Archive for July, 2009

Oh, that we might know the Lord!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Oh, that we might know the Lord!   Let us press on to know him.  He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.     Hosea 6:3  (NLT)

Pressing on, pressing in, that we might know the Lord.  That is our prime goal and objective.  Knowing and worshiping our Lord God is what makes everything else work.  We may be having good times, or bad times.  Mountain top experiences or deep valleys to walk through.  No matter where we are,  we must press in to know God more. 

Notice how this passage and so many others paint the picture of us pressing in toward God?  Why?  Because no matter what, God hasn’t moved; He is the steadfast Rock.  And it is up to us (with the help of the Holy Spirit), to press on and press in to Him.

Remember the woman with the issue of blood that pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment?  Matthew 9:20   The only way she got through that crowd was to keep pressing on and making her way through every hindrance, every obstacle between her and Jesus. 

Receive that as your example today.  Press on, press in, don’t let anything stop you or hold you back.  Knowing Christ more, will be worth every effort and sacrifice it takes.

Quick Fix Haircuts

Monday, July 13th, 2009
This was such a good word I felt I had to post it here and hope that more would read it and be blessed.   (Bill)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good morning!

In tough economic times, families often look for ways to save money. I remember a time in another era of economic challenge, when my parents did just that. They were pastoring a church in Concord, North Carolina. I vividly remember those days of conservative approaches to spending and creative attempts to save money in our household. While I didn’t fully comprehend it at age 12, those serious family talks around the table focused on sacrifice and sharing still hold court in my memory from time to time.

One of the ways that my parents chose to save money was to have my mom buy a barber kit. It seemed fairly straightforward. There were three boys who regularly needed haircuts. My mom lacked barber training — and some might even argue talent as a hair stylist — but she proceeded, with great enthusiasm, to cut our hair. The result required a quick trip to the barber shop to adjust the work that had been done! Looking back, it’s quite funny now, but to an emerging teenager it was a serious issue at the time.

When need presents itself, it is easy for us to look for a quick “fix,” assuming that if we just had the right tools or enough resources the task would automatically have a solution. In my observation, most journeys towards a solution don’t come that easily. There are often unexpected obstacles and unplanned interruptions along the way.

God rejected Gideon’s initial plans to use 32,000 and then 10,000 warriors against the 100,000 Midianites. Instead, He was happy with the 300 that made the final tally. What’s up with that? Why does it seem that the best thought-through plans are not always the right ones? Why doesn’t the Lord just allow us the privilege of working smarter or harder to arrive at our own solutions? In the face of seemingly impossible situations neither of those attributes is negative, in and of itself.

The answer reveals a God who will share His glory with no other. The Lord of the universe is extremely interested in whether we acknowledge His role. One of His purposes is to help us avoid the pride experienced by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4), or Saul (1 Samuel 13). He is constantly leading us to places where only His intervention will work.

Miracles are His specialty. And, some of us need one today! This does not mean we should stop pursuing every reasonable avenue of solution. In our pursuit however, we also need to be reminded of our absolute dependency on Him. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught His disciples that even the provision of our daily bread is not to be assumed, but to be requested.

Accept this invitation to join in as we embark on a season of dependency. Some of our situations will not be resolved without prayer, fasting and divine intervention. Go ahead — buy all the barber equipment you have the money for! Just remember that quite possibly, you will still be woefully short of what you need.

It’s “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!” –Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)

 

In His service,

Glenn Burris Jr.
General Supervisor

The Deception of Over-Flowing Joy

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Does that title surprise you; or maybe even raise a flag of concern?  After all, don’t Christians normally encourage joy?  Don’t we speak constantly of the “joy” of serving Christ and being redeemed?    Well, yes, and I hasten to add that all of those things are true (Psa. 16:11, 32:11; Hab. 3:18).

However, you can’t rely on joy; and you dare not stake your eternity on it.  Remember, joy is an emotion. Have you ever really stopped to consider just how fickle emotions are?  Think about this:  Have you ever been happy and sad the same day; maybe even within a short time of each other?  If that is true, then how can you stake anything of great importance on shear emotion?

Ask any couple with a good marriage after 10 or more years.  Every day is not filled with the excited infatuation of newlywed love.  If that sounds disappointing, understand that the infatuated love has been replaced by a deeper, richer, love that isn’t based on the roller coaster of fickle emotions.  This type of relationship has matured into a love that is steadfast and committed far beyond any fleeting emotion. 

The Christian’s walk must go through this same kind of maturing process.  Over time we must come to the point of a steadfast and committed relationship with Christ that is not based on the emotion we are experiencing at the moment (Psa. 57:7).  We must worship Him because of who He is and know that no matter what is happening in our lives, or how we feel at that moment, He is worthy of our absolute trust, and deep committed love (Psa. 33:21).  Then we can really have joy and constantly rejoice in Him, regardless of this moment’s feelings or tomorrow’s emotions (Psa. 5:11).

Exciting World Missions Statistics

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Here are some highlights of the 2008 Spiritual Report for Foursquare International:

2,470,054  decisions for Christ

628,271  water baptisms

794,218  Holy Spirit baptisms

4.7  decisions for Christ per  minute

11 new churches planted everyday

Acts 1:8 

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Contrasting the difference between faith and our own wisdom is rather easy in the Bible.  Take this passage in Proverbs 28:26a:

26     He who trusts in his own heart is a fool      (NKJV)

In the Hebrew mindset, the “heart” was not the seat of emotions, but rather your knowledge, intellect and will (cf Proverbs 12:25; 13:12; 15:12,14a; ).   So the Bible warns us in many places not to lean on our own wisdom or will.  Rather, look to your Abba Father in faith – with absolute trust that He has you in the hallow of His hands.  Nothing will reach you without going through Him.  And nothing will take Him by surprise. 

Don’t analyze everything to death.  Don’t assume you have tomorrow—nor even today—totally figured out.  Instead rely on our Father’s love for His children and for you individually.  Count on His loving heart and tender mercies (Psalm 103:4, 118:1).  Know that not only is He in control, He is always victorious. 

Don’t forget, you are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), you are sealed with His guarantee of the glory to come  (Ephesians 1:13-14), and nothing in Heaven or Earth can separate you from His love and your victorious future in Christ Jesus  (Romans 8:35; Ephesians 1).    

So as the Apostle Paul says:  “…stand…”  (Ephesians 6:13) in these uncertain times.  But don’t stand trusting in your own wisdom and power.  Stand by faith in Christ Jesus and by trust in your Abba Father.

NKJV  Proverbs 3:5-6

5     Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

6     In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

The Point of a Pillar

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I’ll never forget the day Anna and I climbed the Mount of Olives from its base at the Kidron Brook near the Golden (or Eastern) Gate, up the steep Ascent of Olives and over the top, down into Bethany on the eastern slope of the mount. Just as we crested the summit, with a stunning view of Jerusalem sprawled before us, we encountered a simple, obviously ancient pillar, a cylinder firmly implanted beside the dusty roadway standing about six or seven feet high. Upon inquiry we discovered it was an actual “milestone,” such as the Romans placed intermittently along the thousands of miles of roads they constructed throughout their empire.

Last week I passed a very personal milestone—my 75th birthday—and was reminded of the place “pillars” have had in my life. I can review “people pillars” who, as pastors, teachers and elders, have not only poured “the stuff of life” into me, but who thereby buttressed and shaped me as a man, as a believer and as a leader. There have also been “pillar principles” that have risen, gradually forming my understanding of “life-as-God’s-Word-reveals-it,” and these have provided direction and stability as well. But it’s a third kind of pillar —“prayer pillars”—that I have in mind today; ones that literally stand in my front yard, and they are especially close to my heart at this time of my transitioning from serving you as president of our movement.

These stand tall—eleven brick pillars like sentinels, prompting abiding reminders of “realms” of prayer-responsibility I know Father God has given me to constantly steward before His Throne. Each one embraces its own broad scope of worthy concern and needed prayer, and serves to keep my intercessory prayer life focused. They span the relational to the institutional, the national to the international, the civic to the Church—and within those categories, a constant stream of issues come and go, but not without being attended by prayer.

However, one pillar bears this name: The Foursquare Church. Decades ago I named that pillar, and have prayed for those who lead us, at the same time seeking God to prosper and keep us as a people constant to His purpose. As you would expect, the dimension of detail in my prayer has increased at that pillar these past five years, as I literally walk the path the eleven pillars trace in my yard. And today—standing at this juncture in my life, I am moved to ask you to meet me there in the Spirit as you pray this week and into the coming year. I want to ask you to hear my heart as I make a covenant before you and before our Lord; then, I am asking you to also join my hand to share a second covenant with me.

First, I want to covenant with God and before you, that even though I will shortly conclude my role as president, I am and will continue to abide under the dynamic call Samuel answered as he “transitioned.” When his role was being adjusted, he made this commitment: “God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23).

Second, as we enter this transitional year in our Foursquare family, join hands with me and others, to share as a people in taking the covenant Israel did when Jehoida, the high priest, called them to account in God’s presence as the people moved into the future with a new leader. His call was that they refuse the world-spirit of a paganized world’s influence and politics, and he urged them to invoke the leadership of God’s ways into their lifestyle and pursuits together. They accepted his call, and sealed their covenant with this declaration: “We will be the LORD’s people!” (2 Chr. 23:16).

Today, I make my pledge before Father God at this season of transition I am experiencing. As I do, please confirm, with me and in His presence, your will to establish a pillar—“The People’s Pillar;” a pillar of prayer and purity of heart, with a fixed focused on a future under the Lordship of Christ and a dependence on God’s Spirit and in humility before His Throne.

That is a pillar that will stand—far longer than even a Roman milestone.

 

Serving with you,

Pastor Jack Hayford
president, The Foursquare Church

Check out the latest leadership updates from Foursquare Missions and Foursquare U.S.

The LoTech Word of God

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Those of us who teach and preach the Word of God can sometimes be concerned about all the competition we face with all of the world’s entertainment systems.  How can we compete with a multi-million dollar Hollywood production?  How can we compete with the fast action and ready access of TV?  

But whenever those thoughts crowd in and try to defeat,  we must remind ourselves that we are not teaching and preaching some great words of wisdom only … we are called and commissioned to teach/preach nothing less than The Word of God.  

1 Corinthians 1:18

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

The Word of God brings life for all eternity.  Nothing else can do that!  Preachers and teachers don’t have to compete with the world’s entertainment:  We have the Life Transforming Word of God to share!

God’s Message – preached in God’s Power – will transform lives!   What can compete with that?!?!?!?

A Word From Our National Missions Director

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Good morning!

Globalization is a common buzz word in many circles today. This not a new topic or idea; Paul engages the idea in 2 Corinthians chapter 8. He writes with enthusiasm to those in Corinth, telling them how much he wanted them to get to know the church in Macedonia, and especially the “the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.” (2 Cor. 8:1). He then emphasizes two characteristics of these brethren in a different part of the world:

  •        Although undergoing severe trials, they were joyful
  •        Even in the midst of extreme poverty, they were generous

Talk about radical, and counter-cultural! I can have a hard time being joyful when my life is without a trial. Even in the midst of abundance it’s not easy to be generous… What a truly wonderful work of the grace of God in those churches!

In my recent travels, I’ve had the privilege of seeing youth from Chinese churches rejoice in midst of difficulties. In Papua New Guinea, a nation with much poverty, I heard our leaders discussing ways to better care for their six missionaries sent to other island-nations of the Pacific. I’m excited about the grace of God in the small Foursquare work in the Kaxinawa tribe in western Amazon, who, only months after the arrival of Brazilian Foursquare missionaries to their tribe, prepared to send a Kaxinawa missionary to reach their cousin tribe in Bolivia with the gospel.

You and I are privileged to be a part of an amazing global Foursquare tapestry, being woven by works of God’s grace, of so many forms, shapes, colors and styles. I also get VERY excited about the Kaxinawa, or PNG, or Chinese brethren getting to meet you, and discovering the rich deposit and work of His grace that is in you, your family, and church. After years living outside the U.S., I am so grateful for this season, serving in your midst again. And recently at Connection ‘09, it was all about being enriched by His grace in each other as we connected as a family.

Thank you so much for sharing His grace in you around the world by praying, giving and going. We celebrate that! May His grace be abundant in my heart and yours this week, causing there to be joy and generosity (regardless of circumstance), just as in those days, in Macedonia! 

 

In His service,

 Jonathan Hall
Director, Foursquare Missions International

 

As you pray this week, remember the nearly 50 Ignite students, team leaders and Life Pacific College participants who have been ministering in different regions of the world and will return home soon.

The Heart of Worship

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Oil and water, black and white, night and day.  These are all well known expressions to convey the thought of opposites that don’t go together.  Here, I want us to look at opposites as related to the heart of worship.

The church at Laodicea in Revelation Chapter 3, was a church wrapped up in materialism.  Their earthly labors had not been in vain; they were a church of wealth, abundance and easy living.  I have no doubt that their church was the biggest and had all the best things that money could supply.  I am sure that each member of the congregation thought they had it all together.  That their worship—with the best musicians, equipment, talent, and angelic sound—was totally pleasing to God and lacked nothing.   But the Lord Jesus rebuked their smug self-reliance, saying they were blind, naked, and ready to be vomited out of His mouth because of their lukewarm hearts (i.e., worship).

Now contrast the self-reliance of Laodicea with Moses in Exodus Chapter 33.  Here the Holy Spirit gives us a clear look into the heart of a true worshipper.   

Think of how much Moses has been in the mighty presence of God. The burning bush, the miracles in Egypt, the 10 Commandments, the Tent of Meeting, speaking with God as face to face, etc.  Yet all of this isn’t enough—he desires more! 

He hungers for more of God, his thirsting after God is unquenchable.  No matter how much Moses has experienced God’s glorious presence in his life, he is still desperate for even more

That is the heart of a worshipper.   That is the heart of one who will be called “God’s friend.”