Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Do you realize this?

How important and impactful prayer and praise can be?!!!

Acts 16:16-35 Paul and Silas in prison

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed (I have to giggle at this part, I LOVE it, I wonder why he waited so long?!) that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Do we realize the power we have in the Name of Jesus?!)
19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone (sounds like so many today / especially makes me think of human traffickers when they’ve lost a slave), they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack (Typical of “the crowd”, they get offended because others are offended, not that they have personally been mistreated) against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, (The Key – praying and praise) and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (See what happened as a result of prayer and praise!) 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. (Look what else happened as a result of prayer and praise, a man and his entire household was saved!)
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” (Last but not least, they were set free as a result of prayer and praise)

What is it that you need to see happen in your life or those around you?  Are you fighting with anxiety, stress, in bondage to an addiction, marriage issues, etc…. I encourage you to fight this battle in prayer and with thanksgiving and praise!  Chains are broken, mountains are moved, depression and heaviness is lifted by these two ingredients, (Isaiah 61:3).  Ultimately be set free TODAY!!!

Sarah Brown

Friday, October 30, 2015

Something Has Changed

Recently Joel and I were approached with the statement, "The church feels different."  My heart broke for the people we were talking to because they were missing out on so much.   I want to put this out there to help anyone else struggling in this way.  

If you feel your church has changed or you feel disconnected you should ask yourself these questions

How many Sunday's have I missed lately? 
When is the last women's/men's event I attended?
When was the last church outreach I was a part of?
What small group am I in?
What team am I serving on?
Who am I personally discipling for Christ within my church?

If you are continually missing church, not participating in the events and outreaches of your church, not plugged into a small group, not serving others and not pouring into someone else in your church YOU WILL feel like something has changed and most of the time it IS NOT your church.  It's easy for us to point the finger somewhere else instead of examining ourselves and our priorities.  If we are disconnected constantly in this way it is also unbiblical.

When we allow sports, fitness, theme parks, the beach, camping, concerts, friends, even work, etc.... to take constant elongated priority over God's plan for us and His Church we can guarantee something is going to be off because our priorities are out of order.

We were created to be a VITAL part of the body of Christ, and when we are not functioning and plugged into that role we are missing the mark.  The word vital means "absolutely necessary or important; essential."  When we decide to continually disconnect from church for any reason, the body of Christ you are a part of is missing a vital part of it.  So not only does it hurt you and allow feelings of being disconnected to creep in, it also hurts that body of believers.  If I were to decide to cut off my arm, that arm would die and at the same time the rest of my body would be missing a very valuable asset.  It's the same thing with you and being connected to a church.

Will you go to hell for missing church or not being a part of your church's events? Of course not!  But it WILL affect whether you feel connected or not as well as your spiritual growth.

Satan would love nothing more than for you to disconnect from the body, don’t give him that victory over you, STAY (OR GET) PLUGGED IN, keep your priorities straight. 

The local church is the hope of the world, don’t miss out being a part of it!!!

Sarah Brown

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MY RESPONSE ~ Relevant Magazine ~ The Most Important Thing Your Church Is Probably Missing

There is a movement in America.  A movement of assumption that could possibly lead others unnecessarily to a critical mind.  It's assumption that feeds cynicism.  

Assumption can lead both the writer of these blogs and the reader to a overly critical place, a place that could focus people on the wrong things.  The blog I am going to respond to although this is very rare for me to do is The Most Important Thing Your Church Is Probably Missing.  

It is the word "probably" that gets me.  I can't even bring myself to agree with the truthfulness of this title.  Within this title is a huge assumption.  The author assumes that everyone reading this blog has a church that has a pastor that is idolizing ministry.  It is the blanket assumption that gets to me.

Does this author really believe he understands the heart and internal processes of every pastor of every person that reads this post?  This title could produce more than just assumption.  It could produce fear, cynicism, doubt, and critical hearts towards the very thing Jesus Himself loves most, His Bride, The Church.  I do not disagree that there could be an unhealthy focus on unhealthy things by some who lead, most likely there are "some".  But its definitely "probably" not all.  Even the Apostle Paul corrected people in the New Testament that were in error.  But his letters were sent directly to the offending parties.  Not blanket statements to churchgoers.  He never said, "Church at Ephesus, guess what your pastor is probably doing in secret that is not of God?"  He would have never employed these tactics because of the repercussions those assumptions would have on the trust of the people toward their leaders.  We need to be careful.

No!  He dealt with specific moments of correction.  With things that were in full view.  The statements of assumption, hijack our emotions towards the one that statement was made toward.  I would love to see the blog title say, "Things We As The Church Should Be Passionate About."  And then post Biblical things and encourage.  This would be much more effective in rallying people instead of possibly giving them a moment to embrace offense for no reason, especially if their pastor is on the right track.

I believe in sending, I was sent to launch a church, my pastor was sent to launch his church before me.  But we would have never been sent to affect others if we had not been affected first. 

Luke 11:23 "...whoever does not gather with Me scatters."

Gathering is a huge part of what we do.  Jesus gathered His disciples before He sent, the disciples gathered to pray and receive the Holy Spirit before they went out with power to be witnesses.  Gathering is a part of the plan.  

While I agree we should NEVER idolize ministry, our job is to work together.  We are part of a body with different functions.  Not all will be missionaries to India.  While I agree with the basic principle that sending is the pinnacle of having discipled someone, you will never disciple someone if you do not reach them.  

One of my greatest desires is to see us champion the Church at large, not label Her unnecessarily.  Correct where you need to correct, but biblically, to the people that need corrected, but not using the word "probably".  

That means you need to know for sure the heart and motive of the people you are talking to.  I agree wholeheartedly on sending and going out, that is for sure.  I agree with releasing idolatry, for sure.  However, I am pleading that we stop using catchy blog titles in order to get people to click that could engender doubt, cynicism, and critical hearts unnecessarily into the minds and hearts of the Church at large.  

With love, 
Pastor Joel Brown

Friday, June 26, 2015

Same Sex Marriage & Supreme Court

Same Sex Marriage & Supreme Court

Today my heart is encouraged that God's word is still God's word even if others attempt to redefine it.  The Supreme Court has just legalized gay marriage across the United States.  I sit here right now hurting for those who have been misled to believe that this is ok.  Man is not in the position to say something is acceptable that God has said is not acceptable.  

We can not play God.  His word is clear.  Jesus even backed the biblical definition of marriage when He said that for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his "wife" and become one flesh (Matthew 19:5).

My position IS "love".  Love speaks out and does not keep silent when something could bring harm to another.  This decision will not only hurt our nation but help separate more and more people from a God who truly "loves" them and has the correct blueprint for humanity.

Do not be deceived.  God is the Creator and the Judge over all.  I pray for the church, to be bold, to be gentle, to correct with all humility those who oppose the word of God.  Our time is short.  Stand for the truth, do not back down because of intimidation or fear.  We are salt and light.  It is time to shine even brighter for the King of Kings.  Our reward is coming.  Holy Spirit lead and guide us as we continue to be relentless for the cause of Christ.  We pray for those who are in agreement with this decision that they hear and see the truth.  God let our compassion for them drive us to our knees in intercession for them.