Monday, September 29, 2008

The Power of Falling Down...

This is the second in a series of posts entitled, "How to Release the Power of God". The main point? The Power of God is released either negatively in our prideful arrogance or positively in our broken humility. Acts 12:18-23 reveals a compelling story of a man head over heals in love with himself. King Herod embodies all that we would consider arrogant. He gives a great speech that the people of Tyre and Sidon consider, along with his appearance, to be god-like. The Jewish/Roman historian Josephus records that, "He wore an impressive robe of silver which glittered in the sun as he entered the theater at daybreak". He goes on to say, "The people flattered him by saying, 'May you be propitious to us, and if we have hitherto feared you as a man, yet henceforth we agree that you are more than mortal in your being'". Herod not only heard the praise--but he believed it! Josephus says, "The king did not rebuke them nor did he reject their flattery as impious". The result according the text is that, "he was immediately struck by an angel of the Lord. He was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:23). Josephus times his death as no more than five days later. King Herod definitely released the power of God! The story begs this application: "Do you want God to AFFIRM you? Or do you want God to WORM you?

Scripture is rich with this principle: God blesses the humble and He resists the proud.

Here's a few scriptures from the many:
  • "When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2).
  • "A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor" (Proverbs 29:23).
  • "He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers form their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble" (Luke 1:51-52).
  • "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11, 18:14).
  • "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble...Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you" (James 4:6).
  • "...Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time..." (1 Peter 5:5-7).
  • Let me encourage you give up and fall down so that God might be able to pick you up. Quit trying to fix everything and let God be God. The power of God is released through your brokenness.

So...if you want to be exalted by God....humble yourself! If you go far...go low! If you want to release the power of God into your life as a positive force....stay under his mighty hand!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Contract with Southern Baptists - Part 7

I've posted the last part of the SBC Contract series over at sbcIMPACT!. Head on over and check it out. I would be more than happy to provide you with a PDF copy of the entire document if you would like to request it--just let me know.

Go to sbcIMPACT! here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Power of Praying People...

I've begun a new series of messages from Acts 12 entitiled, "How to Release the Power of God". It seems to me that there is a very real disconnect between most peoples' experiences and the revelation of Scripture. My church is committed to being a biblical church which means that we want to look more and more like the church as revealed in the book of Acts--which means that we would like for our church, among other things, to be marked by the miraculous. This new series of messages will cover Acts 12 in its entirety and will reveal five ingredients for releasing the power of God.

Ingredient 1: PRAYING PEOPLE

Read the amazing story of Peter's release from prison in Acts 12:1-17 and you will walk away with an understanding of just how powerful the prayer of God's people can actually be. The secret to Peter's release is revealed for all to see in Acts 12:5, "So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God." The passage further states that after Peter's miraculous release, "he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying" (Acts 12:12). Peter was released from prison directly because of the prayers of his friends in the church.

The Bible reveals five principles for effective corporate prayer:

Persistant Prayer: (Acts 12:5; Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). The biggest mistake that we can make in praying is to quit too early. Jesus clearly instructs to demonstrate our faith by praying without ceasing. Don't quit until you've heard from God.

Relational Prayer: (1 Corinthians 12:26). There is no effective prayer without loving care. We must come before God in the language of prayer which is love. Prayers are often meaningless because they are simply mindless repetition lacking passion.

Agreeing Prayer: (Matthew 18:19). It's not just a matter of agreeing with each other--it's a matter of agreeing with God. We must take the time to find out the heart of God as we pray so that we can pray with knowledge and not just a good guess or worse yet--just our opinion.

You and I Watching Prayer: (Isaiah 62:6-7). To watch is to pray with our eyes open--looking for the activity of God. It is to be aware of all that the enemy may be attempting and to pray against his schemes and pray for God's glory.

Spirit-led Prayer: (Ephesians 6:18). May we learn to let the Spirit of God pray through us. We need less words and more groanings of the Spirit. As you pray, invite the Spirit of God to pray through you. Ask for insights and emotions that would guide your prayer.

There is no doubt that the power of God will be released as God's people pray. We must ask Jesus, even as the disciples did, "Lord, teach us to pray".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunday's Miracle...

It is really cool when God chooses to show up in a way that leaves no doubt as to His power and influence. Sunday was one of those days when God clearly showed up. I could sense that God was doing something special as we worshipped--the air was electric with anticipation. Without covering all of the ground that was covered on Sunday let me just share that our message came from Acts 11:27-30. The passage says:

"Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders."

I made the point in the message that like the church in Antioch we need to send blessings back to our spiritual parents. Along with other illustrations, I specifically pointed out that West Greeley Baptist Church, from which our church was birthed, is experiencing some financial difficulties. Though I did not necessarily ask for a special offering to be taken on Sunday--we did receive one! I am currently looking at our tithes and offerings report for Sunday. Our budget gifts are better than normal. In addition there are a few special gifts designated which is the norm for our church. The miracle is this: Received on Sunday morning for West Greeley Baptist Church....$9,550.00!!!!

I couldn't be prouder!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

God of this City - Chris Tomlin

My friend, Geoff Baggett, at sbcIMPACT! posted this video and I like it well enough that I thought I should share it here. I relate because of the tornado that our community continues to rebuild from. Perhaps the Spirit will speak to your circumstance as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Contract with Southern Baptists - Part 6

The 6th installment of the Contract with Southern Baptists series is now up and available for viewing at "sbcIMPACT!". Please take the trip over and join the dialogue. You can visit sbcIMPACT! here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dreams & Visions...

This from the International Mission Board....
"An indigenous man in the Amazon Basin heard the Gospel for the first time in his own language through tapes provided by missionaries. He asked a missionary named Terry if he believes God speaks to people in dreams. Terry said yes and pointed to examples in the Bible. The indigenous man then told Terry of a recurring dream he’d had after hearing God’s story. In his dream he was paddling down the river in a canoe, and he looked up to the sky and saw Jesus from the chest up in the clouds calling him to come to Him. The man paddled his boat to the bank of the river, and as he started walking a path that seemed to lead up to Jesus, he turned around and realized his wife was following, and then his children were following, and then his whole village was following. Terry explained to his friend it was clear God was calling him to follow Him, and if he did, he was also going to lead his people to follow God."