There is an old chorus we used to sing that I love called “See His Glory”. Its one of those melodies with simple lyrics that can warm the heart. But because of my immaturity as a believer at that time in my life I was always under the assumption that we would see some type of outward manifestation of the glory of God that would transform our church. We had, and still do have some powerful experiences with God’s glory, but now that I’m older I have a deeper insight to the purpose for God’s glory.

God, the Father wants His glory to be seen by the world around us and the best way for that to happen is for the glory of God to be seen in us by everyone we come in contact with. Let me put it this way; when people look into our lives it should be like looking into a mirror and the reflection they see is the glory of God in us. 2 Corinthians 3:18 As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (GW) As we allow the Holy Spirit to do His life-changing work in us we reflect the glory of God. And if we are following God wholeheartedly people will see an ever-increasing glory from the Spirit of God!

Jesus prayed that this would be our reality in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Jesus prayed two things that are our responsibility if we desire to reflect God’s glory 1) Jesus wants us to be with Him. He wants us in His presence. That takes a deliberate decision by us to “enter in”, to open our hearts to the super-natural presence of God. 2) Jesus wants us to be where He is. That implies movement. God is moving in powerful ways today, we must again make a deliberate decision to move with Him. I think the best way to move with Jesus is found in John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Those who have committed their lives to serving Christ will be in a better position to see the glory of God. And those who understand that serving Christ means serving others with no strings attached and no expectations of receiving from the ones we serve, they will reflect an ever-increasing glory. The greatest manifestations of God’s glory in my life have come when I serve others in the power of the Spirit! May we all see His glory as we serve Him.

PEACE

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I have a friend that has a very good habit, whenever something positive happens he will enthusiastically say, “Glory!” giving God praise for that particular moment. But my limited mind has trouble at times grasping this very important reality; the glory of God in our lives.

Before you jump to any wrong conclusions, I’ve experienced the glory of God and truly believe in the power of God’s glory but I think most people don’t really understand the purpose for God’s glory in our lives. Here are a couple of definitions for us to consider…

GLORY: visible sign of God’s greatness. Dignity, honor, praise, worship…

When God appeared to people, his glory was often seen as a bright light or as fire and smoke. Jesus’ glory was seen when he performed miracles, when he was lifted up on the cross, and when he was raised from death.—Contemporary English Version Dictionary

In John’s Gospel Jesus speaks (actually prays) about the purpose of God’s glory in our lives. The prayer is progressive; He begins praying for Himself, then for the disciples, and concludes by praying for people who would believe in Him through the message of the disciples (that’s some of us). Jesus prays that, as believers, we are to be in complete unity.

In John 17:21 He makes a remarkable statement, “…that all of them may be one,”. In this verse He gives us the possibility that ALL of the Church can be one. But then He gives us the standard, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…” WOW! Jesus prayed that we would have the same oneness as the Father and the Son! That’s a pretty tall order but, realize this, it is possible or Jesus would have never prayed that way.

Looking at the state of the Church throughout the world we are far from being united. Unity in the Church based on the unity of the Spirit must be a priority. It is crucial to the plans of God for the salvation of the world. “…May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” As we become one with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and with every believer, the world will see the beauty and splendor of the glory of God. More to come…

PEACE

I love the stories in the Bible. But I’m constantly reminding myself that they are more than nice stories; they are history, the true accounts of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit impacting lives for thousands of years.

In 2 Kings 13:20-21 is one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read. But what really trips me out… (oops, I slipped back into the ‘70s for a moment) But what I think is really amazing is the casual way this miracle is stated. The writer of 2 Kings uses two short verses to tell the story then moves on, as if this was no big deal. Maybe to God its not a big deal, after all; all things are possible for God. Here’s the story as I see it:

Elisha dies and is buried, not in a coffin, the body was completely wrapped in grave clothes. The clothes were probably similar to what he usually wore, tightly wrapped, and the head was wrapped separately then placed in a tomb. Another guy dies (his name is not mentioned) and at his funeral his friends saw some bad guys (Moabite raiders… I feel a joke coming on). They got so scared that they threw the man into Elisha’s tomb and took off running! When the dead man lands on Elisha’s bones he immediately comes back to life and stands up. WOW! There was resurrection power still in Elisha. Did you notice that the man landed on his BONES? Can you say decomposed?  One scholar says Elisha was dead for a full year!

What does that means to us?

First, this shows that Elisha did not perform his miracles by any powers of his own, but by the power of God! Second, it should challenge us to believe for the power of God to work through us. I think we do ourselves and others a disservice when we focus on the power of God FOR us instead of asking for the power of God to work THROUGH us. Third, the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Bible also says that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who believe. (Eph. 1:18-20) Never limit the power of God, even to raise the dead. Why not? Jesus said even greater things we will do because He was going back to the Father. Are you ready for the resurrection power of God to flow through your life? I am, or least I want to be ready.

One last thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the things we did for God were so pleasing to Him and so filled with His power that He would anoint those things to change lives even after we have left this earth?

I pray that He does.

PEACE

I have always felt that physical touch is very important to our emotional health and wellbeing. The power of touch to heal has been documented through many studies. There have been over a hundred studies on the subject published by the Touch Research Institute alone. Recently a team of neuroscientists stumbled on a very low-tech way to completely prevent stroke damage in rats: tickle their whiskers. (Who comes up with these things?) I know I feel better when my grandchildren tickle my whiskers!

There is no greater touch than the touch of Christ upon our lives. The greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life came through two ways; God’s touch and God’s voice (I include God’s Word in the category of His voice). In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus demonstrates the power of His touch. Matthew 8:1-4 (NCV) 1 When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. 2 Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.“ 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!“ And immediately the man was healed from his disease. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. But go and show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded for people who are made well. This will show the people what I have done.“

There very important concepts we need to embrace so we can experience the power of Christ’s touch in our lives and in the lives God leads us to touch with His love:
1. We must humble ourselves and ask Jesus to touch us! The man bowed, a symbol of submission and humility. Then he spoke directly to Jesus, not letting the great crowds that surrounded Jesus discourage him.
2. We must be still until we know Jesus touched us. I see so many Christians running around trying get healed, or get their problems solved, or get their hurts cared for, when the most important thing for us to do is to be still in His presence. Busyness can be a sign of fear or unbelief. The man didn’t get up until he was healed. I admit it’s a lot easier to be still when Jesus heals immediately like He did here in this story. Sometimes Jesus heals immediately, sometimes He heals gradually, and sometimes He heals naturally, through doctors and medication.
In the early 1980’s we were living in Lindsay CA. and were attending the First Baptist church. I had been suffering from constant headaches; if I was awake I was in pain. The Bible says in James if anyone is sick to go to the elders of the church for prayer; so that’s what I did. I showed up to a Board meeting and asked them to pray for me. They sat me down and laid hands on me and began to pray. Within minutes, (its seemed like seconds) the Holy Spirit fell on me big time and I began to speak in tongues! The Holy Spirit, Tongues, Baptists? YES!!! That touch from God was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had with the Holy Spirit. Did I get healed? It took about 2 weeks, everyday I felt better until the headaches completely stopped, never to return, AMEN!
3. We must always make Jesus the focus of the touch. Jesus instructed how he was to respond to the Touch. When God touches you share your story with the pastoral staff of your church. Talk about how your story can show the people what Jesus has done. Make sure you offer your thanks and praise to God Almighty. Then let the people know how God touched you and how God can touch them as well.

PEACE

I’ve been praying about a series of teachings for my blog. The Spirit of God led me to a very interesting and powerful subject, the touch of God upon our lives. We’ve all experienced the touch of God on our lives at one time or another. My goal is to give us insight on how to continue in that touch, to continue experiencing God’s hand on us every day, all day! We will always have those special moments when God touches us with an undeniable, glorious power. I love that! I look forward to that every day. But quite frankly, for most people, those times are few and far between. The first question that comes to mind is “Why don’t we experience God’s presence everyday? Why can’t I feel God” (I stopped asking the “Why” questions a long time ago.) If you insist on asking that question I will answer it for you; Why?… because He’s God and He can do whatever He wants! Okay, now for those who are more sensitive… God knows what’s best for us even when we don’t understand. And there will be some things we will never understand this side of Heaven. One more for my macho men of God… BECAUSE GOD SAID SO NOW GET OVER IT! (he, he, he)

Why is really the wrong question to ask, if God wants us to know why He will tell us. “What” is a much better question. In the early 1980’s Michelle and I were involved with an inner city church that ministered to gang members and drug addicts. One evening I was at a rehearsal for a play that we were putting on as part of our evangelism outreach. When the rehearsal was over I walked out to my 1974 Super Beetle only to find that it had been broken into and my stereo cassette player had been stolen! Why? Why? Why? Then the question changed… what, what was God about to teach me? The lesson was a good one. I didn’t realize that as a young Christian I still had a love… okay… a lust for material things, LIKE STEREO CASSETTE PLAYERS! With no Christian music playing in my VW I had no other choice but to talk to God. Riding home in my ’74 Super Beetle I experienced a holy visitation, and at that moment God set me free from lusting after things. Being in God’s presence in my VW was greater than any stereo, or nice car, or anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I still like nice things, but having nice things is not important to me, being in God’s presence is!

That holy encounter changed my life. Can you think of a time when in God’s presence you know without a doubt that He changed you right on the spot? Cherish those times and share them with others to encourage them. Most of the changes that God makes in our lived are slow daily processes that make us more like Jesus. But it’s so awesome when we experience a holy, powerful visitation of God. My heart cries out for more of God’s presence in my life, my family, and my church.

PEACE

Retired?? NOT A CHANCE!

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Personal Thoughts

I want to thank all the loving family and friends that have congratulated me on my retirement from Clovis Unified, leaving my career of 32 years in teaching. But retired? NOT A CHANCE! I have entered into a new journey, an adventure of faith and purpose.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2011 I officially joined the awesome team at Northeast Assembly of God as Associate Pastor. As many of you know I have been bi-vocational for over 19 years, being the Lead Pastor of Family Joy Community Church (FJCC). Not many people enjoy the jobs they have but I can honestly tell you that I had 2 jobs that I LOVED, teaching children through music (I don’t teach music; I teach children) and pastoring all the wonderful people of FJCC. Now that FJCC has partnered with Northeast a new adventure has begun, an adventure filled with potential, vision and hope for the future.
Coming to this place was a long and, at times, stressful process. But the benefits and blessings that we are experiencing make it all worthwhile. Several years ago I prayed a very dangerous prayer (a prayer I think everyone should pray). I said to God in prayer, “Lord, I will do whatever you tell me to do, and I will go wherever you want me to go.” God took on that challenge and sent me to Lindsay CA. to be their high school band director. I loved my students at Lindsay High School (still do) but God had other plans for us. As I look back I needed to get out of Fresno for a while so I could focus on my new life in Christ.
After 2 years at Lindsay HS God moved us back to Fresno and opened a door at Tranquillity High School and for 6 wonderful years I directed an awesome group of musicians and Color Guard!! On our final Spring Concert we received a standing ovation! I will never forget my family from TUHS. I still have contact with some of my students. GO TIGERS!! I love you so much.
But being a high school band director is too demanding for the next journey God had for me and Michelle.
I left TUHS for Clovis Unified and Jefferson Elementary School. There is a miracle involved in this move but I will share it at another time. Being at the elementary school level gave me the opportunity to begin our greatest journey, starting a new church in Fresno called, “Family Joy Community Church.” Maybe one day Michelle and I will write a book about our experiences as lead pastors of an amazing ministry, filled with many miracles and too many heartbreaks, but not enough to make us give up on our vision. I LOVE YOU FAMILY JOY!
Now God has us on another new journey, a journey of power and blessings. We’ve already seen God do miracles, healings, restoration, and empowerment. For over 6 months we have been in the planning stages with Pastor Mike Bruton and his awesome leadership team to bring together two groups of people to become one Church, one in purpose, power, and peace. Because of this partnership I was able to retire from teaching and go on as a full-time pastor with Northeast Assembly of God. Praise the Lord!
If you are not currently attending a church I strongly encourage you to come on by. Every Sunday there is awesome worship, a powerful message from God’s Word, and a lot of love to go around. By the way, I Still Got Jokes! I hope we see each other soon. Much Love!
PEACE

When I read my Bible I see powerful stories of long ago; miraculous events, healings, even people being resurrected from the dead! But I can’t help but think, “Why does Christianity today look so very different from Christianity in the Bible? Where’s the power, where’s the action, where’s the miraculous?

Don’t get me wrong, we have seen God do many miracles in our lives, and in our ministry. But when I think of the people in the Bible miracles seem to be more common than today. I desperately want to see miracles, healings, and especially salvations, become common place in my life and in our ministry.

The Apostle Paul has helped me put things into perspective in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. Miracles didn’t just happen then and they don’t just happen now. There needs to be action that motivates the heart of God to move in the miraculous on our behalf. Here’s what Paul said, We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

The church at Thessalonica had an ongoing work for God that was empowered by their faith in God. They worked hard. The Greek word translated here means to toil (as an effort or occupation). The sad truth about the American church is only 10% of attendees are doing 80% of the work. Most people come to church as consumers, not as workers for God. Since very little work is being done by faith, very little power is being manifested. (I am happy to say that we see that changing in our church) When more Christians realize they can be empowered by faith more work will occur. Let’s not confuse activity with faith-work. There are a lot of activities going on in every church but very little work produced by faith. Harsh statement? Well all we have to do (if we are honest) is look at the results of all our activities.

Paul seems to be repeating himself in the next phrase, but he is actually taking work to the next level, labor prompted by love. The Geek word here is toil (as reducing the strength), pains, labor, trouble, weariness. This is hard work, where we are worn out by the pain involved with laboring for God (I know that pain all too well). What keeps us going is love. When you have genuine love for God and compassion for those around you nothing can stop you. I have quit the ministry hundreds of times but I’m still going strong. Why? Because God loves me and has filled me with an undying love for others. Don’t hate me because I tell the truth but people who quit laboring for God love something more than they love God (It’s usually self-love in various forms). If you are suffering from ministry burn-out take some time off and go back to your first love. Then get back to work!

Paul finishes his statement with a powerful word, endurance. This is a word we all need deep within our hearts. Endurance is cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, loyalty, enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). We, that have Christ as our Lord and Savior, have hope for our future and hope for all eternity! That’s something worth waiting for! I keep on working, I keep on laboring, and I keep on enduring because I have hope in Jesus. This is what my hope looks like: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.” The One who was sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:1-5 (NCV)

PEACE