Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Power of Speaking God's Word

I want to continue my thoughts today on the power of God's Word in our lives.

Hebrews 4:12 says -
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thought and attitudes of the heart. NIV

The KJV says quick and powerful. We talked the other day about the word for quick - zao - meaning breathing and living. The word for powerful is energes meaning effective, powerful, active and effectual. That is the Greek word that we get our word energy from. The Word of God is effective. This supports the verse in Isaiah(Is 55:11) that says, "so is my word that goes out from my moth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." When God speaks His Word, His living, breathing, active, and effective Word, into our hearts, He sends it for a purpose that He will see is accomplished! It will not return empty or void. When God says it, it is done!

The part about the double edged sword is what I want to get to today. On one side this double edged sword fights the devil. The enemy cowers when we SPEAK the word of God. He knows he cannot begin to battle that power.... It was the spoken Word of God that created the universe and the spoken Word of God that cast the enemy from the portals of heaven to where he is now. The spoken word of God is powerful when fighting the enemy. That is why it is so important to not only read and meditate on God's word but to speak it out loud. The enemy cannot read our minds. He shivers on what he hears out of our mouths the Word of God. (To study my statement, "The enemy cannot read our minds", please check out the following links)

The other edge of the sword is where the power of meditating and reading God's Word comes in. From one side we fight the enemy- from the other side we clean ourselves up. We talked about that the other day. God's Word penetrates to our soul and spirit and circumcises our heart, as the Bible says. That just means it helps us to crucify our flesh. When we meditate on God's Word, we are able to live and walk in the Spirit, rather than the flesh. We are cleansed and sanctified through His Word. When we live according to the Spirit of God rather than according to our flesh, we are again making the enemy powerLESS in our life. He can only operate with our permission. We give the enemy permission to work in our lives when we live lives contrary to God's spirit. (Ephesians 4:27)

So - when you read God's Word, put your name in there and speak it out loud. For instance if God dropped Isaiah 61 and in your heart. You can read verse 7: "instead of their shame my people - YOUR NAME- will receive a double portion and instead of disgrace YOUR NAME will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them(YOU NAME) and make an everlasting covenant with them! Tell the devil out loud what God's word says. Shout it at him. Then meditate on it every day.
Throughout the Bible we are told to:

  • meditate on God's Word (think about and repeat over and over again to ourselves)
  • pray God's Word (the only way we can be sure to pray according to the will of God)
  • speak God's Word (like Jesus did when He was tempted to be discouraged - spoke it out loud to Satan)

If you are struggling with battles in your life, remember this: God sees time so much different than we do. He is infinite and we see time through our finite beings. Time for God is just like this line below:


He looks down and sees the beginning as well as the ending, and all the points in between. He sees your good times and your rough times, but ultimately He sees your rejoicing in heaven for eternity. That is how He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). That is why placing our trust in Him is so vital. -Trusting Him when we are tired and worn out. -Trusting Him when we feel all is going down the tubes. -Trusting Him when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Simple trust. He has promised you victory - so tomorrow, if it brings worse news than yesterday, you can trust in Him.

Psalm 25. The whole chapter deals with asking Him to show His ways and teach His paths. It is my wife's favorite chapter in the whole Bible. Listen to what David says:

Psalm 25

To you, O LORD , I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O LORD , teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD , your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD . 8 Good and upright is the LORD ; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, O LORD , forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the LORD , for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. 18 Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

So, I encourage each of you today to take up a warrior mentality. Be an enemy of Satan. Take up the Sword of the Spirit, clothe yourself in the armor God has provided (Ephesians 6) and battle the enemy of your soul through the power of the Holy Spirit. Read God's Word. Meditate on God's Word and Speak God's Word out loud.

I love each of you and am thankful for the opportunity to be your pastor.

PS I have added a poll to todays blog at the top and to the right. Please take the time to vote. Thank you.

Pastor Rusty

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The POWER of God’s Word

Chuck Colson, in one of his books, was talking about the fact that so many of us have Bibles, and yet the Bible doesn't change us. 81% of the people surveyed in a recent poll said that they were evangelical; and yet only 42% of them knew that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount; and 48% of them could name the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Out of the 1382 people that were surveyed, less than 1% of them said that their lives were directed and truly changed by what the Word of God said. In other words, many of us read it; but it doesn't always change us. Many are not really reading it and meditating on it.

I read a story about an inner city preacher was reading his Bible and preaching out of it. It was a New Testament. There was a drug addict who noticed the nice, thin paper of the Bible, thought how good it would be to roll up marijuana cigarettes, and asked the preacher for the Bible, "I would like to use the paper to smoke marijuana with." The preacher told him, "I will let you have the Bible if you promise to read it before you smoke it." The addict agreed. Sometime later, the evangelist was preaching a meeting, after the meeting a man came up to him and said, "I am the man who you gave the bible to" The evangelist remembered. "How are you doing?" The Evangelist asked. The man said, "Well I took the Bible I read Matthew then I smoked it, I read Mark then I smoked it, I read Luke then I smoked it, I read John, and it smoked me" THE WORD OF GOD WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE, IF YOU TRULY READ IT and MEDIDATE upon it!

I was reading recently about a guest lecturer at a university. The only thing they asked him before he made the lecture was not to talk about the Word of God, the Bible. He noted how strange it was to speak at the university and be asked not to talk about the Bible. Especially when that evening, he went to do prison ministry and the first words from the warden were, "As you talk to the prisoners, could you talk to them about biblical principles?"

That seems to me like the cart's before the horse. We're not supposed to share God's Word at the universities; but when we speak to prisoners, who've already messed their lives all up, then we can talk about it. It seems to me like we're building the hospital down at the bottom of the cliff instead of putting fences at the top. Seems to me that we don't really understand what the Word of God will do and how it can change our life.

The Bible was written over a 1600-year span. It was written by 40 generations, by over 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars. It was written in different places, including out in the wilderness, in dungeons, in palaces, inside prison walls, while traveling, on lonely islands, in the midst of war. It was written at different times, sometimes in peace, sometimes in battle. It was written during different moods, some writing from the heights of joy while others wrote from the very depths of sorrow. It was written in three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. And it was written in three languages -- Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek. It covered subject matters including hundreds of controversial subjects, yet with harmony and continuity from Genesis to Revelation, there is one unfolding story, and the story is the redemption of man through Jesus Christ.

Ezra tells us in Ezra 7:10, four ways to take God's Word and apply it. Let me just read the passage. "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it and to teach its statutes and ordinances to Israel."

1. Ezra prepared his heart to approach God's Word. Ezra literally prepared himself in the way that he approached God's Word. He wanted to make sure that he entered into the presence of God's Word in an appropriate manner.

2. Ezra prepared his heart to study God's Word. As Ezra read it, he allowed his heart to be tender and open to the voice of the Spirit.

3. Ezra prepared to practice what he learned. Ezra not only read it; but as soon as he read it, he practiced it. He began to apply it to his life.

4. Ezra prepared to share what he learned. Ezra not only learned it in his own life and practiced and applied it, but he took it immediately and he shared it with others, so they could apply it to their lives.

There are three simple things you have to do when you come to the Word."

Three key phrases:

1. Learn It.

It can't change you until you know it. "Learn it, and that deals with your head." Memorize scripture, that's the thing.

2. Love It.

You've got to begin to embrace the Word and let it embrace you.

3. Live It.

You've got to let the Word of God that comes into your heart go out through your hands, and you've got to apply it to others.

Question: What convictions should I have concerning the Bible?

Answer: I have learned to: learn , love, and live God's Word. No wonder the psalmist said, "Your Word I have hid in my heart so that I might not sin against you." Now what happens is, when we take the Word of God and learn it and love it and live it, we begin to develop biblical convictions. And there are three convictions about the Word of God that I want to make sure that we have today.

1. Even when I don't understand it, I'll trust what God said.

"It's not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me," wrote Mark Twain. "It's the parts I do understand that give me fits."

Even when I don't understand it, I will take what God has said at face value. I will place my trust not in my understanding, but in God's Word. Naaman did that, remember? Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army, had leprosy, and his little servant girl suggested that he go to her country and see a prophet who could heal him. So off Naaman went to Elijah's house. He arrives in front of the house in his chariot, and Elijah doesn't even come out -- he just sends a servant out. And the servant tells Naaman that the prophet says for him to go down to the Jordan River and dip seven times in it. This ticks Naaman off. In fact, he says, "If I just needed to dip in the water seven times, I could go back to my own swimming pool in Syria. At least, the water's cleaner there." And off he goes. But then remember, his colleagues talks him into going down to the Jordan and dipping seven times, and when he comes out, his flesh is like a newborn baby's.

Now, what's interesting about this is how Naaman responded. He said, "I had thought the prophet would come out and wave his hand, and I would be healed (he had preconceived how God would answer his prayer)." But now, after his healing, he said, "Now I know that there's a God of Israel." Now isn't this interesting? Haven't we all done the same thing Naaman did? Haven't we come to God with a prayer request and told him how to answer it? We have this preconceived idea of how he's going to answer it, and we're just ready for it to be step one, two, three, four. Now, the first conviction is that the Word of God is very important. And that is, even when I don't understand it, I'm going to trust what God has said.

2. Although it seems illogical, I'll obey what God has said.

I will obey what God has said, even if it doesn't make sense. Remember Mary? In John 2, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee? They run out of wine, and Mary looks at the servants, and says, "Whatever he says to you, do it."

3. While human opinions vary, God's Word is right on every subject.

While human opinions vary, while others will have all sorts of answers, God's Word is right. One more conviction that'll change your life. I need the Word of God as much as I need food. And when I realize that the Word of God, which is the bread of life, is my spiritual staple that allows me to grow in my walk with him, it begins to change my life. And it begins to build convictions that help me to stand. I have five for you.

Convictions come into our lives when...

1. We have learned what the Word says on a given subject.

2. We choose to apply and obey the Word in daily life contexts.

3. We have exposed ourselves to a need in that area.

4. We have decided what is worth living and dying for.

5. We have settled the issue before we are forced to.

I am so thankful for the Word of God. As I posted yesterday, too many people say, "I prayed, BUT, I DIDN'T READ THE BIBLE" You can not and will not be the victorious man or woman of God that you can be without daily spending time with God's Word. If you have a hard time reading, then listen to the Bible online. I was listening to the Bible just this morning. Here is a website that will allow you to do this:

Or, you can get the Word of God on CD or cassette tape. Just make a commitment to spend daily time with the Word of God. You WILL be changed for eternity!

I love you guys, and pray that you have a faith-filled, peace-filled, and hope-filled day! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I have something that is heavily on my heart this morning. I was meeting with a man the other day, and we were discussing our relationship with God. This man was struggling with something in his life, and I asked him about his relationship with God. He said that he was struggling somewhat. I then asked him if he had spent time in God’s Word this week and he said, “I prayed, but, I DIDN’T READ THE BIBLE.” This has become a recurring problem with this person and others as well. I want to tell you that FIVE people told me this exact thing this past week. Think about it for a moment, I prayed, BUT, I DIDN’T READ THE BIBLE.” Does that sum up your day, week, month? Do you find yourself praying, but failing to open up God’s Word and allowing it to speak help, hope, and health into your life? If so, you aren’t alone.
Down through the years it has been the plan of the enemy to remove people from God’s Word. It started in the very beginning and continues today.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan twisted God's very words in order to deceive God's creation. The same is true with us today. If we do not stay connected to God through His Word, the enemy will twist God's word in order to deceive and confuse us.

Meditate on God's Word to see what God says about this:
John 8:32
31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 14:6
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 15:1-8
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesF73 so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The Word of God is so much more than a compilation of scriptures for inspiration for living a Godly life. It IS the power by which we live life. It IS living and breathing! Consider Hebrew 4:12-
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Greek word used in this verse for living is zao, which means living and breathing!

When we read God's word and meditate on His actual Word to us, that word is powerful to cut out of us our sinful nature. The Word of God keeps us clean. Christ died on the cross for our sins. It is through His precious blood that we are saved and reconciled to God the Father. It is through the power of the Word that we are sanctified on a daily basis.
Read Ephesians 5:25-27
...just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

So, my request, as your Pastor and friend, is for each of you to make a commitment to God and to yourselves to read and treasure God's Word!

If you are struggling in this area and it seems you are constantly going to God with your petitions, but are not soaking in the richness of His Word on a daily basis, then take a few minutes to read Psalm 119. Listen to the psalmists heart as he reflects again and again on the hope and life that God's word and statutes bring.

My prayer is that each of you recognize the life giving power of the Word of God and take in God's freshness every single day through His Word.

May this season bring you peace and joy!
Pastor Rusty

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Taking Every Thought Captive

When I was around sixteen years old, I decided to begin memorizing certain passages from the Word of God. One of the passages that I worked hard at memorizing is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Down through the years it has been such a source of comfort and victory to me in the midst of battles. Let me share it with you:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, (5) [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),

I want to share verse 5 in several translations:

(BBE) Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ;

(ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

(GNB) we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.

(KJVR) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

(MSG) We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.

What a powerful Word from God. You may be reading this blog, and you have been under attack from satan. Maybe you are battling depression, despair, discouragement, worry, fear, doubt, etc. What makes it worse, is that the enemy attacks many times through our MINDS using our imaginations, and other peace-attacking distractions to keep our mind from being in PERFECT PEACE with and on God. In fact, listen to what Isaiah 26:3 says, (AMP) You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

God reminds us that we will walk in PERFECT PEACE if and when our minds are set and fixed on Jesus. That is why all of hell attempts daily to get our minds on imaginations (what if's), that lead to worry and other faith destroying, peace-attacking issues of the mind.

I found the following prayer some time back on the internet. Why don't you take the following prayer and add it to your arsenal of attacks against the enemy, and pray it DAILY:

Father, teach me to wage spiritual war in your manner, and not according to the world. Guide me to live - and to fight, argue, conflict - with weapons of the Spirit and not weapons of the flesh.

Be my strength, Lord, when I am up against the wall – and I decide, by faith, to respond with weapons of the Spirit and not react with weapons of the flesh. Bring me, Father, to a point where I no longer have any confidence in the flesh, but my confidence is only in you.

Lord, teach me, guide me, compel me, train me – fill me with the Grace me – so that when I face conflict, when I face discouragement and temptation, when I collide with an obstacle - I rely upon you and your way. I acknowledge you have given me the power and authority to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of You.

So, rather than getting into arguments, I can point to the truth - and I can state the truth. Help me to state the truth in my own life - and work on those areas where I am out-of-sync, where I am in sin, winking at that which is wrong.

Lord, I commit to taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Show me how that works; show me how to do that, and develop within me the discipline and the habit of doing this.

Lord, prompt me and guide me to fit every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. No stray thoughts, no wandering thoughts, not allowing emotions to rule my thoughts or actions or moods - even taking my impulses and subjecting them to you.

Lord, make me ready to use the tools you provide to clear the ground of every obstruction, so that you may build my life as an obedient life - matured into the Father of the Faith that you want me to be. I trust that, despite my sin you will build me into a mature believer who is obedient to you, serves you and constantly looks for your work in others.

What does this mean?

· The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will." (2 Corinthians 10:3, MSG)

· God has provided the tools we need to live a God-life. "We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5, MSG) What tools? The Word of God, prayer, the name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, praise and worship, just to name a few.

· Using God's tools moves us to maturity. "Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." (2 Corinthians 10:6, MSG)


Pastor Rusty

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Lie from the Devil during tough times: “Life isn’t worth the effort”

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well.

We had a great day yesterday. Bro. Joe Wilmoth shared a powerful message with us about holding onto four anchors: #1 Salvation through the Blood of Jesus, #2 The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, #3 The Healing power of God, #4 The Soon return of Jesus Christ. What a great reminder of the anchors that we have. Then our banquet last night was a lot of fun, food and fellowship. It is so good to be a part of God's wonderful family.

Let me share something that God laid on my heart very early this morning from Job 2:9-13:

Job is totally covered with agonizing sores. He was not only physically afflicted, but he was also painfully humiliated. He ends up sitting in the ashes, scraping the pus from his sores with a broken piece of pottery. To cap it all, the one to whom he ought to have been able to turn for emotional support turned against him. His wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity?" I can see that her faith has crumbled under this attack. She no longer believes that God is loving, thoughtful, and just. She sees this as proof, as many of us have done in times of trial, that God has forsaken his promises, that the Bible is not true.

How many times I have come to comfort people going through trials, and had them say to me, "I tried these promises, I tried believing God, but it doesn't work." Have you ever said that?

That is getting very close to what Satan was trying to get Job to say: "Curse God, and die." He used Job's wife as his instrument, and, just as Eve became the instrument to get at Adam in the Garden of Eden, the assault upon Job's emotional life comes through his wife. She advises him to do two things: "Give up your faith, apostatize. Curse God." (Actually, in the Hebrew, the word is "bless" God, but it is properly translated "curse" because the word "bless" is dripping with sarcasm.) "Bless God, and die." She is clearly suggesting suicide: "It would be better for you to take your life than to go on like this." So poor Job, bound by physical pain, sits in humility with a disfigured body, and suffers from a sense of emotional abandonment by his spouse.

I do not know if women fully understand how much their husbands depend on them. I think husbands often draw emotional strength from their wives far more than either they or their wives realize. Here was a severe attack addressed to the very soul of Job, in which he felt his wife abandoning him, advocating that he turn from his faith and renounce his God. But now, in Verse 10, we get the results of this second round of tests:

But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 RSV)

Job's rebuke is a very gentle one. He did not say, "You foolish woman!" He said, "You speak as one of the foolish women." He is not attacking her, rather, he is suggesting that this is a temporary lapse of faith on her part, and that, for the moment, she has begun to repeat the words of stupid, foolish women who have no knowledge of the grace and glory of God. In that gentle rebuke you can see something of the sturdiness and tenderness of Job's faith. In this great sentence he again reasserts the sovereignty of God: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" And herein is the lie that is growing in America spoken by Job's wife. She had the philosophy that life ought to be pleasant and if it was not, there was no use living it.

That philosophy is widespread in our own day,
and a mounting suicide rate testifies to the universal acceptance of it. But this book is given to show us that life is not to be lived on those terms. The reason we are here is not necessarily to have a good time. There are meaningful objectives to be attained in life, even when it all turns sour. When the pressure comes, when living is no longer fun, life is still worth living.
A philosophy that wants to abandon everything as soon as things become unpleasant is a shallow, mistaken, distorted view of life, and a growing lie from the devil in America.

Job reaffirms that. "Shall we not take both good and evil from the hand of God?" We take his joy and his pleasure, the pleasant things of life with gladness and gratitude. If he chooses to allow something that is difficult, shall we then abandon that gratitude and begin to curse him in protest, because life is suddenly different than we thought it would be? The reason we are here is not merely that we might have a good time, and this is taught everywhere in the Scriptures. God, in his grace and glory, does give us many, many hours of joy and gladness and pleasure and delight, and it is right for us to give thanks. But do not abandon that when the time of pressure comes for that is what satan wants us to do. He wants us to begin to complain and to protest to God; to get upset and angry and resentful; to stop going to church, or to stop reading the Bible. That is what Satan's whole attack in our lives is aimed at doing.

So today, put on that garment of praise, and understand that "life is worth the living, just because He (Jesus) lives! I love you guys, and pray that you have a thank-filled and peace-filled day! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. That is my CHOICE for today. Sometimes that choice is harder than others. There are days that you have to look very hard to find something to rejoice in because of a negative perspective, or going through an especially tough time, but according to God's Word, I can still make the choice to REJOICE! I hope you make the Biblical CHOICE today to REJOICE.

I want to challenge you with something that God spoke into my Spirit this morning. When it comes to conflicts in our relationships, do we truly want RESOLUTION or do we want RETALIATION? Listen to what God's Word tells us…"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32 NIV). The Message versions says it like this, "Be gentle with one another, sensitive.
Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly
as God in Christ forgave you.

Fellowship without forgiveness is impossible. We MUST learn to forgive quickly and thoroughly. Holding a grudge against someone and REFUSING to thoroughly forgive is sin, and not only effects our relationship with that person, but effects other relationships, as well as our relationship with God the Father. He will not have an intimate relationship with anyone who refuses to forgive quickly and thoroughly. The reason God tells us to forgive QUICKLY is because if you do not, a BITTER SPIRIT could develop. Listen to what God warns us about this bitter spirit:

Hebrews 12:14-17 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. (15) make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (16) Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. (17) You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing--but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

My friends, retaliation and revenge is truly trying to satisfy a SHORT-TERM appetite. Esau later regretted attempting to satisfy this type of appetite and you will as well. The sad thing about bitterness and RETALIATION is that it not only effects you, but others as well. I know people who are not in church today as adults because their parents couldn't get past hurts and bitterness' of the past. These same parents who couldn't get past the hurt, are now hurt because their grown children don't want to have anything to do with God. Why would they? They grew up with parents that never learned the importance of LETTING IT GO, and forgiving in Jesus' name. I have seen it time after time after time. My friend, I plead with you today, strive for RESOLUTION, not RETALIATION. The bitterness will suck the life out of you and your family. It simply isn't worth it, and you will regret it one day, just like Esau did. You can FORGIVE and move on TODAY, but it is your CHOICE.

As believers, we're called "to settle our relationships with each other." (2 Corinthians 5:18 MSG) We need to consistently forgive others and receive forgiveness from others, or we'll "give up in despair." (2 Corinthians 2:7 CEV)

Whenever we're hurt by someone, we have a choice to make: Will we focus on retaliation or resolution?

The Bible speaks candidly about settling the score: "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV)

In God's economy, it's not enough to say we won't seek revenge; we're to press into the very heart of forgiveness, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

The Bible is very clear that forgiveness is not optional for the Christ-follower. God sets this high standard because he knows how much is at stake in your life: Bitterness and unforgiveness are a cancer that eventually will destroy you from the inside out. Forgiveness is the scalpel that removes the tumor.

This doesn't mean you'll always be able to immediately forgive and be done with it. As you become more and more Christ-like, that will become possible, but for now you may have to work at forgiving someone who has hurt you in a particularly painful way. In other words, you may forgive this person but soon begin to feel a root of unforgiveness growing in your heart.

When this occurs, you can go to King Jesus and ask him to help you with this cycle. He will help you release the offender, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in your effort.

A major point here is that forgiveness is a choice you can make. The power of God, working within you, means you no longer have to remain a slave to unforgiveness or bitterness.

In Colossians, the Apostle Paul provides the basis and motivation for forgiveness: "You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Colossians 3:13 NLT, italics added). When we remember the price Jesus paid to forgive us, how can we not forgive? (Romans 5:8)

What now?

· When you forgive, you're not pretending it didn't hurt – Forgiveness means you no longer hold the offense against the offender. It means you've pardoned the debt, and you've intentionally chosen to release the one who hurt you. We're to love deeply, because "love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)

· Stop right now and talk to God – Have an honest conversation with God about someone you need to forgive. Our heavenly Father knows that it's not easy to let go of our hurts, but he will give you the grace to forgive.

· Be honest with God – Cry out to God; tell him exactly how you feel. He won't be surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or bitterness.

I love you guys, and believe that God TODAY, even RIGHT NOW, will give you the inner strength to focus on RESOLUTION. RETALIATION is from the "god of this world" satan, but RESOLUTION is from the God of my heart, Jesus Christ! Why don't you put your broken relationships, hurt feelings, and anger into the capable hands of God and move on in victory and by faith. It is satan's plan to divide and conquer. He wants you to isolate yourself from others. He wants you to quit church, even though that is COMPLETELY against God's Word. So, it is your choice TODAY to get off of the "TREADMILL" of no progress, just doing the same thing over and over and over. The definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over and expecting different results." After you choose to get off of the treadmill of unforgivness and retaliation, then make another choice to get on the ROAD of great progress and choose to forgive. I know you can do it, because you "can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The NEED for 50/20 Vision

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it. And that's really not that hard to do. All you have to do is stop and meditate for a moment on the blessings that God has bestowed upon you. Things that you would normally take for granted. For example: sight, hearing, ability to walk, ability to breathe, ability to work, family, vehicle, home, clothes, food, your job. I talked to a man a few days ago who has desperately been trying to find a job. If you have one, instead of taking it for granted, you should pause right now and thank God for it. Amen? God is FAITHFUL.

For years God has been speaking to me about the need for the Christian to have 50/20 vision. What is that? Let me share the answer to that question with you.

"… You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result …" Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

The life of Joseph was anything but peaceful. It was filled with youthful folly, broken dreams, and the mean-spirited actions of others. Yet he remained a man remarkable for his lack of bitterness or regret, always seeing God as the "Great Engineer" behind even the worst of circumstances. Genesis 50 and verse 20 shows us how we should view our struggles…through 50/20 vision. What is 50/20 vision? The understanding that Joseph had concerning what he was going through. He knew that it was meant for evil, but God meant it for good in order to bring about a lasting victory. Regardless what you go through, ask God to help you see the struggle in light of Genesis 50:20, 50/20 vision.

In a final confrontation with his brothers, Joseph graciously noted, "You meant it for bad; God meant it for good."

The theology packed in that statement is astounding. 'God meant it for good means --

You can accept the past -- No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle – or too big to be worked for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His name. Just ask Joseph; Better yet, ask his fearful and famished brothers, who were forced to rely on him for survival.

You can embrace the present -- There's no need to play the 'what if' game. The past is gone, and no energy you expend will ever change it. The future is in God's omnipotent hands, so you're free to focus on the present. Your job is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, trusting Him to forgive the past and transform the future. Martyred missionary Jim Eliot once wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there," not living in the past and not fantasizing about the future. God wants you in the present because that's where His grace will flow.

You can look expectantly toward the future -- Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Walking in the Spirit, you can live life to the fullest, unafraid of making mistakes and unconcerned you may stumble into some terrible circumstance that takes you out of God's control. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is working out some divine plan through you.

Always remember…

· No matter how bad things get -- God is still able to bring good out of it. Today, thank God that nothing – no disaster, no delay – is bigger that his ability to turn it into something good and godly.

· Thank God and let go - Thank God that He is sovereign over your past, your present, and your future.

· Give God the circumstances, disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins from your past;
· Give God your current situation, your disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins of today;
· Praise God that he can work anything in your future for godly good, that you can walk in confidence that there is nothing anyone can do to you, or anything you can do that will be beyond the reach of God's Grace and redemption.

· Look for God's hand -- Walking by faith means you see God's hand even in the most difficult of circumstances. You trust in his ability and his willingness to transform the bad into godly good. God is not limited by people's motives; in other words, it does not matter why someone hurt you, God can still transform a deliberate, mean-spirited situation into something for his good. So today, why don't you purposely look for and recognize the Divine Presence of God. Regardless how you FEEL, know that God is in the middle of the FIRE with you, just like He was in the Old Testament story of the Three Hebrew Children.

· What will you allow God to change? – There it is: some situation, or event, or person in your life who, as far as you can tell, 'meant it for bad.' How do you think God meant it for good? Ask God what he wants you to do with this situation (event or person). When he answers, do it. God used Joseph's pain from his family to save his family from pain and starvation. God will use your current pain to help someone who is in pain. That you can count on.

I love you guys, and praying that you will begin today to look at your current situation with 50/20 vision. Yes, it might have been meant for evil…BUT GOD isn't finished working yet! He is the AUTHOR and the FINISHER of our faith. He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the BEGINNING and the END. Philippians 1:6 says that we can be CONFIDENT of this, that He that BEGAN a good work in you will COMPLETE it until the day of Jesus Christ. God always FINISHES what He starts! He's still working in you and for you! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving for family

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you had a great day with your family yesterday. In fact, many of you are probably still with family. What a blessing that families are. We have spent the past few days in Branson with my Mother & Father in-law, as well as all of my children and grandchildren. Life just doesn't get any better than that. I have been overwhelmed with thanksgiving this week. I have been studying this morning the message that I plan to preach Sunday morning entitled, "Wisdom for the Family." I believe God is going to speak to each of us, and challenge us to make sure that our families are built upon the solid Rock of Jesus Christ. I hope you plan to be there, as well as bring family members with you as we celebrate "Family Day at First Assembly."

I apologize that I have not written on my blog this week. I planned to, however, our condo didn't have internet of any kind. I felt lost the first couple of days, but it ended up being nice and relaxing. Let me share with you a thought this morning.

Through her books and lectures, Edith Schaeffer has become much appreciated for her insights into the value of life's ordinary days. When she and her husband Francis were first married, both sets of parents lived nearby. The newlyweds divided each Sunday afternoon and evening be-tween the Schaeffers and the Sevilles.

After a few years, Edith and Francis moved to Switzerland, where they could talk with their parents only once a year in a brief phone conversation.

Looking back half a century later, Edith wrote of being glad for the way they had used those Sunday afternoons. She noted that "proximity of loved ones is not an endless situation." She concluded that a package labeled "time to care for parents and exhibit love" doesn't just arrive someday. We must show love while we can.

The fifth of the Ten Commandments says: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). The command to love and respect our parents applies equally to children living at home, newly independent young couples, and empty-nesters.

Seize each moment you have to love and honor your family. The opportunity won't last forever.

Putting It Into Action

  • Plan a regular time to call a family member.
  • Help an aged relative with a project or housework.
  • Write a letter to someone you love but cannot visit.

Time is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other.

I love you guys, and hope you have a great weekend with your family. I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning in church, and please…BRING YOUR FAMILY!

Pastor Rusty



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thankful for the Cross

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it! As I mentioned yesterday, I have been thinking of reasons to be thankful. I have come up with MANY. But I want to share with you the greatest reason that we have to be thankful…the CROSS of Calvary.

As Christians, we understand the spiritual significance of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, but it's easy to forget about the tremendous agony He endured there. The worst aspect was separation from the Father, but the physical suffering was also horrible beyond comprehension.

In his book Dare To Believe, Dan Baumann shares some thoughts that can deepen our gratitude for what the Savior did for us. He wrote, "We have perhaps unwisely and sometimes unconsciously glamorized the cross. Jewelry and steeples alike are often ornamental and attractive but carry nothing of the real story of crucifixion. It was the most painful method of public death in the first century. The victim was placed on a wooden cross. Nails . . . were driven into the hands and feet of the victim, and then the cross was lifted and jarred into the ground, tearing the flesh of the crucified and racking his body with excruciating pain. Historians remind us that even the soldiers could not get used to the horrible sight, and often took strong drink to numb their senses."

With a fresh awareness of our Savior's physical agony, let's thank Him anew for His sacrifice at Calvary. He loved us so much that He was willing to die for us—even the painful death of the cross.
We can never sacrifice enough for the One who sacrificed His all for us.

I want to share something with you that someone emailed to me yesterday. It is one of the most touching things that I have ever listened to, and goes along with how thankful we need to be for what Jesus did for us on the cross.

A remarkable phone call from a 12-yr old boy to Houston radio station KSBJ FM 89.3. So profound, the station has it posted on their website. Click below to listen to it. It's short.

Thank God for Jesus' death on the cross. May we be reminded, like this 12 year old boy, what great price that God paid for our sins! I love you all, and pray that you have a wonderfully blessed day. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Never count the MIGHT HAVE BEENS!

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I pray that you started off your day rejoicing and being glad in it! We have much to rejoice about, if we just slow down long enough to think about it. Thank you so much to everyone that participated in our poll Friday, and for those who left comments. God used many of those comments Sunday, and we had four come to the Lord for Salvation in our services. Also, many were encouraged in the Lord because of the shared testimonies. To God be the glory great things that he has done!

When Dr. Robert Schuller, founder of California's Crystal Cathedral, was growing up, drought ravaged their family farm. They prayed for rain that never came. His dad, who normally harvested 100 wagon loads of corn, reaped only a half-wagon full. Schuller says, "I'll never forget it. His calloused hands holding ours as he looked up and prayed, 'Thank you Lord, I've lost nothing. I've regained all the seed I planted in spring.' While other farmers were saying, 'We lost 90 or 100 loads,' my father told me, 'Never count the might-have-beens or you'll be defeated. Never look at what you've lost, only look at what you've got left.'" Good advice! Too many times we get caught up in REGRETS and what MIGHT HAVE BEEN, and we don't give God the thanks that he is deserving of, and we find ourselves "wallowing" in self-pity and before long depression begins to settle in.

Today, why don't you purpose in your heart to be THANKFUL for everything that God has blessed you with. Do you know what the word CONTENTMENT really means? It means, "wanting what God has blessed you with." Not "coveting" what you do not have. Paul said that he had LEARNED to be content. You learn CONTENTMENT by developing an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE towards what God has placed in your life. You will NEVER develop gratitude as long as you camp out in the land of WHAT COULD HAVE OR MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Why not start it off with thanksgiving for you HAVE LEFT!

In Psalm 69:30, David said, "Praise… God… and… magnify Him with thanksgiving," because gratitude has:

(1) Driving power. Paul says, "Thanks be to God, who always leads us in victory" (2 Corinthians 2:14 NCV). Thanksgiving helps you make the hard decisions. It gives you courage to believe against all odds.

(2) Reviving power. Listen to what Paul says, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "Don't
ever stop thinking about what is… worthy of praise…. And God, who gives peace, will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9 CEV). Stopping regularly to recall God's goodness restores your perspective and strengthens you.

(3) Striving power. Gratitude gives you the "uumph" to move ahead. Paul could "press on" because his goals included:

  • knowing Christ
    (Philippians 3:14
    I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward
  • preaching in Spain (Romans 15:24
    I'm planning my visit. I'm headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God's blessing.)

  • seeing a lost world saved (Romans 10:1
    Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what's best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time.
    ) What goals are you striving for?

(4) Arriving power. When you reach your destination, you'll find you've developed selflessness and humility. That's because gratitude is nothing more than telling God and those around you, "Thanks. I couldn't have done it without you!"

I woke up this morning thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. Even if you are going through a difficult time, why don't you take the time to do the following exercise, and realize how blessed that you really are.

Write down what you are thankful for in this acronym activity. Start your word, phrase, or sentence with each of these letters:













After you do this exercise, why don't you take the time to share with us some of the things that you are thankful for? I believe that your comments of thanksgiving will help and inspire someone else. I also will use some of the comments in a message about thanksgiving tomorrow (Wednesday) night. I love each of you, and I THANK GOD FOR YOU DAILY! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Friday, November 9, 2007

Is it hard to keep believing?

Good morning! Thank you so much for reading my blog today. I am excited about our services this weekend. Sunday morning we will be honoring our Veterans with a Video, and I PLAN to preach a message entitled, "Is It Hard to Keep Believing?" However, I need your help.

I love to read different christian blogs, and was reading one today that was discussing this very question. I began to think about that, and wondered what would be the responses if I were to ask the question on my blog, so that is what I'm doing today.

2 Timothy 2:13 says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

Because we are wrapped in this body of flesh (2 Cor 4:16-5:5), there are times that our “spirit is willing but our flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41).

I can look back at my life and realize that the Lord has brought us through many smaller battles that stretched our faith, each time using a brother or sister in Christ to remind us of His promises and to help us lift our eyes of faith once again. It is so important to come along side of a struggling Christian and share your faith with them when they have little of their own.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG) All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

I have seen in counseling with people that, SOMETIMES, it’s hard to keep believing. What is important to remember is that our moments of weakness do not disqualify us from being recipients of God’s love and grace. It is JESUS that keeps us secure, and not our faith.

So my question for you personally is, "Is it HARD to keep believing?" Is it hard to continue trusting God with your life when you don't see any type of answer? Is it difficult to sometimes "Be still, and know that He is God" when you feel He is not hearing you, let alone answering you?

Please share your thoughts and battles with me. Also, to the right of this blog is a poll that I want you to respond to. With your comments posted on this blog and the results from the poll, I can more effectively share my heart and your stories Sunday morning.

I love you guys, and look forward to your comments! Blessings!

Rusty L. Blann

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shining for Jesus

Christ said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works…” Have you thought lately about how you might let your light shine?

Consider some of the following ways:

Possibly through…

  • …the courtesy of letting a driver merge in front of you
  • …the returned smile to the Wal-Mart greeters
  • …the generosity of your tip to the pizza delivery person
  • …the pleasant tone of your voice as you say, “Thank you” to the bank teller
  • …the offer of an apology when you are wrong (Even to your kids!)
  • …the time you give to a single mom’s child
  • …the thoughtful note you write to a parishioner or teammate (Just because!)
  • …the returning of your neighbor’s trash can that blew away during the storm
  • …the bottled water left in the mailbox for the mailman
  • …the giving of a hamburger and french fries to a homeless person, with a God bless you given with it

The result is as Christ said, “…that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”Why don’t you set out this week to bring glory to your Father?

If you will take just a moment to take the following quiz, then you will see the influence that you can have with people when you let your light shine...

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

This month we are reaching out to the people that God has brought into our lives. Remember, this Sunday you are encouraged to invite a VETERAN to come to church with you. Sunday, the 18th, you are asked to invite a FRIEND to church with you, and then on the 25th, we are going to invite a FAMILY MEMBER to come to church with us. I expect many souls to be won into God's we do OUR PART...Let the light of Jesus shine through us.

I love you guys, and hope you have a blessed rest of the day!

Rusty L. Blann

Monday, November 5, 2007

Divide and Conquer

We had a great weekend of services. Thank you so much to everyone that made an effort to attend. I believe that we are going to see many souls won into the kingdom of God in the month of November. But, we HAVE TO DO OUR PART. We are helping you do your part. We have three special Sundays scheduled for the month of November:

11th Veterans Sunday-Invite a Veteran to attend church with you

18th Friend Sunday-Invite a Friend to attend church with you

25th Family Sunday-Invite a Family member to attend church with you

Somewhere around 95% of those in attendance made a commitment before God to invite people to attend in each of these services. God will honor us as we do our part. Thank you in advance.

I want to share something with you that God has been speaking to into my heart.

I was watching the Discovery Channel with my family a few days ago. I LOVE the Discovey channel, and especially like to watch when they are showing lions chasing a wildebeest. Well, we were watching this take place on our television, and I was cheering for the lions to catch the Wildebeest, while Taylor, my eight year old daughter was yelling, "run deer, run." She was so upset about the lions trying to kill the "deer" that she was about to cry. She started saying, "turn it daddy, turn it, I don't want to watch the lions kill that 'deer'" I eventually turned the channel , but continued to think about what we had just seen on TV.

For you see, a lion will not go into a herd of wildebeest to attack. The herd could trample the lion. What he does, is wait until one of the wildebeest separates himself from the pack. When this happens, the lion(s) begin to crouch and prowl toward the "very much alone" wildebeest. The lions are hoping to "DIVIDE AND CONQUER." You then watch the Wildebeest trying his best to get away from the lion, and in many cases, attempting to get back to the pack of his friends.

My friend, that is exactly what the Bible says about the devil. It is said about satan, that he comes "as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." What is his strategy? DIVIDE AND CONQUER! The Bible says in Romans 4 that when Abraham didn't receive the promise of God for some 25 years, that he "didn't stagger at the promise of God." The word stagger in the Greek means, "to not separate oneself in a hostile spirit." Abraham refused to become offended and allow the devil (lion) to DIVIDE AND CONQUER. However, many people do fall for this trick of our enemy. They become upset, hurt or offended, and the first thought that comes into their mind is to "separate themselves from other people." They are deceived into believing that the best thing for them to do is to leave the fellowship of God's people. They decide that they can serve God at home better than being around people at church. It is a lie and a trick of the devil. God's Word plainly says in Hebrews 10:25:

Hebrews 10:25 (AMP) Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

(CEV) Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.

(KJVR) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one
another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

(MSG) not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

The closer we get to the Lord's return, the greater the deception is going to be by the enemy to try to get us to "separate ourselves" from our friends, church, and even family members. It is an attack of the devil that will only increase. The Word of God says that in the last days, that the "very elect" of God's people are going to be tempted to be deceived. Also, that the "love of many" will grow cold. Please hear your pastors heart today. We NEED each other. Don't be like the wildebeest and separate yourself from the HERD of God's people. The desire to do so is NOT coming from the Spirit of God, but from the god of this world, satan himself, the "roaming lion" who is seeking to devour you and your family.

If you have already separated yourself from others for whatever reason, why don't you ask God to help you get past your offense, and grow in the Lord. Some good folks, never mature in the Lord because they are always running from their problems. Oh, they may sound spiritual, but my friends, if they are separating themselves from God's people in offense, they are falling for the oldest trick of the enemy. Please know that you are WELCOME to come back to God's Herd. He is calling, beckoning you through this blog to, COME BACK HOME! God's Word tells you that "greater is HE that is in you, than he that is in the world."

I love you all, and pray for you daily. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Friday, November 2, 2007

Five Steps to Overcome the Fear of Failure

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it. What a beautiful day that we have been given today. I pray that you will enjoy every second of it, and bask in the blessings of God. We take so many of His blessings for granted. Let's slow down today, and savor every moment.

I look forward to our services this weekend. In our Sunday morning service I plan to preach a message entitled, "Coins, Sheep, and Prodigals." During this message I will show interviews of some people in our church as they share how they became a part of our church family. You don't want to miss it. Then Sunday night, I am preaching the message, "When Fact encounters FAITH" Are you facing a tough situation in your life, then you need to be here Sunday night. I will be showing a couple of videos. One of our Kids Fest, and another will be a testimony of how God put a family back together. I believe that it will be a great weekend.

I want to share with you this morning about how to overcome the fear of failure.

Failure … It is something we fear, yet we have all experienced. It is part of the human experience to take risks at times and risk implies failure.

In Matthew 25:21, the master responds, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master."

The master says, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:23 NASB ).

"I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours" (Matthew 25:25).

Five things to remember if you want to overcome this fear:

1.     Remember that everybody fails.

Everybody fails. It is a natural part of life.
"We all stumble in many ways" (James 3:2 NASB ).

"We all stumble in many ways ." How many? Many ways. We what? "All stumble."

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The fact is, all have sinned and fall short. Everybody fails.

2.     Realize that failure is not final.

Often, the fear of failure is worse than the experience itself.

Proverbs 24:16 says, "A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again."

"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Failure is not final.
Galatians 6:9 says this, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary."

3.     Recognize that there are benefits to failure.

Psalm 119:67: "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word."

  1. Failure educates us.


Thomas Edison had 10,000 failures before he perfected the incandescent lightbulb. At 10,000 failures someone asked him, "Aren't you discouraged? Don't you feel like a failure?" Do you know what Thomas Edison's reply was? "I don't call it a failure," he said. "I call it an education. Now I know 10,000 things that do not work very well."


B.    Failure helps us to discover our true talents.


I think of Raymond Kroc. Raymond Kroc failed at real estate. So he finally tried something different. He bought a hamburger stand from two brothers, whose last names happened to be McDonald. Kroc later spun that hamburger stand into a world-renowned fast-food chain.

  1. Failure makes us less judgmental.


When you fail, you become a lot more sympathetic, sensitive, and kind to others. When you fail, your arrogance is restrained.

4.     Redefine failure.

Failure is not that you didn't arrive at your goal; failure is not even making the effort.

"I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive" (Ecclesiastes 3:12).

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7 NASB ).

Proverbs 14:4

"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox."

5.     Replace fear with faith in Christ.

Philippians 4:13
"I have the strength to face all conditions by the power

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in God" (Psalm 56:3).


I love you guys, and hope to see you Sunday! Blessings!


Pastor Rusty

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Have you lost your song?

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.

The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.

A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."

It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11.

There are so many of God's people that can relate to Chippie the parakeet. Life has a way of stealing our song if we allow it to. Listen to what God's Word admonishes us to do: Ephesians 5:20

(AMP) At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

(MSG) Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

When we develop the habit of complaining instead of doing what God's Word tells us to do in Ephesians 5:20, we will lose our song. My challenge to all of us today is to develop the habit of praising God, IN SPITE OF the situation. He is deserving of our praise.

Louis Albert Banks tells of an elderly Christian man, a fine singer, who learned that he had cancer of the tongue and that surgery was required. In the hospital after everything was ready for the operation, the man said to the doctor, "Are you sure I will never sing again?" The surgeon found it difficult to answer his question. He simply shook his head no. The patient then asked if he could sit up for a moment. "I've had many good times singing the praises of God," he said. "And now you tell me I can never sing again. I have one song that will be my last. It will be of gratitude and praise to God." 

There in the doctor's presence the man sang softly the words of Isaac Watts' hymn, "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath,/ And when my voice is lost in death,/ Praise shall employ my nobler power;/ My days of praise shall ne'er be past,/ While life, and thought, and being last,/ Or immortality endures."  He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Wow! What an attitude of gratitude! That is the way that I want to be. It all comes down to a matter of faith. How much do I trust God? William Carey had much faith in God. Listen to a little bit of his story:

After William Carey was well established in his pioneer missionary work in India, his supporters in England sent a printer to assist him. Soon the two men were turning out portions of the Bible for distribution. Carey had spent many years learning the language so that he could produce the scriptures in the local dialect. He had also prepared dictionaries and grammars for the use of his successors. 

One day while Carey was away, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the building, the presses, many Bibles, and the precious manuscripts, dictionaries, and grammars. When he returned and was told of the tragic loss, he showed no sign of despair or impatience. Instead, he knelt and thanked God that he still had the strength to do the work over again. He started immediately, not wasting a moment in self-pity. Before his death, he had duplicated and even improved on his earlier achievements. He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Joe Scriven was a missionary from Ireland to Canada, working among the Iroquois Indians. He was joined by his fiancé who was also from Ireland. Just before the wedding, she was killed in an ice accident. Joe buried her with his own hands, and a broken heart. A year later, in a letter to his mother, he reflected,

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer." Joe was on the road to triumph, even though there were times when the road was rough. He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Having lost in a fire virtually everything they owned, the Spafford family made new plans, including a move from Chicago to France. Horatio Spafford planned the trip for his wife and four daughters to be as trouble-free as possible. To transport them from America to France, he booked passage on a huge ship, and made sure they had Christians with whom to fellowship in route. He planned to join them a few weeks later. In spite of much careful preparation, Mr. Spafford's plans suddenly dissolved when the ship carrying his loved ones was rammed by another vessel and sank, carrying his four beloved daughters to the bottom. Anyone who has ever had their plans disrupted by the hand of God can understand Spafford's plight. The next time you are in church,turn to the words of the great hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul"--words he penned as his ship passed over the watery grave of his four daughters!  He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

By the age of 5, Beethoven was playing the violin under the tutelage of his father--also an accomplished musician. By the time he was 13, Beethoven was a concert organist. In his 20s he was already studying under the very watchful eyes of Haydn and Mozart. In fact, Mozart spoke prophetic words when he declared that Beethoven would give the world something worth listening to by the time his life ended. As Beethoven began to develop his skills, he became a prolific composer. During his lifetime, he wrote nine majestic symphonies and five concertos for piano, not to mention numerous pieces of chamber music. Ludwig van Beethoven also wrote sonatas and pieces for violin and piano. He has thrilled us with the masterful works of unique harmony that broke with the traditions of his times. 

The man was a genius. Beethoven was not, however, a stranger to difficulties. During his twenties, he began to lose his hearing. His fingers "became thick," he said on one occasion. He couldn't feel the music as he once had. His hearing problem haunted him in the middle years of his life, but he kept it a well-guarded secret. When he reached his fifties, Beethoven was stone deaf. Three years later he made a tragic attempt to conduct an orchestra and failed miserably. Approximately five years later, he died during a fierce thunder storm. He was deaf, yet a magnificent musician.

On one occasion, Beethoven was overheard shouting at the top of his voice as he slammed both fists on the keyboard, "I will take life by the throat!"  He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Vance Havner told a story about an elderly lady who was greatly disturbed by her many troubles--both real and imaginary.  Finally, someone in her family tactfully told her, "Grandma, we've done all we can for you. You'll just have to trust God for the rest." A look of absolute despair spread over her face as she replied, "Oh dear, has it come to that?" Havner commented, "It always comes to that, so we might as well begin with that!"

My friends, why don't we start with that today? Turn your situation over to God and trust Him completely and totally! He will not let you down. Don't be like Chippee and lose your song…sing in the face of your trial and watch the victory come! I love you guys!

Pastor Rusty



Monday, October 29, 2007

Excellence with Purpose

Good morning! We had an AWESOME weekend with our Kids Fest. We started off with around 200 at our Friday night service. The Harness family did a great job ministering to everyone of every age that was in attendance. Several responded to the altar call for salvation. Then Saturday we had a HUGE crowd for our Carnival, three on three Basketball tournaments, and our Slam Dunk Contest. It all culminated with our Trunk or Treat service yesterday morning. Somewhere around 550 showed up for our service. Again, several responded for salvation. It was the best all around Kids Fest that we have ever had. Thank you to everyone that helped make it a huge success. Eternity will certainly be much richer because of your efforts. I love you guys, and feel so blessed to be your pastor.

As I was thinking about Kids Fest this morning, I got to thinking about how we strive to do everything with EXCELLENCE. However, God birthed another phrase within my Spirit this morning during prayer. We don't want to just strive for excellence, but EXCELLENCE WITH A PURPOSE. And that is exactly what we did this weekend. Listen to what Paul says about EXCELLENCE WITH A PURPOSE:

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].

Wow! What a powerful verse. God gives us some powerful instruction:

#1 God speaks about our ATTITUDE in life and ministry. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable

Never, ever quit. Make up your mind that you are in this thing for the long term. Even when you are frustrated, tired, angry, discouraged…you will fight until the very end. Be FIRM, STEADFAST, and IMMOVABLE. Your favorite song needs to become, "I shall not be, I shall not be moved, just like a tree planted by the waters, I shall NOT BE MOVED."

#2 God speaks about our ACTIONS in life and ministry. Always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord],

ALWAYS, giving and doing your ABSOLUTE BEST at whatever you do. 1 Corinthians 10:31
(AMP) so then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Whatever you may do includes: work, sports, teaching a Sunday School Class, teaching Royal Rangers or Girls Ministry, serving on the cook team… WHATEVER YOU DO, remember always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord.

#3 God speaks about our ANTICIPATED RESULTS in life and ministry. Knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].

We need to know and be constantly aware that all of my labor in the Lord is NEVER wasted or to NO PURPOSE. All of our hours that we spent leading up to Kids Fest and actually making it happen, will not be wasted. And the same is with everything that we do for and with the Lord. It amazes me how the enemy of our souls will whisper in our ears, "Your praying isn't doing any good, you are just wasting your time." "Going to church isn't doing you any good; you could be doing other, more important stuff." That is when you need to remember that your prayer, your church attendance is NEVER WASTED OR TO NO PURPOSE.

We are living in a time where satan himself has deceived some of God's very own people that the answer for their life is to just alienate themselves from church and those who have hurt them. It is the oldest trick of the devil. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God, by trying to avoid His presence. It happens today. Someone hurts you in church, satan whispers into your ear, "Just stay away from church, that way you don't get hurt anymore. You don't have to go to church to serve God. You will be better off not going anyway." That is a lie from the devil himself. God's Word says in Hebrews 10:25, "(AMP) Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

God warns us that as we get closer and closer to the Rapture of the church that we NEED EACH OTHER more and more. We need encouragement, admonishment, and the urging on of our brothers and sisters. The answer is not to stay home, AWAY from God's people, but to strive to spend MORE TIME with God's people. Your church attendance does HAVE A PURPOSE.

Let's make up our minds today to strive for EXCELLENCE WITH PURPOSE in all that we do.

I love each of you, and pray that you have a wonderful, blessed day!

Pastor Rusty