Showing posts from 2017

Your Heart's Desire

What is the desire of your heart? An ideal partner to share your life with? A good job? A home of your own? Peace of mind? Are there desires that are still unfulfilled?

Many people have many ways of reaching for their heart’s desire--we strive, work night and day, plan and strategize, even beg, steal or borrow. But do you know that the Bible gives us one sure, pleasant and blessed way to find what our hearts long for? Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I love this verse. What it is really saying is--spend time with God, put Him first, know Him well, discover how much He loves you. Then your heart will find what it seeks.

Now you may be asking, “If I delight myself in the Lord this way, then I can have anything in the world I want?” No it doesn’t work that way. The word for delight in Hebrew means to be dependent upon God and to derive one’s pleasure from Him. Do you rely on God completely? Do you relish his constant pre…

Until You Pray

After the invitation to prayer and the assurance that He will answer, God added an addendum to the policy He gave Jeremiah: “Call to Me, and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3a). What's the answer going to be like, God? First all, “ . . . I will tell you great things you have not known” (v.33b). I will inspire you with greater understanding and knowledge than you could achieve on your own. Let's think about Jeremiah here for a minute. God instructed His prophet to remain unmarried as a sign of the harsh judgment that God was bringing to correct Israel in their rebellion. Jeremiah’s audience was heavily involved in idol worship. They were into deception and debauchery. God's people were fully engaged in this blatant rejection of God. This is as clear as it gets: If something is going on in your life today and you're wondering about God’s character, "If God really is X, then why is Y happening?" The answer to that dilemma is prayer. God says, “Call to Me, (in th…

God's Insurance

I believe that God answers every prayer. But it’s crucial for us to remember who we’re talking to in prayer. We’re not giving God orders and He’s not at all hesitant about the way He answers.

The first answer is “Yes.” That's the most frequent answer you get to prayer. I have never asked for strength and not received it. I have never, ever prayed for wisdom and not received it. But I have often not prayed for wisdom and regretted the decisions that I made. When I’ve applied James 1:5 and recognized my lack of wisdom and asked God to supply, He has delivered!  Most biblical praying receives an immediate "Yes."   God’s second answer to prayer is "No." That's why James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” But the only time you get a "no" is if you pray for stupid stuff or if you pray for good stuff with a timeline. I have found God very unresponsive to my ultimatums. God doesn't respond to blustering, bluffing, or threats. If we’re…

God's Invitation

Each of the promises from God can usually be summarized in a word. Here's the first one: Invitation. Look at Jeremiah 33:2, God Himself is giving the invitation: “Thus says the LORD,” which is God’s way of saying, “Jeremiah, take a memo.” This title, ”LORD,” is God's personal, covenant name. That's God making a covenant commitment to you. If you have turned from your sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith for your forgiveness, God has made a covenant with you. He has said, “I have sworn by My own name" (see Hebrews 6:13-20). God has promised to do some things for you. Now it doesn't matter what you've done because God has made some commitments regardless of your past. The enemy would say to us, "Because of what you did, it's over with you and God."But God says, "I am the LORD. I have made a covenant with you." Our relationship with God may look like simple exchange of affection between two parties, but the truth is we can’t keep up our …

Call to Me

The average person speaks 34,000 words a day. You talk a half a book every day! If we're all talking a half a book a day, is there even a page of dialogue with God? When was the last time you gave half a chapter in a single day to the God who says, “Call to Me?" Notice the word call. That's an invitation to intensity. God invites us not to whimper to Him. God is not, "Say something to Me." “How do you want us to talk to You, God?"  "I want you to call." That's an expression of urgency, intensity, and fervency. It’s an invitation to shameless and loud intimacy! God says, “Call to Me.” The implication of God’s invitation is that it allows us to call any time and all the time.  The situation in which Jeremiah found himself when this invitation was issued holds a significant lesson for us. “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah  a second time while he was shut up in the court of the guard” (v.1). That’s a way of saying he was under guard—in prison…

Stirred Up to Pray

Paul gives us a term that really helps us describe the kind of prayer we’re going after—unceasing. Unceasing prayer brings the glory of God down. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn't mean you're not doing anything else. It means that just as you are always physically breathing in and out as you go about your day, you should always be spiritually in a conversation with God. Always talking: "Yes, Lord;" and "See that, Father?" and "Help me, God," and always, always in an attitude of prayer. When it comes to prayer, God Himself is in the stirring-up business. He doesn’t do it for His own good but for our good. We need to pray unceasingly because it is immeasurably good for us! Let’s look closely at God’s move to stir up Jeremiah (and us) to prayer: “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time while he was still shut in the court of the guard. Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to …

A Fathers Love Letter (Fathers Day Edition)

My Child, You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Ps. 139:1  I know when you sit down and when you rise up Ps. 139:2  I am familiar with all your ways. Ps. 139:3  Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matt. 10:29-31  For you were made in my image. Gen. 1:27  In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28  For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28  I knew you even before you were conceived. Jer. 1:4-5  I chose you when I planned creation. Eph. 1:11-12  You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.  Ps. 139:15-16  I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26  You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Ps. 139:14  I knit you together in your mother's womb. Ps. 139:13  And brought you forth on the day you were born. Ps. 71:6  I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44  I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16  And it is my desire to lavish …

Relationship vs. Religion

Giving credit to a dear friend of mine for this post.
Christianity is all about relationship, not a religion.Some of you think Christianity is all about witch hunts, gay bashing, and Bible thumping.  I used to think the same way; but that could not be further from the truth. This world view has confused and distorted Christianity.  It's hard to make a profit off of a happy people that don't need the junk that's being sold! I will tell you what Christianity is really all about! It is about experiencing a relationship with God, it is about being washed over and inundated with that pure unadulterated and unconditional Agape Love of God. And when you experience it... That absolute and completely overwhelming joy that comes from embracing the Love of the Father... OH. MY. GOD!! There is NOTHING else like it.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm not trying to preach at you or conform you to my religion, this isn't about religion and rituals, hellfire and damnation, or any of t…

Romans 12:2 Mind Renewal

Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2Paul warned Christians: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world" that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Wise Christians decide that much worldly behavior is off limits for them. Our refusal to conform to this world's values, however, must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind: "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way we think." It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed.

Christ's Death

Christ's death provided a way for all people to come to God. It cleared away the sin that keeps us from having a right relationship with our Creator. This does not mean that everyone has been saved, but that the way has been cleared for anyone who will trust Christ to be saved. We can have peace with God and be reconciled to him by accepting Christ, who died in our place. Is there a distance between you and the Creator? Be reconciled to God. Come to him through Christ.

Honoring Your Pastors'

My parents, as you know, have been pastors of Jackson Vineyard the last 5 years. What you don’t know is they have been my pastors’ the last 25 years. I’m bias when it comes to my parents, being who they are, and what they have accomplished as husband and wife of 34 years. Three men growing in their spiritual walk with Jesus, and only Him. I am honored to be called their son. I get both worlds. Both pastors and parents. Outside the church, they are Mom and Dad. Inside the church, they are my pastors.
Dad and Mom, thank you for all the lessons and teachings of who Jesus is to me, being my example of what Christ looks like through your unconditional love towards me, and thank you for allowing me to be your “Sunshine”.
Okay, now to the important stuff!
You see what I did there. I appreciated and thank them for what they did for me. Not only as their son, but as a church member.
Growing up, did you ever thanked your Pastors and/or Leaders?
There are 3 things I want you to do as a body of b…