June 6th

Miracle of All Miracles

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-20

I just love hearing those stories-the stories of how couples first fell in love. I like to know how the man, despite all his manly awkwardness, managed to somehow catch his amazing bride. How did he first catch her eye? And, more importantly, how did he eventually catch her heart?

Have you been caught? I don't mean by a husband or a wife, either. I mean, have you been caught by Jesus?

We see in our verses today a story of the first time Jesus went fishing. But, oddly enough,

He didn't fish for fish. He fished for men. And as He was walking by the sea, He called Peter and Andrew to follow Him. Boy, they were caught fast! They immediately left their real fishing nets to become Jesus' disciples.

Do you know how I know they were really caught? It's because they left their old life behind. They left their nets as litter on the shoreline to follow Jesus. They became fully dependent on Him. They followed Him because He so caught them that they now joined their lives completely to His.

Something amazing happened to them when they let Jesus catch them so completely they became qualified to catch others. You see, when God catches us, He transforms us. He doesn't leave us where we are, but He makes us His disciples, His sons and daughters.

Then, as disciples, we do what our teacher taught us. As sons and daughters, we want to be just like our Daddy. And so we do for others what someone once did for us-we love. We cast God's nets of love and freedom out to the world around us and see who we can catch.

The most wonderful part of all this to me is that, no matter how much we grow, no matter how many new fishermen we catch who then catch others, Jesus stays with us the whole time, showing us just how much love and freedom there is in the nets that first caught us.

Look at your life today. Look deep into your heart. Have you been caught by Jesus?

Prayer Lord Jesus,

I desperately need Your love and freedom in my life! Thank You for casting Your nets to catch me. I let You catch me today!

Amen

Horizon Church
June 5th

God's Calling

Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel answered, Speak, for Your servant hears.' 1 Samuel 3:8-10

Do you need to hear from God? Maybe you need to hear from Him about a job, or maybe about getting married. Maybe you need to hear from Him about a relocation or about kids who aren't walking with the Lord right now.

Whatever it is, are you ready for Him to call you? The truth is that God has put a calling on all of our lives and we need to be able to hear His voice in order to fulfill what He has for us. There are a few components that every call needs. The first is that every call needs a Caller. What I think is very cool is that God is calling you. God is the caller, and He is trying to call every single one of us. We have a Caller.

Second, we need a Carrier. Just because you have a phone does not mean you have ser-

vice. You have to have a carrier to have service, but the problem is that there are lots of carriers out there. We have so many calls coming in, which one is the Lord? We have to know that there is only one Carrier that can connect us with the heart of God for our lives, and His name is Jesus Christ.

The third component we need is a Connection. We can have someone trying to call us and a carrier to provide us service, yet still not hear their call if we do not have signal. The Holy Spirit is our Covering-our Coverage-the point of connection between us and God.

Fourth, we need a Call. God picks up His phone, provides us service through Jesus, and connects with us through the Holy Spirit. Now what? He is calling! Now what do you do?

You pick up. Answer Him by simply saying, Speak, for Your servant hears. Then listen, because He has a special calling just for you.

Prayer Lord God,

Thank You for giving me a special calling! Speak to me about Your dreams for my life. I am Your servant and I look forward to hearing Your voice.

Amen

Horizon Church
June 4th

Power Presence

Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.' And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, Little girl, arise.' Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. Luke 8:52-55

Why do you do what you do? Have you ever thought about it?

I mean, for example, a lot of people go to church just to say they go to church. Do you still go to church to say that you go to church?

Let me just say, don't come to church to say that you come to church. Don't do that. I wouldn't even do that. I wouldn't go to church so I could say, I go to church.

What about this one-do you still read God's Word so you can say that you read God's Word?

You don't read God's Word to say that you read God's Word. You read God's Word to seek God's face, to hear from Him so that His presence can become real and life-changing in your life.

Now, this is when people get mad at me. They get mad over the preaching, because they want a preacher that simply confirms the way they want to live. That's why they just read so they can say that they read and go so that they can say that they go.

No wonder there's no power and presence in their life.

You need to read to seek His face. You need to go to church to worship Him. Then you'll receive the great exchange, where it's not like those Christmas parties where you never expect something better than one you brought. No, you always go home with something better when you exchange gifts with Jesus.

His thoughts for your thoughts. His ways for your ways. His heart for your heart. His mind for your mind. His plans for your plans. And He will fill you with His power. He will fill you with His presence.

Don't just go to church to go to church. No, you come to worship Him. Don't just read to say you read. No, you read to seek His face.

Make this exchange today. Let His power and presence come and change You forever!

Prayer Lord Jesus,

I confess that I never realized how much more You have for me than just going through the motions. Come change my heart today! Fill me with Your power and presence!

Amen

Horizon Church
June 3rd

Driving in the HOV Lane

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Have you ever wondered what the deal is with Spiritual gifts? I mean, there are a lot of different thoughts out there about them, and extremes on both sides, so what's the truth? Well, here's the bottom line:

A Spiritual gift is a God-given endowment that leads to a God-glorifying result.

It isn't about glorifying self; it's not about glorifying our flesh. But in short, there are just way too many Christians who are trying to do life in their own strength. That's why I think our verses today apply to us so well.

Christians who have accepted the Lord have realized they're a sinner and they need forgiveness, but still have not surrendered their life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be filled with the gifts and presence and power of His Holy Spirit.

I like to compare life with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to being able to drive in the HOV lane-the Heavenly Occupied Vehicle lane. And it's like these Christians who are trying to live life in their own strength are still trying to get out of that gridlock on their own; they're still trying to make it through on their own abilities. They think they've got a better way than God does.

Have you ever felt that?

Well, I know a shortcut. Here, God, follow me! Let's go this way.

And the Lord wants you to follow Him. You can't do it in your own strength. There are no shortcuts. You can't do it without Him. Jesus Himself says in John 15, I'm the vine, you're the branch. Apart from me you can do nothing.

You can't do it. You can't. But He can. And He wants to fill you up now with the abilities to fulfill all that He has promised. It doesn't come through you; it comes through His presence in you.

Apart from Him, you can do nothing. With Him, all things are possible. Will you let Him fill you today with all the gifts and Presence that He desires to give you?

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You that You want to give me even more than my natural abilities so that I can walk in all You have called me to do! Please fill me today with Your presence and gifts unto Your glory!

Amen

Horizon Church
June 2nd

Gifts Onboard

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 1 Corinthians 14:1-2

What was it like the first time you heard someone speaking in tongues?

If you're like me, it was weird. I mean, it was crazy. I was in college and I went to some church where at one point the pastor directed the whole church to burst out in tongues all at the same time. And there I am in the middle of all that, thinking, What in the world is happening? I don't understand any of this! It's like I suddenly dropped into the middle of a Star Trek convention and everyone's speaking Klingon.

This isn't a new issue in the Church today, saints, and in fact, Paul wrote about it to help us get to the bottom of this very thing. If you didn't already, go back and read our verses today. That should clear up a lot of what has become confusing and maybe controversial within the Church as to where tongues fits in.

And let me be clear-it does fit in. However, just like a piece in a puzzle, not only is the puzzle incomplete without it, but there is a correct place where it fits.

If a church all of a sudden broke out in the midst of the service speaking in tongues, there are going to be a lot of people that just are not getting what's going on. In fact, they would be looking for the exit door, saying, This is weird. Now, you might feel closer to God because of it, but everybody sitting around you is freaking out.

Here Paul says that this gift is meant to be something between you and God, as opposed to something that is put on display before men, because putting it on display before men, no one's getting it. No one understands it.

So let's not forget the point, because, you see that our verses move on to talk about tongues and prophesy and all these amazing spiritual gifts, but where did it start? That's right, it starts with love. When you use your gifts, if it doesn't come out of and lead to love, and if the people who experience your gift when you use it don't grow closer to love, then what's the point? You're misusing your gift. Go back to the beginning. Start over and remember where these gifts came from and why God gave them to you.

Desire the spiritual gifts, yes. But don't forget the pursuit-love-the very heart of every gift we have been given.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You for giving me the spiritual gifts that I have, and especially thank You for the biggest gift of love-Yourself. Whenever I use the gifts I have, please show me how to use them the same way You do-to love.

Amen

Horizon Church
June 1st

Letting God Means Letting Go

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits...The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Psalm 103:1-5

Have you ever suffered something unfairly? Ever been mistreated? Ever gotten the short end of the stick? Ever been effected by someone else who did the wrong thing?

Yeah, that's called injustice; that's called iniquity.

Here's the good news: If you've suffered from someone being unjust or sinful, God's going to make it right. We know that this promise especially holds true for one day in eternity, that He will judge all people and render justice to all things. But if you look at the life of David, you see that he believed God for justice in the everyday things he faced.

If you read through the Psalms, you see David write over and over again about people falsely accusing him of wrong, attempting to harm him without cause, and spreading lies about him. He was a man who was personally familiar with injustice and iniquity. But no matter what men said or did, he trusted God.

What's even more interesting is that you see David make it one of his life's goals to bring justice and righteousness to the nation of Israel. He declares, My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence (Psalm 101:6-7).

David didn't just look to God for justice; he determined to be God's tool of justice and righteousness wherever he went.

How about you? Do you trust God for justice in your own life? That's good, but if justice is important to you for yourself, then make it important to you when others suffer unjustly.

As a church, we've done this by giving toward needs in Africa. When they needed Bibles, we sent more than they asked for. When they opened medical offices, we helped them. When they wanted to expand into dentistry, some generous dentists in the congregation donated three dental chairs. We've helped them reach the lost with the gospel through radio.

But you don't have to go to Africa to find injustice. What can you do today to begin bringing God's justice and righteousness to your home, neighborhood, or workplace?

Prayer Lord God,

Thank You for the promise that You will bring justice and righteousness to all who are oppressed! Thank You for that promise in my life. As I look to You for justice, please help me to be Your tool for righteousness and justice wherever I go.

Amen

Horizon Church
May 31st

Upper Management

Then Moses said to the LORD, See, You say to me, Bring up this people. But You have not let me know whom You will send with me.' And He said, My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Exodus 33:12,14

What gigantic things are you facing these days? Are there any transitions you're going through right now?

You know, transitions are usually hard. They mean leaving familiar things behind and entering into new things, and we don't always know how we'll do with those new things. Well, Israel had a huge transition once. It was something called The Exodus; maybe you've heard of it. They were leaving Egypt, where they had been slaves for four hundred years, and heading to the land God had promised to give to their forefathers.

Their first stop on that journey was Mt. Sinai where God gave them the Ten Commandments and the instructions for building the Tabernacle. Just as God began telling them it was time to leave the mountain, there was some confusion about who was going with them.

At one point, God tells the people that He's sending an angel to help them enter the Promised Land, but Moses goes back to God and says, You haven't told us whom You will send with us. It's almost like Moses was arguing with God a bit, wanting more from Him, wanting to see more specifics of what God was saying.

But here's God's answer: My presence will go with you.

My Presence-it's the greatest gift of God. Not present, like a present under the Christmas Tree-presence. And wanting more of His presence in your life is what you should be asking for.

And He promises right here, My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. Halleluiah! What a great promise of God. Don't miss that. Don't somehow undervalue that promise of His presence with you. The presence of the Lord is going to go with you wherever you go.

He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. Forget about all of the rest of your Yeah, but... He's with you. Done deal. Never leave you. My presence will go with you.

The matter is settled. There are no more questions to ask. Whatever transition you're going through right now, whatever gigantic things you are facing, God's presence is with you, even right now while you're reading these words, setting you apart and setting you free into all that He has for you.

Prayer Lord God,

Thank You that Your presence is always with me! I know that, no matter what I face, I can always overcome it and conquer my circumstances because You are with me!

Amen

Horizon Church