Showing posts from April, 2008


This is so cool! Follow these directions. A) Set aside 8:44 of uninterupted time. B) Get a box of tissues C) Praise God when finished.

Something is bothering me!

Greed. I can't tell you if is something new to my persona or if we are seeing a huge surge of greed in our world today like never before (I suspect a little of both) but this is getting out of hand. Why are we paying more for gas? Because futures traders suspect there is going to be a oil shortage. Wrong, we've got more oil than we know what to do with now! Some of it is still in the ground, but we are not running out, not by a long shot! Brazil just discovered that they are sitting on an estimated 33 billion barrels of oil. Now there is a rice shortage? Because of this Asian countries like the Philippines and others are trying to stave off a famine? Then I read reports from Bloomburg that clearly say there is no shortage. The one thing that many of these countries are doing is banning speculators from trading in rice futures so they don't drive up the cost of rice based on falsified fears. What are your comments on this?

Do Not Come Off The Wall

Those of you who attended this Sundays Business meeting heard some of this in my devotional. Neh. 6 is one of those passages that God used to speak to me years ago. A few minister friends of mine have told me on occasion, "Russ, you are the hardest working pastor in the Assemblies of God." Let's get something straight here. I'm not the hardest working pastor, believe me! But I do believe that they were verbalizing the effects that Neh. 6 has had on my life. In verses 1 - 4 Sanballat and Geshem try to get Nehemiah to leave the city and meet them in the plains of Ono. Bottom line, it was for the purpose of assassinating him. Nehemiah wouldn't do it! Instead he send the message back "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" or "Hey, guys we're not coming down off the wall" Then Sanballat send the message that the king is about to learn about your "plan

Lakeland Revival

So I get a phone call from someone in Auburndale Florida telling me about the great revival going on with Todd Bentley from Faith Fire Ministries. He tells me how these revival services first start at Ignited Church in Lakeland and were then transferred to a larger auditorium in Auburndale. Then Sunday night Betty and I went over to Tim and Teneals for dinner and they asked me if I had heard of this revival? Now this is peeking my interested. So Tim replays for me from his Tivo the service from the previous night. We saw Todd his uncle, the guy who called me, there in the service. But the miracles that were taking place were awesome! Now I have learned that they have moved back to the Lakeland Convention Center which seats 8,000 people and that it was filled up! This Friday they are moving to the local stadium there. There are people all over the world flying in to attend! If you can get GOD TV, check it out!

Mid Course Corrections

In Nehemiah's school of leadership we learn that sometimes you have to make mid course corrections and that mid course corrections can be hazardous to the cause. Apparently there was a famine in the land and the law of supply and demand kicked in. Prices were going up, (Having a flash back to the last time you went to the supermarket?) but peoples wages were not keeping up. What happened next angered Nehemiah. Instead of helping each other out, the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. People were selling their kids into slavery so they wouldn't starve to death and others were mortgaging their property to buy food. When Nehemiah learned that it was fellow Jews doing this to other fellow Jews - that lit him up! Now Nehemiah is going to confront and correct those who probably have the most power and influence in the land. Ticking these people off may be a bad idea, it could bring the whole project to a stop if they get mad. Should Nehemiah wait or sh

Business Meeting

We had a wonderful business meeting today. Really! As a general rule, I really dislike the things. But I believe that it went very well. It took longer for us to go through it, but remember what I said. "People have to weigh in before they will buy in." Everyone weighed in! It was really, really good! In then end, we decided to do what it takes to get everything done! That looks like its going to be $114,000. What do we do next? Pray, for favor with the loan institutions as we approach them. Pray that everyone whom we will be working with will do their part to make this project successful. Pray and ask God for His favor in our lives as we begin to take this step of faith. Pray that Satan and hells plans will be defeated before they even start.

Nehemiah's Prepared

There is no doubt that Nehemiah knew that he was going to face opposition to his plan for Jerusalem. There were those who were making a living off of the Jews pitiful situtation there. He knew they were going to be mad about losing their livelyhood and that they were going to do everything they could to stop him. In chapter 3 we begin with Step 1: Insult with influence. We've all been insulted at one time or another. Nehemiah's enemies use all the influence they have to intimidate. Nehemiah refused to be intimidated. Fear is a powerful motivator and when we choose to live in faith and not in fear, we will conquer step 1. Nehemiah's response prayer. "Lord let them reap what they sow." Step 2: Make plans to attack and destory. Now remember this, "they are making plans" Again here fear is the motivator. The attack is real, but it hasn't happened yet. Nehemiah's plan, Pray again and raise up guards against the threat. When your enemy

Back To School

When I started to write this one, I didn't think it would be this long. But hang in there, I think you will get something great out of it. Nehemiah now has to work through proper channels to do God's will. What? If it's God's will, why does he have to go to the king to get help? God will take care of all of my needs, who needs the king anyway? It never occurred to Nehemiah that he was going to do what God asked him to do without King Artaxerxes permission and blessing. Why? Nehemiah understood how authority worked. First of all, the king was the king because God wanted him to be king. (Rom 13) Remember that in this time, the king owns everything. Legally Jerusalem is his property. What he was asking to do was remodel some of the kings property, revive the local economy and boost the tax revenue to the overall kingdom. Why is this so important to us? All of us have served "wicked" authority figures at one time or another. Unethical bosses, cruel

Nehemiah's School of Leadership

One of the greatest leadership stories you will find in the Bible concerns a servant named, Nehemiah. He was cup bearer to King Artaxerxes. Now most of us would think that being the butler would indicate that you didn't score high on your SAT's. But in reality the cup bearer was a VIP! Because poison was a favored method of assassination, the kings butler had to be a person whom the king trusted. Then because the king did business 24 hours a day, the butler had to be someone who could keep a confidence. But there was a benefit to Nehemiah that no one would have taken into account. Being in the presence of the King was the same as going to leadership school. King Artaxerxes was a very good king and Nehemiah was learning from the best. There is no doubt in my mind that God placed him there for a season so He could use him for greater things. As Esther determined that the purpose of her life was to save her people from extermination, it can be said that Nehemiah's pu


I know that you have heard the old saying, "There is no 'I' in team." It's true though. It's what we do that makes a difference. In this Sundays Business Meeting we are going to have to resist the temptation to be individuals and think more like a team. What does that mean? Individual tastes or desires need to be set aside. What we are suppose to be doing is embracing God's vision and will for FFWC and doing what we can to see its fulfillment. Do not compare what we are doing to what someone else did. No two churches are alike. If you have participated in church business meetings in the past, do not compare them to this one. If no two churches are alike, I can guarentee you that there business meetings are not the same either.

Who Are We After?

One of the things that you need to think and pray about is this. Who is the church trying to attract? Who is our target audience? Now to some of you, you may think I have lost my mind and become a marketing salesman. But following along here for a few more sentences. If we are trying to reach sinners, does our facilities say, "Welcome sinner?" "Welcome friend?" or does it say, "Welcome Christian?" If we are trying to reach families with children, does our facilities say, "Welcome home?" or "Look, but don't touch!" If we are trying to reach people, does our facilities say "We're religious!" or "We're relevant!" (No you cannot say we are religiously relevant.) If we are trying to reach people who have been watching this church for many years, does our facilites say, "This is a new church, with a new vision for a new day!" or does is say, "Same ol' church with a new coat of paint!&quo

What will cause this church to grow!

I said that growth must be a choice. In the final analysis, the greatest asset we have to grow this church isn't something we purchased, remodeled or replaced. It's us. We make the difference, if we choose to do so. So what makes churches grow? Our attitude! I love this church! I hope that you do to! But if we communicate to people that just "like" it - they will move on. Most people are smart enough to perceive the difference and prefer to be around people who are committed with their whole heart. Our presence! Ever drove by a restaurant and observed people standing outside? Did you wonder what was going on or what was so special about it? Did you go and find out? Now have you walked into a restaurant during the lunch hour rush to find it almost empty and think to yourself, "What's wrong here?" People do the same thing with church. They look at the church that is 2/3rd's empty and say, "What's wrong here?" Bottom lin

This is in the news?

Bill Maher American comedian, actor, writer, and producer who formally hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and ABC, and is currently the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO is producing a new documentary. He was recently on Larry King Live. Watch it here and after you have cooled off a bit, pray for Bill (even though he doesn't want you to) and then comment.

This isn't in the news

And it doesn't surprise me. The movie, Expelled, came out last Friday and the science community is all up in arms about it. In case you don't know what the movie is about here is a synopsizes from CNS News: " 'Expelled' calls attention to the plight of highly credentialed scholars who have been forced out of prestigious academic positions because they proposed Intelligent Design as a possible alternative to Charles Darwin’s 150-year-old theories about the origins of life. Instead of entertaining a debate on the merits of competing theories, the scientific establishment has moved to suppress the ID movement in a “systematic and ruthless” way at odds with America’s founding principles, the film asserts." It came in 8th or 9th (depending on who you read) in gross sales. That doesn't seem like much but remember it open in 1052 theaters. The other movies opened in 2000+ theaters. The major news chains are already treating it as a failure, even though it'

Who are we after?

One of the things that you need to think and pray about is this. Who is the church trying to attract? Who is our target audience? Now to some of you, you may think I have lost my mind and become a marketing salesman. But following along here for a few more sentences. If we are trying to reach sinners, does our facilities say, "Welcome sinner?" "Welcome friend?" or does it say, "Welcome Christian?" If we are trying to reach families with children, does our facilities say, "Welcome home?" or "Look, but don't touch!" If we are trying to reach people, does our facilities say "We're religious!" or "We're relevant!" (No you cannot say we are religiously relevant.) If we are trying to reach people who have been watching this church for many years, does our facilites say, "This is a new church, with a new vision for a new day!" or does is say, "Same ol' church with a new coat of paint!&quo

Be Blessed!

In the middle of 1 Thess. there is a blessing. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. Paul didn't ask for God to bless them with material things nor did He ask God to make their life easier. He knew the former had already been taken care of and that the later wasn't Gods goal, but that life should be blameless and holy before easier. He focuses on agape love for each other and their relationship with God. He speaks to their heart about the condition of their heart. So.... May God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit clear the way for us to see each other this Sunday, His day. May He increase your love for each other and everyone around you con

Oprah is a Cultist?

Remember you read it here first! Click here and read this Fox News story. you will find it interesting

Coffee and the Bible

I wake up in the morning (if you don't believe that the dead can be brought back to life, I'm living proof of it everyday) I have a cup of coffee and read my Bible to start my day. The coffee is suppose to get my body going and the Bible is suppose to get my soul and spirit ready for the day. Today was a little different, I didn't need the coffee. I read 2 Thess. 1 and was just amazed at what I was seeing there. Read is HERE for yourself. Verse 3 Paul praises the church because their love for each other is increasing all the time. Then in verse 4 he praises them for getting persecuted for it. HUH? That almost makes one want to disown all of his friends! Then he explains it in verse 5. When God judges this world, he is going to do so based on how it treated us, His people. How can God judge this world if we didn't try to show them the way to eternal life to Him with His love? He also points out that if the wicked are going to be punished the righteous are go

The New Church

The whole idea behind the New Testament church was so foreign to the culture of that day, it seem impossible. A place where one could find love, acceptance and forgiveness. A place where there was healing, salvation and hope. Up to that point in time religious institutions were either pagan temples that left you spiritually empty or Jewish synagogues which were established for the purpose of teaching and enforcing the law of Moses. Neither of which put the person ahead of their religion. Now the New Testament church comes along and offers a third choice. One that people liked and apparently flocked to in some cases. No wonder the established religions of that day were upset with Paul and these Christians. They were putting them out of businesses! Today isn't that different! You have those who embrace their pagan religions, those who embrace a form of godliness but deny it's power to effect peoples lives and then there are those churches which people are flocking to.

Scientology has a problem

One of its long time members has quit and he is mad. Jason Beghe who has starred as Demi Moore’s love interest in "G.I. Jane" and has been featured in numerous TV dramas such as "Criminal Minds," "Numb3rs" and "CSI" has called it quits after 14 years. In his own words "Scientology is destructive and a rip-off." Apparently Jason has a 3 min. video on YouTube. (Warning: He is apparently mad and his language reflects that, don't let the children watch this!) Here he declares "It ain’t deliverin’ what it’s promised." I bet Tom Cruise is having a fit! Pray for Jason, he's out but he needs Jesus too! Pray that there is someone who will begin to show him the real love of Christ in a pratical and relevant way.

Church Tithing

You can read the whole article here at The Barna Group. But here is some of the information I found interesting. Who is tithing? Religion 24% of evangelicals 12% of people who have prayed, read the Bible, and attended a church service during the past week 11% of charismatic or Pentecostal Christians 9% of all born again adults 8% of Protestants 2% of Catholics 1% or less of atheists and agnostics Politics 22% of conservatives and registered Republicans 1% or less of liberals General 5% of adults 1% or less of downscale adults (Those whose annual household income is less than $20,000 and who have not attended college) 1% or less of people under the age of 25 1% or less of single adults who have never been married What are you thoughts on this and what can we do to turn this trend around? Do you think that tithing is Biblical?

Fans and Rivalries

You can read the whole story here , but the short of it is this. - Yankees are building a new stadium. - A construction worker who is a Red Sox fan hid a Red Sox jersey somewhere in the stadium. - I surmise it was for the purpose of "cursing" the stadium and the Yankees. - He didn't keep his mouth shut about it. - It took five hours of jackhammering to find it. - The "curse" has been removed. - Charges are pending. - The jersey is going to be auctioned off for charity. I can understand rivalries between teams. I can understand the fans pulling pranks on each other. But as you read this story I get the feeling that some people were "deeply" offended, "seriously" insulted and "shocked" that someone would do this to their beloved team. Is it just me or should they have just ignored this and found something more deserving of their time, money and attention? FYI Yankees. There's another jersey in there somewhere. I don't k

God Save Us From Each Other!

One of these days I've got to call Jeff and ask him where he finds this stuff! Click here and go to his blog to read and watch about how this believer is trying to shift the focus of Americas view on spiritual things. Click Here

Whirlwind Tour

I just got back from Jacksonville a few minutes ago. I taught a Sunday School Teacher Certification class at Faith Temple Assembly of God for 20 or so teachers. So I arrived around 3:30, got some dinner, went to the church, started teaching at 6 p.m., finished at 9 p.m., returned to the hotel, got up at 7 a.m., started teaching at 8 a.m., finished teaching at 1 p.m., got some lunch, stopped at Starbucks and drove home in 3 hours and 30 minutes. See ya in the morning!!!
I finished reading Ezekiel today. I never remember it ever being this tough to read. I remember reading Ezekiel 47:3 - 6 before. Walking into the river and the father you go, the deeper you get until you cannot swim in it anymore. There is a great deal of discussion as to what this means. But I prefer to think of this as ones relationship with God. God is deeper in spirit, thought and life than we are. We can comprehend somethings, but in the end, we cannot comprehend everything. Some people think that this is morally wrong for God to do this to us. Others think that this is impossible, that given enough time we can figure it out. And that is what is wrong isn't it! Either we blame God and abandon Him or we elevate ourselves to His position and make him irrelvent. This is exactly what Israel did that led God to place them in exile. No matter how smart or gifted anyone is, eventually there comes a place where our faith has to believe in something we don't comprehend

I Feel Better

Over the years I have been a big promoter of discipleship, worship services for Christians and challenging preaching. That has flown in the face of most church growth philosophy which has promoted community and seeker services. I've tried that stuff, well one Sunday I did, and I quickly realized that it wasn't going to work. So I've been called a few names among them, stubborn and antiquated. Well one of the leading churches of the seeker/community movement, Willow Creek did a study a few years ago that led them to believe they were missing something. You read the article here. In short, now they are offering discipleship classes and worship services that attract mature believers, because mature believers are the driving force of the church, especially in evangelism!! What does that mean for FFWC? Well if this is the new trend for the church of the 21st century we could be ahead of the curve!

We Build People Pt. 5

This is the last entry on the We Build People series. I initially was going to stop at part 4, but there is just one more thing that I want to point out. The Holy Spirit makes all the difference! God is a package deal. That means you have to accept and embrace everything He has to offer in order to know and love Him. Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows this. There may be some things about a person that irritate you or you outrightly disagree with, but you love them anyway. They are a package deal! We believe in God, but that also means we believe in His Son Jesus. That what He did sets us free from sin. We also believe in His Word, the Bible. That every word is inspired, from Genesis to Revelation, all the time. We also believe in the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity and that makes all the difference! As Ezekiel preached, what happened! The wind, a emblem of the Spirit, enters these dead bodies and restores their soul! The Hebrew word here is the same used

We Build People Pt. 4

Sorry for the delay. I was in Presbytery all day monday then yesterday my low blood sugar just wreaked my whole day. So today I feel great and good to go!! Ezekiel is now instructed to preach to these dead bodies the breath of life. Notice that God calls them, "slain". Who killed them? There is a great deal of discussion about this but I think that the answer is clear. Sin is the guilty party here. They accepted sin and idolatry as their way of life, choosing over God and His will for them. Sin leads to every kind of concieveable death possible. Physical, spiritual, financial, realtional and much more. There is hope for them, but it comes in the form of an unlikely prophet who simply preaches to them. We have to ask ourselves, "What was Ezekiel preaching here?" We don't know exactly how or what he said but we do know this much. It had to be the truth. God responds to faith but faith must be expressed with truth, otherwise, it becomes valueless. We,

Sunday Night Musings

We really did have a great day today. I know that many of you were really hurting when you came this morning and it is my prayer that you left refreshed and renewed to face this week. That Tommy's Word from God was something that will help you conqurer this weeks challenges. It is how we think that makes all the difference in the world isn't it! I'm off to Lake Wales tomorrow for a meeting and then I will be back Tuesday morning. Got a long week ahead of me! But you know what? I am looking forward to it! P.S. Devil! I resist you in the name of Jesus! Me and my family, our health and future are in the hands of God. This church belongs to Him and its future is determined by Him, not you. The people who attend this fellowship and under God's protection and blessing. May God grant them the desires of their heart as they pray for the will of God in their lives!

We Build People Pt 3

As Ezekiel preaches, muscle and skin are added to the bones. They are not alive yet. That we will deal with later. It's the importance of building the whole body right now that needs to be addressed. It's one thing to lead someone to place their faith in Jesus. It's another thing to disciple them to spiritual maturity in Christ. It's the difference between a skeleton and a body. I've seen lots of Christians who, to use Ezekiel's anology, where in various stages of development. Some where just bones, the basics. Not that this is bad. Without a good skeleton you can never have a strong body. Then I've had the pleasure of watching people grow in the knowledge of who Jesus is. They begin to develop as I would think Ezekiel began to see the people develop physically in his vision. It's takes a lot of discipleship, investment, love and care to help anyone grow in Christ. However, I have seen the opposite happen. Perfectly spiritually healthy Chri

We Build People Pt 2

In phase 2 of Ezekiel's prophecy God instructs him to preach to the bones. Now if your first thought is, that's crazy, your right! But remember that we are always a part of God plan to reach this world for Him. God has chose to work through us. It is crazy to preach, witness, show love, or extend forgiveness to a bunch of people who curse the name of God, deny His existence and persecute His people. It's crazy for me to stand up on Sunday morning and preach the Word of God to a people who may or may not care about what It says. But that is exactly what we have to do. What if Ezekiel had refused to preach to the bones? What would have happened? Nothing! God needed Ezekiel. If Ezekiel had refused, He would have had to find someone else to do the preaching. It isn't that God couldn't do it, it's that God chosen to do His good work through us, His people. If we are gifted of God to teach the Word, witness to their world His love, or preach His message o

We Build People Pt.1

Years ago the AG touted a new program entitled, "We Build People". It was cutting edge stuff at the time. What it simply did was help people build a relationship with Christ, become part of the church and minister to the world. It really did work but there was this book called "A Purpose Driven Church" which overshadowed it and the rest is history. In Ezekiel 37 we see his prophecies begin to change. A little more positive and hopeful. Nothings changed concerning Israel, but God is now telling them that He is going bring them back from the brink of extinction. The imagery here is simply. He is going to build the people from the ground up. Ezekiel is in a valley of dried, bleached, dead bones. This represented the nation of Israel in its current state. What is so interesting is they thought they were full of life, and spiritually wonderful!! Nothing could happen to them! What a contrast! How many of us have thought we were doing so well only to discover

What if someone stole all your stuff?

OK, here is how the story goes. This church, which apparently meets in a theatre moves their stuff in a trailer. Well a few weeks ago, someone stole that trailer with about 75% of everything the church owned. Click here and see their response. I think you will find this interesting and very refreshing!

Ezekiel 33

Here we get a picture of a watchman, the man who is out on point, looking for the enemy army who would attack. If there is no early warning system, the inhabitants of the country would be quickly overwhelmed and conquered. Ezekiel is the watchman and he is simply saying, "If you don't pay attention to what I am saying, your blood is on you." In middle America they have these things called, "Tornado Sirens". When they go off you usually have 2 - 3 minutes before a freight train comes through your living room. I remember as a kid hearing people say, "Oh, I heard the sirens, but I didn't think that the tornado was coming here." They said this in front of a pile of wood that use to be their house. Ezekiel then goes on to say, if the watchman doesn't give the early warning signal, then the blood of everyone who is destroyed is on his hands. Chilling thought, isn't it? Ezekiel is doing what God has asked him to do. The question is are w

Islam is the biggest now.

Betty sent me this email. The Vatican has declared Islam the worlds biggest religion. You can read it by clicking here.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Randy sent me a link to this news article about Sodom and Gomorrah. You can read it by clicking here. If you wondering. Yea, it could happen!

Ezekiel Ministry

Most people think that all Ezekiel did was go around and preach gloom and doom. The truth of the matter is this. They are right. Ezekiel was dealing with a nation that was wholeheartedly humanistic in its approach to everything. God was acknowledge but He wasn't taken seriously. As I was reading Ez. chapters 31 & 32 something dawned on me. Sinners (this world) needs Christians. Really great Christians. For the last few chapters I have been reading how God is going to bring judgement on Egypt, Pharaoh, Edom, Sidon and Tyre. Why? What did they do? What's the big surprise, they're sinners, they sin. Israel was no different from any of these other nations. If God would have only judged Israel and left these other countries alone, they would have concluded that they were blessed or better than Israel, the law of Moses and their God. Can't happen. Everyone who is a sinner will be judge as a sinner unless they do what it takes to get rid of their sins. Then