Thursday, March 30, 2006

Humble Service



Here is another great Tozer devotional from "Insight for Leaders".

March 30

Humble Service

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

--2 Timothy 2:3-4


Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet--not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ....

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.
God Tells the Man Who Cares, 105-106.

"Lord, this prayer of Tozer's seems so contrary to the spirit of today's church growth emphasis, celebrity pastors, and TV personalities. Enable me by your Holy Spirit to make this prayer genuinely mine. Amen."


source: http://lmi.gospelcom.net/tozer.php3?date=03-30-06

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rhyme of the Modern Parishioner - Revisited



I have been listening to the mix of Dr. Michael Brown reading his 'Rhyme of the Modern Parishioner'. If you have not listen to it yet you must. You just must. Here are the links again.


Rhyme of the Modern Day Parishioner
This is a poem that Dr. Michael Brown read aloud at the end of a sermon during the Brownsville revival.

Listen Now RA -- download MP3

Anyway, I have been looking for the text to the rhyme. After I finally learned how to spell 'Parishioner' it was no problem. (side note. Kids, study your spelling word in school!)

So anyway, here it is. Listen to the mp3 or streaming audio if you have not. Read the words, but most of all, get this in your spirit!


It happened in the vestibule
At ten one Sunday morn;
A haggard-looking church-goer
Sat plaintive and forlorn.

Then suddenly he rose and found
A hungry-looking Christian;
He took his hand, took him aside,
And asked him a straight question:

“You’ve read the Word; you know the Book;
The promises are clear.
But have you seen the living God?
Have you found Him here?

Have you experienced holy fire
The Spirit in His power,
A mighty wave, a rushing wind,
A flame that does devour?

Is there something more you’re seeking,
So high, so wide, so deep?
Do you find yourself frustrated?
Is church putting you to sleep?

Then listen well, your heart is ripe;
My tale I will tell.
This story is your story too,
And it’s your tale as well.


For thirty years I’ve been in church,
It seemed like a good show.
But now I’ve got to meet with God --
Do you know where to go?

I’m trapped in mundane worship times,
The praises have grown cold;
The preaching’s dry and dusty,
The teaching stale like mold!

Each service feels like a rerun,
The songs all sound the same;
The prophecies are so hollow --
Not worthy of the name!

Words, more words -- they’re everywhere,
But oh there is a stink!
Words, more words -- they’re everywhere,
But none to make us think!

We lack the heavenly Presence,
It’s clear we’re in a rut;
I’m desperate for revival --
It burns within my gut!

I’m love-sick for my Jesus,
So hungry for my Lord;
Just longing for my Savior;
God knows that I’m so bored!

Is there someone who can help me,
Who’s touched the real thing?
A man who’s heard from heaven --
With a word from God to bring?

Are there prophets burning with fire,
Servants who are ablaze?
Anointed and overflowing,
Appointed for these days?

Do they carry the Spirit’s burden,
And breathe the Lord God’s breath?
Are they set apart and holy,
Obedient to death?

I hear the words of the Master,
‘Come follow Me,’ He said.
If some Christians go their own way;
I’ll go with Him instead!

Oh please, don’t do as I have done,
And waste so many years.
Don’t wait and wait for endless months;
Move on! Outgrow your fears!

Forget the twelve step programs;
A seminar won’t do.
You need a touch from heaven,
To fill you through and through.

There must be change in your life --
A work of God that’s real.
Don’t fool yourself with worn clich├ęs --
Don’t let the devil steal!

Don’t miss out on God’s presence
Or let these hours pass;
Don’t stop your soul from hungering;
Get out of the morass!

Dear friend, you are not crazy;
Dear saint, you are not mad;
There really is a problem,
It’s true, you have been had!

There’s more! There’s more! Believe it!
There is that place in God.
There are holy visitations,
New paths that must be trod.

Will you get up like old Pilgrim,
And seek that better way?
Will you go forth on that journey
No matter what men say?

Will you go out now and meet Him,
And leave the crowd behind,
Forsaking dead traditions,
If Jesus you will find?

It’s not in another meeting,
A nicely packaged hour;
Another harmless service,
Devoid of heaven’s power.

It’s not in another teaching,
Three points to fill your head.
The Word is always vibrant;
But this stuff is so dead!

We need God to send His Spirit,
To fully take control,
To transform every member,
To come and make them whole!

Enough with man’s religion;
Enough with earthly plans;
Enough with our new programs;
Produced by fleshly hands.”

Just then in strode the pastor
His calling to fulfill;
Just doing his weekly duty --
Then he became frozen still.

For astir was that parishioner
He grasped the preacher’s clothes,
And grasped the preacher’s soul as well --
And in that grasp he froze.


“Oh pastor, enter the prayer room
And shut yourself inside.
Be emptied of competition,
And crucify your pride!

Pray for holy visitations,
Caught up alone with Him,
Consumed with heavenly vision --
That’s where you must begin!

You won’t find Him in a textbook,
Buried on page twenty-two.
He is the living God who acts --
He wants to move in you!

It’s not only the ‘apostles’
He’ll bless and send and use;
He will saturate your own soul,
If you will not refuse.

So arise, get up, pursue Him,
Jesus your true best Friend!
He is worthy of devotion,
He’s faithful to the end!

Why should you starve on crusty bread,
And crawl along the ground?
Your Savior is your source of life,
Seek Him, let joy abound!

Renew your life, refresh your heart,
Press in, take hold, pray through.
Put first things first, make God your goal;
What else have you to do?

Your Bible schooling stole your zeal,
Church life has drained you dry;
You used to have such childlike faith,
Now budgets have your eye!

You used to be so passionate,
So innocent and free
Now you’ve become professional;
You’ll preach for a good fee!

Oh, set your sights on higher goals
And not on dollar bills.
Live in the light of Judgment Day;
Ambition always kills!

Let Jesus be your daily Guide,
Put Him where He belongs;
And soon His presence will arrive;
His praise will fill your songs!

Simplicity will be your style,
Devotion your new goal;
Communion will become your aim,
God’s life will flood your soul!

Oh, take your eyes off numbers,
Church growth can be a trap!
Go out and make disciples.
Go out and bridge the gap!

Pour your life out for broken lives --
Let God your heart break too.
Take up the cross, deny yourself;
Just live His will to do!

Wake up, be brave, be honest;
Today -- oh hear His voice!
Be ruthless with your schedule;
Seek GOD. Make that your choice.

You won’t find Him in your planner,
No committee has the key.
You’ll find Him when your soul cries out,
‘There must be more for me!’

‘There must be more than building funds,
And sessions past midnight,
And endless talks with leadership,
Disputing who is right.

Somehow I know I’ve been misled;
The model doesn’t work.
I’m not called as an executive,
Nor should I be a clerk.

I’m called to be a man of God,
A man who’s Spirit led,
A healer of the sick and lame
Someday to raise the dead!’

And with that cry new life will rise,
Your heart will be revived;
Heaven’s light will flood your soul --
You will not be denied!”

The parishioner then turned his gaze
Away from flesh and blood:
He looked to Him who sends the showers,
To Him who sends the flood.

“Today, O Lord, do hear our voice,
And pour Your Spirit out.
Saturate the thirsty ground.
End this spiritual drought!

Revive us with Your Presence,
Renew us from above;
Touch the flock called by Your name;
Come fill us with Your love!

Do greater works in our day,
Than that which You have done.
Bring the fullness of Your rains,
And glorify Your Son!”

That old church-goer spoke no more.
Another voice was heard.
Yet not the voice of flesh and blood:
It was our Father’s word.

And if you listen closely,
Beyond this little rhyme,
You’ll hear Him speaking clearly:
“My children, it is time.”



source: http://www.icnministries.org/revival/poem.htm

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We Languish for Men



Here is todays Tozer devotionals from Literature Ministries International.

March 22

Pastoral Ministry: We Languish for Men

Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
--Acts 21:13

The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men,
bold men....


We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within--or from above.

This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation. Of God and Men, 11-13.

"Lord, what would it take for me to be that kind of man? Do in me whatever work You need to do today, that I might die to the allurements of the world and serve You with high motives. Amen."


"To service Christ, by life or by death." This, once again, must be the battle cry of todays Christian man.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rhyme of the Modern Day Parishioner



Rhyme of the Modern Day Parishioner
This is a poem that Dr. Michael Brown read aloud at the end of a sermon during the Brownsville revival.

Listen Now RA -- download MP3


source: http://www.fireonthealtar.com/compilations/index.html

Monday, March 20, 2006

Men Wanted...


MEN WANTED:
FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON



In 1913, Sir Ernest Shackleton, looking for 27 men to man the first ever attempt of a cross-continental journey of Antarctica, placed this ad in the London newspapers. Surprisingly, thousands of men responded to this call to adventure, hardship, and danger.

WHY? This question is best answered by a quote from John Eldredge:

A Battle to fight. An Adventure to live. A Beauty to rescue. This is what a man longs for. This is what makes him come alive. Look at the films men love. For that matter, look at the dreams of little boys, the games they play. There is something fierce, passionate, and wild in the heart of every man. That is how he bears the image of God. And the reason that most men "live lives of quiet
desperation" (Thoreau) is because men have been told that the reason God put them on earth is to be a good boy. To be nice.

God designed men to be dangerous. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires— aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a nice guy. It is no wonder that
many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death.



It is time for men to wield the sword of courage and engage in the cause of Christ! These are important days - maybe the last days. There is an incredible opportunity that may be unique to our generation! We are all being called to take our rightful places in the larger story and to be sold out to the will of our King.

God, the angels in heaven, a cloud of witnesses, and all of eternity are waiting for your answer! So "what say you?"

Friday, March 17, 2006

PRAY!




I was going to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day today, and later today I will post some history over at on my bible study web site: http://www.time4biblestudy.com.

But I want everyone to pray.

There are to many good things happening and in the works. It feels like the Devil is about to mount his 'counter-attack'.

Time to put the armor on and pull out the 'big guns' Christian solders!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I came not to send peace, but a sword. - Jesus


Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. - Matt 10:34

Anyone else tired of the sissy-fied, Jesus is my boyfriend, church culture that is chasing away men from the Church? Need some fire in your belly?

Listen to this message from Reverend Herb Lusk:

“The spirit of a soldier, the guts of a gladiator and the attitude of an athlete" are the elements of Christians "fighting the good fight.” That attitude is expressed by Reverend Herb Lusk, a former NFL player who now pastors a church in urban Philadelphia. A stirring message for all of us!

Click here to listen to the audio message: One More Round - Reverend Herb Lusk

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cattle are driven; sheep are led


This devotional is talking to pastors. That a pastor can not take the congregation farther than he has gone. But this applies to Fathers and Mothers teaching their children, Bible and small group leaders, Christians trying to lead their unbelieving friends to Christ.

How far have you gone? Cultivate your soul..


March 14

Pastoral Ministry: Sheep Are Led

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
--Psalm 95:6-7

Cattle are driven; sheep are led; and our Lord compares His people to sheep, not to cattle.

It is especially important that Christian ministers know the law of the leader--that he can lead others only as far as he himself has gone....

The minister must experience what he would teach or he will find himself in the impossible position of trying to drive sheep. For this reason he should seek to cultivate his own heart before he attempts to preach to the hearts of others....

If he tries to bring them into a heart knowledge of truth which he has not actually experienced he will surely fail. In his frustration he may attempt to drive them; and scarcely anything is so disheartening as the sight of a vexed and confused shepherd using the lash on his bewildered flock in a vain attempt to persuade them to go on beyond the point to which he himself has attained....

The law of the leader tells us who are preachers that it is better to cultivate our souls than our voices. It is better to polish our hearts than our pulpit manners, though if the first has been done well and successfully it may be profitable for us to do the second. We cannot take our people beyond where we ourselves have been, and it thus becomes vitally important that we be men of God in the last and highest sense of that term. The Price of Neglect, 151-153.

"Lord, today let me stop, step off the busy treadmill, and look to the condition of my soul. Help me to listen to You and be spiritually nurtured, to have my soul cultivated by You in silence and solitude. Amen."


source: http://lmi.gospelcom.net/

Friday, March 10, 2006

Calling the church back to men


Calling the church back to men

Man-focused church grows, gets guys
This is a great story of a new church right around the corner, Peoria, IL.

The Grove in Peoria, Illinois, America’s first church to publicly and unashamedly target men, is growing. According the pastor, “Coach D,” average attendance has nearly doubled since the grand opening in September. Giving is up, and the church may soon acquire an abandoned nightclub as its new home. Coach D is investing weekly in a small group of men, and he reports that these guys are growing in faith as never before.


This church is focusing on calling men.


Most people assume that men are just less religious than women, but this is untrue. Other religions have little trouble attracting males. Jesus was a magnet to men. But today, few men are living for Christ, even as many are dying for Allah. Why do rival faiths inspire male allegiance, while ours breeds male indifference?

A business guru once said, “Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting.” Christianity’s primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women and older folks. That’s why our pews are filled with them. But this church system fails to stir men’s hearts, so men (especially masculine ones) stay away.


God's army is warehoused in churches and held back by kings who will not go to war. -- John Eldredge

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Iran threatens reprisals if punished in nuclear row



Iran threatens reprisals if punished in nuclear row

What does everyone think about this issue?

Should we draw a 'line in the sand' with Iran about this nuclear issue risking high oil prices and more war?
Is doing nothing just going to cause more serious problems down the road?
Should Iran have the right to refine nuclear material if the want?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark...


One: Don't miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six: Build your future on high ground.
Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.
Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

source: http://www.mooreschapel.org/fun/noah.html

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lent!?!? I'm not a Catholic!



Is Lent a 'Catholic Holiday'?

I have written about it a little on my bible study web site here: Ash Wednesday - Start of Lent

Even if you think it is not for you, a Christian should at least know what it is.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
-- George Santayana


What do you all think about Lent? Let me know.