Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prayer Accomplishes The Will of God


Prayer Accomplishes the Will of God - Mark 9:29 29And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

After coming down from the mountain of transfiguration Jesus finds his disciples in turmoil.

  • Evidently, they were being questioned by the “religious” people about their failure to heal a child who was deaf/mute.
  • Jesus focuses on the real issue – “a lack of faith”.
  • The boy’s father places his faith in Jesus and the boy is healed.
  • The disciples learn a valuable lesson that day, that in some cases fasting & prayer are a necessity.

Consider this:

1. The will of God is important

  • All things are possible, however, they must be within the will of God.
  • They cannot just be for selfish and sinful reasons.

2. Faith is so important

  • That’s why we must place our faith “only” in Christ.
  • Faith in ourselves will not be enough.
  • We draw faith from the Word of God.

3. Prayer is important

  • God longs to be involved in everything we do.
  • This is where faith and prayer come together.
  • Prayer invites God to get involved.

4. Fasting is important

  • Prayer & fasting joined together produces the favor of God.
  • When we fast we are humbling ourselves before the Lord.

Faith, Prayer & Fasting working together can accomplish the will of God!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 2010 Survey

If you attend BFWC, please take the survey below:

Making God's Will Number One


Making God’s Will Number One - Matthew 6:33 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We must make God’s will the number one priority of our lives. How do we do this?

  • Serving Him instead of “mammon” (material wealth or greed).
  • Focusing on that which is good, true and righteous.
  • Using earthly treasurers to help other people.

God wants to provide for our physical needs.

  • He is able and willing.

Tomorrow will take care of itself.

  • Realistically we only have enough energy to deal with today’s issues.
  • We have no control over tomorrow or the future for that matter.
  • Worrying about it will only distract us from today’s obligations.
  • Believe me…tomorrow will still be there.

How do I make God's will number one?

  1. Develop a sturdy spiritual life.
  2. Surrender you will entirely.
  3. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  4. Follow the Scriptures.
  5. Trust God’s providence in every situation.
  6. Seek Godly advice from wise people.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fasting That Pleases God


Fasting That Pleases God -Matthew 6:16-18 16Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

1. Not to be seen of men

  • In Jesus’ day the hypocrites fasted with a sad countenance and a disfigured face.
  • Unfortunately, the reason some fasted was to win the praise of men.
  • Our fasting is to be seen of God and should not be done to draw attention to ourselves.
  • For this reason we should “anoint our heads” and “wash our face”.

2. Not as a ritual

  • Fasting should be done only when the occasion calls for it.

3. Not without true repentance

  • All of our fasting and praying is to no avail if it is not accompanied with penitent obedience on our part.

Some Suggestions:

  1. Do not fast just because everyone else is and it seems like a “neat” thing to do.
  2. Fasting must be taken seriously and prayerfully.
  3. Fasting must be done when the occasion is a serious one.
  4. When you begin a fast, start slow and fast for brief periods of time.
  5. End the fast slow, gradually breaking your fast with fresh fruits and vegetables in small amounts.
  6. Fast when you have time to spend in prayerful mediation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prayer Overcomes Opposition


Prayer Overcomes Opposition - Nehemiah 1:4-5 4And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, 5And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

As Nehemiah approaches the Lord in prayer, he models a lifestyle of prayer to those watching. In essence, he shows us how to come before the Lord in prayer.

1. Praise – Nehemiah 1:5 5And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
  • He begins by lifting up the Lord. He recognizes God for his superiority, strength, sovereignty, sacredness and sincerity.
  • Jesus taught us to begin our prayers with praise as well: Matthew 6:9 9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

2. Perseverance – Nehemiah 1:6 6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

  • He didn’t stop praying till he got his answer. Isn’t that really how we’re supposed to pray? Not the little “now I lay me down to sleep” prayer or the “God is good, God is great” prayer…but the earnest prayer that is without ceasing.
  • A heart that is really burdened will not “let up” till the answer comes.

3. Penitence – Nehemiah 1:6-7 6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. 7We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

  • “Lord forgive me of my sins and the sins of my fathers.” This is real repentance.
  • Repentance is a “must” if we want to see our prayers answered. Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me
  • Nehemiah isn’t just pointing out other people’s faults – he starts with himself.

4. Promises – Nehemiah 1:8-10 8Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

  • Nehemiah doesn’t forget the promises that God made to Israel.
  • God said He would restore the nation if they repented.

5. Partners – Nehemiah 1:1111O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

  • We need as many people as possible to surround us in prayer.
  • Matthew 18:19 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

6. Petitions – Nehemiah 1:11 11O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

  • This is what was really in his heart.
  • I need grace in the sight of men.
  • God wants us to ask Him for the things we need.
  • Our faith must be exercised in asking.
  • God knows what we need – but he still wants us to ask.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prayer Invites God's Will to Earth


Prayer Invites God’s Will to Earth - 1 John 5:14 14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

The key to knowing that God hears our prayers is to pray according to His will.

  • According to His Word, if we ask anything according to His will, we can expect to receive it.
  • His Word is a revelation of His will.
  • All that God has promised, we are justified in expecting.

1. Follow the will of God

  • When pursuing a kingdom lifestyle, we must allow the will of God to be paramount as it pertains to the purposes, plans, processes, people and timing in our lives.

2. Be objective

  • Sometimes we allow our feelings to cloud our judgment. When this happens we can often overreact.

3. Guard your disposition

  • It’s important that we do not allow our sense of purpose to be altered by mood swings.

4. Know the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism

  • Where there are many words, transgressions are unavoidable, but He who restrains His lips is wise. Try not to launch personal attacks, but keep things objective and discuss ideas rather than personal faults of others.

5. Be willing to take correction from God

  • God can use anyone or anything to teach me more about His purposes and His greater wisdom, purposes, and processes.

6. Take up your cross every day

  • Denying ourselves is not always easy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prayer Brings Divine Results


Prayer Brings Divine Results – Daniel 11:32 32And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

How do you achieve greatness? Is it through education? Is it through investments? Is it through business opportunities? Is it through politics?

Consider this:

1. Know God

  • How do you know God? Through someone else’s relationship? By name? By His reputation? Or do you know Him by your own intimate relationship?
  • When you know Him – you do more than merely profess Him, you serve Him and worship Him.
  • Knowing God is like knowing a close friend. You have knowledge of them through time spent together and fellowship. You behold their character and nature.
  • God is the same. The better you know Him, your body, soul and spirit become sensitive to His nature.

2. Receive God’s Strength

  • When you know the Lord, you are strengthened by His grace and Spirit. His power becomes available to us. His power eliminates fear and provides help in the time of trouble.

3. Exercise Exploits

  • The strength of the Lord will empower you with boldness to be ready for the battle. Victory is assured to those have an overcoming spirit. (Romans 8:37)
  • When we go in the name of Jesus, we cannot fail. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

“Lord, I am so happy to say that I know You! You are the source of my strength and the song of my soul. I look to You today and not the arm of flesh. You alone are complete and You alone are entire. Thank You for loving me when I have strayed from an intimate relationship with You. Thank You for not giving up on me when I seemingly failed to place all my faith in You. I love You Jesus. I need You Jesus. I call on You Jesus.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Prayer Invokes God's Favor


Prayer Invokes God’s Favor – Psalms 5:11-12 11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. 12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

What is Favor?

Webster’s = a spirit of approval, goodwill, or liking, partiality. An act of kindness or generosity.

When we say someone is favored, we are saying they have been given advantages and special privileges. God referred to the Children of Israel as His favored. (Ephesians 2:11-12) King David also knew the blessings of favor.

We too, are marked with favor when the blood of Jesus is applied to our lives in faith. We are “made” righteous we confess Him as our Savior. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

How do I keep this favor?

  1. Find out what God is interested in and do that. – He is interested in building His Kingdom. Are you more interested in building His house…or your house? Make His interests primary and your interests secondary. If we so a little….we will only receive a little.

  2. Measure up to His standard and not your own. – too many times we are tempted to look at others and compare. However, when we do this, we become discouraged and feel like giving up when we fall short of someone else’s accomplishments. Jesus is our standard. When you realize how much he loves you, His love satisfies you.

  3. Remain unspotted from the world. – If we have a mixture of the world in our lives we will catch an infectious mix from the tinge of compromise and the craving of the flesh. It is better to keep ourselves unspotted from anything that would stain the holiness of our garment.

“Lord, I thank You for Your favor. Thank You for compassing me with divine privilege and increased advantage. I purpose in my heart to remain under Your covering and to drink only from your chalice of blessing. You know my heart. Search me. Try me. Correct me. As I know You Love me.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Prayer Renews Faith


Prayer Renews Faith – Isaiah 54:10 10For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Mountains have been shaken and moved, but the promises of God have never broken by any event. We could also view mountains as great men. However, even though men fail, God does not.

God will rebuke and correct His people for sins, but He will not cast them off. Let this encourage us to give more diligence to make our calling and election sure.

“Lord, I believe that You have the power to keep my feet from falling. You have set before me life or death – today, I continue to choose life. I can’t make it a day without You. When I consider this world and it’s wickedness, I’m reminded that we are living in the last days. You told us to “look up” – today, I choose to look to You and I’m extremely grateful for Your tender mercies and abundant grace.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pray For Wisdom


Pray for Wisdom - James 1:5 5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Wisdom – definitely something to be cherished in this world. When you have wisdom…you can achieve great things.

Recognize your need for wisdom.

  • Wisdom will get you through the greatest trial. Without it, our trials lack joy.
  • Wisdom can give you the ability to apply the facts for life application.
  • Wisdom can be asked for. “let him ask of God…”
  • The good news is – no matter the circumstance we go through, God has provided wisdom in our trials on how to get through them.

What’s required to get wisdom?

  • When you ask, do not doubt.
  • This is where FAITH enters the picture.
  • God is ready and willing to grant us our request, but we must be willing to ask Him to be with us and give us our wisdom in faith…there must not be any doubt.

Five steps to Wisdom

  1. Pray – ask God for guidance.
  2. Slow Down – we can make bad choices when we’re in a rush.
  3. Don’t try to get ahead by living dangerously – swerving in and out of situations is dangerous for you and others. You can’t afford to let self-destructive patterns guide you. It’s very risky and leads to instability.
  4. Pay attention to direction – God puts people in your life to help you see the warning signs.
  5. If you make an unwise choice it is not the end of the world – quickly make a wise choice to correct your situation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pray for our Leaders


Pray for Our Leaders - 1 Timothy 2:1-2 1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Paul is specific about what he feels will grow the church:

  • Supplications – this highlights a personal need. From this we can draw an emphasis on something requested.

  • Prayers – a spoken or unspoken address to God. Of course, our prayers are not only methods of communication but also a means to worship and honor God.

  • Intercessions – the act of pleading on someone’s behalf.

  • Giving Thanks – an attitude of gratitude.

  • For all men – of course, this is the first objective for our prayers.

  • Peaceable – an attitude of tranquility.

Seven Reasons to pray for your Leader

  1. So that our life will be good - 1 Timothy 2:1-3

  2. Out of respect for God – 1 Timothy 2:3

  3. So that souls will be won in peace – 1 Timothy 2:4

  4. Because God leads the leaders heart – Proverbs 21:1

  5. Cursing your leader is wrong – Ecclesiastes 10:20

  6. Your leader is following the rules – Romans 13:1,3,4

  7. Out of obedience to the Word of God – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Let me encourage you today to pray for your leader every day. You may not always agree with your leader’s policies or decisions but you are committed to stand with them as they travel their personal journey in faith.

  • Pray for your leader’s spiritual state.

  • Pray that your leader will make wise decisions. “The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord…He turneth it whithersoever He will”. (Proverbs 21:1)

  • Pray for your leader’s associations.

“Lord, thank You for the leaders You have placed in my life. I know they provide a covering for me and have the freedom to speak into my life encouragement, wisdom, correction and charity. I commit to continue to pray for my leaders in every aspect of their life. God, grant them wisdom, purity, discernment and peace in their leadership. As I serve my leader, I will keep their hands raised even when I’m uncertain of the direction, decisions or details.”

Prayer Accesses God's Strength


Prayer Accesses God’s Strength - Isaiah 40:29-31 29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Wait (Websters) = to stay in place; in expectation of

Waiting isn’t something we are comfortable with. As Americans, we tend to have little patience in the realm of waiting for anything. Almost everything in this generation is “instant”. (i.e., coffee, water, potatoes, credit card approval, internet, jello, financing, breakfast, camera, messaging, pudding, texting, etc.)

Why wait? Is it really important to wait? Who benefits? (God or us?)

Learning to wait, in this day of extra busyness and pressure, is essential in our relationship with God. Waiting on God does the following:

1. When we look at Him, we are looking less at ourselves and our own issues.

  • When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the cares of this life (bills, schedules, problems, etc.) seem so small.
  • It’s like the relationship parents and children share: kids, don’t seem to worry about anything. They know that their parents will provide everything they need in their life. (Food, shelter, clothing, etc.) They don’t even have to ask. Parents just provide these things.
  • God is the same way.
  • Paul would agree:
  • 2 Timothy 4:16-17 16At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

2. When we wait on the Lord, we come to realize that God is in control.

  • Matthew 6:31-33 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  • “Take no thought for…all these things shall be added”
  • When we learn to wait expectantly on the Lord, fear and doubt have no choice but to leave us!

How long do I wait on the Lord?

  • Could it be a few months, or a lifetime?
  • Regardless of how long, here are some things to consider while you wait:

1. Get to know God better
2. Enjoy fellowship with others
3. Do something you love to do
4. Try something new
5. Help someone
6. Be reasonable
7. Refuse to compromise

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fasting & Timing


Matthew 9:14-15 14Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

Jesus speaks of two reasons for His disciples not to fast at that particular time:

1. It was not time

Jesus knew the practice of fasting very well. John and his followers had routinely practiced it already. The Pharisees had hoped Jesus would either say John’s disciples were at fault or Jesus’ disciples were at fault. Jesus did neither.

We are tempted to blame others when the light of scrutiny is shining in our direction. However, that is not the time to point our finger at another but merely to stand on our own merits of truth during the inevitable critique.

Notice how Jesus uses the illustration of a marriage. (Of course, a wedding is a time of happiness and joy, not a time of sorrow or sadness)

  • Jesus’ disciples were the children of the bride chamber, who were invited to the wedding feast. The Pharisees were considered to be children of the bond-woman who were not invited.
  • We are like the children of the bride chamber – for we have the spirit of adoption and can celebrate continually. Those in the world, who have not received Christ, carry the spirit of bondage and fear and cannot rejoice.
  • Jesus’ disciples had the bridegroom with them – John’s disciples did not. John was in prison and in danger of death – that’s why they were more so in a fasting mode.
  • Jesus knew that one day His disciples would be fasting as He would be taken from them and no more would they be able to hold Him in their arms. This would definitely grieve their hearts and cause much sadness.

2. They were not ready

Jesus uses the illustrations of a new cloth being put on an old garment, which stretches the old pieces; the other is putting new wine into old bottles.

Remember, the disciples of Jesus were new this “ministry thing”. They weren’t trained in the schools of the prophets or the academies of religious scholars. The majority of them were farmers and fishermen who were not used to the rigorous disciplines of spiritual exercises.

  • Jesus’ disciples were, if you will, infants to these rituals and requirements. Some of the duties of religion were harder than others, like new cloth and new wine.
  • We too, are considered babes in Christ who must be nurtured and trained in the right way for proper growth to take place.
  • Our food, work and exercises must be tempered to our age and maturity levels. When we train the next generation, we must be mindful of what they are actually able to bear. The hardest duties must be reserved for a latter time, lest the young believer is discouraged.
  • Being mindful of this will help prevent the bottles from breaking and the wine being spilled. Let us side with caution to not be “over doing” when we’re “well doing.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Video Vitamin 1-19-10

(small glitch in recording at beginning, but it corrects itself)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pray for our Churches Potential


Prayer for our Churches Potential – John 17:20-21 20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

I believe Jesus was declaring His desire for the church to rise up and be the church! For that to happen, we must adhere to these six principles.

1. Walk collectively.

  • There is power in numbers. One reason the church has lost it’s effectiveness is because it’s become fragmented through differences of opinion and methods.
  • Division can destroy vision.
  • Our enemy is not our brothers and sisters in Christ – nor other denominational fellowships. Our enemy is Satan.
  • We must walk together to see ultimate victory.
  • Leviticus 26:8 8And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

2. Worship collectively.

  • Psalms 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
  • “Us” is the key word.
  • Worship is wonderful when it’s an individual time of intimacy with God. But it is absolutely powerful when everyone worships together at the same time!

3. Work collectively.

  • The law of synergy in enacted when we commit to work together.
  • Together we can accomplish anything!
  • When we work together, we are in one accord.
  • We know who we are – Children of God…who care more about loving than arguing.
  • We know what we are – Believers…who are free from religion and tradition.
  • We know what we are to do – Reach people…by loving them and setting them free.

4. Fellowship collectively.

  • Spending time with one another in settings outside of worship/preaching is vital for our church health as well.
  • Dinners, fellowship events, picnics, cookouts, etc.
  • Luke 15:6 6And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

5. Move collectively.

  • Philippians 1:27 27Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
  • We have been called to move together not just sit together.
  • Striving means moving towards something.
  • I say, we should strive together and produce excellence for the Kingdom of God.
  • If we refuse to move forward we will not change and if we do not change we will not grow.
  • Don’t sit down…keep moving forward!

6. Love collectively.

  • Colossians 2:2 2That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
  • What a joy it is to encourage one another. A smile can go a long way.
  • It’s also encouraging when we can laugh & cry together.
  • Love constrains us. It keeps us together.
  • In order to have horizontal love with other another, we must have vertical love with God.

“Lord, thank You for believing in me. Thank You for loving me so much that You would put some awesome people in my life as a reflection of Your goodness. I’m so thankful to be part of Your church. I purpose in my heart today to love Your people more affectionately. I will attempt to model a close knit relationship with my brothers and sisters so that You are revealed. Lord, I surrender to Your will.”

Prayer Preserves our Families


Prayer preserves our families – Nehemiah 4:14 14And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

Parents have an incredible responsibility to cover their children. If our families are to be protected, then we must fight for them. So much is at stake.

1. Give yourself to the Lord.

  • Make up your mind that you’re going to live for the Lord.
  • Joshua 2:15 “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

2. Give your children to the Lord.

  • By acknowledging God as the owner of your child you recognize yourself as a steward of this precious gift.
  • Psalms 127:3 “…children are an heritage of the Lord…”

3. Lead your child to the Lord at an early age.

  • Salvation is essential for you and your children.
  • If our children are to have a relationship with the Lord, than it will more than likely stem from the example parents give to their children in their own relationship with Christ.
  • We must never take salvation for granted.

4. Reverence the Lord with a Godly fear.

  • The fear of the Lord is a constant awareness of His holiness, righteousness and justice. As a result, my thoughts, words, actions and deeds are always on display before God.
  • Proverbs 16:6 “By mercy and truth iniquity I purged; and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

5. Alert your children how to identify and oppose evil.

  • James 4:6-10 6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

6. Instruct your children about the danger of being “unequally yoked”.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

7. Teach your children to respect and honor authority.

  • 1 Samuel 15:23 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

“Lord, I commit myself to the protection of my family. I will do everything within my power to keep the way clear from obstruction and unhealthy influences. I am reminded today of the incredible responsibility you have entrusted to me. Thank you for instructing me through Your word. Today is a new day – tomorrow is behind me – tomorrow Your grace will sustain me still. I need You Lord.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prayer Places Value on People


Prayer places value on people – Philippians 2:3-5 3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Let nothing be done through strife

  • Paul is instructing us to refuse to be in opposition with one another and to share the same interests as the body of Christ.
  • Our labor must be for the welfare of the whole body, recognizing that each of us function in the use of various gifts.
  • Our reputation takes back seat to the consideration of the whole.

But in lowliness of mind

  • Humbleness is not having a low opinion of yourselves, it is not thinking of yourselves. This kind of mind will help you prefer others over yourself.
  • Each of us have faults that could cause us to be unlovely to one another. However, love will help us to view others in the best light and will give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Look not every man on his own things

  • Our motivation has to be checked for selfishness. Why do we do the things we do? Is it for our self-interest or the interest of others.
  • All glory goes to God. When we promote God’s glory and the salvation of men, God is honored.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

  • The mind of Christ is seen in Jesus’ way of humbling Himself in obedience to the death of the cross.
  • He made no reputation for Himself. Everything He did was to bring glory to the Father.
  • Let us do the same…let us be humble, patient, laboring for the will of God and let us finish our work.


"Lord, help me to see the value in others like You do. May my words be kind and my heart always pure in every relationship. I realize that You have given multiple gifts to your people. I choose to look for the good in others and be accepting of their talents, gifts and personalities just as I would want them to be accepting of mine. May my cup always be ready to receive more from You and those You send to pour into my life. Be exalted Oh God!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prayer Relinquishes Control


Prayer relinquishes control – Luke 22:42 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Jesus’ disciples followed him in the night time into the garden.

  • They had been with Him so long…they were'nt about to leave Him now.
  • But not all were with Him. Judas had already begun his betrayal.

Jesus went to a place where He could have privacy.

  • We too, must find a place where we can commune with God alone.
  • When we’re alone with Him…that's when He speaks the loudest. Often, we cannot hear as clearly when we’re surrounded by the noise of people, duties & even ministry tasks.

Jesus encouraged His disciples to PRAY, that they might not enter into temptation to sin.

  • The approaching trial could not be avoided.
  • Jesus knew they would be tempted to desert Him in the greatest trial before them.

Jesus gave them an assignment.

  • “Pray”
  • Jesus knew His own assignment as well.
  • Jesus knelt down on the bare ground (battleground – if you ask me) and asked for the bitter cup to be removed.
  • We see the human nature of Jesus – which totally identifies with us our human frailty.

Jesus knew His Father’s will.

  • He was headed towards death.
  • There would be suffering and pain.
  • He settled it in His heart and embraced our redemption and salvation!
  • “Nevertheless not my will be done”
  • He submits to the will of God – not the will of human nature.

The disciples fell asleep when Jesus was praying.

  • Though we often like to point our finger at the disciples for their “seemingly laziness” – I truly believe they were exhausted in their spirit as a result of knowing their Lord was leaving them.
  • Bearing one another’s burdens can be heavy to our spirit.

Jesus woke them up and exhorted them.

  • “Wake up.”
  • “Shake yourself.”
  • “Quit being drowsy.”

When we find ourselves at a moment of temptation – we must RISE and PRAY!

“Lord, I give up my rights today. I give up my way of doing things. I surrender to Your will. I know I will have to contend with my human nature and it won’t want to give up…but I’m going to push past my will and allow You full access to my heart and life. As this happens, Lord, I will listen with a blood anointed ear to Your voice. Please help me block out the voices of temptation, distraction and selfishness. You are my King and I bow at Your feet.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prayer Enlarges our Vision


Prayer enlarges our vision – Isaiah 54:2-3 2Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Have you ever felt like a rubber band that’s being stretched? I have. In fact, I have felt stretched in multiple areas of my life. Each of us are different. We respond to the “stretching” different from one another based on our personalities, talents and gifts.

The truth is…we’re not going to be effective till we’re stretched. (A rubber band hasn’t done its job till it’s stretched) The stretching equips us for SUCCESS.

1. Inspired to stretch – we don’t always like the stretching. In fact, we’ll avoid it as long as we can especially if we are faced with a challenge that is seemingly difficult to overcome.

  • We dread it because we’ve never been down this road before. What if it turns out to be a bad experience?
  • We are content with how things are right now. We’d rather remain in the ease of our comfort zones.
  • We don’t have the confidence to climb over the low self-esteem that has convinced us we’re only meant to be average.
  • What inspires you?

Some people can’t resist a challenge.

  • Some are inspired after a long season of dissatisfaction or even a previous accomplishment.
  • Again…what inspires you?

1 Corinthians 15:58 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2. The Never Ending Stretch – If you stop stretching, you become dull.

Realize your possibilities

  • What are you doing right now that you enjoy? If you are content with what you’re doing, it’s probably because your surroundings are conducive to creativity.

Commit your possibilities

  • Proverbs 16:3 3Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
  • If you are not stretching in your Christian walk you will limit your effectiveness for the Lord’s work.

Expand your possibilities

  • Accepting responsibility for your personal development is key to reaching your fullest potential.

Dear Father, thank You for stretching me in my personality, gifts & talents. Thank You for allowing me the privilege of serving in Your Kingdom. Sometimes I feel the stretching is going to pull me apart. But I know when You stretch me, You are making more room in me for Your Spirit. As You stretch me I will be thankful and I will rejoice even though the process is sometimes painful and uncomfortable. I commit myself to this journey You have started me on and am determined to welcome every possibility I’m presented with.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prayer Prepares our Future


Prayer prepares our future - Philippians 3:13-14 "13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

  • I count not myself to have apprehended—Whatever gifts, graces, or honors I may have received from Jesus Christ, I consider every thing as incomplete till I have finished my course, got this crown, and have my body raised and fashioned after his glorious body.
  • This one thing I do—This is the concern, as it is the sole business, of my life.
  • Forgetting those things which are behind—My conduct is not regulated nor influenced by that of others; I consider my calling, my Master, my work, and my end. If others think they have time to loiter or trifle, I have none: time is flying; eternity is at hand; and my all is at stake.
  • Reaching forth—The Greek word επεκτεινομενος points out the strong exertions made in the race; every muscle and nerve is exerted, and he puts forth every particle of his strength in running. He was running for life, and running for his life.

  • I press toward the mark— I pursue along the line; this is a reference to the white line that marked the ground in the stadium, from the starting place to the goal, on which the runners were obliged to keep their eye fixed; for they who transgressed or went beyond this line did not run lawfully, and were not crowned, even though they got first to the goal.

  • For the prize of the high calling of God—The reward which God from above calls me, by Christ Jesus, to receive. The apostle still keeps in view his crown of martyrdom and his glorious resurrection.

Father, You have captured my heart with Your love. You are the purpose of my living and the longing of my spirit. As I proceed forward in my spiritual quest, I reaffirm my focus to not be entangled by anything in this world that will cause me to become distracted from my love for You. I surrender my past, my mistakes, my shortcomings and my failures to You. I declare this today to move forward in faith and stretch further in every effort to obtain Your reward!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fasting for the Journey Ahead


Ezra 8:21-23
21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.

  • This fast involved everyone giving themselves to seek the Lord, as it regarded His leading and guidance pertaining to the long journey ahead of them to Jerusalem.
  • Ezra boasted to the king of the power and goodness of God and had spoken of himself and his brethren as being assured of the Divine protection of God.


  • "Lord, where You lead I will follow. I ask you to protect my family and provide all the assistance we need on our journey. We need your substance to sustain us as we continue forward. Lord, Your hand is upon us. Your fingers direct us. Your palms rest us. Thank You for Your guidance. In Thee oh Lord do we trust!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pray for Growth in God


Pray for Growth in God – Colossians 1:10 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
  • “Walk” refers to one’s behavior and that it can be accomplished only by making the Cross the Object of one’s Faith, which gives the Holy Spirit the latitude to perfect our “walk”.

  • Fruitfulness will come if Faith is properly placed in the Cross.


  • God, I need You more today than yesterday. I long to learn of Your “ways” so that my “walk” will be fruitful and pleasing in Your sight. Hear my heart Oh God. I cry out to You today – come and search me, try me and dig out anything in my heart that is unlike You. I want to grow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Prayer Changes Us


Prayer Changes Us -
Psalms 25:4-5 4 Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

• God, I want to know Your ways, be taught Your paths and be led into Your truth.
• Lord, unless You show me your ways, I cannot discern which direction to go.
• If You don’t teach me, I cannot learn.
• If You don’t lead me, I cannot walk.
• Lord, I will wait on you, I will persevere in earnest prayer.

The first day of a fast is exciting and challenging at the same time. The sense of knowing that you’re pushing past the desires of the flesh and expanding the growth of your spirit man. Then there’s the challenge of cravings, habits and routines that must be mastered.

Looking forward to Day Two…

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Today, History Was Made!

Dear BFWC Family,

Today was a history making day for Bethel Family Worship Center. We hosted our first official Game Day for UPWARD Basketball and Cheerleading. My heart was overwhelmed to see so many children participating.

One thing that was really exciting to me was the opportunity we had to meet so many parents and relatives of the children. In fact, I spoke with two families who asked what time our services were on Sunday morning. I received lots of positive feedback about the experience.

Years ago, we enrolled Kaitlyn in the UPWARD program at Ben Davis Christian Church. It was a wonderful experience! Beverly and I dreamed of one day being able to host a quality program like UPWARD at BFWC. Today, that dream became a reality!

These children will learn valuable principles concerning healthy competition, sportsmanship, skill building and fun - verses the "win-at-all-costs" mentality found in many children sport leagues. Winning is so much more than the final score.

I want to commend Coach Andy Carpenter and the entire UPWARD team for their professionalism and commitment to this ministry. The atmosphere today was exciting! The spirit of the meeting was edifying and everyone had such a good attitude. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As your pastor, I rejoice in my heart when I see the quality of ministry that went forth today. My dear BFWC family - you are a great body of believers!!!

With all my heart,

Pastor Hylton

Friday, January 8, 2010

How May I Encourage You?

If I'm going to have fast food, then one of my favorite places to visit is Chick-Fil-A. The courtesy is so refreshing! When I visit through the drive thru, for my favorite sweet tea, I'm always impressed with the way the employees speak to me. "It will be a pleasure to see you at the window" - I mean come just don't get this type of customer service everywhere.

In fact, I've had my share of discourteous service:

  • The sales clerk who is talking on the cell phone or a co-worker and trying to wait on me as well.
  • The sales clerk who doesn't say "hello" but just holds their hand out to receive my method of payment.
  • The sales clerk who doesn't say "thank you" or "you're welcome."
  • The sales clerk who's attitude is "Hey, I'm doing you a favor just to wait on you."

Does anyone have good customer service skills anymore?

When I was in the banking industry, I was taught thoroughly how to provide quality customer service with my clients.

  • Use their name as often as possible.
  • Greet them with a smile and direct eye contact.
  • Thank them for their business.

As a believer, I have an obligation to represent Jesus Christ to everyone I come in contact with. Not only in church...but in every secular environment as well.

The next time you go to the grocery store, prepare yourself mentally before you walk in the door to "encourage" the employees of the store and other customers.

Be prepared for SHOCK. Some people will look at you strange and think you're up to something. This is the day we're living in. It's almost strange to actually be nice.

Depending on where you live in this country, the way people communicate in public ranges from a hardy hello to a blank stare.

Lets determine to be ENCOURAGER'S to those we come in contact with. Here are a few tips:

  1. Express genuine interest - ask questions to get the other person talking.

  2. Affirm & Validate - by acknowledge what's important to someone else you are building self-esteem and confidence.

  3. Congratulate - if someone has worked hard on a project or has seen success in an area in their life, offer congratulations. Your words can encourage them to do even better the next time.

  4. Common Courtesy - saying thank you is not only good manners but it sends a message that what they have done is worthwhile and meaningful to you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Want To Be An Encourager

Have you ever shared your heart with someone about a dream of yours only to find out that they weren't particularly enthused about it?

Perhaps you've dreamed about being an actor on TV or of owning your own business. Whatever the dream, it is vert important that you share it with the right people.

I had a teacher in High School that made a lasting impression on my life. She was such an encourager. When I considered applying for a music scholarship at Akron University, she not only believed I could get the scholarship - she drove me to the appointment!

As I have journeyed through life, I've met many "discouragers" as well. These are the people who always tell you why you can't attempt the task at hand. They're reluctant to lend their support to something they think will end up being a flop.

Usually, those people have had some devastating events transpire in their lives and as a result they discourage anyone with a big dream - for fear that they'll be disappointed if it doesn't work out.

Praise God for the ENCOURAGERS! I've met some wonderful ones in my life! Spending time with them is such a joy...the discouragers are soon forgotten. These are the people you want to surround yourself with. They exemplify many of the following traits:

1. Modeling - encouragers don't just talk the talk...they walk the walk. They are living examples of encouragement themselves. They've learned how to "take a lickin' and keep on tickin'!"

2. Listening - although an encourager can give you lots of good advice that will spark your heart - they also know how to "hear" what you're really saying from your heart. You feel compelled to spill your life story to them - knowing they're going to be objective and sincere.

3. Truthfulness - an encourager will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear. They will point out some blind spots that should be considered and factor in the positives as well.

4. Revealing - an encourager will get you to pour out your deepest dreams on the table then examine what's been holding you back from fulfilling your dreams.

5. Inspiring - an encourager will inspire you to start where you are - even though you haven't got it all figured out yet. They will help you see that you don't have to be perfect to begin. They know that your "gift" or "craft" will develop over time - but unless you start now, chances are you'll never start.

Again, I'm very thankful to have had some great encouragers in my life!

Reflect today on the people that have encouraged you along the way. Ask yourself, "am I an encourager or a discourager?"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! This past week has been incredilbe! I'm definitely looking forward to 2010 with expectancy.

It is generally said that 40 to 45% of adults make one or more resolutions each year. Most New Year's resolutions are about self care and management, weight loss, exercise and spending more time with family and friends. Some involve better managament in their finances.

Here's usually what happens: only after a couple of months, if that, those resolutions are broken and former habits are picked up again. Some of this has to do with the fact that many people throw in the towel after one failure with their resolution.

New Year's resolutions are like that. It's "all or nothing". However, i think we should steer away from "resolutions" and focus on goal setting instead. We should begin our year with defined goals. If we do not state our goals, we will have nothing to aim for.

So what are your goals for 2010? Are they achievable?

Here's a recap of this past weekend:

Both Encounter services on Sunday morning were great. We continued our series on "Get a Grip not a Gripe" with an emphasis on "The Agony of Defeat." I was especially blessed by the mime presentation of Lisa Hubbard and Sierra Reed as they performed the song "Encourage Yourself In The Lord."

Click here to view "The Agony of Defeat"

Our Nursing Home Ministry met Sunday afternoon and had a great outreach effort.

On Sunday evening we celebrated our first IMPACT Night of the year. My heart was full to minister on the thought "The Spirit of an Armor Bearer." Many people came forward to answer the call of God on their life. After service we hosted open gym for basketball.

Click here to view "The Spirit of an Armor Bearer"

Friday, January 1, 2010

10 Salvations and 15 Water Baptisms!

This past Wednesday night at BFWC was incredible! We hosted our last service for 2009 and it was incredible.
The evening began with prayer and praise & worship, followed by a message on "The Blood of Jesus." The altars were full and we witnessed 10 Salvations!
We then shared a special time spending time at the Lords table in Holy Communion. Families and friends were seated together and each received the laying on of hands and a prayer of blessing from our leadership team.
Another highlight of the evening was the water baptism of 15 people! What a great night of ministry!
Visit our website at

Click here to view sermon