Love Wednesday’s

I really do love Wednesdays.  I usually start my Wednesday mornings by playing tennis with about 20 other players.  I like it that they call me “The Preacher.”  I’m trying to make inroads into the lives of the players.  Several ask me to pray for different things they’re struggling with in their lives, sometimes it’s about their children or Grandchildren.  One of the couples that play have visited the church several times, and have declared to the others that they are making Haven Church their “home” church!  (They even bragged on me and my sermons)!!!

Tonight is going to be special here at Haven Church because of the Scripture  that we’re covering.  Here’s the title slide of the projection presentation.  Our A/V team is tremendous and I love the quality of work they put in to make our service one of excellence.1.jpg

I’m headed out to distribute some Invitation postcards to our Community Easter Egg hunt that we’re having this Saturday.  It’ll be held on the front yard of the church for all the neighbors to see.  We’ve been promoting this event on Facebook and distributing 500 invitations.  Pray with me, that many in the community will attend this event.  E E H.png

God Bless You my Friends!

Pastor Cliff

Part 2 – When the Fire Begins to Die Out the Danger Begins to Decline.

I know.  You’re thinking, “What danger?”  I’m talking about as  the fire begins to decline, the danger of spreading declines as well.

I Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Let me give you a personal illustration.  When a fire begins to blaze, let me tell you what NOT to do to a big pile of leaves:  DON’T POUR GASOLINE ON IT!  I mean I really wanted it to burn.  Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed!  I didn’t have kerosene but I did have a lawn mower gas can, so I poured a lot of gas on it.  I even dribbled a trail that I could light and watch it run to the pile of leaves.   I put the match to it, and something happened.  I heard a big SWOOOOOOOOSH!  Kathy came running out of the house, and saw me standing there with burning leaves all over me and a panicked look on my face.   By the way, my Godly wife Kathy stood there laughing at me while I blazed away.  

Listen, when the fire begins to go out in your Christian life, the danger of spreading is gone.  You’ll never compel anyone to come to church with you if the spiritual fire is low in your own life.  However, if you can burn something in your back yard and it easily catches things around it on fire – that means that if the Christian is “Spiritually” on fire for the Lord it will spread to those around him as well.

Here’s what Acts 4:20 has to say about it.  “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”  

  1.  Sharing our faith with others evidences ones wisdom.

Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV)  I really like the way the ESV says this verse: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”  

We’ll never influence anyone to go to church with us and to seek our Savior if He’s not the preeminent one in our Lives.  The verse in Proverbs is saying the smartest, wisest thing we can do is to share our faith with others.

2.   Sharing our faith with others executes the believers responsibility.

These verses in Ezekiel always convicts and scares me.  Chapter 3 and verses 18 & 19, If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[d] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”

Oh God, I pray that we will live our Christian lives “passionately” for you.  Help us to share our faith with others!

Pastor Cliff

It’s Sunday Morning!

church.JPGI love Sunday mornings.  I get to the church really early, and spend time with The Lord, and go over my entire sermon.

Our attendance was down a bit today, (cold and rain here in Raleigh today), however I was excited to see Mrs. Marion come in for our small group Bible Study.  Her husband passed away earlier in the week and she and her husband are legal guardians for their 16 year old Autistic Grandson.  The funeral and burial was Friday, yet here she is with her Grandson in Church on Sunday morning.  I wish all of our folks had that kind of dedication.

We were privileged to go out to eat with 4 families of the church.  We went to a Mexican restaurant and had a great time of fellowship!  I love being around the families in our church.

I can’t wait for tonight’s service as we have one of young teens singing her first solo.  She can really sing, and I am so excited for her and her walk with The Lord.

Take care and please check back tomorrow as I will continue our study on “When the fire goes out.”  I’ll be telling a funny story about something dumb I did a few years ago.  You’ll love it!

Pastor Cliff

 

Part 1 When the fire goes out, the light begins to dim.

Churches love to have Harvest Parties every fall around Halloween.  We would always add a bonfire and hayride (if possible).  We would build a big fire and when first lit, it would blaze up and light up the whole area.  However, in a short amount of time, if more wood was not added the fire would begin to dim.

In the Christian life I can say the same thing happens.  Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

When the fire starts to go out at the camp fire, the light progressively gets dimmer and dimmer.  The light in the Christian’s life doesn’t go out all at once either.  It gets dimmer and dimmer.  We Baptists use the word “backslide.”  We are not talking about salvation but we’re referring to the Christian’s walk with the Lord.  I am talking about your relationship with The Lord fading from where it used to be.

My question is then, “How do we know if our Spiritual Light is fading?”  I think it can be sensed in a couple of ways.

  1.  It can be sensed in an INWARD FADING LIGHT.  

PSALM 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

PSALM 119:130, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

If you, as a Christian neglect feeding your soul, (bible study, prayer, attending church faithfully, etc.), you will begin to feel the zeal, the passion, the excitement of your Christianity begin to fade.  I believe your “Spiritual Fire” is beginning to die out.

I think another way we can sense this fading spiritual fire is:

   2.  You can sense it with an OUTWARD FADING LIGHT.

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 CORINTHIANS 3:2, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.” (ESV).  This verse is so important because it is instructing us that our testimony is proving the reality of Jesus Christ to others.

When the fire is going out, beginning to dim, in the Christian’s life you will see it in the Christian’s testimony.

I trust you’re enjoying this study.  I hope you’ll check out tomorrow’s post because I’ll be sharing a funny story about myself.

Pastor Cliff

 

When The Fire Goes Out

Intro:    It’s been a couple of busy days.  One of the men of our church passed away.  So I’ve been visiting and ministering to the family.  Stan was a good, Godly, family man!  I’ll be preaching the funeral and the grave site service tomorrow, (Friday), so please remember me in prayer.

The Theme for the week, as you can see above, isWhen the Fire Goes Out.”  Look at Proverbs 26:20, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”  I want us to use the first 9 words of this verse to examine the REVIVAL FIRES in the Christian’s life.

I love campfires.  Roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.  I have a hard time roasting marshmallows because I am not patient enough to turn that thing over and over until it becomes a toasty brown.  I let it catch fire and then end up eating it covered with charcoal.  I want to remind you of the similarities of a blazing campfire and a a believing Christian.  Both fires are ignited by a spark and both continue to grow by paying attention to the fire.

Revival fires are fed by God’s Word, and when a believer confesses sin and gets the “trash” out of his life, he want to get busy and do work for the Lord.  Please understand that “good works” do not save you, but when a person gets their heart right with God they will want to get busy and work for Him.  Much like an unfed camp fire or a fire in your fire place at home, if you don’t feed it more fuel (wood) for awhile, it will grow dimmer and dimmer .

Friend?  Are the fires of your Christian life going out?  Do you find it harder and harder to come to church and to be faithful to Him?  Over the next couple of days I’m going to show us, Spiritually, what happens when the Spiritual fire in your life begins to go out.

Take care my friends

 

 

Busy, Busy Week!

I am privileged to serve on the North Carolina Missions Board.  Monday we met for approximately seven hours, and finished up this morning with a 2019 budget.  I am so blessed to serve on this board with four Godly men who have a heart and passion for missions and church planting.

We had to spend the night because this morning we had to present our business and budget to the Executive Board of the state.  I didn’t sleep well last night because of receiving text messages that a man in the church I pastor was in a life threatening situation in the hospital.  I rushed to give my report to the board, and drove (way too fast) trying to get to the hospital to see my friend and church member.  He passed away and went to be with Jesus 10 minutes before I could get there.  (Special thanks to my Youth Pastor for going to the hospital and praying with the family).  Upon arriving at the hospital I was able to spend some time with the family and to visit with his wife.  She’s heart broken, of course, but upbeat because she trusts the promise of seeing her husband again.  I love pastoring and ministering to people that are hurting.  This was a special situation because yes we are missing our loved one and friend, however, all is not lost because we’ll see him again!  

That’s the benefit of being a Christian.  I know, I know, some folks don’t want to hear that kind of talk.  Well, (as my dear friend used to say, “tough stuff creme puff,” it’s going to happen any way.  You believing or not believing doesn’t change the truth of Scripture.  I will see my friend who passed to the next life again!

Tomorrow, I’m going to start a Bible Study theme for the week, and I’m going to title the study, “WHEN THE FIRE GOES OUT.”  Proverbs 26:20 tells us, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out.”  I can’t wait to share this with you.

Take care my friends,

Pastor Cliff

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Great Day at Church

We had a fantastic day at Haven Church yesterday.  We had two families attend as first time guests.  I was thrilled because our AM worship service was powerful.  You could sense the presence of the Lord in the services.

Our congregational singing was heart-felt and boisterous as they sang, “Your Love Awakens Me.”  We followed that with “No Not One” as it reminds us that there is absolutely no one that God doesn’t love & that there is No One that Jesus didn’t die for.

It is amazing how God works in the service to minister to our hearts.  One of ladies ministered in song and sang “His Life for Mine” and I could see tears streaming down the cheeks of several folks.  Oh, I wish you could have been here because we finished the service with a message from Matthew 5 asking the question, “Are You Truly Blessed?”

It is Monday morning, and I’m headed to the hospital to visit one of the men of our church.  I’ll then be traveling to an “All Boards Meeting” that is a couple of hours from me.  I love the fellowship of the board members, and doing the business of the Lord’s Work .  Take Care!

 

 

Church Alive Conference

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I have received several notes asking about my Church Alive Conference.  I have taken the experience of starting 4 church plants and teach these practical steps to growing a congregation for local churches.

I use power point and have it divided into three sessions.  Some of the conference is funny, while other times are serious.  There is an 8 page student manual, and I keep the conference exciting and interesting.  The conference lasts about 2 and 1/2 hours.

I also set up an 8′ table with a display of various church growth helps.  I’d be glad to make available a list of pastors who have hosted the conference.  I’m excited about how the Lord is using these conferences to help churches grow.

PART 3: WHEN YOU CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS IT ENSURES HIS POWER IN OUR ACTIVITY.

Not only his presence in our assembly, but his power in our activity. MATT. 28:18 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  Powerless praying is panic praying where we try to manipulate and maneuver God.  God is not interested in “crisis” praying, he’s interested in “Christly” praying!

REAL PRAYER IS REAL WORSHIP.

MATT: 6:9 “And when ye pray, say this, our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. PSALM 55:17 “Evening morning and noon will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice.” We need Jesus’ power because Satan is going to oppose any kind of worship of God.

REAL PRAYER IS REAL WORK

 JAMES 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” EPHESIANS 6:18, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

Real fervent prayer involves real worship and tears and adoration, and thanksgiving and confession. “Faith and Supplication.” Now, that is work!

We’re really good, as Baptist, talking about prayer. Most of us are not willing to put in the time to do it. WHY? Because prayer works and it is work praying!!!!

We talk about praying for so and so, and so and so, but if I were to write on a big blackboard just how many minutes we actually spent praying. I think we’d be surprised if anyone ever got well.

THE LAST REASON ON WHY, WE PRAY IN JESUS NAME IS BECAUSE IT ENSURES HIS PROVISION FOR OUR ANSWERS.

When God answers our prayers, it is for the specific purpose of glorifying God in heaven above, however, I think it is more than that. I think it is so our joy may be full!

Sometimes we don’t even know how to pray or even what to ask for. That is why Romans 8 says that the Holy Spirit make intercession for us with groaning, which may not be uttered.  He who knows the mind set of God, prays for us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are some confidences that we can have: We can have confidence in that we can know his provisions:

WE CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE IN HIS PROMISES:

MATT. 18:19,Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

MARK 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a]it, and it will be yours.”

God answers every prayer of every Christian! However, you need to understand that he does it in one of four ways.                                                                                                                                                        

  1. SOMETIMES HE ANSWERS DIRECTLY

I love it when He answers in this way. I pray, and God gives! Bang! Yes!!! I know that this is one of your favorite answers from God also.

  1. SOMETIMES HE ANSWERS WITH THE DELAYED

You know what I mean. You pray, and God says, wait! We don’t like this method because we want to see answers right now.

  1. SOMETIMES GOD ANSWERS WITH THE DIVERTED

 We might want a new Lincoln and God says go buy that old Escort.   But God, I want that Lincoln. God says, well someone’s going to plow into you next week and you’d be upset if it was the Lincoln, so go get the escort. He is all knowing. Let’s trust Him because he knows the future and we don’t.

  1. LASTLY SOMETIMES GOD ANSWERS WITH DENIED!

Moms? Don’t you say no when you are trying to fix supper and the kids want junk food to hold them over?

What do you say? No! Why? You say no because it’s not good for them. They’ll eat the junk and not be hungry for the real food. Sometimes God says no! Why? He tells us no sometimes because sometimes we ask for something that is not good for us!

          PHILIPPIANS 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

You might not know how to pray, but according to John 14: 15,16 (as well as 81 other places), it tells us to approach God through Jesus’ name.

God Bless you, my friends!

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