Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4 Things You Need To Know Today

After they'd fished all night and caught nothing, Jesus said to His disciples, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets" (Luke 5:4).

The real test of faith comes when: (a) nothing you've tried has worked; and (b) the Lord speaks a word to you that seems to make no sense at all.

Listen to Peter's response, "nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5). That's it - doubt your doubts, but never doubt God.  One word from Him can change everything!

Listen to what happened next, "And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake" (Luke 5:6).  

There are four lessons here for us today:

1. God will involve you in one thing to teach you another. Soon He was going to involve them in an even greater miracle - catching multitudes and bringing them into His kingdom.

2. He'll use the familiar to do the incredible.  In their workplace where nothing special ever happened, He suddenly showed up and changed everything.  Look for Him today in the familiar - and the unexpected - places in your life.

3. He'll move you from the security of the shore to the risks of the deep. Why? Because you've got to experience the great storms in order to enjoy the great catches. No risks, no rewards!

4. When you obey God - nets break, needs are met, minds are amazed, and He is glorified. But remember, the miracle can't begin until you say, "...nevertheless at thy word I will " (Luke 5:5). 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

God Calls You What He Makes You

The discovery of WHO WE ARE began long before we knew how to crawl, walk or run.  It began as an infant, laying in a crib, staring up at a mobile, reaching for it, until we noticed our hands.  Hands that carry the DNA of potential.  Hands that someday will be different things to different people. 
  • Who am I? 
  • Who will I become? 
  • What am I here for?  
  • What is my purpose? 
  • What is my Life Call?
We crawl through childhood, from tonka trucks to ten speeds, moving through the maze of adolescence. Too old to play with toys, yet too childlike to be an adult, wondering where we fit. 

Still, we ask, "Who am I?"

Why do we have such an interest in knowing who we are? Where does this need come from? Is it for this reason that we go back to our creator, in a desperate attempt to find out more about ourselves? 

If anyone holds the answer to this question surely it is God.  Afterall, He is our creator. Psalms 100:3b "It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves."

The discovery process can reveal the grace of God from our infancy to our adulthood. We need only to look to the Bible to see a man by the name of Jacob who also asked the same questions on his pilgrimage.

Jacob - a Bible hero.
Jacob - a limping leader.
Jacob - a struggler and a wrestler.

In all of his upbringing, he finagled his way through life manipulating and tricking others. It was only when his trickery brought him to a dead end that he began to struggle with God for an answer.

His very name means "supplanter" or "trickster."  He was a modern day "con man" who found himself alone with God.  There, alone with God, in the isolation of his internal strife, God began the process of taking him from DISGRACE into GRACE.  It only took one encounter with a God he couldn't "out slick" to bring Jacob's leg to a limp and his fist into a hand clasped in prayer. 

He cries out to God, "I won't let you go until you bless me!"  It is then and there that God tells him what he needs to know.  He tells Jacob that he is not who he thinks he is. In fact, he is really Israel, a PRINCE! (Genesis 32:24-30)

It's no different for us.  When we begin to seek God, He will eventually show us our real identity.  There in Jacob's struggle...God gave him his greatest treasure...He gave him his NAME!

Friends, God has given you a NAME and an ASSIGNMENT to match!  It is God that calls you what He makes you!
  • He calls you HEALED even if you have to limp to the altar!
  • He calls you BLESSED even if you don't have two nickels to rub together!
  • He calls you FRIEND even if everyone has walked off and left you!
He speaks those things that BE NOT as though THEY WERE! (Romans 4:17)  

Don't let anyone label you into being something you are not!  
  • Your teachers may have called you DUMB. 
  • Your parents may have called you a MISTAKE.
  • Your family may have called you an ACCIDENT.
  • Your peers may have called you a REJECT.

Take a hold of the WORD of God over your life, cling to God in prayer and God will give you your REAL IDENTITY!  

Someone today needs to realize that you could be a PRINCE and not really know it! If you pray, God will give you a NAME!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Your Pastor Is Not Your Crutch

Question: Is it important to invite people to church?  

I've been encouraged to invite people to church my entire life.  It is assumed that if I can get my friends, family and co-workers to church...they will hear the Gospel and accept Jesus as their Lord and their lives will be changed.

Question: How many times has that worked out for you? Probably a lot less than you would have hoped.

The more I think about this, the more I think we've become a little LAZY in our view of "winning people to Jesus."  Perhaps we've allowed the pastor's sermon to become our CRUTCH. A crutch that allows us to sit back and depend on the pastor to convince people who Jesus is.

Question: Is this what Jesus modeled?  No!  However, that has become the model that our Christian culture has adopted.

Has this happened to you? 
  • After weeks of inviting your friend to church, begging and even bargaining a delicious lunch afterwards, they show up as a favor to you. They stand out of respect during praise and worship and everything seems to be going well.  Then the pastor gets up to preach. You're thinking, "Oh comes the message that's going to rip their heart out of their chest!"  However, this is the week that your pastor is preaching about tithes and offerings...NOT the message you wanted your friend to hear just yet!
  • You're thinking, "Man...why can't he preach a message about Salvation today? I was hoping my friend would jump out of their seat and run to the altar!"
  • But it doesn't happen. You're disappointed and your friend decides not to come back to church with you again.
Here's the point: You can't rely on your pastor to share the Gospel with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers! That's not what Jesus taught us! The GREAT COMMISSION (Matthew 28:19-20) only comes alive when DISCIPLES make DISCIPLES!

Is it easier for us to bring our friends to our church...
or is it easier to bring 
the church to our friends?

At at Catalyst conference in 2009, Erwin McManus described us all as having different "spaces". 
  • The first space is our COMFORT SPACE.  This is the place where we live, thrive and connect with people who are just like us. This can be our home, church, or anywhere where everyone knows our name.  This is the place where relationships are close and established.
  • The second space is our COMMON SPACE. This is the space we share with others. This could be work, school or somewhere public.  It is a place where people are mutually out interacting, but not as intimate as our first space.
  • The third space is our FOREIGN SPACE. This is the place that is first space to someone else and is unfamiliar ground to us.

When we invite an UNCHURCHED friend to visit our church, we're inviting them to an unfamiliar place (their foreign space). We're asking them to come out of their comfort zone into a place that is unknown.  In essence, we're telling them, "You need to leave your space to come to mine."

The Apostle Paul took his MESSAGE to all THREE SPACES!  In Acts 17:16, Paul became so disturbed by the rampant idolatry that "his spirit was provoked within him." So, he went to the synagogue (his first space) and reasoned with them. Then, day after day, he went to the marketplace (second space) and reasoned with anyone and everyone he could. He was considered a "babbler" - but he kept at it!  Eventually, he made such an impression that a group of philosophers invited him to come to their first space (Paul's third space) where he was able to share the Gospel! (Acts 17:17-21)

The point is this...Paul didn't have to drag people out of their spaces...he met people where they were!  Jesus did the same thing and He continues to meet and love people where they are!

Most of Jesus' work was not done inside the walls of the synagogue, but in the streets, the market places, and homes of others.

Friends, we must love people where they are.  We cannot rely on the pastor to share the Gospel with our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

The first two letters of the word GOSPEL is "GO"!  We must become better at making an impact in our SECOND SPACE so that people invite us into our THIRD SPACE (their first space)!

It boils down to us connecting with people RELATIONALLY! Perhaps, before we invite someone to our church...we should invite them to our house for dinner. 

Let's be willing to meet people in their FIRST SPACE not just ours!

Obviously, I'm not saying we should stop inviting people to our church...I'm saying we should take the church to them by BEING the church in all three of our spaces.  Sadly, we tend to hang around our FIRST SPACE so much that we are too intimidated to charter out into the deeper waters of the SECOND and THIRD SPACES.

I challenge you today to move to your SECOND SPACE!  Get out of the box of religion and tradition! We must BE the church in the context where the unchurched live!

Imagine how exciting it will be when you get invited to someone else's FIRST SPACE (your third space)!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Super Saturday 4-12-14

Dear BFWC Family & Friends!

I hope you're having a SUPER SATURDAY!  The past few days have been packed full of productive ministry.  On Thursday night, our FOOD PANTRY OUTREACH ministered to 127 people (29 Families) and shared enough bread and pastries to feed about 80 people at Wheeler Mission.  Your giving continues to make a difference!

Saved people Serve people!

The carpets in our church were professionally cleaned yesterday. Our campus is taking shape and will be ready to welcome you tomorrow for service.  By the way, tomorrow is PALM SUNDAY. Come expecting! We have a surprise for you tomorrow!

Our Connections Cafe will be serving Biscuits & Gravy tomorrow morning between 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM.  Join us for a quick bite!

We had over 60 men show up this morning for our Men's Breakfast! The food was great...but the fellowship was greater! Tyler Walker shared a challenging word from Proverbs 16:32 and pushed us to ABANDON anything that God was trying to extract from our lives.  Special thanks to all the incredible cooks!  We had pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, biscuits & gravy!  YUM!

Following our Men's Breakfast, we held our Volunteer Meeting for our upcoming Egg Hunt! (Next Saturday)  WOW!!!!  Great turnout from some amazing BFWC peeps who just LOVE Jesus and LOVE people!  Plans are in motion for an incredible outreach next Saturday!  If you missed today's meeting...NO PROBLEM...there's still room for you!  Volunteers will meet at BFWC next Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.  Show up and we'll put you to work!

Here's where we're at:
  • We have received 4000 candy filled eggs so far.  THANK YOU! We NEED 6000 more before next Saturday!  If you haven't donated yet, please HELP!
  • We are accepting donations of NEW BICYCLES to give away!  Four have already been donated! Praise The Lord!
  • We would also like to give away $100 worth of Silver Dollars! (Available at your local bank! Let me know if you're willing to donate!)
  • We'll have our VOLUNTEER SHIRTS available in the bookstore tomorrow. ($10)
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We already have over 400 kids (Ages 0-11) who have registered online with more coming this week!  If you haven't registered yet, please click here!  We're preparing for over 1000 kids...this Saturday - although this is a FREE EVENT all kids must register!

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On Easter Sunday (April 20th) we will have three morning services: (Please share this with those who may not have email, Internet or haven't picked up a recent bulletin.)

8:00 AM
10:00 AM
12:00 PM

Following each service, we'll have FREE FAMILY PHOTOS available in the Gym. (Email address required)
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PLUS...we're giving away FREE GASOLINE!
(Must be present to win)

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Who are you bringing to church with you tomorrow?

There's still time to call someone today and invite them!
8:30 AM & 11:00 AM

Friday, April 11, 2014

Water Your Dreams With Your Tears

Everyone is born with a thirst to achieve something great! It is our tear-stained struggle that ultimately quenches this thirst.

If I've learned anything in life, I've learned that it's not my family's TEARS or my friend's TEARS that water my's my TEARS and my TEARS alone.  No matter how many people help me or hold my hand and cry with me...they can't cry for me. The good news is that there will be a harvest at the end of your TEARS!  

Psalm 126:5 "They that sow in TEARS shall reap in joy."

Can you cry too many TEARS? It's possible that you can overwater your promise by staying stuck in your sorrow.  A certain amount of TEARS is necessary during the time of sowing. However, when it's harvest time, you can't let the devil keep you in a weeping state. TEARS are for the sower but JOY is for the harvester!

When it's harvest time, there will be JOY because you've sacrificed, cried your TEARS and given your it's time to reap the benefits of your labor!  Go ahead and LAUGH, SMILE and DANCE for JOY!

Psalm 126:6 "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Your crying season had a purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1). God allowed it to produce your promise through predetermined principles!  His Word outlines the principles He expects us to hold to while passing through the sowing season.

Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

During the SOWING SEASON, you must learn to meditate on the Word (principles) while you're waiting.  If you can recognize what season you're in, you can prepare for it before it comes. When the season is completed you'll produce fruit that is mature.  This can be a difficult test to pass. However, fruit that isn't ripe remains unpalatable for consumption.  Even restaurant menus have a notation that says certain items can be served only when their fruit is in season.

Psalm 1:3 "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

We must wait until the season produces fruit IN us that is ready for consumption at the Kings table.  Ultimately, our harvest will be a blessing to us and others when we pass THROUGH the sowing season and reap our harvest!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Time and Timing

TIME is a precious commodity.  Esther was counseled to consider what TIME it was, when she presented herself to the King in order to prevent a Jewish holocaust. 

Before she went before the king, she called for a TIME of fasting and prayer to prepare her spirit.  Prayer undergirds our spirit and keeps us from bending beneath the weight of opposition.

Prayer is a strong defense against satanic attack.  If Esther had not prayed, she would have fallen prey to the clever devices of her enemy.

Esther 5:1-2 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Notice what Esther does...
  • She changed her apparel. This signifies our need to alter our circumstances to facilitate the success of the vision that is before us.  Everything must be committed to the goal - body, soul and spirit.  
When the king saw Esther in her prepared state, he granted an expected end!  He drew her into his presence, because she had prepared herself for her TIME.

TIME and TIMING are so important!  Once TIME is gone, you can never retrieve it.  

Consider this...if someone stole your car, it would be an inconvenience but not a tragedy because you can easily get another one.  If someone took your wallet or purse, it would be an annoyance but a few phone calls would salvage the majority of your concerns. BUT WHO CAN YOU CALL if you suffer the loss of TIME?

My prayer for you today is that you will recognize your TIME and become empowered to perform in the TIMING of God for your life!

Sometimes, we feel like other people are getting ahead and we are lagging behind trying to play catch up.  Like a child in line at the amusement park, there will always be times when other people receive their dues, and we are forced to wait our turn.  This is NOT injustice; it is ORDER. There is nothing unjust about order.

If you will wait your TIME (turn) and pay your dues, then the TIME will come when it's all yours!

Friends, on the other side of a tremendous TEST is the HARVEST of your dream!  If you have planted the seeds of a PROMISE and watered them thoroughly with the tears of STRUGGLE, then this is your TIME!

Great concern should be expressed to the person who has seeds without water.  The TEARS of STRUGGLE become the irrigation of the Holy Spirit.  It is through your own tear-filled struggles that God directs the waters of life to the field of your dreams!

Psalm 126:5 "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Make full use of your TIME today!  
God is positioning you at the INTERSECTION of OPPORTUNITY where 
TIMING & DIRECTION come together!