And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Friday, February 26, 2010

MY HOUSE! A thread through the Word

Pastor Tim Franklin, Freedom Christian Center
February 26, 2010

Zechariah 1:16 'Therefore thus says the Lord: "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it," says the Lord of hosts, "And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem."' NKJV Haggai and Zechariah are two prophets sent by God for the purpose of rebuilding the House of Prayer.

Jesus declared in Mt 21:13, My house, will be called a house of prayer.” We often focus on the prayer part of that passage, and we should. But think with me for a moment: Jesus is the one speaking, and His statement is “My House!” Wow! Jesus has a house! He has a place that has an identity and it can be found! It is called the House of Prayer. David initiated the House of Prayer under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. God wanted a house and He found a man to build it—David.

David vowed to create a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob! (Ps. 132:1-8) He vowed to live in extravagant devotion to seek the Lord with all his resources—time, talents, and money in order to see God’s house built. David literally shifted history when he created the tabernacle of worship! Night and day prayer, seven days a week, 24 hours a day! This was not a plan of man in the heart of David; this was the plan of God as revealed to David—“All this’, said David, ‘the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.” I Chron. 28:11-19. The plan: a revelation of 24/7 worship led by full time singers and musicians! When David became king he initiated the Tabernacle of 24/7 worship. When his son Solomon was about to become king, David gave him the plans that the Lord had given him for the temple along with the vision of 24/7 prayer and worship. And every restoration of the Old Testament Kingdom of Judah (7 total) was hallmarked by the restoration of David’s vision of night and day prayer and worship. Amos 9:11 declares that we will see once again at the end of the age a restoration of David’s tabernacle—24/7 worship! God will have His house and it will be called a House of Prayer! Jesus simply said, “That is My house—A House of Prayer!” I want to build that House!

Prayer is not an option! Worship is not an option! These represent the place of encounter with the Living God! It was David who said, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” I want this region to encounter God. I want you to encounter God! I want to see a strong House of Prayer in East Central Florida! Why not here? Why not now?

So -- what do you think? Has your heart been stirred? Let me know, I value your comments!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More and More

Gary Stebbins, Church on the Rock, Melbourne, FL - February 18, 2010

We all know that at times life can be difficult. When life throws us a curve ball, how do we respond? When we seem to be overwhelmed by the difficulties we face, what do we do?

In Psalm 71, David is aware of his adversaries, those who want to see him fail. Even as his enemies consult together as to how to “pursue and seize him,” David cries out to God…“O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help (v 12)!”

Certainly there is no better solution to our problems than to turn to God in prayer. Reading the Psalm in its entirety, you find that God was David's "confidence", a place to take "refuge", the "rock" on which he stood, his "fortress", and his sense of "hope". Prayer had become for David a natural response to the curves that life threw him.

But David does not stop with prayer. Look at what he says…“But as for me, I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more (v 14).”

Wow! In the middle of his difficulties David immediately turned to prayer, but he also resolved in his heart that he would “hope continually” in God. It did not matter how dismal the situation looked around him, he was going to keep his hope in God alive. That is so important if we are going to be successful in this life. We must continually believe that God is our hope and our salvation.

How does David keep up his hope in the face of such great difficulties? Well, he tells us…“And (I) will praise you yet more and more.”

David found it helpful, perhaps even necessary for survival, to verbally express praise to God “more and more” as the difficulties increased. It was his constant verbal expression of praise that helped him to “hope continually” in God.

I love David's resolve, "But as for me ..." David understood that he would only find victory when he hoped continually in God and praised Him more and more.

Are you facing difficulties, then immediately cry out to God in prayer. As David did, resolve to “hope continually” in God and believe that He hears and answers your prayers. At the same time, let everyone around you hear your praises for God. In this way you will build faith in your own heart so your hope in Him will grow stronger and stronger. This increased faith will energize your prayers as you cry out to God in your time of need.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Always Pray and Don't Lose Heart

Pastor Tim Franklin, Freedom Christian Center, Melbourne, FL

Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. NKJV.

I love the way Jesus teaches! He tells a parable, and up front He gives the meaning. “I tell you a parable and the meaning is this: Always pray and do not lose heart.” This is one of those, “Hey, I really want you to get this” teachings.

The main question(s) that follow this statement today is: “How do I do that? How do I not grow weary of praying? How do I keep myself from getting tired of the place of prayer? How do I keep myself from getting discouraged or wanting to quit?” Jesus gives us a hint in verse six when He tells us to hear what the unjust judge said. Luke 18:4-5 Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. NKJV

We must not forget that Jesus tells this parable in the context of the end of the age, Luke 17:20-37. It is in this place of urgency that we are instructed to never give up praying. It is urgent that we not lose heart in the midst of circumstances that have the capacity to offend us. The natural progression of the natural man is: Why is this happening to me? Where is God? Why is He not answering? I guess He does not care; therefore, there is no need for me to pray. How do I keep my heart from going to the place of prayerlessness?

Know who you are talking to--Jesus. The woman in this parable is talking to an unjust judge who has no fear of God or concern for men. We are talking to Jesus! The Righteous Judge who delights in the fear of the Lord, Is. 11:3, and who has all humanity in heart, not willing that any would perish.

Don’t forget why you are talking--Justice. The woman was asking for justice! “God, make that which is wrong-right!” Until Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom on earth, there will be more than enough wrongs needing to be made right in this age. We are to live burdened to see the injustices of this life done away with. This must begin in the place of prayer.

Know that prayer was a priority to Jesus. Jesus, himself, demonstrates the priority of prayer as we watch His life. He is up before the sun praying. He prays long into the night after great ministry success. He was so good at it that the disciples asked Him, “Teach us to pray like that.”
When Jesus returns will He find us in the place of faith. Faith in the midst of trials is real faith! We walk by faith and not by sight. When I have nothing in the natural to look at but His Word, and nothing in the natural to trust, but His Word, there am I in the place of faith, if I do not give way to doubt.

If you know who you are talking to: Jesus-that is intimacy. If you know what you are talking about: justice-that is urgency to see wrongs made right. You will stay motivated to pray. If you know that Jesus leads by example-He is always praying and ever lives to make intercession, you too will pray. When your heart is set on His Word and you believe it—you will stand in faith.

Therefore, always pray and do not lose heart!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Caught with Jesus

Gary Stebbins, Church on the Rock, Melbourne, FL - February 3, 2010

Recently at COTRM we have been talking about the difference between a Dangerous Church and a Safe church. As I read the Bible, I see nothing safe about the New Testament church. The New Testament church was serious about their relationship with God and dangerous to the world around them because they were a threat to their system of unbelief.

One verse has stood out to me as we went through this series ...
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

Peter and John had been arrested for talking about Jesus Christ. When the Jewish leaders examined them, they were amazed that these were ordinary men with no particular education. What made them extraordinary was that they "began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."

I believe the same is true for us today. If we hang out with Jesus, we are going to be extraordinary people. God takes ordinary people like you and me and makes us extraordinary, and the catalyst for this is spending time with Jesus.

Jesus Himself said this ...
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

The word know means to be aware of, perceive, understand, or recognize. It indicates a relation between the person "knowing" and the object known- i.e., I know God. What this word communicates is that what is "known" is of value and importance to the one who knows.
We spend time with Jesus because He is "of value and importance" to us.

Do I have eternal life? If I do, I KNOW God.
If I KNOW God, I know Him because He is of value to me.
When something is of value to me, I become familiar with it.

Prayer is one of the main vehicles or tools that God has given to you and me so we can "know" God. If someone is of value to us we spend time with them and we talk with them. There is no better way to get to know the heart of God, than through His Word and Prayer.

Is God of value to you? Then PRAY, talk with Him, get to know Him, pause and make room for Him to speak to you. We serve a wonderful, loving God, who wants us to know Him as He knows us.

The Cause of Prayerlessness

Tim Franklin, Freedom Christian Center, Melbourne, FL - January 2010

When one asks, why is this a prayerless generation? There can really only be one answer—We do not know Him.

We have reduced Jesus to a doctrine, a memorized scripture, a system of religious beliefs or rituals and have lost the ultimate experience of a living, dynamic, growing relationship with the person of the Lord, Jesus Christ. To have this kind of relationship requires that we have knowledge of Him, not the kind that comes from a book and fills our head but the kind that comes from revelation of Him and fills our heart. This is what prompted Paul to write in Philippians 3:8 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. NKJV Paul discovered something of Jesus that caused him to want to know more. His road to Damascus experience drove him to the scriptures, caused him to study, and pressured him from an internal witness to know the eternal Son of God. Every discovery led to more hunger to know Him more. The more we know Him personally, the more we study to know more of Him, and the more we study to know more of him the more He reveals to us who He is. This fuels the heart to pray and encounter God. We must know Him not know about Him.