I’m sitting at a restaurant with my two boys. Caleb loves shrimp and Luke is chowing down on a hot dog. It is moments like this that make me appreciate these 2 precious gifts that God has given Angie and me. If you don’t slow down for any other reason, do it for the laughs and moments that our Heavenly Father has given you. Pastor Josh
On Palm Sunday, I preached “Scattered Stones” from Luke 19:40-43. Praise is a very important to have peace and to keep the stones of your walls strong. Otherwise your walls will fall and no stone will be left on another but the scattered stones of your life will cry out for you. This morning I was reading 1 Peter 2:4-5, I was reminded of another benefit to praising The Lord. You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. (1 Peter 2:4, 5 NLT) Recognizing the authority and redemptive work of Jesus makes us a part of God’s temple. Be a living stone. Let no other stone praise Him. Pastor Josh.
Commit with me to Prepare the Way! First Fruit Praise God for His unmerited favor and amazing grace. Praise Jesus for becoming the Lamb of God and now stands against the accuser of Christians. Give glory and honor to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thank the Holy Spirit for baptizing us in Power and giving us boldness for the Gospel. Family Praise God for your family. Pray for your spouse (if single, then your future spouse) Pray for your children/grandchildren or future children/grandchildren Pray for your parents and father-in-law/mother-in-law. Career Praise God for your job Pray for success and favor in your job Pray for opportunities to live and proclaim the Gospel on your job. Pray that you be able to lead someone to Christ. Purpose Praise God for your calling Pray that you will be confident in your purpose. Pray that you will be trained and equipped. Declare your willingness to be teachable. Pray against the enemy that would hinder you. Church Body Praise God for Fountain of Life Church. Pray for Pastor and the staff. Pray for the mission of FOLC and the ability to meet the need. (teachers, workers, funds) Pray against the enemy that would stop the Church. Nation Praise God for our nation. Pray for the President and all national and local government officials. Pray for the people of America to wake up. Pray for truth to be spoken and realized. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit across our nation. Pray that America will humble themselves and return to God. Pastor Josh
Joel 2:12–14 (NIV84)12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing …” During this fast, I am not calling for a weight loss program. I am not calling you to a ritualistic annual event. The Lord is calling us to rend our hearts with fasting and praying so that we may be able to cleanse ourselves and to Prepare the Way. I am calling for a holy fast as a sacred assembly. While the fast benefits us personally, it will benefit us as a church and nation. I know many churches who are fasting this week. This week I hope that God’s heart is touched by His people in such a way that the Holy Spirit would fall across this nation so that every heart would be convicted and turn to the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Let us Prepare the Way together. Pastor Josh
God has created us with the capacity to keep learning until the day we die. And that isn’t something we should take for granted. The average brain is only the size of a softball and weighs approximately three pounds, yet neurologists estimate that we have the capacity to learn something new every second of every minute of every hour of every day for the next three hundred million years. Awesome, isn’t it? But it’s more than that. It’s also an awesome responsibility. Learning isn’t a luxury; it’s a stewardship issue. It’s impossible to pinpoint what percentage of our minds we use, but there is untapped potential in all of us. Your imagination is capable of far more than you imagine, if I can say it that way. Yet somewhere along the way, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. And that is the day we stop living and start dying. Why? Because we stop learning. Loving God with all your mind means making the most of your mind by learning as much as you can about as much as you can. But the true litmus test of spiritual maturity isn’t how much you know. It’s knowing how much you don’t know. It’s coming to terms with the fact that God is not an object of knowledge as much as He is a cause of wonder. And that sanctified sense of wonder fuels a holy curiosity to keep learning more about the Creator and His creation. 1 Corinthians 8:2. “The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” Pastor Josh
The natural human response to facing trails or temptations is not rejoicing. In fact we look at them as anything but, however that is exactly what James tells us to do in James 1:2. He goes on to say in the verses that follow that, “…that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I am currently studying through the book of James with my Junior High Sunday School Class (shout out to ya’ll whoop whoop), and learned something new about the wording used here. The word “testing” in the above passage means “proof” or “proving” and the word “mature” which is translated “perfect” in some translation means according to John MacArthur, “perfect-not in a reference to sinless perfection, but rather to spiritual maturity; the testing of faith drives believers to deeper communion and greater trust in Christ-qualities that in turn produce a stable, godly, and righteous character.” When I read things like these it changes my perspective on trails. Instead of negative things or things I muddle or struggle through, I can have confidence that through various trials and temptations God is proving my faith in Him and also producing a deeper more mature faith in Him. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote, “If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed— you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed”. I want to encourage you today, if you are facing trials or temptations (a little squeezing); maybe it isn’t because you are out of the will of God but exactly where He wants you. And know this; that you can face those trails with joy because God is at work behind the scenes creating and shaping you into the man or woman of God that He wants you to become. Pastor Nick
“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.” Oswald Chambers Many times we associate doing great things or exceptional things for God, and doing something that is “big” or at least seen or noticed. We direct it more to a few moments in time rather than a consistent lifestyle. I love how in this quote Oswald brings out the point of being “exceptional in the ordinary things”. It isn’t about that “big” moment or that bright light special, but about consistently doing the ordinary things right. Doing, in my opinion, the simple day to day things with excellence. This makes me think of several of the people who have influenced me throughout my life. Sunday School teachers who diligently prepared and then taught me solid truths of God’s Word, Ushers and Greeters who welcomed me with a smile and knew my name before I held the title of Student Pastor, the old men and old women who made sure to tell me I looked nice that Sunday or noticed me in worship. It wasn’t always the “big” moments or Sunday sermons that helped shaped me, although they did too, it was the people who consistently did the ordinary things exceptional. Scripture says, “Do not become weary in well doing.”, we sometimes lose sight of what we are doing really matters and quit or give up. What you are doing does matter. You are helping make a difference. Sunday School teachers you matter. Greeters you matter. Individuals in our church who give selflessly and lovingly, you matter. When you do the ordinary exceptional you are making a impact. At the end of the quote from above Oswald says, “This is not learned in five minutes.” The things we teach and strive for aren’t learned in five minutes, nor do we learn to be exceptional in the ordinary in five minutes, or by reading one blog, they both take time. But with God’s help and time spent with Him, we can and will be exceptional in the ordinary and make a lasting impact for Christ. Pastor Nick
Coming out of WOC 12 (Week of Commitment 12), I am taking time to sit and reflect on times when I myself was a teenager and did WOC’s. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you one speaker that ever spoke to me, who led worship (although I am sure our students will remember Alisa), or hardly any of the service projects we did. But what I do remember is how close to God I felt, and to the other teenagers. As adults, we can sometimes lose touch with those things God did in our lives as students and forget the promises and callings He placed upon us. I want to encourage you to look back at your teenager years, and reflect on some of the times that you felt so close to God. Maybe it was at a youth camp or on a ministry trip or another time with God. Whatever the case may be, don’t push those feelings aside as childish dreams or childish feelings, but let God rekindle something in you. As a youth pastor, I get to watch the students at our church and reflect back on things God has done in my own life consistently. I want you to do that today. Look at where you were, where you are now, and think about what God may have for your future. Let God breathe life into some of those things that once used to flourish in you. I think there is a good chance when the students are on fire for God, to look at our own lives and see were we are as adults. Scripture says in Philippians 1:6, ”Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I believe that as we reflect and allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into us, that the “good work” that was started in us will continue to be formed and shaped in our lives today as adults. As we are drawn close to God, we will also inevitably be drawn closer to one another. So go ahead, take a little time to reflect today… it’s good for us! Pastor Nick
I am so excited about the reports that have been coming in from this church family. Sunday, I issued a challenge to share the truth about Jesus. It was a very creative way and everyone who helped did a great job. I personally love to do illustrated sermons. I plan on 3 or 4 per year. But back to the point. Some have told me that they were empowered to talk to their loved ones and friends in a more bold way. Some have sent emails or FB post about their story or dedication to winning souls. Jesus is my savior and He is very personal to me as I know He is to many of you. Let me applaud you for joining with me and the rest of the staff to reach a community and city for Jesus Christ. We have been set free from the bondage of sin and death. Everyone deserves to know the full truth of Jesus. I would rather Hell be mad at me for preaching Jesus than failing to tell the truth. What about you? Come and let’s be dangerous together.
Wow, what a great week of living in the FOG (Favor of God). I will never look at fog the same way anymore. It will always be a reminder of the Faith, Obedience and Glorify (FOG) that is required to enjoy God’s favor. God ordained your steps, so why not trust Him and enjoy it. If you missed the sermon, you can get a cd or it will be available under the sermons tab in a few days. I think it would be cool to have some T-shirts made. Would you buy them? Ok, so I want to hear from you. Tell me your stories about your journey of “Living in the FOG”. This Sunday morning and evening, I will be preaching on “Miracles”. Don’t miss your miracle. Pastor Josh