God Speaks

1 Chronicles 25:1
“Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals…”

Worship is an important part of the life of the believer and the health of the local church. It is a time when we are able to take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and put them on the Lord. It is a time when we are able to declare the truths about the character and behavior of God in a way that brings Him glory and magnifies His name. It is often in these times of worship that we are able to see our lives from the proper perspective. Instead of seeing our circumstances as hopeless and ourselves as helpless we are able to see the God who can part seas, provide water in the desert or counsel the confused Christian. Worship is certainly a very important exercise for every follower of Christ.

That being said we find yet another value of worship tucked away in the narrative of the Chronicles. We are told that worship leaders were trained and appointed so they could prophecy with stringed instruments and percussions. Prophecy is when God speaks to His people and worship is one of the key mediums that God chooses to use to speak to us. Often when a believer will fix his attention upon the Lord and begin to pour out praise he will find that God speaks to him in an unexpected way.

There have been numerous times in my life, when in the midst of worship I, have sensed the voice of God speaking to my heart and directing my life. On one such occasion I was considering returning for a second trip to west Africa. My children were very young and the church was quite small and needed my attention, so I was struggling with the decision to go. As I sat in worship I recall singing a song about the faithfulness of God. I was almost overcome with the sense that God was calling me back to Africa. My fears, worries and concerns were somewhat alleviated when I realized that God was giving me the green light to go. As the years have passed and we have seen God accomplish so many wonderful things through the ministry in west Africa I am so thankful for that time of worship when God spoke prophetic word.





Count On The Promises Of God

Psalm 108:12
“Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.”

David knew what it was like to receive help from others. One of the greatest stories in the Bible speaks of a time when he was so deeply discouraged that he felt as though there was no hope. It was into that scene that his friend Jonathan appeared and “strengthened David’s hands in the Lord.” In another place, David famously wrote

Psalms 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Clearly the king knew the value of fellowship and had often experienced the help of man. It might seem almost contradictory then for him to speak of man’s assistance being useless. However I think we have all known times in our life where we appreciate the kindness of others but have found their words to be too weak to actually provide us with the help we need. There are situations in life that create a hurt so deep that only the Words of God Himself can bring us the comfort and hope we need. I am so glad that the promises of God were designed for seasons in life like that. When all else fails it is good to know that the promises of God are always yes and amen and that there is no force in heaven or earth that is strong enough to break them. Jesus said that a day will come when heaven and earth will pass away, yet not even the smallest marking within His promises will fail.

Whatever circumstances you are facing you can count on the promises of God.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 108

  1. In verse 1 David says that his heart is unmovable, and that he WILL give his very best to God.  Have you settled this in your own heart?  Do you allow difficulty to easily move you?  Look at Acts 20:22-24.  Was Paul easily moved?
  2. Look at verse 2.  When does David get started each day in giving worship to God? The bible does not say that we must wake up early to have a good relationship with God, but it is a good principal that early in our day we sit with Him.  When are your regular times of sitting with God?  Do you spend your best and first times with Him to be nourished and directed by Him?
  3. Look at verses 4 and 5.  How high does the mercy of God reach?  What kind of praise does this mercy deserve?
  4. As David meditates on the successes and failures of the nation of Israel (verses 10-13), what conclusion does he arrive at concerning how victory is won?  What aid did the help of man provide?


Mind Of The Lord

Leviticus 24:12
“Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the Lord might be shown to them.”

This chapter contains one of only two narrative passages in the book of Leviticus and tells the story of two men who were fighting. One man, the son of Shelomith allowed his anger to lead to sin and he blasphemed the name of the Lord. Under the old covenant this was a crime punishable by death. Because of the seriousness of his actions, he was placed in custody while the leaders took the necessary time to seek the mind of the Lord. Two important principles stand out to me.

First, before making a big decision, Moses and his leadership team took the necessary time to seek the Lord. They realized that God was interested in their lives and had a plan for their current situation. Years later Paul wrote that God has for-ordained good works for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). That means that He has a wonderful plan for our lives and if we seek Him, He will provide direction that will allow us to make good decisions and remain upon the narrow path that leads to abundant life.

Second, it is important to notice where they went to hear from the Lord. They did not look to past experience, or to the culture around them. They did not gather the people together for a popular vote or allow their emotions to guide them by “following their heart.” Instead they got alone with the Lord and looked into His written word. Their situation was a difficult one and the answer they received from the Word was hard, but they followed it nonetheless.

When we are seeking to make decisions, it would be a good idea to follow the pattern set here. We need to realize that God has a plan for us, but we also need to realize the details for that plan are found in Scripture. The life guided by the light of the Word of God is the life which will be led into the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Pastor Jim


Sound Of Silence 

Malachi 4:4
“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”

The book of Malachi brings the Old Testament to a close. For a period of 1,100 years God at various times and in diverse manners spoke to His people through the prophets. That time had now concluded and for the next 400 years heaven was silent. It was not until the angel appeared to Zechariah and Elizabeth, that this silence was broken. Knowing that this time was coming, God exhorted the people to think back upon His written Word.

Our walk with God is sometimes like that. We are confused regarding a decision we are trying to make. We pray, fast, and seek counsel from others, but we seem to be met with silence from above. When this silence lingers, it can often lead to discouragement and even to doubt. I think it is important to keep in mind, that God allows those times in our lives so we will learn to cling to His Word. Times of silence are designed to cause us to exalt His promises and rest upon them. God exalts His Word above His own name, and desires that we learn to do the same. The most powerful and most trustworthy things in all of life, are the promises found tucked away in the pages of your Bible. Sadly, many of those pages remain unturned, and we are left discouraged when we should be filled with hope, help, direction and strength. If you are facing a silent season in your life, be sure to follow the advice of Malachi, and reflect upon the promises of God.

Pastor Jim


You’re Doing It Wrong

1 Thessalonians 2:13
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

A few days ago I was working at my computer using a program that had been updated with new features. While I had used the program before, these new features added elements with which I was unfamiliar. I was having trouble with what should have been a pretty simple task. Each time I tried to make it do what I wanted, the program would override my action, doing something else to the document. In frustration, I called out for help from one of the other pastors, who is quite computer savvy. When he came to my aid I said, “This stupid thing is not working.” To which he replied. “That’s because you are doing it wrong.” After a moment of being offended, I realized he was right and I humbled myself allowing him to show me the correct way to work the program. I was delighted to find it was not the program that was being stupid, and the upgrades were actually quite helpful. But what does that have to do with our text?

“The word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

I have heard people say something to the effect of, “I tried reading the Bible, but it did not work for me.” Others, might even goes so far as to say, “I tried Jesus, it did not work.” To which I think the proper response would be, “you are doing it wrong.” Notice that Paul speaks of the effectiveness of the Word of God to work in the life of the believer. He actually lists three necessities if we want the Word of God to work effectively in us.

You received the word of God which you heard from us”

First, they took the time to hear the Word of God. We read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The first step to being transformed by God’s Word is to receive the Word. We must put ourselves in a place where we are ingesting the Word of God on a regular basis. This includes the need for daily Bible reading, as well as church attendance, where we are being taught through the Word of God. Sadly, not all churches teach the Word. Find one that emphasizes the Bible and teaches through it.

“. . .you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, . . .”

Second, as they read through the Word, or heard Paul teach, they recognized these were not the opinions of man to be argued with, updated or discarded. Instead, they realized the Bible is in fact, the Word of God given to man. Writing to Timothy, Paul declared the Word of God is inspired and profitable. We all like that word profit, it means we gain from it. When we understand the Bible is of great value, take the time to listen to it, not to argue with God, or try to conform its teaching to fit our lifestyles, we will find that it effectively works in us.

“. . . the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

Finally, Paul declares when they heard the Word, it was coupled with faith. They believed God wanted to do exactly what He said and they expected to see those things worked out in their lives. I recently read a tweet that said, “If you are not praying for a miracle you probably won’t get one.” The same idea is true when reading the Word. If you do not believe what God is saying, you are not going to be willing to put it into practice, and you will find yourselves accusing the Word of God of being impotent, instead of effectual.

Allow me to encourage you to approach your Bible as the Word of God, receiving it daily, trusting in its warnings and promises, so you, like the Thessalonians, may find that it has effectively worked in you.

Pastor Jim


It’s That Simple 

2 Chronicles 15:2
“And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.’”

Sometimes we come across passages of Scripture that are difficult to interpret. The imagery is something we do not quite understand, or we feel as though not enough information is given to really explain what the text means. THIS IS NOT one of those times. This passage could not be more clear. There is no doubt left in the mind of the reader as to what we are being told. Two contrasting truths are presented.

First, if you seek God you will find Him. When my children were little we would often play hide and seek. For them, the pleasure of the game was not in hiding, but in being found. On one occasion, my son declared, “Dad I am going to hide under my bed, you try to find me.” When I think of that, I think of the Lord. He is hidden in the open. When we will take the time to look into His Word, we will find Him to be there, and He will reveal Himself to us.

Second, if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. If you choose to turn away from God and pursue your own desires, He will let you. Just as the father did not arrest and imprison the prodigal, but allowed him to wander, so too, will God let you go, if you choose to walk away. But remember, if you walk away from Him, when you turn for His aid, He may not be there. At one point in Israel’s history, after turning from God and worshipping idols, they cried out to God. His response was for them to cry out to their idols. It is not as though God is saying He will not forgive the penitent heart, but we may very well have to suffer the consequences of wandering from the Lord.

Let’s be sure to respond appropriately to the Word today. Take some time right now to seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near.

Pastor Jim


Lesson Learned 

1 Chronicles 14:10
“And David inquired of God, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ The Lord said to him, ‘Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.’”

David’s domestic policy included doing everything possible to ensure that the Lord was at the center of the nation of Israel. To this end, he sought to bring the Ark into the city of Jerusalem. In doing so, David committed one of the more common mistakes in ministry; doing the right thing, the wrong way. Instead of opening the Word of God and doing the necessary research on the subject of transporting the Ark, David used “common sense” and a pattern set by the Philistines. The Ark was placed upon a new a cart and driven to Jerusalem. Tragedy struck along the way and a young servant of the king was killed. The reason for the failure was that David had failed to seek the ways of the Lord.

Before Chronicles returns to the subject of the Ark, we are told that David was forced to deal with the problem of the Philistines. Since the time of the Judges, the Philistines had become an increasing problem to Israel. Much land and countless lives had been lost, as they continued to attack the nation. David realized the problem must be addressed. His recent failure with the Ark taught him a valuable lesson, and rather than using charts and graphs, he determined to seek the mind of the Lord. In two decisive battles, David received his marching orders from the Lord.

It seems appropriate to say, David had learned his lesson. What started as a failure, became a learning experience. David came to understand the proper way to live his life, serve the Lord, and lead the people, was to begin with searching out the mind of the Lord.

We have available to us, the counsel of God. It is critical that we take the time to both pray and listen. God wants to direct us, and He does so with His Word. Before making life decisions, be sure to take the necessary time to look into the pages of your Bible and to seek the ways of God.

Pastor Jim


Call Of God

Acts 13:2
Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

This is one of the most important events in history. It marks the beginning of the missionary campaign to the church in Antioch. The results of this event brought the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire, and changed the face of Western Civilization. History would forever be changed as a result of these two men responding to the call of God. A few things strike me about God’s call.

First, it did not seem, at the outset, to be something grand. We read that God spoke; probably through one of the men with the gift of prophecy. He was to tell Barnabas and Saul to do what the Lord told them to do. That is far from a life altering experience. No mention is made of the room shaking, or lights coming from heaven. It may have happened much like this . . . while they were praying, one of the guys might have said, “I think the Lord is telling Barnabas and Saul to do what He already told them to do.” It was a message reaffirming what Barnabas and Saul had already sensed; what God wanted for them. So the saints of Antioch laid hands on them and sent them away. It would not be until they walked in faith-filled obedience to His call, that they would realize what God had in store for them.

I am also struck by where God called them. Again, we read that before this prophecy was given, Barnabas and Saul had already sensed a desire, or call of God to go . When it was confirmed, they packed their bags, and headed off to Cyprus. Cyprus is an island that sat out in the Mediterranean Sea and was the home town of Barnabas. They were called to share Christ with the people Barnabas grew up with. I think it is natural that as we grow in Christ, we develop a desire to see our friends and loved ones come to Christ; and that is exactly where God called them.

Finally, notice how they received the call of God. We read they “ministered to the Lord and fasted.” Ministering to the Lord would include worshipful prayer, and fasting (denying of the flesh’s desires). They heard from God when they got their eyes on Him and sought Him. The call of God comes when we spend time with Jesus. Too often, we want to determine what God wants for us, and spend all our time asking others. If you want to hear from God, get alone with Him, seek Him until He speaks, then do what He says.

Who knows what God may call you to, and how that may change the world forever.

Pastor Jim


Bad Connection

Leviticus 12:7
“Then he shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female.”

IMG_1493After conception a woman was considered unclean and her access to the congregation was limited. In order to be restored into fellowship, she had to wait out a period of uncleanness, then bring the appropriate offering. When this was accomplished, her fellowship was restored. Since we live under a new covenant these requirements no longer apply. For us, fellowship is not broken by giving birth, nor is it restored by offering turtle doves or pigeons. That does not mean we cannot do things that will effect our relationship with God, nor does it mean there is a waiting period for a believer who stumbles.

Isaiah 59 states,
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

John explains what a believer must do when they have committed sin;

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession is the way back to fellowship, and speaks of agreement. We are confessing when we stop making excuses, blaming others, or justifying our actions;  instead we simply admit what we have done is wrong.

The mechanics of it look something like this. All sin is forgiven the moment we trust in Christ; His work on the cross covers all sin, past, present, and future. When we sin we do not undo the cross. Sin does not revert a believer back to his/her condition prior to receiving Christ.  Instead, sin simply breaks intimacy with God. Like a cell phone connection with only one bar, sin will make it difficult for us to enjoy the benefits of relationship with Christ; His voice seems to go quiet, his presence distant, and we no longer enjoy the quiet assurance of His peace and grace. Confession of sin is designed to restore our intimacy with God.

If your walk with the Lord seems to have grown cold, perhaps it is time to examine the way you live in light of the Word of God. Have you allowed things to creep back into your life that do not belong? If so, just confess and allow Him to wash you clean and revive your heart

Pastor Jim


Fully Charged

Micah 3:8
“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord,
And of justice and might,
To declare to Jacob his transgression
And to Israel his sin.”

Two things caused Micah to stand out from the false prophets who filled the pulpits of ancient Israel. First, he had received a message from God and second he was energized by the Spirit of God. These are as necessary today as they have ever been. If we want to effectively serve the Lord, we need a message from God and the power to deliver it. The question to ask is, where will I find these things?

Micah’s message came from two places. First, it was found in the pages of God’s Word. He could scan the scrolls and see what was being proclaimed in the pulpits, and practiced by the people, were a violation to God’s written Word. Second, his message came by direct revelation, requiring him to learn to hear the voice of God. We will not hear new messages from God, but we do need to learn to sit quietly and hear Him apply His Word to our lives and circumstances. Jesus said His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:27).

Under the old covenant, God was very selective as to who received the power of the Spirit. Certain individuals, for limited times, were filled with the Spirit. We know both Samson and Saul had the Spirit for a while, and then it was taken from them. In contrast, Joel promised, under the new covenant, the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh without distinction (Joel 2:28). The Spirit is received when you trust Christ for Salvation, but there remains a need for the continual filling with the Spirit of God. Jesus explained that we would receive the Spirit when we ask with persistence.

It is important that we see the need to be used by God to deliver His message to the world. Paul declared that people cannot hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14). It s also critical that we take the time to ask God to give us a message, an opportunity, and the gifting of the Spirit to share Christ with others.

Pastor Jim