90 Days Later…

I wrote this blog post back in 2009 and never published it.

A little over 90 days ago the door to the Church that I was created to Pastor finally opened. It should have opened much sooner (try years ago) but I got a little off track…so thanks be to God for His mercy and grace.

The first service I think we had about 8 people show up and frankly I was surprised that that many came. To tell you the truth It was more than a little surreal to be standing up there behind the holy desk, when just a few weeks ago I had been working on the sound board at the former Church I was serving at.

I went from sound man to Pastor with seemingly little fanfare, I mean it just happened.

So here 90 days later and its hard to put into words all that the Lord has done for us in this short time. The ministry gifts that He has sent to the Church to bless us. The revelation that He has deposited in my spirit and pull out of me on Sunday morning.

I can’t tell you how many time I’m just standing up there preaching and it will be like where in the world is this going? Scriptures are coming up in my heart that I didn’t even study for in the preparation the message are just coming out of my mouth, I’m off of my notes and I’m saying to myself, ok Holy Ghost how are you going to tie all this stuff together?

I’ve had to learn how to minister in a entirely different way. I pray, study, write out my little notes, but when I stand up I don’t know what is going to happen, I just open my mouth and He fills it.

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Crowd Seekers…

Mark 2:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.

Mark 2:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.

Jesus didn’t follow after crowds crowds followed after him, I wonder why?

What Is The Measure Of Success?

Psalm 127:1 (King James Version)

Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

To me, success is doing what God told you to by the power of the Word and Spirit.

Faith begins where the will of God is known and success starts by finding out the will of God for your life and ministry, then doing it by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (New Living Translation)

10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

If I judge my success by the number of people that attend “my” Church then I’ve stopped walking by faith and have started to let my life and actions be governed by my natural senses. Ministry is (supposed to be) a supernatural endeavor and can only be done by faith.

I’m not the judge of my success, Jesus is. Do my results measure up to His instructions?

The seal of approval on your ministry is not crowds, fame or money. If the Holy Ghost is not attending your services you are a failure and all of your efforts are vain labor.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (New Living Translation)

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

When we moved into our new building the money issue was starting to press in on me. The Lord told me to do something, but I was paying more attention to our bank account than the will of the Lord. So I’m walking around the church building, He supernaturally blessed us with, worrying about money. In mid-worry, the Spirit of God spoke up on the inside of me and said “I’m the one who pays the bills around here”.

With the one word from the Lord I came back to my spiritual senses and just did what God told me to. When I did, the money showed up to get the job done.

Keep It Simple

Psalm 127:1 (Amplified Bible)

EXCEPT THE Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.

When the Lord put it on my heart to start the Church a year ago one of the things I thought that made the task almost impossible was the lack of everything necessary to start a Church. I didn’t have a lot of money, help or much of anything else.

So what the Lord instructed me to do was to just keep it simple. For months the whole ministry fit in a small duffel bag.

The audio department was a small digital recorder that fit in my shirt pocket.

Our sound system was a couple of usb speakers hooked up to a Macbook Pro.

We rented space at a community center in San Francisco and it took me about 15 minutes to set everything up.

I really had to disengage from the professional preacher bloggers and hear from the Holy Ghost for myself what He wanted me to do.

Now a little over a year later we have a building and stuff, but it all started by following a few simple steps.

The key to success in the ministry is getting Gods plan/pattern for your ministry directly from God not man. The plan for your ministry can’t be found in some mans book or conference. And the measure for success in ministry is not attendance but did you do what God called you to do.

How I Prepare For A Sermon

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When I first started to preach I would send a lot of time trying to convince God to give me something to preach about and I would spent a lot of time in building and sculpting a wonderful perfect message.

Now I can’t remember the last time I specifically prayed about what to preach. All of the messages now come either during or shortly after spending time with God.

My focus now is more on preparing my heart to stand before God and His people than on preparing a message. The sermons come out of my quite time with God.

I still use the methods I learned in Bible school in having an introduction, body and closing to a message. I still type everything up and have it nice and formatted on my iPad. But to be honest I hardly look at my notes anymore. The things I get while praying in the spirit and meditating on the Word is what the Holy Spirit uses while I’m up preaching.

Sometimes I’ll have 3 or 4 pages of notes but then some other times I’ll just have a few scriptures and a thought from the mind of God. I Don’t know how He’s going to put it all together I just get up and expect something to happen.

The act of preaching itself is so contrary to my own temperament I need a whole lot of help from the Holy Ghost to get the job done.

So this is how it usually works for me. The Spirit of God will drop a subject on my heart and I’ll know the basic direction of the message for that service.

I use Simplenoteon my MacBook Pro or iPad to jot down thoughts and scriptures. Then when it’s getting time to minister I’ll take my notes and just spend time my reviewing them and praying in the spirit.

Then I’ll use Pages to craft my final outline and save it to iDisk. Then I import it from iDisk unto my iPad.

I still mainly preach using the King James version but I have a bunch of other translations on my iPad that I use also while preaching.

So I think I’ll close with this little story. One time I was preaching and just thought I had a perfect message, I mean each sermon point built upon the last one and it was a work of beauty. So I’m up there preaching away and I’m about to finish with my introduction when the Holy Spirit said skip your first two points and go to the last one and then close. I thought that doesn’t make any sense! I mean each sermon point created theological momentum until in the end I would finish in a blaze of glory. So while I stood there and tried to convince the Holy Ghost how hermeneuticallyunsound His plan was the anointing just lifted off me and I was standing there naked, with no power. I quickly did what I was told and the anointing came right back.

I guess my main theory in sermon preparation now is just do what Gods tells you to and the rest will take care of it’s self.

Hope that helps.