New You Resolution Day 16
I am still feeling the momentum from Saturday and Sunday. It was amazing to join with over a 100 guys on Saturday morning, hang out, eat breakfast, and hear Ted’s story. I have to admit that it was odd to be fasting and preparing breakfast. I ate part of the breakfast and avoided part of it. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. I was stunned at how many strangers were at church on Saturday and Sunday. Ted really drew in a slew of guests. There were some amazing stories of God touching the hearts of men AND women.
In my devotional Bible reading, I can’t get out of Matthew chapter 13. I read it each morning and chew on each part. Today, I was locked into verses 44-46. I want those verses to be lived out in my life. I also read a lot of the Bible for sermon preparation each week. This reading is all over the place and is a slightly different type of study. Today, I am starting to dig into the message for this coming Sunday.
What have you been reading lately? What is God telling you?
I have switched my fast this final week. I have switched meat with carbs. So I am fasting from most carbs. I am continuing to eat veggies, fruit, and minimal amounts of brown rice or sweet potato. I am not eating sugar, bread, chips (this is the BIGGEST for me), pasta, oats (this is also BIG for me), etc.
It still amazes me how a limited fast like this is a struggle. We went to Jason’s Deli after church yesterday. I can fill up on a salad and still be upset that I didn’t eat a cracker or bread or ice cream. God speak to me!!
If you haven’t fasted yet…JUMP IN this week! Even fasting for one day produces results in your life. In fact, I encourage everyone to continually fast throughout 2017: once a week or once a month.
New You Resolution Day 11
We have crossed the half way point on our prayer and fasting journey. How are you feeling right now? Are you seeing any differences in your spiritual journey? Be honest.
I have seen some clear differences. I am coming to conclusions faster and they seem to be not as confusing. I hear messages from God more frequently as well.
How do you hear from God?
Today, I was praying with my early morning men’s group and I sensed a clear message from God. In the middle of my prayer, I was talking to God about a frustration I had. I was really talking fast and hard about the situation and being honest with God about my displeasure. In a conversation, there should be at least two parties involved. Meaning when you pray, you should talk AND you should listen. BUT…how do we know when it is God talking and not simply our imagination? I know it is God when several factors line up.
1. The message lines up with Scripture. If God is speaking to you, it will not ever contradict what the Bible says. If you are not familiar with this, study what the Bible says about the subject. Ask someone if they know where it is found or how the Bible teaches this subject throughout the books. If the word I get from God is challenging or asking me to do something bold, I will always ask at least two other people to confirm with me in prayer about the word.
2. I feel a peaceful confirmation. This one is so hard to describe. It sounds like a fairy tale. However, when it is the Lord speaking, it is accompanied with a peace that feels like no other peace. It is almost impossible to put into words. You just know that you know. Having said that, I still have other people pray with me to confirm all the things I have felt inside.
Looking back over my life, I can see a couple huge decisions that were made during a fast. In 1998, God confirmed to me during a fast that I should marry Erica. I remember the exact place I was standing when I received that special word. In 2009, I was fasting and praying about where we should move. God showed me a vision of the house we were to buy. We had been looking at several different options and we wanted to know for sure where to go. During prayer at the church, I saw an arial view of the house. It was accompanied with a peaceful confirmation.
How would those examples line up with Scripture?
What does the Bible say about marriage? It is between a man and a woman (that are not already married). It is until death. It should be between two people that are going in the same direction. Both spouses are to be looking to God for their salvation and sanctification. In our case, our lives matches scriptures mandate.
What does the Bible say about a business transaction? It should be done legally and ethically. Would I be able to provide for my family in the context of this neighborhood, location and monthly payment? How would it interact with our calling and family life? We knew that all these were “a go”.
I hope this helps some in your conversations with God.
All for now,
Prayer for the Local Church
Today, we give thanks for the local church. Scripture compares the church to a body and tonight is attempt to bring that body together. We strive for unity. Not a bunch of churches getting together, but The Church getting together. Many branches but one tree. Many parts but one purpose. We are thankful to God that he has given us this method of establishing His kingdom here on earth. The local church saves the lost, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits the imprisoned, heals the sick, rebukes the devourer. Each November those that are involved in the San Marcos Ministers’ Association gather as sort of a heaven practice. All gathered in one place, at one time, in one mind to worship and give thanks to our creator and Savior.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for providing this vehicle called the local church. Where strangers become family and broken are mended. Thank you for the spiritual community of San Marcos, TX. Lord, we are grateful that you have placed us in this place at this time for this moment of your kingdom. We pray that we will take the rightful responsibility as your church and not squander our resources and talents, but we will rise to the great calling you have placed on us. To be the Salt of San Marcos. To be the light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden. May your light permeate from your church to the darkest parts of this community. Endue us with power from your Holy Spirit to build your kingdom, we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
When I (as a pastor) Get Anxiety
Today is my day off. Fridays for our staff is a Sabbath day of rest. We aren’t supposed to work.
When I got out of bed this morning, I began to feel the pressure of anxiety creep into my consciousness. It wasn’t linked to specific thoughts or pressures of life. It was just a dull roar in the depths of my spirit. Why? I began to ask myself, “What did I leave unaccomplished this week?” Maybe I was getting stressed because I forgot something. Maybe I did something wrong or maybe I didn’t finish something successfully. What was left to accomplish before Sunday? Maybe I needed to ‘get something done’ before our services on Sunday. Is someone mad at me and I need to resolve it? I begin to focus on the mystery and try to figure it out. Thinking that if I could just resolve the issue, then everything would be at peace. All these thoughts came before my feet hit the floor. I had only been awake about 30 seconds. So this is what I did…