Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CHR 2015 | Bumper Crop Year

This blog is intended for those connected with CHR.  
But all are welcome to read it.

It is December 2nd, 2014 and the time is 9:40 am, Sarah and I are in North Carolina seeking God on what He has in store for 2015.  We are asking questions of Him like:  "What do you want us to do this year?"  "What do you want us to say this year?"  "Who do you want us to invest in this year?"  It is a time to seek God and see what He is up to.  By the way, you can do this too!  It is a great way to live, by asking God to lead.  Anyway, back to the blog...

Now, at times in my life I have had those moments where you know God drops a bomb on you, in a good way.  Telling you something about the future.  So, I am writing this in order that this specific blog can be a testimony of God's faithfulness when we see the story HE IS WRITING WITH HIS CHURCH unfold over the next year.

So many promises have been spoken over what God has started at Grassfield High School, meaning Church at Hampton Roads.  The most predominant is a verse God gave us November 28th of 2011, BEFORE we even moved to Hampton Roads.  It says,

"Thanksgiving will come out of them, a sound of celebration.  I will multiply them and they will not decrease.  I will honor them and they will not be insignificant."  Jeremiah 30:19

We know this is a specific verse pertaining to what God has started here.  Since this Summer, the Summer of 2014, God has been reminding me of the story of Peter in Luke 5.  Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing and Jesus looks at him and says, "put out into open water and let down your nets for a catch."  And here is what happens next

Luke 5:5-7  "Master, Simon replied, we've worked hard all night long and caught nothing!  But at Your word, I'll let down the nets.  And when they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear.  So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them…"

What God has been confirming to my spirit earlier this year is that as we refuse to get tired of doing what is good, meaning the Great Commission, staying connected to Him and loving His people, He WILL BRING such an increase that it will challenge and frustrate our systems, capacity and ability just as the catch that Peter had.  His nets (current capacity) was overwhelmed in a good way.  I even spoke this portion of scripture to our Serve Team this Summer after God had spoken to me through it.

That brings us to this morning at 9:36 am.  I had just finished my daily reading in the Psalms and the phrase "Bumper Crop" hit me like a ton of bricks.  I could not even remember the last time I heard this term or referenced it myself.  But that is what I heard, "This will be a bumper crop year."  Meaning specifically 2015 will be a bumper crop year for the Kingdom of God as it pertains specifically to Church at Hampton Roads.  What is a "Bumper Crop"?  Good question…that is what I thought as I struggled to remember the definition.  I remembered hearing the term I just had never fully researched it, or looked it up.  So I did.

Bumper Crop
An agricultural term that refers to a particularly productive harvest yielded for a particular crop during a specific season.

This is interesting to note about a bumper crop
A bumper crop can also be a source of problems, such as when there is insufficient storage space for an overly large crop.  Also, the word "bumper" has a secondary meaning, "something unusually large".

This goes right along with the story of Peter's nets!  They were ripping because they were overfilled.  They didn't even have the manpower to deal with the situation.  Wow.  God has bigger plans up His sleeve for us church!

What is even more crazy is that the single word I know God gave me as a theme for 2015 is "unstoppable".  This goes along with the other verse God had given me…

Matthew 16:18  "... I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Satan CAN NOT stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God.  You see, the weight to change people, free people, give peace, joy and life to people IS ON GOD.  We do not have any ability to do this work.  We have the ability to be obedient. To make sure we love God with all that we have and to love each other as we would ourselves.  And He DOES THE REST!  In 2015, we are going to let God be God and watch the show!

Now, I am unsure as to how God will do all of this, but I know one thing, God is about to do AMAZING things because He NEVER goes back on His word.

What does this have to do with you?  EVERYTHING!
You have been called and placed at CHR for a reason and purpose. Not to serve Sarah and I, as we are here not to be served, but to serve.  Our job is to equip YOU (Ephesians 4).  You are called to BE the Church.  To reach out and help reconcile others to God through Jesus.  WE are ALL called to do the work of the Great Commission. To go and tell others about the God of all things and how He loves them extravagantly and wants to bring life to them, save them, as they learn to let Him lead the way.  To tell them that the dead areas in their lives can and will be brought to life by the Giver of Life! That they are not worthless but called.  Not insignificant but valued!  



Jesus, to You ALONE be the glory for what you are about to do. ONLY YOU have the power to save.  You did not have to choose us (meaning all of us reading this), but You did.  

Here we are send us!  Amen….so shall it be.

Joel Brown
11:02 am  |  12.2.14

Friday, September 26, 2014

PORN, Parents, The Church & The Point

I sit here this morning excited.  It's 8:21 am on Friday September 26th and we are 9 days away from Porn Sunday at Church at Hampton Roads.

Isn't this taboo?  Aren't we suppose to stay quiet?  Aren't our kids to young?  This should not be discussed in Church.

I have experienced the death grip of porn in my life.  Early on in my marriage it almost took everything from me.  But God, in His mercy AND POWER, delivered me from the lies that were fueling my addiction.  Porn is everywhere.  It is pervasive.  It ranges from ads to music videos to beyond hardcore (take my word for it).  It is a destroyer of intimacy & physiology.  It has more of a grip on our culture than we know.  Because, we do not discuss it much.  We live in a self regulated bubble where we do not seem to care about the plight of others.  The social mandate is to remain quiet.  Porn, for the most part is taboo.

Proverbs 24:11 says, "Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling towards slaughter."

We have received for the most part a lot of great response to our desire to tackle this subject. People who are grateful.  Then there are those who start to squirm, cringe and back away.  Then rarely things are said like:

"My kids are too young..."

"This makes me uncomfortable..."
"Should the Church be talking about this?"
"Aren't you by talking about it opening the door to it?"

I grew up in a generation where not many took the time or effort to tell me about porn.  And when I became affected by it, resentment built up in me like a flood.  I can understand if you (the older generation) sent me out into the world equipped for what I was to face.  But to stay fearful?  To leave me defenseless and open to something like this?  That is NOT love.  Why did I not have older men spending time with me?  Parents doing a lot more for me? WARNING ME?  This thing almost took EVERYTHING!  My marriage, my kids and my future!  I have forgiven, but I wish as a son, with all my heart, someone would have gotten in my face fearlessly about this and possibly have saved me and my wife years of pain.

We, as a church, are dealing with 11 year old girls who have accidentally clicked on "pop-up ads" while online and now are addicted to porn.  THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL.  Your kids WILL eventually be introduced.  Are they ready for what they will face? The lies that come from this industry?

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he/she should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (leave it....)."

What are you doing to "train"?

Train defined...to undergo discipline and instruction, to drill.

You might say your kids will pursue it if you talk about it.  I say Satan is going to lure them whether you think he will or not.  And if you do not talk to them about it they will have to fight off possible future resentment because you were too afraid to instruct them, train them, and discipline them about things that REALLY matter.  Our role as parents is to equip.  And the best equipping comes BEFORE THE BATTLE! I want to work alongside the Holy Spirit to see Him raise a generation that is equipped, not that has to be fixed after the collateral damage.  The worst that could happen is that even if you have taken the time to equip them, if they still choose to embrace porn they at least know you loved them enough to engage them on this one.

We, the parents and THE CHURCH, ARE THE ONES RESPONSIBLE.  The apostle paul wrote letters to the Corinthian Church exposing sexual immorality that was so bad not even those outside the church were doing such things.  YES, the Church is to talk about any issue pertaining to life, Jesus and perversion.  We are equippers.  Unafraid, relentlessly holding up a banner of truth.

Ezekiel 44:23 says, "They MUST teach My people the difference between the holy and the common.  And EXPLAIN to them the difference between the clean and the unclean." That was said about the Levites (the priests...the "church"...you and me who make up the church now.)

Jesus said he would leave the 99 (the church, the found) to look for the 1 (the lost, the broken) Matthew 18:12.  He also said He is the father who is outside on the porch looking for His lost son even though the older son (the found one, the Church) is tugging on His shoulder, at times bitter that the world isn't revolving around him (us) (Luke 15:11-32).

Jesus came to deal with real issues, not hide from them. He has asked us as followers to be like Him:

"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." - Luke 6:40

Are you ready?  To be like your Teacher?  Jesus Christ? To be unafraid of sin, brokeness, perversion.  To seek and save that which is being lost?  Are you ready to equip those around you instead of being silent while they die inwardly and spiritually?  

Proverbs 10:5 says "...he/she who sleeps during the harvest is a disgraceful son/daughter."  There are people out there. They are the harvest.  The Great Commission to reach is our mandate!  Let us NOT sleep during our watch.  We will give account to God for how we honored Him and His Son by how we did or did not pursue people fearlessly.

It is time for us to reach boldly into Satan's kingdom and snatch those who are being led away to death!  Does every church or christian have to do it exactly the same way or in like manner? NO. But do not be ruled by fear.  Fear is a demonic spirit, not just an emotion you do not like (2 Timothy 1:7).  God has given us a SOUND MIND, READY for action.  



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

God is a step ahead | STOP WORRYING

I had a moment this year as I get ready to turn 39 that I haven't had before.  It was a moment where the Holy Spirit whispered to me something I had not seen as clearly in ALL my life growing up in ministry.

I have, I guess, most of the time thought of Satan (the Devil, Lucifer, our adversary and opponent) as the one doing the conspiring against us or circumstances would happen to me and then God would go ahead and respond to intervene.  This year God showed me something as I did my reading through the Bible that has truly brought a new level of peace in my life and it became SO clear.  I want to share it with you.  

The Book of Esther goes like this ~

Chapter 1  

  •   Queen Vashti angers King Ahasuerus  

Chapter 2  

  • Search for a new Queen begins
  • God moves a Jewish girl Esther into a place of favor to become Queen 
  • Mordecai the Uncle of Esther saves the King from a plot to assassinate him

Chapter 3

  • Haman, the highest official at the time comes up with a plan to kill off ALL Jews 

Chapter 4

  • Mordecai appeals to Esther to go to the King about Haman's plan
  • The Jews fast and pray for God's intervention

Chapter 5

  • Haman builds 75 ft. gallows to hang mordecai on

Chapter 6

  • Mordecai honored by the King for saving his life

Chapter 7-9

  • Queen Esther gains favor and informs the King successfully about Haman's plot
  • Haman is hanged along with his 10 sons were hung on the 75 ft. gallows Haman had built for Mordecai, his enemy.

If you have read this story before you may have caught this, you may have not.  The plan to attack and kill God's people came AFTER God had ALREADY begun to initiate His plan of salvation and deliverance!

STOP Worrying.  God BEGINS your way out BEFORE the attack comes!  Esther was ALREADY on her way into position (like the queen on a chess board about to get checkmate) BEFORE Satan could even inspire the wicked plan Haman came up with.  God is ALWAYS moving AHEAD of our giants!

  • God is blind to your situation
  • That He does not care
  • That He is not powerful enough

He has ALREADY worked His plan
  • on your way out
  • on your freedom
  • on your deliverance
  • on your protection BEFORE the giant that is standing in your way right now even thought of standing in your way

Thank you Jesus you ARE more powerful than ANY giant and you see further, clearer than ANYONE.  You will not leave us, or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Pastor Joel