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If Only For Today…

One of our church members, Ronnie Mossie, wrote this and sent it to me. It is a great message to share with others. God saved Ronnie from a life of drugs. Be sure to click the link at the bottom and watch his story.

If only for today you could hold my hand,

If only for today we could greet in a hug;

If only for today we didn’t see color, but embraced each other like sister and brother.

If only for today I held the door for you,

If only for today you smiled and said thank you;

If only for today there was no social media debate, typing up posts that are only filled with hate.

If only for today we didn’t try to settle a score,

If only for today we didn’t feel we were cheated;

If only for today we thought of all that we do have,

Instead of thinking of all that we don’t have.

If only for today we saw the light of God,

If only for today we weren’t tempted by Satan;

If only for today we followed the Commandments,

Then maybe we’d see peace in what God demanded.

If only for today I didn’t fear the future,

If only for today I didn’t fear man on this earth;

If only for today we all only smiled,

Instead of looking defeated by all of our trials.

If only for today our families came first,

If only for today there’d be no divorce;

If only for today when our children want our attention,

We didn’t tell them hold on or wait another minute.

If only for today this would go on and on,

Because for today this world is filled with so much wrong.

Recent events have left me distraught because of what this world is becoming.  Distraught by a world that has so much opportunity, yet many choose to be hateful and ungrateful. There’s only one Judge in heaven and earth and we will all bow down to Him – whether we choose to believe or not.  Forgive as He forgave and learn to love each other. We are not meant to be the same; we are all unique in our own ways. Before you judge another let me give you a test my pastor did for us. I shared this at my uncle’s funeral and still have people tell me it impacted them and I pray it does the same for you now. Pull out a white sheet of paper and put a small black dot on it. Then hold the paper up and look at it. What do you notice first? If your answer is the black dot then realize you need help as well. This paper represents the problem in today’s world. The white equals all the good of a person and that black dot represents the bad of a person – yet our eyes are drawn to the black dot first. Don’t be that person! Don’t judge all cops by the actions of a small group. Don’t judge a whole race by the actions of a small group. With hate we will continue a downward spiral, but with the love of God we can change this world. We deserve nothing but are privileged to have all that we do. I love all of you and I pray today is a day of peace and a day you put your trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ… beginning today!

 

Click here to hear Ronnie story!

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Four Lessons from Jericho

Time Magazine has not been normally known for being a staunch supporter of the Scriptures, but in March 5,1990 they ran an article in their science column.  “Science:  Score one for the Bible!
Flesh Clues support the story of Joshua at the walls of Jericho.”  Over the years archaeologists have come to differing conclusions about Jericho.  Jericho is the second most excavated city in the land of Jericho, second only to Jerusalem.  The 9 acre Tel (or mound) has been examined by Germans, British, Americans, Palestinians, and Israelis.

Amazingly, all archaeologists agree on many conclusions:
The city was destroyed suddenly (probably by an earthquake).
The city was burned after it was destroyed.
The city was destroyed in late spring (after harvest).
The city was well supplied with food and water.

The discrepancy was the time of its fall.  Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon concluded in the 1950’s that Jericho fell in 1550 BC – 150 years before Joshua’s arrival in 1406 BC.  She based this conclusion on the absence of imported pottery from Cyprus.  Since she found Cypriot pottery in Megiddo she expected to find it in Jericho.  In the small area of her work, she found none.  Then came Dr. Bryant Wood, an ancient Canaanite pottery expert who examined the Jericho pottery that was found over several decades and he confirmed that the pottery was from Cyprus form the Late Bronze Age and was indeed at the time of Joshua.  Further findings included scarabs with Pharaoh’s names who ruled from the period of 1550 BC – 1400 BC.  Slam dunk – archaeology confirms Joshua’s defeat of Jericho and its crumbling walls.  There is also a small section on the north side of the city where the wall is still intact – it must be Rahab’s neighborhood – built on the wall, just as the Bible says.  But what does this 3,000 year old story mean to me?

Four Lessons from Jericho

1.  Put God First – Tithe

The gold and silver was to go into the treasury of the Lord, Joshua 6:24.  Jericho was the tithe – the firstfruits.  By not taking the spoils of battle for themselves but giving it to God, they are saying, “God is first in our lives.”

2.  Face your biggest obstacles by obeying

What may have seemed foolish to Joshua brought great victory.  Simply put – learn what God says and obey what God says!  Your Jericho victories will only be won when we are faithful to God and His Word.

3. Believe God will keep his promises

Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about for seven days.”  If we truly believe God, our desire will be to obey His commandments.  Let’s do our part, and trust God to do His part.  Obedience is the evidence of our faith, James 2:26.  When you face impossible situations, you can trust the Lord to help you.

4.  God can forgive your deepest sins

A beautiful woman named Rahab, who had ruined her life with sin, decided to put her faith in the true and living God.  Jewish tradition says she married one of the two spies that she hid.  What does the Bible say?  Three times in the New Testament we are reminded of Rahab’s faith and God’s loving kindness.  Rahab became the great, great grandmother of King David, Matthew 1:5.  She is example of a genuine faith that works, James 2:25.  And she is highlighted in Hebrews 11:31 for her saving faith.

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
And He can do what no other power can do.
 
Battles to win they would meet with their obstacles
Jericho’s walls too must fall to the ground;
God never failed He stood back of His promises,
Walls had to crumble as they marched around.
 
God is the same and His Word is dependable,
He’ll make a way through the water’s for you;
Life’s situations by Him are amendable,
Mountains and hills He will part for you too.

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Minister Christ’s Love to One Another

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #3 – Minister Christ’s Love to One Another

Another Core Value of our church family is to “Minister Christ’s Love to One Another.”  The Caring Church is not a logo that we picked for our church; it is a logo that identified with our fellowship of caring and loving people.  Jesus Christ gave His followers a new commandment in John 13.  The Jewish people believed there are 613 commandments in the Old Testament and I am sure they had a difficult time remembering them, much less keeping them.  If the Son of God introduces a new commandment then it certainly is something that should be important to His followers.

What is the New Commandment?
“…that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  John 13:34

What is important about this commandment is what He said next:  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”   John 13:35

I don’t claim to understand how it all works, but I believe it.  If we want to convince the unbelieving world outside the doors of our church that God is real and that there is most certainly a heaven and hell, then it begins by what goes on inside our church doors.  For a church family to sustain a healthy and loving atmosphere, not over years, but decades, then both pastor and people; shepherd and sheep need to faithfully fulfill their responsibilities.

The Shepherd’s Responsibilities are to:
– Model a Godly Lifestyle to the Congregation, I Tim. 3:1-7
– Pray for the Church Family, Acts 6:4a
– Teach the Word of God to the Church Family, Acts 6:4
– Lovingly Confront Sin, I Timothy 5:20

The Church Family’s Responsibilities are to:
– Be United in Purpose, Jude 23
– Be United in Doctrine, Jude 3
– Be United in Love, Hebrews 10:24, 13:1

A drawing of the massive Sequoias in the Giant Forest in California illustrate our discipleship lessons, “Christian Mentoring from A to Z”.  The drawing is of a grove of sequoias with one lying flat on the ground.  The largest trees on earth have amazingly shallow roots.  Scientists have marveled at how such massive trees that weigh over 1,000 tons could withstand wind and storms.  The answer – their shallow roots are interlocked with one another.  Our walk with God is strengthened when we develop and build loving relationships with God’s people.  The Psalmist said in Psalm 133:1  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Sacrificial love and service is the giving of yourself without expecting anything in return.

Love is a matter of our will, and results in definite action.
The command isn’t to have loving feelings, or to feel love toward, but to love – an action verb!  God is not commanding feelings, but actions. Love is Giving! “For God so loved the world that He Gave” – Action.  This kind of genuine love results in feeling and passion.
 
Love is a matter of choice.  We choose to love.  If “love” were a feeling or an accident, then God couldn’t command it.  He wouldn’t command us to do something that was just a feeling, but He can command an action in our lives.  We’d better obey. The two greatest commandments of God are to Love God and Others.

How are you doing at ministering Christ’s love to one another?
Anyone upset you lately?  Anyone misunderstand you lately?  Anyone tick you off lately?  Anyone sin against you lately?  Maybe, just maybe, God allowed that to happen to you to test your love!  God’s test for you does not leave them off the hook.  They are totally responsible for their actions – just like you are totally responsible for your actions.  What is your response?  Is it the love of Christ?

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New Free E-book: Long Term Sermon Planning

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult things I do every year as a pastor is spending two weeks in November preparing a preaching schedule for the following year. Without a doubt, one of the most important things I do every year is an annual preaching schedule. The quality of the messages is greatly impacted by that advance planning.  I have had several pastors ask me, “How can God lead you what to preach ten months from now?” My answer – “God can lead me in long term sermon preparation the same way He can lead me to preach next Sunday’s sermon!” Long term sermon planning does not hinder being flexible or sensitive when national disasters or church family crises arise. Long term sermon planning is work – hard work! It takes a great deal of prayer, concentration, and meditation. Yet, a settled peace will come to your heart and God’s power to your pulpit as you allow Him to lead and guide this effort.

This e-book has been created to help pastors with this important task of sermon planning. I hope this e-book will be a helpful resource to you as you prepare your sermon planning schedule.

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Model Christ for the Next Generation

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #2 – Model Christ for the Next Generation

There isn’t a Christian parent alive that does not hope their kids will grow up and live for God.  As parents we do our best; we make our mistakes; and yet we hope and pray that we gave our children the right start to succeed.  The apostle John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  When you think of what your kids will accomplish or achieve in life – is loving and serving God at the top of your list?  Unfortunately, by our interest and enthusiasm in other things we often communicate that we want our kids to be great athletes, successful businessmen, doctors, or lawyers.

A mom was asked by someone how OLD her 2 young sons were.
She said, “The doctor is 4 years old and the lawyer is 6.”

God commands us to teach His Word diligently to the next generation.  But why does every generation struggle with passing the baton of faith on to the next generation?

Thoughts on Faith and the Next Generation:

1.  Nobody grows up in a perfect home.

Family conflicts are everywhere.  Maybe your parents were too loose or too strict.  There is no perfect home, but we can have families filled with love and truth!

2.  Everybody is responsible for making their own spiritual choices.

Prov. 22:6 is a proverb, not a promise.  “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  A proverb is a general truth of life – not true in every circumstance.

3.  Rules are not the problem; lack of relationship is the problem.

Parenting Principle: Rules without Relationship = Rebellion

Any strong relationship will have boundaries.  It’s that simple.  My marriage, to be strong, must have boundaries.  Nearly 200 couples have been married at our church and they make vows to one another.  Vows – Promises – Rules, if you will.  The boundaries are not standards of legalism, but a code of conduct that protect the relationship.  We want to keep our vows, not to keep a rule, but because we do not want to hurt the heart of the person we love most in this world. Oh, how we need a loving relationship with our children.

4.  Kids who grow up in the best of environments can still grow up and choose sin, reject God, and experience deep problems

We have to be careful of teaching the next generation to simply appear and act right? We need to focus on teaching them to LOVE God and know Him personally?  How do we model Christ to the next generation?

The Problem: What mistakes are these parents making?  I don’t claim to have an exhaustive list, but let’s consider 4 of the problems:

A.  No Discipline

Eli, I Sam. 3:11-13 (all 3 died in 1 day); “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

B.  No Time=No love

Samuel – the only thing in Samuel’s life I see missing (I Sam. 7:15-17; 8:3-5) is that he was away from home way too much.  The typical teen logs more than seven hours a day and more than 50 hours a week in front of a TV, computer, or cell phone screen (Kaiser Family Foundation).

Teens need time with parents.  A 7 year study reported in the Journal Child Development stated that “teens benefit by spending more time with parents.  Encounters with dad boost self-worth and social skills.”  Dad, do you have time with your kids every week?  You need a family night every week. You need conversations over dinner, laughter, and uninterrupted time together.

C.  No Relationship

We must genuinely enjoy our kids and help them enjoy their Heavenly Father.  A Christian home should be close, loving, funny, enjoyable, memorable, and something a young person craves!  If you lack a relationship with your children, make changes today!

D.  Hypocrisy

Solomon started good, but then began to slide.  Rehoboam saw his lust for things grow.  He saw the multiplication of wives, horses, and material goods.  He saw the disobedience to the Word of God.  Solomon did not pass the baton of faith to Rehoboam because of the hypocrisy his son saw in his father.

The Prescription: Josh. 24:15

We can’t pretend with God and we can’t pretend with our children.
What is the answer?  Authentic Faith.   It’s imperative that every Christian be totally committed to Jesus Christ and His Word.  Decide to be an approachable parent.  We cannot model Christ to the next generation unless He is real in our lives.

 

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Make Christ Known

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #1 – Make Christ Known to our Neighbors and Nations

What your testimony can do?

1.  Stir up a desire in others to know God.
Your testimony has the power to stir up a desire in the heart of people to want to know God. Jesus stirred the heart of the woman at the well when He explained that He could give her living water, John 4:10.

2.  Cause people to examine their life.
Our testimony has the power to cause people to examine their own life.  It’s human nature to relate what you hear to yourself.

3.  Reveal the presence of the Lord.
Our testimony has the power to reveal the presence of the Lord. They see God’s presence in us.  As we share the power of God in our life it will cause people to want God’s power in their life.

4. Prepare hearts to hear the Gospel.
Our testimony has the power to prepare people to hear the Gospel.  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”  Matthew 5:16.  Gods Word is His Light.  Your word is your light.

How do I share my testimony?  

1.  My life before receiving Christ.

2.  How I became a Christian.

3.  What Jesus means to me now that I m a Christian.

Write out a few notes to help you share your testimony in 3 minutes or less.  I shared this “how to share your testimony” on Sunday.  On Monday, one of our members took the opportunity to share his testimony with a co-worker.  That same afternoon the co-worker came back and said, “I want what you have.  Would you please pray with me and help me receive the Lord as my Savior.”  We can say with the blind man, “Once I was blind, now I see!  Jesus made me see!  Once I was burdened and guilty with sin.  Jesus forgave my sins!”

Sharing your testimony WORKS!

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The First King Size Bed

King of the Jews

The wise men followed a very special star to the land of Israel asking, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?”  When they found Him in Bethlehem, they came worshipping and gave Him valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that no doubt sustained the family when they escaped to Egypt.  When Jesus was born, they laid Him in a manger – a feeding trough for animals.  It was the very first KING size bed.  Jesus had a very special birth – unique and one of a kind…

Dr. Ted Camp of Silent Word Ministries wrote, “There are only four ways people have been born:

1)  Adam – Created by God without a mother.

2)  Eve – Created from Adam without parents.

3)  All Mankind – Born as descendants of Adam and Eve.

4)  Jesus Christ – Virgin Born – No earthly father.”

Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?  Whose son is he?”  The Pharisees were only partially right when they said, “The son of David.”  Your answer to that question will help determine your eternal destiny.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God!  To deny that fact is disastrous for your soul!  Yes, Jesus is the King of the Jews, but He is also King of kings.

King of Kings

At His first coming, King Jesus, came as a Servant and as a baby was put to bed in a manger.  But at His second coming, King Jesus will come as Rightful Owner and Ruler of the earth.  With might and power the armies of the world are destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon  (Revelation 19) and as He returns John recorded that He has a vesture and on His thigh a name written, “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:16).  There will be no mistake as to who is the Savior of the world and Ruler of heaven and earth.

Christmas is more than a time to remember that Jesus came once.  It is a time for us to remember His promise that He said, “I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

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A Journey of Faith, Part 2

Reprinted from Baptist Voice, Part 2

Ministry Lessons

Philippians 4:19Missions!  “If we take care of God’s business He will take care of our business.”  God blesses a church that is committed to the Great Commission.  We began supporting missionaries before we even chartered the church.  God has honored His promise to meet the needs of a missionary supporting church.

Acts 4:31Prayer!  “And when they prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Beginning a prayer partner program was one of the best decisions I ever made as a pastor.  Men and women commit to praying with a prayer partner for one year.  Upon inaugurating this ministry, God blessed us with three consecutive years of either someone being saved, baptized or joining the church every Sunday.  All to God’s Glory!  He seemed to be placing His stamp of approval on a ministry bathed in prayer.

Matthew 6:33Holiness!  God First!  Early in ministry I was challenged by the “Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.”  As a 19 year old man, Edwards wrote down the resolutions to order his life.  As a result, God used him to spark the Great Awakening, prepare the colonies to establish a government based on Biblical principles, and change the world.  With that inspiration, I wrote down 31 personal life goals and principles to live by.  You can jot down your own list.

Give glory to God by maintaining a daily walk with Christ, Matt. 6:33

Surrender my will to Christ and desire His likeness, Rm. 8:29, 12:1-2

Love my wife as Christ loved the church, Eph. 5:25

Raise my children to love God, Eph. 6:1-2; 3 John 4

Serve the Lord with excellence in our church family, Col. 3:23, I Tim. 1:12

Honor my parents, Eph. 6:2

Share my faith with the unsaved, Acts 1:8

Live with Integrity, I Thess. 2:3-10

Regularly commit Scripture to memory, II Tim. 2:15, Psalm 119:11

Keep my testimony above reproach (Be a Daniel), Dan. 6:3-4

Be a godly influence on my Christian friends, Jms. 2:8; Gal. 6:2

Be honest, Phil. 1:10

Be pure, I Thess. 4:3

Choose a positive and joyful attitude, Gal. 5:22-23; Phi. 4:4

Be loyal to my church family, Heb. 13:17

Commit to excellence, Col. 3:23

Trust God daily, Prov. 3:5-6

Tithe on all my income, Prov. 3:9-10

Manage my time well, Eph. 5:16

Develop personal discipline, I Cor. 9:24-27; Gal. 2:20

Be a leader (be an example), I Tim. 4:6,16

Serve others, Gal. 5:13

Maintain excellent health, I Tim. 4:8

Have regular family devotions, Deut. 6:4-7

Have regular family activities, Eph. 6:4

Read ½ hour a day for additional study, II Tim. 4:13

Be kind and forgiving, Eph. 4:32

Develop concentration of power, Col. 3:23

Develop orderliness, Prov. 24:30-31

Increase my giving to God yearly, II Cor. 9:6-8

Control family spending and live by a budget, Prov. 23:4-5

Ephesians 5:16-17Balance!  Effective and Spirit-filled ministry needs constant attention and care.  More time with the family; more time in counseling; more time in soulwinning.  Without balance in life, you will fall and fail.  If you lose your wife and children, you lose your ministry.  Satan is very effective at removing men from the ministry.  Some “foul out,” some “rust out,” and others “burn out.”  There is one thing they all have in common – They are OUT!

Nehemiah 6:3Focus!  “I am doing a great work for God, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you?”  No one ever built a statue to a critic!  Today is the day to love and serve God!  Nehemiah refused to come down off the walls and “discuss” the petty objections of his critics.

John 21:22 – Accountability!  It is a great day when you discover that you will give an account to the Lord for your life.  Peter asked the Lord, “What’s going to happen to John?”  I love Jesus’ answer – “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  Follow thou Me!”  Daniel Webster said, “My greatest thought is my accountability to God.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Serving Jesus Christ in the ministry with my family is the greatest joy of my life!!!

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A Journey of Faith, Part 1

Reprinted from The Baptist Voice, Part 1

On a hot summer day in 1975, God answered my mom’s prayers and my dad was wonderfully saved from a life of alcohol addiction.  At a service station, my parents picked up a church tract which resulted in our family attending Fairfax Baptist Temple.  After hearing Pastor Bud Calvert preach the gospel, I received the Lord as my Savior.  Under his preaching, I surrendered my life to do whatever God would have me to do.  Instead of becoming a pilot, I became a preacher!  At this time in my life, my two biggest fears were snakes and public speaking.  Snakes could easily be avoided, but not public speaking.  Many preaching opportunities brought on the affects similar to panic attacks.  It was through these hundreds of experiences that I discovered that God is greater than my weakness.

Pioneering Valley Forge Baptist Temple

Following Bible college and an internship, my home church sent me to the Philadelphia area to begin Valley Forge Baptist Temple in 1984.  My wife and I came to the area not knowing a soul.  After six months we organized with 21 people while meeting in a public school.  After 5 years we had grown to an average attendance of 90.  Our first of four buildings was constructed in 1989.  God blessed the growth of VFBT in an unusual way, doubling the attendance the first year in the new building.  We currently average just over 1,000 in attendance in double services.

Deep Waters for a Young Pastor

God showed Himself faithful to our family through our deepest trial.  My first wife passed away of cancer in 1993.  As a single father of two young boys, I found myself receiving much help from a very loving church family.  Through the deep waters God continued to bless the growth of the church.  I learned three powerful lessons about God during this time…

  • God’s way is perfect and He makes no mistakes.
  • God loves us with an everlasting love.
  • God is all-powerful to fulfill His love in our lives.

This is true of the Lord, no matter what the trial.  Then the Lord brought “a princess from Canada” into my life to become my new bride – Jodie Friesen, a pastor’s daughter.  We were married in 1996 in Ontario, Canada.  God has blessed our family with a total of five children – Matthew, Jeremy, Megan, Scotty, and Amber.

Many Hooks in the Sea

The Lord Jesus called us to “fish for men” not “guard the pond.”  As the church family matures in their faith, they become witnesses wherever they are.  To that end, we have many of the usual outreach ministries – bus ministry, VBS, camps, Reformers Unanimous, etc.  But we also have some “unusual ministries” – Chosen 300 (a ministry to preach the gospel and feed the homeless); Community Outreach days, and even a Rugby Team.  The Valley Forge Baptist Patriots are the first church rugby team in America registered with USA Rugby.  The main purpose of having a Rugby team is outreach – to share the Gospel.

The two foundational pillars of our church are:

The Glory of God, I Corinthians 10:31 & The Great Commission, Mark 16:15

These verses are etched in granite in the first two cornerstones of our church building to be a constant remind of the reason for our existence.

“A Church Crazy about Missions”

At our 2013 mission’s conference, Jeremy Pinero from Vanuatu said that “Valley Forge Baptist Temple is a church crazy about missions.”  I learned from my pastor that the Great Commission is for every church.  The Lord Jesus said that we are to be witnesses “BOTH in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The command is to reach BOTH our local community and the world – at the very same time!  This can only be accomplished by partnering with missionaries who will go to the ends of the earth.  I believe one of the many reasons the Lord continues to bless our church family is our commitment to supporting missionaries.  Currently we support 180 missionary families and projects.

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Revival and Revolutions

The Great Awakening Revival had a huge impact on the founding of our country.  Our founding documents reverberate with the heartbeat of revival sparked by Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield.  Following the War for Independence, our Founding Fathers established a constitution based on a division of powers modeled after Isaiah 33:22, where we see the Lord of Israel as Judge, Lawgiver, and King.  I believe the impact of revival has helped preserve our country from revolution for more than 200 years.

Our gratitude for our Christian heritage has grown immensely since our mission trip to Russia this last summer.  We visited one of our church planting missionaries and preached in the two churches he founded.  We were saddened to see the toll that communism has taken on these people.  Yet, we were encouraged by the strength of the Christians who still remember the persecutions of their loved ones.

On our last day we visited Peter the Great’s summer palace in St. Petersburg which was built in the early 1700’s.  In grandeur, this magnificent palace rivals that of Versailles in France.  No Christian revival swept through France or Russia, but what did sweep both of these countries was revolution.  Someone said, “If the king does not give the people some of his money, they will eventually rise up in revolution and take all of his money.”  The Russian Revolution occurred in 1917 and the French Revolution in 1789.  The same year President George Washington was inaugurated as our first president, the people of France forced King Louis XVI to flee the palace of Versailles.

What a contrast between the United States vs. Russia and France!  Once President Washington completed his two terms, he retired back home to Mt. Vernon rather than becoming “King George” as was suggested by some.  Mt. Vernon represents a stark contrast of a servant of the people as compared to those kings who viewed themselves to be served by the people.  Today international visitors see the modest home of George and Martha Washington as compared to the ostentatious display of excess at Peterhof and Versailles.  But what they would do well to remember is the impact revival has on revolutions.  If there was ever a need for a fresh moving of God’s Spirit in revival upon our land it is today.  May God’s people stand up and be counted for Jesus Christ and shine as bright lights in this dark generation!