The message today is based on the first chapter of the Book of Haggai.
Key: "Consider you ways," i.e., "Give careful thought to your ways."
The people have returned to Jerusalem from captivity. They have rebuilt their houses and attended to their own needs, yet they have neglected to restore the House of God. They have spent money, yet are poor; they have food, but are still hungry; they drink, but thirst is not slaked; they have clothes, but are not warm. Everything is out of control. Why?
Their priorities are out of whack! They have placed God and His House on the back burner.
All their problems are directly related to the neglect of God. Without God we are susceptible to all sorts of ills. There are things that happen in our lives that could have been avoided had we put God first. God must come first, then all other things will begin to fall into place.
How often do we focus of the things that don't really matter?
Every follower of God must
1. give careful thought to the priority of "first." Are we offering God the first of our time, our finances, our relationships, our skills, our knowledge, our career? If you are a believer and not offering your first, you need to fix it.
2. give careful thought to the priority of trust in God. Trust may seem to be a risk, but the greater risk is not to trust! 3. give careful thought to the priority of obedience.
Trust and Obey!
Your trouble may not be the results of God's punishment, but simply that you have not put God first.
Take God off the back-burner and put Him first where He belongs!
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Previous message from a portion of the same passage here.
Seattle, July 26 The driver of an older model minivan was arrested this morning on charges of smuggling plastic drinking straws into Seattle. A Seattle PD officer arrested Frankie "The Weasel" Ferret as he came off I-5 at exit 169. A police spokesperson stated that the officer had stopped the car due to brake light failure and was alerted to search the vehicle due to the nervous responses Ferret gave to his questioning.
Ferret granted permission to the officer to search the van where it was discovered that there were sixteen cases of plastic straws in Ferret's possession. A King County ADA stated that Ferret will be charged with possession of contraband with intent to smuggle said contraband into Seattle. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," stated the prosecutor when advised that the miscreant said that he was simply doing a favor for his "dear old grandmother," and had no idea that he was involved in any criminal activity.
Frankie Ferret is being held without bond until a trial date is set.
The lesson is from the Gospel of John chapters 11 and 12 in which Jesus was notified that Lazarus was ill. Yet he did not hurry to Bethany to see his dear friend while he yet lived, and Lazarus died. Read the account.
The Lazarus Movement: a life-giving death-to-life movement.
God wants to send a revival --today!
Something amazing, something historic. But revival, a movement of God, must always begin with the individual.
First, God must do something real and big in our lives.
--Replacing spiritual growth with memories of the past = dying.
--Spiritually dead = given up, lost the faith, like Larazus: stinketh. The attitude, the prayer life, the Bible reading, faith, all dead: stinketh. Troublesome, for at this stage we may feel we are "too far gone."
The miracle is that there is never a too-far-gone with the Grace of God.
Who would like to see the glory of God?John 11:22 Mary said "Even now," i.e. Lazarus had been four days dead, "God will give You whatever You ask."
1. Bystanders told to roll away the stone. (Help the spiritually dead to be set free.)
2. Jesus called for Lazarus to come out of the tomb. (God acts when we are spiritually dead.)
3. Lazarus came out. (Action in response to God's life-giving grace.)
4. People told to loose him and set him free. (Believers nurture the newly-alive in Christ, Walk with them in the good times and the bad.)
We need to be set free.
When we let old things go, all things become new!
How many of us are actually going outside the self to minister to the needs of others?
We are sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the community of faith.
God wants to do something spectacular,
and he wants to start it with you and me.
Lazarus is alive! In Chapter 12 we read of the resurrection party in which other people began to experience the resurrection.
Sometimes as a defense mechanism we shut down. (Prefacing the message)
The message When we lose our voice we become a distorted version of ourselves.
The scripture is Psalm 139, a Psalm of David. 1. God knows you. Verse 1: You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2. He sees you. Verses 2-12: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? . . .
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
" That God knows us and sees us is both overwhelming and incredibly encouraging." 3. He formed you. Verse 13: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
4. He has a plan for you. Verse 17: How amazing are your thoughts concerning me.
(Here Pastor referenced the Book of Esther, noting Esther and her people were residing in an alien land. The people compromised who they were to be accepted by the culture. This scribe's question: Does that seem familiar at all?)
If we are distorted, broken, and not what God intended us to be, He can show us who we are, who we are meant to be. He will restore us to His version of who we are!
THEN CHRIST GIVES US STRENGTH TO DO HIS WILL.
Forget what the world thinks of you and focus on God.
You have the potential to lead people into the Kingdom but you can only do this through the power of Jesus.
Find your voice and speak out, for this is a world of hurting people.