We are Family 1

“Everybody Needs Somebody”

Ephesians 1:5 NLT

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Romans 8:15, 16 NLT

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 

Psalms 68:6 NLT

God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy…

Galatians 6:10 NLT

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

There is a basic need in every human on this planet, everyone wants to belong. 

Family is all about, especially Gods family is all about belonging, it’s all about unconditional love, love that cares. It’s all about being a part of something special. About having each other’s back. It’s about crying together, laughing together, mourning together, celebrating together, operative word being TOGETHER. 

1.  Family means to belong

>Knowing that you are not alone in life
>Knowing that there is somewhere and someone you’re connected to. 
>Knowing that we matter to someone

2. Family means unconditional love

>Love that loves no matter what
>Love that cares
>Love that accepts you where you are but cares too much to leave you there

3. Family means we are here for each other

>I’ll take care of you, you will take care of me
>We pray for each other
>We sacrifice for each other

Family is what Jesus made the church to be, the family of God. Jesus chooses us, adopts us, and places us in family, to belong to him and to each other

The family of God is the safest, most loving, caring place to be. We all want to be a part of something special, this is that thing. 

This is not about joining a church this is about being spiritually connected. The only way to be a part of this family is to be in relationship with our father, which happens by simply accepting and following Jesus. 

If you are a part of this family, lets realize and function in the benifits of it, and if you are not, this is a place where you could belong. 

Born for Faith

John 18:37 NKJV

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 

I Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

The birth of Christ was the single most intentional and purposeful act by God sense the creation of the world. Jesus was absolutely born for a cause. And he has been very clear about what that cause was, but just as God himself is multifaceted so to was His purpose in sending Christ. His ultimate purpose was and is the salvation of mankind, and yes mankind does need to be saved. However there are many facets to this idea of salvation. A part of the cause for Jesus birth is definitely to establish faith in God. Not faith in an idea, philosophy or religion but a consistant confidence and trust in God. 

Misconceptions about faith:

Cosmic clause:  God is not our Santa Clause blessing us based on some naughty or nice list or handing out wants and desires like some kind of genie in a bottle

Faith in self:  Its not enough nor can you be saved to believe in yourself. Its great to have self confidence but beyond that we are bound by human limitation.

Faith in philosophy or man made religion:  we can look around us and see how that’s going

Faith in faith:  its not enough to just believe. What you believe in is far more important than just believing. The power is not in believing, the power is in whom you believe.

Hebrews 11:1 AMP

NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. 

Hebrews 11:6 AMP

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. 

>>>Jesus came to restore faith in God, to trust in, rely on, and adhere to God.<<< 

BOLD: Practical Principles of Worship 2

Romans 12:1 (AMP)…on screen
 
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies, presenting all your members and faculties, as a living sacrifice, holy, devoted, consecrated, and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable, rational, intelligent service and spiritual worship..
 
“A Heart of Worship
 
“Powerfully bold worship is an expression of the boldness of a surrendered heart.” 
 
  • A surrendered heart, is the difference between true worship and religious exercise
 
    • As a young man growing up in the church, I had the opportunity to see and experience this in a negative way.  sad to say its so easy to do.  We can easily go through religious exercise with truly worshiping God.  Gather for church, sing the songs, lift our hands, even jump and dance, even flow in the gifts of the spirit or appear to any way with a heart that is not truly surrendered to God.  I did this for years.  Its what we used to call playing church.  Going through the motions.
 
  • We’ve heard people say for years, coaches or teachers, “your acting like your heart is not in it”
 
  • The idea is when you’ve surrendered your heart, is when you have been given to God in a deeper way. 
 
Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul wrote this…I am crucified with Christ yet not I but Christ lives in me, the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me.
 
The idea is Christ died for me, so I am going to live for him!
 
 >David obviously taught Solomon this precept, because in Proverbs Solomon wrote this…Proverbs 3:5,6
 
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
 
Worship is all about a surrendered heart.  David is the epitome of understanding what worship is all about and understand the hearts role in all this.  God described him as having a heart the beats with His own heartbeat
 
  • The wonderful thing about true worship, it enhances the intimacy we have in a relationship with Jesus
 
The heart:  is the seat of our will, emotions, thinking.   The great thing about God is he does not want to break us but nurtures and graces us so we will willfully submit to his will. 
 
The heart is the place devotion, surrender, and commitment comes from.  Worship is as much about these words as it is anything else.  The activity of worship is that much more meaningful, when our absolute motive of life is to devote, surrender, and commit ourselves to the king and his kingdom.
 
In the bible when we see the word heart, it is a reference to the will, emotion, desire, thoughts, and life of a person.  Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
 
This is why the greatest commandment is to Love the lord your God with all your HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH. God is telling us love God with your whole life. Our whole selves.
 
BOLD worship starts in the heart and proceeds through our lives.  The best example I could give you of this is King David.  He was Bold especially in worship.  the expressions of worship flowed from him with ease, because his heart was so given to God.
 
1 Samual 16:7  
 
God doesn’t see they way man sees, man looks on the outward appearance of a man, but God looks on the HEART.
 
>The apostle Paul in the book of acts described King David as a man after Gods own heart.  the message bible says it this way.  That David’s heart, beat with Gods heart beat.
 
>Meaning what was important to God was important to David, what moved Gods heart, moved David’s heart, what broke Gods heart, broke David’s heart. 
 
David BOLDY gave his whole life to Father God for his use and purpose.
 
You can see it…
 
  • as a shepherd on the pasture, guarding, protecting, loving the sheep
 
  • as a bold young man who was moved to fight Goliath, because of his outlandish Gaul in Taking Gods name in vain.  You could see it is his BOLD response of Faith against the giant and in defiance of the fear of his own brothers and the entire Israelite army including King Saul
 
  • in his submission to Saul, even when Saul hated him and tried to kill him.  His heart was to honor God and honor the king.
 
  • As he became King at 38 years of age after waiting for over a decade for the purpose of God to be fulfilled in his life.  His desire was to reestablish zion, the city of God Jerusalem, It was his bold declaration as he worshipped in front of the ark of the covenant as the presence of God was brought back into the Great city of our Great King.
 
  • You can see it in David’s desire to build God a house, no one had ever up to that point on their own thought of God in that way.  Meaning, its not right that we have built homes for ourselves but we have not taken the time to build a house for God.
 
  • You can see it in his rule as king, the tenderness of his heart, the strength of his heart, the worship of his heart
 
  • Even in his failures, you can see it, as he realizes his treachery, he realizes the devilish the way he has handled himself and how he found his heart growing cold, lost his purpose, and begin to act out of selfish desire and ruthless self centeredness.  When he came to himself at the prophetic confrontation of Nathan, he immediately without hesitation became repentant, and his heart broke, and he turned his face to God and ask for mercy, and rededicated his heart, his house, his life to His King.
 
  • In his death, as he had created all the plans for the house of God, had prepared all the money and supplies for the house of God to be built and on his death bed explained to his son Solomon how to be a king, his heart reflected the heart of God.
 
So what does Bold look like?
 
1.  Bold worship is tender heart.  A heart that is soft and pliable before God.
 
2.  Bold worship is surrendered heart.  A heart that is unreservedly given to God
 
3.  Bold worship is Caring heart.  A heart that protects, loves and is compassionate.  breaks for what Gods heart breaks for.
 
4.  Bold worship is a submitted heart.  A heart that says God not my will but your will be done.
 
5.  Bold worship is Changed heart.  Not perfect but not pretentious.  Its authentic, honest and real.
 
6.  Bold worship is a Courageous heart.  A heart that stands in the face of pressure and challenge and says I will worship God anyway, and I will win this battle not for me, but for the sake of the Glory of God.
 
7.  Bold worship is an honoring heart.  A heart given to think, act, love and lead with the heart of God.
 
8.  Bold worship is a loving heart:  A heart that puts God first, others second, and self last.  A heart that loves God and His house.  a heart that says, Jesus died for me, I will live for him.  A heart that says, I will not build my own until I have built Gods.
 
9.  Bold worship is a full heart.  A heart filled with purpose, destiny, joy, and peace.
 
Take away:  I hope that you are taking away from this series the realities of worship.  That it is much broader, deeper and wider than the mere expressions of it. 
 
This week, take time each day, when you get up in the morning, just fifteen minutes, and surrender yourself to God, just say God I was made to worship you, you have saved me, and first and foremost I want my life to be given to you.  before I have had a chance to let the day carry me away in its business, I give myself my family my everything in surrender to you.  Use my life today to reflect your glory. 
 
Just take fifteen minutes and do this, sit in his presence and truly worship him, and let him prepare your heart for what he would have it to be.
 
 

Place of the Skull

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Today we went to an outreach that was created in order to salvage the young generation of a community that had been abandoned and burdened with the problems of the generation that had gone before it.

My friend found these kids in a poor state. Many of them orphans
or on their own. You see this place gehanga is translated the place of the skull.

This is where the genocide started. So many of these young ones parents are in prison because of there atrocious crimes.

When he found them they were completely messed up. They were
Drunk most of the time, they would fight each other and were full of hate, were eating from dumpsters.

He pulled them together took two soccer balls and started playing soccer. When they started they had twenty five. Now they have 200. He has introduced them to Jesus. They all were receiving no education and now they are all in school. They were receiving no health care now they all have health care. They have created five teams and a choir. They teach them English and they teach them the bible. there is no church within miles. He has turned this into a church

The turn around in these young people is unbelievable. Yesterday we ran a soccer clinic with them, shared Jesus with them.

It was rewarding to me to set back and observe our team leading in ministry. I was so proud of each and every one of them. It was moving how they connected, taught, loved. Many kids were saved yesterday and will be discipled by this program.

We are so blessed, and so glad to be a small part of helping these precious people.

Ups and downs

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Did a stupid thing last night, after a long Very winding driving I took my malaria medicine before I ate not remembering that when you order in Africa it takes a
Long time to get food. Needless to say I was severely nauseated.

However I had a great nights sleep an incredible prayer time early this morning and Scotty and I took a nice jog this morning.

Lots of hills rough terrain, beautiful lake, and high altitudes. Now enjoying breakfast and about to get ready for pastors conference.

Pray that God uses us to make a huge difference in the lives of each of these leaders today.

Blessings from africa

The Greatest Gift

The greatestest gift is without question Jesus Christ.

As my family grows and I get older the gifts I want become more and more clear and less and less material. Don’t get me wrong I love to get great gifts just like the next person, but when I really think about what I want for Christmas it is for my family to be together, for everyone to be healthy, and cared for and most importantly that myself and my family are serving and intimately connected to God through his son Jesus.

The more I think about it that is all our father God was trying to do when He gave us the best gift ever. Literally the greatest gift known to man.

I love giving gifts: there is nothing like hearing your spouse or kids say, this is the best gift ever! It makes your heart swell to know you hit the mark, you identified what would make the most impact on them and you made it happen. Wow! What a great feeling that is!

There is a scripture that personifies this thought.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:17, 18 NKJV)

And it’s related to this scripture:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 19 NKJV)

God saw our world his intended family, He saw the corruption, the confusion, and condemnation and decided to give us a gift. Not just any gift but the greatest gift.

This gift was…

1. Not the most flamboyant, but definitely the most expensive

2. Not the most prominent but definitely the most powerful

3. Not the most popular but definitely the most prolific!

This gift, the greatest gift, was not wrapped in the most beautiful paper but in swaddling clothes, it was not presented to the world in pomp and circumstance but in the humblest of contexts, this gift was the person of Jesus. God himself brought down from majesty to the very minimum of modesty the form of a baby.

This gift…

1. The perfect given son became flesh to become sin

2. The compassionate savior of our souls became sin to become our sacrifice

3. The victor over death hell and the grave became our sacrifice to become our savior.

And all for what?

To bring us as a gift to his father to say father your family is home together, healthy, healed, and whole.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NKJV)

We are here safe and sound

sorry it has taken a minute to get this post up, but this is the first time I have gotten to a place to get on the web.  There will be pictures on the next post, later today.

We are having a great time, everyone is doing well and feeling great, we started with a bang last night.  We invited leaders from the next generation from two colleges here in Kigali and had around 280 show up.  We packed the church building out and the worship team really were anointed, its an amazing thing to worship with Christians around the world and realize they serve Jesus just like we do.  The whole team expressed what a great moment it was.  I spoke to them about healthy leaders being dreamers.  It was a great night and a great response.

The team is out today, one group is painting school rooms for the local church here who also runs a school, one of the best in the nation.  This will help them move forward in development and accreditation.  The worship team is practicing and setting up to do a high school assembly this evening, and the other team went to an elementary school in an impoverished area and gave them shoes.

God is doing great things in and through the team.

thanks for all your prayers and support, not only for us on this short term team, but for the ministries here long term likc Christ Church Rwanda, and Rwanda Outreach.

More to come…