Archive for February, 2015

Satan wants to fill our minds with negative thoughts and worry about our daily circumstances. He wants us to mull over in our minds all the times we have been hurt. He knows that if he can get our minds full of self-pity and negative thoughts, we will not be able to experience the fullness of God’s power.

Satan wants us:

To doubt God and His sovereignty.
To make us think that we are in control of our own circumstances.
To make us think that we can live our lives independent of God.
To focus on ourselves and our desires for material things.
To inflate our egos and make us prideful.

If we could only see the schemes that Satan has launched on us to try to control our thoughts.

Before we accepted Christ, we all had negative thoughts and patterns ingrained into our minds. I have often wondered why God didn’t erase all those negative thoughts at salvation, but He didn’t make us robots. He wants us to choose to love and serve Him. The Bible tells us  in Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.

We still have to deal with old thoughts and habits. They weren’t erased at salvation. They are still a part of our flesh. But…praise the Lord, we are not just a product of our pasts. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we can get the victory over our old habits and thoughts. Moment by moment, we can choose to yield our minds to the Lord.

Elizabeth Brown in her book The Joy Choice gives a comparison of wrong thoughts verses right thoughts.

Wrong thoughts make you self-centered; right thoughts make you others-centered. Choosing actions and thoughts that build character is not always easy, for unhealthy thoughts come in through logical doors. Holes in our character are caused as we justify what we want to do when we know it is not what we should do. We are never tempted to do wrong by things that seem unreasonable. The first instinct against wrong is rejection, but if is nursed in the mind long enough, the mind begins to find ways to rationalize that it is acceptable.

Although Satan’s aim is to infiltrate our thoughts with his thoughts and promote his lies, we can experience more of the fullness of God’s power by allowing Him to control our thoughts and actions.

If you are struggling today with having a right attitude or thinking right thoughts, here are a few suggestions that could help you experience more of the fullness of God’s power.

Daily Steps to Maintain Right Attitudes and Experience God’s Fullness

1. Recognize negative thoughts and emotions as they come into your mind.
2. Confess them as sin and repent of them.
3. Give over to God all your past hurts and injustices.
4. Get into the Word and reprogram the truth back into the place where Satan has placed lies.
5. Now walk by the faith of God’s Word. Realize that He has cleansed you and restored you.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
6. Present your body to the Lord.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
7. Deny yourself.
Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
8. Be willing to do what God asks you to do. Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
9. Moment by moment, take every negative thought captive. II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Sometimes it seems impossible to experience God’s power, but history gives us personal testimonies of those who hungered for this power and experienced wonderful transformations in their Christian lives.

Is this power some miracle that God gives to only a select few? I don’t think so…I believe we can experience God’s power in our lives today?

It happens every year in May, and pastors anticipate it expectantly. Mother’s Day promises a high energy, high attendance Sunday, with a smiling, eager congregation. There will be extra guests such as–sons, daughters and grandchildren attending worship services with their mothers. There will be new mothers, pregnant moms, substitute moms, stepmothers, foster moms, grandmothers. What an opportunity!

No pressure, pastor, but how will this Mother’s Day be different from last year’s celebration? How can your church esteem mothers, yet point the worship service toward God? It’s time to get creative. Need a few fresh ideas?

MOM & ME VIDEO: Ask the tech team to interview children and prepare a montage of testimony clips explaining why “My Mom’s the Best!” Or invite the youth group to prepare a short video to honor their mothers. Or gather dozens of photos of church members with their mothers for a slide show set to music. Use the video for pre-service viewing or play it along with an appropriate music special.

HERE’S YOUR DAISY: If your church presents gifts on Mother’s Day, it’s a good idea to give one to each woman present. (Many childless women have been like a mother to other children.) Each year’s gift can be unique and meaningful, such as:

A single flower.
A book. A CD. A pin. A pen.
Multi-ribbon bookmarks for her Bible.
A corsage made by children in your church.
Laminated copy of an original Mother’s Day poem.
A scripture bookmark with original art by a church youth.
Recruit a different group of people to present the gift each year, i.e. teen boys, deacons, fifth-grade girls, new members, elderly men or church staff.

OLD WOMEN, PLEASE STAND: Not to be a fuddy-duddy, but pointing out the oldest, youngest and most prolific mothers during worship is not always flattering. As an alternative, consider recognizing mothers with a new baby since last year, great-grandmothers, mothers of teenagers or mothers of military. Then include all mothers in a thanksgiving prayer.

I WAS BORN: One pastor announced a special prayer time for mothers, asking everyone in the congregation who had been born to a mother to stand. That’s everyone!

PRESCHOOL PARADE: Prepare signs for all preschoolers, such as, “I thank God for my mom,” “Honor your mother and father,” or giant MOM letters. While worshippers sing a chorus, the joyful Mother’s Day parade of preschoolers marches in one door and exits another. Delightful!

CHILDREN’S SCRIPTURE SHOUT: Choose an appropriate Scripture to teach elementary age children. Children march into worship during a congregational song, spread out around the worship center, then quote the Scripture in unison.

MOM’S BRUNCH: Youth can pamper their moms by planning and serving a lovely brunch. Men carry a towel draped across their arm and wear an eyebrow-pencil-drawn curly mustache. Plan a program of poetry readings, serenading and prayers.

NO COOKING: How about a catered picnic for a church-wide Mother’s Day lunch at the local park? The pastor of a Filipino church in New Jersey excitedly told me about their top-secret plan for Mother’s Day. The men of the church have reserved an entire local restaurant for lunch, and they’ll surprise their mothers and families with a special meal.

SENSE AND SENSITIVITY: Scripture instructs us to honor our fathers and mothers, but use discretion. Some in your congregation may dread Mother’s Day because of marital status, childlessness, death or problems with parents.

WORSHIP HIM, NOT HER: Many unchurched family members will attend worship with their moms. Tell them how Jesus can change their life! It’s a great day for a baptism, baby dedication or children’s choir song. Joyfully honor mom on Mother’s Day, but focus on the only One worthy of worship — our God.

This column was adapted from the forthcoming book, “Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving & Energetic Church,” to be released by B&H on June 1st. Diana Davis is the wife of Indiana Baptist State Convention’s executive director.

Poem to Give with Baptismal Certificates

For Your Baptism

You’re taking this step of faith
In obedience to the Lord
To be baptized in His precious name
And heed the Master’s call

To rise up with faith in God
And go where He may lead
To share God’s love to everyone
And touch them in their need

May God pour out His blessings
Upon your life today
So you may walk in His abundance
As you commit to Him your way

Keep on trusting in the Lord
No matter what you face
And keep your eyes on Jesus Christ
And live in His sweet grace