Thursday, January 31, 2013

Death Angel?

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Thursday, January 31, 2013:  Exodus 12:14-13:16

When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.  Exodus 12:23 (NIV)

As a kid growing up in Sunday School I remember being taught the story of the first Passover.  A major part of that story is the sprinkling of the blood on the doorpost and the death of all the firstborn in Egypt.  I remember learning about the "death angel" that went throughout Egypt killing kids.  Not a really exciting topic for an eight year old, I might add. 

This "death angel" idea was pretty frightening.  Angels, it seemed to me, were nice guys who wore white and sang a lot.  This bad angel was no one you would want to mess with. 

For years, I figured the story of the Passover went something like this:  God was ticked at Egypt because Pharoah wouldn't let Israel go.  He repeatedly tried to soften Pharoah up, but it hadn't worked.  So, God pulled out His ultimate weapon.  Actually, this weapon was the devil (a.k.a. the death angel).  All along, God had been holding the devil at bay not allowing him to do his worst.  But, as a last resort, God allowed the devil to go through the land of Egypt killing all the firstborn.  He graciously protected the children of Israel by the power of the blood of the Passover lamb that had been sprinkled on their doorposts. 

By this understanding, the term "passover" meant that the death angel would pass over the Israelite houses and couldn't hurt them.  The one actually doing the passing over was the devil.  This plays out pretty good because it means that we, following Israel's lead, can tell the devil to take a hike.  "The blood of Jesus is on my house, so don't stop here!"  That's pretty good preaching.

BUT --- that's really not how the story goes in Scripture.  We actually don't have a reference at all to a "death angel."  The closest thing to the "death angel" idea is here in Ex. 12:23 when it says that God will "not allow the destroyer to enter."  At first glance, it seems that there is an individual called "The Destroyer" (sounds like a professional wrestler, doesn't it) who was doing the Lord's bidding.  The actual Hebrew word destoyer, however, is a verb used as a noun (we call them gerunds).  So, it could read like this, "God will not permit the destroying to enter your houses."  Rather that there being an individual called "the destroyer", there is a process called "the destroying."

Please understand, I do very much believe in the existence of the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  However, this story may not be the best example of the devil's work.  IT IS THE LORD WHO BRINGS THE JUDGMENT.  It is the Lord who passes over.  It is the Lord Himself who strikes the firstborn of the land of Egypt! (see Ex. 12:29)

I must admit to you that this is breathtaking to me.  It is amazing and sobering.  In our modern world, we do not like the picture of a God who brings judgment -- who does such things.  We recoil from it to the point that we can only imagine an evil devil ever being the instigator of such judgment.  Our gracious God is reduced to passivity as He reluctantly allows the devil to do his work.

In all the plagues of Egypt, it is God Himself who brings down the fire.  It is God Himself who authors it and finishes it.  Amazing!  When we speak of the Passover, it is God in His wrath that passes over.  He does not bring His holy wrath down on those who are sprinkled with the Blood.

This takes us in a far deeper topic than we can delve into today.  I am speaking of the character and nature of our great God.  It is so common today to see only half of God's Person.  We see His love, mercy, and kindness (and I DO like these characteristics), but we forget His justice, His truth, and His wrath.

It is worth our time to regularly stop and consider ALL the many ATTRIBUTES of God.  If we do, we will find a full picture of glory and blessing.  We might be shocked, but we will be blessed.  This is truly the highest place.  After all, He is the great I AM. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Beginning of a New Life

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, January 30, 2013:  Exodus 10:1-12:13

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.  Exodus 12:1-2 (NKJV)

The escape of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage is one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible.  Amidst 10 plagues and heated personal confrontation, God brought about a mighty deliverance.  The apex of this story is the institution of the Passover.  This was the beginning of a new life, a new identity, a new freedom.  God told Moses and Aaron that the inactment of the Passover was to become the beginning of a new calendar.  This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 

Scripture tells us that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)   Like Israel, we who are in Christ began a new life, a new calendar in the moment we placed our faith in Him. 

Three things took place in the Passover that have direct application to us today.  The children of Israel were given three simple, clear instructions.  They were:

Four days before the Passover, each family was to select a lamb and begin getting ready for the sacrifice.  This lamb had to be "without blemish".  On the night of the Passover, they were to ceremonially kill the lamb.

Israel was instructed to roast and eat the ENTIRE LAMB.  They were to leave none of it until morning.  If any part were uneaten, they were to burn it with fire.

In the process of cooking the lamb, they were to take some of the blood and sprinkle it on the door frame of their house -- their front door.

These physical acts correspond to spiritual activities for us today. 

Jesus is our Passover Lamb.  Thank God we do not need to ever sacrifice another lamb in addition to Jesus.  It has been done ONCE AND FOR ALL!  The work has been done.  It is now left for us to believe and receive all that He has done for us. 

When Israel was instructed to eat the lamb, this means that we are to receive IN FULL all that Jesus has done for us.  In that sense, we are to consume Him.  This goes beyond tasting.  This goes beyond chewing and swallowing.  It goes to the full measure of digestion and distribution into our whole being.  Jesus becomes not just our savior, but our nourishment and strength.  I think this is something of what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray for "daily bread" (Matt. 6:11).

Lastly, we are to sprinkle the Blood of Jesus on our doorposts.  This involves the doors of our hearts. our minds, our homes, our world.  This is the application of the power of Jesus' blood to our individual situations.  I personally "plead the blood of Jesus" over my home regularly.  Psalm 91 states that "no evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come hear my dwelling place." (Ps. 91:10)  In other words, the Lord will protect my home from the attack of the enemy.

In summary, we are to continually celebrate this great feast of Passover (see Ex. 12:14-20).  How do we do this? 




This is the beginning and foundation of a new creation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Agreeing with the Upgrade

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, January 28, 2013:  Exodus 5:22-7:25

So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.  Exodus 6:9 (NKJV)

Moses had come to Israel with the word of the Lord.  Not only that, he had the rod of God with miracle working power.  If you read the entire message Moses brought to Israel, you also see that God was making Himself known to them in a new way.  This was a major UPGRADE.

God was setting them free from bondage.  God was showing them His strong arm.  God was giving them a land of promise.  It's fantastic news.  Not only that, God says that He is revealing Himself to them in a new way, by a new name.

It is amazing how Israel responded to the word of the Lord.  THEY COULDN'T HEAR IT!  Have you ever been like Israel?  God offers you so many good things, but it just seems too far-fetched.  God wants to bring an upgrade to your life, but first He wants us to agree to it.

The Bible gives two reasons that Israel did not listen to Moses.

1.  ANGUISH OF SPIRIT.  Their emotions were all over the place.  They had been in bondage so long that they were depressed and hopeless.  They had given up.  After all, it had been generations upon generations that they had lived in this slavery.  In fact, when Moses first showed up and began talking to them about freedom, the result had been that things GOT WORSE! (see Ex. 5 and particularly vs. 21)

I find it often that a person in deepest need of deliverance, can also be in such an emotional state that they are unable to hear anyone.  They zone out.  The inner turmoil becomes so loud that they can't hear the voice of a friend coming to help.

2.  CRUEL BONDAGE.  Bondage becomes addictive.  The very chains that they hated had become an excuse to not believe the word of God.  It's like the man stranded in a storm crying out for help, but refusing to budge when that help comes, and in fact fighting it off.  The nature of bondage is not only to hold you, but to also convince you that you CANNOT be free.  In a strange way, the chains can be more comfortable than freedom.  It then affects the way we see ourselves.

Jesus often addressed this when He would minister to someone.  He would ask, "What do you want?" or "Do you want to be healed?"  He wanted them to agree with and welcome that which He brought to them.

It is wonderful to know how much God wants to set His people free.  Unfortunately, many people remain in severe bondage for years.  There are always many factors at play in personal ministry, but it is important to recognize that there are at times things WE actually do that perpetuate our chains. 

So, today calm down and bring your inner turmoil under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Listen to God speak to you of freedom.  Refuse to listen to those run-away emotions that only lead you to defeat.  Romans 6:13 says that we are to yield ourselves to God as instruments of His righteousness so that we will no longer be controlled by sin.  There is an agreement with God that we must make.  Israel wanted freedom, but couldn't hear about it.  We should do differently.  Agree today with God about the great upgrade He is doing in your life.  He stands ready to wonders in your behalf.

Imagine: "Together"

Here are the notes from yesterday's message at New Life Community Church.  This was the fourth and last message in the series IMAGINE.  It is entitled "Together".  If you would like to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at  God bless.

Imagine, Part 4                                                                                  Sunday, January 27, 2013

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.  Romans 12:1-2 (Phillips)

Summary of series leading to conclusion



There is a much-used, perhaps over-used word SYNERGY. 

Synergy means: Synergy is the working together of two things to produce a result greater than the sum of their individual effects.

You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.  Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.  ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.  Leviticus 26:7-9 (NKJV)

Someone said of Creativity:
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

1.     Creation comes out of FELLOWSHIP
Example: Genesis 1
            Example:  Male and Female

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (ESV)

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;” Genesis 1:27-28 (NKJV)

This has happened in human history and it happens spiritually.  When people come together, tremendous power and creativity is generated.

From church history:
The Holy Club of Oxford (1729)
John Wesley, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Benjamin Ingham, etc.

The Haystack Revival of 1806.
5 young men took shelter under a haystack during a thunderstorm.  There they committed their lives to missions to Asia.

From secular history:

1.      One of the most famous was Florence, Italy 1440 – 1490.  Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, etc.
2.      Ancient Athens 440-380 B.C.  Plato, Socrates, Herodotus, Euripides, Sophocles, etc.
3.      London.  1570 – 1640.  Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Francis Bacon, John Donne, William Shakespeare.
4.      Washington D.C./Philadelphia 1750-1800
5.      Silicon Valley 1980 – 2000

What does it take to do something great?  “No man is an island.” – John Donne

2.     Different is GOOD

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:4-6 (NIV)
Illustration:  FDR’s personal doctor
Dr. Ross McIntyre was the personal physician of FDR.  There is a theory that persists until today that Dr. McIntyre was limited by the fact that he didn’t treat anyone else but the President.  Dr. McIntyre was by training and ear, nose, and throat dr.  Because of the limitations of his training and the limitations of his experience, he was unable to fully diagnose the ailments of FDR.  The President died because he did not have a wide enough sphere of involvement with the medical profession.

Similarly, we need each other.  If we are too isolated or limited in our training or experience, we can miss what needs to happen.

Illustration:  Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s work features a vocabulary that is unparalleled in literature.  His plays use more than 25,000 different words.  His closest rival in terms of variety was John Milton, who used less than half that.


3.     Revelation is CONTAGIOUS

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; I Corinthians 14:29-31 (NASB)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

When God Seeks to Kill You

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, January 27, 2013:  Exodus 4:1-5:21

24 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.  Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV)

Moses met God at the burning bush.  He was commissioned to bring the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt.  He had spent 40 years in the wilderness, and now he was to return to his birthplace, his family, his rightful place in the plan of God.  During those forty years of waiting, Moses had married and begun a family.  Now he loaded up his wife, Zipporah, and his son, Gershom, and set out for Egypt.  

It is shocking to find that at the very first over-night stop along the way, God showed up and sought to kill His main man - His commissioned sevant!  GOD TRIED TO KILL MOSES!  That's what the Scripture says.  At first look, this simply does not compute.  But, let's look closer.  

We do not have all the details of this divine encounter, but it appears to be like this:  God (probably in the form of the Angel of the Lord) had Moses pinned on the ground.  Without a word, Zipporah immediately grabs a sharp stone and circumcises their son, Gershom.  It appears that this act solves the dilemma, and the Angel/Lord backs off.  Zipporah is angry about all this.  She throws the foreskin of her son at Moses feet and shouts, "You are a husband of blood!" at Moses.  

There are at least two observations we can make about this story.

1.  CIRCUMCISION.  This rite was a part of covenant life for the descendants of Abraham.  It was the seal of the covenant.  In the Old Testament, it was the outward sign that signified legitimate faith. All male Israelites were REQUIRED to be circumcised.  But, Moses own son had not been circumcised.. Moses was setting out to lead the people of God when he had not even led his own family into the foundations of covenant life.  

2.  MARITAL AGREEMENT.  It is obvious that Moses and Zipporah had been in serious disagreement about this circumcision thing.  Because Moses had not already resolved this empasse, God intervened to force a solution.   

Two leadership lessons:

1.  YOU CAN'T LEAD PEOPLE TO A PLACE YOU ARE NOT LIVING IN YOUR OWN LIFE.  God will stop you.  Like the parson in Canterbury Tales, we must first "practice what we preach."  This does not mean that a man or woman cannot seve God until they are perfect.  It does mean that we must ask God to help us obey Him fully as we seek to lead others into obedience.  

2.  DISCORD IN MARRIAGE MUST BE RESOLVED.  Many a leader has found himself stalemated in ministry because of disunity at home.  Amos 3:3 says, "How can two walk together unles the be agreed?"  Obviously, this does not mean that there can be no discord of any kind. That would be impossible.  But, there must be fundamental agreement about direction.  

God considered these two principles to be important enough to abort the whole mission if they were not in place.  It is a wise thing for each of us to pray, "God, help me live it, so I can led it."  That applies to every are of life:  marriage, family, work, church, everything.

God really doesn't want to kill you.  He wants to bless you and make you a blessing.  And, He can be ruthless in bringing that about.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Bush that Burns yet is not Consumed

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, January 26, 2013: Exodus 2:11-3:22

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”  So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”  And he said, “Here I am.”  Exodus 3:2-4 (NKJV)

The burning bush is one of the most vivid images in all of Scripture.  It is the focal point of perhaps the most intense encounter between God and man that we find.  Theologically and historically it has tremendous meaning and significance.  We can dive into the depths of rich meaning and find that the well never runs dry.  As is stated in vs. 5, this place is "holy ground."

Three things happen at the burning bush.  Each should be studied and meditated upon more.  

1.  HOW GOD WORKS.  God tells Moses how He works.  In vss. 7-8, the Angel of the Lord says that God has SEEN, HEARD, KNOWN, and COME DOWN.  Praise God!  That's what Jesus does for us.  He is fully acquainted with our condition, and He comes to us.  

2.  WHAT GOD WANTS.  We find in this story the CALL of God.  He tells Moses explicitly what He wants him to do.  This is awesome.  Almighty God condescending to a man and giving him individual instruction.  The grand news is that He wants to do that with each one of us. He really does.

3.  WHO GOD IS.  In response to Moses' question, God says that He name is I AM.  I cannot begin to plumb the depths of significance here.  In a single phrase, God not only identifies Himself, but also gives definition to all of existence - reality - creation.

May each of us come to the burning bush.  May we find the way God works in our lives.  May we learn of His call upon us both individually and as His people.  May we get to know WHO HE IS, not just knowing about Him, but having personal face-to-face friendship with Him.

This will be a fire in your heart.  It is a fire that consumes yet never dies.  It burns but never dims.  In that warmth, we will grow.

The Pleasure and the Pain

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, January 25, 2013:  Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10

But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.  Exodus 1:7 (NKJV)

But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.  Exodus 1:12 (NKJV)

There are two elements that should always be at work in us.  This may be surprising to you, but they could most easily be described as PLEASURE and PAIN.  We see these two in the story of Israel in Egypt.  They are at the same time FRUITFUL and AFFLICTED.

I can get excited about the "pleasure/fruitful" idea.  But, I have reservations about this "pain/afflicted" picture.  So, we should look at it a bit further. Paul actually talked about it a lot.  One of his most autobiographical passages (II Co. 4:7-15) talks about treasure (pleasure) in an earthen vessel (pain).  Despite the incredible pressures of life and ministry, Paul remains faithful. He summarizes with these words:

10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus (PAIN), so that the life of Jesus (PLEASURE) may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.  II Corinthians 4:10-12 (NIV)

I find it to be true that the pressures and pain of life can be the background and context of our greatest fruitfulness and advance.  It was while Israel was being severely tested and afflected that they became so fruitful and strong that they filled the land.  

The implications for each of us is obvious.  We can spend our lives longing for some far away lifestyle of ease and pleasure, while all along our best moments are in the midst of the fires of testing that can produce the highest joys imaginable.  Such is the wonderful contradiction of life in the Spirit!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Last Shall Be First

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Thursday, January 24, 2013: Genesis 48:1-49:33

17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”  19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”  Genesis 48:17-19 (NKJV)

It is amazing throughout Scripture how many times God reverses the natural order of things.  Jesus referred to this when He said, So the last will be first, and the first last. (Matt. 20:16)  That's what happens here when Joseph brings his sons to blessed by his father Jacob.  Manasseh was the older, but it is Ephraim the younger that receives the strongest blessing.

This is the same thing that had happened between Jacob and his older brother Esau.  There had been a role reversal.  Now the old man Jacob remembers that God's calling and God's blessing is not according to man's wisdom or man's choosing, but according to God's election. 

From the beginning of Genesis to the end of the New Testament we see this pattern.  It is not the firstborn Cain but the second son Abel who finds favor with God (Gen. 4).  When it came time to name the king of Israel, it was not the first six sons of Jesse that were chosen, even though they looked the part.  It was the weakling last son, David (I Samuel 16).  God reverses the natural order of things and choses whom He will!

The entire Bible is like that.  Adam was the first man.  By him, we fell.  It is Jesus, the second man, that restores, that saves, that brings the blessing.  We've got to see things from God's perspective.  The natural order of things is rarely the way God works.  He takes those who are "behind the eight-ball" -- those who were left out of the inheritance -- those who did not have a future -- and says over them, YOU ARE MY CHOSEN.

One further word: Manasseh means "forgotten".  Ephraim means "fruitful".  Manasseh says the past is behind me and I am forgetting my misery.  That's a good thing, but remember: it's focused on dealing with the past.  Ephraim speaks of the future.  It says, "I will now be fruitful and prosper." 

It is an important thing to deal with the injuries of our past.  But the greatest blessing comes on us when we move ahead and embrace a fruitful future.  That is one of the lessons of the sons of Joseph.  God says that He not only forgives you, but He also gives you His riches.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Egypt - the Place of Provision, the Place of Bondage

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Genesis 46:1-47:31

So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again;  Genesis 46:3-4 (NKJV)

When we think of Egypt from a biblical point of view, we usually think of it as the place of slavery for Israel.  In the Book of Exodus, Moses goes down to Egypt to set God's people free from their hard bondage.  Egypt, in this sense, is bad.

But that's not how it started.  Egypt in Genesis is totally different from Egypt in Exodus.  In Genesis, Egypt is the place God led Jacob to PROVIDE for him and his family.  Egypt was a blessing.  Egypt was the answer to their prayers.

Isn't it interesting how the place of blessing can sometimes turn into the place of bondage.  How many times have we been so excited about a new opportunity, a new job, a new place of service -- only later to end up complaining because it wasn't so grand after all?  How many marriages begin with great joy and thankfulness ("God gave me the love of my life!") only to descend over the years into a hardness, bitterness, and even hatred?

God clearly led Israel down to Egypt.  Egypt was the PROVISION OF THE LORD.  In fact, they were given the best of the land.  It was incredible how God had made a way in the midst of a famine.  But, Egypt was not home.  The destiny of Israel lay back in Canaan.  Even though they had to re-locate for a while, their real homeplace remained the same.

We need to remember that.  Never mistake the temporary provision of the Lord for your final destiny.  The place of blessing today can become the place of bondage tomorrow.  How does this happen?  It happens because we settle down and stop growing.  Instead of being a pilgrim traveling toward our destiny, we become a laborer trying to make a living.  I am not talking about a physical journey; I am talking about a spiritual one.  We need to keep the attitude of a pilgrim -- a sojourner. In fact, that's how Jacob described himself when Pharoah him his age.  And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years." (Genesis 47:9)

God told Jacob to go down to Egypt.  "Don't be afraid to go down to Egypt" was the word of the Lord.  Step boldly into the provision God has sent your way.  But, do not forget that this is just a portion of the big picture.  God pours you into new opportinities, new assignments, new locations.  That is part of the joy of walking with Jesus.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Shock of Recognition

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Tuesday, January 22, 2013: Genesis 44:1-45:28

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.  Genesis 45:3 (NKJV)

There are a few times in Scripture in which the shock of recognition is so dramatic and moving.  It happened near the empty tomb when Mary Magdalene thought she was speaking to a gardener and then cried out in recognition of the risen Jesus, "Rabboni!" (John 20:16).  It happened in a different sense, when the prophet Nathan confronted guilty David with a parable.  David recoiled at the injustice of the story, not recognizing that the perpetrater of evil was himself.  Then Nathan nailed him with the words, "You are the man!" (II Sam. 12:7). 

Have you ever been shocked to see that something was different that you had thought?  The blind date doesn't always turn out to be Prince Charming.  Conversely, the bad situation sometimes turns out to be the proverbial "blessing in disquise."  There comes the moment when you are faced with reality -- with the way things really are.  In that moment, our perceptions give way to truth. 

One moment, the ten sons of Jacob were challenged by the unreasonable demands of a cruel Egyptian governor.  The next moment that cruel governor was transformed into the brother they had so badly mistreated.  They were staring into a face from their past -- the face of the little brother they had sold into slavery.  Scripture says that they were dismayed in his presence.  CONFUSION. 

Sometimes our greatest critics are really our valuable friends.  Like Joseph, they seem now to be severe and unbending.  But, in a moment they can become the key to a new future.  If we could only see from God's perspective, those enemies who seem to thwart at every turn would be the instruments in God's hand for our advancement and blessing.

I think God delights in surprising us.  It happens in those moments when He shows us His provision, and it comes in a package we thought at first was our enemy!  In the end, we will say He does all things good.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Everything is Against Me

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, January 21, 2013:  Genesis 42:18-43:34

Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!  Genesis 42:36 (NIV)

Jacob was at an all-time low.  His had been a life somewhat like a soap opera with family intrigue, broken relationships, favoritism, betrayals, and deception.  It was also a story of redemption.  God had met him at every intersection.  Jacob had come face-to-face with his own sinfulness, but he had also come face-to-face with God!

He was now an old man with grown sons and grandchildren.  He had been humbled and mellowed by life. At this stage, he might have expected to enjoy the fruit of his labors.  Instead he was faced with perhaps his deepest valley.

He had lost his favorite son, Joseph.  The blood-soaked garments had been brought to him proving that wild animals had killed this promising young man.  He and his remaining sons now faced the loss of  everything because of a severe famine.  When they had sought help in Egypt, the hard governor of that land had quickly taken a dislike to the ten sons that had come.  As a result Jacob had lost another son, Simeon, held hostage as a prisoner by this unreasonable governor.  He now faced the loss of his youngest son, Benjamin.  Benjamin, his next favorite, represented the last vestiges of a life Jacob felt he had lost. 

In anquish, he cried out, "Everything is against me!" 

Little did Jacob know that God was still very much in control.  Joseph was not dead, but instead was a part of the provision that God was sending Jacob's way.  The hidden hand of providence had been orchestrating a bigger plan.  Even though the famine was severe, God was in control of that, too.  God had spoken in a dream to a pagan king in Egypt so that provisions had been laid up for Jacob that he did not know about.  Jospeh, the lost son, had actually been sent by God to set up a future for Israel.  Simeon, though held hostage, was really in no danger at all.  His imprisonment was only a part of a hidden plan to bring Benjamin and Jacob into reunion with their lost brother and son.

Despite the mountain of evil evidence, there is a hidden hand of providence.  Despite the turn of events that looks so bad, there is a plan that will end up good.  Our God is at work, even when we can not see it.  Those moments when it seems that everything is against us are but our limited perspective.  God had sent Someone ahead of us to perpare the way.  Like Paul, we too can say, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

You may feel that you are surrounded today by negative circumstances.  But, we can take heart.  God is working even when we cannot see Him!

Imagine: "Innovation"

Here are the notes from yesterday's message at New Life Community Church.  The message was entitled "Innovation" and is the third is the series IMAGINE.  If you would like to listen to this message you may do as by going to our website at  God bless!

Imagine, Part 3                                                      Sunday, January 20, 2013

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)


Dreams, Visions, Calling of what God can and will accomplish through us.




Definition of INNOVATION

Innovation is:

But God adds another element.  It is the creative power of the Holy Spirit to bring about something new.

Innovation means doing it.

1.      the introduction of something new
2.      a new idea, method, or device

The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.

  • "Innovation is creativity with a job to do:" John Emmerling
  • Innovation is people creating value by implementing new ideas
  • The starting point for innovation is the generation of creative ideas. Innovation is the process of taking those ideas to market or to usefulness

10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.  II Corinthians 8:10-11 (NKJV)

Vision produces PURPOSE produces a PLAN

There must be a time for action.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”  -- Theodore Roosevelt

William Carey: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

William Carey became the father of the modern missionary movement.

INNOVATION is doing the impossible

Man has a history of SHOOTING TOO LOW, not SHOOTING TOO HIGH.


  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943
  • "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner (1881-1958), founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927
  • "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." -- Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895
  • "Everything that can be invented has been invented." -- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
  • "Inventions reached their limit long ago, and I see no hope for further development." -- Julius Frontinus, 1st century A.D.
  • "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
  • "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  • ""The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
  • "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." -- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
  • "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." -- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."
  • "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." -- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
  • "Space travel is bunk." -- Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik
  • "All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous to life but doomed to failure from an engineering standpoint." -- editor of 'The Times' of London, 1905
  • "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates (1955-), in 1981
  • "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
  • "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962
  • "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." -- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
  • "I confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years . . . Ever since, I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions." -- Wilbur Wright, 1908
  • "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre
  • "A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which instrument it is within the capacity of man to reproduce with all its movements." -- Leonardo da Vinci, 'Treatise on the Flight of Birds,' 1505
  • "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". -- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon- Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873
  • "You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck...I have no time for such nonsense." -- Napoleon, commenting on Fulton's Steamship
  • "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
  • "Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances." -- Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the Audion tube and a father of radio, 25 February, 1967.
  • "The aeroplane will never fly." -- Lord Haldane, Minister of War, Britain, 1907
  • "I suppose we shall soon travel by air-vessels; make air instead of sea voyages; and at length find our way to the moon, in spite of the want of atmosphere." -- Lord Byron, 1882
  • "A certain Liquor which they call Coffee...which will soon intoxicate the brain." -- G. W. Parry (1601)
  • "Within the next few decades, autos will have folding wings that can be spread when on a straight stretch of road so that the machine can take to the air." -- Eddie Rickenbacker, 'Popular Science,' July 1924
  • "But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.


Innovation is:

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV)

So Jesus said to them, “ … assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. … 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”  38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:35, 37-38 (NKJV)

For no word from God shall be void of power.  Luke 1:37 (ASV)


Was called by God to do the impossible. 
D.L. Moody said it this way “Moses spent 40 years thinking he was somebody; 40 years learning he was nobody; and 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody.”

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;    Romans 4:16-17 (NKJV)

1.     Kingdom innovators recognize POSSIBILITIES.

19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:19-21 (NKJV)

2.     Kingdom innovators take the STEP of FAITH.

3.     Kingdom innovators discern between FAITH and FOOLISHNESS.

4.     Kingdom innovators never FAIL.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:16 (NASB)