Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quality Decisions


1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Life is designed by God so that no door closes without opening another, no moment ends without introducing the one which comes after, and the conclusion of each season is but a signal that all is prepared for the next to begin.

The old is the only seed bed which can bring life to the new.

Tonight will conclude our Church’s services for the year 2011. This is the last time we have planned to meet together as a group this year. So, for all practical purposes our Church year is over and the next time we meet we will begin a new adventure together.

Life requires change; time facilitates change, and along with each New Year comes a God given opportunity for us to change our lives.

All over the world this week people are preparing for the New Year. Many are considering their New Year’s resolutions, trying to make up their minds what they want to stop and what they hope to start. Some will decide that 2012 will be the year they get out of debt, lose those extra pounds, defeat their addictions or mend relationships. All worthy goals which many will set and some will achieve simply because they made a quality decision.

A quality decision is the right decision made at the right time for the right reasons.

Quality decisions don’t always guarantee success but they do give a great advantage to those who are willing to work hard at making the most of their new day opportunities.

I hope that you are considering at least one or two New Year’s resolutions yourself. Especially since this year New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, which is not only the first day of the week but the first day of the year as well. What better time to make a quality decision and take full advantage of this God-given opportunity to change some things.

Quality decisions, remember …

Right decisions made at the

Right time and for the

Right reasons

… most often point the way to success. When people look back to see what made the real difference in their life, they find certain critical turning points, points at which they made quality decisions which put them on their pathway to success.

Our lives follow the pathways of our decisions. You have heard it before: We can’t always choose what we go through but we do choose how we will go through it.

Quality decisions are not only made by individuals but are also milestones for families. One such quality decision is recorded in:

Joshua 24:15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Quality decisions give direction to individuals, families, businesses, corporations, communities, governments and even to Churches.

Right decisions made at the right time for the right reasons.

Even though we are very happy with the last year of ministry in and through our Church, we nonetheless want 2012 to be better and we believe it can be. All it will take is a few quality decisions and a lot of hard work. But, without some change – we have been to our greatest day and we’re not ready for that.

We want our Church to be more spiritually and practically productive in 2012 than in any year previous. We want to please God more and make the most of every opportunity God gives us to make a difference with each individual and every family we touch. 2011 was great but we have even greater plans for 2012 and we have made some quality decisions for the New Year.

In order to sharpen the focus and increase the effectiveness of our ministries we have decided to make some changes in several departments of our Church. Let me tell you about a few of them.

· Children’s Department

o New Children’s Church Format

o Facilities Remodel

· Pre-Teen

o Dedicated focus on this particular age group needs

· Youth

o Increased personal discipleship opportunities

o Increased group oriented activities

· Sunday School

o Re-alignment & Teacher Training

· Weekly Men’s Early Morning Bible & Prayer Time

o The Most Powerful Minutes of Your Day!

o 5:40am each Thursday morning

· New Church Family Assistance Ministry

o Acts 6

· Visitors and New Members Pastor – Kenneth Woof

· New Church Service Prayer Time/Ministry

· Night Of Worship NOW –

· COTR South – January 15th – The First Sunday

· Israel Group Tour – October

· Philippines Mission’s Trip – March

· Thailand Pastor’s Conference – April

· 30 Steps to Success Book - 100% to Local and World Missions

· Iran TV

o Middle East; North Africa & Eastern Europe

· Devotional Translation into Chinese

o Potential 1 Billion people we cannot minster to presently

These and many other quality decisions have been made to coincide with this New Year, God given opportunity. As well we are continuing to do all the things we have been doing in 2011 and the past with the drilling of water wells, the continued outreach to Laos and Cambodia and Thailand via our Radio Station; the local COTR Food Bank, our Jail and Prison ministries, the Bible School and Orphanage in Nepal, the Churches and outreaches in East Africa, Russia, Israel, and many other countries, the work done through KE Resources, the weekly broadcast of our television program over TBN, our Church Online ministries, EZ resources website, the training of local pastors, youth pastors, praise and worship leaders and musicians, children’s workers and more.

Each one of the works in which we are already vested was simply the result of a quality decision we made in our past.

Never underestimate the power of a quality decision. It will inspire, motivate, re-inspire, direct and guide you to the finish line.

What is it in your life that God has been preparing you to change?

· Financially

· Spiritually

· With your family

· Friends

· On the Job

· Your place of service at Church

· Perhaps in a relationship that needs to change …

God is encouraging each one of us to make at least one or two quality decisions and take advantage of this new year opportunity.

Decide which New Year’s Resolutions are best for you and your family and make the:

· Right Decision at the

· Right Time for the

· Right Reasons

In the future … it will pay off and you will be glad you did!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Unfolding Plan


(Note: Each Senior Staff member will have an opportunity to address the congregation during transition. We will not receive an offering in the service today – there is an offering receptacle in the foyer for those who wish to give. Our service will begin at 10:30am with Christmas worship and will conclude at 11:30am for the convenience of our families celebrating with us this Christmas morning.)

The Drama Series

Part I: We Need A Savior

Part II: How Can This Thing Be?

Part III: The Unfolding Plan

(Note: I will ask the cast and crew to come up on the platform so I may introduce and thank them for their contribution to this Christmas Season’s production.)

Luke 2

6 So it was, that while they were at Bethlehem, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Today is Christmas Day – the day we set aside each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus was but one day in the plan of God – it was a great day – but only one day! The birth of Jesus was not the end of God’s plan but the means to an end.

The reason why God sent His Son into the world is because:

We Need A Savior

· Without a Savior, this world is the best place we will ever live.

Even though Mary did not know how it could happen, she trusted God. Throughout her life she learned that:

· Every question, trouble and trial of life has a spiritual answer.

We need submit ourselves to the Word of God, have faith, be patient, and:

· Let the plan of God unfold.

So, how can we sum up the Christmas story?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is the Christmas Story!

(Note: I will invite the staff, staff families, elders and their families to come to the stage to lead in the first verse of “Silent Night” as the congregation stands. After the first verse, I will dismiss the congregation to “Go in Peace, Not in Pieces” as those on stage begin to sing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Can This Thing Be?


With the world in the shape it is, families torn apart, 395 million starving around the globe, near 40 ongoing armed conflicts, 1/3 of America’s children living in homes without fathers, 1 out of every 8 youth in the US destined to become homeless during their lifetime, the increase in unemployment along with a rise in alcoholism and drug addiction while literacy rates are noticeably declining – it’s no wonder – “We Need A Savior”.

Last Sunday we agreed that the answer does not lie in the wisdom or counsel of man. In fact, the greatest minds in history and the most brilliant ideas ever laid forth have gotten us to where we are today.

It’s like King Solomon declared: “There is a way which seems right to man but the end thereof is the way of destruction.”

It is evident that the reason why God sent His Son is because:

We Need A Savior!

Without a Savior, this is the best life ever gets!

Without a Savior, this world is the best place you will ever live!

We need a Savior but, how? How can it happen? How can this thing be?

Before we go further this morning I wish to thank all who participated in making the three part drama series to compliment the messages this Christmas season. Last week we saw Part One: We Need A Savior; This week we watched Part One and Part Two: How Can This Thing Be?; and next Sunday morning in a brief, but special Christmas Sunday morning message, we will view Parts 1, 2 & 3 and then hear The Unfolding Plan of God.

I will also take time next week to introduce the cast and those behind the scenes who made this drama series possible. It was a tremendously successful first attempt in a long line of many more to come.

The fact that We Need A Savior is evident – but what is not as evident is: How Can This Thing Be?

If the most brilliant minds the world has ever known and the best leaders mankind could afford have gotten us into this mess, how in the world will we ever get out?

For our answer, let’s turn in our bibles to the Gospel of:

Luke 2

1 ¶ And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

It just so happened …

Nope – it was a plan all along – it came to pass …

Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens in God’s world without a plan!

2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

This was not something that God just thought of on the spur of the moment. It was a long time in the making but God has a lot of patience – and persistence. And, the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord.

I’m sure that it was a hardship for many to participate and some most likely thought that the Roman rulers had ulterior motives in demanding a census. Conspiracy theorists of the day were no doubt running rampant with this one. Why register? Always consider that:

What seems like a surprise to us is often a plan to God!

3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

There are a lot of “so’s” in life … the result of something else …

God sets us up or moves someone else’s heart and – so …

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

Of course he was!

This had been in the works for generations … It was a plan !!!

Salmon & Rahab – from the tribe of Judah, inherited there …

Boaz & Ruth continued the family in Bethlehem …

All the way to David and

Mary & Joseph

Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David, through Judah back to Abraham – just so if anything happened, there was still a claim and still a need to go to Bethlehem – God triple stacked His success!

5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

Fulfilling the prophecy which Isaiah spoke:

Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Many miracles are but fulfillments of God’s promised word to His people. God still speaks and He still fulfills His Word today …

6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

God is always on time … Never late & seldom early … right on time!

7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

How sad it is to see the world at Jesus’ birth, at His death and perhaps at His second coming, unaware of the Savior and perhaps even unaware they need saving! The world still has no room for Jesus. We see it most demonstrated in our schools and our government.

Because we needed a Savior and there was no other way, God sent His Only Begotten Son, to be born in a stable manger, live a sinless life and die an atoning death.

Once we realize that we need a Savior it is important to also realize that: Every question, trouble and trial of this life has a spiritual answer.

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was to become the Mother of the Messiah, she had but one question …

Luke 1

31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.”

32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be …”, since I do not know a man?"

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.

The Christmas message is a message of miracles. We need a Savior – not a buddy, not a best friend, and not a bailout … we need a Savior. How can it happen? By the Holy Spirit … God has a plan which includes you.

In the end the simple willingness of Mary shines forth as perhaps one of the greatest prayers ever uttered:

“Be it unto me according to Your Word.” (Luke 1:38)

Would you dare pray that prayer with me now? Our salvation begins when we let God be God. He alone is wise and He alone can save. God has a plan for your life that has been long in the making. Call upon Him now and submit your life to Him. What the angel told Mary is still true today … "With God nothing will be impossible"