Four things to share with you tonight.
Predictions…fasting…preacher’s kids and Ebola.
#1 I saw this earlier today and I had to take a double-take.
Then President, George W. Bush, made this comment on July 12, 2007. Talk about eerie! Wow! Almost prophetic, wouldn’t you say?
I must tell you that I have been praying for our current President, Barack Obama. He has a ton on his shoulders. His speech last night still leaves many questions. Comparing the job of addressing ISIS to our work in Somalia and Yemen. Well, that didn’t comfort me much. I’m praying for peace, but I know there won’t be peace until Jesus returns. Say what you want about George Bush, but what you see above in that quote has come to fruition. There is no denying that now. May God help us all!
#2 So, we’ve been praying and fasting at church. We started on Sunday and I’m telling you it’s been a powerful week. I’ve been overwhelmed with emails, texts and personal testimonies of how the Lord is working in hearts and lives to bring renewal to many souls. Last night we broke the fast with breakfast. Get it “break” “fast.” Every morning when you eat, you are breaking the fast from not eating during the night. Cool huh?
Yep, breakfast for supper is what we had to break the fast. We had bacon, eggs, sausage, gravy, biscuits, country ham, cooked apples and grits! It was awesome! The men of the church cooked the meal. Way to go guys! “Delicious” was the word of the night!
We had a huge crowd! I’m estimating over 300 people attended. That’s huge for a Wednesday night crowd in any church, much less a country church in Wilkes County, NC.
Here we are holding hands and singing. It was such a sweet time together. We studied Scripture, sang and prayed. When we prayed, we sought to repent before the Lord. Why? Because that’s the only way the human soul can be renewed: Repentance. In the past during the Great Awakenings in this country revival broke out when there was repentance. After repentance comes the experience of sensing the glory of God.
You see, sensing the glory of God is not something you can schedule. But, you can yearn for it, cast a vision for it, desire it and crave it. No, you can’t program the glory, but you can plead for it. It’s easy to talk about sensing the glory of God through revival, but it’s another thing to experience it. Romans 15:7 is powerful:
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Why are we here? We are here to glorify God! This foundational truth is echoed by the Westminster confession: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The 5th of the Reformational solas is: Soli Deo Gloria, meaning: “to God alone be the glory.”
I want to see the glory of God. Do you? I want our church…no…I desire to see the church of Jesus Christ desire to bring God glory. In order to bring God glory, we must be gospel-centered. What does that look like? What is a gospel-centered church? Are you sure you want to know? It might not match up with what you think or even like.
A gospel-centered church teaches and preaches the Word of God. And when it does, it will not be considered the “nicest church” in town. It will not be the most popular church in town. It will not be politically correct. It will be hated and even despised. It will be “run down” by other churches as being too____________. You fill in the blank. A gospel-centered church seeks to be holy and has a hunger to love all people not for what they are in their sin, but what they can become cleansed of their sin.
God help us as we continue this journey. We are looking forward to a wonderful time of celebration on Sunday. I wrote the sermon today. I believe it will be encouraging. Tomorrow is barbecue chicken cooking time! 4:15 am… As my dad says, “Better sleep fast son!”
#3 Speaking of Dads and sons. I read a great article by John Piper’s son, Barnabas. Man oh man do pastors’ kids have it tough. They live in a glass box. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from his book…
Everyone in church notices the pastor’s kids. People don’t think about noticing them, it just happens. I grew up as a PK, the son of John Piper, and even I notice PKs. It’s almost impossible to avoid. They’re like the first children of the church. Don’t think you notice them? Here’s what it looks like. You know things about their personal lives you don’t know about any other kid in the church… You make comments about their behavior to them or to anyone else. You expect them to speak out in Sunday school, to pray, to lead. You have a tacit standard for them as PKs. You hold them to a higher standard than their peers in church, and you’re not even trying to do so.
What you might not realize is how this makes PKs feel. They feel like people are always watching. The fact that you know personal things about them makes them hyper aware of you watching, listening, knowing. They feel like there is no room for mistakes. People watch them. People tell them how to act. People have a much higher standard for them. What pressure!
Can I tell you that I don’t have a problem with people having a high standard for my children, but what if you placed that same standard on your children or grandchildren? Not fair? You’re right. I agree! Let’s help all of our children. Let’s love them as Christ loved them. Yes, let’s hold them to a high standard. Anyone who knows me knows I believe we should live as “salt and light.” We should do exactly as Jesus said…
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
One last thing before hitting the sack…
#4 Please pray for God’s mercy to break this Ebola epidemic.
International agencies and governments are struggling to contain the world’s worst epidemic of Ebola since the disease was discovered in 1976. The hemorrhagic virus has killed at least 2,296 people in West Africa. The nation of Liberia has said they are afraid this could potentially wipe out their nation. See this map:
That’s Liberia on the west coast of Africa. Can you imagine that country’s people disappearing off the globe? That’s 4.2 million people. That’s how deadly this virus. Please, please pray for the Lord to intervene and pray for all of those workers who are trying to care for the sick.