Back in December, we took a faith step to give ALL offering & gifts that came into HOPE for a week. None of it would go to HOPE ministry, payroll, expenses, etc. All of it would be sent outwardly. I need to share with you an amazing report we received from World Ministries, one of the recipients of those funds that ministers in many different countries to bring the good news of Jesus to unreached places and to plant brand new Christian churches.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." - Jesus in Luke 12:32
Today a movie hits theaters that I believe horribly degrades women, further erodes morality, and dishonors God's pure gift of sex. And people will flock to theaters to PAY to see this. Even worse, Christians will, too.
I know the title sounds contradictory, but read on. There's an encouragement in here for all of us about the failures, personal setbacks, and falling short we all are familiar with. Or at least I'm familiar with.
Christine and I enjoyed a rare opportunity last week to have lunch together, just the two of us. Besides the delight of simply being with her (I love the woman God has given me!), we got to have uninterrupted talk about our lives, some plans, and recent spiritual thoughts. Refreshing.
With a bit of risk, heartfelt conviction, awareness of my need for greater humility, and to say it straight . . . we need greater awe of God and unhindered praise of Him. I need it personally and our whole church body needs it. Would you pray, pray, pray for that with me? I hunger to see in the days and weeks ahead an outpouring of God's Holy Spirit upon this church, that we would be filled with awe, and that we might see remarkable things.
In one of our Advent readings as a family over the past few weeks an illustration was given about games that have dice rolling. We roll the dice and try and try for a good set of numbers. The outcome is always a chance of what will come up. You never know what will happen. There is no guarantee. Everything rests on "the roll of the dice."
I believe God brought the same thing to my attention twice this week. I want to share it with you, especially in light of some things that I think are on our minds. Quite simply it's this:
To refuse to pay my debts of gratitude is to live with an inflated view of myself. (Andy Stanley, "I Owe Who?" message, Nov. 2010) For as long as I can remember, I've genuinely appreciated hearing the simple words, "thank you." If you say thank you to me, I take it to heart. And I try my best to give those words to others as often as I can. Receiving or offering a "thank you" is not cliche for me. I think there's something much deeper going on when a "thank you" occurs between people. And even more when we express thanks to God.
What God has created as His Church is nothing short of extraordinary. Jesus has been speaking to me, planting new thoughts, and raising the value of His Church in my heart over the past few weeks. If you've been listening to our current message series,ï»¿ Unstoppable,ï»¿ my prayer is that God is doing the same in you.