Friday, July 24, 2009

Even the Demons believe in Jesus

I was listening to Paul Washer again and had to write about something he brings up that is very true:

Belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior isn't what saves us. Even the demons believe..and tremble. Asking Jesus into our hearts isn't what saves us. Jesus never walked up to anyone and said "If you'll just ask me into your heart, you'll be saved!"

When God's Holy Spirit speaks to us and opens our eyes for the first time, so we can see who we really are apart from Him, and how our sin has separated us from Him, but that He willingly paid the price at Calvary for us, then we can respond by REPENTING and FOLLOWING Him. John the Baptist and Jesus both started their ministry by saying "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near". (Matthew 3:2 and 4:17)

Following Him and Doing the same works that Christ did, is proof that we are saved and know Him. Faith without works is dead. A Tree that produces no fruit is fit for the fire. The evidence of Salvation, is that we are DOING what Jesus called us to do. We will be known by our fruit as Christ said "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit".

A Case for Works

Matthew 7:21 says "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but ONLY He who DOES THE WILL of my Father in Heaven"

vs 24 says "everyone who hears my words and PUTS THEM INTO PRACTICE" is wise.

James 2:20 says "you see then that man is justified by WORKS, and not by faith only"

I think we modern day, super Christians have been quick to retalliate "YOU LEGALIST!!" anytime someone brings up WORKS, but apparently, scripture STRONGLY shows us that the evidence of Salvation is in the fruit we bear. Ray Comfort and Paul Washer have both clearly stated this and it's something that needs to be spoken on more often. The problem is, it's not popular and it makes people uncomfortable. Seems like I remember another Nazarene Man who made people uncomfortable too.

I for one would rather be uncomfortable with the truth, than to be willfully ignorant and on my way to Hell.

There are no do-overs on Judgement Day. Now is the time of Salvation.

We need to get the Gospel message RIGHT and not change it to suit our own desires.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Faithful Servant

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 01-25-2007

If you have a boss, are you the kind of person that is just as faithful when the boss is away as when the boss is near? Can your boss trust you to continue on as if he/she were present? If you are married, do you support your spouse when they are not around and you're in the presence of others? Can you be depended on by others to keep your word? Do you understand loyalty to someone else?

Faithfulness is going to be so important when we stand before God someday. Do you know that God himself has intrusted us with his kingdom and is going to hold us accountable as to how we performed?

Consider this passage of scripture (Jesus is speaking about the End of time and the "last days"). I believe we are in the last of the last days:

Matthew 24:45-51
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NIV)

Jesus Christ will return again soon and he will expect us to have his 'house' in order. What are we going to do while our Master is away? Are we going to feed his sheep as he commanded us to? Are we going to be found making disciples, seeking the lost, clothing and feeding those who are naked and hungry, and building his eternal kingdom when he gets back? Are we going to take what he commanded us to do seriously?

We all need to remember who it is that we are going to give an account TO. When we know WHO our master is, then we will more likely keep our priorities straight. I'm not going to have to give an account to my Pastor some day, or my church, or the program director, or my wife or kids but ONLY the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. This should really set us free when we understand that. He alone is my High Priest and He alone is my ultimate Master and Lord.

Faithfulness is so important because it's easy to forget what our mission in life is as we're going through the hum-drum of everyday living. Faithfulness is even more difficult when a very high percentage of everyone else seems they could care less about serving a make-believe Master. We'd better be awake and be a modern day Noah as we go throughout this life. Don't pattern your life after what others in this world are doing but rather, follow after Christ and his kingdom and let our minds be renewed by Him.

When the flood came and carried everyone away to their deaths, Noah and his family alone were saved. Everyone had laughed at his preaching of the impending flood and everyone was eating and drinking and partying when it came and swept them away. In the same way will be Christ's coming. He is going to come at an hour when NO ONE is expecting it. Everyone is going to be living it up, eating, drinking, marrying, partying and having a good old time and then in the blink of an eye, He'll be here. There won't be time to adjust or be sorry or anything else, so the time to be faithful is RIGHT NOW.

Jesus said in Luke 12:35: "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning". We have to stay ready as a solider stays ready for battle. To keep our lamps burning we have to be prepared. We have to make a conscious effort to be ready or otherwise we'll be found asleep.

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus tells 2 parables, both about wise and foolish people. One group prepared, one group not prepared. One group who had made preparations and one group who did not. 5 wise virgins who brought extra oil and 5 who did not. 2 guys who increased their talents and 1 who foolishly burried his and did nothing while his master was away. In both, the master came and the foolish were unprepared, but even worse, they were UNFAITHFUL. They knew what they were supposed to do, and did not do it.

Jesus said that to whom much is given, much is required. We have all been given much and Christ requires much from us. He doesn't require anything that He knows we can't accomplish and He will always be there to help us but we must be faithful to Him.

When Moses went up to get the sacred commandments of God, he spent a great deal of time there and Aaron at one point allowed the people to sway him to build an idol of Gold. Can you believe that? Aaron! He KNEW better. The people persuaded him by saing that "we don't know what happened to this fellow called Moses, so make us some gods who will go before us". Aaron could have easily said "look how far God has taken us so far? Are you crazy!", but he didn't. Moses' return took them all by surprise. When Moses came down off the mountain, he ground the golden calf to powder and sprinkled it in the water and made them all drink it. He then said "Who is on the Lord's side, come over to me!". The tribe of Levites ran over to Moses' side and then Moses had them kill off everyone else with the sword whether they were friends or family. God takes sin seriously and He especially takes serious the handling of his Kingdom. We have been entrusted a great prize and we need to be sure to be found good and faithful servants.

In Him


Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 03-08-2006

John's gospel is the only one to record this phrase, spoken by John the Baptist. If anyone understood this principle, it was John the Baptist. John literally gave his head, his life, for Christ. He lived his entire life preparing the way for the Lord.

Some men came to him and said "This Jesus, who you testified about..........well, People are coming to Him to be baptized now?!" John basically told them that the Bride (Christ's people) belong to the Bridgegroom (Christ), and that the friend of the bridegroom is full of joy upon hearing the bridegroom's voice. John said "That joy was now his, and is complete!".

He must INCREASE and we must DECREASE or as the NIV puts it: HE must become GREATER and WE must become less.

This is my prayer as I continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and continue my journey in the Lord. I realize that for any thing to be done, for any great work to be accomplished, I must decrease, I must surrender totally to Him and He must become MORE involved, MORE relied upon, MORE focused upon. He must Increase.

Being on the praise team week after week, can sometimes be a struggle to remember this. We as a Praise Team must decrease, so that He can increase. We must forget about ourselves and what we want, and concentrate on what He wants, and focus upon Him.

Pride could have kept John from saying this. He could have thought to himself "I am the one who should be doing the baptizing". He didn't do that though. He knew who Christ was, and he knew his place in the kingdom of God. He humbled himself before God, and he let Christ increase and become more the focal point. He wasn't afraid that the people who once came to him, were now going to the one who was greater than him.

I think that as simple as this idea is, it's SO overlooked. We get to doing something in a church thinking that we're somebody and that things can't go on without us. The fact is, Christ DOES want to use you and will use you, but don't forget who you are and who is doing the work. Put it in proper perspective from the "Kingdom" view point. John knew who was doing the real work, even though he'd been baptizing and preaching for a long time and had become a VERY respected person in the region. As he put it "The One who comes from above is ABOVE ALL".

Remember King David and his sin of pridefully wanting to get a census of 'his' kingdom? He forgot just who it was that was doing the work and blessing him, and he and his people paid dearly for it. Afterward, his perspective was right again, and God could once again use him.

I hope we will all remember this and do our best to keep things in proper perspective.

He Must Increase and I must Decrease.

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Mary's Praise

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 12-13-2005

Zacharias (or Zechariah) was in the temple, burning incense (as was custom) when an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said (in Luke 1:13-17):

"Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

John was soon to be born and prepare the way for Christ! Zacharias didn't believe Gabriel when he spoke these words, and so he was struck dumb until John's birth.

In the 6th month of Elizabeth's (Zacharias' wife) pregnancy, Gabriel is sent from God again, this time to Mary in Nazareth:

Luke 1:28-38
And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."

And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God."

And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (NAS)

Even though Mary questions how it was possible she could have a son, she still BELIEVED the word of the Lord. Notice the difference in her response from Zacharias' response. She quickly runs to visit with Elizabeth and upon seeing her, greets her excitedly! As soon as she does this, the baby leaps for joy from within Elizabeth's womb! Elizabeth then tells Mary that she is blessed because she has BELIEVED that which was spoken to her by the Angel Gabriel concerning the Lord.

What follows, is Mary's Praise:

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever." (NAS)

Side Note: I wrote about Hannah's prayer in an earlier blog and there are a lot of parallel's between Mary and Hannah's prayers/praises (see: 1 Samuel 2:1-10 )

Talk about a woman full of faith! No wonder God had searched the earth for a woman of good report and chose her as the Mother of Emmanuel. Talk about someone who knew how to praise the Lord, she really did.

Christmas has been turned into something that consists of 99% of nothing to do whatsoever with Christ. I thought it would be a good idea to go back and read some of the story of the birth of our Savior and Lord. Let's remember to be full of Joy (as Tim preached about) all the time. Sure there is a time for mourning, and weeping, but most of the time we can live with joy for no other reason than Christ has come to us, lived among us, suffered as we suffer - even more so, and then died and rose again to prove that He was who He said He was.

I can go see the supposed graves of Billy the Kid, President Lincoln, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, John Wayne, Albert Einstein, etc and dig up some bones or bone dust. (I'd probably go to jail for this by the way). At Christ's grave though, there is nothing there! There are even 500+ people who witnessed and walked with Jesus after he rose again. (1st Corinthians 15:3-8).

So the birth was the most special event up till that date, but Christ raising from the dead was the most blessed event ever because he just purchased our salvation for all eternity! So everything Christmas has become can not even compare to the joy we can have in this alone if we've put our faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Read through Mary's Praise one more time, and try to imagine what she was thinking as you do. You may have to read it and re-read it to really grasp it as I did. Now it's your turn to give praise!

Merry CHRISTmas,


The Bread of Sincerity and Truth

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 11-03-2005

I was recently thinking about how we extend grace to others; Those who have fallen or who are in sin. When does sin cross the bounds of grace and then have to be 'rebuked'? I believe that as we grow, we will encouter false prophets, false christians, false doctrines who/that will try to lead us away and break the church apart. I hear church's all the time say we should love people where they are. This is very true. There is another side to this though. Inside the church body, we can not excuse sin, and we can not allow brothers or sisters who wish to remain in sin, simply do so. People must have a desire to change. Do we still love them where they are and just overlook their sin and hope they eventually come around to God's way of thinking?

Check out 1 Corinthians Chapter 5:

1 Corinthians 5:1-13
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.
2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.
4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--
10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."(NIV)

Here we have immorality going on in the church. The people have just accepted it. It reminds me of the thought that seems to be so prevalent today in that we shouldn't "judge" anyone. As Kelly has already pointed out, there are different types of judgement. I'm not going to go into that, but the point here is, instead of rebuking this fellow from within the church, he was simply accepted.

The problem with this is, that then others can be corrupted through this unwise decision. A little yeast works itself through the whole batch! Paul is saying "get rid of the old" that you may become a "new" lump of dough. Does this sound familiar? Look at Matthew 16:6-12. We must desire the BREAD OF SINCERITY AND TRUTH more than we desire 'getting along with everyone'.

The rest of the chapter is dealing with the difference between those INSIDE the church and those OUTSIDE. Those that are INSIDE, are called to a high standard, and we are to judge those that are in the body of believers. If we allow a little leaven, it wont be long and we'll be an entire corrupt pile of dough that gives NO glory to God at all and in fact is a stench in his nostrils.

We are still in this world, and we therefore must be amongst all the sin that goes on, but inside the church, God has created a place where He wants us to be accountable to Him and each other.

Jesus, in Revelation 2:14-16 has this to say to the church of Pergamos (Pergamum):

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.(NIV)

So, you see. We will be judged by what we allow to happen within the church. I realize this may be obvious, but there really is a false movement going on in America which says "we don't judge anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason". Don't believe it. God will hold us all accountable.

Restoration is what God desires, but there is a point where a person makes up his or her mind, that He or She will NOT be restored and will do WHAT THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT.

Yes, we will LOVE everyone where they are, we will strive for Restoration, but there is a boundary that can't be crossed within the body of Christ. Let's desire the Bread of Sincerity and Truth.

May the Truth of God's word always guide us. God bless,


By the Law, We Know Sin

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 08-22-2005

THE LAW OF THE LORD is PERFECT in converting the soul. Psalms 19:7
I've been listening to a couple of CD's lately by Ray Comfort who does the 'Way of the Master' series. The first is 'HELL's BEST KEPT SECRET' and the other is 'TRUE AND FALSE CONVERSION'. I'd like to write briefly on the former. The entire cd is talking about how when we witness to people, we must first show a person that they are sinners and have violated God's law before we can start to show them the 'Gospel'. Although this concept is nothing new, I think we often forget to emphasize this and we 'jump the gun' sort of and try to preach Christ's love and acceptance and his death on the cross before we have even shown a person why that's important and why they so desperately need Him and what is going to happen to them on the day of judgement if they have turned their noses up at God and Christ and rejected Him.
We need Christ because we have broken God's laws and commandments. Just as a murderer will have his day in court and be sentenced under our own laws, so we too have a day coming where (without Christ) we will have no reply to the ULTIMATE, RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, God Himself. God has put into every man a conscience (an understanding of His law - Con "with" science "knowledge"). It is a person's conscience, not their intellect, that we must reach out to. This is where God first moves in an unbeliever, because he's made His laws known to them. It's the law that convicts of sin. God's love can then reach the lost persons heart.
Hebrews 8:10-11This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.(NIV)

Romans 3:19-20Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (NIV)

Romans 7:7What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." (NIV)

(also look up Romans 1:20 if you get a chance)
So if BY THE LAW, we now KNOW and UNDERSTAND our sin then we must understand that God is a good and righteous judge and He will judge that sin. If He were not good, He would not rightly judge us and give us our just reward, but he IS TRUE and RIGHTEOUS and GOOD, and will most definitely JUDGE SIN very harshly. The penalty for that sin is DEATH.
If you have ever told a lie, then you are a liar. If you have ever put anything above God, then you have made a graven image in your mind. If you have ever looked upon another person to lust after them, you've commited adultery in your heart. If you have ever hated another person (without right cause), you've commited murder in God's eyes.
Now what do you suppose that a true and righteous judge would do to a lying, thieving, adulterer and murderer on the day of judgement? That's right. There would be no hope!
Now, knowing this, the unbeliever has a heart's soil that is ready for the Gospel message. Lay it on them! Tell of what Christ did on the cross, taking our sins and nailing them there if we put our faith in Him. Tell them of the penalty that was paid IN OUR PLACE! Then that person can truly understand the depth of what Christ has done and FULLY APPRECIATE it and come before Christ with a glad and thankful heart.
In 1808, Richard M'Nemar, speaking about the Kentucky Revival, wrote this in what he called a 'preliminary observation':
It will be granted, that God has a particular order and manner of working, in which one thing goes before another. Thus: the law and the prophets were until John, after that the kingdom of heaven is preached. It then follows that all men press into it. The first thing is the law, which convinces of sin. 2. The Prophets who minister the promise and hope of salvation. 3. The kingdom of heaven is preached; the way and method of salvation made manifest in word and doctrine: and last of all we must press into it. This is the order of God, and there is no other.

I would encourage you to listen to this online here:


And do the study sheet here:


I hope it will be a blessing and an eye opener.


Hannah's Prayer

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 06-23-2005

1st Samuel talks about Hannah and her husband, Elkanah. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah, and Peninnah. Peninnah had many children with Elkinah, but Hannah had none. It says in the Bible that "the Lord had closed her womb". God did this for a reason, as we will soon find out. Peninnah would constantly make fun of Hannah and irritate her by pointing out the fact that she had no children. This was a BIG deal back then. You weren't considered much of a woman if you couldn't bear children, especially sons. Peninnah would not relent; She was constantly making fun of Hannah. What she was doing was pure evil. It wasn't a joke, and it wasn't funny. The enemy wanted to destroy Hannah. This was such an issue for Hannah, that she would quit eating. Elkanah loved Hannah more than his other wife because it states that he would give a portion of the meat sacrifice to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, but he would give a DOUBLE portion to Hannah.
At the time of the yearly sacrifice, it states in 1st Samuel that Eli, the priest, was sitting in a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. Hannah, desiring from the Lord prays and vows:
1 Sam 1:10-11 "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." (NIV)
Hannah was telling the Lord she would separate her son for HIS work and HIS glory, as a Nazarite would. Check back in NUMBERS which says:
Num 6:1-5 The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. "'During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long.(NIV)

Hannah prayed all of this "in her heart" and only her lips moved. (This is proof that prayer comes from the abundance of the heart). Eli thought she was drunk and basically told her to "ditch the alcohol". Hannah said she was not drunk:
1 Samuel 1:15-18 - "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. (NIV)

Guess what? Hannah had faith that God would give her this son. She believed in God's chosen high priest, ELI, and she knew that God would answer. She was expecting Him to from that point on. It says she went her way, she ATE, and her face was no longer downcast! That is awesome. This woman had faith that God would do exactly as Eli had said when he said "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him".
Hannah did have a son, and named him Samuel. Samuel means "asked from the Lord". As soon as the child was weaned, she took him to Samuel and placed him in Samuel's care. This woman, now vendicated from the hackling of Peninnah then prayed and gave glory to God saying:
1 Samuel 2:1-10 - Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. "The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. "The LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails; S0 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed."(NIV)

Hannah's prayer sounds a lot like the words David wrote. She was exalting the Lord because He had given her victory over her enemies (Peninnah, her accuser "as Satan is" ). She was saying the strong would be made weak, and the weak made strong. The Lord lifts up and the Lord brings down. He raises the poor from the dust ( I like that ). He lifts the needy from the ash heap. He has them inherit a throne of honor. Hannah was used to being in a place of dishonor, with no son, but was now in a place of honor.
Hannah not only had Samuel, but 1 Samuel 2:21 says: And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD. (NIV)
So this woman who's only desire was to have a son, not only had Samuel, but gave birth to 3 sons and 2 daughters. The LORD is gracious isn't He!? God WANTS to bless us. Hannah would each year bring her son Samuel a robe she had made. I bet she had a good time catching up with all that was going on in his life. Because of her faith in God and her obedience to keep her word, the Lord honored her and Samuel. Samuel became a great prophet for the Lord as it says here:
1 Sam 3:19-21 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. (NIV)

Is there something miraculous you need from the Lord? Something you can't do in your own strength? Do what Hannah did and go to HIM for your salvation. Trust, believe and obey. God will move on your behalf, and WANTS to.
I just had to share some of this. To Him be the glory,

I Likes to be Chose

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 06-13-2005

After Sunday's sermon and video presentation, I've been thinking about the subject of "I chose you" more and more. I have heard this preached on many times, and it's always intrigued me. I heard a guy on James Dobson's FOCUS on the Family broadcast who was really funny that spoke on this subject really well. This guy (I'll call him JOHN for the sake of writing about it) said that when he was in school, that when it was time for everyone to choose sides for a game, that the 2 leaders would choose a kid, and then in turn the other one would choose one. This would go on until everyone but John had been chosen. The last leader to choose would then say something like "Whatever, I reckon we'll take John", as if it was going to kill him. John said something like "I don't know about you, but.....I likes to be chose". He was laughing about the situation, but in a solemn and sad sort of way too. I thought back on my elementary school days and about the kids that didn't make the cut and the sad looks they'd give. I'd often like the underdog to be on my team, but the team leaders usually wouldn't. I was always very fast, and quite athletic (believe it or not, ha) and I almost always got chose. I won two gold medals running track and was a part of the track team in Springdale Arkansas. I played soccer and was always the forward (the hotshot point maker). So, when younger, I didn't really have to deal with not being chose. I don't remember ever being the leader doing the choosing, but I usually got chosen pretty quickly. You know what, we all like to be chose don't we? We all like to be recognized by others, to feel important to others. God made us this way, and rightly so.
Check this verse out:
John 15:16 - You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.(NIV)

God chose us. You know, it's doesn't get any better than that. If you have a self-esteem problem, then this truth alone should set you free. I grew up with a big self-esteem problem, and much of that carries still to this day. I can remember my Mom telling me when I'd say something negative that I couldn't do, "Don't you say that, God has made you more than a conqueror" and "You're God's child". I could see her almost get mad, but in a Holy sort of way. This always left an impression on me to quit being negative. I think God himself gets angry when we say "I can't do it" when he has already said "You CAN do it". I think if we could all grasp hold of the truth that God has chosen and appointed us for HIS work, that we will want to praise and worship Him more. Our self-esteem can rest in Him and our credentials in the fact that we're HIS son/daughter, and we're more than conquerors.
I don't like for others to be left out, and I hope I never do that. I hope God will open my eyes to those that are looking to me to choose them. A lot of times, it may be our own sons or daughters that need to feel "chose". I'm thankful that my Father God has chosen me. I want you to know, that he's chosen YOU.
1 Peter 2:9 says: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:(KJV)

II Thessalonians 2:13 says: But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.(NIV)

God chose us to bear fruit that would last. He chose us to do what He did. It feels good to be CHOSE, especially when the CHOOSER is the Lord of Heaven and Earth. I don't know about you, but I likes to be chose.

We Can Enter In

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 05-11-2005

I've been listening to a lot of my older favorite cd's lately, actually compiling different songs I really like onto 2 different cd's using my pc's cd-burner and I forgot how much I liked the song ENTER IN by Petra. I'm not a big Petra fan, know nothing of their earlier or recent stuff, but I did buy one of their cd's once and really liked it. I think it was their NO DOUBT cd. I liked a lot of the tunes on that cd, and I really liked the lyrics of some of the songs. Some of the songs I didn't care for but overall, I was really surprised. Their music is pretty hard on the rock side and I'm just not into rock at all. I like some Pop tunes and country music, but the vast majority of everything I listen to is Christian music for good reason. I need the uplifting lyrics and truths of Christian music. You really have to scope out the "real" christian music from the stuff that's just being sung for the money aspect of the business. You can often tell when a song is inspired of God, annointed, or whatever you want to call it. ENTER IN is one of those songs to me. After you scrape back the rock sound of it, and really take a look at this song, the awesome truth embedded in it is something that really stokes the fire in my soul and heart.
Here are the lyrics with credit going to Bob Hartman as the song writer:
Enter In Words by Bob Hartman Based on Hebrews 10:19,20
Once a year for sacrifice, just one priest could pay the price
And step inside the inner veil to make the people free
The Temple stood the same for years till the Nazarene appears
Things will never be the same since 33 A.D.
When He spoke and bowed His head, He who saved the world was dead
Then the earth began to shake, Heaven's wall began to break
Opening the Holy Place...The temple veil is torn in two
The way is cleared for me and you to Enter in

(Chorus) We can enter in, enter in
Into Heaven's Holy place
We can enter in, enter in
Boldly by His blood we can approach His throne of grace
We can enter in a new and living Way
By our faith He will receive us when we pray

Now without a second look we forget what all it took
To be seen as innocent by His Holy eyes
Never thinking foolishly there is something He won't see
For our lack of righteousness there is no disguise
He won't look the other Way. Someone's life will have to pay
Once for all it has been done, Taken out upon His Son
He remembers it no more! Now for us He is the Door!
Opened up forevermore!

We can enter in, enter in
We can enter in His gates with thankfulness and praise
Into the once forbidden Holy place
We can live in goodness and in mercy all our days
We can enter in a new and living Way
By our faith He will receive us when we pray
We don't have to be afraid to seek His face
We can enter in

Hebrews 10:19-20 says: "Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh".

That is so awesome to think about. The once forbidden HOLY PLACE, which only the high priest could enter into (without being killed) is now the place that you and I can enter into by grace through Jesus Christ, and what he did on the cross. For many, many years, there was a big, long string of events that had to take place by the high priest, but since the cross, it's all changed. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 9 (please read and re-read this):

Heb 9:7-14But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings-- external regulations applying until the time of the new order. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!(NIV)

In the same chapter (9), it continues on about how the new covenant is now in place and talks of how under the law, God's law, BLOOD, was required to forgive sins. God gave his only son's blood for us, and the new, FULLY PERFECT covenant is now in place! It also talks about how Christ didn't enter a man-made sanctuary (as was done for generations) but he entered Heaven itself, to appear FOR US, in God's presence. It continues on to talk of how the high priest would have to enter in year after year, but Christ entered once, and did it right, for all eternity.
Wow, that's something to think about. I'm not smart enough to delve a whole lot deeper into all this, but I thank God that he's made all of this plain to average people like me.

Read through Leviticus (chapter one and on) all the things the priest had to do, it's incredible. All of that foreshadowed (as it says in Hebrews) what Christ would someday do (and now has done).

As the song ENTER IN says: "We can enter in His gates with thankfulness and praise; Into the once forbidden Holy place; We can live in goodness and in mercy all our days; We can enter in a new and living Way; By our faith He will receive us when we pray; We don't have to be afraid to seek His face; We can enter in".

To Him be the glory, forever,


Will You Love Joe?

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 04-21-2005

"Will You Love Joe?"By Don Reeves
Ref: Romans 8:35 - 39

Joe's up early Sunday morning. It's 5:00 in the morning and he's feeling it's just another miserable day in his life. I'm nearly broke financially and spiritually, he thinks. My family is under attack. My wife is unhappy. I just can't please her and she's constantly nagging. She says I just have to make more money. The bills just keep coming in and the kids need more and more. I work hard at my job. Most of the time I'm putting in 50 to 60 hours a week. I'm hardly at home when the kids are. My boss says I could move up in my job and increase sales if I would just socialize with my clients more, but that would mean more hours away and I would have to compromise my morals. That's something I could never do. I hardly know my children anymore and they're so rebellious. They insist that they're old enough to make decisions on their own and they seem to be slipping further and further from any good influence. I feel totally defeated. I'm not able to sleep. I guess that's why my blood pressure is so high and I'm having chronic chest pains but I'm afraid to go to the doctor. What if I'm too sick to work?

Joe puts these thoughts aside for the time being and gets ready to go to church because he always has. He puts on his best clothes and covers his problems with false pride. As he sits among his fellow church-goers he wonders if anyone is really capable of the love the preacher is preaching about. Looking around the church, he sees people he knows, most of which shake his hand each Sunday and half heartedly ask, How are things going Man, they don't really care, he thinks. How come noone ever calls through the week when he occasionally misses church? Then, how about that Mrs. Jones? She almost broke up a marriage with unfounded rumors about an alleged affair of some of our members. I certainly don't feel any love for any of them. After all, what have any of them done for me?

Joe hopes the preacher will just let him out in time for lunch. Maybe the ball game on T.V. would give him some relief from his thoughts of despair. After the ball game his thoughts turn once more to all the things that are wrong in his life. He goes to bed early only to get up at 2 a.m. thinking it's no use. The attack is just too much. There's only one solution. Maybe he should just end it all. He calls out to God because after all, wasn't he a Christian? When he was just a kid, hadn't he accepted Christ? How come he didn't feel it was real now? Where is God? How come He didn't care about all his problems?

At this time a brother in the church was awakened at 2 a.m. unable to sleep. Why was he thinking about brother Joe? "I really don't even like the guy", he thought. He thinks he's better than me. He dresses better, drives a better car and he always has that frown on his face. He barely speaks in church and rushes out as soon as church is over. Why am I thinking of him? Oh well, the Lord seems to be asking me to pray for him so I guess I'll do that. Half-heartedly he asks God to bless him. "What is this God?", he asks. "You want me to do what? Man, I can't go to his house at 2 a.m. in the morning. Ok, ok, I'll go but what if he's asleep? What will he think? I can't rest, so you go with me and tell me what to do and say".

Arriving at the house, the lights are out except what appears to be a dim light in the front room. Once again he asks the Lord, "Are you sure you want me to do this?", and again the Lord's voice sternly says "Do what I say". "Ok, ok, I'll do it", he says. He rings the bell answer. He then reluctantly rings it again.

Inside, Joe sits with a gun in his hand. The first ring shakes him from his thoughts. He hides the gun under the cushion on the couch and wonders who could be at his house at this hour. He goes to the door and there stands brother Bill looking rather sleepy. "What can I do for you Bill", Joe asks? "Joe", Bill says, "a better question is what can I do for you? The Lord Jesus has sent me to you with these words: "Cast your cares on Jesus because he cares for you. He loves you and wants to show his power through you. He wants to heal you spiritually, to heal your family, to heal you physically and financially. To be an instrument of love through your testimony of His faithfulness in trouble and all areas of your life. He requires you to equip yourself with the truth and power of His word and to put your faith to work. You take the word and defeat the devil and his demons. He has given you everything you need to be more than a conqueror. He also says to you, that I'm to stand in agreement with you and to be a partner in the warfare with you. Joe, that's the word God has for you".

Joe stands at the door, tears now flowing freely and sobbing in an uncontrollable manner. Between sobs Joe says, "Thank you Jesus for sending Bill when you did. I know you love me and I know others care and love me. Let me repent. I ask your forgiveness. Let me, from this moment on, reflect your love to others."

Jesus replies, "Son, your sins are forgiven. I remember them no more. Take up your cross and follow me."

Just two questions: Will you be sensitive enough to hear God's voice and will you leave your comfort zone to answer God's call?

He Who is Forgiven Little, Loves Little

Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 04-11-2005

I heard a song for the first time this past Saturday. I'm going to print the words here. Please read them slowly and really dwell on them. I want to make a point after that.
VERSE 1 The room grew still as she made her way to Jesus - She stumbles through the tears that made her blind - She felt such pain, some spoke in anger- Heard folks whisper, there's no place here for her kind. Still on she came, through the shame that flushed her face - Until at last she knelt before His feet. And though she spoke no words - Everything she said was heard, As she poured her love for the Master - From her box of Alabaster.
CHORUS And I've come to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box - Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and I dry them with my hair. You weren't there the night He found me. You did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His love all around me. And you don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box.

VERSE 2 I can't forget the way life used to be. I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound - I spent my days pouring my life without measure. Into a little treasure box I thought I found. Until the day when Jesus came to me - And healed my soul with the wonder of His touch. So now I'm giving back to Him all the praise He's worthy of . I've been forgiven and that's why I love Him so much.

CHORUS And I've come to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box - Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears And I dry them with my hair. You weren't there the night Jesus found me. You did not feel what I felt When He wrapped His love all around me. And you don't know the cost of the oil - Oh, you don't know the cost of my praise. You don't know the cost of the oil - In my Alabaster Box.

Mary was no doubt a prostitute and her life was forever changed when she met Jesus. I don't know if she had already bought the "costly oil" that she poured on Jesus' feet or if she had simply saved her money and then bought the oil at the last minute to use for Jesus. That really isn't the point. The point is the price she paid showed HOW VERY MUCH she loved the Lord for what he had forgiven her for. She believed him when she heard him preaching about forgiveness and how faith in Him would save her. She had, no doubt, much to be forgiven for and she grabbed hold of that forgiveness and love with everything within her.

Luke 7:36-4836 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee's house, and reclined at the table.37 And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."40 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."41 "A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?"43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."44 And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.45 "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."48 And He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." (NAS)


I know everyone has read this before, but I'm posting the entire story because after thinking about what must have been in her heart and then contrasting that to the pharisee Simon who had invited Jesus to the feast just for the status of it, it really amazes me and humbles me. Mary realized her GREAT sin and the extent of it, and she therefore LOVED a GREAT LOT.

When Jesus said "He who is forgiven little", do you think he was suggesting everyone must be a dire sinner before they could really love Christ? No, I don't think so. I think what he's saying is - He that thinks he has no need for a Savior and forgiveness, is the one with little love. Notice what Jesus told the Pharisees in this passage:

Matt 9:11-12And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?" But when He heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. (NAS)

Does this mean that he came only for the ones that were sick, that many were already whole? Does it mean the Pharisees were spiritually ok and the sinners were the only ones that needed him? Of course not. The opposite is true. The sinners 'realized' they were sinners, but the "Great Spiritual Fathers" of the day were so blind by their RELIGION that they missed who Jesus was. No wonder they hated him so much. They hated Jesus (for the most part) with a hate that knows no bounds. They hated him because he pointed out their sin when they thought of themselves as whole. Jesus had a tendency (ha ha) to tell the truth, things like:

(Matt 23:27-28) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (NAS)"

We need to examine ourselves and our own piety. We really should humble ourselves so that the Lord can lift us up. Let our praise come from other people's mouths, not our own. We need to realize the depths of our own fallenness.
If the phrase: "He who is forgiven little, LOVES little" is true then surely the opposite must be true. He who is forgiven MUCH, LOVES much, or He who realizes how much he has been forgiven, Loves Jesus (and others!) that much more.

Pastor Tim said he asked a friend once how come they (Tim's congregation) have a problem with worship. He was told "because your church has a love problem". I agree with that. You don't have to entreat those who love Jesus to worship, it just naturally flows out of them. If we want to worship great, we have to love great. It's really that simple. We can forget all the little "programs" or "tricks" or "incentives" or whatever else we come up with. If it's not a 'heart' thing, it won't work.

So I've got a lot to think about and examine myself. I just wanted to write this. I thought it was interesting how I heard this song about one of the greatest acts of worship ever right before hearing a sermon on true worship the next day and also on how we need love to start the flame. What Mary did was one of the greatest acts of worship ever!

I think we all need to ask the Lord to help us remember our first love. We don't want to be the "First Church of Ephesus".

Rev 2:4-5But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 'Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent. (NAS)

I think our church is a very loving church and I have no doubt that we'll be ok. We do need to remind ourselves though from time to time to keep our focus, remember the basics, and not be side-tracked. Love is what binds ministry together. Without it, we're just a club. We should be lead in everything we do by Love, Mercy and Grace.
I know that's the path we'll take.

He who is forgiven little, Loves Little. How much have you been forgiven? As much as Mary, or as much as Simon the Pharisee?

God bless,



Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
Original Blog Date: 07-20-2005

I haven't written anything for July and I thought I'd better write something that I was thinking about. I came across some more people who think that having a band in church is wrong. I still can't believe there are so many people who feel this is wrong. This is why I've decided to write a bit on Traditions.
Much of God's people today are so set in traditions that they miss what God is trying to do. They have ignored many songs that are being used (right now) by God to lead people to Him and they've cut out the opportunity to allow others in their congregation to use their "gifts" and "talents" to help lead in worship with their instruments. For example, someone in a congregation may enjoy playing a fiddle, but would not be allowed to play because that's a "country music" instrument. The fiddle is one of the most beautiful instruments ever invented and can really be used in a mighty way for Worship music.

Some traditions are good, but some are just traditions and have nothing whatsoever to do with what God is wanting to do, TODAY. It's our responsibility, to rightly discern whether what we are doing is Biblical or merely traditional. If it's a tradition, then change SHOULD be much easier for us to accept. We should be willing to give up any tradition that would prevent God from moving, the body being edified, or from someone coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The funny thing about traditions is - We all have them and don't even realize it. Even if what we are doing right now was born out of change from tradition, we could soon become set in our new traditions as God moves in a different direction now or in the near future.
Much congregational worship consists of hymns and a piano, only. I personally think we should do more hymns, and I realize that many of the great hymns will live on long after me or the majority of the "christian" music being played in the mainstream Christian realm today. "He whispers sweet peace", "Because He lives", "It is well with my soul", and "Amazing Grace" were here before me and will be here after you and I are gone.

In many churches, you will have a piano, an organ, and hymns with a choir. All this is great and what I grew up with in Church. God can move in this kind of setting too. This goes without question. My question, though, is:

Has God set limitations on how we are to worship Him? If I were to answer my own question, I would say YES. No, I haven't just contradicted myself. Let me explain:

The Bible says that God is a Spirit, and those that worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We know also that if you come to the altar, and remember that your brother have ought against you, you should leave your gift at the altar and go and make it right with your brother or sister first, before your gift will be acceptable to God. This would obviously be true in worship too. So here are the stipulations to how God wants us to worship Him:
  • We must worship Him in Spirit and Truth (God is actually LOOKING FOR those that will worship Him this way)
  • We must worship Him with a clean conscience (we can't be disobedient to Him and then come to worship Him)

  • If you know of any other stipulations from the Bible outside of what I've mentioned, feel free to write me and if it lines up with God's word, I'll add it to the list. I don't think anyone can tell me that God wants us to worship him "conservatively", "quietly", and in Hymns and with a Piano only, ALL of the time. There are times when we should just fall on our face and worship him in reverence and in quiet. There are times when we should dance as "Miriam" (I'll talk about this later) and "David" did. There are times when we should sing with everything we've got, lifting our voices up to the Lord (Read Ezra 3:11). In other words, there are no rules to worship. Rules are put there by "MAN". Denominations are a MAN thing as well. These are all traditions or devisive ways of Man.

    Thank God that he looks upon the heart, (1st Samuel 16:7 ). Since we know that God wants us to worship Him in Spirit (pneuma) and in Truth, what does that mean to you?
    As far as music is concerned, I wrote a song called "The End of Psalms". Here are the words, which were taken from Psalms 149 and 150:

    Praise the Lord, Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise the Lord, Lift up to Him the sound of a NEW song, in the assembly of His Saints, in the assembly of the Saints!......
    Let us praise His name with DancingPraise him with the tamborine, come on and praise him with the sound of the trumpetSome day he'll call us home with that. Let us praise him with the clash of the cymbalsPraise him with the beat of the drumAnd Yes we'll praise him with the Harp and the LyreLet everything with breath....Let everything with breath....Let everything with breath praise the LORD!

    You can read Psalms 149 to 150 for yourself and see 1 way (not the only way) God is to be praised.

    After Moses, by God's power, led the children of Israel across the Red Sea, there was a lot of praising going on. Can you imagine how they felt? I can't even begin to imagine what they must have witnessed. I'm sure they all thought they were goners "except for Moses" and were prepared to die. After God destroyed the Egyptian Army, they had a great desire to praise the Lord. Notice what happens:
    Exodus 15:20-21 - Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea." (NIV)

    They were shaking tambourines and dancing! If this had happened today, they would be considered too radical for worship by much of the community of God. I believe God accepted their praise though and we should also have the freedom to praise as Miriam did.

    I really think we all have traditional ways of doing things in Church that we need to look at and honestly say "Is that tradition biblical or is it just a tradition?". If so, is there a MORE biblical way of doing it? I think we'd be surprised at how much of our expectations and church routines are steeped in traditions that really don't line up with the Bible or the way JESUS would have us run the church. It's not just about the music, it's about every aspect of our lives. Much of that stems from the way we were raised (at home and in church), which also may or may not have anything to do with God's ways.

    If I had a prayer after writing about this it would be: "Lord, help me to follow you and forget about the traditions of the past. Let me LET YOU lead me and guide me. Let me be open to change, and not limit you and how YOU want to move. When someone suggests change or I feel led to change, please help me to judge the change based on your word, and not on past traditions. Let me cling to the traditions that line up with you, and discard the ones that don't. Please give me discernment and wisdom to know the difference. For your Glory and for the edification of your Bride." Amen.

    Greater Works Than These

    Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
    Original Blog Date: 04-04-2005

    Something I've been thinking about lately is the phrase: "Greater works than these".
    Jesus, speaking to his disciples said:
    John 14:12-13: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."

    Phillip had just asked Jesus to show them the Father. In Arkansas language Christ said "How long do I have to be with you before you folks realize you are looking at Father God? We are one and the same Phillip!". He then told him in John 14:11 - "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." If you can't believe what I'm telling you, then believe because of the works you see me doing. He had earlier told them in John 6:38 that "For I came from Heaven not to do my will, but the will of the Father". Jesus' whole life was about doing what the Father showed him to do, yet even the disciples were having a hard time seeing that.
    At many times in Jesus' ministry, he stirred up a hornets' nest. He had just told the Jews in John 10 verse 30 that "I and the Father are one". They were all picking up stones to kill him when he spoke again. He said "Many good works have I shown you. For which do you now stone me?". He then later said in John 10:37-38:
    "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."

    Christ is saying again, if you can't believe what I'm telling you, you should believe for the very works you see me doing.
    But that was Jesus. Surely he didn't mean that we as disciples of God would be doing the same works he was doing. Well, actually, yes He did. Paul (Saul) was one of the worst sinners ever. He was a MURDERER. He killed Christians and thought he was doing the work of God. After his conversion, he did many great works through the power of Jesus Christ and in His name. To the church at Corinth he wrote:
    1 Cor 2:1-5 "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

    Paul basically said that the proof is in the pudding. I didn't come to you in man's wisdom, or with some great eloquent speech or brilliant sermon. He said he came with the DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit of God's POWER, so that our faith wouldn't become reliant on a man or in man's wisdom, but our faith would be in God and his power.
    "Greater works than these" paul was doing because Christ had went back, and sent down the power of the Holy Spirit, and because Paul was allowing Christ to work in Him. Paul was sold out to God, not just partially, but in whole. He had to be. Listen to the words of someone sold out to God:
    Philipians 3:8-10 "What is more, I consider everything (everything this world offers) as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of KNOWING Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I WANT TO KNOW CHRIST AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION and the FELLOWSHIP OF SHARING IN HIS SUFFERINGS, becoming like him in his death"

    "Greater works than these". How is it that we can do the exact same works that Christ did? Do we see these same works being done every day in our lives the way that they were being done in His life? "Because I go to My Father". He went to the Father, and sent back the power of the Holy Spirit to be used in our lives, to reach this world for Him. Now, I don't know about you, but I usually read this and wonder "Why don't we see or do the things that Christ did?". The miracles, the healings (physically and emotionally), reaching thousands for Him. Is that really what Christ expects from us?
    Are we saved by these works? Of course not. I'm not on a "works" trip. On the flip side, we should be allowing God to take control of our lives and be built up in Faith so that His work will go forth. At one point Christ said "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". Maybe that's a lot of it. Maybe we aren't committed enough to be in continual prayer and to fast for the right reasons. I was thinking after the Terri Schiavo fiasco, that she went 13 days before she died. Now I realize she was in bad shape to begin with. But Jesus went 40 days. My goodness. I can't imagine that, can you? That's commitment. He did this at the beginning of his ministry. No wonder Satan picked that point in his life to throw temptation at him. He was at his weakest physically, but what Satan probably didn't realize was that he was at his strongest spiritually. No wonder Christ was able to do all that his Father was showing him to do. If you can deny food for that long and pray for that long, you are SOLD OUT to God. Jesus didn't do that to prove a point or to show off, He did it because he saw it was necessary to prepare him for what would come.
    I guess most of us have been content with just having enough of God to get by. I know that's how I've lived most of my life. I don't think we've allowed Christ to use us to the extent of what He wants to. I believe in God's word. I don't try to explain it away, and I don't try to make excuses. "Greater works than these". You know what that really is telling me. Christ WANTS us, to do what HE did. He's not trying to keep all the power for himself, or to give us something to say "yippee, look at me, I'm so spiritual", but to get things done. Christ wasn't saying that the only reason he did the works was so they would believe, but it was PROOF of what he was saying was true. This world needs the DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit like never before. Everywhere I look I see death, misery, lost folks, hopelessness, guilt, shame, depression, pain, and the list goes on. People don't want to go to a dead church or see people talk the talk. They are tired of Hypocrisy. They see the church saying be Holy and then they hear of Alter boys being victimized by priests. They see TV preachers in scandal. They want to see someone WALKING THE WALK, and what Paul and the early disciples had - PROOF of what they are saying is true.
    Greater works than these we will do. Will WE?

    One Mind, One Accord

    Imported from our Harvest Church Blogs
    Original Blog Date: 03-29-2005

    Accord in Webster's means: Agreement; harmony of minds; consent or concurrence of opinions or wills.

    I believe being in "Agreement" is a powerful thing with God. Jesus often asked "Do you believe?" before healing someone. On the day of Pentecost, the Bible records, (Acts 1) that many disciples and followers of Christ (about 120) were assembled in an upper room. Acts 1:14 says:

    These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

    Again in Acts 2:1 it says:

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

    After many days of believing, agreeing, and having all things common, the Holy Spirit descended "as tongues of fire" which sat upon each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and things begin to happen. The power of God working in these average people would soon shake the world up for Christ. You can read all through Acts about all that took place, but it's nothing short of miracle after miracle. I believe that agreement and being in One Mind and in Harmony is SO VERY IMPORTANT. The Holy Spirit is not going to fall on a group of believers who aren't in agreement, who aren't waiting anxiously for Him. If we want to see things happen as a body of believers, we need to be in agreement with Christ and each other. Before Jesus was crucified, he had earlier prayed that God would keep his people and Him in agreement. In John 17 he said:

    John 17:11b - Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one as we.John 17:21 - that they may be all one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.John 17:22b - that they may be one, as we are one;John 17:23a - I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one and that the world may know that thou hast sent meJohn 17:26b - that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.

    Do you see a pattern here? The bottom line is this: Christ wants us to be as ONE in HIM and with each other, as HE is ONE with the FATHER. That is SO awesome to think about. Do you think Christ is going to MOVE upon our behalf when we are all one in Him? You bet He will!

    The one sure thing that will stop Christ from moving is doubt. See these scriptures:

    Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Note: Mark states the same thing, except he was able to heal a few sick folks who did believe.)

    Mat 17:18-20 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

    Hebrews 11:6 says without Faith it is impossible to please God.

    To get back on track though, the point I'm trying to make is the importance of Belief and an expectation for God and what he's going to do. It takes us being in harmony and agreement. I believe the reason so much has been heard of from the old tent revivals is because of this very thing. People used to gather out under tents in any weather and get together for a common purpose. God would move, people would literally be healed, lives were changed forever. People who would normally be seen drunk around town all the time would be sober finally. I'm sure even today that these Tent revivals take place, but you don't see it like you used to. It was an exciting thing. People dedicated to get out like that and travel miles came with an expectation. I can assure you, that anytime people get together in the name of Jesus Christ and are in agreement together, that God can then move. It takes people who are sold out to Him, who have a great expectation and who will agree with Jesus to get things done. Do you think the disciples and others who loved Jesus had an expectation to stay in that upper room for many days? You bet they did. They were like the woman with the blood disease that would not be denied. She was going to touch the hem of Jesus' garment and she was going to be healed. She would not be refused. That's the way these people were.

    Let's pray for ONE MIND and ONE ACCORD. These words are words I was given a few years ago to put to song. I've got the words written down but have never put it to music. I'm currently working on that. It's something I can't escape, so I know the Lord has been constantly putting it back on my mind.

    If you have any comments or disagreements on any of this, I'd love to hear from you. Email me at

    Ken Halsted