Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's not over yet...

With Easter 2013 now a memory, and our Access Easter Series complete,  it would be easy for us to get back into our normal routines with little consideration for the continued effect of the resurrection. In fact, this was exactly the point of a conversation I had with one of my sons on Easter Sunday evening. He walked up to me and proclaimed, “So Resurrection Day is officially over.”  I responded almost without thinking, “Well it actually isn’t over yet.” It wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my response shocked him.

You see this is the way many of us view the resurrection…as a one-time past event. Yes it’s true…Jesus’ resurrection was the pinnacle miracle of His life on earth. He triumphantly rose from the dead, just as He had promised. He overwhelmingly demonstrated His rightful place as God over all while showing that the curse of sin and death had been successfully paid. But wait there’s more…and this is a BIG DEAL with immense ACCESS.

Christ’s resurrection paves the way for all believers to look forward to a resurrection. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:20-21, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” This is a beautiful statement about Christ being our “firstfruits.” The Biblical idea of firstfruits communicates the pattern of the first crops in a field. If the field produces crops when first seeded then there is great confidence that the field will produce crops in the future. Christ was the first and basis of resurrections to come. For Christians, because Jesus rose from the grave, we have the hope and expectation that the grave…death, is not the end for us. We can look forward with great anticipation to the day that we can be raised like Jesus, to a glory we can only dream of…Easter isn’t over yet…it’s only begun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

FCF Original Song: Jesus, Only You

Those who were with us this past Sunday were able to enjoy firsthand a new song written and arranged by the FCF Worship Team. As I shared at the end of the services, I believe that the Scripture reveals that God desires new expressions of songs for His glory. After the tragic, difficult week we had as a church, it was absolutely humbling and tranformative to hear this new song for the glory of Christ and the good of the church. A special thanks to FCF Worship Leader, Doug Nigh, Ted Casper, and Allyson Vance for taking some healing words and making them into an amazing worship song. I so look forward to singing it again!
Here are the lyrics to this new song, Jesus, Only You
Verse 1
When life is unclear
and darkness comes
Your grace is the light
that outshines the sun
In times of unknown
in life's mysteries
I know I can't wonder
What's meant to be
I should run to what is known
Race to what is true
Lift my cry to heaven, Lord
'cause Jesus, only You
Can lift my head
dry my tears
Your love drowns out my sorrow
It conquers all my fears
You're my Comforter, my Savior
Healer of my heart
The Lord of all creation
and You've loved me from the start
Your truth is salvation
Your mercies ever new
In joy and suffering
I will praise you Jesus, Only You
Verse 2
When night brings me heartache
I'm deep in despair
When storms rail against me
I know you're there
You bring joy at daybreak
Your peace I will claim
I'll shout on in victory
I'll praise your name

I should run to what is known
Race to what is true
Lift my cry to heaven, Lord
'cause Jesus, only You
Can lift my head
dry my tears
Your love drowns out my sorrow
It conquers all my fears
You're my Comforter, my Savior
Healer of my heart
The Lord of all creation
and You've loved me from the start
Your truth is salvation
Your mercies ever new
In joy and suffering
I will praise you Jesus, Only You


Sunday, January 20, 2013

FCF Prayer and Fasting Week Three Focus

FCF Prayer and Fasting
Week Three Focus

Day Fifteen - Sunday, January 20

National and World Leaders: Pray for the President, Congress, and World Leaders…for peace and wisdom as they lead the nation.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2

Day Sixteen - Monday, January 21

Regional Leadership: Pray for our State, County, and City Leaders to have wisdom and focus fiscally and morally.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7

Day Seventeen - Tuesday, January 22

National and World Events: Spend some time praying for contempory national and world events as mentioned in the news. Consider how Christ might be seen and glorified through these difficult times.

“Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Genesis 18:25


Day Eighteen - Wednesday, January 23

National and Regional Renewal (Revival): Pray for national and area renewal and for a greater awareness of the need of Jesus Christ.

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Psalm 85:6


Day Nineteen - Thursday, January 24

Peace among the Nations: Pray for the nations of the world to experience the peace of Christ. That even those who are experiencing chaos and turmoil, would seek the glory and peace of Christ.

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalm 96:3

Day Twenty - Friday, January 25

Pray for the Spread of the Gospel to Foreign Nations: Pray that the gospel would be shared to every nation… especially the unreached people groups of the world. Pray for church planter and missionaries to be sent to these far reaching areas.

“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8

Day Twenty-one - Saturday, January 26

Pray for the Persecuted Church around the World: Consider and pray for our brothers and sisters facing persecution around the world. Pray for endurance and strength to stay faithful to the gospel.

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

Sunday, January 13, 2013

FCF Prayer and Fasting Week Two Focus

Pray for the Church: The Praise of God in the Church

Day Eight - Sunday, January 13
Unity and Harmony of the Church: Pray for FCF and area churches to be unified in our purpose to make disciples.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1,3
Day Nine - Monday, January 14
Purpose and Vision of the Church: Pray for both the church’s purpose and vision of making disciples and putting campuses and churches throughout the Tri-state area…and for your role in fulfilling that vision. 
“…The whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Day Ten - Tuesday, January 15
Church Leaders for Wisdom and Direction: Pray for FCF Pastors, Elders, Deacons and area leaders that they would be filled with God’s wisdom and direction for the church. That they would have bold vision and strategic planning for the Kingdom of God. 
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7
Day Eleven - Wednesday, January 16
Protection from Division, Strife, and False Doctrine: The reality is…all eyes are on the church. The potential for division and disruption is high. Pray for protection for the church family.  
“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.” 1 Chronicles 4:10
Day Twelve - Thursday, January 17
Marriages and Families in the Body of Christ: The health of the church is defined by the health of the family. Marriage and family are under grave attack. Pray for marriages and families in our church and area.  
“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
Day Thirteen - Friday, January 18
An Increase in the Body of Christ: Pray that there would be an increase of both un-churched and de-churched people (the lost) making decisions for Christ and serving the Body of Christ.
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4
Day Fourteen - Saturday, January 19
Missionaries around the World: Pray for the spread of the gospel around the world and for missionaries on the front lines of church-planting, Biblical training, and compassion ministries.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FCF Prayer and Fasting Weekly Focus

Pray for Self
The Holiness of God in our Lives

Day One - Sunday, January 6

Hunger: As you begin fasting, pray that you would have a hunger

for the things of God…His Word, His righteousness, His will.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”   Matthew 5:6

Day Two - Monday, January 7

Repentance: Spend some time reflecting on your areas of weakness. Do you have unconfessed sin? Are there actions you need to change? Repentance means a internal change of heart that leads to an external change of action. Confess your sin and allow Christ to change your actions.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Day Three - Tuesday, January 8

Brokenness: Fasting is certainly difficult…as a result brokenness is not only possible but expected. As you pray, allow God to break you as He desires. Remember that brokenness before God leads to a deeper understanding of blessedness in God.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 

Day Four - Wednesday, January 9

Temptation: Fasting  puts you in direct conflict with the enemy of this age, Satan. This battle is not about food, drink, or activity, but is a battle for the focus of your soul. Take a moment and ask the Lord to give you strength to endure temptation.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11

Day Five - Thursday, January 10

Grace: Grace is not only what we need for salvation, but it’s also extremely necessary for strength and focus. Grace not only saves…but delivers. Pray for an overwhelming understanding of God’s grace toward you.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Day Six - Friday, January 11

Contentment: Fasting always reminds us of what we actually have. Food is readily available in our culture…in fact there is abundance. Learn contentment without complacency. Are you finding yourself content?

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Day Seven - Saturday, January 12

Faith: Faith isn’t merely realizing there is better day ahead, it’s what necessary to get there. Pray for your faith to increase during this journey.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6