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Showing posts from September, 2010

Worship - John 4: 23 - 24

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In John 4: 23 - 24 says "23 But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth." (CEV) Worshipping God is very easy for some while others seem to struggle. I speak with people about this all the time. So what can you do? Take this scripture and consider what Jesus said. - The Spirit leads. When you are in your personal or corporate worship time - who is leading? - Worship according to truth. Do you worship the truth of His Word? The Bible and His Promises to us. Do you worship the example and sacrifice that Jesus gave us so we could follow Him? God's Word never changes - Jesus never changes. So what is the variable that we struggle with in worship? That would be you and me? - Which truth would you rat

I Love My Church - 6

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Times change. And one day they changed in a BIG way. The morning of 9/11 I was just leaving the condo we were renting to go to work. Betty was going to say home and do some housework that day. As I got out of the shower Betty said, "Russ, a plane just ran into the world trade center." I thought that was odd. So when I walked out and saw the damage to the building on TV my heart sank. I knew that this wasn't an accident. That night, in a special service I made this statement. "This changes everything." It did too! I have seen the church change dramatically, mostly for the good, after 9/11. This really pushed us out of our churches and into the world. While there are more young people signing up to serve than ever before, there are more young people answering the call of God to go into all the world. So what does this have to do with FFWC? We kept our focus on Jesus and placed our trust in Him. We didn't change for change sake - we change

I Love My Church - 5

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Most people don't know that FFWC is almost 60 years old. That makes it one of the oldest Pentecostal churches on the Treasure Coast. Over those years young evangelists would come and hold revivals. one of them was Robert Gatlin, now former District Superintendent of the West Florida District. One of the churches pastor Harold Hidle went on to serve in the Southern New England District, as District Secretary and Treasurer and his wife as the District W.M. Director. In 1974 Rev. Courtney Harding built the sanctuary that the church now uses. In 1991 the church held a series of revival meetings with other churches in the area. They concluded the revival by baptizing 75 people. In the early 90's a little know music group came to sing at the church, you might know them as The Martins. The most recent name, that you might recognize, that has preached here is Reinhard Bonnke. On Thanksgiving Sunday over 40 people accepted Christ as their Savior, a number of people were heale

Who Do You Trust?

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John in 2:23 - 24 writes "23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." (NIV) Jesus knew mens hearts. That placing ones faith in humanity would be a foolish and dangerous decision. So in chapter 3, in His conversation with Nicodemus, "3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (NIV) What does this have to do with John 2:23 - 24? People believed in Jesus - but He knew that didn't mean that they placed their faith in Him. Telling Nick that people couldn't SEE the Kingdom of God unless they were born of the Spirit is a huge statement. While people could see and believe Jesus, they couldn't see or believe that which was beyond their 5 senses.

I Love My Church - 4

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The year was 2004. George Bush faced off against John Kerry. Terrorists were still attacking all over the world. Life was good until July 3rd. (poof!) Betty, Anneka and I went out to lunch with our friends Joe and Judy McCutchen. We were meeting their new adopted son Isaiah. As we were driving back to the church I get a phone call from someone who had recently left the church. "Pastor, I'm sorry to tell you but the church burnt down." HUH? All I said was, "Well, I'm on my way there now, we'll see." As we turned the corner I knew that it wasn't good. 11 cops - 2 ambulances - a ladder truck - 2 fire trucks - the fire chief, asst. chief and a whole lot more. Well, it was close. The fellowship hall was gone. That was a little irritation seeing how we had just remodeled the thing. But it was gone, the church smell like smoke and it was Saturday. What were we going to do? The following morning, we had church and the first song we sang

I Love My Church - 3

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"THEY WANT HOW MUCH?" I like to have died when the letter arrived from the county that said we were going to make us hook up to the water and sewer. That wasn't what surprised me though. It was the $100,000 plus price tag that took my breath away. The county decided to install water and sewer on the road in front of the church. I was sure that the 20 or so people who were attending here now didn't have the money. I called the district to let them know what was going on (we were in home missions status at the time). They told me was, "Russ, you have got to get that price down! - have a nice day we are praying for you." (click) For a year we went to public meetings where a very nice gentleman would get up and explain to us why it cost so much, over and over and over and over. The bill went from a hundred thousand something down to 50 or 60 thousand then down into the 40's. Still I wasn't happy about it. So I asked for a meeting with our co

I Love My Church pt 2

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The first few months at the church were interesting to say the least. When we first entered the church the first word that entered my mind was RED. Red carpet, red drapes, red pews, red plastic flowers. As you looked at the platform there were two big suns painted on the platform with the words, "God omnipotent reigns" In the baptismal there was a beautiful painting of a dove coming down from heaven. That bird bothered me. It really drove me nuts for weeks. What is wrong with this picture? I couldn't figure it out. Then one day Betty and I were looking at it and she finally figured it out. The wings on the bird were painted on backwards. I think that the pulpit use to be the bulkhead of a battleship. That was a BIG pulpit. Then there was a BIG organ along with a BIG piano on a platform the size of postage stamp. Well within a few weeks we had picked up a few people who were looking for a church home. A local pastor laughed at them one day saying, "T

I Love My Church

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When I came to FFWC (then First Assembly of God) 15 years ago times were different and this church didn't look like it does now. Most of properties around us were undeveloped woods. 1/2 of the roof was the original roof from 1974 and the other half was in 90 lbs. felt paper. The church was white and the doors or their original battleship primer gray color. The front yard doubled as a parking lot and the church sign (8' x 12") was lit by a 60 watt light bulb. The remnants of a day care were evident everywhere, but no day care. It had to go out of business long ago. All that was there was shadows of former glory and earmarks of failures. I remember going to the Chamber of Commerce - I had thought about introducing myself as the new pastor of the church until... "Did you hear what they did to that pastor down at First Assembly... can you believe that they would treat people like that? " I knew what had happened and I knew what was going on. Good people

I Love My Church

The phrase, "I Love My Church" seems to be a strange statement for some people to hear. Love? Church? Huh? Well it is true. In a world that insists that the church is irrelevant (which is isn't) the source of the worlds ills (nope, not this one either) and a crutch for weak minded people who can't think for themselves (WOW!) there are people who love their church. Over the course of the next few days I am going to share with you some stories about why I love my church - how you can love your church - and how your church can love you. Jesus did intend for us to love the church. So that everyone is on the same page, let's define the church. The church is people! (I know that there are other definitions that are longer, but let's keep it simple for right now.) Jesus intended for us to love each other. So let's be clear what the church isn't. It isn't the building, it isn't a denomination, it isn't the bank accounts or your fav