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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Obedience to & Deep Experiences with God 9/11/13

Okay, we’ve been talking about the Spirit of God revealing God’s purpose for us to us.  Over and over Henry Blackaby, in his book What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches, has told us that adjusting our lives to God’s purpose is key.  Listen once more to what he says to us.

“For any church, being on mission with God—hearing Him, believing Him, adjusting to Him—requires the cultivation of a thorough disposition of obedience.  The Christ who lived His life in complete obedience is fully present in us, and He will enable our obedience.  He will not fail to put our lives—individually and collectively—into the middle of His purpose.”

We know that Christ lived His life in complete obedience to the Father!  Not only is it an incredible example for us but Blackaby hits on something that intrigues me very much: He will “enable our obedience.”  Now I don’t think that means that He makes us be obedient, I think the next sentence in that paragraph shows us what that is:  He puts us SMACK DAB in the middle of His purpose!  In other words, when we are obedient to Him and we live in that disposition of obedience, He will give us the opportunity to work for His purpose!  God is working with us in His plan; He’s allowing us to be a part of His plan and purpose.  God will work through us!  What a privilege.

Blackaby:  “Every church can expect God to take the initiative to tell them His assignment; once this is known, there must be an immediate response of obedience, trusting that He who is leading will sustain and enable the church to fulfill their task.”

Again, please look at that closely:  when we respond, immediately, we can trust that the One who is leading us WILL sustain and enable the church to fulfill our task.  That is POWERFUL family, that is so POWERFUL!  He gives us the task; He allows us to participate in His purpose and plan and THEN He gives us the strength and power to do what He’s asked us to do! 

Blackaby:  “We can also know with assurance that deep experiences with God will follow immediately upon our steps of obedience.  God will see to it.  Obedience to God unlocks the experience of His power.  It leads to our open-ended usefulness to God and to great blessing and far-reaching encouragement to His people.”

I love this:  “deep experiences with God will follow . . . God will see to it.” (Emphasis mine)  But look, keep reading, don’t stop just thinking that God wants to bless us or give us some good feelings . . . “It leads to our open-ended usefulness to God . . . and far-reaching encouragement to His people.”  He blesses us to use us and when He uses us it is going to bless and encourage people.  We get a blessing too but that isn’t the stopping point; we are blessed to be used, to be blessed to be used, to be blessed to be used, to be blessed to be used . . . do you get it?  GOD WILL SEE TO IT!

Okay, so we have to determine what it is that God has called us to do, then we have to be obedient to do it and when we do He is going to supply what we need.  HE IS GOING TO SUPPLY WHAT WE NEED TO DO WHAT HE HAS ASKED US TO DO.  (Did you see that?)  When we do that, deep experiences with Him are going to follow and then He’ll use us more and He’ll bless us more and that’ll lead to other people getting blessed and then it starts over . . .

You know, I’m beginning to think that God is trying to tell me something here.  I’ve been harping at you over these last several weeks that we need to expect some great things from God, some miracles (dare I say it) from God, and as I’m sitting here writing this I think I haven’t been really expecting enough.  I think I’ve sold God short – I don’t want to do that and I don’t want you to do that.

I’m think that I need to be specific with God; there are some things that I believe God wants to do and I haven’t been asking Him specifically to do those things.  I apologize to you for that; I have asked God to forgive me and I’m about to start being a lot more specific!

I love you and I love Him!


Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday September 11 – We invite you to join us for dinner this evening at 5 and then for those not involved in teens or children’s activities we’ll have the Hispanic study at 6 and prayer in the sanctuary at 6 as well.

Sunday September 15 – We have our worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 and we’ll be looking at what Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles is about.  We’re going to take 2 weeks to look at this but I promise you it’s going to be eye opening and it will challenge us.  Our Hispanic Service is at 4:00 and anyone is welcome to attend; you don’t have to speak Spanish; you don’t have to understand Spanish; you just have to love people.

Sunday Adventure Club is also going to get together on Sunday at 3:00 at the White Mountain Complex for an afternoon of fun.  Talk to Lauren and Korey about the details or just come and be surprised!

Sunday September 22 – We are going to have a pot luck lunch immediately following the second service and EVERYONE is invited.  We’re going to celebrate Sukkot, hear about the possibility of a trip to Israel; it’s going to be a great time and you’re going to be sad you missed it if you don’t come!  J

Sunday September 29 – Pastor Marco will be preaching in both services on this Sunday.  Plan on coming out and loving Marco and Betty on this Sunday!

Sunday evening September 29 Gateway Church of Christ is hosting a Community Communion Service at their place of worship.  What an INCREDIBLE opportunity to worship with the body of Christ – I hope you will be there!

He Waits for Our Response 9/4/13

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

We’ve spent the last two weeks looking at this passage and at Henry Blackaby’s words from his book What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches.  Let me give you the quote that I’ve used for those two weeks that challenges me incredibly:  ”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.”

We’ve been looking at what our response is supposed to look like and, once again, we’ve begun by looking at what he says in that chapter.

Blackaby:  “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.”

Do you really believe that God has the right to make “adjustments” in our lives so that we will be conformed to Himself and to His will?  And of course the remainder of that is hard for all of us . . . “regardless of how long the process takes.”  If we are really honest with ourselves, that is hard.  Most of us have grown up in America, the land of individual rights!  This is one of the BIGGEST challenges that we face as Christians.  We know it because we’ve talked about it, I’ve preached about it, we’re read it and we’ve heard it that when we come to Christ we give up our rights and we conform to His image.  HOWEVER, and this is big, practice all too often looks a whole lot different than what we know we ought to be doing.  We “know” what’s right, but we’ve been conditioned that “we have our rights” and it is hard to give them up . . . EVEN TO GOD!

I’d like to give you a secret formula that will work every time that you are having a problem submitting your rights to Christ; letting go of your wants and desires and trusting Him; finally and completely giving everything to Christ . . . I’d like to give you that secret formula, but the truth is, there isn’t a secret formula.  God didn’t create robots who simply “obey.”  He has given us our free will and He won’t take that away from us.  We have to decide that He is going to be Lord of our lives and that we are going to surrender to Him. 

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul put it this way:  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There is no secret formula, but there is some great advice there:  after we have “offered our bodies” we are to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind.”  So how do we have our mind renewed?  We spend time in His Word; we spend time in prayer; we find someone to hold us accountable and to love us and help us; we build patterns in our lives that are hard at first but become easier and easier, not because it is easy, but because we have developed patterns and habits that God will help us with.  And therein lies a GREAT key:  God will help us!  He has a lot invested in you:  He doesn’t want you to fail:  He wants to help you to succeed:  He wants you to trust Him to give you the power to be what He has called you to be.  It starts with allowing Him to make the adjustments that need to be made.  He knows what is best and He will help you to do it.

Blackaby:  “4. Obey Him – immediately and in faith, as He leads us.  He will then accomplish His purposes through us.”  Obey, it really is that simple.

Two young boys were out playing and as they played they were talking as young boys do. They were talking about what they liked; what they didn’t like; just stuff.  Somewhere in the conversation the talk turned to moms and the problems that little boys have with moms who want them to do things that sometimes little boys just don’t want to do.  One of the guys said, “I’ve learned how to make my mom happy all the time!”  The other little guy looked at him and said, “Tell me how you do that, I want to know so I won’t have any more arguments with my mom.”  The first little guy didn’t even look up from what he was playing with, he just kept on playing and said, “When she tells me what to do, I just do it.  I don’t argue, I don’t complain, I just do it.  I don’t get it but it just works!”

I’m here to tell you, it just works with God too!

Blackaby ends that paragraph with this statement:  “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.”

I’ve asked you this now three weeks . . . will you let Him?  Will you and I trust God?  He is waiting on our response. 


Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday September 4 – We will have dinner here at the church at 5:00 o’clock and our teen and children’s activities will go on as normal.  We will no be having our prayer time in the sanctuary at 6:00 but we will go up to the Appleby’s for a Celebration of the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah at 6:15.  If you don’t know the way to go just show up here for dinner or about 6 and we’ll go up from the church together.

Sunday September 8 – We will be looking at the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, in both the 8:45 and 10:30 services on Sunday.  We have classes available at 9:30 and 10:30 and our Hispanic Service at 4:00.

Monday September 9 – Our Church Board will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Monday evening

September 22 – We will be celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles on September 22nd with a special potluck following the 10:30 service.

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


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.