Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How did Jesus draw a Crowd

On my way in to work this morning I was thinking of all the marketing aspects of the ministry I have been learning since I moved to Atlanta. And it just got me thinking the way in which Jesus would draw a crowd. From the scriptures we know that he had a huge following every where he went. I'm sure the greatest advertisement he had was word of mouth, but I don't believe that is what cause the great crowds to form.

When Jesus was twelve, we have the first glimpse into his ministry and see all the elders of the Synagog gathered around him. They were gathered because of the great wisdom and authority in which He spoke. I believe this was the draw of his entire ministry. He spoke with wisdom and authority.

I believe this is still very true today. Word gets around when your words hold wisdom and authority. I don't know of any big named preacher that didn't get the reputation he has without starting with words of wisdom and authority that actually changed the lives of the listeners. This is the key to building a strong ministry. Wisdom is the key element for drawing a crowd. I wonder what would happen if pastors spent as much time in their study getting words of wisdom and authority as they did worrying about the next graphic for the next series. I believe the crowd would be drawn to the same wisdom of Christ. Preach the Word!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gearing Up for Easter

When I was growing up Easter was all about getting matching outfits with my brothers and hoping there was an Easter Egg hunt at Church and maybe even finding a plastic egg with money inside. Growing up in Church I remember all the different plays and cantatas the Church would do as we celebrated Easter.

Easter hasn't changed in the last 2000 years or so in the fact that it is still the biggest day of the year for the Body of Christ to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord an Savior. It is crazy to fathom that there was a man that died, laid in a tomb for 3 days, and then got up and walked out! This is unbelievable! This in incredible! This is a miracle! There were over 500 witnesses that saw the resurrected Christ during the 40 days he walked around after the resurrection. Can you imagine the overwhelming testimony in a court room today if 500 witnesses testified to an event. We wouldn't even question it.

So many people say they just can't have this blind faith of Christianity, and I say our faith is based on the facts recorded in the Bible by eye witnesses. You would be silly not to believe the overwhelming evidence that Jesus from Nazareth rose from the dead just as he predicted he would.

If Jesus, through the power of God, can be raised from the dead, and has the power over death; it would be wise to trust Him for not only the afterlife but the things in this life. Jesus didn't rise from the dead for himself. He is, was, and for will be God. He rose from the dead to illustrate to you that he has the power over death, and can raise you from the dead as well. He also gave us an example of that when he raised Lazarus from the dead. This is the eternal life that he promises to all those that trust, believe, and receive Him. Easter is coming!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Team Work Gets It Done

As I think back over my time as a minister of the gospel, it has become so evident to me that people are looking for a friend, then a leader, and finally a preacher. I still remember that Monday morning in my little office of that little church in a little town when God asked me the biggest question of my life. "Do you want to be a professional Pastor or do you want to be a minister to my people. To become a Minster I would have to get dirty. People are messy! Their lives are messy! But, in a split second I saw my Lord on my cross getting dirty because of my mess and I had to join Him in the messiness of others.

The blessing is that through all of that mess you form life long friendships that you would die for. People and Families are changed forever through the power of the gospel; and I have gained war buddies that will be with me through thick and thin. If your not willing to war with others, you wont have the close relationship of others.

This is what has happened over the last few months with my new friends at New Season Church. We are celebrating 5 years of ministry which I believe has been the "priming of the pump" for some awesome things to come. In the last six months I have had to lean on my brothers as they leaned back on me and we made it through. There is going to be a huge work force today up at East Paulding High School and some will say that we need to get the stage up, others will say that we need to put the chairs out, still others will be frustrated with our sound equipment, but we will be doing it together. And at the end of the day we will be a closer family then when we started. That gets me excited about the day and the years to come.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Releasing the Pressure Valve

On just about any type of system that is under pressure there is a pressure relief valve. These valves are engineered so that when the pressure in the system gets to the point of hurting the system it will open and relieve that pressure. I think people are much the same way. We live in systems that are under pressure all the time. We have work deadlines, school deadlines, pressure to perform well as a parent, and or spouse. There is pressure in friendships and relationships. All of which can build up in a person until he or she is ready to just explode. It is at these times in your life you need a relief valve. Some way to relieve the stress and pressure in your life or you will explode and destroy the very system you've been trying to build.

When I first moved to Atlanta I was under tons of pressure from the day we pulled up in my mother's driveway. I have to find a job. Where are we going to live? How long will we be living with my parents? And I won't even get into the "what if" scenarios that were going through my head. When I did find the job that God wanted me to have it even got worse. My nature is to prove myself and there is much to do all the time. So I know a little something about stressful situations.

I would like to offer a few tips on dealing with the pressure and see if I can't install a relief valve or two.

  1. Know your limitations. Relief valves are always put in understand what the limitations of the system are. Most of the time we get into pressure situations because we have gotten in over our heads and we have past our true limitations or at least our comfort levels. Don't do more than what God is asking you to do no matter who else is asking. It is completely acceptable to say, "I don't know that." or "I'm not very good at this or that." When you are honest with yourself it allows others to be honest with you and not put undo pressure because you said you could handle it.
  2. Live within your means. The biggest pressure that people get under is finacial pressure. Finacial pressure is the leading cause of divorce and even causes some to commit suicide. Pressure is always caused by outside sources. For example, you would never have finacial pressure if the bill collectors never called, but they do and they will. So, by living within your means you don't need to worry about the bills.
  3. Trust in The Lord. When you are accomplishing the will of The Lord, He has promised that he will provide all that you need to finish the task at hand. God never promised that he would fund or support all the other stuff we have going on in our lives. Focus on the Kingdom of God and some of the other pressures will simply go away. Even in Church we have to be careful about the "Martha syndrome." Thinking that business is godliness. I believe it is just the opposite busyness has always been a strategy of the devil to keep you from doing the most important things in life. The Lord instructs us to "cast our cares upon him, because he cares for us." This is a huge blessing that most of us don't take advantage of until we have exploded on someone or something.

If you will practice these three simple things it will relieve much of the stress in your life and bring your system back down to the proper pressure levels.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Taking the Hill

I knew when The Lord moved me from Borger that I was going to be stretched. That is exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to settle in, get comfortable, and turn stagnate. I wanted to experience new things, and see a true movement of God. I felt like a new recruit getting his first assignment. And what an assignment it has been.

When The Lord dropped us right in the middle of New Season Church, I felt like I was in a war zone. Spiritual bodies falling all around me, people hunkered down in their bunkers, and the C.O. yelling, "Move Forward! Move Forward!" So I strapped on my sword and started commanding my troops to take the hill of First Impressions, and the hill of Assimilation until the smoke finally cleared and we were stand on the top in celebration.

Through all the fighting and scraping for every piece of ground, we finally began to celebrate some victories in the camp. Some lives have been snatched from the enemy, P.O.W.'s have been rescued and restored to duty, new soldiers are being trained up, and the wounded are on the mend.

As I have a chance to catch my breath and assess the situation, I see several hills that still need to be taken: the hill of Service Programming, The hill of Discipleship, and the mountain of Missions. The difference is I don't feel like I'm taking direct fire. We have secured a com post from which we can assess and attack at will.

Believe it or not we are in a war and a fight for the souls of men. We can't lay down! We can't get comfortable! And God forbid, we ever retreat! We must be good soldiers for The Lord who has called us and saved our lives by his own heroics and grace when he took the hill of Calvary for you and me. May God be with you today as you fight the good fight and take the hill in front of you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Urgency of Salvation

Last Wednesday night I started teaching through the book of Revelation at New Season Church in Hiram. The message was a simple one: Jesus is coming quickly which means the rapture of the Church is at hand. I felt an overwhelming pull from the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to all that were in attendance making sure that an invitation was given to come to Christ before he comes again.

I felt such freedom in message as we talked about those that God had appointed as watchmen throughout the centuries. Those that would herald the coming of The Lord because of the revelation they had received from God. We quickly came to the conclusion that it is our turn to herald the coming of The Lord because of the revelation that we have received in His Word.

As we finished and broke into our small groups, I encouraged the group to make sure all were secure in their relationship with Christ. I happen to look in the front of the room and one of the community group leaders was talking to another young man and I caught a tear in his eye. I have seen that look before. I knew that life changing decisions were being made. So, I just waited for the men to come to me. In a few moments they both walked over to me and they were both crying and the leader said, "Pastor Bill, say hello to your new brother in Christ." As we embraced with a congratulations, the man looked me in the I and said, "Thank you." These are some of the most humbling times in my life when I realize that God has used something I have said to change the course of a life forever.

God be praised that He is still saving people today. "Even so, come Lord Jesus!"