Pour Out Your Spirit Lord 

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”

The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind all the ministry that will take place in the book of Acts. Jesus had commanded His disciples to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel message, but before they went, they were to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Their personal lives, their ministries, and their world, would forever be changed because the Holy Spirit came upon them.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on His church and the individual Christian, is a work of God. Jesus promised He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. However, that does not mean the disciples played no part in the event. I think it is important that we understand their involvement, as the promise of God was being fulfilled in them.

First off, they were obedient to the Word. Jesus commanded them to wait in Jerusalem, and wait they did. Next, we find them in prayer. Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would be given to those who ask; but He also explained that we should ask persistently. Jesus told a story of a man who knocked on his neighbor’s door in the middle of the night seeking bread. He continues to knock until the man gave him what he was seeking. The man finally gave in because of the persistence of the petitioner (Luke 11:5-8). Jesus is not teaching us to bug our neighbors to get what we want. Instead, His point was to teach the need for persistent prayer for the Holy Spirit. Finally, they were in one accord. Rather than bickering about petty things, or focusing upon their differences, they were all together with a heart and mind fixed on their need for more of Jesus. It was in this setting, that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His church. The lives of these men and women were forever transformed.

There is no special formula behind receiving the Spirit and gifts of God. I am not suggesting that we must travel to Jerusalem, fill a room with 120 people, and wait ten days if we want to receive the Spirit of God.  I am saying,  we are active participants in the work of God. If we desire a greater work of God in our lives, we must obey Him and seek Him.

Let’s take some time this morning to ask God to fill us again with His Spirit. Certainly, the world is in desperate need of men and women who have been transformed by the power of God.

Pastor Jim

 

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:19
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live”

As Moses’ final hour quickly approaches, he pleads with the people to turn to the Lord. He has personally experienced the suffering that comes with rebellion against God. Forty years in Horeb, and forty years in the wilderness wanderings, have forever etched in his mind, the importance of trusting in, and following after, the Lord.

The same offer is set before each of us today. We have the choice to receive Christ and follow after Him into life, blessing, and peace. Or, we can choose to reject his offer, and continue to live apart from Him. We are not, however, free to claim the benefits of choosing Christ, then continue to live apart from Him, or after the dictates of our own heart. Earlier Moses declared,

“. . . and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, “I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.” Deuteronomy 29:19

The decision we make regarding Christ is one that will effect our present circumstances, our eternal state, and those who we love the most. Moses stated that a decision to follow the Lord would mean both they, and their descendants, would live. As you make a stand to live committed to Christ, you will find that others stand with you.

Choose life today!

Pastor Jim

 

Hidden Things 

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

 

Recently, I arrived at the church, only to discover that since I drove a different vehicle than usual, I did not have my key. First, I was frustrated at myself, then I looked for someone else to blame, and finally, called one of the other pastors to come open the office for me. When I got in, settled down, and began to unpack my bag, I discovered the key was in my bag all along. I had simply failed to take the time to look for it. Had I dug through the bag, I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time, energy and frustration. 

 

Moses explains that the secret things of God have been revealed to His children and as a result they belong to us. These secrets include His guidance, His provision, and even His power. As a child of God, we can access God and receive from Him, even when we are facing the darkest moments in life. Like the key tucked away in the bottom of my bag, the promises of God are hidden in the pages of His word. Sometimes, they are hidden right on the surface, and all that is required is to open your Bible and begin to read. I wonder how often you have walked into church and felt as though the songs or the message was written just for you? That same experience will be found daily, if you will take the time to traverse the pages of your Bible. The secret things of God belong to you, take the time to get to know them. 

 

Pastor Jim 

  

Head Or Tail

Deuteronomy 28:13
“And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.”

This verse makes me think of a high school performance where two students are selected to play the horse. One lucky young man get to be the head, while the other is stuck behind him as the tail.

Moses used this visual to remind Israel of the importance of obedience to the Word of God. He explained that if the people chose to live in or accordance with the teachings of Scripture, they would find that their life would be richly blessed. At the same time, if they chose to ignore the Word, and do life their own way, they would miss out on that blessing, and face difficulties God never intended for them to endure.

Every day we face challenges that force us to either look to Scripture for direction or choose to do what we think is right. When we apply the principles of the Word of God, they will always bring about blessing, even if it seems impossible. Jesus told an interesting parable regarding the value and power of the Word of God. He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how” (Mark 4:26-27). In other words, the Word of God will always do what it is designed to do, even if we don’t understand how. When a marriage is failing and a couple begins to look to Scripture and apply its truths to heir relationship, God will do the miraculous. When an individual is struggling to walk with the Lord and begins to invest the Word into his daily life, God will do a miracle. We do not need to understand how the Word works, we just need to be faithful to do it; and we will find ourselves being the head, instead of the tail.

Pastor Jim


All He Began To Do

Acts 1:1
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, . . .”

The book of Acts is a sequel to the Gospel account, written by Luke. He declares, in this opening verse, the purpose for writing the Gospel account and the book of Acts. He states that the Gospel records what Jesus began to do; and the book of Acts, what He continues to do. Since Jesus is alive from the dead, the story of the Bible is a continuing one. John closed his Gospel account declaring that all the books in the world could not hold all that Jesus did for humanity. As amazing as it may seem, Jesus is not finished. The resurrection is not the end of the story. It is the transition point where the work of Jesus transfers from being accomplished outwardly through His life on earth, to the inward working of His Spirit in the life of all who believe.

Another thing that strikes me about Luke’s statement, is that he personally had so much to say. He is looking back to what Jesus has done, and looking forward to what Jesus will do. I think that is a great way to live. It would be wise for each of us to chronicle the things Jesus has done for us. Perhaps taking the time to make a list of all the things that have been accomplished as a result of your positive response to the Gospel message. In Ephesians, Chapter 1, Paul records that Jesus chose us, predestined us, adopted us, accepted us, redeemed us, forgave us, is coming back for us, and has filled us with His Spirit to guarantee that we belong to Him. Paul also recognized that “He who had begun a good work in Him would complete it” (Philippians 1:6).

Take some time to reflect on all that Jesus has done for you, and look forward with expectation to the things He still desires to accomplish. It may be that He will turn another fisherman into the world’s greatest fisher of men.

Pastor Jim

 

Choose

Deuteronomy 27:8
“And you shall write very plainly all the words of this law.”

On the verge of entering the Land of Promise, Moses reminds the people they have a choice to make. Upon entering the land, they were to gather the entire nation in the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim. On one mount, half of Israel‘s leaders were to read the blessings that would befall a people who obeyed the Word of God. The remainder of Israel’s leaders stood on the other mount to declare the curses that would befall them if they ignored, or rebelled against the Word. In addition to the spoken Word, they were to write the Word on large, whitewashed stones that were easy for all to read. Beyond question, the key to Israel’s success and happiness was their obedience to the Word.

The same is true for us today. God has gone to great effort to provide us with His Word. He has preserved it down through the ages. It remains our responsibility to get to know it, and to obey it. Our success and happiness depend upon our obedience to the Word.

Deuteronomy 27:9-10
“. . . This day you have become the people of the Lord your God. Therefore you shall obey the voice of the Lord your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.”

For each of us who has decided to follow Christ, the next step of the journey involves getting to know the Word of God, and living in obedience to it. The closer we adhere to the principles found in His Word, the more blessed our life will become.

What choice will you make? Will you decide to live life your own way and miss out on the blessed life? Or will you submit yourself to the Word and ways of God, and watch as He provides you with the living water He promises to all those who believe

Pastor Jim

 

Follow Me 

John 21:19
“Follow Me.”

Much has happened since Peter first met Jesus. In a few short years, it seems as though a lifetime has transpired. Peter, the fisherman, has become Peter, the apostle. The young man who used to spend his days on the Sea of Galilee pursuing fish, is now a man who has spent over three years fishing for men. I imagine, at one time, his stories were all about his biggest catch, or perhaps times of weathering one of the storms for which the Sea of Galilee was famous.  Now his stories would include tales of praying for the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Certainly, life had changed for the young fisherman from Galilee. Along with change, came true spiritual development. The Peter who first met Jesus, was not the same Peter we see standing here. Sure, he still had his setbacks, but life with Jesus had changed him. Later, we read that even unbelievers recognized that spending time with Jesus changes men.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

That being said, I am struck by the commission Jesus gives to Peter. He simply says, “Follow Me.” those are the same words, the same call, the same commission Peter heard when he began his journey with Jesus. All the growth, all the ministry, all the experience, would never change the basic call of God on Peter. He was never called to change the world, but to simply and continually follow Jesus.

Things are the same for me and you. When we first heard the Gospel, we heard Jesus say, “Follow Me.” No matter how long ago that may have been, no matter how closely you have walked with Him, or how far you have fallen; regardless of what mission trips, Bible studies or worship teams, you have been involved in, the commission remains the same. Jesus wants you to follow Him.

I have always loved that first call on the life of Peter, when Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). It greatly encourages me to know, when I follow Jesus, He will make the changes in me so that I become the man He intends for me to be.

Let’s recommit ourselves today, to be followers of Jesus. Let’s determine we will go the way He is going, and be involved in the things He wants for our lives. As we do, He will make us into who He wants us to be.

“Follow Me.”

Pastor Jim