The Passions Of My Heart (1st Revision)

My life is filled with what I like to call Godly passions. You also have them in your life.  As a result  of  God's general call, passions are given to specific areas of your life. These specific areas contain God's touch, thus giving you supernatural passion for them. Some folks call them burdens. I like to call them passions. Passion for people, certain people groups, certain areas of ministry, certain geographical locations, or simply certain burning desires. These passions result in God accomplishing His will in and through you.  

Outside of Jesus Himself, my wife, children, and grandchildren, one of my greatest passions is for certain nations of the world.  To be more specific - India and Honduras.  In 1997 I visited India for the first time and it changed my life.  God used this first visit to confirm several things that had already been stirring in my heart.  Some of which were a desire to travel, and a fascination with other cultures of the world.  As it turns out India is about as far as you can go without coming back again!  India's culture is about as opposite from ours as you can get!  It took one trip as the catalyst to set in motion God's calling on my life to reach these nations.  Since then I have made 7 more trips to India.  In 2000 I made my first trip to Guatemala, Central America.  Two more trips followed in 2002 and 2003.  God was establishing my love for Hispanic people.  2007 was the year God ignited my passion for the nation of Honduras. It was that year I made 2 trips to Honduras. Since then I have made 3 more trips to the great nation of Honduras.

Harvest Celebration Ministries was born in 1998 out of our passion for the nations. It was a vision God gave to Connie and me to fulfill the call upon our lives to reach the nations.  Our passion is to focus on our calling - India and Honduras. Our vision is to offer prayer, financial assistance, and any training we can provide through serving the church leaders of these nations. 

Jamin, one of our sponsored.
Through Harvest Celebration Ministries 7 children are now sponsored in Honduras. These sponsorships provide school supplies, school clothes, shoes, food, and a gift at Christmas for each child. I am very grateful to those who sponsor these children through Harvest Celebration Ministries. We have several more children available to sponsor as well.

Other one of my greatest passions is to preach/teach God's Word to whoever is hungry. I passionately desire to encourage followers of Christ to grow up to maturity in Christ. God has an incredible destiny for all who know Him. The road to maturity is the road to fulfilling your destiny.

What are your passions? I'd love to hear them. I would love to pray for you. Please feel free to comment below. Remember, God moves through your passions. God establishes and builds through passions. His work becomes significant when accomplished through Godly passion.

I Had A Dream

Last night I had a very interesting dream. I dreamed I was in a park on a beautiful sunny day. The park was filled with lot's of folks enjoying the beautiful day. It was a typical scene; folks picnicing, playing sports, walking, running, and just hanging out.

All of a sudden I started preaching the Word of God at the top of my voice! That's not so unusual for me as I have done it mostly in foreign countries with a translator. But this was somewhere in the U.S. I did not recognize. As I continued to speak, the words kept coming. It was obvious that the words were being given to me supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, and that they were extremely timely.

To dream I am preaching is not new to me. It happens to me quite often. In many of the cases, the people targeted are not listening as I preach. In last night's dream, people stopped their activities, one by one it seems, and began focusing on my words. Now here's the really weird part. I don't remember exactly what I was preaching. I do very vaguely remember something about hunger and thirst for God. Whatever I was preaching was definitely turning heads to listen to God's words. In last night's dream, there seemed to be a genuine drawing to the words coming out of my mouth!

I do believe the dream has significance. I clearly understand that as a Christ-follower and a preacher God wants me to be ready at all times and in any place to deliver head-turning, life-changing words to whoever will listen. I also believe that in the days ahead we will see more spontaneous messages, given right on the spot in places we would think inappropriate. After all, there is no place on earth devoid of His Spirit. David said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" (Psalm 139:7) God's Spirit is everywhere. When He desires to speak through you and me, it could be any place, at any time, to anyone!

Sermon On The Mount is a part of the Daily Christology series.

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Grow Up!

"Why don't you just grow up!" If you are like me, somewhere along the line, the previous statement has been made to you! I will venture to say you've said it to someone else too. "Just grow up!" This is a harsh statement because it directly implies that you and I are...well...immature. It also implies that we haven't yet arrived. And you know...It's true.

James from the Bible makes a pretty interesting statement in his letter. "For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well." (3:2) Catch what James is saying. Everyone of us makes mistakes in many ways. However...if we don't make mistakes in what comes out of our mouth, we've become perfect...even controlling all of our actions.

First understand that the word "perfect" does not mean "flawless". It means complete or mature. If I can control my tongue (and you know what that means), I am a mature follower of Christ. A true sign of maturity is the outward evidence that I can, at all times, control my tongue. You know one is mature or immature in Christ simply by listening to them speak. It is very interesting to me the way James states this.

James continues by using a horse and a ship as examples. We control the horse, which is much larger and stronger than us by using a bit and a bridle. As big as a sailing ship is, driven by powerful winds, the captain controls the direction of the ship with a tiny rudder. What great examples!

We control our own destiny with our very small tongue. We can control the destinies of our children with our very small tongue (and teach them to do so). We can bless God with our tongue. We can curse each other with our tongue. James says this these things should not be this way. Beginning to understand this is the beginning of maturity in Christ.

James also says, "For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." Sounds pretty hopeless doesn't it. No one can tame the tongue. No human can tame the tongue. You cannot tame your tongue, but Jesus can! How is that done? By replacing our words with His words. He not only speaks truth...He is the truth. This only happens as we learn, meditate on, and confess God's Word. Everyone word that comes out of our own mouth should be filtered through the Words that come out of God's mouth. It is possible, and it is maturity!

In Matthew 4:4 Jesus quotes from the Old Testaments as He overcomes the temptations of the devil, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" The more we live on God's Word's the more complete or mature we are.

How mature in Jesus are you? Or rather, how is your tongue? (Same thing.) Is it a wild thing or is it becoming tamed with the bit and bridle of God's Word. Make it your goal to bless God and others with every word that comes out of our mouth. What do you think?

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

It's a powerful thing to know we are saved by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." This grace Paul speaks of is a gift from God. We could not earn this grace because the truth is, we didn't deserve it - according our own merits. God extended the gift to us and all we have to do is by faith - receive it.

I am convinced that most Christ-followers have only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding God's grace. This means many true followers of Christ have no problem understanding that by God's grace they will go to heaven and not hell. But it seems to stop there for many. The gift of grace offered to you and me includes everything and all that Christ provided through the cross. When one receives Jesus, they not only receive their salvation from hell, but the have at their disposal - everything Jesus provided through His sacrifice on the cross. Do you know what was provided for you though the cross? This free, gift of grace is very extensive. It covers a vast area! The knowledge of God's grace empowers a person to live above the control of sin. Christians who constantly struggle with the influence of sin sometimes wonder if they are truly saved. This could be because they are shallow in their knowledge of the gift of grace.

Jesus broke the power of sin over you and me by becoming our sins. He paid the penalty and the price for our sins - past, present, and future. Jesus bore the guilt that was heaped on us as a result of the sins of mankind - even though He was guiltless. As a result, those who walk in His gift of grace have power of sin's control. Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." We must understand that one who is born again is no longer guilty before God. The work of the cross is finished! Being NOT GUILTY before God is a powerful thing! It frees us from the influence of sin.

The gift of grace is not a license to sin. True grace takes away the desire to sin - even when we are tempted. Grace empowers you and me to love God more than gratifying our own flesh. Pleasing the heart of our God becomes THE priority when we walk in His grace.

Walking in the power of grace is a simple matter of the knowledge of grace. The more we know God, the more we know ALL that He is and ALL that He offers. Listen to one of my favorite verses. God "...desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4) This is much more than meeting Jesus the truth, and being saved. What Paul is really saying is that we first become saved and then we are in position to come to the knowledge of the truth about ALL that is freely provided to us in His kingdom - through His infinite grace.

You don't have to struggle with sin anymore as a Christ-follower. Understand that you are not guilty before God! The condemnation has been removed! Jesus bore it Himself. The free gift of grace has set you free!