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Monday, March 2, 2015

“The Ship That Could Not SINK?”

A dad heading out on a trip or vacation with his family most of the time heads off with a bank of emotions to have fun, creating healthy memories and bonds with those he loves. At the same time he assumes many responsibilities in getting his crew or family safely to their destination. Is there planning, headaches, frustrations, cost factors and time off work for the journey? “YES”
 
I can’t imagine the emotions that must have gone through the Sea Captain of the Titanic, Captain Edward Smith. Was he eager, excited, energized with a rush since it was the first voyage of the new ship? I’m certain there were many apprehensions in his journey across the Atlantic Ocean, with 2224 passengers aboard. He never dreamed that this journey would be disastrous. In Southampton, Sylvia Caldwell asked a porter if the ship was really unsinkable. He said something like "Yes, mum, God Himself could not sink this ship." It’s heart wrenching that 1517 drowned after hitting an iceberg in the frozen waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Each pastor who truly loves people leads with joy and excitement in seeing lives changed and transformed, But he also carries the weight and emotions of the responsibility of helping people get to their destination. Similar to a pilot of a 747, the captain of a ship, or the conductor of a railroad, every company knows its significance. There is a “Weight on their Shoulders” to help people to their destiny. Pastors know the destination is for all of eternity.

None of us really know what was going through the mind of Edward Smith as he saw the waters rushing in over his ship. Maybe, “What could I have done differently?” “Why didn’t I have more lifeboats on my ship?” (It was designed for 68 lifeboats) and “Why did I leave the dock with only 20 lifeboats on the ship?”

Every church ought to realize that Jesus is the Captain of the Church, but He places leaders over his people to protect, promote growth and health in their spiritual well being. Any Pastor or under-shepherd looking over his sheep is always on the outlook for their safety, security and well-being.

Why don’t you say a prayer today for your pastor and support him in every way you can in his heart to lead, care, love, and shepherd the people that God has placed in his care. No pastor wants to see anybody in his care go astray, be defeated or destroyed. “Know the state of thy flocks and look well to thy herds.” (Proverbs 27:23)

Will you be a partner with your pastor in loving and caring for those with whom you worship the Lord? Allow God to use you today in making a HUGE difference in one of God’s children; He has a plan and purpose for their life.”The thief comes to steal, kill and to destroy, but I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Be an instrument in adding LIFE to someone today so they may safely reach their destination.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Extraordinary Connections


Can you imagine going to a popular Steak House on a Friday Night, and there’s only one waitress and one cook for the entire restaurant? Ummmm, Would you fly on a 747 Jet that had only one person that processed your ticket, bags, security, seat assignment, beverages, fueling up the plane and clearance from air traffic control? How hard would it be to build a car or a truck with just one person? Better yet, would you take a cruise on the Oasis ship that holds 6000 people with only ONE Person to operate the entire ship? Of course not! The Royal Caribbean has designated 2,160 workers for their 6,320 passengers in order to have a successful cruise. By the way, the ratio of those numbers is 1:3 or 34 % workers in order to operate that ship!

Can God’s Church operate with just ONE PERSON? “NO”. Does a growing, increasing, living, exciting, life changing Church really happen with one person? “NO”. Who are we kidding to think that His Church can IMPACT a world with only One person? What was Jesus saying when He said; “I will build my Church?” Is it possible He was referring to more than just saving the lost? Could He have also been referring to Growing People who would Grow His church? Do you think He was concerned about “Making Disciples of men and women?” YES, He was!

I’m certain that if a man’s job in the Air Force was to “Pack the Parachutes” for the Airborne operators, that one man packing the parachute is just as important and valuable as the man jumping to his assignment. Each of us in The Body of Christ needs to see how valuable each of us is. The one who is praying behind the scenes for their Pastor to deliver The Word of God on Sunday is just as vital. The One person CARING for the new believer is just as important.

Each of us plays a very important role in Building God’s Church! One of the important roles in Building His Church is “CARING for those within the Church.” Again, One man cannot keep up, nor care for, nor make disciples or meet all the needs of those within the Church. Who would go to a hospital where there’s only ONE doctor for the entire hospital? We would all say, “That’s crazy, that’s ridiculous to think that one person could handle the many needs across a region.”

I want you to consider today accepting responsibility “TO CARE” for someone within THIS Church. God says, "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)  In the New Testament, numerous times God uses the term, “ONE ANOTHER.” Pray, accept, don’t bite, don’t envy, be kind, tender hearted, forgiving, seek good, don’t complain, confess your faults, love, tolerate, be devoted, serve, give preference, don’t judge, greet, comfort, encourage, edify, be at peace, be of the same mind, wait for, be gentle to “ONE ANOTHER.” Each of us CARING can make a HUGE difference, Why not start today with a passion to Care and Reach out to somebody who needs your love, patience and concern?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sweet Giving = Sweet Living 3

I’ve heard people say for years, “Pastor, if I ever hit the lottery or strike it big with my business, then I’ll start giving to God’s Church.” Who are they kidding? Giving doesn’t start by being prosperous. Did you know the average personal income in the State of Mississippi is the second lowest in the United States, yet that State is ranked 6th in charitable giving. By contrast, New Hampshire is ranked 6th in average personal income, but guess where they rank in charitable giving- 45th!  A big income doesn't mean you have a big heart!

 Henry Ward Beecher warned that prosperity could actually make us less likely to give: "Watch, lest prosperity destroy generosity." People in the United States live in the most prosperous country in the world, during the most prosperous time in its history, yet only 2.5 percent of their income goes to charity; that's lower than it was during the Great Depression!

If you desire to become a more generous person, don't wait for your income to change, change your heart! Jesus said; “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) When we get to heaven, some of the greatest words I’ll ever hear will be, “Danny, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Is that what He will say when you stand at The Judgment Seat of Christ? I’m not trying to provoke fear, but friend, if you’re born again and you want to hear Christ say to you, “Well done,” think about your GIVING Right Now!

When you get to heaven it will be too late to say, “Lord, I wanted to bring my tithes to Your House, but I was fearful.” It will be too late to say, “God, I desired to give to missions so people could hear the Gospel in China, Japan, Vietnam, Haiti and other places in the world, but I wasn’t sure how I would pay my electric, the mortgage and put food on the table. Excuses will be judged harshly, Look at the servant in (Matt:25:18 ) who hid his treasure and did NOTHING! GIVE NOW not later. You say; “Danny, is Christ really watching my giving?” The widow woman placed two coins in the offering at the temple, Jesus sat near the collection box watching and said, “Today she has given more than the rest because she gave all she had.” “YES,” He is watching.

The first five minutes in heaven you will be saying, “I’m sure glad my preacher told me the truth about what I should do with my income on earth.  A lot of people fear the IRS because they know that they have to give an account of their taxes during the year. Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Will He open THE BOOKS of our GIVING to Him? Absolutely, And any skittish preacher not telling you the truth should be reminded that preachers will also stand accountable on the Day of Judgment!

Paul didn’t hold back telling the Corinthians in Chapter 16:2 Now I will write about the collection of money for God’s people. Do the same thing I told the Galatian churches to do: 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should put aside money as you have been blessed.” Are you putting aside the FIRST PART, the TITHE that belongs to God? Do it with JOY friend and you will see the heavens open up over your life! There’s only one place in the Bible where God says; “PROVE ME if I will not open to you the windows of heaven.” (Malachi 3:10Move beyond the ordinary and walk into the extraordinary and WATCH GOD act on your behalf with BLESSINGS.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Moses Jumped Back!

God told Moses after 40 years on the backside of a desert to go to King Pharaoh of Egypt and tell him; “Let my people go.” Israel had been in bondage for 430 years. He gets Moses attention with a burning bush and then tells him, “Take your shoes off, you’re standing on Holy Ground.” God goes on to ask him, “What’s in your hand? Throw it on the ground.” When Moses obeys, the rod turns into a serpent. Moses Jumps Back from the serpent! (Ex 4:3) I probably would have done the same since I hate snakes! Have you ever jumped back from what God wanted you to do with your life? God tells Moses, “Pick up the serpent by the tail and I will show to King Pharaoh my miraculous power.” As Moses obeyed, the serpent became a rod again.
Is there something in your hand that God wants to use? Could God use that something in your hand to become a miracle for somebody’s deliverance? In Moses’ obedience, God would reveal his glorious power by using what was in his hand. What about what’s in your hand?
Moses would go stand before Pharaoh with his rod. When it was thrown down, like God said, it was turned into a serpent. Most of us know the devil doesn’t go down without a fight. Pharaoh would not be outdone, so he calls his wise men and magician’s, who also did the same. They threw down their rods, and they also became serpents.
Did you know God always has the Final Say! Sure enough, when the wise men’s rods became serpents, Moses rods, which became serpents, SWALLOWED UP the wise men serpents. What if Moses would have jumped back so far that he missed the OPPORTUNITY to see the miraculous signs that would eventually lead up to the deliverance of Israel from being enslaved in Egypt? He obeyed God and 2 million plus were delivered out of Egypt.
Friend, will you take what God has put in your hand to bring about the miraculous in somebody’s life? One of the ways you can do that is by giving of your resources to help missionaries in India, Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, China, Peru, and many other places in the world. Take what’s in your hand and throw it down and allow God to turn what’s in your hand to reaching and bringing deliverance to a lost and dying world. Maybe it’s going on a mission’s trip, building a church, sharing the Gospel to a group of kids in a school in China. What’s in your hand that you could use to bring deliverance to those who are blind in sin? “Satan, the god of this world hath blinded them that believe not.”(2 Cor 4:4) What will you do, Jump in or Jump Back?
 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Does Giving = Sweet Living? (2)


Just HOW MUCH do you think you will take with you when you leave this world? I have performed many funerals over the years in ministry and never once have I buried a person who had a U-Haul behind the hearse in the procession. Why does God say; “He loves a Cheerful giver?"

Jesus reminds us; “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)  God wants our heart in the right place.

Have you ever bought a stock before? If you have, you will watch that stock like a hawk to see if the value goes up or down. Jesus is saying, “Wherever you have placed your money, that is where your heart will be.” My question is not have you purchased any Apple stock lately, (there’s nothing wrong with that,) but have you invested stock in the Kingdom of Heaven? When you do, that’s where your heart will be. You will be passionate about seeing people come to Christ.

I believe there are REASONS Why People don’t GIVE their Tithe and Offerings to The Lord.

FEAR Years ago I took my kids snow skiing for the first time. My son Daniel got stuck up on a hill because FEAR gripped his heart. At least 20 frightening minutes went by and he said; “I can’t do this.” It took a lot of persuasion and encouragement to get him to take that first step towards his fear. Once he did, he became incredibly better than me.

That first step toward the hill is always the toughest part. When you take it, you can’t believe the joy, thrill and excitement that come from making that step in Giving to God.

It’s Mine Syndrome    Nobody has to teach a child to say; “Mine.” Joshua was leading Israel into the Promised Land and God told him; “I want the silver and gold from the FIRST CITY, Jericho to go into the treasury of the Lord.” One man named Achan decided after their victory, to take the gold and silver and hide it in his tent. The next battle with Ai, Israel lost 36 men in the fight. God quickly tells Joshua, “There is sin in the camp!” It wasn’t until Achan's sin was made known that God gave Israel favor to move ahead conquering the next 9 cities. God is saying; “He wants the first part.” HE wants to be first in your life. When Joshua gave God the first part, they moved ahead in winning over the next cites in the Promised Land.

A Lack of Understanding!    God says’ “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) It would be wrong for me not to teach the entire message of God’s Word. The reason I can boldly proclaim His Word to be true is because I have experienced it firsthand. Mark Batterson explains, When The Lord said; “Cast your nets on the other side,” the disciples boat was 7 ½ feet wide. They were only 90 inches from their miracle. Do you know how close you are to your own miracle? Start now; give the tithe now. Don’t put it off! You’re close to your miracle right NOW. Take a step. Be decisive, and watch what the Lord will do for you!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Does Giving To God = Sweet Living? (1)

There is a sign along an Alaskan highway that has brought a smile to many a motorist: “Choose your rut carefully..... You’ll be in it for the next 150 miles.” My wife and I started our journey some 39 plus years ago, just married, heading off to SEU for our training in college. We really looked like Sanford and Son traveling down the Interstate with everything we owned in the back of a pickup truck. God taught us early in our marriage to be careful with the ruts we established.

We had only been married for 3 weeks and now it was time for us to TOTALLY TRUST in our GOD with our money matters. Mom and Dad were too poor to bail us out, so there was a complete dependence on our God. I thought: How will we pay our rent, put food on the table, keep the lights on, put gas in the car, pay our college bills, much less give of our tithe to the Lord?”  I remember saying, “I will catch up next week with the tithe: God will understand,” But God was carefully watching the rut we were creating. The first week we didn’t tithe, our beautiful new wedding towels were stolen out of the laundry mat. The second week we failed to tithe, the water pump went out on our Monte Carlo. The third week our house stereo system blew up. Do you think God was trying to get our attention?

After three weeks I said, “Okay God, I get the message, I won’t ever again fail to bring my tithe to you.”  From that day on, together we said; “God, the first part belongs to you.” God opened the heavens over our lives and has blessed us more than words can convey. In one particular tight stretch, Von’nell was up praying about our food pantry. “God, I’m ready for some serious food on our table. I’m ready for more than beans and hotdogs; I’m ready for steaks, pork chops, fresh corn, peas, and okra!  By the way God, I don’t want any chicken.” God is my witness, the next Sunday Morning after church, we were invited over to the home of one of our Godly prayer saints. After lunch she said, “Danny, Von’nell, come out to the garage. I have something to give you out of my freezer.” She took a brown bag and started filling it up steaks, pork chops, fresh okra, peas, and corn out of her garden. Then she said, “You’re not going to get any chicken because God didn’t tell me to give you any chicken."

Nobody will ever convince me that God is not FAITHFUL to His Word. He says “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6: 38 NLT) Wow, has the Lord ever proved to my wife and me time and time again that giving to God equals Sweet Living! He has blown us away with His generosity.

Have you FALLEN into a BAD RUT? Why don’t you break out of the old rut in this New Year, and tell the Devil that the spirit of greed is not welcome in your house. Say today, “From this day on Lord, I’m going back to the drawing board for You to manage my money Your Way. My way doesn’t work; today I choose to set aside my tithe; the first part of my money belongs to you. (Malachi 3:8-12) In Jesus’ name I receive your blessings, favor and Success over my finances.” Lord bless those who obey you now.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Going The Distance

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
 I read the story of a man who ran 5000 miles across America. Would the heat, hills, snakes, dust, cold, or rain stop him? He did become weary with several things but chose to press on. In a moment we’ll see what almost made him stop in his tracks.
Why did Solomon write, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit?” (Eccles 7:8) Patience is better than your pride of understanding stuff.
Recently, two of our members, Ardis Davis and Mayra Lopez at Oceanway Assembly Church ran a marathon of 26.2 miles in Jacksonville Florida. How did they do it? How did they go that far and not quit? Both of them shared the value of preparing for the race.
I love to see people go the distance in their relationship with God. Many don’t really count the cost and prepare themselves for the race. There is more to Salvation in Christ Jesus than just having an emotional high.
Joseph didn’t have a clue what his dream would cost him. I’m convinced that God reveals to you His Plan and Purpose, but He will not reveal to you all the Perplexities that go along with life. Joseph had certainty of his dream but could not understand all the test and trials that would come along with it.
It’s the little things that can throw us off. Joseph’s brothers would throw him into a pit and sell him to some Midianites for 20 pieces of silver. Then he would be sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh down in Egypt. Then Potiphar’s lying wife would falsely accuse him of seducing her. He would spend years in a prison cell for a crime he did not commit. Would he let a little seed of bitterness and the perplexities of life stop him from his dream and finishing the race?
“God balances our lives to give us enough blessings to keep us happy and enough burdens to keep us humble. If all we had were blessings in our hands, we would fall right over. So the Lord balances the blessings in our hands with burdens on our backs that help us stay steady.” Warren Wiersbe.
Why does God say, “We walk not by sight but by faith?” (2Cor 5:7) When a person draws the wrong conclusions from their burdens, it causes them to lose sight of the bigger picture of God’s purpose and plan for their life. Joseph could have easily given up on the Big Dream God placed in his heart but he pressed and persevered through the perplexities of his life and became the Prime Minister of the land of Egypt. It was overcoming the perplexities of understanding all his pain that caused him to save thousands who otherwise would have died in a famine.
What was the little thing that almost stopped the runner from completing his 5000 miles across America? “SAND” in his shoe. Is there something Satan is using to hinder the race that you’re in? Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, kept the faith and finished the course that is set before me.(2 Tim 4:7) It’s worth it to go the distance for God’s Best and refuse to let the little things hinder us in settling for the leftovers. Go for God’s Best and you won’t be disappointed that you did!