to quit and give up all together. There are many examples in the scriptures of people who took, what appeared the be the easier route, but it ended up being more difficult down the road.  Its in traversing the hills of life, that character is being developed. Its in the challenges and struggles of life that we grow deeper and become stronger in the Lord. This Christian life is a journey with many peaks and valleys. It's filled with joys and sorrows, and endurance is needed. But at the end of the road there is Jesus and Glory and Heaven and Eternity!!!! It will all be worth it when our race is over. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Near...Far...

Did you ever watch Sesame Street as a kid? Don't be ashamed, it had a catchy opening theme song, do you remember it? "Sunny day, chasing the clouds away....etc I know you know the rest.. Anyways.. on that show children were taught the difference between Near and Far. I learned a lot, seriously....
In the book of Ecclesiastes King Solomon gave an exhortation to his readers when he said, "draw near to hear." Ecc.5:1 It is one thing to draw near to the Lord, but it is important to come with an attentive heart to listen to He wants to say. Jesus said concerning the Pharisees, "These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor with me their lips, but their heart is far from me." Matt.15:8 The pharisees had the appearance of drawing near, but they were not listening, and therefore they were actually farther away than they seemed.  
When it comes to hearing from the Lord, there are certain things that will hinder your signal. Distance from Jesus creates difficulty to hear. Sin is always a hindrance. Communication with the Creator is unclear in dark and sinful places. The Prince of the Power of the Air (a.k.a Satan) runs interference to the spiritual frequencies of faith. "Today if you will hear His voice do not harden your hearts." Heb.4:7 
The Bible encourages us to "draw near (not with a hardened heart but instead) with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Heb.10:22 We are exhorted to "draw near unto God and He will draw near unto us. James 4:8. When you draw near, do so with the intent of listening to what the Lord might want to say to you. Be open as He speaks to you through His Word, by His Holy Spirit. Come with an expectant heart. 

Qu: Are you  "NEEAAARRRR to Jesus or are you FAAAARRR from Jesus today?"
If you don't know the difference please watch the clip below this will help you I promise. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Harvest Crusade 2015

Someone sent us this picture.
Worshiping in the stadium felt like a taste of heaven. 
Every year Southern California waits with anticipation for what I believe is one of the most affective  and powerful evangelistic events anywhere, the Harvest Crusade.  At our church every year we host a Harvest Start Rally to encourage believers to pray for their non believing friends and to bring them to the crusade. We challenge our congregation to serve at the crusade in any area the Lord places on their heart. 
Saturday Night Response to the Invitation. 
One of the most amazing things about the crusade is the consistency in the clear un-compromised message of the Gospel given by Pastor Greg Laurie. Although Greg has been blessed with a great sense of humor that is relatable to the masses, he doesn't hold back talking about Heaven and Hell and the need for repentance. Years ago Pastor Greg preached every Monday night at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. My wife and I served as counselors for those who came forward. I can tell you the message hasn't changed. In fact I think it has become even more powerful as there is now an even greater sense of urgency because time is short. 
In our prayer meetings leading up to the crusade, and during the crusade itself, the thing that kept coming to my mind was, "Lord exceed our expectations. Do above and beyond what we could imagine." I believe the Lord answered the prayers of His church as over 10k people made professions of faith in Christ. Hallelujah!!!! 
We are now in prayer for the upcoming Harvest America taking place on March 6th 2016, at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas Texas. Our church is planning on sending a team to serve at the event. Once again we will be praying that God will exceed our expectations.  May the Lord continue to bless the work of the Harvest Crusades in days to come.