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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Hearing and Believing August 28, 2013

“What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”  Isaiah 46:11

In his book What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches, Henry Blackaby says, “The Spirit of God puts the people of God into the presence of God.  And in His presence, the Spirit reveals God’s purposes to the church He would use.  He then waits for our response.”  Church, what is that response going to look like?

Last week we looked at this verse in the context of the entire 46th chapter of Isaiah.  If we take seriously what Blackaby has said above, then when we are in God’s presence He will reveal His purposes to “the church He would use.”  We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to be the church He would use and that is going to determine our response.  So, as I said last week, and above, what is that response going to look like?

Blackaby:  “1 Hear Him afresh – God never hides the truth.  He is always open and honest with us.  We are the ones who tend to overlook, or not hear, all that God is saying.  He is always taking the initiative to make His assignment known, and we must be actively alert to receive it.”

If we are going to “hear Him afresh” then we are going to have to come into His presence expecting Him to speak to us.  In 1 John1:5, John writes these words:  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you; God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

Think for just a moment about the qualities of light.  In light there is no shadow; a shadow only comes when something obscures the light.  John tells us that God is light; there is no darkness in Him at all.  We know from our study of scripture that darkness is used in the Bible to represent sin and the things that are opposite of God and that light is used to represent the things that are right and it represents God.  So Blackaby’s words, “God never hides the truth . . . He is always open and honest with us” are true, we can depend on those words and more importantly we can depend upon God.  If you want to hear from God, LISTEN TO HIM AFRESH!  That word “afresh” is not a word we use every day but the meaning is clear.  If we aren’t hearing God regularly then we need to try something new, fresh. 

That starts with His Word.  Remember the Bible is the WRITTEN word of God.  It is God speaking to us through the pages.  Read it and listen to Him.  If we aren’t hearing from God then we are overlooking or we aren’t hearing what He is trying to say.  Blackaby is right when we says that God is “always taking the initiative to make His assignment known.”  We have to be “actively alert” to hear what He is saying.  Then, HE WAITS FOR OUR RESPONSE. 

Over the last several weeks there have been some questions about some of the things that are happening here at Angus.  There is nothing wrong with questions:  we want to make the best informed decisions that we can make and do the best that we can.  I know that your board is doing just that.  You can rest assured that your board wants the very best for this congregation.  When we make decisions we are doing so with the best intentions in mind.  Again, there is nothing wrong with questions, but I want to warn you that if we aren’t careful we begin to complain and gripe about what is going on and when we do that we give the enemy a foothold.  I AM NOT ACCUSING ANYONE, I AM NOT POINTING FINGERS AT ANYONE SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE PERSONAL OFFENSE AT WHAT I AM WRITING HERE.  God is moving in our congregation and when He does that Satan will use ANYTHING that he can to get our focus off of God and onto ourselves. 

I am urging you, I am challenging you, I am compelling you as your pastor to listen afresh to God.  If something happens that you don’t care for or that you would have done differently, would you please trust that the board and I are doing the very best that we can.  We are not perfect and we will make mistakes, but we are doing everything that we can to do what is right and our intentions are pure.  I have challenged the Board that as the elected leaders of our congregation they have the responsibility to be the spiritual leaders first.  Board leadership is not a right, it is a responsibility and it is one that I believe they are taking very seriously.  Please pray for them and for me and let’s let God speak to us!  Let’s don’t offer the enemy a foothold because of things that are not eternal.  We want to make sure we are doing the things that will make a difference eternally in people’s lives.  It isn’t things that matter, it is people.  Stuff is just that, stuff.  The eternal souls of men and women, teenagers and children are in the balance here.  God didn’t give His Son to die on a cross for buildings, for possessions or for money; God gave His Son for people.

Blackaby:  “2. Believe Him wholeheartedly – We must determine that God is everything He says He is and will do everything He says He will do for us—if we let Him.  As He calls us to accomplish the impossible, we know He’ll provide everything we need, because to be on mission with God through His church is to be in the midst of the most practical and extensive concentration of God’s resources possible.”

I see two parts to #2.  The first is, God will do what He says!  There is no question about that.  Do you remember this saying that was also made into a chorus?   “God said it, I believe it and that settles it.”  The fact is, if God said it, it is so!  There is no debating it.  It is not under question or scrutiny.  It is so!  Now here’s the kicker to that little phrase/chorus . . . IT IS SO WHETHER WE BELIEVE IT OR NOT!  I understand the sentiment of the author of that phrase/chorus, but if God said it, whether I believe it or not doesn’t matter; IT IS SO!  You can trust Him . . . you can.

But here’s the second part that I see:  When God calls us to accomplish the impossible, HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS TO PROVIDE THE RESOURCES; HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS TO COME THROUGH.  Look at that, “accomplish the impossible.”  If it is impossible, we can’t do it, God is going to have to.  AND HE WILL!  I love the last part of Blackaby’s statement:  “ . . . to be on mission with God through His church is to be in the midst of the most practical and extensive concentration of God’s resources possible.”  WOW, can you just imagine for a moment what that could entail?  To be in the midst of “the most practical and extensive concentration of God’s resources possible”?  WOW! 

I am going to say to you again, I believe that God has challenged us with the thought that He is calling us to accomplish something here that without His miraculous intervention we are going to fail.  And I want you to know that I don’t believe for a minute we are going to fail “if we will let Him.”  You might have thought I had left that part out . . . you might have not missed it at all . . . but that is the key.  If God will do what He says, and He will, and if He is calling us to accomplish the impossible, and I believe He is, then the ONLY determining factor is “if we will let Him.”  I mean that, THE ONLY . . . !

Don’t get sidetracked, it isn’t about the money.  Don’t lose your focus, it isn’t about the buildings.  Don’t get lost in the minutia, it isn’t about you and me or our feelings or our likes or dislikes at all.  This is about Him.  This is about Him sending His Son to die for souls so that people could find forgiveness and could find His love.  When He calls us to do the impossible, He will provide the money; He will provide the facilities; He will take care of the details “if we will let Him.”

So church, will we let Him? 

That is the question.  That is the key.  I want to urge you again to go back and re-read Isaiah 46 again today.  Please don’t just pass over that suggestion, please stop what you are doing and go read Isaiah 46.  What I have to say is so insignificant; what God’s Word has to say is eternal.  (By the way, #’s 3 and 4 next week.)

I love you

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday August 28 – We begin our Wednesday activities with dinner at about 5:00 o’clock.  Our Church Board is going to meet briefly at 5:15 in one of the Sunday school rooms.  Teens and children’s activities will take place as usual as will the Hispanic Bible study and prayer group at 6:00.

Sunday September 1 – We will have our regular worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. with Bible classes at 9:30 and 10:30, and our Hispanic service at 4:00 p.m.

Monday September 2 – Our Sunday Adventure Club is planning on an outing to the Inn of the Mountain Gods for the Labor Day Fireworks show.  The fireworks begin about a half hour after dusk but if you would like to go and meet up with folks from the church you can call Korey and Lauren on their cell and meet up with all who go out there.  When you get the Inn call them at 505 328-0208 and they’ll let you know where everyone is meeting.

Please remember to pray for LaMoyne Peters who is in the hospital in Albuquerque.  He has a blockage in his intestines and they will do surgery today for him.  Also be in prayer for Bruce Wheelock – he thought he was going to have a pacemaker put in this past Monday but the doctors are still running tests to determine what is actually needed.  



Let It Soak In!

God has sent some incredible rain on this area.  This past Tuesday morning, yesterday, the total rainfall in the Ruidoso area was over 10 inches.  Then on Tuesday afternoon we received another substantial rain.  One of the most beautiful things about the rain is that much I,mf not most of it has come slowly, gently and has soaked into the ground.  The green that we see everywhere is a beautiful vibrant green that reminds me of Spring.  “Thank you Lord for the moisture, for the refreshing and for your blessings!”

Isaiah 46:11, “What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”

I hope you take a moment to read those words again . . . slowly . . . purposefully . . . let them soak into your mind like the rain has soaked into our ground.  Those are two incredible promises in one verse.

I want you to see the context of that verse from the entire 46th chapter of Isaiah.  He begins by speaking of other nation’s gods; idols.  He talks about the fact that they are “burdensome, a burden for the weary” (46:1).  He says that they are “unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity” (46:2).  A little later, speaking again of those who have idols or god made out of gold . . . He says, “With whom will you compare me or count me equal . . . they hire a goldsmith to make it (gold) into a god, and they bow down and worship it.  They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place and there it stands.  From that spot it cannot move.  Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles” (46:5-7).

Going back to verse 3 He says to Israel, “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (46:3-4). 

GOD has just reminded His children (and you need to remember that this is for us as well) that when they worship (when we worship) idols or gods of our own making, those gods can do NOTHING for us.  In fact, WE have to carry them; WE have to stand them up; IT cannot hear us or answer us and IT cannot save us from our troubles.  AND YET WE PERSIST IN MAKING IDOLS/GODS OF SO MANY THINGS!  Folks, we even make god/idols of our limited belief about God.  (Think about that for a minute)  We limit God because we have such limited expectations of Him!  BUT He has carried us!  He sustains us!  He rescues us!  He has made us!  Let’s go on in Isaiah 46 . . .

He says, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. . . .  What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. . . .  I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed” (46:9, 11, 13).

WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW!

Now, read a few paragraphs from Blackaby’s book that we have been looking at, What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches

“The Spirit of God puts the people of God into the presence of God.  [That sentence in itself is incredible]  And in His presence, the Spirit reveals God’s purposes to the church He would use.  He then waits for our response.

“What should that response look like?”  Then he gives us four things that will happen.

“1. Hear Him afresh.  God never hides the truth.  He is always open and honest with us.  We are the ones who tend to overlook, or not hear, all that God is saying.  He is always taking the initiative to make His assignment known, and we must be actively alert to receive it.

“2. Believe Him wholeheartedly.  We must determine that God is everything He says He is and will do everything He says He will do for us—if we let Him.  As He calls us to accomplish the impossible, we know He’ll provide everything we need, because to be on mission with God through His church is to be in the midst of the most practical and extensive concentration of God’s resources possible.

“3. Adjust to Him—unconditionally—in our lives and in our churches, in order to join in God’s revealed activity.  God has the right to require and to make these adjustments in us in order to conform us to Himself and to His will—regardless of how long the process takes.

“4. Obey Him—immediately and in faith, as He leads us.  He will then accomplish His purposes through us.”  And then he gives us what I would call the icing on the cake!

“Any church willing to respond this way in their relationship with God will experience His mighty deeds through them to bring a lost world to Himself.”

Now I’ve written so much here that I’m going to stop for today.  I hope you’ll take the time to go back and read this again.  I hope you’ll take the time to listen to God as you read it and let Him soak into your soul what He is trying to say.

Then I’m going to take this, over the next couple of weeks, and flesh it out just a little more.  I’ll take Blackaby’s points here and we’ll talk about Angus church and what He is saying to us as a body; about our personal relationship with Him; about what He wants to do in all of us!

Please, stop and take 5 or 10 minutes and read through this again.  I believe God is saying something to you and me.

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday August 21 – We are back in full swing with our Wednesday night activities here at Angus Church.  We have dinner for everyone, free of charge, at 5:00 o’clock.  The children’s classes begin after school and wind up about 6:30.  Teen activities begin after dinner with some free time and then Phil will lead our teens in worship and study of God’s Word.  Our Hispanic small group meets at 6:00 and our prayer group also meets at 6:00.  If you’d like more information call the church office at 336-8032.  I hope you can make it tonight!

Friday August 23 – Our Puerto Esperanza board will be meeting this evening – please pray that God will direct us as we seek His will for this ministry.

Saturday August 24 – We are having an all-church workday here from 9:00-2:00.  We will provide lunch for everyone and we NEED a good group of people, men and women, to come out as we have a lot to do. 

Sunday August 25 – We will have our regular worship services at 8:45 in the gym, 10:30 in the sanctuary and our Hispanic service at 4:00 in the sanctuary.

 



“Your Kingdom Come on Earth . . .”

What a beautiful morning it is.  The clouds were hanging low over Sierra Blanca when I drove into the office this morning; there is a feeling and smell of rain in the air and the rain that we have had over the last several weeks has been beautiful!  The hillsides are green and there is life everywhere.

We had an incredible week of Camp with our NM District Nazarenes last week as well.  The speakers, Tim Green and Gary Henecke, both opened the Word of God in ways that challenged me and everyone that was there.  God was saying the same things through their ministry that He has been saying to me and to us and it was a confirmation of where He is taking us.  I have mentioned to you that Tim Green is one of my favorite people in the world and one of the most incredible preachers I know; he has an incredible grasp of scripture.  I spoke with him and he is going to be coming to Angus next March for a weekend with us; Friday over Sunday, March 14-16.  I know this is a ways out there but I hope you will make that weekend a priority.

I want to pull a quote once again out of the book What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches by Henry Blackaby.  He writes; “A church must expect the Lord’s assignment to be something only God can do.”  He says that if we will become convinced that this is true, then God would “accomplish what was impossible for us on our own so He could reveal Himself to His people and to our world through His people.”

Now we have been talking about this, with Puerto Esperanza and it is important that we continue to walk in this path.  But let me take just a little different tact this morning and key on just a couple of words that we might overlook if we read through that in a hurry.  He said that “a church must expect . . .”  Obviously, the emphasis is mine.  What are you expecting today?  I shared with you that both of our speakers at Camp last week said many of the same things that God has been saying to me and that I have been preaching to you.  We spent three weeks looking at The Lord’s Prayer before the week of camp and then in all of his sermons throughout the week Tim Green preached on The Lord’s Prayer.  It was powerful; it was challenging; it was a call from God.  Gary Henecke talked to us about expecting God to do the impossible.

I know that I might belabor this point a little but I can’t help but continue to emphasize this.  God continues to speak to me about this area of expectation and looking for Him when we come together.  I believe that God wants to do some things that we have, at least heretofore not expected Him to do.  There it is again . . . expected.  What are you expecting God to do? 

A few weeks ago I wrote to you and asked the question “Is God’s Presence Practical?”  Then I wrote the following:

I think we’ve gotten practical in our relationship with Christ and I don’t think that is a good thing.  I think that God wants us to trust Him when things don’t add up – (see the Battle of Jericho in Joshua 6; see Jonathan attacking the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14, “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few” 1 Sam. 14:6; see a young boy take down a giant in 1 Samuel 17; see 5000-15000 fed with 5 small loaves of bread and two small fish; etc., etc., etc.)

I think that we have arrived at the place where we don’t expect for God to act, we just do what we’ve always done, the way we’ve learned to do it, that we’ve quit expecting for God to do the miraculous, and worse, we’ve quit asking for Him to do the miraculous.  I am just as guilty as you are!  But I’m tired of it and I have decided that I’m going to do something about it personally.  I want to invite you to join me; I want to invite you to be a part of this too; I want to invite you to expect more.

Do we actually believe that God’s kingdom can work here on earth like it does in heaven?  That is what He told us to pray.  And if He told us to pray that then we can expect (there’s that word again) that He wasn’t kidding us, that He wasn’t lying to us, that He actually wants that to happen.

What are you expecting today?  What are you expecting to see in and through the church?  Earlier I quoted Blackaby and said that not only does God want to reveal Himself to us, His people, but He wants to reveal Himself to the world through His people; that is YOU AND ME.  I want to see it in my life.  I want to see it through Angus Church.  I want to see it happen in Lincoln County through His body of believers.  I want to see it happen in NM, through our nation and into all the world. 

God is the One who is in control; we aren’t.  God is the One who is in control.  So, what are you going to expect?

Rick

Upcoming

The church board has voted to make some improvements on and around our property.  There are some things that we need to do to maintain our building and grounds and at least one new item that we believe will be a great asset to our church.  The asset I am referring to is that we have purchased a digital sign that will sit on the front of our property.  This digital sign will be a great tool for communication not only for the church but for the community.  We are also going to be doing some improving in the building as well.  We are going to be repainting the sanctuary and the gym and we are going to be doing a general clean-up in the building and around it.

The costs of the sign, the repainting and some other items will run us somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000.  We are going to need for everyone to be faithful in helping us to complete these tasks so, thank you in advance for your faithfulness in giving.

On Saturday August 24th we are going to be having an all church workday.  There is a LOT of stuff that needs doing and we need you here.  We are putting together a list of stuff that will need to be done on that day and there will be people in charge of each area.  We will begin at 9:00 a.m. that morning and plan on working until about 2:00 that afternoon.  We will provide a lunch for everyone that comes and, like I said, there is a LOT to be done.  If we had 40 or 50 people here we could get so much done.  So please strongly consider being here to help.  We can use EVERYONE!

There are new things that are going to be happening this fall as well and we hope that you will take the opportunity to get involved wherever you can.

Sunday August 18 – We are going to be coming together to worship God – COME EXPECTING!  We have our regular English speaking worship services at 8:45, 10:30 and our Hispanic service at 4:00.

Wednesday August 21 – We will begin our fall schedule on Wednesday’s again.  It all starts with dinner at 5:00 and the teens and children will have their activities and services and we will have a prayer group at 6 and there is a Hispanic group that also meets at 6.  Come and get involved!

Saturday August 24 – All Church Workday begins at 9:00 a.m.