Sunday Preview

February 6, 2014

The Olympics are starting this week, so many of us will watch some of the world’s greatest athletes competing for gold medals. We are involved in a different kind of competition as we follow Christ. There are many characteristics disciples share with great athletes. We both need discipline, perseverance and determination. We differ when it comes to our goals and our prizes.

My sermon this Sunday is titled, “Winning the Prize of Heaven” from Philippians 3:10-15. The Apostle Paul said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) We press on through the disappointments, failures and challenges of life because God has set a great reward ahead of us. We ignore the temptations that would dull our senses and corrupt our souls, because the Lord offers us eternal life.

We are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are learning to love and trust our Father in heaven in a deeper way. We are experiencing more of God’s glory now than we have before; yet there is a lot more glory waiting for us as we take hold of the Lord. I’m looking forward to sharing this message with you.

May the Lord give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation as you continue to follow him.

Sunday Preview

January 30, 2014

The beginning of February is one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy the big golf tournament in Scottsdale, even when I don’t attend it. I like the Super Bowl, even when the Cardinals are not in it. It feels like a holiday without the pressure of having to buy presents or cook a turkey.

We are starting a new sermon series this weekend called, “The Culture of the Kingdom.” In the weeks to come we will contrast the culture of God’s Kingdom with the culture of America. Not all things in our culture are bad. Every culture has certain qualities that enrich the lives of people. Some cultures stress family unity, and others emphasize hospitality. These are biblical values which bless those who practice them.

My sermon this Sunday is called, “The Heart of a Spiritual Champion” from Philippians 3:1-12. I hope you will look up these verses before Sunday and give some extra thought to verse 10: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection…”
I look forward to being with you this Sunday and expect it to be a day of grace and blessing for us all.

Sunday Preview

January 16, 2014

I became a senior pastor when I was 26 years old. I had been following the Lord for six years and had been an associate pastor for three years. I knew that my life and church experience was very limited. I wanted to pattern my life and our church after the practices of the disciples in the New Testament. Ever since, I have found that to be an excellent way to personally grow, as well as to lead a church.

This Sunday my sermon is called, “The First Missionaries” from Acts 13:1-12. The prophets and teachers were worshiping and fasting together in Antioch when the Holy Spirit spoke to them and told them to set apart Barnabas and Saul for their mission work. This was the first stage in the missions movement that has transformed the world.

When people seek and serve the Lord, many great things happen through simple steps of obedience. As we seek the Lord and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we too can expect great things to happen. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. As we put our faith into action in the days to come, we are going to see God work powerfully to transform the lives of many people.

Our Fast, Pray, Go season is off to a great start. Many of us are already experiencing blessings from the Lord since we started our fasts. I don’t look forward to sacrificing the pleasures of life; however, I have been surprised by the way the Scriptures have been opening up to me, and how well I have been sleeping since starting a Daniel fast this week.

There is still time for you to join us if you are willing to fast and discipline yourself to start this new year. Simply pray and ask the Lord how he wants you to fast, and what you should embrace. Then obey what the Spirit is leading you to do. Let go of what you need to let go of, and embrace the obedience he puts on your heart.

This weekend we welcome Nathan and Christy Bentley, as Nathan will be guest preaching at Living Streams. Three months ago we sent them from Living Streams to Life Point Church in the San Tan Valley. LifePoint is flourishing under Nathan’s preaching, with attendance growing from 300 to over 400 adults since they arrived there.
David and JJ Heller will sing at our Sunday morning services this weekend. They are recording artists with a nationwide ministry who are longtime members of Living Streams.

I will be preaching at the Open Door Church in American Canyon, ordaining a pastor in San Francisco, and celebrating my birthday and our grandson Soren’s birthday this weekend in Marin County.

Sunday Preview

January 2, 2014

I want to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you had a great Christmas. I was blessed by our Christmas Eve services and enjoyed the fellowship with Living Streams and our family afterwards.

This Sunday we are beginning our annual season of fasting in the month of January. Living Streams has been doing this for several years. The first couple of years we were facing major financial challenges as a congregation. Many of our members were also in very difficult circumstances. The Lord blessed us with financial breakthroughs, and gave breakthroughs to many people who participated in our fasting and prayer meetings as well.

Our pastors feel it will be very helpful for Living Streams to continue seeking the Lord intensely to begin the new year. Each of us faces challenges every year that require wisdom, perseverance and grace from God. We will use these next weeks to help get in shape for whatever ministry and mission the Lord wants us to fulfill.

My sermon this Sunday is called, “Why We Fast, Pray and Go.” It is taken from Isaiah 6:1-10. Isaiah had an incredible vision of the Lord. He was also given a very challenging message to speak. We can gain insights into the grace of God, and our lives, as we look closely at this story.

Be praying and thinking about making a commitment to fast as we enter into this new year. We have a great Lord, and He has given us a great opportunity to serve Him.

Hope for the Future – December 2013

Kristina and I were listening to the news and having one of those, “Can you believe how bad things are getting,” talks recently. Actually, evil has been in our society for a long time. We would be outraged if we lived in a society where people had slaves. Yet Americans, including many Christians, lived with slaves and justified their actions for two hundred years.

I get upset because many Christians do not read the Bible consistently. Because of biblical ignorance, they lack wisdom. They get manipulated by the media, and intimidated by prevailing cultural attitudes. In Germany in the 1930’s, the nominally Christian population was so swayed by anti-Semitism that they allowed the Nazis to persecute the Jews. If they had read and believed their Bibles, they would have realized that God chose the Jews, and he loves the Jews. Though the Jews were rejected and reviled in Europe, they were not forsaken by God. Out of the Holocaust, Israel was reborn. The Jews now have a homeland that will never again be taken away from them. The purpose of God can, and will, be fulfilled in spite of wickedness in men.

Many people are pessimist when it comes to our country. They’re alarmed by our national debt, the costs of our unfunded entitlement programs, and our new healthcare obligations. They believe our ship of state is heading for the rocks. Yet there are other realities besides the pessimistic ones which drive our news cycles. In the midst of recent recession, I have several friends who made bold investments. Some of them bought real estate when prices were way down. Others bought stocks when the stock market had sunk to the bottom. When others took their losses and pulled out, they doubled down and made investments in our comeback. Those who believed that our economy would recover have been rewarded.

I do not know the economic future of America, and I’m not much of a financial investor. However, I do have talents to invest, and I know God’s kingdom is the best investment we can make. God has given talents to each of us. We are commanded to invest those talents to bring a return for God’s kingdom. In the same way that an economic downturn can provide opportunities for wise investors to make quality purchases at bargain prices, a spiritually dark environment can enable our gifts and talents to shine brightly and multiply significantly.

In 60 AD, the Apostle Paul wrote to believers living in the darkness of the Roman culture. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 16:13)
God gives us joy and peace as we trust Him in all circumstances. I pray you will trust God this New Year. As you trust God, He will fill you with hope, so that you can shine like a light with your family, at work and among your friends. We can have hope because we know the word of God is true. We know that Jesus Christ is Lord, and God’s kingdom will always advance.

Jesus is the Word made flesh. He also has the last word. He has spoken about what is right and wrong, what is true and false. People cannot make up their own rules about who enters God’s kingdom and who does not. If you believe in Jesus, you have been chosen to make your light shine in this world. It is our privilege to serve the Lord and to love Him with all our hearts.

Sunday Preview

December 12, 2013

I just returned from a fruitful ministry trip to Ecuador, a South American nation in the midst of great transformation. I was able to speak to hundreds of ministry leaders from churches stretching from Guayaquil to Cuenca. In the weeks to come I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the amazing things I saw the Lord doing in this tropical land.

This Sunday my sermon is called, “A Grace Filled Life” from Luke 1:26-38. This passage tells the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to a humble Jewish girl named Mary. Mary was told that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus. She was initially very disturbed by Gabriel’s message. Her life was about to be turned upside down. She had dedicated herself to being a servant of the Lord, so she chose to cooperate with a plan that was more amazing than she could have ever imagined. Mary was not chosen because she was sinless, beautiful, wealthy or powerful. She was transformed by the grace of God. Her child has brought salvation to the world.

Mary’s life is a pattern for our lives. We too have been chosen by God and transformed by his grace. As we cooperate with God’s plan, Christ is formed in us, and we bring the grace of salvation in Jesus’ name. Let’s pray that the Lord’s presence will be revealed as we come together to worship this weekend. God has great things in store for Living Streams in the days to come.