BECOMING A NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN IN A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

By on April 2, 2019

I get a fire lit on the inside of me whenever I read about the early church, in the Book of Acts. They were small at first, but they made such an impact. Everyone was excited, active and involved. They saw life with Jesus as an ADVENTURE instead of just an accessory in their lives. They were hungry to know Jesus on a personal level and to be used by Him. That’s why the early church grew by leaps and bounds. People could literally FEEL the Spirit of God on the lives of the early Christians.

Another thing about the early church is that they really didn’t care too much about what other people thought about them. All they cared about was what other people thought about Jesus.

So, the Believers in the early church would openly and boldly talk about their new life in Jesus and that’s what created a hunger and a thirst in those who heard them.

Form what I read in my Bible, there was a sense of caring, deep caring about other people. The early Christians CARED that people who were lost in life would remain miserable and unhappy without Jesus. And, that following the pain of a life of being lost on earth comes the pain of being lost in eternity.

You can’t read the Book of Acts without being touched by the Holy Spirit’s dynamic Presence in the lives of an enthusiastic and lively people.
Think about their outreach. There were more than 3,000 converts on the Day of Pentecost alone! 3,000 converts – people who gave their lives to Jesus Christ!

Was it a BIG church that won the 3,000 converts? No. It was a SMALL one. One with the only 120 in attendance. It was a small church, a church of only 120 people who did something simple. THEY OBEYED GOD! That’s all!

We have so many books available on the kinds of programs that a church needs if it’s going to grow. Seminars are held here in the Washington are several times a year, to teach churches how to grow. Hundreds of “Church Growth Consultants” sell their services to churches who want to grow.
There are marketing wizards and demographics experts who guarantee fast results if you buy into their plan and market your church to the proper segment of your targeted audience. You can even hire experts to just give you “ideas” on how to make your church alive and vibrant.

How many of these things did the early church have? None! They did a couple of simple things.

First of all, they each fell madly and totally in love with Jesus Christ. They lived to please Him. They committed themselves to do anything that He asked.

Jesus was the number 1 driving force in each of their lives. That’s why they were out there boldly speaking His words and winning people to their Savior. They simply told people about Him like He told them to do!

You know, that’s something that the modern church seems to have forgotten all about. We have books about sharing our faith and training seminars, but we can’t do it with techniques and training. It has to come from the heart. And, the only way to get witnessing for Jesus to come from the heart. And, the only way to get witnessing for Jesus to come from the heart is to first get that heart full to the top and overflowing with the Spirit of Jesus!

In fact, not only are most Believers absolute foreigners to witnessing about Jesus, but most churches don’t even hold evangelistic services anymore! From what I understand, the Worship Center is one of the few churches that gears it’s message to winning people to Jesus…and then gives them the opportunity to come to Him right there during the service!

No, instead of concentrating on winning people to Jesus, the modern church has settled for stirring up people to vote a particular way, or to join different political and social interest groups.

One day, I was approached by a representative of a candidate for U.S. Congress. He wanted me to lift up the candidate’s name in the church. To “educate” our people to vote for this man. He assured me that the candidate believed in the same things that I believe in. (How this total stranger knew what I believe in is still a mystery to me.) I told him frankly that there is only name that I am authorized to lift up, he was somewhat taken aback, and not sure how to respond.

I don’t blame him. What he was asking for is absolutely normal and common in the modern church that has drifted from its first love. What the world needs isn’t a bunch of different names in the government. What the world needs is the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ!

We need to give the world what it needs, not what it wants. People want to feel good. Jesus can help people to BE good…and THAT’S the best route to feeling good!

Another trait of the early church that we’ve allowed to slip through our fingers is dynamic worship. They worshipped from the heart. They were sensitive to the Holy Spirit. They WANTED to be used by Him. They WANTED to yield to Him. They WANTED to hear from Him. And they did!

They studied the Word constantly, searching the Scriptures and increasing their knowledge of God. On the other hand, most of us don’t read more than a couple of chapters in the Bible from week to week. No wonder we’re missing the target!

They had a sense of urgency in prayer that just wouldn’t quit. When they were faced with decisions and difficulties, they KNEW that they could go to prayer and things would change – that answers from Heaven would come!

Their singing was hearty and zealous and their praise was unrestrained. Even when problems came, the early Christians released strength, power and deliverance by singing to God! Singing even brought angelic visitations!

There was a LOVE among the early Believers that drew them closer than family. They cared for each other, gave to each other and were available to each other. When one Believer had a problem, the others responded according to their abilities. They put away divisions and accepted each other even as Jesus accepted them!

The early church was in agreement; they were all in one accord. They knew what they were about and they knew where they were going. They knew what their job was and they committed themselves to doing it…no matter what the cost or sacrifice! What a difference there is between these dynamic Believers and the half-hearted sluggish and pampered 20th Century “Christian.”

They could wholeheartedly pray the prayer of agreement, and receive mighty answers and outpourings from Heaven. And that’s why they grew.

They had FAVOR with all the people, the Bible says. They weren’t at odds with the rest of the world – they LOVED everybody! And, the Word says that they were well loved in return! The Bible says that the public noticed the church’s rapid and steady growth…and wanted to get in on it!

I believe that God is calling the Worship Center to study and to seek Him to become more like the early church in the New Testament. The only way we can do that is for each of us to become more like the early Believers.

BEATING FORGIVENESS: Who You Need to Forgive and Why

By on March 27, 2019

Most of us are troubled by negative emotions from time to time. Emotions like anger, bitterness, jealousy, fear, guilt, doubt, unbelief and guilt. Even when we have the best intentions, they spring up unexpectedly and at the worst possible moments. We end up saying and doing things that are out of character; things that we regret and can’t undo.

These emotions clog our thinking, our relationships and our praying. We can’t think right when these emotions are stopping up our thoughts. We’re tough to live with when we’re touchy, irritable and moody. And, we can’t praise God like we should, when we’re full of these emotions that settle on us like black clouds.

Lack of forgiveness lies at the root of bitterness, envy, guilt, anger and most negative emotions. Holding grudges and fostering anger toward people you feel have wronged you are two of the major causes of stress, ulcers, depression, heart problems, some types of rheumatism and arthritis and even some forms of cancer.

This is why Jesus taught so strongly on the power of forgiveness. In the Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6, He taught it like this, “Forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The phrase “even as” means, “in the same way, or to the same degree” as we forgive others.

In Matthew 6:14-15, He got even more to the point. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive men NOT their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive YOUR trespasses.”

He’s saying we must let go of our anger and resentment. We have to walk away from bitterness, envy and jealousy. We need to stop going over and over those episodes where other people were unfair, thoughtless, demanding or cruel (Philippians 4:8).

You must put your desire to walk with God and have a good testimony above negative feelings you might still be holding towards any other person. Are you willing to forsake those grudges in order to totally follow Jesus?

What you are on the inside comes out. Your outer world is a reflection of what’s going on inside you. That means that you also attract people who live and think and feel like you do. So, if you’re easily offended, quickly hurt and “temperamental,” that’s the kind of people who’ll gravitate to you. Just what you need, right?

That’s why you HAVE to learn how to forgive! Otherwise, you’ll Be a magnet for OTHER negative, grouchy, bitter and angry people! And, you’ll NEVER be happy, healthy or even able to walk closely with God!

If we don’t walk in the path of forgiveness, we’re doomed to wallow in inferiority, inadequacy, resentment and anger. That’s the only 2 choices.

Unforgiveness hinders our praying. Jesus said in Mark 11:25, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your father also who is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Luke 6:37, He said, “…Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

Where to start. First off, you need to forgive your parents (Ephesians 6:2). Maybe they’re not still alive, but in your heart, you need to absolve them of every single thing they ever did to hurt you. Forgive them for every time they weren’t fair, were thoughtless or even mean to you. By forgiving them, you’re letting go of the hurts of your childhood and letting the inner you “grow up.”

Many adults, even in their 50’s and 60’s are still in states of emotional pain, because they’ve never forgiven their parents. A lifetime of anger or bitterness is a terrible price for something that you can’t do anything about inn the first place.

One man in his 50’s said that he had a miserable time when his father died, because he never felt he had his dad’s approval. After two years, he mentioned this to his mother. His mom told him to let go of it. She said, “Your dad did the best he could with what he had. The reason he didn’t show you more love is that he didn’t have any more love to give. His family was cold and hard, and what he gave you was all he had.” At that point, the son forgave his dad, and dropped the bitterness he’d felt for more than 40 years.

You know what else? Most of the time, you’re parents aren’t even aware of what they did that still has you upset after all these years. They might not have any memory of it at all. If you tell them why you’re still mad at them, they might be shocked because they have no idea what you’re even talking about!

How to forgive your parents: First, in your heart and in prayer. When anger or bitterness crops up, go into prayer, and say, “God, I forgive him (or her) for everything.” Or, visit, write or phone them. Tell them why you’re bugged, and then say, “I want to let you know that I forgive you for every mistake you made bringing me up, and I forgive you…and love you.”

You don’t become a fully functioning adult or parent until you forgive your parents. Until you forgive them, you’re still a sulking child inside, and incapable of having a mature relationship with your mother and father. “Speaking the truth in love, you may grow up into Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15).” The day that you forgive your parents is the best years of your life.

Your brothers and sisters are the next people you need to forgive. Some of us have been nursing grudges for years over the way we were treated by our brothers and sisters. Forgive them for their teasing, mocking and taunting you. They were kids. “Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did to thee evil. (Genesis 50:17).”

Then, there’s all the other people who have hurt you. Schoolteachers, co-workers, people at church, neighbors – every thoughtless, cruel and mean person, you need to forgive, without exception. Let go of the grudge. Drop the anger. Cast off the resentment and bitterness. “Casting your cares on the Lord, for He careth for you. (1 Peter 5:8).”

Refusing to forgive even one person leaves a root of bitterness in your heart that wrecks your chances of full happiness and the joy of the Lord in your life. Hebrews 12:15 says, for us to be at peace with each and every person, “lest any root of bitterness spring up,” and bring trouble to us.

Why be carrying anger, resentment and bad feelings for a person who doesn’t even care about you? While you’re bogged down with your grudge, they’re out there loving life! Drop that grudge, forgive them.

A lot of things we’re bitter about, we got ourselves into. Whether it was a relationship that turned sour, a job that didn’t work out, or an argument we lost. For most of them, we had some choices and said things that made them possible in the first place. So, LET THEM GO. Even if you had no choice, and were a totally innocent victim, you’re still responsible to forgive. Forgiving is so much easier than carrying around your pain, and demonstrating the unfairness of life to all that you meet.

Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for every stupid, thoughtless thing that you’ve ever done. You’re only human and make mistakes, too. Beating yourself over the head doesn’t help you or the other people in your life and it doesn’t

How To Succeed Where You’ve Failed Before…by using the Word of God and Faith

By on March 19, 2019

“YOU FAILED! YOU BLEW IT! ONCE AGAIN, YOU FLUBBED IT! YOU’RE A LOSER!” Ouch! Words like that really sting. They echo in our hearts for years and years. And they affect us more than we realize. See, few things affect us like failure. Losing face. Feeling like we’ve made a fool of ourselves. It can make us afraid to try anything new – because we’re afraid we might fail and people would laugh at us. It can also make us give up if we try something and feel like we didn’t do too well.

That’s one reason why a lot of us end up leaving jobs, clubs and churches that we really love. We leave behind friends who really care about us and others who HOPED to get to know us.

Something happened and we feel like we’ve failed…and that people are laughing at us, or looking down at us. So we just skulk away feeling the hot sting of shame and embarrassment and we embark on the search for yet another group to try to get a new start in.

If there’s one thing you’ll learn at The Worship Center, it’s this: NOBODY HERE IS PERFECT AND WE DON’T EXPECT ANYONE ELSE HERE TO BE PERFECT EITHER. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES AND WE ALL ARE HERE TO HELP EACH OTHER MAKE IT.

It’s like this: If I can help you when you’re going through times of problems and hassles, you’ll be able to help me when I’m going through my times of problems and hassles. It’s that simple.

If you’re having troubles in the wee hours in the morning, you can CALL me. And, guess what? Once you’re up and on your feet, and I’m having problems in the wee hours of the morning, I probably will call YOU for an encouraging word!

So, don’t feel bad if you need to talk to me late at night or early in the morning. I don’t mind a bit. Plus, it means there’s ONE more person I can call whenever I need someone to talk to. I mean it.

No, YOU CAN’T “FAIL” YOUR WAY OUT OF THE WORSHIP CENTER, embarrass your way out, or be laughed out. The only way to drop out is to simply decide it’s not for you. But you can never realistically leave because you think you humiliated yourself and people are looking down on you.

That brings me to this week’s message, which I KNOW will encourage and strengthen you. We’re going to be looking at where Peter had failed. His failure put him in a position to let Jesus get on his boat. After he heard the Word, he went back out and succeeded in the very place where he had failed.

Here’s the way it happened: Peter and his crew had been out fishing all night, and had caught nothing. That meant the bills wouldn’t get paid. It meant that payroll wouldn’t get paid. It meant that payroll be met. It meant that things were going to get tight for not only Peter and his family, but also for his employees as well.

Then, Jesus came along and asked Peter if He could use Peter’s boat to teach from. So, since he had nothing else to do, Peter let Jesus come into his boat.

Jesus taught from Peter’s boat. Peter heard God’s Word. And THEN, Jesus told Peter what to do to take care of his problem.

See it? After Peter listened to the Word, he HEARD from Jesus what he needed to do, and he got the faith to do it! “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.”

You have to try again. YOU WON’T CATCH ANY FISH UNTIL YOU LET DOWN YOUR NET.

A word from God will touch your spirit and change your life…it’ll set you on fire to do what you’ve been saying you CAN’T do! To be what you’ve been saying you can’t be. To SEE what you COULDN’T see. Eventually, you’ll begin to SEE! Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path!

You don’t have to live in defeat or face that problem alone! That’s what it takes to get solutions from God. To LISTEN to the Word. Then faith comes. NEXT you hear from God as to WHAT to do.

We’ll explore the four areas we need faith in so we can make it. We need to have accurate or Biblical faith instead of just believing what other people SAY what the Bible says.

First, you need to have a Biblical faith in God. Believing that God is kind, big, understanding, generous, and powerful and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. He’s the God that gives you a second chance. He’s easy to get along with.

Second, you have to have faith in God’s spiritual laws and principles. It’s having the understanding that it’s not just knowing how they work, but having them quickened by the Holy Spirit. “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”

Third, you need to have faith in God’s ability to work through other people. There’s relatively little you can accomplish until you start trusting other people. You have to release your faith into other people into other faithful people.

As you grow in your walk with God and your understanding of spiritual law, you’ll begin to recognize trustworthiness and faithfulness in other people. You’ll see the hand of God in their lives.

And last, you need faith in yourself. Trust God’s dealings in your life. The Bible says your faith starts really working when you acknowledge the GOOD things that are in you (NOT the BAD things) by Christ Jesus. That’s in Philemon 1:6.

It’s the acknowledging or yielding to what God has put into your life through Jesus that activates your faith. That’s how Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”