Archive for May, 2013

The POWER of Living in God’s PRESENCE

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;

I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

Psalm 61:4 

In Your presence is fullness of joy.

Psalm 16:11  

As American culture grows more hostile toward Biblical Christianity, many are asking, “How can we become more culturally relevant to the lost?  How can we present Christ in such a way that unsaved people can relate to?”   

Consider: 

The most powerful, undeniable, and culturally-relevant witness in the whole world is a life that overflows with the sweetness and power of God’s Presence.

Many have suggested (with the best of intentions) a host of strategies to reach the lost that merely tweak appearances – like a more youthful wardrobe for the pastor, a more inviting church foyer, more “edgy” music from the worship team, etc. 

Some of these ideas may prove helpful in a certain setting, while others may backfire (not all 60-year old pastors look so good in distressed denim jeans and untucked shirts).  But either way, I believe superficial strategies miss the heart of what the lost truly need: 

The lost are not desperate to see Christians who resemble a certain style or reflect a certain culture.  They are desperate to see Christians who carry the Presence of God in their daily lives.

I don’t believe anyone’s life will be transformed by a new haircut (I like my flattop, by the way), nor by what clothes I wear, nor by anything else I can change with a trip to the shopping mall.  But someone who is hurting inside and becoming aware of their spiritual need may be impacted for all eternity if they sense the sweetness, truth, power, and unfailing love of Christ within me.

 That’s what drew me to Jesus at the ripe old age of 16.  The emptiness of my heart was gnawing at me, and I couldn’t figure out was wrong.  I started attending a church with great music and a charismatic preacher – and those things led me to church, but not to Christ. 

Thank God for Gene 

Gene volunteered in the youth ministry.  Gene wasn’t cool or athletic.  Gene didn’t have an impressive personality, wasn’t hip, didn’t drive a nice car – in short, he had none of the things that my shallow 16-year old worldview held in high esteem.  

But Gene had SOMETHING – I couldn’t put my finger on it – that made me want to be like him.  I felt happier when he was around, felt a sense of real joy and peace, felt accepted for who I was and where I was – in short, I felt the love and presence of Christ coming through Gene. 

And pretty soon, I broke.  I surrendered my life to Christ (Labor Day weekend, 1985) and welcomed the same Presence that reigned in Gene’s heart, into MY heart.  And my life has never been the same. 

So let’s ask ourselves: do we have what Gene had?  And do our lives overflow with the sweetness and power of Jesus’ presence? 

Father, would You please draw me into Your Presence this week… Not just into a quiet time, but into Your presence where there is fullness of joy.  Cause my life to overflow with the sweetness, love, truth, and power of Jesus – and let the lost be drawn to You as Your presence flows through me.  In Jesus’ Name, amen

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

SPRING FORTH!

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Behold, the former things have come to pass,

And new things I declare;

Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 42:9 

 

“Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19 

 

A new day dawns, a new season begins… And God is bringing a breakthrough in areas for which some of us have been praying for many months.  Guidance, direction, financial help, softening of a loved one’s heart, restoration of health, reviving of vision and of JOY – God is at work in these things.  It’s felt like a long, cold winter season in some of our lives, but God is causing the sun to rise and warm the frozen ground.  He’s heard every prayer, and recorded every tear… And your Deliverer is nigh. 

If this word speaks to your heart, then remember a few important things:

* “Nothing is Small if God is in it.” ~ Many times God’s miracles begin with a “small” answer, a “little” breakthrough, a “minor” improvement – just like the spring flower bulbs poking their first green shoots through the soil.  In the natural, it looks too small to be a flower – and many answers look too small to be a miracle. 

It’s only with the eyes of faith that we can see what God has begun and believe that He who began this work of deliverance will bring it to completion.  Many of His finest works and clearest deliverances begin with a seemingly small answer.  So don’t despise the day of small beginnings(See Zechariah 4:10)

  1. What you FEED will GROW!  You are what you eat,” my grade school teacher once told me.  Perhaps she said that while I was enjoying my lunch of Twinkies and Ding Dongs… Anyway, SHE WAS RIGHT!  And what we feed will grow within us.  It’s like this y’all:
  2. FEED YOUR FAITH and you’ll find it more natural to trust in, lean on, and BELIEVE your Father’s promises and plan! 
  3. FEED YOUR FEAR and you’ll find it darn near impossible to receive the breakthrough for which you’re praying. 
  4. THEREFORE: Feed on His Word every morning, thank Him for His blessings and love all day long, and sing His praises each night… And your faith will grow! 

 * Faith + Patience = RECEIVING.

  1. “…Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:12 NIV
  2. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV
  3. So ask God to refresh your heart to believe Him, and to revive your spirit to seek Him! 

It’s time to believe God for great things again – for miracles, answered prayers, guidance and direction, salvations and manifestations of His power.  It’s time for servants of God to rise up in fearless faith and holy boldness, claiming the promises of God and advancing HIS Kingdom in the authority given us by Jesus Christ! 

I pray that the Lord refreshes your faith and encourages your heart this week.  May you be anointed and used for His glory to touch dying souls with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. 

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013