Sunday Preview ~

September 30, 2010

My message this Sunday is called, “The Value of Faith” from Galatians 3:8-14. There is a lot of craziness that takes place around the world in the name of faith. Some people think that faith is claiming what you want from God and believing you have it no matter what circumstances say. They have been misled about the way the Lord works by those who reduce faith to a formula for getting what you want out of life. That approach doesn’t work in the real world and it leaves people confused.

True faith is not a blind leap, nor is it based on a powerful leader. Biblical faith comes from the Word of God. It is rooted in reality and is based on the revelation of God in all the Scriptures, not just a few isolated texts. Real faith allows us to get to know the Living God and live without religious formulas and superstitions. God gives us gifts through faith that money cannot buy. God justifies us through faith and gives us the Spirit through faith. We are forgiven through justification and empowered to have a ministry by the Spirit.

When we understand that forgiveness, spiritual gifts and our future legacy are all determined by faith, we can say amen to the truth, “Faith is more precious than gold.” (I Peter 1:8)

When we have something valuable, we want it to grow and we protect it from harmful influences. My prayer is that this message will strengthen your faith so that you will experience the full measure of God’s grace and blessing in your life.

Sunday Preview ~

September 23, 2010

I have been working on a message from Galatians 3:1-7 for this Sunday called “The Blessings of Believing God.” People show a naive lack of understanding when they say, “As long as you believe in something, that’s good for you.” If you believed you should buy more real estate three years ago, the chances are good that you have lost money. If you believe the story of someone who turns out to be a liar or deceiver, you can be fooled. It is really important for us to believe what is true and what is right if we are going to make wise choices in life. Throughout Scripture, God makes promises and establishes covenants with his people. Those who believe what God says experience the blessings the Lord promises to those who obey him. Those who don’t believe what God says find themselves learning the lessons of life the hard way.

This Sunday is the 26th anniversary of Living Streams. It is easy for me to reminisce about the good old days, when our four children would help me pack our van with the Sunday School supplies stored in our garage, and we’drive to Mercury Mine Elementary School to set up for our Sunday services. However, I’m not one to think much about the past when I’m enjoying what the Lord is doing in our midst today. Many of us have been refreshed and renewed by the prayers of our intercessors during this past month. I want to thank you who have been praying for me. My life was dramatically impacted by our month of fasting and prayer last year. I’m excited to see what the Lord will do in our church in response to this season of prayer.

We are going to celebrate our anniversary with a barbecue lunch after our 11:00 AM service this Sunday. I hope you will join us as we enjoy the blessings of good worship, good food and good friends.

Sunday Preview ~

September 16, 2010

This past week I have been encouraged by hearing several reports about spiritual breakthroughs in the lives of people at Living Streams. I think we are seeing some  grace released in response to the season of fasting and prayer many of our members have entered. This is special because often God’s response to our prayer and fasting isn’t usually something that can be recognized until few weeks or even months afterwards.
We are hearing other encouraging reports as well. We sent Jeff Skeens and a team of people to plant Kineo Church at 37th Ave and Camelback last year. They now have 150 people coming to their services and have outgrown their building. They are one block from Grand Canyon University and more students are coming to Kineo as the University and the church continue to grow. The team we sent with Lloyd Baker several years ago to the west valley has now grown to over 300 people. They are hoping to buy their first facility and would really appreciate our prayers as they explore a site that has great potential for them. We have also been getting great reports about our Saturday night services led by David Stockton. The services are growing in numbers and the people are growing in love.
Danny Lehmann will be preaching in our Sunday services and sharing a testimony on Saturday night this week. Danny is on the international board of Youth With a Mission and one of the most gifted evangelists I know. We have been friends since 1972 and have shared many ministry adventures. Danny and I took a mission trip to the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong in 1983. We preached and taught in YWAM bases and churches all around Asia. We took long jogs together through many Asian cities. While we ran I would test Danny by asking him to quote chapters of the bible or tell me where the scriptures were about whatever subject came to my mind. He not only has most of the New Testament memorized, Danny is filled with the Holy Spirit and preaches the word of God with authority and power. I’m thankful that he Lord has sent Danny to bless our church. I hope we welcome him and pray for his ministry to impart great grace to our church this weekend.

Sunday Preview

September 9, 2010

My dad died in the summer of 2003, but I still hear the Lord speaking to me through him from time to time. While I slept one night this week I heard his voice say, “Put some syrup in your mush.” I knew just what he meant. I stopped by my dad’s condo in Novato early one morning to have breakfast with him a couple of years before he died. He put old fashioned oatmeal on the stove and began to cook it for our breakfast. When it was ready, he asked me, “Do you want some syrup in your mush?” I’m used to putting bananas or berries on oatmeal, but that morning I tried it with maple syrup. The message I was getting in my dream this week was to sweeten up my sermons.

My sermon this Sunday is called “Prepare Yourself for Ministry” from I Chronicles 12. This chapter tells about men who put their lives on the line to fight for the nation of Israel under the leadership of King David. They won life-and-death battles against overwhelming odds, because they were brave, faithful men who had prepared themselves to fight and win.

Jesus prepared himself for ministry with fasting and prayer. He quoted Old Testament Scriptures to rebuke the devil in a life-and-death struggle with the prince of darkness. I’m teaching from the Old Testament again this Sunday, because I believe it can give us insights that will help prepare us to overcome the enemy of our souls and win victories in the Spirit. I would appreciate your prayers for God’s presence to be manifest in our services this weekend. There is nothing sweeter or more fulfilling in life than an encounter with the Living God. He provides the syrup that makes the gospel come alive with grace and truth.

I was very encouraged by the first day of our fasting and prayer on Wednesday. I want to thank those of you who prayed for me because I felt my soul lifted by grace from the Holy Spirit. When I’m eating regularly, I hate to miss a meal. Yet, when I fast and experience breakthroughs in the Spirit, I wonder why I waited so long to seek the Lord with this intensity. We are encouraging everyone at Living Streams to pick at least one day to fast or choose a type of fast during September to prepare yourself for ministry and missions.

My sermon this Sunday is called “The Heart of a Man of God.” I Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  Men are impressed by beauty, height, and strength, money, houses, and cars. Yet none of those things impress the Lord. He looks at our hearts, because healthy hearts enable us to experience the blessings of God and share those blessings with others. If we have faith and love in our hearts, then we can bring grace and peace to others. Jesus said, “Those whom the Son sets free are free indeed.” However, to the degree that we have selfishness, greed and lust in our hearts, then no matter how much we possess, it diminishes our satisfaction; and our ability to bless others is hindered. When the Lord reveals the sin we all have in our hearts, he does so to lead us to repentance so that we can be cleansed and blessed.

My message will focus on the examples of David and his mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11:15-41. The battles they fought against their enemies contain spiritual insights which can give us wisdom for the spiritual battles we fight. Through the grace of God we can overcome every giant we face, because we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.