Saturday, December 31, 2005

What Does A Real Revival Look Like?
I received the latest edition of Ministries Today and was captivated by an article concerning the church in Nigeria. RT Kendall talks about how he went and saw for himself hundreds of people praying, crying out for God and asking for revival. It is said that in Africa they see more miracles, the dead raised, blinded eyes opened, things we read about in the Bible, but have yet to see much of in the US in our time. The question was posed, could it be that revival is already there, they simply haven't recognized it?
Do you remember when Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection? He walked among them risen but unrecognized. Perhaps it's true of our time. We constantly seek revival, earnestly begging and seeking for a move of God unlike anything we've ever seen before...but what if it has already come? What if God is already moving, He is simply looking for some of us to move with Him?
When I was a child our church had one and two week revivals...all week. To me, the night revival broke out and God really moved was the night the preacher didn't preach, people shouted, fell in the floor, prophetic utterances occured, and the altars were full. I love revival, am a revivalist, but I also believe revival is more than I thought as a child.
Acts 8 tells of Phillip going to Samaria and preaching Jesus, as a result people were saved, healed, and delivered, and the entire city was filled with great joy.
Perhaps there is more to this revival thing than I thought...maybe we just need to walk what we already know out...Some must enter in!
We're Back! One week, over 1800 miles, several wonderful eateries under my belt, two ok motels, and a nice time in Ohio...Home at last, Home at last, Thank God Almighty we're home at last! I've forgotten what riding long distances with children in the back seat was like, my sister and I used to have lines in the back seat, actually, we're old and my Dad's car had a little seat inside the back seat that folded down...that was the line one must never cross! My two girls in the back seat of a PT Crusier with my laptop and a stack of DVD' was memorable. They were great, but traveling that far is tough on everyone. All of a sudden I feel like clicking my heels and calling for my dog Toto and saying, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home...Call you tell I'm glad to be back? I'm elated that no one broke into my home, I had this fear that someone would and that all that they would take was my new surround sound I got for Christmas...which I will be hooking up shortly! Tomorrow begins a New Year and we have new opportunities before us...Some must enter in and some will!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!
Well, I did it! I finished shopping for my wife and wrapped...I mean, put her gifts in gift bags and got them under the tree. Don't know about the rest of you, but I actually only shop for Julie, and maybe a couple things for the girls, kind of a Daddy-Daughter tradition. So I don't fight malls or stores much, just get in and get out as quickly as possible.
Tomorrow we will head for Ohio following morning worship to see grandparents and aunts and uncles, cousins, and just maybe a few good friends. It's a 14 hour drive from Florida to Ohio, two days for three girls miss snow! I'm thinking that they'll quickly get over it, especially if it's real cold. Keep in mind that we are Yankees, born and raised in the North, but have lived in the South and now, the deepest South...our blood has thinned...I'm afraid!
I wanted to wish those of you that read my thoughts a Merry Christmas, and pray that you have a wonderful weekend, one filled with love and blessings! I'm excited about the New Year, we believe the Lord is speaking to our church that 2006 is a year of Perpetual Harvest, that what He began in 2005 will continue and increase in this upcoming year...I can't wait to see what the Lord is up to.
Some must enter in...I think I will!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's been said that I can't preach or teach without talking about my family, it's also been said that you should never speak in the first person or talk about yourself...but I've never been one to worry much about what's been said...So! This afternoon I was asking my six year old about a Christmas present, sharing with her that one of the items would probably need to wait until a future date at this point. She seemed alright with the waiting...But floored me when she announced "I don't have a future!" The truth in the matter is she doesn't know what a future is. She had no concept of what future is about, so I quickly schooled her on what having a future was all about...she still had no clue! I had one of those spiritual moments all of a sudden...remembered the words of God to Jeremiah when He said that He knows the thoughts that He thinks toward us, thoughts of good and not evil, thoughts of hope and to give to us a future! God does think about tomorrow. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow because He's already there...He's already worked it out and has planned it to be good. I've met many people that thought that their best days were behind them, but I'm convinced that our best days are before our future!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Spiritual House
I feel that the Lord has been revealing Himself to me concerning Hebrews 4:6, that there is a place of rest for the people of God and that some must enter in. There must be more and we can go there if we want to. Today I was sharing this with our office manager and we began to talk and the Lord brought to my mind something He gave years ago...but I wouldn't do anything with. The Apostle Peter says that we are God's building, a spiritual building that God Himself is building to offer spiritul sacrifices unto God. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and most of all, upon Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul says that we are being built as a holy habitation...We are God's House. In a natural house there are several rooms: Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom. Each of these rooms serve a purpose, the living room is a place of fellowship, where others can come and discuss, laugh, relax, a place for family and friends. The kitchen is a place of creativity, combined with the dining room, that which is created provides nourishment. The bedroom is a place of rest and intimacy, everyone is not invited there, it is a place of seclusion...because we must be careful who we are intimate with, lest we create something that is displeasing to the Lord...and then, there's the Bathroom. I've never minded talking about the other rooms, but this bathroom thing, it's offensive. Our office manager shared a portion of scripture in Deuteronomy 23:12-14 that talks about removing our refuse from within the camp and burying it because God walks among the camp and doesn't want to be offended. Would you agree with me that there somethings that need to be gotten rid of? I'm just asking? I'm searching for the pathway into the presence of God, the place of His blessing and favor...don't want Him to get any of my stuff on His shoes, to be offended and leave. Rather, I want His oily footprints to take me where He is!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm Restless
I tend to be an aggresive person and don't like for grass to grow under me...much. Over the past few months I continue to find myself feeling more and more restless, like there's something on the horizon, I just don't know what it is. Do you ever feel that way? My life is a good life, have a wonderful wife and family, love my church and pastor, enjoy living in the warm South, and am extremely thankful to have missed being hit by a hurricane. Yet something inside of me is restless, perhaps dissatisfied. Could it be that God doesn't want us to be satisfied. Think of this, if you are a pastor and your goal is for your church to reach 500 in attendance...will you be satisfied in getting there, staying there, or going beyond that place? If you have purchased your dream home, will you stop short of decorating it, landscaping, and maintaining it? Could it be that our walk with God is much the same? That we are thrilled with who God is and what He is doing in our lives, but there will always be a desire to move nearer to Him and grow in His grace...Maybe I'm just going crazy...but I'm still restless!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Neil & Julie Smith Posted by Picasa
This evening I somehow inserted a photo onto my blog. I'm not quite sure I could do it again, it wasn't exactly where I wanted it, but it's there, I put it there, and to be truthful...I like it.
In June I went to Kenya, we had a fourteen hour layover in London and decided to take a double-decker tour bus throughout the city. We took a taxi to the place we were to catch the tour, only to realize we were walking distance from Buckingham Palace. So we walked down there, stared with amazement, tried to get the guards to flinch, I did him to smile, and then hopped on the bus, toured one of the most beautiful cities in the world, did a boat ride, toured Westminister Abbey, and enjoyed a nice time in London.
This thing of traveling overseas, blogging, and placing photos on my blog stretched me. I served seven years as a evangelist, preaching in 14 states during that time...but now God is allowing me to travel to places I never dreamed of, giving me favor when I get there, and is constantly reminding me that He has bigger things in store for me...but only if I'm willing to trust Him and to stretch.
Physically, muscles don't grow unless they're stretched...neither do our spiritual muscles, our marriages, our relationships. Sometimes what we do works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes the picture ends us right where you want it, sometimes it doesn' least we stretched!
As I age I'm finding that it is better to stretch and reach, than to sit and wish. Someone is sure to say, "What if it doesn't work?" I say, "What if it does?"

Buckingham Palace Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I know that I keep going on and on about this blogging thing...but...I love to write and thought I would do this faithfully...daily...creatively...did I say faithfully?
Perhaps the reason blogging and consistancy relate to me is that it's much like my daily life, filled with good intentions, failures, a few victories, and the constant reminder that life happens, but good life must be worked at. The words of Paul speak volumes when I he says that there were things he wanted to do...but didn't...Then there were things he didn't want to do...and did!
In this journey of life I am becoming more and more thankful that God is more patient with us than we are with ourselves. I am thankful for process and the potential of what God can do in our lives if we stay in the game.
As I type I'm listening to my six year old daughter practice her song for the school Christmas program...she's so cute...but she hasn't got it all together yet...she's getting there...and if she sticks with it...if she's consistant...she'll do great!
Maybe there's something I can learn from Madison!

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Kenyan Is In The House!
We are blessed to have a visiting pastor from Kenya with us this weekend. Pastor Charles Kababu from Machakos, Kenya arrived in Zephyrhills this afternoon. He and I have spent the entire afternoon together, he went with me to get a haircut, we enjoyed lunch at a boofay (buffet), we watched a video of his crusade in Tanzania where 150,000 he said attend and over 1100 were saved. This evening we along with our senior pastor and his wife attended a Christmas Parade, Pastor Kababu video taped much of it and will take American Christmas back to Africa this week. Tomorrow I will take him to Busch Gardens, last week he saw snow in Indiana for the first time in his life, tomorrow he will ride Sheikra, life for him will never be the same. Amid all the fun, food, and fellowship, we talk about the good things of the Lord, of our relationship as covenant brothers, of our hopes and dreams for future times together both here and back home in Kenya. We plan for ministry times together and he shares of the miracles he has seen God perform...and I hunger to be used of the Lord, to see the miracles of the Bible, and of Kenya. Our senior adult pastor, Stanley Sloan went to Kenya in November of 2003, he has been in the ministry for over forty years, a very anointed and successful pastor, while there he saw blinded eyes opened and growths literally fell into his hands...he said he had never seen these type of things in all of his ministry...once again, I hunger. Not just to see and experience miracles to have a story to tell, but to see needs met and lives changed, and to know for myself what I aready know...Jesus loves us, He is real, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thanks Pastor Kababu...or should I say, Assante Sana!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Something's In The Air
When I lived in Illinois and Kentucky it was quite obvious when the season was going to change, visually you would see the coloring transformation of the trees and other plant life, there would be a cooling of the atmosphere, and then it would happen...snow. Here is Florida is cools down, but leaves and trees don't change much...and thank never snows. Without trying to sound too spiritual, I believe that in the prophetic realm of things, God is up to something. There is a sense in my spirit that the things that are aren't the things that will be. Talk to a few pastors or spiritual friends and they will tell you that there is a restlessness about them, a feeling that things are changing and that it is time to move forward. Recently I read about some scientists in the Antartic that have heard the ice singing and was reminded of the scripture in Romans that says that the whole creation is groaning while waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God in the earth. God is calling us, He is challenging us to rise up in these finals moments of human history and to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ. The best is yet to come!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Day my family and took advantage of our season passes to Busch Gardens, road the roller coasters and enjoyed a beautiful day together. Friday was another story!
We took off for Orlando to stay in the beautiful Florida Mall Hotel-one of a kind, awesome place, we absolutely adored it. It is connected to this huge mall with dozens of stores, places I've never heard of and prices I certainly cannot afford.
The people were wall to wall, to the place I considered just laying down and letting them run over and squish me...but then it might be considered suicide and I couldn't get into heaven and my wife couldn't draw on my I bore the shopping pain.
Then it happened, we went into Aeropostle, my 13 year olds favorite store, the Aeropostle model was there and my baby, my little girl, my firstborn was telling me how hot he was and trying to take his picture...thankfully there were too many people and when we returned he was gone...I'm simply not ready for teenhood...but it's here!
I am thankful for my children, both of our daughters are beautiful girls that love the Lord, Julie and I are truly blessed!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This week has been a frustrating week for me, just a lot of things on my mind...sometimes I wish you could push a button and either rewind your mind or simply erase it. Yesterday I was thrust back into reality when a friend of mine in Kenya was in a wreck in which a couple of people died. All of a sudden my thoughts weren't quite as important and my issues weren't all that bad after all. Just two weeks ago I was in Eldoret, Kenya, stood on the stage of this huge church with this friend, and now he's laying in a hospital and others are walking the streets of gold. Meshach will be ok, the others will survive...but all of a sudden I realize my need to be thankful and to let those I care about know how much I appreciate them. Thanksgiving time reminds us of how much we have been given, of all that God and others have done in our lives, and of our need to express our appreciate to God and others for those things. I am thankful for my family, My Mom and sister were here recently, what a blessing, for my wife and children, for family and friends, for my church and pastor, for the ministry God has given me, for the freedoms I enjoy, and even for the struggles I endure...God is setting me up for blessing, He is strengthening and developing me, causing me to mature, getting rid of the junk, and teaching me to rely upon Him rather than myself or others...I am thankful!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Getting Ready To Leave This World! No, I'm not being raptured or returning to the Red Back Hymnal...Lord, help us on that one! But I am leaving the country for a few days, Monday while others are celebrating Halloween or having Hallelujah Nites, I'll be headed for Kenya. This is my third trip, the second this year, and I am excited. I get anxious about this time prior to any trip, but am especially anxious this week, I know the Lord has many wonderful things in store for us, we are establishing a permanent residence for our ministry in Nakuru, which is north of Nairobi, we are speaking in a convention in Eldoret, north of Nakuru, and we will visit our pastors and friends in Kengami, which is in the southern part of the country....all of this in 11 days. Kenya feels like home to me, can't imagine living there, but neither can I imagine my life without Kenya being a part of it. When I get off the plane something inside of me begins to churn, a sense of destiny overwhelms me and I am drawn into the hearts of the people. It's a wonderful place, I would love to take friends, family members, and especially pastors, with me on my next trip next Spring. Pray for us that God will protect us, the He will guide us, and that He will use us to touch this country for the glory of God.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Here we are again, waiting for the storm. Don't know if it's coming our way or not, can't predict if it's going to hit us, miss us, go above, through, or below us. I have to admit waiting for the storm is unnerving, I contemplate what will take place, lots of wind and rain, will there be any damage to our home, our church, our members, what will life be like if we are hit hard? Another thing I ponder is why shouldn't we be hit? Am I any better or different than those people that have already suffered? I don't think so, I'm not that important. Hurricanes frighten me to the core, my mind races, I think of evacuating, then I think of moving, then I think about how much I love Florida and how much I hate the you think I think too much! What I realize when the dust settles and my mind for a few moments begins to rest is that the key to it all is being prepared and trusting in the Lord. My heart must be right with God, I must take the necessary precautions that I can to provide protection for my I bought two cases of water, four gallon jugs, six two liters of soda, some pop tarts and some peanut butter crackers. We have popsicles and lunch meat, so if the power goes out we're good for a couple of days...and I have a word in my spirit from God: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me! Folks in the southern part of the state must be emotional wrecks, or true Floridians who have grown adjusted to hurricane living. I'm a newbie, only 15 months living here, perhaps some day I'll adjust, until then...I'll stay prepared! May even be a sermon in this!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The past two weeks I have been away from my office preaching revivals. Two different churches in two different churches with two totally different congregations and pastors. It has been an amazing journey, in both places there was an intense need for God to reveal Himself, in both places the hunger level was quite real, and in both places God exposed Himself as a real, relevant and refreshing God. I never ceased to be amazed at how much the Lord loves us, how much He wants to reveal Himself to us, and how much He longs to touch our lives. What also amazes me is how simple it is to receive what God has for us. There's a song Joseph Garlington sings on one of Israel Houghten's cd's that says "It's so easy to love Him, because He's marvelous, wonderful!" I'm thankful for the relationship we can have in Christ, with Christ and with each other!

Friday, September 30, 2005

This thing of blogging is quite new to me, what I am realizing is while it can be a very effective tool, it also requires commitment on my part. I recently created a blog for our church, no one has signed it, so I quit looking at it and haven't written on it. The only response we've had was a spammer who posted a link to his dating service...just what we need. The same guy posted on this blog, both sites have been quickly cleansed. What I realized today is that this blog thing stretches me to really be what I say I am, a life-changer. I am open to change and new things, but in order for those things to take place I must do something...anything...just something. If we do nothing, nothing happens, but if we do something...something happens. I think I'll start blogging more!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

We moved last week and could not believe the amount of junk we have accumulated over the past year. When we moved from Louisville last year we a really big way! I gave away hundreds of books from my library, gave 16 notebooks of sermon material and literally threw away thousands of cassette tapes I had bought over the years...and now a year later, we've still got junk. I think there's a spiritual connotation here, that probably connects with Hebrews 12 where it talks about laying aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us...they do easily accumulate don't they? My wife constantly presses me about the piles of mail, magazines, tapes, and whatever else I leave laying on the counter...sort of like the Holy Spirit, checking me on my attitude, my need to worship when I'm in a mood, and all the other stuff I allow to pile up or stack on my spiritual counter.