Musing on Remembering Pentecost

Yesterday, Sunday May 27th, 2012, was Pentecost Sunday. Unfortunately, that is a fact that many people in the church were unaware of. In most churches during most years, Pentecost Sunday comes and goes without even a mention.  It seems that by a large, a good portion of the church has simply forgotten Pentecost.  It is a day that should never be forgotten and people need to wake up and remember.  The early church fathers I think would be appalled if they were to find that such an important day is rarely remembered.  We celebrate Jesus birth, we celebrate Jesus sacrifice and resurrection, but we fail to acknowledge God giving us the comforter, the one who empowers us.  The question is why do we forget?

The day of Pentecost falls on the Biblical feast day of Shavout also known as the Feast of Weeks or Feast of first fruits. It is a day very important to God, and it is one in which He has moved to give important gifts.  It is not only the day in which the Holy Spirit came to indwell those who have been redeemed, it is also the day he provided the Torah.  God has chosen on this day to give both His instruction and His empowerment. It is a day of sealing and cementing His promises and establishing connection with mankind. 

So the question is why do we forget something so important?  Why is the day not attended to?  One could post many theories but at some level the shift comes from a looking to God’s direction and moving in our own way.  God gave us guidance through Torah and the Holy Spirit, yet we all too often want to go our own way, do our own thing, and determine our relationship with God.  We may grow in knowledge of God and grasp varied orthodox understandings of God, but do we at heart, deep down have a God directed relationship. Others may embrace spiritual experience but the focus is on what feels good, feels powerful, or looks cool but lacks depth or growth.  Do we seek Him for guidance and empowerment or do we ask God to bless us as we go about doing our own thing?  Do we follow God, and surrender to Him or just do what we want to do?  I think in essence, it comes down to that question. Going the way of self or going the way of surrender.

So here is a challenge on this day of remembrance, take time to remember God.  Take time to examine where you have gone your own way versus walking in submission to Him. Let God bring to mind what He asks of you as you move ahead.  Each us will continue to have a choice. Follow God’s ways and surrender to Him. Grow in walking His path and let Him enable each step. The other choice is the way of self. Each of us need to wake up and remember.  For God and His ways have not changed, He has shown and provided a narrow way to walk in and given us the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us along the way. So wake up and remember for God is with us, every day.

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Living in Surrender to the Holy Spirit: The example of Francis Chan

Back on April 18, 2010 Francis Chan announced to the congregation of Cornerstone Church where he served as a teaching Pastor that he was resigning to follow God in ways and places not yet known.  Francis Chan has authored two books, Crazy Love and Unforgotten God that really give a sound exploration of worshiping in spirit and truth.  Here with his choice and action He shows he is willing to follow God.  He is engaged in what Mark Batterson has referred to as the Wild Goose Chase, the adventure of walking in the Holy Spirit and surrendering fully to God. Francis could have easily continued what he was doing. He has become a very successful teaching Pastor and has spoken words that have challenged others. This blog  even has some of his video clips posted, one being recent.  But it is worthwhile to see a man following God’s call and answering it.  God tells him to move, and in faith he does.  He could easily have stayed, tried to put his own effort into maintaining what had already been built. Instead, he chose to follow God.   It serves as a challenge to each of us to even daily move in following God’s lead even if we do not understand.  God will always see us through to His promises, for He is faithful. God has things ahead for Francis Chan. But guess what God has things ahead for you and me.  We need to start by simply following God’s lead and walking in obedience.

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more about “More from Francis Chan – Justin Taylor“, posted with vodpod

Here is the letter he sent Cornerstone Church:

Dear Friends,

For those who have not heard, this past Sunday I announced to Cornerstone Church that I will be transitioning out of my ministry in Simi Valley. It was a rough Sunday as there were many different emotions floating around the room. In short, Lisa and I believe God is calling us to take a step of faith. We believe we are supposed to move into a major city such as LA, San Francisco, or New York. Every time I fly into a large city, I am struck by the sheer numbers and feel pulled to try ministering in that environment. I encourage you to listen to the podcast from this past weekend to hear more details. If for no other reason, my wife spoke some very powerful words that every believer needs to hear.

It has been an amazing 16 years as pastor of Cornerstone Church. When we started gathering, I doubt that any of us dared to dream that God would use this church to have such an impact on Simi Valley and the rest of the world. I think most of us were just hoping it would survive. God had bigger plans than we did. The Lord has truly shown us His grace, that we could be used as His instruments to bring glory to the name of Jesus.

The plan is that I would teach at Cornerstone through the end of May. During this time, I will be sharing the lessons most important to me. I have taught thousands of times over these years, and now I hope to re-emphasize what I see as most important. I will also be at our prayer meetings to beg our God to do even greater things in Simi after I leave. For those who have questions or just want to talk, you can catch me at the prayer meetings.

I’ll continue to write and give you more information as the Lord continues to guide the elders and me. Like I said at our services, I’m still not completely sure of everything, but it feels great to be living by faith.

Once again, here is my family’s rough plan for our future

April/May = speaking at Cornerstone
June/July = speaking around the U.S.
August/Sept = Praying and walking large cities to seek God’s leading.
Oct-Dec = Serving in a third world country
Jan 2011 = launch a new ministry as an extension of Cornerstone

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this amazing journey in Simi. Thanks for all the love and encouragement my family and I have received over the years.

Francis

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

 

Prayer and Praise for New Joy Church Roger: Brian Sinclair called as pastor.

Well I thank God that the vote on Tuesday went as expected and Brian Sinclail accepted the call to pastor. It will be exciting to see how God moves ahead.  This part of the body of Christ has been through much and now entering a new and exciting phase.  So I just want to request ongoing prayer for God’s move in the church. It feels to me that New Joy and my life are at similar points and season.  We both are at a spring time with work to do to start moving in ways God leads.

Dear Father,

Thank you for calling Brian Sinclair and his family to serve you at New Joy Church in Rogers.  We thank you for what we have gone through, even the difficulty and painful times.  It is even in those times you taught us more of dependence on you and the depth of your love.  Guide our path and steps ahead as you prepare each of us to serve you in accordance with your will and what you have been preparing us for.  Continue to build us into what you desire.  Make your joy be full in each of our lives and overflow to the community around. May your light shine brightly in the area.  Open each of our eyes, ears, and hearts toward your leading and how you want each of us to impact others around us. Be our guide and Chief Sheppard.  And Lord protect us from the ongoing works of the adversary.  Let us continue to be united in your love and be able to stand and resist the ways the enemy seeks to drag us off course.  May we be about serving you and your kingdom not simply expanding a kingdom called New Joy Church in Rogers. Above all Lord Jesus, your will be done.   Amen.

The Lion roared: A vision given to Kris Blake

My mother is involved in a home fellowship that has a weekly Eucharist service. She received the following vision during one of those recent services.

The Lion of Judah roars

The Lion of Judah roars

The Lion roared

As given to Kris Blake

Tonight during the Eucharist service I looked out the window and saw the branch of a big tree through the chapel window. There is a cross that hangs down into the chapel window. When I looked through the window the cross appeared right in the middle of the branches outside of the window. In my vision the tree was in a fresh green field of grass next to a creek. At the base of the tree was a lion lying down, and he appeared to be relaxed and calm. I saw a white horse and he was eating grass, drinking water from the creek, and meandering around the field. In the branches of the tree different varieties of birds came and landed and began building their nests. The birds ate and were nourished by the fruit that grew in the tree, drank the water and raised their young. The birds, the horse, and the lion seemed to be content in the rhythm of their lives. Each morning the sun rose over them and they attended their daily chores, and at night under the light of the moon they rested. Then rather abruptly one morning the lion got up and began pacing around the tree and suddenly he began to roar. As he roared, his eyes were like burning coals, and flames of fire came out of this mouth and he began to trot out of the field. The birds grabbed seeds and flew off with them in their beaks, and then the horse stood still for a moment and he looked at the lion, then his nostrils flared, his ears came up and he turned around and jumped over the creek and proceeded to trot off in the same direction as the lion and birds. They had heard the trumpet, the time had come to prepare for the final act, the curtain is about to fall.

Blog Anniversary 6/10/2009: One year and still ticking.

Wow, this blog has been up and running for a year now.  It is amazing to look back at when I started writing for the blog and where things have gone since.  I think some important articles have been written. Some mistake were made as well but over all the blog is meeting the vision for the blog.  I wanted to make some comments about things happening in the world, do movie commentaries as led, shine light to ways people are deceived, and hopefully shine a light of truth on how really to be in true peace. 

This blog still has room to grow and develop. At some point the blog will migrate over to being hosted at www.peacebringer.netbut in the meantime I am still writing here.  Besides the blog, God lead me to start the forum and domain.  The forum is up and active and has further shaped the vision of looking to shine the light of truth, expose darkness, and build each other up.  I feel blessed by each person God has led to participate in the discussion and find myself challenged as well as hopefully challenge others to grow and evaluate themselves before God.

Now, I know this blog has plenty of growth to do. I realize there are some pretty consistent weaknesses.  One weakness is the inconsistency of posting.  I apologize for making those that follow the blog wonder when I next will post.  I have too often given in to my energy levels and let other things get in the way of writing.  Such a fact is part of the reason I missed making this post on the actual anniversary date. 

I also know I need to better define and organize my categories and broaden them out.  Currently the categories do not make for narrowed down selection to find particular types of posts.  So this is on my ever extensive to do list.   I also plan to reorganize and update my links and blogroll.

In terms of articles you can expect to see in the future there is a good “to do list.” : Ongoing Foundations of Strong Delusion Series, Barriers to the Gospel Series, A series on what we are taught by our culture through entertainment, a Christian approach to conspiracy,  an article or small series on examing morality perspectives, and other series or articles that are not at the top of my mind at the moment.

In the next year I also do hope to have the web portal actually have productive, useful, and interesting content.  Hopefully those of you who follow the blog consistently will continue to have patience as the blog, my writing, and the other services grow and mature.  I look forward to seeing what things God leads me to write on in the year to come. 

If there is anything you would like to see in the blog, portal, or forum please feel free to make a comment. If any content on the blog has touched you within the past year, I love to hear and read testimonies.  You can either post a comment here or drop me an email at peacebringer@peacebringer.net

Above all things I want to wish the readers blessing and may God draw you into deeper awareness of His love, truth, peace, and joy.  May God draw you into true deeper intimacy with Him and may the things the hinder, blind, bind, or get in the way become evident and released.  May God grant all the readers eyes to see, ears to hear, and an open heart to the things of God the Father, Jesus the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

So with that I bless you all in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, let us together see what God will do.