"A New Resolve"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 01, 01/13/2008

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again in the same manner expecting a different result. I sometimes feel we are bordering insanity within the church system. We’ve actually become paranoid of change. Yet change real God led change is what we need, if the church is to survive.
Certainly God is challenging us as individuals to be more than a “Sunday Christian”! Without doubt He has been trying to show us that church is more than a four walled meeting hall.
But what does all that mean? What does that look like?
Chances are God’s already tugging on you to step out for Him and change your world. Note I said your world not the world.
You have a world outside these walls! Do you realize that we spend 70% of our life working in the Marketplace.
In the last 30 plus years in the ministry as a pastor, I have realized that fewer and fewer people are actually coming to church without a connection with that church, and that connection needs to be someone that they trust.

When I read the gospels and watch Jesus in His ministry here on earth, He spent little time in the temple and mega time in the marketplace.

It was in the marketplace that He connected with the people and it was in the marketplace where He healed, performed miracles and raised the dead.

I think we’ve gotten things a bit backwards in our ministries in the church in the last few decades. We’ve thought that if we can get a crowd in church, Jesus will show up and people will get saved healed and set free. I read in the Gospels that where Jesus showed up, on the street or in the church, crowds gathered and people were healed, saved and set free.

Each one of you has God given or God empowered gifts and abilities. You have hobbies and skills, if you as a believer take them into the marketplace, people will get to know you and begin to trust you and you’ll win the privilege of being heard.

This is a wonderful thing, to impact your community for the Lord. God wants us to shape and influence our co-workers. He is calling us to move from being a “Sunday Christian” to working for Him everyday.

To help us get a grip on this turn to Luke Chapter 19.
Luke 19:12-13 Jesus said, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said to them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:15-26 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. And he said, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, you now have authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, you are over five cities. Another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: I feared you, because you are an austere man: you take up that which you did not sow. And he said to him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Why did you not then give my money to the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with interest? And he said to them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that has ten pounds. And they said to him, Lord, he has ten pounds. I say to you, That to every one which has shall be given; and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him.
The key being 13b "Put this money to work until I come back" - which in the KJV is translated as "Occupy till I come"
Each of us will have to give a personal account for the extent to which the gift we have received of Christ has actually been put to use.
This parable holds a very important key for us today. It shows the challenge and the responsibility, that all of us face.
Salvation is a gift - what have you done with it?
We dare not give into the temptation to simply wait for the Lord’s return. To us, as to them, Jesus says, Put what I’ve given you to work until I return" or, "Occupy until I come".

I believe 2008 is to be the year of this type of Christianity to flow into our communities. We need to renew our expectation for amazing things to happen. We need to think outside the box!
Think - what that servant felt when his master said to him Because you’ve been trustworthy in a very small matter, I give you charge over 10 cities (v17)
But for the one who simply kept his gift in a cloth there was a harsh judgment. In fact even what he had been given him was taken away. He was described as an unprofitable servant, standing empty-handed before his master.
As we look ahead to another year, the question is what sort of return will there be for that which the Lord has placed in our hands: as individuals, and as a church?
Will it reflect faith-filled living that results in multiplication?
Will others be impacted by the consequences of our relationship with the Lord?
I believe we must resolve to take actions that open up the possibility of God-honoring multiplication.
The Lord has kingdom ground for us to take, but it will only happen in so far as we take steps into it. We need to get off of our butts, casting off the insanity of the same old same old and grab hold of Almighty God with a renewed resolve!
The Lord wants us to take whatever He has put in our hands, to, in the words of the parable, "trade with" or "do business with." You’ve heard it said, “use it or lose it!”
If we don’t make right choices our money - just like our time, will be wasted before we know what's happened to it
I pray that we together will for the glory of God by encouraging, equipping and mobilizing Christians bring Christ into the marketplace. Be yourself and let Jesus love them through you!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23, NIV

"Final Encouragement"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 47 12/30/2007

Consider if you would; Jesus coming into this room today, looked you straight in the eye and said, "Hello friend." And then He had you stand up and He put his arm around you and looking at the rest of us He said, "This is my friend."
On what basis would Jesus say that about anyone of us here?
Take a look at John 15:12-17.
We could call this portion of scripture "What friends of Jesus look like”. Of course we are talking about character not in their appearance.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."
Jesus equates friendship with Him on the basis of how we love each other, as well as Him.
This is a great note for us to go out on!
Loving one another is the first priority of life in the church community.
Love is the greatest gift of all time. The Bible says that love will never end.
The proof of our friendship with Christ is demonstrated by our loving one another in the family of faith.

When it comes to human relationships there is a single commandment; That is to love one another.
And not just to love, but to love one another as He (Jesus) has loved us. He wraps up all the commandments into one. This is it. This is the big one.
God is love. And to love each other as He has loved us is the priority that Jesus sets out.
I remind you that He does not end the sentence with just love each other. He ends it with love each other, as I have loved you.
We cannot love each other the way that Jesus loves us, unless He lives inside of us. I have to die to myself and ask Christ to come into my life and love others through me.
As goes my relationship with Jesus, so goes my relationship with others!
Sometimes what we call love may be activity designed not to lose somebody's affection or approval. Or maybe we feel guilt and so we try to do good things for people.
The love, which Jesus speaks of is so different from anything else.
How did Jesus demonstrate His love?
First, He freely gave. Jesus did what he did for us without coercion. That's a great question to ask ourselves ...am I doing what I am doing freely?
Love, if it is truly divine is given freely.
The divine love that Jesus talks about is active goodness.
Jesus freely laid down what?
He freely laid down his life.
Divine love is sacrificial. In other words, when we love it's going to cost us something. It's may be time, or money. We may be discomforted in some way. There may be blood sweat or tears shed.
Among the many descriptions of love, Paul said that love does not insist on its own way.
True love does not insist that everyone fits the same spiritual mold. We need to move each other towards Christ, but there may be differences of opinion, like in a good marriage.
So here's how it works: "A loving community is a place where there can be difference, but one can still belong. It becomes a healing place and a converting place when its members have learned to stop trying to heal and convert."
See, if you believe something differently than I do, and I spend all my energy trying to get you to be where I am, I get in the way of love. But if I accept you where you are and we just say, let the Lord work it out, then love flows freely and people can share their opinions and they can share themselves.
They can share who they are and what they think without worrying about being devalued or judged. Even a person who comes in who is not a believer and says, You know I don't believe this and I don't believe that. That's okay, we love you. It's all right, come on, have coffee with us.
See, it is not our job to convert. It's only God's job to convert. Our job is to be the vessel of love that God does that through.
We are here because God called us and chose us to be here. And who is going to say to the Lord, you chose poorly?
As we accept and love each other especially in our differences, God can draw others to Christ through us. So loving each other, how we are with each other is our first form of witnessing to a hurting world.
Drill that into your mind. Our first form of witnessing, is how we are with one another.
At the 100th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries in what was once called the Belgian Congo, Christians gathered to celebrate. The festivities lasted all day with music, preaching, food, conversations and many reminisced about all that God had done and the progress of the gospel in that part of Africa. Near the end of the program a very old man stood up and said that he had to say something, or else a secret would go to the grave with him. It is something that nobody else knew and he felt it important to tell. He explained that when the first missionaries came to the Belgian Congo that the people didn't know whether to believe the message of Jesus or not and so in sort of a diabolical way they devised a plan to slowly and secretly poison the missionaries who had come to their shores. One by one, children and adults became ill and died and were buried. And it was when his people saw how the missionaries died and how they loved each other even in the midst of distressed they finally believed and they became Christians. Think of it, those missionaries never had a clue as to what was happening. They didn't even know they were martyrs. They didn't know they were being poisoned and didn't know why they were dying, but in the midst of their distress and their stresses, they continued to love each other. They loved Christ and they trusted him and so in their dying they taught others how to live. You know, sometimes we are not aware of why we go through troubles, why we go through struggles, but if we will love through them, if we will love through them, then a watching world will notice and will believe.
So my final charge, my final call, my final encouragement to you and I am speaking to myself, is that we love one another as Jesus loved us.


So that the world might know that He has been sent. This is my command, love each other.

Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Puts up with anything, Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best, Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 46 12/16/2007

It is the season of Christmas…. a wonderful time of year. A time for peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Ask people about Christmas and most will say something about the giving and receiving of gifts.

When I purchase gifts for people, I try to be sensitive to their likes and dislikes, but I’m not nearly as good as Judi. She is the Queen of gift purchasers. Not only gifts, but stocking stuffers as well. We are so pathetic she buys for us to put in her stocking! God bless her.

I’m not sure how many of you remember the commercial where several people upon opening their gifts state sarcastically, “Thanks Santa, ya thanks Santa.”? It still cracks me up.

Although I am not always “right on” with my purchases I can thankfully say I haven’t heard too many of those comments.

How many of you find it easy to purchase gifts for people?

How many struggle with it?

I’d like to talk with you a few minutes regarding giving a gift to a very special person.

My foundation for this message comes from a blog posting by Max Lucado I read on a young lady’s blog. This posting is significant not only that it fits my message for today, but that it was posted by a single mom who we had the distinct privilege of helping find the Lord.

Not that long ago she and her two daughters were in a terrible state. Now praise the Lord, she is attending church. She prays on a daily basis and is surrounded by a tight support group.

Since she has received the gift of salvation, the gift that keeps on giving, her focus is now on pleasing God, rather than the darkness that was around her and her kids.

She in fact, prays nightly for the very ones that hurt her. That is what having God in us does.

Think about what God has done for you.

For this particular young lady there are no more lonely nights cowering behind a locked bedroom door. No more having to run barefoot through the snow, a child in each arm seeking a safe haven at the neighbor’s. She is no longer kept isolated from her parents and friends. Now she is enveloped in the arms of a loving God and kept by His saving power, supported by the family of God in her new community.

At Christmastime in our family, we draw names. This year I drew my daughter Rebecca’s name. I get to spoil her. I love spoiling her.

Suppose that within the family of God you of all people drew the Lord’s name.
What would you get him?

How could you possibly pick a gift for the One who not only has everything, but who made everything?

As a biblical example, we can look to the Wise Men. In addition to the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they gave the Lord some gifts that we can also give him today: their hope, their time and their worship.

The wandering wise men gave Jesus their hope.

When everyone else saw a night sky, this small band of men saw the light.

The sight of the star sparked a desire in their hearts that sent them packing. They went, seeking Jesus the King of Kings.

When night comes to your world, what do you see?

The darkness or the stars?

Hopelessness or hopefulness?

Now, my family lives on a ranch way out in what you town folk would call the sticks. When night falls and it gets dark, it gets dark! Black dark, not this sort of grayish charcoal. We are not subject to the street lights or the marquees.

For us, it is that darkness of the night that really defines the brightness of the stars.
There is something breath taking to see the thousands of twinkling stars on a dark, moonlit night.

Sometimes, just as He did so long ago, God uses the darkness to reveal His stars.

I remind you of John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness.”

Give God your hope for Christmas.

The wise men also gave God their time. Before they gave God their presents, they gave their presence.

It’s likely that these men traveled as long as 2 years before finding the prince of heaven.

Before that one incredible moment when they knelt before Jesus, the wise men spent many moments, months, perhaps years searching, in anticipation of that meeting.

Just as the wise men devoted themselves to seeking the Savior, so can you: “You will seek him and find him when you seek him with all your heart.”
Deuteronomy 4:29

And when they did find him, the wise men gave Jesus another gift: their worship.

Men of wealth, influence, and intellect….. what did the wise men do when they found Jesus? “They fell down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2:11

Worship! It’s a gift that extends to the giver as well.

Through worship, we come to see God more clearly.

God invites us, through worship, to see His face….. so He can change ours.

In worship, we simply stand before God with a prepared and willing heart and let God do His work. And He does.

He wipes away the tears.

He mops away the perspiration.

He softens our furrowed brows.

He touches our cheeks.

He changes our faces as we worship.

The wise men sought the child of God, just as God seeks his children.

“The Father is actively seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23

The gifts of hope, time and worship are 3 gifts the wise still give.

May God add His blessing to this
wonderful Word!

"Staying The Course"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 45 12/09/2007

In the first chapter of Nehemiah, Nehemiah was told of the great affliction and reproach brought upon the remnant people of God! He heard also that the wall around Jerusalem was broken down and that the gates of it were burned.

The Word tells us that when he heard these things he sat down and wept. He mourned, fasted and prayed for days.

He then reminds God of His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments, Nehemiah then confesses the sins of the children of Israel. He included himself; “...both I and my father's house have sinned.“

A righteous man always examines his own life first.
Nehemiah does not demand his rights, rather he reminds God of His great mercy!

Now Nehemiah was a cup bearer for the king and he prayed for something specific Nehemiah 1:11 grant me mercy in the sight of the king…

The king noticed something different about Nehemiah and asked what was wrong? The king listened to Nehemiah’s story and then asked how he could help… But before Nehemiah answered he prayed 2:4.

And then answered the king in the next verse. The king gave him time to go, letters of reference to be given to the governors beyond the river, a letter to the keeper of the king's forest, for timber to make beams, gates and the wall of the city, and for a house for Nehemiah. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God on me. The king even sent a small army of horseman to protect him.

So God set a plan into motion for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Now for the sinister twist.... when Sanballat and his servant Tobiah, heard of all that, it grieved them exceedingly! We’re not sure why, but they were ticked!

WHENEVER you try to repair the broken alter of your life;
WHENEVER you seek to do something about this temple (flesh);
WHENEVER you begin to build a wall of separation

You can bet the enemy of your soul will seek to turn up the heat of opposition!

He’ll try to get you to compromise.
He wants you to turn away from God’s calling. He wants you off the wall of God’s divine purpose.

I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

You dare not neglect to WATCH and PRAY!

Satan’s bag of tricks has not changed - just as he tried with Nehemiah so he’ll try with you.... take a look and see if his tricks aren’t the same today:

Nehemiah 4:1 when Sanballat heard that we had built the wall, he was angry and took great indignation, mocking the Jews.

He said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Are they going to revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish?
Tobiah his servant so as not to be out done said, Even what they do build, if a little fox were to climb up on it, he would easily break it down!

Perhaps the devil has ridiculed or mocked you when you’ve taken a stand for Jesus!

Job 12:4 the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Nehemiah 6:1-9 When Sanballat and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall... they sent me an invitation, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.

But they thought to do me mischief. (Discernment!)

So I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it and come down to you? They sent the same invite four times and each time Nehemiah answered the same way!

Nehemiah 6:5-8 Sanballat sent his servant in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah.. So come now and let us take counsel together.

In today’s language Nehemiah’s reply would simply have been - NOT!

These things are untrue, you imagine them.

“An open letter” is a very divisive tool. Pastor on death bed - Pillow case

Nehemiah was then tempted to hide in the temple. But, because he had learned early to WATCH AND PRAY God was able to warn him.... “I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me.. he was hired, that I should be afraid and then in hiding in the temple I would sin.. giving them a matter for an evil report to reproach me.”

In our watching and praying God’s purposes can be distinguished from our enemies purposes and even from our own purposes!

The devil's plot was revealed in verse 19 to put me in fear.

The devil controls people through fear!

As a point of interest... Sanbal'lat means a thorn in secrete.

Let me encourage you with this truth, When someone persecutes a child of God, God Himself, personally takes up the cause!

When Paul was persecuting the church Jesus stopped him right in his tracks and said, Saul why do you persecute me!
If you can't beat him, join him method.

Ezra 4:1-5...when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the temple walls were being built.. they came to Zerubbabel and said, Let us build with you for we seek your God as ye do and sacrifice to him.. But, the chief fathers of Israel, said, You have nothing to do with us building a house to our God; we ourselves will build for our God.

The devil’s true colours will show: Then those people who had offered to help began to oppose and weaken the hands of God’s people and troubled them in the building of the wall.

They even hired counsellors to frustrate their purpose!

The agenda of our enemy is still to frustrate our God given purpose!

How did Nehemiah and his brethren finally complete the work?

The answer to this question will hopefully give us some good council tonight!

Here is the answer - They watched and prayed. Nehemiah 4:9 we prayed to our God, and set a watch day and night.

Most Christians are far too nieve when it comes to spiritual warfare! We far too often get involved way beyound the boundaries - the safe boundaries of watching and praying....
Nehemiah 4:16-21.. half of my servants continued in the work and the other half held the spears, the shields and the bows... the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.

Nehemiah and his brethren put into effect God’s principle: WATCH & PRAY. The importance of WATCHING AND PRAYING cannot be over emphasized!

Refuse to be distracted! Refuse to get offf the wall of God’s purpose!
Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.....

"Hinderances To Serving"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 40 11/04/2007

Galatians 5:13 “…… by love serve one another.”

I don’t know about your response to last week’s message regarding serving others as a way of life, but for me it was a definite YBH moment. Yes But How?

I think it would be good to know what hinders our serving God. Perhaps by knowing what not to do, we can discover what we should be doing.

Your first step is prayer…serious prayer. I realize that some of you may find it difficult to change, but don’t just reject this challenge for Christian service by saying, “I can’t do that”!

Psalms 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation; uphold me with your free spirit. Then I’ll teach transgressors your ways; sinners shall be converted to you.”

You must take this before the Lord with an open and willing heart. Check to see if you have any attitudes or fears that we address this morning. If you do, deal with those things first, so your prayers will not be hindered.

10 hindrances to serving God:

1. Covetous Heart Desiring for yourself the gifts that God has given others. If we are jealous of others, we won’t be able to develop or be grateful for our own unique gifts.

Run from covetousness! I Corinthians 5:11 “Do not keep company with any man who is called a brother, if he is a fornicator, covetous, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, or an extortioner; don’t even eat with them.”

I Corinthians 6:10 “No thief, or covetous, or drunkard, or revilers, or extortioner, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Ezekiel 33:31 “They hear my words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after what they covet.”

2. The “Baby Attitude” This person is set on serving God in a certain way, whether they are called or not. If they can’t do it their way, they won’t do it at all. This is
obviously an immature attitude, overflowing with selfishness, ego and pride.

I Corinthians 3:1 “I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even as to babes in Christ.”

3. Blaming God Having the perception that if God wanted you to serve Him full time, He would have given you the gifts to do it. This is just a process for making excuses. Don’t blame God for your laziness and lack of creativity. Jesus has given us all gifts to use - not excuse.

Matthew 25:24-25 “Then he which had
received one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not plant. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: lo, here is what is yours.”

4. Unbelief The enemy has lied to many a saint - telling them that they are worthless, and have nothing of value to offer anyone. He has told you that you will fail at anything you attempt.

The sad part is that you believe it!
Matthew 13:58 “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Far too many of God’s children are being crippled by a lie. Each of us is infinitely valuable and precious to the Lord. We all have something to give. If you believe the scare tactics of the enemy the work will never get done.

5. Fear Of Man You care more what people think about you than what God thinks about you. So you settle for being complacent and have rendered yourself nearly useless to the Lord.

Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

6. Unwilling To Count The Cost Many are just too selfish and self-centered to give up their plans and their dreams. BUT this is a very real part of being a Christian.

If you need money to do what God directs, then you may have to get a job, or sell some of your possessions. Many people stop right at that point.

It doesn’t bother them to spend money on themselves, but paying tuition or air fare to go somewhere their flesh doesn’t really want to go, is just too much to ask.

Matthew 19:21-22 “Jesus said, go and sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful: for he had many possessions.”

7. Delayed Obedience Delayed obedience is flat out disobedience!

Many of you already know what God wants. You are just putting it off. Anything not done in faith is sin!

Romans 14:23 “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

If you are not doing what you know the Lord wants you to do, skip the rest of this message and get right with God as quickly as you can.

8. The Normal Life Syndrome Deep inside you desire to live a “normal” life. Well, I think the disciples led normal Christian lives.

We should look to Jesus and the disciples as our example of “normality”.

Find something you believe in and give it all you’ve got! One hundred and ten percent…..24-7.

That is the example the scriptures give us. A “normal” life by our standards will not upset your family, or the devil for that matter. It is a life that won’t leave its mark on the world. It just kind of comes and goes…. Unnoticed, unproductive and uninspiring to all.

9. Unwilling Heart With their lips, this person says, “Lord please tell me what to do, but their heart says, “And then I’ll decide if I’m going to do it.”

Do not expect an answer from God if you have not decided before hand to obey whatever He asks of you.

I Kings 11:6 “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD.”

10. The “Spiritual Stargazers” God probably won’t lay your whole future out before you as you pray about this. He may only show you one step at a time. If He tells you to “get some training”, don’t insist that He tell you exactly what you’ll be doing afterwards. He may not tell you that until you need to know.

Just purpose to take one obedient step after another as God reveals it to you.

Acts 1:11 “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 41 11/11/2007

Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go; to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3

My prayer is that our hearts will be rekindled with a new flame concerning the blessed hope of our Savior's return.

The apostles had a lot to say about our Lord's return.

Paul shows us the resurrection of the dead and the translation of the living saints at our Lord's return in I Corinthians 15.

Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul gives the great assurance of the coming of the Savior… We’ll be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Peter writes that there is a new world coming. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. II Peter 3:13

The apostle James believed in the second coming of the Lord. Be patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near. James 5:8

Hebrews 10:35-38 certainly encourages and warns us not to cast away our confidence in His coming.

Paul calls the second coming the Blessed Hope. Looking for that BLESSED HOPE, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

John in his book of Revelation wrote 22 chapters having to do with salvation, signs of Christ's return and the actual, literal, personal, visible and the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that the Lord is coming very soon.
We’ve only a little time left to present the truth that is able to convert souls. We are to present it in the utmost simplicity, even as Christ presented it, so people can understand it.

There are basically four themes between the covers of a Bible: Creation, Sin, The First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Christ came the first time He took care of the sin problem; when He comes again He will take on sorrow and death.

I heard of an old preacher who was presenting a powerful sermon on the Second Coming, and a man who did not believe it rose to his feet and said, You can't get that out of the Bible. The preacher paused and said, You sir are right, you can't. It's in there and you can't get it out. It is in there to stay.

If we believe Jesus died and rose again, then those which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him I Thessalonians 4:14
Every time the gospel is preached, every time a person comes to know the Lord through the saving grace of the gospel, it reminds us of His return. In the gospel, we find the sin of the sinner forgiven and the salvation of the Lord bestowed.

His first coming was promised in Genesis 3:15 and that promise was kept by a real and literal advent. Now, friend, since God kept His first promise of the Savior's first advent, we can be assured that He will keep His second promise of the second advent. I WILL COME AGAIN John 14:3

There are several reasons why the Lord must return.

First, He must return because of the flood and because of Sodom and Gomorrah! If the Lord doesn’t return and punish sin in our world today, He’d need to apologize to the people of Noah's generation and the people of Lot's time.

Second, the Lord must keep faith with the dead saints. Those blessed saints who died in the Lord were promised a resurrection from the grave and life without end. He will come again to keep that promise and to keep faith with the saints.

Third, the Lord must secure the universe. Satan, sin and sorrow have marred the universe and this must be brought to an end. His return and the creation of a new world will take care of this: There is a new world coming.

Fourth, He is coming again because love cannot tolerate separation. Love cannot put up with separation, it cannot endure separation. The Lord longs to be with His people.

And fifth, He must return to finish what He started. What He began must be ended. Sin was taken care of at the cross. John 19:30 Now, He will return to change these vile bodies and give us a body like His. Philippians 3:21
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I Thessalonians 4:16,17

His coming will be PERSONAL. Verse 16 the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven

His coming will be SUDDEN. Be ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes Matthew 24:44

A Scotch preacher asked some people, Do you think Jesus will come today? They said, No, we think not. The preacher replied, In an hour that you think not the Son of man comes.

When Noah was expecting the flood, he went ahead building the ark and preaching concerning the coming flood.

While he waited, he worked, and while he worked, he witnessed.

And that is how it should be with the church today.

We must occupy until He comes.

His coming will be VISIBLE. There will be no secret rapture.

Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kinds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so Amen. Revelation 1:7

What kind of people should we be?
II Peter 3:14 says, Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be DILIGENT that you may be found of him in PEACE, WITHOUT SPOT, and BLAMELESS.

DILIGENT: It is a sad, tragic thought to know that many will be left behind because they haven’t made preparation for that day.

PEACE: Peace with God and peace with others. Every sin confessed, every sin forgiven, every sin washed by the blood.

WITHOUT SPOT: When we come to God through His Son, we are clothed with the robe of His righteousness just like in the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) and the robe for the marriage supper. (Matthew 22:11)

BLAMELESS: John, the beloved, was standing on the Isle of Patmos when Jesus came to him and said, Behold, I come quickly The old saint of God looked up longingly and cried, Even so come, Lord Jesus.

John Newton the converted slave-dealer, who wrote the universally loved hymn "Amazing Grace," wrote, if I ever reach heaven, I expect to find 3 wonders:
to meet some I had not thought to see there
to miss some I had thought to meet there
the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there!

And it is that greatest wonder that will cause all of God's children to fall on their knees in gratitude for God's amazing grace. But why wait, now is the time to begin expressing our gratitude.

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Let each of us be there.

"Revive Us Oh Lord"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 43 11/25/2007

We are in the final days before revival right now, and we are asking God for something more than an emotional high. I do not believe that revival will come until we are broken over our sin. This morning, I want to prepare you for Revival.

There are several principles regarding revival:
God Is Looking to Do a Great Work
II Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.”

God Is Attracted to Brokenness
Psalm 51:16-17 “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.”

God Is Found When Sought
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

The Effects of Revival:
Revival Turns Away God’s Anger
II Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

A Personal Hope and Future
Revival is the people of God living in the power of an ungrieved, unquenched Spirit.
Vance Havner: I had a friend who once asked me why God wasn’t blessing him, but all he meant was financially. My response to him was, “What if God’s idea of blessing you means that you are head-over-heels in love with your wife?” This is what God can do for you.

A Religious Hope and Future
Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.
Revival leads churches to fight hell rather than each other
Revival leads churches to fulfill the Great Commission
Revival leads churches to worship God
Revival leads churches to train leaders
Revival leads nations to repentance
Revival leads to a renewed commitment to God

Jonah 3:1-10 “Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you. So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command. Now Nineveh was an extremely large city, a three-day walk. Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, In 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown! The men of Nineveh believed in God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least. When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he issued a decree in Nineveh: By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence he is doing. Who knows? God may turn and relent; He may turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish. Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.”

Revival Releases God’s Power on Earth
Psalm 34:3-7 “Proclaim with me the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard [him] and saved him from all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.”

Focus on the need for Revival
Immorality is high. It is estimated that more than 30 million babies are aborted each year world-wide, and as a nation we ponder whether it is ethical. Our country has legalized same-sex marriages. The porn industry booms because of freedom of speech while Christian boys and girls have been reprimanded for bringing Bibles to schools. The religion of atheism is forced on students, while the Ten Commandments are removed to prevent offending someone.

We call ourselves a Christian nation,
but we have not had a significant
movement of God in this country in more than 100 years and it shows.

We need to see the lost turn to God and be saved. We need to see the church stand up and do it! The greatest need in the church is: REVIVAL!

The church has lost its focus and is so busy squabbling over the color of the carpet or “he-said” - “she-said”, that the Great Commission is going unheeded. The church is in an apathetic, powerless state so that the gospel is rarely shared, let alone lived. As a result, conversions and baptisms are down. The reputation of the church to the outside world is that of a people judging, money begging, disinterested, irrelevant and compassionless.

We need to get our focus off the junk and back on reaching the lost for Jesus Christ!

The greatest need in your life I believe, is a brokenness that leads to weeping over your sin. I am talking about a turn from sin to Godliness, resulting in you walking with God in a meaningful and powerful way.

Isaiah 1:16-20 “Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause. Come, let us discuss this, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

God has taken your sins which were like scarlet and made you white as wool! This comes through repentance and brokenness.

Some folk don’t like to hear much about repentance; but it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I’d want to die preaching repentance, and if die out of the pulpit I’d desire to die practicing it.

In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.

Allow God to deal with your Hard Heart:
You don’t have to be an atheist to have a hard heart towards God.

When was the last time you couldn’t wait to open your Bible to see what God has to say?
When was the last time you prayed to God, and focused only on Him?
When was the last time you sang a song and didn’t think about whether you liked the sound?

A.W. Tozer,said, “Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.”

The Revival Prayer: Start with Me!

Once a man asked an evangelist, “How can we have revival?”

The evangelist answered by asking, “Do you have a place where you can pray?”

“Yes”, the man replied.

“Here’s what you need to do. Go to that place and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle around you and pray for God to send revival on everything inside that circle. Stay there until He answers, and you will have your revival.”