Archive for: May, 2012

Broken Things

May 30 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

By Carolyn Hittenberger

 Jeremiah 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

No one seemed to know how or when it happened, but the old bell had been broken.  Did someone ring it too hard, handle it carelessly, knock it to the floor?  The black wooden handle clung tenaciously to the brass base.  Someone had carefully taped it together, but it would never again be new.  It was almost comical, listing to one side. 

 Every day that bell had called students and teachers to classes for enriching studies, to mealtime for nourishment and fellowship, and to chapel for sharing and worship.  Its clear strong voice kept us on schedule, reminded us to progress to the next step in the day’s plan.

 However, when I saw the bell for the first time, I asked my husband, “Why do you keep using that old bell?”  Why don’t you just buy a new one?  His answer was simple.  “Because it still works.  It’s been keeping us on track for years.”  Why, after listening for and daily depending on its guidance, did I suddenly think it should be replaced?  God fixes broken things, not to be exactly as they were, but to improve and prepare them for His purposes. 

 Jeremiah went to the potter’s house.  He saw a vessel shattered in the potter’s hands and watched as the potter picked up the pieces and put it back together according to his purposes. 

Jesus blessed and broke a few little loaves and fishes to feed thousands.  (Matt. 14:19-21)  He didn’t return the bread to what it had been, for the lad to take home.  He multiplied it to meet the need, and still had 12 basketsful left over, more than there had been before He broke it!

 Luke 7:36-50 tells of a humble woman who broke and emptied a jar of expensive ointment over Jesus’ feet.   She poured out on Him her past and her pain, as well as her ointment.  The fragrance of her shattered sacrifice blessed Jesus before His death, and continues to minister to those who, like her, have been broken.

Paul reminds us in I Cor. 11:24 that Jesus Himself was broken.  His broken body and spilled blood buy our wholeness.

 Now I see that old broken bell in a different light.  I pick it up and ring it to tell everyone that God uses broken things.  It yields to my touch, no longer stiff, but flexible.  The clapper has been loosened, free to be a voice for the one whose hand controls it. 

God fixes damaged things:  A broken bell, a broken loaf, a broken life.  He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.  Ps. 147:3.

 God uses broken things:  To speak His words, to nourish the hungry, to make true worshipers, and to bring salvation and wholeness to a wounded world.

 Lord, I am broken.  I don’t want to be, but I am.  I’m tired of hurting, of wearing a mask of “I’m okay,” when I’m not.   Sometimes I don’t even want to be put back together, fearing I might be broken again. Still, I am the clay; You are the Potter. You know what is best for me. Please fix me. At a level deeper even than my pain, I want to be available for You to re-form me as seems good to You.

Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Office at Global University and also works with University Communications. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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Revive Our Hearts, Oh Lord!

May 21 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

 by Janet S. Wolff

 There isn’t a soul on earth who doesn’t long for revival. Many look for a revival of finances, economy, social justice, resources . . . revival from depression, pain, hurt, and loneliness. Ultimately, it is a revival of the Holy Spirit we all seek. It is that longing deep within us that causes us to desire the overwhelming presence and love of the Holy Spirit. From the time of Moses, God has poured out His Spirit upon His people:

 “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. . . . And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! ” (Numbers 11:25–26, 29)

(Note that two of the men whom the Spirit rested upon were not elders. This encourages us that God does not discriminate—all who come to receive will receive.) These men ran out into the camp revived! They prophesied without reservation or inhibition.

 This pattern remains as we go into the upper room in Acts 2:1–2, 4:

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

There are common factors in these two occasions as well as in the documentation of outpourings such as at Asuza Street Mission in the early 1900s. Praying fervently for revival on Sunday mornings wasn’t one of them. Let’s look at three of the common factors as we seek together for revival in our own lives, churches, and communities:

 1. Prayer & Dwelling. Moses went to the Lord on behalf of the people. Moses was dealing with people crying and complaining about their circumstances. I think we can relate to that in today’s society as well. People are crying out for something to change, when they are actually crying out for a touch from God. Those in the upper room were praying as well. Their Savior had just been killed, and they all believed they would be next! William Seymour prayed and dwelt in the presence of the Lord because of the discouragement he had just experienced losing his church. Seymour took it to the Lord in prayer. Moses took it to the Lord in prayer. The 120 in the upper room took it to the Lord in prayer. Their petitions were not complaints as much as they were asking to be remembered, seen, and loved. They didn’t say they needed stuff, things, or money—they said, “God I need You!

 2. Obedience. God told Moses to gather 70 elders and God would put His Spirit upon them. The 120 had been told to go and wait in the upper room until they were endued with power. Seymour was obedient to the call to go to Los Angeles. In no instance did anyone quit, become embittered, or give up. They continued in obedience despite discouragements and letdowns along the way.

 3. No reservations. Have you ever seen fans of a winning team after a Super Bowl? They run into the streets screaming without reservation! Those who were filled with the Spirit were, for that moment in time, unreserved. There is no other way to gain the ineffable union with Christ that we seek unless we let go of everything. After all, what else matters? When you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit, all else ceases to exist, and we have no reservations about what God has for us.

 These are some of the crucial foundational steps to a revival. The Holy Spirit is faithful to take over and honor our efforts. The most difficult part of revival is letting go of ourselves and truly desiring only His presence. Revival begins in a heart that is receptive to receive something so bountiful that it overflows into others like a flashflood. The 120 in the upper room were filled to overflowing, and 3,000 people came to the saving knowledge of Christ that day because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Will you let the power of the Holy Spirit have full reign and control over your life, your tongue, your mind—everything? If you will let the Holy Spirit revive your heart, let me tell you, it feels almost like being a bystander in wonderment over the things you will see and experience! There is nothing in this universe that can compare to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit—and that He has chosen to dwell in and empower us!

Janet S. Wolff is a Berean School of the Bible student from Lakewood, Washington. For more information about Berean School of the Bible, visit www.globaluniversity.edu/berean

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A Mother’s Legacy

May 14 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Dr. Mary Logan

At the age of 35, I was excited about having my first child. In late July, almost 30 years ago, God placed a beautiful daughter into our home.

I still remember dressing Michelle in a long, white dress one Sunday morning, taking her to church, and listening to our pastor dedicate her to God. In essence, that gift to us was voluntarily being returned to the Creator by her parents for dedication to His service. A scriptural model is found in 1 Samuel 1:28:

 “So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

 A New Testament model is found in Luke 2:22 when baby Jesus was brought to the temple:

“Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”

 Little did I realize that, 18 years later, I would kneel beside her bed and dedicate her anew to God. You see, she was diagnosed with encephalitis (a rare brain infection), lost over 60 pounds, and almost died. However, in His awesome sovereignty, God raised her to good health. She married her high school sweetheart and has given birth to two wonderful boys, Noah and Jude.

During my pregnancy with Michelle, the doctor gave me the option to have a test to determine if any abnormalities existed. I did not know that age 35 could be a critical age for carrying my first child. I asked the doctor my options if abnormalities were detected. He gave me two: (1) continue with the pregnancy, or (2) have an abortion. I knew I would not choose abortion, even though it had been legalized nine years earlier, so I opted against the test.

 I prayed for a normal, healthy child and as easy a delivery as possible. God answered both prayers. I arrived at the hospital 30 minutes before she was born. Since that time God’s hand has been upon Michelle’s life.

 Just prior to reaching her third birthday, after a revival service at our home church, I had the privilege of leading her in the sinner’s prayer. Three years later, God baptized her with the Holy Spirit. She began singing in church, and God used that talent and her musical ability to influence her choice of majors in college.

Because of her illness, her college career was delayed a year, and she could enroll in only 12-13 hours at a time. I encouraged her not to compare herself with anyone else and to accomplish what she could accomplish with the daily strength God gave her. I would often remind her of God’s wonderful plan for her life—“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

 The path in life’s journey is rocky at times, and seemingly no good can come out of the situation. However, Romans 8:28 says,

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Michelle is now involved in her home church’s music ministry and also serves as a guest singer in various churches. Her testimony is that “she would not take anything for what God taught her through her near death experience.”

 Being an only child, Michelle is listed as a beneficiary in my last will and testament. So part of my legacy to her is a portion of my estate. An even greater legacy, though, is the spiritual legacy. Moses emphasized the importance of passing God’s commandments and instructions from one generation to another when he said,

 “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

King Solomon also admonished parents to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Part of that training is not only walking in the ways of the Lord ourselves but also setting godly standards for our households.

Seeing this legacy now being passed to my grandchildren is a thrilling part of God’s plan. Yet Satan tries to thwart the plan. Knowing the thief comes “to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10), we must be on our guard, be proactive, and be diligent in ensuring that we pass a godly legacy on to the next generation.

Mary Logan, Ed.D., is a Course Development Specialist and Professor of Business and Education at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu

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The Leader and Momentum

May 07 2012 Published by under Church

by John Lindell

No matter the type, size or age of an organization, momentum is an invaluable commodity. When it comes to momentum leaders look better than they actually are, followers perform better than usual and change is easier. Without momentum, everything is much harder and capable leadership can appear inept. While it is true that every church or ministry experiences seasons of momentum, a leader abdicates responsibility when they relegate momentum to time and chance.

Mission and Momentum

Some may scoff at the idea that the church leadership should dedicate serious consideration to a commodity that is far more likely to be discussed in the business world than in an ecclesiological context. After all, the church is not a business. The problem with that attitude is that the business community recognizes the value of momentum, because they know how crucial it is for growth. Yet, church leaders, who would readily admit that they are charged with declaring the greatest truth and carrying out a mission with eternal implications, proportionally invest far less time in thinking about cultivating momentum. If our mission is important then momentum is important.

The Momentum Equation

As a pastor, when I think about momentum, it comes down to a simple equation: the attitude of the leaders (paid or volunteer) + the atmosphere of the organization + the accomplishments of the people (by the power of the Holy Spirit) = MOMENTUM!

First, it is important to recognize that momentum begins with the leaders. You will never see momentum in your organization unless it is first present in the attitude of your leaders. It is fascinating to look at Israel’s history with this in mind. Think of the first four kings of the nation: 1) Saul lacked momentum; 2) David created momentum; 3) Solomon built on the momentum; and 4) Rehoboam stopped the momentum. Momentum begins with the attitude of the leader. What you see in David and Solomon, along with any other leader who will positively affect the momentum of their organization, is that they are leading in vision and enthusiasm. Vision, because you have to know where you are going and enthusiasm, because you have to be excited about where you are going. The bottom line is that you cannot kindle a fire in another person’s heart until it is burning in your own. Momentum starts with the leaders.

Second, momentum is contingent on the atmosphere of an organization. Though every organization has its unique characteristics, the factors that create momentum are constant and include: expectancy, energy, sacrificial commitment, encouragement, confidence, community and celebration of victories. Any place or ministry with momentum will include healthy doses of each of the above.

Finally, momentum is cultivated by the accomplishments of people empowered by the Holy Spirit. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is a non-negotiable. As people align themselves with the Spirit’s work and see through His eyes, great things will happen and, in response, celebration is appropriate. Often we see something great take place and, instead of pausing to celebrate what has happened, we plow right on to the next thing. The Bible is filled with examples of people taking time to celebrate their victories. Celebration should not only be the response to the victories brought by the momentum of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and ministry, but the very act of celebration sustains and produces additional momentum.

For the church to give time and energy to the cultivation of momentum is absolutely within the purview of its mission as it seeks to unite and energize people around the profound task that God has ordained it to accomplish. Give the time and energy necessary to cultivate momentum!

John Lindell is the Lead Pastor at James River Assembly in Ozark, MO. This post has been adapted from leadership coaching he does with the James River Assembly staff. ©2012 James River Assembly. All rights reserved.

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