December 30, 2011
My sermon this Sunday is called, “Preparing to Serve the King.” Daniel 1 tells the story of four young men who chose to eat vegetables and drink water rather than to defile themselves with the food and wine of the King of Babylon. Babylon was a powerful historical city that had conquered Jerusalem and taken Daniel and his friends as slaves. Babylon is also a symbolic city which represents the corruption of the world. Daniel’s faith and courage enabled him to resist the corruption of Babylon. He was rewarded by God with wisdom and understanding that enabled him to prosper.
We have an emphasis at Living Streams called “Fast, Pray, Worship” for the first twenty five days of January. We want to start the new year together with a focus on seeking the Lord and preparing ourselves for ministry. If you are going to excel in any area of life you must prepare yourself in order to prosper. In our relationship with the Lord, we grow one step at a time as we hear and obey the Word of God. We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and we want to hear the Lord as He speaks to us. Fasting is something men and women of God have done for thousands of years in order to tune in to the Holy Spirit and diminish the pull of the world in their lives.
Every one of us must resist the spiritual corruption in our culture. If there is something in your life that has an unhealthy grip on you, now is the time to let it go. You can chose whatever type or length of fast you feel good about during this season. This is also a great time to start reading through the Bible or begin a new pattern of daily worship. I’m hoping we will prepare ourselves together to serve the King of Kings and intercede effectively for those we love.
December 9, 2011
My message this Sunday is called, “Prayer that Leads to Blessing – Part II” from Luke 11. Last week my message focused on the five parts of the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11. This prayer includes our Heavenly Father’s name being hallowed, God’s kingdom coming, receiving our daily bread, forgiving others, and being led away from temptation.
This week we will see how Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit is the key to these prayers being answered. I have been praying the Lord’s Prayer since I was a child and studying these scriptures for years, but I had never seen the connection between the Lord’s Prayer and the Holy Spirit until this last week. The revelation that came to me is that Jesus teaches about the Holy Spirit in Luke 11 because the Spirit is the one who enables the Lord’s prayer to be fulfilled in our lives.
This passage also has a parable in which Jesus teaches us to be bold when we come before our Father in heaven. If we believe we can trust Jesus, then we can be bold before the throne of God. If we believe our world has a big need for the Kingdom of God to come and his will to be done, then we must be bold when we come before our Father in Heaven. We are called to be a people who will bring glory to God because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. God wants us to be bold in our prayer and our proclamation of the good news about Jesus. Let’s pray together this week that many people will have breakthroughs and be transformed by the Lord as we gather for worship at Living Steams this week.
December 1, 2011
Last week Kristina and I were in California to do some ministry and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. My grandsons Matisse, five years old, and Soren, two years old, were scheduled to run in a one mile Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving morning. When I found out that it was supposed to rain, I suggested that I would take the boys out to breakfast so their parents could still run the 10K race. Phil and Moriah both looked at me as if I had suggested skipping church on Easter. “They will be running in the race. It is only rain,” they told me. So I carried an umbrella and ran the mile race along the hillside trail with Soren. He ran with a huge smile, stopping only once to look at a worm along the trail, which took a minute off his time. He won his age group, since there were no other two-year-olds running. Soren and Matisse run with joy. Their parents both love to run. Moriah’s dad, Walter, regularly takes her on 10-15 mile runs in the hills of Marin County. Running is in their family DNA.
Jesus was a man of prayer. Prayer was his connection to his Father in Heaven. Prayer was not a chore for Jesus, it brought him refreshing, insight and connection with his Father. If Christ is in you, then prayer is part of your DNA as well. Prayer should not be a chore, but an opportunity for you to connect with your Father in heaven and experience grace that will inspire and encourage you. I’m looking forward to sharing a message this weekend at Living Steams called, “Prayer that Leads to a Blessing” from Luke 11. I’ll be praying that you will receive a revelation about prayer that will enable you to experience the fullness of our Father’s love for you in the days to come.