Monday, December 29, 2014

When God Closes a Door, Look for the Other Door

Why do we who serve in ministry act like God is somehow against us when He closes one or two, or a few doors?  As if God does not want us to grow.  God all of His Great Commission oriented ministries to grow as He sees fit.  You may lead a "mega" ministry are a smaller ministry, just make sure you are leading a growing ministry as directed by the Holy Spirit versus a competition with others driven ministry.

God oftentimes closes one or more doors in ministry because He has another door open for us.

In Acts 16, we gain some invaluable principles regarding God opening and closing doors.

As God closes ministry opportunities, we need to look for the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-8).  Notice Paul never got discouraged but continued to pursue kingdom expansion.

Recognize when the Holy Spirit is clearly speaking regarding the ministry (Acts 16:6; 10).  Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guild us into all truth (John 16:13).  Witnessing and seeing people's lives changed is a great indication that we are on the right track (Acts 16:14-15, 23-40).

Do not wait around when the Holy Spirit gives clear direction; get busy doing the work He called you to do where He called you to do the work (Acts 16:9-15).
Christians, I trust you do not write off dreams as an outdated mode of communication from God.  Pay attention to detailed dreams because The Holy Spirit can still speak through dreams.

Enjoy growing ministry governed by the Holy Spirit.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Where is Your Level of Commitment?

On this last Sunday of the year, what is your level of commitment to kingdom work.
Surely you are committed to something and perhaps many things, but today check your level of commitment to The Work of Christ.

After Paul and Barnabas stopped a crowd from worshiping them becaused they healed a man, some men came in town and convinced the people to stone Paul (what a crazy outcome for healing someone and preaching a great message).
Paul did not die from the stoning, but got up went back into town, then left the next day to help people in another town and then returned to the city where he was stoned.  Look at Acts 14:21-22, and check out some serious commitment to the work:

21 After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch,
22 strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.”  

Christians, the work of Christ is not always convenient.  The work of Christ is not always a celebration.  Sometimes ministry gets tough, and we can be persecuted while doing the work, just as Paul and crew were persecuted.  

What will you do during your difficult days in ministry?

Will you quit and start questioning God when ministry gets tough, or will you remain faithful to our Lord, Who called us into service?

Remember what you say during to good times is easier to say than during the tough times.

Christians, make the right decision.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Give People Jesus

In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas and other believers served as missionaries and sailed to Antioch in Pisidia.

They attened the sabbath service and were invited to give some words of encouragement.  Paul motioned to the people and began to speak.

Christians, we must always be ready to speak for the Lord, and yet like Paul be creative in our approach by meeting the people where they are.  As we share we must work our way to the gospel message (the message about Jesus).  Before we sit down, or end our conversation, we must have introduced Jesus and given people an opportunity to personally come to know Jesus.

Look at the end of Paul's message in Acts 13:38-39: 
38 Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you,
39 and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.

Christians, in the midst of a culture that is really hungry for the living Word, let us give people Jesus.  Yes some people are jealous and some are hostile, but the majority are hungry for the living Word.  Let us lift Him (Jesus) up for every man, woman, boy and girl to see.

Give people Jesus.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy, MZO

Friday, December 26, 2014

For Maximum Outcomes, Get Help

One of the great lessons we learn in Acts 11 is that we must avoid the "Lone Ranger" mentality.
After the stoning of Stephen, the early church grew beyond Jerusalem.  In Antioch the church needed support and the Apostles sent Barnabas.  Take a glimpse at his ministry and what he teaches us:

Acts 11:24-26:
 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.
25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

Did Barnabas try to do all the ministry in Antioch alone?
We have no indication that Barnabas was a complainer, nor of him being a "glory hound" (a person who wants all the credit for group accomplishments).
Barnabas saw the great ministry opportunity in Antioch and sought out Saul (Paul to Apostle) to help him.

Together, and certainly with other helpers, Barnabas and Paul got much more done as a team than Barnabas could do alone.

Get some help and maximize your ministry opportunities.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mary Christmas

I simply want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings upon you in 2015 year.

God Bless, 

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cross Cultural Ministry

On this Christmas Eve, is God moving you to encourage someone in another race, who does not look like you, and they have different practices, and may have a different belief about Jesus than yours (this might be different for you).

look at a few verses in Acts 10, and see what happened with Cornelius and the Apostle Peter:
This is what happened to Cornelius in a dream.  
Acts 10:4: Looking intently at him, he became afraid and said, “What is it, lord? ” The angel told him, “Your prayers and your acts of charity have come up as a memorial offering before God.

This is what happened to Peter: 
Acts 4:15:
15 Again, a second time, a voice said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call common.”

While men from Cornelius were knocking on Peters door God said: 
Acts 10:20: Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.”

When Peter arrived at Cornelius' home and was told why he was invited:

Acts 10:34:
 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism,
35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.
36 He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all...

While Peter was preaching:

Acts 10:44:
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message....

Christians, the non-Jews received the gospel and became Christians through the message given by Peter (a Jew) in a home full of non-Jews (not the norm).
All this happened because a non-Jewish man and a Jewish man obeyed God.

Sometimes we do not know where God is ultimatemately leading us in doing cross cultural ministry so we must leave our hearts open, be available, and practice unquestioning obedience to God.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Friday, December 19, 2014

What do you keep doing?

Look at Acts 5:42:  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

After being flogged (to strike or beat repeatedly), the Apostles and early Christians continued to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ.

I noticed several things that was included in their preaching and teaching ministry from Acts 1-5.

1) Authentic miracles were connected to their ministry.

2) They had boldness in carrying out the Great Commission.

3) They endured persecution with joy.

4) They preached the whole message of the Christian life (the Apostles doctrine).

5) They were on one accord (in unity).

6) They continued to fellowship.

7) They continued in prayer.

What are you consistently doing to build the kingdom of God?

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

What Do People See in You?

What should the church look for when picking leaders?
Look at Acts Acts 6:3:
 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

The local church is a powerful representative of the entire body of believers around the world. Through the local church, Christians in a certain geographic area join together as one body and build one another up and fulfill the Great Commission.  
The local church needs solid leaders to carry out our assignment given by Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20).

The question for you today is, why would someone pick you to serve in a ministry in the local church?  What kind of life are you living?  Are you willing to serve the Lord by serving other people?  Are you even available to serve the Lord?

If you do not have the characteristics listed above from Acts 6, are you willing to get serious about attending bible study and corporate worship?  Are you serious about prayer, and fellowship with loyal followers of Christ?  Are you willing to grow and get ready for faithful service?

What will the people in local church pick you for?  What do people see in you that is of value for growing God's kingdom?

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Give People Something From God

With so many vampire movies, and Hollywood producers portraying so many people returning from death, and from death blows, people are obviously thirsty for something beyond the human realm.

Spiritually hungry people want food just as physically hungry people.

In Acts 3, the man born unable to walk sat at the temple gate each day with expectations.  He expected financial support.  With the people of God going in and out of the temple, could the people give him something more permanent than silver and gold?

Look at Acts 3:4-6:

 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!"
5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!"

We need to give people something from God that will last into eternity.  Yes the man was physically healed, but he also received the message of Christ.

As we see people on our way to church or wherever we are going, Christians, let us give people Jesus.

Get their attention and give them a powersful word from God.  Look at Acts 3:12-26, for the powerful message Peter gave to man who was healed and the people.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When God's People Walk in Obedience

Before Jesus left the earth to return to heaven as the exalted (Lord and Christ - see Acts 2:36), He gave His disciples instructions to wait in Jerusalem for Holy Spirit power to carry the kingdom work forward (Luke 24:46-49).

When Jesus ascended back to heaven His disciple gathered together in the upper room and were in unity and in prayer (Acts 1:14). 
Peter also lead the group according to the Word of God as they replaced Judas, who betrayed Jesus and took his life according to the scripture.

When the church (the people of God), gather together in unity, prayer, and the scripture, we are in the perfect position for the Holy Spirit to work miracles in and through the church.

We all know what happened next.  The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and the church was born.
Although Satan tried to get people  to believe that God's work was his work (the accusation that the miracle they were witnessing was because the disciples were drunk from new wine is Satan's destructive work), God's people stood firm in their faith.  Peter preached and over 3,000 people got saved on the birthday of the church.

Look what the new church continued to practice in Acts 2:42:
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Christians wherever we are, we must continue to come together, lay aside our petty differences and practice the disciines that keeps the church strong and powerfully positioned to make a difference in the world around us with Holy Spirit power (see Acts 2:43 forward).

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Remedy for Overconfidence

Peter's denial of Christ is a sobering lesson on depending on Jesus at every level even when we think we can handle something in our own strength.

Flash back to John 13:37-38: Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You."38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

Now fast forward to John 19:17-27, where Jesus is on trial, and the bystanders are keeping themselves warm near a charcoal fire.  John was there and got Peter into the court.
While there Peter denied being a disciple of Christ three times and the rooster crowed just as Jesus prophesied.

Now fast forward again to a post resurrection scene in John 21:15-17.
Jesus set the scene for Peter by having a charcoal fire.  After breakfast, Jesus ask Peter three times if he loved Him.  "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" 

After the third time Peter did not have such a quick off the cuff response.  Peter was grieved (his emotions kicked in), and he recognize the omniscience of Christ.  Perhaps Peter took Jesus' prophecy about him denying him three times too lightly and learned an invaluable lesson when he actually denied Jesus three times and Jesus' prophecy came true.

Peter was more humble and seemed to have a more dependent on Jesus spirit, in his third response to Jesus.

Instead of answering without thinking which is one indicator or overconfidence, let us first prayerfully consider the issue at hand, and be more dependent upon Christ before we give an answer (Prov. 3:5-6).

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy, (MZO)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Replace "I" with "Him"

As Jesus' earthly ministry started growing, and John's disciples were concered about large crowds of people flocking to Jesus,  John's response to them is found in John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Are you building ministry around your name, and around the system you put in place, and around your accomplishments?

Here is a great test to determine where you really are today.  Just let someone describe your work and forget to give you credit, or they acknowledge everyone else but you.  Do you become angry?  Do you  immediately correct the person and correct their comments so the crowd knows what role you played?
How you handle your ego when it wants center stage?
Every Christian needs learn how to take our ego temperature with the 
John 3:30 ego thermometer.

What is the antidote for an over active ego, or how do we lower our high ego temperate?  
I the "I am the true vine" teaching of Jesus, Jesus said this in John 15:16:
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

Jesus provides the existence and sustenance for our spiritual life.  With Him we can do nothing of spiritual value (John 15:5).

Christians on today let us remove the "I" statements that causes our ego temperature to rise, and replace our "me, myself, and "I" statements with plenty of "Him" and "He must increase" statements.
Then watch how He (Jesus) will grow us and the ministry when "He" is center stage.

God Bless,

Pastor Kennedy (MZO)