Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Ministry of Abigail

David and his men were at the brink of exhaustion and starvation. David sent 10 young men to Nabal's house to ask him for food and drink.

These 10 young men were instructed to greet Nabal with salutations of peace. However, Nabal, being a foolish man, did not receive them and refused to give them what they requested. He turned them away, even though David and his men had given protection to Nabal's men and flocks through out the year.

David's anger was kindled against Nabal and he commanded his army to gird themselves for battle and they stormed out of their camp ready to exact vengeance on Nabal's household.

Abigail, Nabal's wife, who was a "women of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance," knew that she had to act quickly. She gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs and instructed the servants to go before her to meet David and his men.

Abigail met David and his men along the way. She offered her regrets and asked for forgiveness. Her words even foreshadow the death of Jesus as she says, "upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be."

David accepted her apology and her offering. Nabal's house, or should I say Abigail's house, was spared from destruction and death.

David praised God for her wisdom and for the guilt and regret that it saved him.

1 Sam 25:32-33
32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

We would do well to learn from this wise women.

I know that I have personally been on both sides of this story.

There have been times that my anger and my ego has caused me to bring injustice upon those around me.

Also, there have been times that I have been the receiver of injustices and I allowed my desire for revenge to stir with in my spirit. Blind with anger and hurt, I would bluster and stomp as I prepared to lash out and exact my own vengeance.

Then, I heard that tender, wise voice of reason speaking to me. There stood Dawn, my dear wife ("Abigail"), with compassion, concern, and sometimes disappointment in her eyes. She would sooth my anger. She would bind my wounds and encourage forgiveness not revenge.

She reminds me that God will take care of me and my enemies.

I wish I could say that she was always successful in her counsel, but I can not. However, through the years I have come to realize that, more times than not, when I do ignore her counsel, I tend to tear up more than I fix.

Now, I know that there are times that do call for quick and decisive action. I know that we as leaders do have to go into battle at times.

Yet, before we rush into action, let us sheath our sword and slow our steps long enough to consider the wisdom and ministry of our own Abigail.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bearing Good Fruit

Matt 7:17-29

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Luke 13:6-9

6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

How do we bear Good fruit?


1. Remove Stones

2. Remove obstacles to growth (Our flesh is the main obstacle in our lives)

a. Fasting

b. Discipline

c. Sacrifice

3. Pull Weeds

a. Remove sinful things from our lives

b. Fertilize

i. Pour in the Word

ii. Fellowship with godly people

iii. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together

4. Water

a. Prayer

b. Worship

c. More Prayer

5. Sun – the sun gives its power to allow the tree to transform the water and the nutrients into growth.

a. Relationship

John 15:4-5

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Jesus is the source. We must stay connected to Him.

It is He who give the anointing.

It is He who gives the power.

If we are connected to the vine there is no doubt that we will bear good fruit.

· Fruit of the Spirit

Gal 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

· Fruit of Praise

Heb 13:15

15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

· Fruit of Harvest

John 12:24

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

What happens if we do not bear fruit?

John 15:6

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Let Your Kingdom Come In Me!

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

So many times we hold tightly to our own preconceived ideas as we clutch our dreams safely in our little comfort-zones. We hold faith within the walls of our kingdom only to unwittingly limit God's free reign in our lives.

Yet, He is calling for us to run the white flag up the flag pole of our will. He is calling us to surrender to His flow and His will for us. If we will come out from behind our walls of fear, doubt and inadequacies then His true power will be made manifest in our ministries.

God's sovereignty to reign in our lives only comes through our complete surrender. It is in this state of complete release that we truly become vessels or conduits for the flow of His power.

When His kingdom becomes our kingdom, then our steps are ordered by Him; our words are authored by Him; even our actions are orchestrated by His power.

The first sermon I ever "preached" (if you could call it that) was entitled "The Key to Winning the War is to Surrender." It was true then and it is true now.

How many battle have we lost because we went into battle with our own strength, talents and abilities?

Lord let Your Kingdom come in me! Not my will but thine be done!

Coming Attractions by Steven Curtis Chapman

A day is coming
When all will be fed

There won't be a single hungry mouth
Begging for bread

A day is coming
When every disease

Will be swept away
As mercy floods through every street

A day is coming; A day is coming; A day is coming
But until that day comes

Let Your kingdom come in me
Let Your will be done in me

Here on earth as it is and it will be in Heaven
Show Your glory to the world

Tell Your story to the world
Let my life be a preview of coming attractions

A day is coming
That won't fade to night

There'll be no more hatred to endure
No wars to fight

There'll be no orphans
No prisoners or slaves

And all the tears of death and pain
Will be washed away

This day is coming
It's surely coming
Jesus, You're coming

But until that day comes

Let Your kingdom come in me
Let Your will be done in me

Here on earth as it is and it will be in Heaven
Show Your glory to the world

Tell Your story to the world
Let my life be a preview of coming attractions

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Burning Bridges

The moon rose over the thick cover of the trees and vines, as the young man quickly moved through the jungle. The sound of foot falls seem to follow him. They seemed to chase him faster and faster. His pack was filled with everything he had gathered in his life. It was his life savings. The collective treasure of his entire experience tied safely in a pack.

As he moved forward, he came to a cavernous ravine. Suspended across the ravine was a rope bridge. He sat his pack down and quickly lit his torch. He carefully, yet hurriedly, made his way across the bridge. When reaching the other side he stopped and used his torch to burn the ropes that held the bridge. As the bridge burned he sighed with relief.

Then as the burning realization rose to his consciousness he cried out “NO, my pack!” Through the flames he could see it resting on the other side of the ravine with the bridge going up in flames between him and his treasure.

There he stood safely on his side but it had cost him everything.

This little handmade parable illustrates the danger of burning bridges.

How many men have burned a bridge and then later realized that what they needed or what they wanted was on the other side?

Relationships are such a valuable commodity. We must protect our relationships. We must put effort into cultivating and maintaining our relationships.

We must be bridge builders and bridge menders.

I know that there are times that the bridge burning is inevitable. Many times the burning is out of your hands.

However, it is to our benefit to maintain every bridge that we can.

1. Leave well

Try to leave well. Be kind. Be respectful. Be careful. Be sensitive.

2. Never tear down the place or the people you just left

Silence is better than evil communication

3. Always value the investment that places and people have made in your life

No matter how bad a situation has been there is always lessons learned

4. Learn to say “I was wrong”

5. Learn to say “I am sorry”

Bridge Maintenance, Bridge Mending, and Bridge Building will always reap more reward than it costs.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Rediscovering The Lost Art of Loyalty

loy‧al‧ty - noun, plural -ties.

1.the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
2.faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3.an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like: a man with fierce loyalties.

Prov 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Prov 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend...

Our culture has become a "dog eat dog" race for supremacy. Loyalty to ones country; to ones friends; to ones principles seem to have little value in our world today.

However, in reality, LOYALTY, and the trust that follows hand in hand with it, are some of the most valuable resources a person can possess.

Jonathan, Saul's son, should have been king. He was in line for the throne of Israel. Most men would have possessed it at all cost. They would not have let anyone get in their way. Yet, when the Lord removes the throne from the lineage of Saul, Jonathan accepts it and stays loyal to the freshly anointed David.

David understood the value of that loyalty. He repaid Jonathan's faithfulness by giving Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, a place at his table for life.

To we who are in leadership, loyalty, is invaluable. We need to surround ourselves with those who we can trust and who will trust us. Loyalty should follow both ways. I have told the people that work closest to me that I will always have there best interest at heart. If someone comes to me to complain about something they have done or have not done, I will listen but no one in my congregation will ever hear me speak ill of them. They have my loyalty and in return I receive theirs.

We must install the principle of loyalty into our lives. We must be loyal to God, our church, our family, our principles, and our friends.

I hope that it would be said of me..."Kevin was a loyal friend"..."You can count on him"..."His word is his bond."

Let us keep confidences; let us believe the best; let us stand by our principles; let us be faithful men; loyal to the last…

Let us rediscover the lost art of loyalty...

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