Q&A with the Pastor.


Pastor Dave talked about the Ressurection of the Church and the Return of Christ this past Wednesday. Everything from pre-trib vs post-trib to what the rapture will look like (SPOILER** it’s not like a Nicholas Cage movie). 

This forum is a place for you to ask questions about a very controversial and confusing topic. So feel free to ask away and a pastor will comment back with an answer! 

Going Deeper on Becoming Barnabas

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In my message Wednesday night I talked about the Ministry of Encouragement and the role it will have in the Church’s growth.

The truth is no other ministry may be of more importance.

Those whose choose to take up that mantle of Son/Daughter of Encouragement will be instrumental in building and sustaining the leaders and future leaders of the Church.

For every Paul, there is a Barnabas.

My question to you is, if you are a Paul, who is your Barnabas? And if you are a Barnabas, who is your Paul?

You see the church can only operate with heavenly efficiency if everyone is doing their part. As they say, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. In order to do that we must be able to identify our strengths and weaknesses and we also must be able to identify the area that God has called us to. You see, our strength isn’t always was God calls us to. In fact, He normally finds a way to stretch us; calling us to a place/ministry that is way out of our comfort zone. The good news is, God doesn’t call us to what we are, He calls us to what we can be.

Just look at Peter. That guy was a mess. He couldn’t control his temper or his tongue. He was the picture of instability, and yet Jesus called him Rock (Peter). We can take solace in the fact that God knows who we can be. We must trust that He knows best and we must be careful to listen to His instruction.

One way we do that is by growing more sensitive to the spirit. Here is an article that lists Seven Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit by Charisma News. Check it out!

Stay blessed and see you Sunday!

Pastor Seth.

Going Deeper: Resources for further Study on Sexuality


Here are some resources to help you dig deeper into Wednesday’s teaching on Pursuing Purity by Pastor Dave. 

Biblical Study on Sexuality 

Rosalia Butterfield Interview

Pure Life Ministries – Getting free from sexual obsession.

Homosexuality – Compassion without Compromise

Joe Dallas Blog – Truth Telling and Roller Coasters

Also Check out these books…

5 steps to getting free from Porn -Joe Dallas

Eros Defiled- John White

Living in Pursuit

Day 7

2017-theme-imgWell, our 2017 Prayer Week is coming to a close. I hope that these devotionals have been a helpful aid as you sought God this week. And while our prayer week is over, we must continue live our lives in pursuit of God. All of our prayers this week will be null and void if  we fail to walk out the things that we declared in our prayers. We must allow our prayer to lead to action.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Nehemiah. In the first two chapters we see the perfect example of prayer turning to action. Nehemiah is a Hebrew who is serving in the presence of King Artaxerxes as a cup bearerWhile he is serving in exile he receives a report that Jerusalem is in ruins, and he immediately feels a burden. His heart is in turmoil so He goes to the Lord in prayer. His prayer is heartfelt and honest. And you can tell that while he is bringing an offense to God, he is also bringing a sense of personal responsibility. We see this come to fruition when Nehemiah is given the chance to not only bring awareness of the current state of Jerusalem, but also to personally see to it’s rebuilding. This is the attitude we must bring with us into the new year. Not only praying and seeking the Lord but having the willingness to stand up and take action.

So as we move forward into 2017 lets remember what we’ve prayed this week.

(1) We prayed that God would give us a desire for Him and His presence. A desire that leads us to re-prioritize our life, placing God on the throne of our hearts. (2) We prayed that we wouldn’t hide in our sin, but rather that we would approach God knowing that He is fully aware of our sin and yet He still loves us. (3) We prayed that we strain forward, like a marathon runner, pressing on to win the race. (4) We prayed that our eyes would be opened to the people around us whose hands have fallen. And that we would be quick to be those who stand in the gap for the tired and weary. (5) We prayed that our discipleship would defined by service that flows from a deep love for God. (6) And finally, we prayed that we would not settle for mediocrity. Instead, that we would strive for holiness; that we might be made useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

In this new year let us, like Nehemiah, not let these prayers just be words. Let us apply these to our life in 2017 and watch as our pursuit of God leads to healing, breakthrough, and victory. Let us spend this year Living in Pursuit.

 

Pursue Holiness

Day 6

It is common these days in the house of the Lord to see people settle for good enough. One might call this a mediocre spirit. Yet God has always asked for the greatest and most skilled craftsmen to work on the tabernacle, temple and the palace through out Israel’s history. We keep ourselves spiritually impoverished if we settle for lesser efforts. Paul writes in 2 Timothy,

Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 NIV

For our purposes today we will focus on the generality of the command and not the specifics. There is much that God’s spirit systematically extracts from our lives. While it may be painful to surrender to this surgical removal of sinful impulses and habits, it is vital to our spiritual health. We need to remember that God always does this for our health and He always does so with our permission. He is no thief; there are no spiritual sneak attacks. We invite Him into our lives with prayer, asking Him to make us holy. We pray that He would purify our hearts, or wash us in the blood. Which ever phrase we use the concept is the same. We ask, “Jesus, make me like you.”And when we do so, God brings change into us. We may be surprised by his ways, but his purposes come at our request.

There is a bravery necessary to begin the cleansing process. We are not called to aimlessly drift through life (I know, I say this all the time!). We must be purposeful in our pursuit of holiness. I ruthlessly examine my life and find I am so much less than what Jesus expected from me. Then I determine that I actually want this virtue that God is bringing to my attention. Finally, I pray for the virtue of Christ in me. Come Lord, make me patient; Come Lord make me truly loving; Come Lord, help me care about those outside my circle; Come Lord, heal my brokenness. This is a bold invitation!

My heart isn’t easily brought to this place. Prayerful inspection, heartfelt remorse, genuine repentance, etc. These must happen before God will to bring trouble to my heart. I don’t always want to trouble my soul but this is what is necessary to pursue holiness. The ruthless pursuit of becoming a vessel for special purposes. This is called a vessel of honor in other translations. The honor is all about Jesus and not about us.

What kind of a year will you have if you give yourself completely to the honoring of God? Kingdom impact will be maximized and flesh will be minimized. You will be a conqueror.

Pursuing Avenues of Service

Day 5

My default position is selfishness. I suspect yours is too. There are people who are more magnanimous that I am by nature; people who are more “others-centered” than I am by nature; and there are people who are genuinely caring and concerned. But psychologists tell us that even in the most altruistic person, there is an element of self-interest. In other words, we are all selfish.

Yet God calls the follower of Christ to serve those around him, often to the detriment of himself. The measure of being an exemplary disciple is service that flows from a deep love for God.

The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11 NIV

And much of that service will be toward other human beings. Some of them will be ungrateful, some unworthy, some will be over flowing with gratitude. And some, frankly, will be better people than we are.

How can we find a place to serve? How can we express the love we have for God by helping others? We need to be determined to chase those opportunities. They aren’t always easy to be a part of. One year I was convinced that God wanted me to drive a couple days a week for a meals on wheels program. I called the non-profit that ran the program three times before I got a call back. I left messages that intimated that I thought, as a pastor, I might be able to influence some other volunteers to join with me (bonus!). Still no response. I am ashamed that after 30 days of chasing it I gave up, thinking that I had misunderstood the impression of the Holy Spirit.

But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t God! Find your sweet spot. Find the place where God can fill your heart with the joy of service. Too many of us walk around unfulfilled, serving only ourselves. How many coats, boots, hats, shoes, etc can you collect? Maybe it is time to start asking God to show you the avenue of service that he has for you.

Let me give you a few pointers.

(1) These are often short term temporary assignments. (2) Finding the right place to serve is like trying on pants. You will have to go through a few before you find the right fit. (3) Ministry coordinators have been burned by people with good intentions but little follow through. Do what you say you’re going to do! Opt for a short term assignment if you have long term commitment issues or scheduling problems. (4) Serve these folks as if they were Jesus himself. Have a smile on your face. Be optimistic. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. After all, He is the one we want people to pay attention to. And when someone asks how you can serve with such joy…mission accomplished!

Pursuing Victory

Day 4

There are few moments in life that always remain at the forefront of your memory. For me, one of those moments is when I invited a prophet to come to our church. I knew that people needed a word from God. I also knew that word had to be something genuinely from heaven and not some warmed over scriptural encouragement. I remembered a story in the book of Exodus (17) that tells of an interesting phenomena. I really believed that it related to our church that morning. So as the worship team turned over the service to the prophetic brother, I walked to the back of the sanctuary and stood in the corner with my hands lifted over my head. I did so based upon the following story.

“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” – Exodus 17:10-13 NIV

The Spirit moved in our sanctuary very powerfully that day. Private things, known only to a small handful, were revealed by the voice of the Spirit. God called people to ministry, empowered people to God appointed tasks, healed marriages and revealed hidden sin in the gentlest of ways. It was powerful! My assignment is to give spiritual oversight to this faith community. My uplifted hands welcomed the presence of God into that place. I did nothing but invite God to do his will, nevertheless, without that welcome into the church little would have happened.

Often the church can devolve to a few people doing the work of the ministry while the rest sit and soak. Really, that has never been God’s design. God’s wants us to actively pursue the presence of God in our own life to the extent that we carry it forward where ever we go. That makes us bearers of his light, his healing, his word, and his voice! We are all ministers to that extent. Pursuing that calling also puts us alongside God’s anointed brothers and sisters.

Today, while we are pursuing God’s purpose in our own life, we also need to look around and find other men and women of God who are tired, and who may have dropped their hands. There are Fathers who have dropped their hands exhausted over business problems; there are mothers who have dropped their hands over their teenage children; there are ministry leaders who have dropped their hands over failures. Victory came even when the leader’s hands had to be lifted up by Aaron and Hur. Will you look around and find somebody’s  hands to lift up today? Will you bring victory and deliverance by standing in the gap and holding up the arms of your pastors, your friends, and your family?

If you can answer that call, then you can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Get Up and Run

Day 3

Running. I’m not a fan.

I walk a few miles each day, even in the winter but running? Well, I have to draw the line somewhere! In our day running is a symbol as well as an attempt. I know,I have family members that run track, run 5Ks, 10k’s, and even marathons (26.2 miles-what?).My favorite bumper sticker these days is the one that says 0.0. It testifies to the world, that I just don’t want to be healthy that bad!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing
I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. –   Philippians 3:13-14 NIV

 Paul is using imagery that should be familiar to a runner. He is saying that he wants this
powerful spiritual walk with God and that he hasn’t fooled himself into thinking that he has achieved it yet. Are you kidding me? If Apostles can feel that way… well, you get it. He is saying there is still work to do, the goal isn’t met, it isn’t good enough, development needs to happen! He is saying God isn’t finished with me yet!

But he is also saying I’m in it to win. He warns us to do a couple things that we would
be smart to remember here at the beginning of the year. Let’s review them.

(1) Forget what is  behind. The past is the past. There is no living with it, bury it and move on. Even the good stuff! Even the accolades, even the celebrations, even the achievements…bury them. It takes prayer  to forget the past. The world will try to remind you of your past. Bury it.

(2) Strain- This is the look on the face of many marathon runners. They are putting it all
out there, really trying! A powerful spiritual walk doesn’t happen by accident. People don’t trip and fall in to maturity. You need to evaluate your life and determine that you will proactively  pursue God. I heard a pastor say just today that he is simply one of God’s sheep, an imperfect  human, one among many. I get that. I know that. But there is another truth to balance that  humility out. God has anointed you, brother, to change lives. Don’t hide your passivity behind  the mask of false humility!

(3) Press on to win. The Apostle clearly knows that it is God’s will for him to run and win!
He says as much to us here in the last verse. God laid his hand upon him for the very purpose of winning the prize. Implicit in the comment of Paul here is that there are a million distractions along the way. Everyone of them can be useful to get your attention off of what God wills for  your life. Don’t placate them, press on! Don’t play with them, press on! Don’t settle for most  improved! Not everyone will get this trophy! Get up and run like you want it!

Prayer’s Practical Presence

Day 2

Prayer is practical in so many ways. Who knows more about you than God? Not your friend, not your lover, not even your momma. It’s true. Yet, too many of us fight the knowledge of God in an effort to dodge the change that must be affected in our lives. In the story of Adam and Eve we see the first couple hiding from an all-knowing God.

“Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, where are you? He answered, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat fromThe man said, The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Then the Lord God said to the woman, What is this you have done?” – Genesis 3:8-13

Adam and Eve hid from God because they were guilty of an infraction of the rules that God had set before them. What God asked wasn’t too difficult. But the deceiver was quick to jump on the opportunity to put a wedge of division between God and his prized possession among all creation, mankind. Mankind’s cycle of sin and guilt has often driven people far from church. I know of a young woman who is leaving the church. She tells people that she is repulsed by church people; in reality she knows that God sees her sinfulness and He is repulsed by her sexual sin. She spins it so that she doesn’t look guilty to her brothers and sisters. However, she still looks guilty before God.

Like this young woman, we often try to spin our sin; forgetting that it is the all-knowing God that calls us to His presence. He knows all of our sin. At first, that fact is off-putting. But there is another truth that completes the story. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8 NIV). Christ knew of our sin when He died on the cross.

Don’t try to hide your sin from the Lord,for it is only through His forgiveness that we can shed our guilt and shame and walk freely in the world.

He knows all our sin, and still He invites us to fellowship with His perfection!

Pursuing the Presence

Day 1

 To have found God and still pursue Him is the souls paradox of love. –A.W. Tozer

A new year. We are long past the time of asking the question, where does the time go? We found the answer to that last year. Time flies! That fact creates an urgency in the soul and heart of men and women of God. What is the most important thing in my life? What should I spend more time doing this year than last year? What needs to increase in my life more than anything else? Likely, the answer to those questions is prayer.

Just about every one of us would agree that we need to concentrate more earnestly on pursuing the presence of God. There are many scriptures that encourage us to spend time praying. The Prophet Isaiah tells us to seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6 NIV). The encouragement to pursue the presence of the Lord is balanced by the warning of an approaching time when the presence of the Lord will not be so easily found. These are easy days of finding God’s nearness compared to the future days of hardship and strife. Pursuing God’s presence requires a determination. I am not talking about making a resolution to pray more, I am talking about making a determined plan to be in the presence longer, earlier, and with greater clarity.

Recently, my doctor told me that I needed to eat and take my pill an hour before I worked out. It sounds strange, but it took some planning in order to accomplish that. I leave for my work out at 7:30 am, which means that the medication would have to be in my system by 6:30 am. I have to drink a large glass of water or two before I take my medication so that means I would have to be up and out of bed by 6 am. In order to accomplish that I would have to adjust my bed time. Well, you can see where this is going. My whole schedule would change because of one tiny pill! However, the importance of that pill makes the change necessary. Like my pill, a dedicated prayer life requires change; however, the life-giving power that comes from a pursuit of God makes the change necessary.

How desperate are you for God’s presence? Christians everywhere are hoping to bump into God today, but not many will make the necessary changes it takes to meet Him. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7,  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Finding God takes a commitment to pursue. So, how bad to you want Him in 2017?