RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Unity: Easy to Lose, Hard to Keep!

We are 21 months into the church planting journey of City on a Hill Church. By far the biggest ongoing challenge is keeping unity within the church. Maintaining unity within the body is only accomplished by the grace of God, the distinct work of the Holy Spirit and the obedience God’s people.

Unity is critical to accomplishing the mission and vision of City on a Hill Church and each individual believer’s purpose. Jesus prayed in John 17 that every believer at that time and every believer who followed would be made one. He prayed that we would experience the kind of unity or oneness that the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) shares. It is perfect unity, harmony and submission each complimenting the other and enhancing the function of the other. I have prayed John 17 over COAH for well over a year now. It has been my constant prayer because I know the potential that we have to impact our church, this city and our world if we remain in unity. That unity has come under assault numerous times in numerous ways. We have seen disunity in marriage relationships, in parent/ child relationships, in Ministry Team relationships, in friendships, in church member relationships, in relationship to the vision of COAH, in relationship to the music (style, volume, attire), and in so many other arenas. I have called these things out daily and we have dealt with them to the glory of God according to the Word of God by God’s grace. I am happy to report we still share a divine unity at COAH and because of the unity we are seeing the lost found, wanderers come home, disciples made into disciple making disciples and missionaries sent into every culture in our city. We are still in unity around our number one core value, “It is all about Jesus, it has always been about Jesus, and it will always be about Jesus.” And we are still in unity around our mission to build become and be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time. But a subtle assault continues daily brewing just under the surface. How do we do battle against it? How do we respond? By God’s grace, with scripture, and being mindful to address issues before they get out of control. Much of the disunity can be addressed by looking into the Trinity and understanding the way our God lives in community and in perfect unity.

The first observation is each person understanding their function within the community and the others complimenting that function and enhancing the functionality of the individual. This can be seen in the Trinity. The Father sends and the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit submit, obey and go. The Son (Jesus) justifies. It is by the blood of Jesus that the wrath of God is satisfied and we stand justified. The Holy Spirit sanctifies. Jesus says He must go away and He will ask, key word ask not command or demand, that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to do His sanctifying work in us and through us. We can see of this is John 14.Understanding our function within the Body creates unity because I understand my function and others within the community also understand, affirm and confirm my function allowing me to be fulfilled gaining a deep sense of meaning and value. The Apostle Paul writes about this in both his letter to the church in Corinth and the church in Ephesus. He explains the gifts and the functions of those gifts by giving us the illustration of the human body. He deals with the necessity of each part and its function. He deals with the disunity of thinking some part is more important or some part trying to function in a role they are ill equipped for. It justdoesn’t work and it affects the unity and function of the overall body. We must know our role and seek to function within that role.We also must know others roles and seek to compliment them in those roles not lording over them or seeking to take their role. A role we may desire but are not equipped with head, heart and hands to fulfill. Much of the disunity within the body comes from people trying to function outside of their calling which is confirmed through the head, heart and hands and the affirmation of the body. Just as the Trinity functions by understanding their specific roles we as the church must also seek to function by understand our roles and the roles of others within our fellowship. Ephesians 4 reveals a powerful truth concerning what happens when the church is in unity and functioning as God intended. Christ is the head and everyone is growing and maturing into the fullness of Christ. Understanding our function within the body will keep us operating in our sweet spot we will see growth in us and around us. The key to this is submission.

Submission is a powerful word. Paul deals with this word and the results of the submitted life in Ephesians 5. He paints a picture of what life can be like in the church and in our relationships through submission to Christ and mutual submission to one another.He then goes on to share in Romans 13 what it means to submit to authority recognizing God’s sovereignty over every aspect of human history and life. We see a perfect picture of the submitted life in Trinitarian life as well. Each member of the Trinity wiling submitting to the other creating a unity and harmony that is unmatched anywhere in the universe. Submission is easy. Yes that is right I said submission is easy. It is easy when we know that we are loved and we know that we can trust the one another. In Ephesians 5 Paul speaks of unity in marriage relationships. Many men have used this scripture to lord over their wives and claim kingship in the households. Their attempts have been futile without love and trust. If husbands and wives do not know they are loved and they can share mutual trust submission is impossible. In any relationship when we know that we are loved and we can trust one another submission is easy because we know the other person has our best interest as heart. This is how we are to lead our families, friends, businesses, and the church loving God and loving people. This kind of leadership builds trust and love and the results are mutual submission and ultimately unity within the body. We cannot have unity without submission. We cannot fulfill our life’s purpose or the mission and vision of the church without mutual submission. Recognizing and submitting to God’s ultimate authority is step one. Recognizing and submitting to one another out of reverence for God is step two. Living out the submitted life by God’s grace and the help of the Holy Spirit is step three and it is ongoing.

I thank God for His perfection and the perfect model that He has provided for us for unity. It is born in love and trust. It is lived out in submission and function. I praise God for the Ministry Team of COAH who exemplify what this kind of life looks like. I attribute the success that we have had and the future success God has planned out for us to the unity given to us by the Grace of God, the distinct work of the Holy Spirit and the obedience if willing vessels who recognize it is not about us it is all about Jesus. My prayer is that we never forget that without unity we are dead in the water. Without unity everything that we had experienced ends. Without unity we are left to wander the desert of ineffectiveness. Without unity we are unfulfilled and life loses meaning. However with unity we are world changers. With unity Christ is exalted. With unity everyone wins and we live fulfilled lives. With unity the Church grows. With unity the lost are found. With unity wanderers find their way home and back into abundant life. With unity disciples are made into disciple making disciples. With unity the world is filled with missionaries bringing unity to a world filled with chaos. With unity God is glorified.

The moral to this story is that we know our roles and functions within our communities and that we know the roles and functions of others within the communities and seek to compliment them. I pray we all submit to one another and the leaders God has placed in our lives willingly out of faith, obedience, love and trust in God. I pray we don’t prefer ourselves above others. I pray we guard the sacredness of the divinely inspired and orchestrated unity that we share. Be encouraged!

Unity – John 17

Function – 1 Corinthians 12/ Ephesians 4

Submission – Ephesians 5/ Romans 13

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 29, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bonus Blog: FEAR IS A LIAR

I am taking time today to share with you my deepest, darkest fear to expose it to the light in hopes of overcoming it once and for all.

I lost my dad at the age of 18. He died at 49 years old. I never met his father my grandfather he died early as well. To this day I haven’t truly gotten over the loss of my dad. Something else happened in that loss. I lost something else that has haunted me ever since. It is the fear of dying young. Not that I fear death. I fear what happens to those that are left behind like I was. To be even more brutally honest I fear a long drawn out sickness like my dad and then a slow death. My dad died of cancer. He had half of his lung removed and continued to smoke. He died of stomach ulcers and liver issues due to alcohol abuse. At 42 my dad began the battle of his life and 7 years later he lost that battle. I remember holding his back and side together so he could cough without as much pain. Since that time the fear of a long drawn out death leaving behind those I love dearly has literally haunted me.

As a result of this haunting, every small pain I have is fatal. Anxiety robs me of life’s every day pleasures and joys. Just writing this and exposing this creates a bit of anxiousness and fear. But I will no longer suffer in silence. I know there are others out there just like me. If fact I met one today that encouraged me to write this blog and he doesn’t even know it. Back in 2005-06 this fear tried to overtake me once again. I found myself frozen in time not seeking to advance. My wife picked up on my mood and asked me what was happening. I’ll never forget it a song came on the tv by Aerosmith, “I don’t want to close my eyes. I don’t want to fall asleep cause I’d miss you baby and I don’t want to miss a thing.” I turned to her and shared my fears. I had gotten so busy worrying about dying that I forgot to live! (DON’T MISS THAT) I went to a therapist and after a few sessions she saw what was going on. She said, “You have something very unique happening inside of you. You fear death but you can see the future. Why is that?” I told her because I am a Christ follower and death is not the end for the believer. Then she asked me a profound question, “What if you have a sickness or die? What can you do about it?” I replied, “Nothing I guess.” She said, “Then why worry?” I left that office that day and I turned on my car cd player a good friend of mine’s cd was playing he was singing a song “Every thing that I have. Every breath that I take until it’s my last. Every beat of my heart. Every step that I take until there’s no more.Lord I live just to give my life to you.” I decided that day that would be my pledge. No matter what happens I will preach the Gospel with every thing that I have until I see Jesus in sickness and in health and all points in between. I have tried to fulfill that commitment daily. Some days are better than others. Lately I have been struggling because life is so good.I am living my dream as a pastor and church planter of City on a Hill Church. My wife and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage this April. I have twin niece and nephew that adore their Uncle Mike and they own a large piece of my heart.All of these factors and missing out on them make that fear I have rear it’s ugly head. Not so much because of what I’ll miss but because I would never want to put any sadness in their hearts. I have only one conclusion. God is good and He will carry them. He is already carrying them. They are in His care not mine. How would they survive without me? By God’s grace. The same way I survived without my dad. I wanted to share a few scriptures and thoughts I came across just in case anyone else is going through or shares my dilemma.

Do not fear dying, or suffering before you die.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Romans 8:18-19 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Don’t fear that you will be a burden to others.

One reason we have a fear of death is that we worry about being a burden to others. That’s a normal fear. But the Bible says we are all connected to one another (Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Don’t fear for those you will leave behind.

If we die first, God will still be with them! Remember, God loves them much more than we do!

Psalm 10:14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Philippians 4:6-8 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I came across this poem while watching the movie Act of Valor. I must admit it didn’t help my anxiety concerning leaving my loved ones behind. But this I found this poem strangely comforting.

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” -Tecumseh

The death song for the believer isn’t a dirge it is a song of celebration. We truly do die like heroes going home. This is where trust in God really comes into play. Do we really honestly believe that God is sovereign? Do we really truly honestly believe that earth is not our home or final resting place? Do we really live life through the lens of eternity? Do we really believe it is God and not us that provides for, watches over, and protects our loved ones? These are all true questions that must be settled by God’s grace through prayer and faith.

I wanted to share this today to put an end to silent suffering. I know being this transparent can make me seem weak.But I don’t care! Leaders lead! If leading with transparency and authenticity creates a perception of weakness this is my cross to bear and I bear it willingly by the grace of God. I know my life is hidden in Christ. My hope is that my transparency will give others permission to be free. William Wallace once said, “All men die only few men truly live.” I want to be one of the men that truly live. My hope is that by sharing this that other men and women who suffer in silence with this or anything else will find the courage to expose it is to the light of truth and be encouraged. My hope is that this breaks the ice and many whose fears have them frozen will fight back and live the lives God has planned for them. Since 2005-06 I have been trying to live this way. I have bought a home (my wife’s dream), planted a church (my dream) and used the words I love you to the people (men and women) God has placed in my life unashamedly. I’m not done yet and neither are you. Let’s get busy living. Be encouraged!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Own Prison


John 8:36 
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed

Jesus can set us free from our own prisons. I see it happen every weekend at City on a Hill Church to the Glory of God!

 23 years ago this one scripture verse set a man born in slavery free. It broke a generational curse of addiction over my family. I was watching TBN, yes that is right Christian television! Imagine God using Christian television to set a sinner free:) Don’t ever discount what God can and will use to reach people. I was an unchurched 19 year old so to be 20 year old at the time. It was 3 am in the morning John Jacobs and the Power Team was on TBN crushing ice, breaking bats and breaking hand cuffs. I was amazed at their feats of strength it got my attention. I was trying to dull the pain of my own prison with drugs and alcohol. The prison I found myself in felt like solitary confinement. It was a prison I had built with my own hands. When John Jacobs preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ he then pointed at the TV camera and said, “If you want to be set free all you have to do is ask.” I didn’t even know I had the keys to my own prison!! I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to save me, help me, forgive me and heal me. Right then I was forgiven and free. Everything changed for me. I went and got a job. I changed my appearance to reflect how I felt on the inside. Within seven days I went from smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day to total freedom. (I don’t condemn smokers.) In June I threw my one hitter pipe into the field. By July 4 I had my last alcohol. By God’s grace I was out of my own prison. That is the Good News. Staying out of our own prisons is the challenge. Negative self talk, negative peer pressure, the cares of this life, our own evil desires, always seek to lock me back in my own prison. One of the first scripture verses I give away is found in 2 Cor. 10:4-5 it says,


2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Let this get into your heart today! Our battle and our prison is not of flesh and blood. We must destroy arguments and every lofty thing that comes against the knowledge that we are adopted into God’s family, that we are forgiven, that we are changed, that we are new creations in Christ Jesus. Many times we create our own prisons using the past as evidence against us. We must no longer live out of the memory of the past we must begin to live in the present and live for the future God has intended for us. We must escape our own prisons. We do this by taking every thought that is contrary to who God says we are and make it obedient to Christ. This is an ongoing daily battle. I know it is for me! I have heard it said, ‘The next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” The next time the devil, your negative self talk or negative self thought start to paint a picture of your future that is contrary to God’s Word arrest those thoughts and put them in prison. We must not lock ourselves up in our own prisons. Look at what Deuteronomy says concerning our battles,

Deuteronomy 20:2-4 (ESV) And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them,for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

We must not let our hearts grow faint or allow fear or dread to lock us in our own prisons. 99% of what we worry about doesn’t even come to pass. We must allow God to fight for us and He will give us the victory. I am preaching to myself. I love in my own prison as well. My struggle with panic and anxiety seeks to overwhelm me. It seeks to rob my dreams, steal my passion and kill my spirit. Most of the time I am the one building my own prison because I give it my attention and allow myself to be carried away. My only weapons are prayer, fasting and the Word of God. These weapons are more than able to set us free from our own prisons and to keep us out of our own prisons. My prayer for every one reading this blog is that you will see that you have the keys to your own prison. God has provided us the ultimate key His name is Jesus. Through Jesus we can be set free and he who the sons sets free is free indeed. Take it from a former prisoner exonerated by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ who was doing life in a prison built with my own hands. Take it from a man who still battles daily trying to keep himself out of a prison built with his own hands by prayer, fasting and the Word of God. If you want to be free all you have to do is ask. What a powerful statement! That is the easy part, the next part is learning to live like we are free. My identity changed from a drug addicted, alcohol addicted, jobless, hopeless, helpless, doomed young man into an adopted son in God’s family with all the rights and privileges of a prince in the King’s kingdom. I had to change. By God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I went a got a job. I changed my friends. I changed my environment. I sought help for my specific addictions. I took ownership and responsibility for my life. I had to learn how to live like a free man. Still to this day I am learning how to live like a free man. Together with God’s help there is nothing we can not do! Let Jesus set you free from your own prison today then start living like you are free. Be encouraged!
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Surrounded

Just got back from City on a Hill Church’s first ever Men’s Retreat MAN UP! It is a truly amazing time, heaven and earth were moved and men’s lives were changed forever. We experienced a powerful move of the Holy Spirit on Friday night with the gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation among the body. I would call it a mountain top experience for many of us. Reports have come back from men who came home and have already began making the changes they were instructed to make by God. But here is what I know and have learned by experience. We can not strike into the heart of darkness and expect not to pay a heavy price. Thursday night, the night before the retreat, I couldn’t sleep I was experiencing heavy anticipatory anxiety. I was worn out Friday before I even set foot on the retreat center. I pushed through and God carried me by His grace. The retreat exceeded my expectations and I was totally blown away by God’s presence corporately and individually. Got home Saturday still reeling in the back of my mind from Thursday nights struggle and still weary from an awesome weekend. Saturday afternoon and evening I fell into a funk. I felt like I was surrounded by darkness and it was closing in. Every hour felt like the darkness surrounding me got tighter and tighter. I awoke Sunday morning still feeling that same sense of being surrounded. I felt it so strongly that I drove a few extra laps around the neighborhood before even heading into COAH for the servant’s service. Quite honestly I was heavily concerned about leading and preaching. I lead and preach from a place of trust, transparency and authenticity that just can’t be faked. I’ve always heard fake it till you make it but that just doesn’t work for me. I’m not plastic I am flesh and blood. I came in and spoke with a few folks, prayed for a few folks. Even though I felt surrounded I know without the shadow of a doubt that God is faithful! When prayer time arrived in the servant’s service I went up and had Tammy and John pray with me about the oppression and darkness I felt surrounding me. That prayer empowered me and led me to pray a powerful prayer over our servant’s and became a catalyst to a second wave of prayer in our service. I felt like Elisha’s servant when they were surrounded by the enemy and Elisha prayed that God would open his eyes to see they may have been surrounded by the enemy but the enemy was surrounded by God and the armies of the Lord!

2 Kings 6:15-17 (ESV) 15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

We had powerful services at City on a Hill Church. We saw salvation, encouragement, re-dedications and experienced a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit among us calling us to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ. While I may have started the day surrounded by my enemy, the enemy was not aware that actually he was surrounded by a Higher Power, the God of the universe. The enemy may have thought he had the upper hand and that he was going to steal, kill and destroy all the while he himself was surrounded by the armies of the Lord. You may feel surrounded today. You may feel like the darkness is closing in. I encourage you to open your eyes and see the armies of the Lord surrounding both you and the enemy of your soul. Be encouraged! You are not alone! We are not alone! God is present. The heavenly hosts have us surrounded. Fear not! Darkness is not as dark when light penetrates the darkness, darkness flees. Jesus is the light! Let Jesus light up your world and push back the darkness with just a flick of His finger! We are surrounded for sure, surrounded by God’s grace, love and mercy. Be encouraged!
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

An Inside Job

Deuteronomy 30:16-18 (ESV) 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your Godthat I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.


In January of 2010 I felt a strong calling from God to plant City on a Hill Church. I had no idea how it was going to happen. I had never planted a church before. I had heard horror story after horror story of failed church plants. I hadn’t even had that heart to heart conversation with my wife until mid January. But there was one thing that I absolutely and totally knew. I knew that planting City on a Hill Church was going to be an inside job. I knew that in order to see the dream God had placed in my heart there was going to be some intense soul searching, repentance, prayer and fasting. Some things were going to have to happen inside me before God could effectively work through me to plant City on a Hill. I knew it was going to be an inside job because I was in desperate need of inner healing. I knew it was going to be an inside job because I was in desperate need of forgiveness for holding bitterness and anger towards others. I knew it was going to be an inside job because I was fearful and afraid living in the cage of responsibility and excuses. Deuteronomy uses the term “your heart” 30 times in the ESV Bible. 30 different times while God is establishing is Word and authority in the hearts of His people he constantly refers to their hearts. He fully knows that loving, following, and serving Him is an inside job. It has to happen on the inside before it manifests on the outside. Staying in right relationship with God is an inside job. That is why discipleship is so critical to the Church. Discipleship is an inside job. It introduces us to Jesus in a deeper, richer, fuller way. Through discipleship we get to know God. We don’t just learn “about” God we actually get to know His heart. We begin to learn to love what He loves and despise what He despises. Two years later my relationship with God is still an inside job. Pastoring is an inside job. Church planting is still an inside job. I can not tell you the depth of the inner struggles that I face as a pastor and church planter. The loneliness is like nothing I have ever experienced. This has been and continues to prove itself to be the most beautiful yet brutal journey I have ever embarked upon. Thank be to God I am not alone! I have Jesus and a very special group of men and women in my life. I want to shout out to Ed in Carolina, John in Oregon, Tom in Texas, Marty in FL and John in Virginia. I want to shout out to my Trustee Board Blanche, Dee, Paul T. and Royce. I want to shout out to my brothers in discipleship Van, Papi, Royce, John, and Pedro and my Wednesday night Men’s Group. All of you help me face my inner struggles. All of you help me shoulder my burden. Please understand today that life is an inside job, faith is an inside job and joy is an inside job. Deuteronomy reminds us about our hearts. He gives us life laws to live by but God isn’t just interested in us living out the letter of the law. He is interested in us guarding our hearts and being sure that what is on the inside matches the outside. Look at the verse at the top of this blog but if your heart turns away you will fall into idolatry. Every day something pulls at us from the inside. The call to an easier life, money, power, sex, fame and fortune they all seek to pull an inside job and rip us from God’s will for our lives. If we define success as knowing and doing the will of God we will be far less tempted to give them our attention. Be careful my friends not to let the heist of the century rob you of your faith and the hope that you have in Jesus Christ because 9 times out of 10 the heist will happen right under our noses. It is almost always an inside job and it happens so quickly that we don’t even see it until it is too late. The good news is that there is another kind of inside job at work in us. It is the inside job of faith, hope, and love. It is an inside job done by the work of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. He is hard at work inside the hearts of any who would let Him performing the inside job of sanctification and calling us to a higher calling, empowering us to live lives to the glory of God, preparing us for every good work laid out for us, and acting as our down payment on salvation. This is the kind of inside job that we want to happen. God is still performing an inside job in me. It is daily. Be encouraged!
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

An Outward Sign of an Inward Change

Micah 7:19 (ESV) He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.


Everyone who really knows me and knows of my ministry knows how dearly I hold baptism. Baptism is one of two ordinances that Jesus left for His church. We see when Jesus gave us the Great Commission in

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

he included baptism as the first identifying step to discipleship. We just started a new series at COAH called ROOTED. It is all about the call to discipleship and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The first step following salvation and conversion is baptism. It is not an option it is a command from Jesus, who himself was baptized by John the Baptist. Baptism shows the world that we belong to Christ, that we identify with Christ, that we are a part of God’s family. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. It reveals the work that Christ has done on the inside. Work that was accomplished for us by the life (living a perfect sinless acceptable life), the death (paying sin’s penalty once and for all) and the resurrection (defeating satan, sin, and death offering eternal life) of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul reveals in Romans 6 that baptism is a word picture to the world. Going under the water symbolizes being buried with Christ and dead to sin and coming up out of the water symbolizes being raised with Christ to a new life. I love what Micah 7:19 says about our sins being cast into the depths of the sea. The depths of the sea are an unreachable place so they are gone forever. Easter Sunday April 8 at sunrise City on a Hill Church will be at Gandy Beach for our special Easter Sunrise Baptism Service. There is no place I’d rather be on Easter than in the waters of baptism. The significance is matchless. When that sun begins to rise on Easter Sunday you can’t help but see the double meaning. Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of the Son of God Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. It just doesn’t get any better than that! Baptism truly is an outward sign of an inward change. It is a time to invite friends and family to one of the most powerful spiritual markers in our lives. Every time I am privileged to share in this sacred moment memories of October 1991 come flooding back into my soul. When I stood in those waters of baptism I felt like I finally found my place. I felt like I was home. In my head plays a song by Clay Crosse, “I’ve walked along a 100 highways, some I wish I could forget. And I’ve burned a lot of bridges but there’s not one that I regret. Cause every path I’ve taken, they all have lead me to knowing my place is with You.” My baptism on that special day was an outward sign to the world that I had experienced an inward change. The last 21 years have been a testament to that change. My heart is to show that world that it is all about Jesus, it has always been about Jesus and it will always be about Jesus. I took my first step toward discipleship in March of 1991 when I publicly walked that aisle at Calvary Assembly of God in Dade City after Pastor Joe Register gave an altar call to salvation. I took my next step getting connected to a Saturday night Bible Study Small Group in June. I took my next step joining a Ministry Team called the Royal Rangers in July. I took my next step in October when the church offered the opportunity to be baptized. This has been a significant part if my journey. I am believing God for an HIS-toric baptism at COAH on Easter Sunday April 8, 2012. Every Friday from now until I step into those waters that morning I will be praying at Gandy Beach asking God for souls. Asking God to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), asking God to gather the wanderers (Ezk. 34) asking God to call Christians to discipleship and transform us all into disciple making disciples. I will be asking God for changed lives. My hope is that many will follow the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism and reveal to the world the outward sign of their inward change through baptism. If you’ve never been baptized or you have re-committed your life to Christ and want to show the world your renewed commitment take your next step. I can’t wait till Easter Sunday! My will be praying for you! Be encouraged!
 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,