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!