Works Of God 

Psalms 66:5
“Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.”

Where we can go to see God work?

We could start by attending a church where people are serving the Lord. We can watch God work in the lives of others. We can observe His transforming work as people respond to the Gospel, or His equipping work as young and old, men and women, offer themselves in service of the Lord. We might see His comforting work as the broken hearted are encouraged by the Word of God, and the presence of Christ. We might see His restoring work as the prodigals return to relationship with Jesus. But there is another way to see the works of God. We can step out of our comfort zone and offer ourselves as servants. The chief reason people don’t see God work in their lives is because they are afraid to step out in faith and serve the Lord. If we continue to use the excuse that we can’t, we will never find the power and enabling of God to assist us beyond our abilities. On one occasion the disciples found they could not accomplish the ministry they were faced with, when they asked Jesus why He responded,

Matthew 17:20
“Why could we not cast it out?
‘So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.'”

Jesus promised if they trusted Him, they would see God accomplish tasks they knew to be impossible. Our problem is we do not want to be in impossible situations. We like to have control of our life and the events surrounding us. It is when we will step out in faith, trusting in the provision of God, and enlisting ourselves in His service, that we will see the works of God.

Perhaps God has been stirring your heart to serve. Maybe you have been thinking about volunteering to teach children or to join a mission team or to open your house for a home fellowship, but you have resisted because you feel inadequate. Allow me to encourage you,  God always calls the inadequate. His methods are to choose the weak and foolish things of the world so He is always glorified through whatever is accomplished.

“Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.”

Pastor Jim

 

It’s A Promise 

Ezekiel 39:29
“And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.”

This is one of the greatest and most anticipated prophecies in all Scripture. Going back to the time of Moses, Joshua heard a report that two men had the Spirit fall upon them and they began to prophecy, although they had not come to the Tabernacle to do so. In concern for the people, Joshua exhorted Moses to forbid them. Moses responded,

Numbers 11:29 “Then Moses said to him, ‘Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!’”

By the time of Ezekiel, Israel had been anticipating the promise of the Holy Spirit for a thousand years. Now the prayer of Moses is turned into the promise of God. He declares a time is coming when the Spirit will be poured out on them. This is not the only promise regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. About a hundred years before Ezekiel, the prophet Joel made an even more amazing promise. He declared the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh, making no distinction between man or woman, young or old, or slave and free. This is the promise that Peter quoted to explain the events that transpired at Pentecost and are recorded in Acts, Chapter 2. One hundred and twenty believers were huddled in a room in Jerusalem,when suddenly this promise was fulfilled. These men, who lived in fear of the world around them, were suddenly transformed, emboldened and empowered with the ability to declare the Gospel in a way that led to thousands coming to faith in Christ.

What we need, and by we, I mean each of us as individual believers in Christ, as well as our local congregations, is to be filled with the Spirit of God and allow Him to transform, equip, and emboldened us to share Christ with a needy world.

Pastor Jim

 

The Church’s Got Talent 

1 Corinthians 14:29
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”

Confusion broke out in the Corinthian church. Instead of meeting for the worship of God and the study of His word, the church had become a place for people to show off their spiritual gifts. Those with the gift of tongues saw the meetings as a time to speak or even sing in tongues. They thought the church existed to hear them sing. Others had the gift of prophecy, or at least they thought they did. To them the church existed as a place to share the things they thought were most relevant for the people to hear. I can imagine what the scene must have been like as the church gathered, opened in prayer, and then one by one, each louder than the last, the people began to share their thoughts and sing their songs. To the onlooker, it must have appeared to be a Christian version of “America’s Got Talent.”

Paul writes to correct their behavior and bring the fellowship back to something that honors God and impacts the community. In order to accomplish this, he reminds them of a responsibility that each Christian bears. He writes, “… let the others judge.” The standard of judgment that must lead the Christian, and shape the church, is the written Word of God. Paul is exhorting them not to accept everything done in the name of Jesus, as being from Jesus. This is a critical principle with much application, not the least of which has to do with the daily function of the local church. Scripture informs us, the purpose of the church is to glorify God, preach the Gospel, make disciples, and train up the next generation of leaders. To that end, the church is to teach the Word of God and provide an atmosphere where people can worship, pray, and develop godly relationships. Paul put it like this,

Ephesians 4:12-13 “. . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

We should view the church as a place where we are fed, instructed, built up, and equipped, in order that we might go out into the world, impacting our circle of influence for the Kingdom of Heaven. Sadly, today, many see the church as the Corinthians did. They think the church exists solely as a place where they can exercise their gifts, and when they are not allowed to, they become frustrated with the leadership and complain to others. In many cases, they leave their church and go to another one that will let them perform. While gifts are necessary for the church to function properly, the gifts are not given so we can showcase our talents. If you are not getting to do what you want at your church, don’t behave Corinthian. Instead, look at the fact that God may want to use you in a totally different way than He has in the past. Come to the fellowship looking to be built up and equipped for service, then ask God to set before you an open door to impact others for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who knows, God may even want to use you in the children’s ministry…

Pastor Jim

 

Weakness 

1 Corinthians 1:26
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”

images-2.jpegPaul reminded Timothy that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. That was His purpose, His passion, and what He labored diligently towards. After the resurrection, Jesus called His church to be involved in this same purpose. He commissioned men to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” This is the greatest of all vocations and carries with it the highest honor. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “If God has called you to preach do not stoop along the way to become a king.”

God intends for the work that began with Christ, and was carried out by the Apostles, to continue today through His church. Jesus is still commissioning men to go into the world and preach the Gospel, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:18

But who are these men? What is Jesus looking for in those He selects to take the Gospel to the world? Paul wrote, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called”(1 Corinthians 1:26). In order to reach the world, God is not looking for the most gifted of people, but is simply looking for those who will be faithful to Him, and respond to the call.

One of the struggles every Christian faces, is the reality of our own limitations. The moment we surrender ourselves completely to Christ, He begins to call us to serve Him; often calling us into service that makes us quite uncomfortable, and causes us to realize our weakness. Paul reminds the Corinthians this is on purpose. God is not looking for the mighty, or noble, but for the weak, base and foolish. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is, God can. What I mean is, our weaknesses do not weaken God, nor do our limitations, limit Him. You may have heard the phrase, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” That may be true of a chain, and even of human organization, but it is not true of the Kingdom of God. He is not weakened by our weakness, but is able to provide His strength and power, to whatever He calls us to do. I have found, whenever God calls me to something, I am immediately aware of all the reasons I can’t do it. I usually begin to tell Him that choosing me is a really bad idea; He should look for someone more qualified. Often, I even have a list of people who would do a better job than I could. It is then that I must make a decision. Will I choose to focus on my weakness, or on His strength? While it is true I am too weak, it is also true that He is too strong. My mind begins to recall story after story, within the pages of His Word, where the weak were used to accomplish great exploits for the Kingdom of God, because His strength overcame their weakness. Rather than focusing on all the reasons that we can’t, we should focus upon all the He can.

Pastor Jim

 

Wisdom

1 Kings 4:30
“Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.”

Solomon was known for his great wisdom. We are told his understanding of psychology, botany and biology surpassed the great teachers of his day. We find people from all over the Middle East would travel to hear him speak, and when they left, they declared that the rumors of his intellect did not do justice to how brilliant he really was. The most remarkable thing about his abilities is where they came from. As we read his Biblical biography, we find these gifts were God-given and purchased through prayer.

The early years of Solomon’s life gave no evidence of a truly gifted young man. His father doubted his ability, and when he was told by God to pass the kingdom to Solomon, he all but refused. It was not until his hand was forced by the threat of civil war, that he gave the crown to his young son. David declared, “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced…” (1 Chronicles 29:1). His father’s cabinet saw nothing remarkable in Solomon, and when Adonijah attempted to take the throne, many of David’s counselors joined him, rather than Solomon. Even Solomon, himself, doubted his abilities and prayed,

1 Kings 3:7-8  “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.”

It seems clear, Solomon was a man of average abilities who was being called to a task way beyond himself. The beauty of Solomon’s story is that God would provide what was lacking in his life. We read, upon realizing his inability, Solomon began to seek the Lord, and in a time of praise and petition, he encounter the promises of God. Solomon heard God promise to provide him with the wisdom he needed to carry out the call.

This is always the method of God. He will call us to areas of ministry that are beyond our capacities, but as we seek Him, He promises to provide all hat we need. Scripture, history, and our modern world, all attest that God will provide all that is necessary for us to accomplish that to which He has called us. Our fame may never reach that of Solomon’s, but we can be sure, the promises of God will never fail, and we can serve in whatever capacity He has called us.

Pastor Jim

 

Selective Service

1 Samuel 10:6
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.

Saul was first chosen by God, then equipped for service. This seems to be a pattern. Saul, along with Moses, Jeremiah, and Peter, all resisted the idea of being selected for service by God. Their objections stemmed from a realization of their own shortcomings. What they failed to realize, was God would equip them for whatever He called them to do.

We often have the same objections. We size ourselves up, and limit the ways God can use us. Then we sense a stirring from the Lord to serve in a capacity in which we have no gifting or experience. Right away we begin to come up with the excuses. “I can’t do that, I am not a …”

It is so important to remember what God did with Saul. After selecting him, God poured His Spirit on Saul and “turned (him) into another man.” Saul, before the call of God, was definitely not qualified for the task. However, after the call, Saul was equipped with everything he would ever need.

Whatever God calls us to, He equips us for. Don’t resist the call of God out of fear of failure. Instead, trust in the power of God to transform and use you.

Pastor Jim