Tag Archive | Church

Heart Thoughts – Wineskins


Today, Pastor O challenges us to realize that we might have again placed God in a box, an old wineskin…
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins.” Mark 2:22……..’We know God easily if we do not constrain ourselves to define Him.” Joseph Joubert….”The life of a disciple may be rigorous, but it is never rigid……Though we can certainly expect Him to be constant, we cannot expect Him to be predictable.” Chris Tiegreen
 
Judging, if I may use that word, from what I see on Facebook and other places these days, there seem to be a great many people who feel they have pretty much figured out what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will do and how They will act. We’ve done quite the job of putting labels upon each other, so its small wonder we should try to place labels upon Him. We see ourselves as flexible and would reject the idea of being considered, “old wineskins.” Yet our flexibility seems to disappear whenever we come into contact with anyone who might not agree with our concept of the 3 in 1 God. There is much tragedy to be shared in all of this, but the greatest tragedy is that we have succeeded to a very great degree in removing the mystery of who He is. Our western minds want a Father, a Jesus, a Holy Spirit that we can have reasonable expectations as to how They will show up in our lives. We don’t like surprises, and we certainly don’t like living in the unexpected. I believe very strongly in having correct doctrine and theology. However, we can construct a God that we insist stays within the bounds of our doctrine, theology, and especially the characteristics of our own group. We don’t want Him to step outside the boundaries we’ve set for Him. When that happens, we become old wineskins, and we can be just as unaware of that as were the Pharisees Jesus spoke of.

Chris Tiegreen writes, “Do we take the time to ponder which of our own wineskins have attempted to accommodate Jesus and failed?….On what points are we rigid? Where do our expectations lie? Do we insist that Jesus bring about our own vision for the future? Do we try to constrain Him to our church structures? Do we rely on methodology in our ministry? (They)….may be good, but Jesus will not fit. He defies constraint. The Lion of Judah cannot be tamed.”

Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases.” We cannot control the wind. Why do we seek to control He who is the Source of the wind? Joubert’s quote is powerful. The less we seek to define Almighty God, the more we may know Him. And the desire of His heart, His greatest desire, is that we know Him. He is a mystery. He says so Himself. But He invites us to enter into His mystery, and behold Him to reveal Himself in its midst. To do that, we have to let go of all of our presumptions about Him. I had a very great friend who has since gone home to Him. One of the favorite things he used to say was that he had an “Oops theology.” As in, “Oops, I guess I was wrong.” Old wineskins can never live in such a theology. Only new ones can. He will never violate the truth and authority of His Word, but we must know that our limited minds cannot begin to understand how deep, high, and wide His truth really is.

I continue to grow older, and my natural skin is losing the soft, flexible feel it once had. Yet it is my fervent hope that the “skin” of my heart remain as tender and pliable as that of a child. How about you? In the spiritual realm, we’re all wineskins. Are we old ones…..or new?

Blessings,
Pastor O

Create in me… by Julie Harris


Today I am excited to collaborate with some lovely people who write for the blog church set free!  We are all writing about what worship means to us.  I hope you will visit the site and that it will encourage you in your journey to knowing and growing closer to Him…”

 

Source: Create in me…

The SACK


“At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, ‘Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you have missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram……The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.  What a fool you have been.  From now on you will be at war.’ ”  2 Chronicles 16:7, 9

Chinese Christian Brother Yun, known as the Heavenly Man, tells of this happening in one of the Chinese house churches.  The Chinese believers regularly send off other believers to go into surrounding towns and villages to share the love and life of Christ.  Before each sending, the group would take up a collection for the work.  Many of those who were in attendance had nothing of material or monetary value to give. These believers, with tears streaming down their faces, when the large sack came to them, would literally place themselves in the sack.  Yun said that by doing this, these gentle folk wanted to signify to God that their lives were all they had to give and that they were willing to give all of themselves for His glory.  I’m humbled by this.  Are you?

Here in the west, there are many who are willing to give….up to a point, or as I heard one man put it, up to a tithe.  There are also those who are willing to go…..again, up to a point or a place.  How many of us are really willing to give all of ourselves to all that is Him?  When “the sack” comes to us, are we willing to put many “things” in it, but not all of ourselves?  Is giving, to us, a matter of percentage, or totality?  How many invisible lines have we drawn, and boundaries placed on how much of ourselves we’re really willing to be sacrificial with?  Who are we really more like in Jesus’ story of the rich Pharisee and the poor widow?  Jesus watched the Pharisee give a large amount of money out of his  wealth.
The widow gave two pennies, which was all she had.  The first gave out of his surplus, the widow gave all with nothing held back.  Who are we more like?  When the sack comes our way, to which heart attitude are we really drawn to?  What have we really put in the sack?  Every moment of every day, the sack comes before us.  What’s really going into it.  A percentage or a person?

This is not just a matter of our resources or time.  It’s a matter of the self.  All of the self.  The past, present and future.  They all go into the sack. Our motives.  Our dreams, desires, disappointments.  People.  Both those we love, and those we perhaps do not love so much.  All of it goes into the sack.  When the sack comes to us, we cannot stop with a check or a volunteering for some needed church ministry or job.  We cannot stop with a part or percentage.  It cannot be the part. It must be the whole.  The whole of us.

Asa the king had trusted God with much.  He could not trust Him with all.  “War” was the fruit of that.  For us, this means that all that we hold back from him will be under attack from our enemy satan, and we will spend ourselves on trying to protect in our strength what can only be kept by His.  If this is not so, just think on how much unrest is in our lives as the result of trying to bring about the results we desire by our own efforts, be they relationships, professions, and especially ministries.  Like Asa, we suffer constant “war” and have no peace because of it.

The Lord continues to search the world for hearts fully committed to Him.  As He searches, what does He find in ours? Percentages?  Bits that are His, but pieces that are not?  Asa lived in this way, and the Father called him a fool.  What does He call us?

Blessings,
Pastor O

(A special thanks to my brother in Christ and friend for allowing me to share this devotional message.)

Glory to God Alone


As a New Years Resolution, no as a LIFELONG RESOLUTION… ALL GLORY TO GOD ALONE.

In seeking a verse for this year and maybe now my life verse, I’ll wait for HIS direction on the last part, several thoughts have formed a recurring theme in my mind.  Since I’m not given to simplicity, wish that I were…, below is what is on my heart, mind, and soul for 2015 and beyond.

” Whoever speaks must speak God’s words. Whoever serves must serve with the strength God supplies so that in every way God receives glory through Jesus Christ. Glory and power belong to Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.” ~ I Peter 4:11

The overarching theme has been this:

Is there any work I will not do for the glory of God?

Is there any place I will not go to the glory of God?

Is there anyone I will not approach for the glory of God?

Is there any ministry I will not engage in for the glory of God?

Is there any thing in my life that does not bring glory to God?

Is there any thing in my life more important than the glory of God?

Am I truly willing to do ALL HE has and is calling me to do for HIS GLORY and KINGDOM?

At the end of these questions comes the realization that answering in the affirmative is only the first step.  I will have to be dedicated to this purpose above all else!  I will have to engage in the constant practice of being in HIS presence constantly.  I will have to rely on the power and strength of the Holy Spirit more than at any other time in my life from this very moment on.  That this dependency will necessarily grow because the reality of spiritual warfare is in full swing with this decision.

How will I be able to give “Glory to God Alone?”  There is only one way, this must be the only purpose in my walk and then only by the power God provides through the Holy Spirit.

” Whoever speaks must speak God’s words. Whoever serves must serve with the strength God supplies so that in every way God receives glory through Jesus Christ. Glory and power belong to Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.” ~ I Peter 4:11

I ask for your prayerful support over the coming days, months, and years.  To GOD ALONE be the GLORY!!!

In Service to Jesus and you,

~Robert

The Importance of Church Outreach in the Local Community


The majority of US citizens call themselves Christians and yet the importance of church outreach within the local community cannot be overstated. The disciples were not labeled Christian until they had been scattered due to Stephen’s death and the Good News was being shared in Antioch. (Acts 11:19-26) Whether they were called disciples or Christians it was the same to them because of their relationship with Jesus. Even though Jesus had ascended, He was still an active part of their lives. This has been lost somehow in our culture today and we need to refocus on the local community because outreach will enable us to give, guide, and grow.

By giving ourselves in service to our communities through different charitable needs, we will live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. We will be able to learn about material needs and then be able to assist in meeting those needs. Many organizations working to meet local needs do not have the resources to have a permanent meeting place and making our church facilities available will aid in meeting the need for a safe and secure location for their meetings. We are able to give to our communities by reaching out in service, helping with needed material items, and through the use of our facilities.

Through active outreach we are able to help guide our communities. By living out our relationship with Christ, we will point the lost to Jesus. Sacrifice our time to stop and help regardless of our busy schedules will show that people are more important than things. Mentoring programs for children and youth are in great need and as Christians we should be involved to allow Jesus to work through us as a positive influence in their lives. Through living out our relationship with Christ, we will be able to guide our communities back to Jesus through sacrifice and mentoring.

Growth of God’s kingdom will become a result of our newly formed relationships. The knowledge we gain will help us to better understand the needs and challenges of our communities at large. Christ’s church, His body of believers, will grow stronger and shine brighter to become the beacon on a hill. Stronger relationships in the community and increased knowledge of needs and the positive impact on Christ’s church will all grow as a result.

Allowing Jesus to live actively in our lives in an ongoing relationship is crucial. Because church outreach will give, guide, and grow in the local community; the level of importance will be realized.

*This work was originally submitted for an assignment in English Composition. It is posted here for your consideration and response.*

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

Larry Morrow – Our Loss, Heaven’s Gain


This entry is in Memory of Larry Morrow, husband, dad, brother, coach and friend.  This list could go on and I hope as you read this, you’ll get the point.

Larry passed from our presence yesterday at the age of 67.  We are left with the wonder of why so soon.  It is soon to us and a great shock, truthfully the full weight of his passing hasn’t yet sunk in as of this writing.  Even though he is lost to us, he is at the feet of our Lord and Savior.

While I can’t speak to all Larry accomplished in this life or what impact he had on all who knew him.  Please indulge me as I share my part of his life story….

My first meeting with Larry was in 1971, Garner Little League in Garland, Texas.  God brought us together through baseball.  As a coach, he saw an opportunity to teach me and develop some skills, just maybe….in a scrawny little 11-year-old.  I’m not sure exactly what drew him to choosing me for his team.  I do know that what followed is without question all about God’s plan.

During our first practice, this toddler of a Christian, informed Coach Morrow that he wouldn’t be at any practices or games on Wednesdays!  I told him, “I have church on Wednesday nights and I have to be there.”  He told me he understood and I remember he smiled at me too.  That was settled, I believed.  Years later, he told me what an impact that made on his life and how this one interaction was used by God to draw him back to church.

What follows are the highlights of our journey together for the next 8 years and what I learned along the way…

I played ball for Larry during the next two seasons.  He taught me how to play center field like a defensive coordinator, seeing the whole field.  He taught me how to look at the game as a chess match, working out the possibilities for each batter and play in advance.  How to come in to first base from center field without throwing the ball over the backstop, I seriously tried a couple of times….not pretty!  Under his instruction and extra effort, I learned to pitch a little.  Good enough to throw a no-hitter, I do remember him working really hard to convince me I could finish the game.  The only trouble was, I’d loaded the bases and managed to walk in three or four runs before he pulled me to save the win.  I had lost all confidence, however he never lost faith in me.  I can’t tell you what that meant and still means to me.

During those two years, Larry and his family started coming to my church.  over the next four years God really blessed our ministry together.  You see, Larry and I started working a church bus route together.  We’d go out on Saturday mornings, get the church bus and drive our route.  Knocking on doors, inviting all we met to visit our church and ride our bus.  When we started out, it seems like we would average 10 to 15.  By the time we stopped working that route together, we were making two trips every Sunday morning with passengers. We were averaging 120 riders.  I also, learned that swallowing gold-fish as a reward for reaching goals on the number of riders, wasn’t all that difficult.  It was after all my idea and I was as excited to swallow the tiny little fish as those watching were to witness the event.

Next, Larry gave me the opportunity to work for him in his landscaping business.  Work wasn’t the word for it, landscaping is HARD work and Larry knew how.  He also always knew how to get the best out of me.  Even years later after I’d grown up and had my own son, Larry and I had the opportunity to reconnect.  My folks had moved to Whitney, Texas and Larry and Nancy lived in the area as well.  Larry and I worked together and played golf and even had investments together in an investment club.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here on what we worked on and accomplished together, especially for God’s kingdom.  I hope you are able to sense that he had a hand in developing not just a ball player, he help in molding a young mind.  I will miss him and living in Virginia makes this all the more painful.

I am praying God will bring comfort and peace to Nancy and their children, Eric and Lisa.  They have children of their own and I know they will all be suffering this loss.  In the weeks ahead, I pray we will all share the fond memories and blessings of Larry Morrow in our life.  Please remember Larry’s family and friends during this time.  As heaven celebrates the arrival of another child within the gates, we will mourn the passing of a husband, father, brother and friend.  A coach and mentor to many, he was to me.

~Robert

Rob Prince's Blog

The Ramblings of Rob Prince, a follower of Jesus, husband, dad, lead pastor at Flint Central Church of the Nazarene and author of "Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering"

Searching Within

personal-thoughts poetry

CRAFTING A RULE OF LIFE

an invitation to the well-ordered way

Watchwords Blog

Strength and Inspiration for Christians engaging Today's World

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

set your paths straight

Life stories sharing Christ's love and purpose in the lives of people.

Holy Soup

with Thom Schultz

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

A caffeinated Mom's thoughts on life, motherhood, and faith

Church Set Free

Love is the answer - now what's your question?

paulgrodell.com

because the stories we tell shape the world we leave behind

kenpriddy.com - leadertown

Organization & Leadership Development through Speaking, Publishing, Training, Consulting & Coaching

Experiencing The Lover Of My Soul

Sharing On How To Hear God's Voice For Yourself And My Own Experiences With The Lover Of My Soul.

Godinterest Magazine

Godinterest Magazine covering faith, culture, life and all that other stuff

Mustard Seed Budget

FINANCES FOR YOUR MINISTRY

Arinuck ptl

Praising the Lord, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Having Joy!

ChristianBlessings

Receive God's blessing today with......... A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY

Mon Ange

A topnotch WordPress.com site

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just me being curious

A blog of questions and few answers.

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

A blog reaching out to victims of abuse and others in need, providing insight about abuse, hope for the future, and guidance to see THE LIGHT that lead Secret Angel out of the darkness of her own abusive situation and helped her to not only survive but to overcome.

wateringcanblog

"The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry." Isaiah 58:11

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

There Is Grace

Where authentic faith meets a messy life

God'sCharacter

Sharing God's Character with the world

I Sing Because I'm Free

musical musings of a daughter of the King

%d bloggers like this: