March 29, 2011

A Lesson About Prayer - Luke 11:1-4


The Lord’s Prayer is the most famous of all prayers found in the New Testament.  Many can recall learning this prayer as a child, which has likely been taught to succeeding generations too. 

If you have been teaching your children or grandchildren this prayer, you would be teaching more than just words to them as they recite this.

You would be teaching them theology!

The disciples may not have realized what they were asking to learn from Jesus with regard to prayer, but these few verses teach a lot more than the space allotted here.

Here is a short list of what Jesus taught His disciples when they asked how to pray:
  • God’s name is Holy – God’s name is holy and is to be kept in the highest regard of reverence in our thoughts, actions and words.  The world may blaspheme His name and treat it as insignificant, but the Body of Christ is to treasure it greatly in their hearts as well as from their mouths. 
  • God’s will is Sovereign – All that God will do, He will do, for the glory of His kingdom that He rules over, on earth and in heaven.  Our prayer should be selfless for the fulfillment of the will of God and not selfish for the fulfillment of the will of ourselves. 
  • God’s Provision is to be trusted – For today, trust God to provide for your every need.  From sunrise to sunset, just as God did for the children of Israel in Exodus 16 each day, so too will He provide for you, if you trust in His provision.  Tomorrow has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34), so, trust God to provide for today. 
  • God’s Reconciliation is to be modeled – Just as God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, so too, should we model reconciliation with one another, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32) 
  • God’s children will be Delivered – God will always allow His children the opportunity to be rescued from the powerful temptation to sin against Him.  He stands ready for you to call on His name where you can find a place of refuge in Him. (Psalm 91)
When we come before God’s throne of grace to pray, remember to acknowledge these wonderful attributes of God throughout your prayer to Him.

During these 40 days with Jesus, may your devotion to Him continue to grow more and more each day.

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During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings. 
 
What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

March 27, 2011

Sunday Psalm: Great is the Lord, Psalm 30:4

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” Worship should be somewhat like its object - great praise for a great God. There is no part of Jehovah's greatness which is not worthy of great praise. In some beings greatness is but vastness of evil: in him it is magnificence of goodness. Praise may be said to be great when the song contains great matter, when the hearts producing it are intensely fervent, and when large numbers unite in the grand acclaim. No chorus is too loud, no orchestra too large, no Psalm too lofty for the lauding of the Lord of Hosts.

“And his greatness is unsearchable.”

Still his worth your praise exceeds, Excellent are all his deeds.”

Song should be founded upon search; hymns composed without thought are of no worth, and tunes upon which no pains have been spent are beneath the dignity of divine adoration. Yet when we meditate most, and search most studiously, we shall still find ourselves surrounded with unknowable wonders, which will baffle all attempts to sing them worthily. The best adoration of the Unsearchable is to own him to be so, and close the eyes in reverence before the excessive light of his glory. Not all the minds of all the centuries shall suffice to search out the unsearchable riches of God: he is past finding out; and, therefore, his deserved praise is still above and beyond all that we can render to him.

Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David
Psalm 30:4







Terry MacAlmon, I Sing Praises To Your Name

Reference 
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

March 26, 2011

The Cost of Discipleship

Read Matthew 8:18-22

This passage stresses the radical demands of following the call of Jesus.  A crowd had gathered around Jesus, and out of it came a scribe who said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever You go”.  How little he realized what following the Master would really mean.  He was moved by the emotion surrounding Jesus, but had no concept of what it was to make the fateful decision to become a true follower, a disciple, of Jesus.  He had not counted the cost.  If he had, he would have realized that to be a disciple of Jesus is to submit all of one’s desires, hopes, dreams, expectations, and allegiance to Him and Him alone.  To be a true disciple is to “take up the cross”, and follow Him.  One thing that was certain in Jesus’ day, if you saw a man walking out of town carrying a cross, followed by a contingent of Roman soldiers, you knew he was not coming back.

Entering into true discipleship means to share in His sorrows, His rejection, and His loneliness.  Jesus’ response to him that the “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” was the exact opposite of what this man thought would be his.  In observing the miracles of Christ, he was hoping that Jesus would set up an earthly Kingdom, offering him a share in the limelight.  You would think that Jesus would immediately offer to take him in to become a disciple.  But, Jesus, knowing what is in the heart of every man, saw that this man was not at all sincere, so his flawed offer to follow was rejected.

Right on the heels of this came another who was one of Christ’s disciples already, but he was only following Him afar off.  His statement about going and burying his father was unsolicited by Jesus, and it was seen for what it was, an excuse for postponing full obedience to the Lordship of Christ.  His flawed offer was also rejected.

When Jesus told His prospective disciples Peter and his brother Andrew “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”; they got it, and immediately left ALL and followed Him.  That is the cost of true discipleship, leaving ALL for Christ, expecting no limelight, and offering no excuses.

What is it that you are hanging on to today that keeps you from becoming a true disciple of Jesus?


Pastor Al and his wife Louise are long time residents of Southbury CT.  They are blessed with their adult sons Aaron and Joshua and daughter in-law Natasha.  Al trusted in Christ for salvation in 1981.  He worked at Southbury Training School as the Power Plant Chief Engineer for 34 years.  He served as a Deacon in his former AG church for 22 years.  During this time he took courses at the Berean School of the Bible.  He became a Certified Minister in 1987, and became a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God in January 2005.  Pastor Al became First Assembly's Minister of Pastoral Care in February 2009.  His passion is preaching, teaching, reading, evangelism, and serving God's people.

Louise has been a RN at Danbury Hospital for the past 10 years and takes every opportunity to minister to the sick and their families.

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During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings. 
What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

March 20, 2011

Sunday Psalm - The God of Salvation, Psalm 25:5

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, 
For You are the God of my salvation; 
On You I wait all the day.  Psalm 25:5, NKJV

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me.” The same request as in the last verse. The little child having begun to walk, asks to be still led onward by its parent's helping hand, and to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth. Experimental teaching is the burden of this prayer. Lead me according to thy truth, and prove thyself faithful; lead me into truth that I may know its preciousness, lead me by the way of truth that I may manifest its spirit. David knew much, but he felt his ignorance and desired to be still in the Lord's school; four times over in these two verses he applies for a scholarship in the college of grace. It were well for many professors if instead of following their own devices, and cutting out new paths of thought for themselves, they would enquire for the good old ways of God's own truth, and beseech the Holy Ghost to give them sanctified understandings and teachable spirits. 

“For thou art the God of my salvation.” The Three-One Jehovah is the Author and Perfector of salvation to his people. Reader, is he the God of your salvation? Do you find in the Father's election, in the Son's atonement, and in the Spirit's quickening all the grounds of your eternal hopes? If so, you may use this as an argument for obtaining further blessings; if the Lord has ordained to save you, surely he will not refuse to instruct you in his ways. It is a happy thing when we can address the Lord with the confidence which David here manifests, it gives us great power in prayer, and comfort in trial. 

“On thee do I wait all the day.” Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously he once waited for us.

Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David








 

References
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 9.8.3) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

March 18, 2011

Whose Business?

The year was 1964.  My family was on a long road trip to Illinois to visit relatives.  I was nine and my younger brother David was seven.  We stopped on the old Route 66 somewhere in Indiana, to refuel and use the facilities.  We all got back in the car to continue our seemingly uneventful journey west.  We pulled away from the travel plaza and, after about 5 minutes on the road, I asked my Dad a question that stopped the car, and almost stopped his heart.  I said: “Dad, where’s David”.  It seems that in the midst of the activity Mom and Dad assumed David was in the car, but he was not.  Luke lifts a similar event out of the boyhood of Jesus when He was twelve years old that is similar to my experience, as His parents began to travel the 64 mile journey home from Nazareth to Jerusalem.

In those days, for safety reasons, people traveled in companies.  When the time came to leave Jerusalem, the group going to Galilee gathered together to begin the journey home.  Everything appeared to be seemingly uneventful, until someone asked the heart-stopping question, “Where’s Jesus?"  Immediately Mary and Joseph left the caravan and returned to Jerusalem and looked for Jesus for three days, and where do you suppose they found Him?  He was in the temple.

When my parents and I got back to the travel plaza, after a frantic search, there was my brother, standing at the book rack, fully absorbed in reading the latest Fantastic Four comic, unaware that he was missed.  When Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus in the temple, He was standing in the middle of the learned doctors of that day, fully absorbed in both hearing them and asking them questions, apparently unaware that he had been missed.  My brother, at the comic book rack, was missed because he was about his own business.  Jesus was missed because He was about His Father’s business.  Which one are you about, your business or that of your Heavenly Father?

Pastor Al Van Geersdaele

Pastor Al and his wife Louise are long time residents of Southbury CT.  They are blessed with their adult sons Aaron and Joshua and daughter in-law Natasha.  Al trusted in Christ for salvation in 1981.  He worked at Southbury Training School as the Power Plant Chief Engineer for 34 years.  He served as a Deacon in his former AG church for 22 years.  During this time he took courses at the Berean School of the Bible.  He became a Certified Minister in 1987, and became a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God in January 2005.  Pastor Al became First Assembly's Minister of Pastoral Care in February 2009.  His passion is preaching, teaching, reading, evangelism, and serving God's people.

Louise has been a RN at Danbury Hospital for the past 10 years and takes every opportunity to minister to the sick and their families.

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During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings.

What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

A Storm is Coming

This past week’s tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan are a great reminder to all of us that when an event like this occurs, very little withstood the powerful force of water as it rushed through villages and cities, decimating anything in its path.  Even those buildings that remain standing, their foundations have been severely compromised too and will likely be condemned.
 
The parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 7:24-27 illustrates a great comparison for us to learn from, in light of these past events.
 
In this parable, the common experience for both people was the storm, but it was how each person prepared differently for the unexpected storm, which reveals the same attitude of people today.  Some are wise to listen to the Gospel and obey it, while others reject it and try to build upon a less stable foundation that ultimately will not save them.
 
They both experienced the same type of storm!
 
Jesus reveals to us that those who listen to what He says about the coming storm, not just a future physical experience, but a future eternal judgment, those people are considered wise because the foundation of their faith was built upon the rock, Jesus Christ.
 
Yet, everyone that rejects His instructions are considered foolish and will suffer greatly because their faith was not built upon the rock - Jesus Christ, but upon a less stable foundation – sand.  Anyone who has seen a sandcastle on the beach at the end of the day will likely not see it on the following day because either the high tide or a machine has destroyed the castle.
 
These recent events hopefully have caused you to re-evaluate the strength or weakness of your faith and it should cause us even more to listen and obey all of the commands that are found in the Bible.
 
If there is one thing we as a church must do more, it is to live more deeply in Christ, pray more fervently individually and corporately, fast regularly, study His word daily and worship with fellow saints as an assembly - always.
 
Are you willing to listen and obey the Lord Jesus Christ and build a stronger foundation of Him in your life?


During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings.

What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

March 3, 2011

ATS Chapel Sermon - Trusting God at His Word (Exodus 3:1-15)

Yesterday, I had the great privilige to preach at the midweek chapel service at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York. 

I've only been on campus a few times this semester, which has been mostly for signing a few forms related to financial aid, but I haven't been on campus for classes and I really do miss seeing many of my friends.  Many of whom will be graduating very soon in May and I am going to miss them terribly too.

When I first learned that I was recommended to preach by one of my professors, I was greatly surprised and then when it was confirmed by seeing my name on the preaching schedule that was distributed to all of the students, I was humbled even more.

As I prepared for this sermon, I struggled with what text I would preach from.  Would it be something from one of the Epistles?  A parable of Jesus?  One of the Old Testament prophets, or would it be something from one of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah?

One passage continued to stay with me as I looked through the pages of the Bible and it was Exodus 3:1-15, where God spoke to Moses through a burning bush.  I had been reading the passage in Hebrew too, when I began to realize that this was what God wanted me to preach.

So, as I traveled home from my Expository Preaching class in New York City last week, this passage began to really be impressed within me and I prayed and said to God that if this was what He wanted me to preach, then I needed His help to understand it more and to preach this passage as an encouragement for my peers and He graciously did so.

The student response at the close of the sermon was incredible and many said they were blessed that it was just what they needed to hear, for them at that moment of their lives.  A few professors that attended the chapel service said they were blessed by the sermon as well.

It is my hope and prayer that as you watch the intro video and listen to this sermon, you may be encouraged to trust God as He leads you, in the fulfillment of His will, to the Glory & Praise of His Name.


Faithfully in Christ,


Kurt

Intro video before the sermon

Trust In The Lord Christian Music Video - Sharefaith from Sharefaith on Vimeo.

Exodus 3:1-15 - 4 Points and 5 W's
1. WHO - The God of your forefathers (v.6)
2. WHAT - God's burden for His children (7-10)
3. WHERE & WHEN -  He will be present and He will prove it (v.12)
4. WHY - For the purpose of His name (v.13-15)



At the end of the sermon, Kelvin Walker, who is the student pastor for the undergraduate campus at Nyack College, played the chorus to the song, Still I Will Trust You, which a Youtube version of the song is below.

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled,  Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report , which is  about how much the persecutio...