Friday, July 31, 2009

No Perfect People Allowed...


I was shocked, confused, bewildered,
As I entered Heaven's door.
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.
Hush, child, He said, they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.

I think we all fit in this category from time to time. We all "Think of ourselves a little higher than we ought". But I have learned that God does not look at the outward appearance, but the heart.

At The Bridge we have become a church of mis-fits, just like David's crew in I Samuel 22:1- (The Message) So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. 2 Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all. At The Bridge we love seeing what God can do in the lives of messed up people.

We just finished a series based on the book, No Perfect People Allowed. Together we learned that God came for the messed up, that you can come as you are! If that describes you, great, you are the reason Jesus came to the Earth - the sick are in need of a physician, not the well...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm Coming UP!

I was just talking to Gus this morning and he reminded me of a message I preached a few months back. (Its good to know someone is actually listening!) I decided to make it the topic of this blog. As we stand in this economic climate we need to be reminded that everything that goes down, in the Kingdom, must come up!

Matthew 19:30 (NIV)- But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Matthew 19:30 (TMNT)- This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.

In this world we understand that what goes up must come down, but the spiritual world is a kingdom of opposites. It’s a world where the last will be first, where the poor say they are rich and the weak say they are strong. It’s a world where in order to get you have to give, and to increase you must decrease. It’s a world where his strength is made perfect in our weakness. It’s a kingdom that if you want to go up you have to go down. Though you walk through the fire you will not be burned…. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will have no fear… In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world! And everything that goes down is destined to come up. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy’s coming in the morning! The very fact that you are down is an indication that you are on your way back up!

2 Corinthians 4:7 (TMNT) If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 8 As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, 9 but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.

Romans 8:35 (NIV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You may be going down right now, but hold on for a minute, cause your on your way back up with more power and energy that you have ever had before.

Pastor James, why do I have to go down in order to go up, that’s a great question, I’m glad you asked it! Newton's first law: law of inertia- Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest… except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed. In other words, we are will remain just like we are until the pressure to change becomes greater than the desire to stay where we are. Only when we are allowed to fall to the bottom do we then create the pressure to cause change in our lives.

Newton's third law: law of reciprocal actions- For an action there is always an equal and opposite reaction… The pressure that is created in our lives that pushes us down is not just creating pressure, but also momentum. But remember for every action, the pressure pushing us down, there is an equal and opposite reaction, the momentum that will carry us higher than we were to begin with.

If I were bouncing a ball, the harder I try to push that ball down, the faster and higher is comes back at me. I can push as hard as I want, that ball is still going to respond to the pressure and bounce back to me faster than I push it down. Its like those power balls you get out of the dispenser at Wal-Mart. You can throw them down as hard as you want, but they will keep on bouncing back.

Anybody ever seen one of those things when you were a kid that when you hit it, it lays way over and bounces back up, cause its weighted at the bottom? No matter how hard you hit it, it always bounces right back up. Somebody needs to get a bounce back in their spirit. Somebody needs to look life in the face and say you may hit me and knock me down, but I have to go down in order to come back up.

I may be down now, but I am on my way back up. I may have fallen down one more time, but I have a bounce back in my spirit and I’m on my way back up! Tell ‘em, I’m like George and Wheezy, "Baby, I moving on up…"

There’s a song by the great American Theologian, Rodney Adkins, that says, If you're going through hell, keep on going, don't slow down, if you're scared, don't show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there. If you're going through hell, keep on moving, face that fire, walk right through it. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

It’s time for someone today to make their mind up that you will not quit. I will not give up! I might be down, but everything that goes down, MUST come up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Take a Stand...

I was reading Isaiah 7 in the Message this morning in my devotion and God began to speak to me in verses 9-11. It says "...If you don't take a stand in faith, you won't have a leg to stand on." ..."Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!"

As I was reading this my spirit began to jump. God was telling me it is the season of harvest, the season for faith to be increased. He literally issued a challenge to me this morning to ask him anything. I believe there are many of us who have sown in tears, but now is the time to bring in the harvest rejoicing. Now is the time to fill the barns. We have been building bigger barns, expanding the tent posts and expanding our territory, now God is ready to fill them.

Stand in faith, pray in faith, walk in faith, ask in faith, give in faith. Ask for great things from your God. Stop asking for "believable" things, the things you are pretty sure God can do. Meaning the things that if God does not do, you can pull off yourself. Be extravagant, over the top in your faith. Design the ministry God has placed in your heart and ask for the finances, the staff, the facilities, the people, the buses, the sidewalk trucks, the sound systems, the resources to make it a reality.

Ask for the moon! The time has come that we lose our "earthly" thinking. It's time to shoot for the stars, to have faith that propels us to the heavens.

God is challenging us to move beyond this life of doubt cloaked in false humility. Walk in boldness and confidence knowing that he who began a good work in you is able to finish what he started. He is able to do EXCEEDING, ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL we can ASK or even IMAGINE!

So dream big dreams, pray big prayers, walk in big faith because if you don't stand on faith you won't have a leg to stand on!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Walk of Faith

I am learning a lot about this walk we call faith. Faith is sometimes this mystical thing that we talk about, but may time confuse as a noun, when in actuality it is a verb. Many people say they walk in faith, when what they are doing is walking in the faith. This faith walk requires more than just knowledge about God, it requires that we chase after God. It is getting up every day and walking where God says walk and doing what God says do.

I am learning that this starts with the little things. There is an experiment in the world of theoretical physics called the Butterfly Effect. This theory states that in the perfect situation, and the right environmental conditions that if a butterfly flaps its wings of the coast of Africa it could result in a hurricane in NY. While this theory may be a little far fetched, it proves a very valuable point. Even the littlest things have great consequences.

There was a scientists named Fermi', he invented the ferimeter which measures things as small as 10:16th power (meaning very tiny) He demised that even the smallest things have tremendous effect on the things around us.

So, my point is this, when we walk by faith we automatically look for the big stuff, the walking on water, the healing of the sick, the financial breakthrough. But God is challenging me to look at the everyday decisions that I make in life. Am I making decisions based on faith or fear? Am I pursuing a life that places obedience to the leading of the Spirit of God ahead of personal security? Am I truly walking in faith?

My challenge to you today is look for the little things, the choices, your attitude, your perspective, your conversation. (Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. Whatsoever things are ...pure and lovely...think on these things!) Walk in faith today!